The ride of silence stopped by five peoples’ ghost bikes in Chicago: Clinton Miceli, Tyler Fabeck, Blanca Ocasio, Amanda Annis, and Isai Medina. I think the last death in the city was nearly a year ago, Clinton Miceli. A driver killed Clinton by opening his door into traffic, which stuck Clinton and threw him into the path of an oncoming car. This happened in June 2008, during Chicago’s Bike to Work Week. Even though I did not know him, I had to keep my office door shut most of the day after reading all the news stories because I could not stop crying. He was so young (22) and seemed like such a nice guy. At that time I’d been riding to work for only a week and had to ask myself, “Am I going to ride tomorrow? The day after?”
Obviously, I kept riding. For one, I love riding too much to stop. Also, the streets will be made safer the more people ride bikes. Cars are far more dangerous than bikes and cars put not only the occupants at risk, but anyone else who happens to be on the street.
Some may say that the Ride of Silence is bad for cycling because it focuses on the dangers and therefore makes new riders less likely to try cycling. I say that our society is not yet at the point where we can ignore the hostility on our streets. Cycling is NOT an ultra-hazardous activity, but our roads are not sufficiently safe for any users – largely because of the negligent way people drive their cars. But more than that, the Ride of Silence focuses on the lives of the individual cyclists who have been injured or killed on public roadways – it is a memorial ride more than a political statement. That is the reason I participated. The ride means a lot to the victims’ families, as heart-breakingly demonstrated by this comment left by Clinton’s mother on the ABC news story:
As the mother of one of the fallen, there were more than dozens of riders paying tribute and honor as an act of love, compassion, and a commitment to the safety of cyclists. Whoever rode, it was a completely selfless act of profound love and unity of spirit. We all were clear of who the fallen were for their loved ones and how profoundly missed they are. Thank you to who lit the 3 candles @ Clint’s bike. Thank you to Dan and the police officer who tweaked my bicycle to working order and thank you Cycle Smithey
That’s why I participated. Here are some professional pictures, taken by Don Sorsa, who takes beautiful photos of all the critical mass rides (and the recent Tweed Ride).