Monday, January 09, 2006

Memorial Ride unites cycling community in NYC

Photo taken by Fritz Askew.
Fred Askew Photography
This Sunday, Time's up held an amazing event to remember those who were killed on their bikes due to the negligence of motor vehicles in 2005. There were many rides that were lead around the city to cover the sites of the dead in all 5 boroughs. The rides meet up in Manhattan and ended with free food and cider at the Time's up space. The last stop was a special memorial for 8 of the 21 killed riders. This was especially sad and bitter due to the fact that the NYPD won't release details about the cyclist’s deaths. The event was a beautiful experience and a unique coming together of all aspects of the cycling community. It truly showed our strength, unity and was an incredible honor for those that have died needlessly just for riding a bike. The NYPD and the city should be ashamed. One for infiltrating our memorial rides with "plain clothes," officers and two, for responding to the death of cyclists by waging a ticketing blitz on bikers for such frivolous offenses as not riding in the bike lane. Thanks to the investigative reporting of the NY Times and others, the police backed off the memorial ride, except for one feeble attempt to split us into two groups...because we were such a large group. As the ride hit the sacred Manhattan, the police finally did what they should be doing all along, escorting the ride and telling erratic cab drivers to pull out of our way. Bravo. Special thanks to Ryan, for organizing this event and to Austin for his assistance with the memorial. Special thanks to all volunteers who made this event such a moving experience. Check out visual resistance and learn about their, "Ghost bike project." That inspired much of the ride yesterday. In Seattle, Washington they do a similar project ghost cycle which also records cyclist injuries as well.
Ellen Belcher sent this amazing account of those who were remembered yesterday, the dead cyclists of 2005.

Here are some of my photos:
I started out on the East NY Ride with about 12 people and we honored:
Miguel Molina, 48, died October 20th. Hit and run, Atlantic Ave near Logan Street.

Miguel's Ghost bike memorial

Then we headed to meet up with the South Brooklyn ride at the site of Elizabeth Padilla in Park Slope.

The ride grew much bigger as the rides meet up including the one from Staten Island.

Elizabeth, 28 died in Park Slope after someone opened their car door without looking and forced Elizabeth into a truck.

We gathered at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, near city hall to wait for other rides. A lone squad car rolled up to try and take control of the situation. Ryan dealt with the cops. They wanted us to split up into two groups because our size was so big. This worked for one stop.
Then we went down to the spot of Jen Shao, 65, hit by a private bus in the Wall St. area.

This was the memorial for 21 year old Brandie Bailey who was killed on Houston Street by a truck that didn't even know he had hit anyone.

This story was in the Daily News along with a slide show:

Bicyclists remember riders killed on city streets


January 9, 2006

Two-wheeled processions wound their way through four boroughs Sunday, as scores of bicyclists staged memorial rides for the 21 riders killed on city streets in 2005.

All but one of the victims were killed by a car or truck.

"A lot of these accidents didn't have to happen," said Ryan Kuonen, 34, of the bicyclists-advocacy group TIME'S UP! "If drivers took just a few seconds to check their mirrors before making sudden movements, some of these cyclists would still be with us today."

Kuonen organized one of the Brooklyn rides Sunday, and led bikers past the site of several fatal accidents. The riders stopped at one Borough Park intersection for a brief memorial led by a rabbi for Chiam Goldberg, 24, a Hasidic man who was killed last January.

"We don't have many Hasidic bikers in TIME'S UP!," said Kuonen, "in fact we have none. But we found this rabbi who is into biking and he served as a link between our two communities."

Sunday's memorial rides also passed by a number of all-white-painted bicycles, which are parked to serve as memorials near accident scenes. While these "ghost bikes" are meant to be permanent installations, some landlords have removed them as eyesores.

More than 150,000 New Yorkers commute by bicycle every day. That number shot up to 600,000 during last month's transit strike. Those people included Firefighter Matthew Long, who was left in critical condition after a bus struck the bicycle he was using to get around.

"Those of us who are out here everyday know about the dangers," Kuonen said. "But we also know biking is the most efficient, cleanest way to get around this city."
This article from Metro NY:

City’s cyclists pay tribute to fallen riders
by amy zimmer / metro new york

JAN 8, 2006
NOLITA — A group of roughly 100 cyclists rode somberly to the corner of Houston and Elizabeth streets Sunday. They placed carnations and candles at the base of a white “ghost bike” to memorialize where Andrew Ross Morgan, 25, was hit and killed by a truck as he rode on June 22.

Memorial at Elizabeth and Houston Streets for Andrew Morgan one of the 21 bicyclist who died while riding their bikes in New York City in 2005. (Photo: Bill Lyons/Metro)
The wheeled procession visited sites in all five boroughs where 21 cyclists were killed in 2005, including 20 by motor vehicles, according to ride organizer Times Up!, a bike advocacy group. There were six cyclists killed by motor vehicles in 2004, according to statistics from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygeine.
“The demand for bicycling is outpacing the supply, and there aren’t enough safe spaces,” said Noah Budnick, projects director for Transportation Alternatives, a group seeking to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
He cited a plan backed by Community Board 4 to create a bike lane on Eighth Avenue from 14th to 57th streets, that would connect to existing lanes on Hudson Street and Central Park West as something the city could do to protect cyclists.
Many bikers, like Bill DiPaola, executive director of Times Up!, however, believe City Hall is anti-biking.
“The city is hard on cyclists and we think it’s creating a hostile environment for bicyclists,” DiPaola said, citing the NYPD’s crackdown on the monthly Critical Mass rides. That’s why “hit-and-runs are at record levels.”
Brian Galvin, 30, who rides on Staten Island and with his girlfriend in Brooklyn, said city cycling was “insane” because “there aren’t enough bike lanes” and cars are “rushing to get from one red light to the next.”
Galvin, who hasn’t participated in other group rides, came out Sunday because “I don’t want this to happen to me or my friends. Hopefully, if people see these spots, they will respect us more when we’re on the road.”


Anonymous drewo said...

Thanks Michael for the photos and articles. I missed the ride but did happen to see a new ghost bike placed on Houston Street near Crosby (to remember all the 2005 cycling deaths in NYC).

Sadly it seems to take a high number of fatalities, and a "high-profile" accident like that involving firefighter Matthew Long, to finally alert the news media to the difficulties NYC cyclists (and pedestrians) face daily.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Dirt - LPBME said...

We got a memorial here in Highlands Ranch Colorado. Jim Price died when a 17 year old kid was text messaging while driving and hit Mr. Price from behind. Photos here

10:16 PM  

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