Friday, June 17, 2005

Memorial Ride for Fallen Cyclists

noah, originally uploaded by Green Biker.

Thursday, cyclists gathered in Park Slope at the tragic site of a slain bike rider Elizabeth Padilla. The 28 year old lawyer was crushed under an ice cream delivery truck while trying to squeeze through 2 trucks on her daily commute home, June 10th, 2005. Many cycling advocacy groups joined forces to hold a memorial ride from the accident site to City Hall. The purpose of the ride was to hold a press conference and let elected representatives know the transportation issues of too many cars and a city policy that seems to refuse to create an infustructer for the exploding rise in bicycle riding here in NYC. Some of the groups involved were Time's Up, Transportation Alternatives, the New York Bicycle Messenger Association and Freewheels. On hand to speak to the press was Paul Steely White, executive director of TA, Fact finder Charlie Komanoff, Time's Up volunteer Mathew Roth and it was especially nice to see Transporation's own Noah Budnick, who was recently hit by a tow truck while riding his bike in Brooklyn. Paul White addressed the cycling crowd of about 75 gathering in Park Slope and let riders know that over 200 pedestrians are killed in New York City every year by automobiles. He also made the point against popular belief, that cycling in the city is not a dangerous activity and it was time to set the record straight. This point was made to let people know that when cyclists are killed by motor vehicles, one should no automatically blame the victim. The real problem is that city caters to the car and does nothing to make room for bicycles and other forms of non-polluting transportation. Followed by a group of police as an escort, the ride left Park Slope and headed across the bike path of the Brooklyn Bridge. The group stopped on the steps of city hall for a press conference and speakers told the various media outlets about recent deaths of cyclists due to cars and trucks.

Here is a letter from Elizabeth Padilla's friend writing to thank those at the last Brooklyn Critical Mass for holding a memorial for slain friend:

I am a friend of Elizabeth Padilla's--the young woman killed last week whileriding her bike. I wanted to send a thank you note personally to you but wasn't sure of a mailing address, so thought this might be the best way to
reach any of you who attended.

We traveled Friday evening to Virginia where her family is and where we held
a memorial for her on Monday, but heard about your amazing vigil on Friday
night. It was so touching that so many people would gather together for
someone they don't even know without even a connection from one of her friends. I am an avid biker and wish that I would have known to be able to
attend. I do however plan to attend the rally tomorrow I hope that
many of you will again be there. Liz was a vibrant, giving, adventurous, energetic, passionate and compassionate person that I feel incredibly lucky to have known and loved.
She would feel honored that others came forward on her behalf in such a way. She will be truly missed. At this point it's hard to imagine that there is any sense or reason to what happened. I suppose if in some way it can raise awareness and affect change, it will just be one of a many of ways that Liz has impacted the lives of others for the better in both her life and death. It just saddens my heart that it has to be through her death that she continues to do so. On behalf of her family and many friends, we thank you for keeping us all and, most importantly Liz, in your prayers.

Melissa Silvestri
Special Events Manager
Dress for Success Worldwide


Blogger eefers said...

ANOTHER cyclist was killed today.

4:29 PM  

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