Every now and then I hear about
somebody else on a bicycle that got killed in traffic. Usually
it's someone else I didn't know at all. Not daily or weekly, but
probably more than monthly. This event was different. Late the
previous week two women had died in different accidents in
different parts of San Francisco. It was way more than usual.
Somebody organized a memorial ride. They asked all of the
activists from all over the area to join in, partly to make a "we
are in this together" kind of statement. I decided to go.
Most of these people are just normal
traffic on the train. Only Frederick (teal shirt) and I (green
handlebars on the right) were there to be part of the memorial
ride. Didn't know Frederick was coming, just saw him on the train.
It was full enough that there really wasn't room for more bikes.
I've no idea how many were bumped because there wasn't room, but
there must have been some.
This was much more than just the
family and friends of two bicyclists. I saw lots of friends among
the riders, and many new faces.
After a while this woman spoke up.
She explained that we would first ride out to 30th where Heather
was killed by a zooming car. Then we would ride down to 7th &
Howard where Kate was killed by a driver illegally running a red
light. She wanted all of us to ride courteously and obey the law.
She also asked us to be quiet and respectful and follow the bike
with the big green flag. It wasn't long after that before we were
By this time people were mostly
quiet. I moved forward along the side of the crowd to see where
the ghost bike was.
It was across the street, along with
many more of our number.
One by one and in small groups
people that cared about the deceased would go up to the ghost
bike. Some would pray. Some left a candle or flowers or incense or
Most just watched quietly. After a
while this guy went around with these fliers. If you have any
information, please call the number and share it with the SFPD.
It took a while, but soon enough we
were rolling again. I remember riding behind a guy that was
telling someone else about how those dot com zillionaires like to
zoom around the park in their incredibly fast cars. The tone was
something like "this accident would have happened sooner or later.
I wish those guys would get a clue."
It was a remarkably polite group of
riders. We stopped for every red light. We even broke into groups
to go through stop signs without making cars wait too much. After
half an hour or so of pedaling we reached the other site. At this
one the family and friends of Kate were already there, a couple of
dozen people on the sidewalk around the ghost bike. We joined the
Again, people were taking turns
paying respects, but there were many that were teary eyed. Somehow
it was catching. I found tears welling up in my own eyes. So sad
for such a beautiful young woman to be done in by a car while
commuting on her bicycle.
Please be careful out there. Too
many of us have died already.