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Gainesville motorcyclist killed in wreck remembered as free spirit
Anita Strickland
Anita Strickland

Before she was a teenager, Anita Strickland was learning to ride motorcycles, a passion she would later enjoy with her children.

“She shared her love of riding with me. She taught me how to ride, and it was something we enjoyed doing together,” Strickland’s daughter Stacy Strickland said.

On her way to the American Legion Wednesday night, Anita Strickland was driving her motorcycle when she struck a Mercedes Benz on Friendship Road/Ga. 347, according to Georgia State Patrol.

Anita Strickland, 59, of Gainesville, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gary Lee Herndon, 79, of Buford, was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide. He did not return a call for comment Monday night.

Stacy Strickland said her mother was a “lover of life.”

“She was a free spirit, very nonjudgmental, very loving, person,” she said.

Before Stacy Strickland sold her bike, she and her mother would ride as often as they could, including the Trail of Tears ride in Alabama. It was a stress reliever and something the two enjoyed together, Strickland said.

Stacy Strickland said she feels there are misconceptions about those that ride motorcycles.

“I think that they’re often thought of as part of a bad lifestyle, and it’s definitely not that way. Every rider has a family,” Stacy Strickland said. “They have kids or parents or somebody who loves them, and I don’t think they’re respected on the road.”

Anita Strickland graduated from Johnson High School and was involved with the Legion Riders, where she was given the name “Running Bare,” according to her obituary.

In addition to second-degree vehicular homicide, Herndon was charged with failure to obey a traffic control device, failure to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic, crossing the gore, performing an improper left turn and not having his license on his person.

According to the warrants, Herndon allegedly made an improper left turn onto a one-way street in the path of Strickland’s oncoming motorcycle and drove through a marked gore.

State patrol said Herndon was heading northbound on B.U. Bowman Drive at Friendship Road..

“Usually, a motorcycle accident involves a failure to yield by another vehicle. That’s the majority of the accidents that we see,” Gainesville Police Sgt. Chris Jones said.

Before entering the roadway, law enforcement advises drivers to look both ways before entering the roadway.

“Always look back to the left again, because obviously motorcycles are smaller and at times move faster than cars,” Jones said.

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