Because of the pandemic, the once a year Chicago Journey of Silence motorcycle journey honoring fallen cyclists took a unique path this 12 months, assembly on-line as an alternative of in particular person. However that didn’t prevent the memorial tournament from drawing a big crowd on Zoom to bear in mind cyclists killed throughout the final 12 months and suggest for more secure streets, higher biking infrastructure, and larger bike owner visibility — particularly as Chicago prepares to reopen in stages and town leaders are starting to critically talk about opening streets for secure, socially-distanced transportation and sport.
The Chicago tournament, which typically rides in silence to a number of deadly crash websites and is a part of the global Journey of Silence motion, this 12 months introduced 34 other people in combination on-line to bear in mind the ones misplaced and take a digital excursion of the white-painted “ghost motorcycle” memorials put in of their honor.
Chicago Journey of Silence organizer Elizabeth Adamczyk started via noting that town has observed one deadly motorcycle crash this 12 months, the hit-and-run collision that killed a 61-year-old guy using his motorcycle on February 29 at the 3700 block of West Lake Boulevard in East Garfield Park. The crash was once the 3rd motorcycle or pedestrian fatality on a mile-long stretch of Lake Boulevard inside of about six months.
The Cook dinner County clinical examiner’s place of business nonetheless has no longer supplied the sufferer’s identification, and there was no ghost motorcycle set up on the web site. However the Chicago Division of Transportation’s Imaginative and prescient 0 crash relief program has been specializing in West Aspect communities with prime charges of great and deadly collisions.
Subsequent the Journey of Silence commemorated the 4 cyclists killed in 2019: Richard Williams, Vincent Tran, Carla Aiello, and Lee Luellen. Whilst it’s unlucky that it was once not possible to steer a gaggle journey to the crash websites this 12 months, Adamczyk famous, “Everybody issues and we don’t seem to be restricted via time, house and distance this night.”
Remembering the fallen cyclists of 2019
Richard Williams, 57: On September 1, 2019, Williams was once using a mountain motorcycle within the 4500 block of West Lake Boulevard, six blocks west of the place a hit-and-run driving force killed pedestrian Lee Davis on August 27. Not like maximum of Lake Boulevard at the West Aspect, this stretch does no longer have parking-protected motorcycle lanes however as an alternative has buffered lanes, which give no bodily coverage from site visitors. Every other hit-and-run motorist struck Williams, who was once pronounced lifeless on the scene.
Vincent Tran, 26: On October 20, at about 2:18 a.m., Tran was once biking at Irving Park and Kimball Road when a hit-and-run driving force struck him. Police have since suspended their seek for the motive force. At this intersection, Irving Park is 5 lanes huge however has no motorcycle lanes. “As everyone knows, intersections are the worst and probably the most maximum not unusual puts for crashes,” Adamczyk mentioned, appearing a picture of the intersection.
Carla Aiello, 38: On November 6, Aiello was once cycling to her process as a college counselor in Wicker Park when a right-turning truck driving force ran over her on the intersection of Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues within the Irving Park group. That night time cyclists coated the light motorcycle lanes to shape a “human-protected motorcycle lane” to protest her loss of life and make contact with at the town to put in more secure cycling infrastructure. Six months after her loss of life, the motorcycle lanes had been in any case repainted, and versatile plastic posts had been later added to delineate the bikeway. Posts and paint had been extensively utilized to widen the turning radius of the nook. Whilst. tragically, this protection infrastructure was once put in too past due to save lots of Aiello, it’s a step in the suitable course.
Adamczyk famous that CDOT didn’t restripe the motorcycle lanes with thermoplastic till after a citizen “went out in the dead of night of night time and did some tactical urbanism and spray painted a motorbike lane.” She added that whilst she’d relatively see a difficult barrier, like a concrete curb, to offer protection to cyclists, the posts are higher than not anything. “It displays cyclists do have an area at the street [and] helps to keep drivers going slower on the ones stretches.”
Lee Luellen, 40: Within the early morning of November 17, a driving force struck Luellen on his motorcycle at 67th and Stony Island avenues. Even supposing there’s no ghost motorcycle on the web site, other people hooked up together with his identify to a close-by tree to lift consciousness of the crash and remind drivers to watch out. The motorist was once ticketed for riding an uninsured car and on a suspended license and for failure to yield.
Stony Island Road is an eight-lane-wide street the place CDOT has prior to now proposed changing trip lanes to safe motorcycle lanes. Even supposing Luellen was once the second one bike owner killed in this stretch of Stony Island in not up to a 12 months and a part, native alderman Leslie Hairston has vetoed the plan, claiming it could reason site visitors jams. Then again, Stony carries a mean of 35,000 car journeys according to day, and the 8 lanes are far more capability than wanted, which inspires rushing all the way through non-rush hours.
All of those tragic deaths spotlight the will for more secure avenue design, higher bikeways, and extra accountable conduct from drivers. (Even supposing there was much less riding all the way through the pandemic, rushing and the velocity of great crashes has risen.) “We’d like higher biking infrastructure in all places town, no longer simply at the North Aspect,” Adamczyk.
The Journey of Silence is a reminder that, whilst some growth has been made against making a bike-friendly Chicago, there’s nonetheless various paintings to do sooner than it is a in reality secure town for biking. I do know that firsthand: Just lately a driving force struck me on my motorcycle in Logan Sq., inflicting minor accidents and totaling my journey. I wrote an open letter to the motorist who hit me to remind drivers to proportion the street, be respectful and decelerate.
Adamczyk mentioned cyclists wish to be vocal and rise up for extra protections, and take into account the folks whose lives were misplaced. “Your voice will also be heard. Even using in silence could make a distinction. Their tragedies have made a distinction and feature made our streets more secure.”
Along with contacting your native elected officers to invite them improve higher motorcycle insurance policies, training, and infrastructure, you’ll assist via sharing your studies of using in our town. Imaginative and prescient 0 and Chicago Journey of Silence are accumulating tales to proportion publicly — you’ll put up yours right here. They are able to be about a really perfect motorcycle path, streets that want maintenance, surviving a motorbike crash, and extra. “We wish to listen tales that experience outlined, influenced, and impacted you,” Imaginative and prescient 0 writes. “The function is to remind Chicagoans of our shared accountability to deal with each and every different, of connections created in public areas, and the way our constructed atmosphere can mirror our values and tradition.”