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Nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school.

May 18: Let’s mourn lives lost and demand safer options for people biking

On Wednesday, May 18, you’re invited to join others around the world on an annual bicycle ride to honor the people killed while biking in the past year.

In addition to honoring those people killed by drivers, the ride highlights the urgent need for infrastructure that will make biking in Chicago safer and more welcoming for people of all ages and abilities.

“We need to remember that this tragic loss of life is unnecessary and completely avoidable,” said Chicago Ride of Silence organizer Elizabeth Adamczyk. “This is a chance to mourn those who have been killed while biking, visit their ghost bikes, and share a silent moment of respect and reflection.”

The ride is part of a series of events during Chicago Bike Month.

Beginning at the Thompson Center at 5:30 p.m., people will ride in silent procession along a 7.2-mile route through the Loop, West Loop, River North, and along the Lakefront Trail, visiting the following fatal crash sites of the past year:

  • Paresh Chhatrala was killed by a hit-and-run driver on April 16, 2022. The software engineer was struck by a driver on West Madison in the West Loop, near where he lived.
  • Broderick Adé Hogue, a bike racer and graphic designer well known in the local cycling community, was killed by a driver on Grand Avenue near DuSable Lake Shore Drive on October 29, 2021.
  • Gerardo Marciales was killed by a driver while riding a Divvy bike from the Lakefront Trail across DuSable Lake Shore Drive in the Loop. Gerardo, a technical consulting engineer, was engaged to be married.

The Thompson Center, where the ride starts, is a building designed by architect Helmet Jahn, who was killed by a driver last spring in suburban Compton Hills.

The ride honors and remembers all the people who lost their lives while biking on Chicago streets. This year we remember in particular those mentioned above as well as the following crash victims.

  • Nick Parlingayan, age 22, May 4, 2022, in Irving Park
  • Jose Velásquez, age 16, December 10, 2021, in Back of the Yards
  • Robert Earl Moore, age 59, November 15, 2021, in Back of the Yards,
  • Jason Hardt, age 48, September 12, 2021, in North Lawndale
  • George Sawicki, age 70, August 17, 2021, in South Loop
  • Thomas Travers, age 59, July 24, 2021, in Jefferson Park
  • Kevin Clark, age 32, May 26, 2021, in Logan Square
  • Helmut Jahn, age 81, May 8, 2021, in west-suburban Campton Hills

Ride participants are encouraged to join a post-ride gathering at the Emerald Loop, 216 N. Wabash.

“Deaths of people biking have increased in the past couple of years in Chicago,” said Adamczyk. “This is unacceptable. We are calling attention to this needless loss of life and demanding safer streets. This annual event strengthens our resolve to eliminate traffic fatalities and urge the city to do much more to keep people safe while they’re biking.”

Just last week, 22-year-old Nick Parlingayan was hit and killed while biking on North Milwaukee Avenue. His crash occurred across the street from where 37-year-old Carla Aiello was hit and killed while biking in 2019.

(Here’s a printable version of the route map with turn-by-turn directions.)

Advocates from across Chicago are calling on city officials to immediately upgrade the low-quality bike infrastructure on Milwaukee Avenue – Chicago’s “bike superhighway” – and key corridors like it across the city. They are specifically calling for a citywide network of concrete protected bike lanes to prevent crashes and save lives.

An average of five to six bicyclists were killed every year 2012-2019 in Chicago. But nine Chicago bicyclists were killed in 2020, and in 2021, 10 were killed. Three people have already been killed in 2022 while biking in Chicago — even before the prime season for biking has gotten underway.

This year the Chicago Ride of Silence is sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance, F.K. Law, and Steetsblog Chicago. Ride organizers request that black armbands be worn by participants and red armbands if you’ve been hit by a driver while biking (arm bands will be provided). Helmets are required; lights are highly recommended for the ride home.

In the event of inclement weather, participants are asked to gather at the post-ride location.

This year Illinois has nearly 20 rides occurring in communities throughout the state. The Ride of Silence is held in many locations in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, South and Central America and the rest of the world. This year there are nearly 300 locations registered throughout the world.

Chicago Ride of Silence

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
5:30 p.m. gather; 6 p.m. departure
Start: Thompson Center
End: Emerald Loop, 216 N. Wabash.; all are welcome