by Arun Venugopal
January 08, 2007
Hundreds of cyclists rode through the five boroughs. They stopped at 14 ‘ghost bikes’ – bikes painted white marking where a cyclist was killed on the city streets last year. WNYC’s Arun Venugopal has more.
REPORTER: After stopping at crash sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan, the cyclists began to converge at a ghost bike on Houston Street. That’s where 23-year-old cyclist Derek Lake was hit by a truck last June. As friends of Derek began to decorate the white ghost bike with flowers, a passerby, on foot, started arguing with the cyclists:
WOMAN: You guys, it’s really too bad this happens. But you know how many pedestrians are endangered by bicyclists?
MAN: Well, you know, I mean, we’re talking about people who have gotten killed.
WOMAN: I’m not talking about being killed. I’m talking about myself being hit or my dog almost being hit.
REPORTER: A few minutes later, the group of about 200 cyclists observed a moment of silence, lifting their bikes up in the air, above their heads. Will Green says he was Derek Lake’s best friend, and that Derek starting cycling just a few weeks before he was killed, having sworn off the subway.
GREEN: Waiting in lines, and paying exorbitant fees. And he wanted to get some fresh air and get some exercise. He was really proud of it.
REPORTER: Barbara Ross is with Time’s Up, the group that organized the bike ride. She and other activists say cyclists are at risk when cars double-park, forcing bikes out of bike lanes and into car lanes. The NYPD, she says, needs to do more.
ROSS: They said they would increase the enforcement, after September. They said that would be a priority. And I’ve been on the streets and I am still seeing double-parked cars, all the time, morning and night. And the cars are oblivious. They don’t even realize it’s an issue.
REPORTER: The city has promised to expand its network of bike lanes and some bikers said they were happy about the proposed public awareness campaign, meant to make car and truck drivers more conscious of cyclists. For WNYC, I’m Arun Venugopal.