2007-01-08 – Ride for slain cyclists – NYMetro

Advocates call on city to make streets safe for bikes

Metro New York
By Amy Zimmer
JAN 8, 2007

MANHATTAN. More than 100 cyclists paid tribute yesterday to those killed by motorists in 2006, riding to sites where cyclists have been killed.

Cycling advocates and bike messengers joined family members and friends of the 134 pedestrians and 14 cyclists known to have been killed last year. They somberly, and some tearfully, visited “ghost bikes” — white-washed bicycles installed where deaths occurred — to place flowers and candles.

“I don’t want to ride around and pay tribute to bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Noah Budnick, deputy director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives. “All of these deaths are preventable and it can start with better police enforcement.”

The ride — organized by pro-cycling groups Time’s Up! and Transportation Alternatives along with Visual Resistance, the art group that started the “ghost bike” project — finished the daylong ride at the “Memorial for the Unknown Cyclists” at Houston and Lafayette streets.

“We should honor those cyclists by continuing to ride because there’s safety in numbers,” Budnick said, adding that in the past decade cycling has increased by 30 percent while accidents are down 40 percent.

Ian Dutton, who lives near Houston Street, believed the city should be thinking about bike safety there, especially with all the construction.

“This was the third bike fatality on Houston Street in 13 months,” Dutton said at the memorial for Derek Lake, 23, a budding filmmaker struck by a truck at LaGuardia Place. “In our neighborhood, we’ve been fighting against the $30 million Houston Street redesign because it’s so focused on traffic and creating a speedway for trucks. We came up with four different ways to have bike lanes. And the cost would be marginal to do it now instead of later.”

There were two fatalities along Hudson River Park: Carl Nacht, 56, a physician at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, was killed by a tow truck, and Eric Ng, 22, a teacher, who had worked on the “ghost bike” project with Ryan Nuckel of Visual Resistance.

“It was definitely surreal to put your friend’s name on a ghost bike,” Nuckel said. “We want to see this city as a place where people feel safe and protected and cared for and we carry that with us when we ride.”