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Bike ride on May 15 will mourn lives lost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Elizabeth Adamczyk
Chicago Organizer
rideofsilence.chicago@gmail.com
rideofsilencechicago.org
(773) 370-2038

Ted Villaire
Active Transportation Alliance
(312) 563-1118
ted@activetrans.org

 

On May 15, Chicago Ride of Silence will mourn the lives lost while biking during the past year
The annual ride will offer a moment of silent reflection at the sites where drivers killed people biking

Chicago, Ill., May 10, 2024 — On Wednesday, May 15, all are invited to join a worldwide annual bicycle ride to honor the people killed while biking on public roadways. The event calls attention to the right of people to bike on the road and the urgent need for infrastructure that will make biking in Chicago safer and more welcoming for people of all ages and abilities.

“These tragic deaths are preventable, especially on our neighborhood streets,” said Chicago Ride of Silence organizer Elizabeth Adamczyk. “This ride offers us a chance to mourn those who have been killed while biking, visit their ghost bike memorials, and share a silent moment of respect and reflection.”

For those who are coming from downtown or south of downtown, there will be an unofficial departure from Queens Landing at 5:30 p.m. to ride north to the official ride starting point at Dickens Greenway Plaza for a 6:00 p.m. start. This is the first year the ride is starting outside of downtown. From Dickens Greenway Plaza, bicyclists will ride in silent procession along an 11-mile route through the north and northwest sides of the city, visiting the following crash sites along the route:

  • Ghost Bike of Tyler Fabeck. On April 20, 2008, twenty-two year old Fabeck was traveling on his bicycle when he was killed by a driver at the Logan and Western intersection.
  • Ghost Bike of Kevin Clark. On May 26, 2021, a driver struck and killed Chicago musician Kevin Clark, 32, who was killed as he rode his bike at Logan Boulevard and Western Avenue in Logan Square. Clark appeared as the young drummer in the 2003 film “School of Rock.”
  • Ghost Bike of Ron Mendoza. On June 7, 2023, bike rider Ron Mendoza, 43, died from injuries sustained in a July 5 crash with a driver at Wrightwood Avenue and Pulaski Road in Logan Square.
  • Ghost Bike of Josh Anleu. On October 4, 2023, a sedan driver fatally struck Joshua Anleu, 16, as he biked through the intersection of Waveland and Long avenues in the Portage Park community.
  • Crash site of Ernesto Vargas. On February 27, 2024, Ernesto Vargas was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver of a Jeep at 5:52 p.m. at the intersection of Long Avenue and Grace Street.
  • Ghost Bike of Carla Aiello. On November 6, 2019, a turning truck driver killed 37-year-old cyclist Carla Aiello riding in a bike lane at Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues in the Irving Park community.
  • Ghost Bike of Nick Parlingayan. On May 4, 2022, a driver fatally struck Nick Parlingayan, 22, on his bike near the intersection of Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues in the Irving Park neighborhood.
  • Post-Ride Gathering will honor George Christensen and other crash victims that the ride route does not cover this year: Sleeping Village at 3734 W. Belmont, just east of Milwaukee Ave.

The ride honors and remembers all the people who lost their lives while biking on Chicago streets.

“This annual event calls attention to this needless loss of life on our roadways and demands safer streets,” said Adamczyk. “As a community we come together to grieve and honor our fallen friends and family, and we unite to strengthen our resolve to eliminate traffic fatalities and urge the city to do much more to keep people safe while they’re biking.”

An average of five to six bicyclists were killed every year 2012-2023 in Chicago. But nine Chicago bicyclists were killed in 2020, 10 in 2021, and in 2022, eight people biking were struck and killed by motorists. During 2023, 30 pedestrians were killed by motorists and another 7 have been killed already in 2024.

“The lack of safe infrastructure for all road users combined with drivers traveling at unsafe speeds resulted in the tragic loss of life in 2023,” said Amy Rynell, Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “There is an urgent need for safety improvements on many of our streets. No more people should have to die while biking or walking on any of our roadways in order to achieve needed safety improvements.”

In the face of a staggering 40 percent increase in traffic fatalities in Illinois between 2012 and 2021, with pedestrians and cyclists accounting for a growing number of these tragic losses, more U.S. cities have taken the lifesaving step of lowering speed limits. Because of the frequent role speed plays in car crashes, lowering the speed limit even a small amount can have an outsized effect on road safety. 

In coming months, as Chicago City Council members consider reducing Chicago’s default urban speed from 30 to 25 mph, Chicago residents are urged to contact their alderpeople to let them know they support saving lives by lowering the speed limit.

The Chicago Ride of Silence is sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance. Ride organizers request registering in advance on the Chicago Ride of Silence webpage. Black armbands are worn by participants to honor our fallen and red armbands may be worn if you’ve been hit by a driver while biking (black 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 over 10 registered 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 15, 2024
5:30 p.m. — Ride from Queen’s Landing to start at Dickens Greenway Plaza
6 p.m. — departure from official start: Dickens Plaza Greenway (Dickens and Lincoln Park West)
End — Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont); all are welcome (riders and non-riders)

 

ABOUT THE RIDE OF SILENCE

Mission statement: The mission of the worldwide Ride of Silence™ is to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety.

Founder and President Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas in 2003 after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was killed by a passing bus’s mirror on an empty road.

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph for no longer than an hour. The ride hopes to raise cycling awareness during bike month to motorists, police, traffic engineers, insurance companies, and city officials. The ride is also a chance to mourn, in funeral procession style, those who have been killed.

 

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