BY CHRISTOPHER FAHERTY – Special to the Sun
January 8, 2007
The second annual memorial held yesterday where hundreds of cyclists pedaled throughout the city paying tribute to bike riders who were killed on the streets of New York could be the last.
With the Police Department proposing changes to parade regulations that would require permits for such events, some organizers fear that future memorials may be considered illegal.
“We have no guarantees that the city will give us permits if the law is passed,” a spokeswoman for one of the memorial ride’s organizers, Time’s Up, Barbara Ross, said.
A group of cyclists called Critical Mass has disrupted traffic by riding their bikes in large groups without giving advance notice to police. That prompted the proposed regulations, which would require permits for groups of more than 10 pedestrians or bikers traveling over two city blocks who do not plan to adhere to traffic laws. The police also want groups of 30 or more vehicles, bicycles included, to obtain permits while following city traffic regulations.
Organized by 19 different bicycle and pedestrian activist groups, bikers pedaled through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan to raise awareness about bicycle safety issues in the city.
Two separate groups of cyclists, one that had started in the Bronx and the other in Queens, met in Manhattan at about 3 p.m. on the corner of La Guardia Place and Houston Street.
The riders had spent the morning visiting locations in the city where bikers were killed last year.
Before crossing the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, about 100 riders gathered on the corner South 4th Street and Roebling Ave. in Williamsburg where 34 year-old Jonathon Neese was hit and killed by a car last August.
Riders hoisted their bikes to sky and held a moment of silence in Mr. Neese’s memory.
“We need to get motorists more aware of bikers,” a 24 year-old personal assistant from Williamsburg, Amy Tichenor, said before the crowd honored Mr. Neese.
According to Time’s Up, 14 cyclists were killed in the city during 2006.