Ghost bike

Cyclist Frank Geilen uses white spray paint to create a "ghost bike" adorned with flowers and a photo as a memorial to Neill Townsend. (Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune / October 19, 2012)

Chicago's annual Ride of Silence for cyclists who have been struck and killed by motorists will pass two new ghost bikes when it hits the road Wednesday evening.

Ghost bicycles are painted white, adorned with flowers, and permanently affixed to fences or poles near the sites where the honored cyclists died. This year there are two new memorials. One is for Bobby Cann, who was hit last May near the corner of Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street; the other is for Hector Avilos, who was fatally struck by a truck in the 2500 block of West Ogden Avenue.

The Ride of Silence is part of a network of rides that take place each year around the country to raise awareness about cyclists killed by cars in accidents that police sometimes suspect involve drunk driving.

Chicago's ride, organized by Elizabeth Adamczyk, 35, of West Lakeview, will convene at Daley Plaza at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday. From there, riders will ride together in silence to five ghost bikes, starting with Avilos'.

The tour will also stop by the ghost bike memorializing Patrick Stack, who was struck near the intersection of Orleans Street and Huron Street; the ghost bike for Clinton Miceli, who was doored near the intersection of LaSalle Street and Oak Street; and the ghost bike for Neill Townsend, who was struck near the intersection of Oak Street and Wells Street. It will end with Cann's ghost bike.

Adamczyk, who founded Chicago's chapter of the Ride of Silence in 2005, said she has had "way too many close calls" with cars while commuting by bicycle, and wants the ride to make people on the road think more about safety.

"Any one death is one death too many for the cycling community, especially now that Chicago is forging ahead to be a more bike-friendly city and we've got the Divvy bikes out there," she said. "We all need to practice the best ways for sharing the roads in a safe manner."

 

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