The Chainlink

Nearly every day I ride my bike, I have a near-miss run in with a motorist. Usually they are in a hurry and blowing off a crosswalk or nose in their phone or don't see me as part of traffic as they drive too closely to me. Sometimes when they do that, they are gunning past me to show their annoyance with having to accommodate a cyclist on the street. Driving too closely to me to make a point. There's also construction traffic and construction elimination of a bike lane, a sidewalk which puts us all in more danger. 

All of us experience this nearly every day we ride a bike. 132 pairs of shoes represents the loss of lives to traffic violence in just one year (pedestrians, cyclists, motorists). These people have family members that will never be the same. These people have friends that mourn their loss. And our community is impacted profoundly by the loss of life. 

For many years fallen cyclists have been honored by the installation of white-painted “ghost bikes” at crash sites in Chicago and around the world. On Sunday 132 white-painted pairs of shoes were placed in our city’s Federal Plaza as a memorial to all 132 people killed in collisions on our city streets in 2017, as part of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

132 people lost in just one year. We need change in the way of enforcement, alternative transportation, communication, infrastructure, and new laws. There's no golden ticket that will fix crashes with one easy change. It takes an entire community - motorists, cyclists, pedestrians committed to safety. It takes a complete change in mindset to change our society to be more focused on safety and the value of human life and less focused on rushing to get to the next destination. Rushing to answer a text while driving. Nothing is that important that it should put another life in danger. Nothing. 

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That kind of memorial makes a powerful statement.

On a related note, I was in a car on 87th St. and noticed a ghost bike in Burbank that I hadn't seen before. :(

It really does. So powerful to see the number displayed in shoes. 

Brian Schrader's Ghost Bike, 5260 w. 87th st. at Latrobe.

Ghost bike installed by family and friends. 

As time goes by, it becomes harder for me to deal with knowing that I could get wiped out at any moment.  One thing that helps me is to get out on quiet trails and byways where I don't have to worry too much about cars.  Urban cycling is tough.  Sometimes you need a safe space.



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