As previously mentioned, the 6th annual Memorial Ride and Walk took place yesterday at locations throughout NYC where cyclists and pedestrians were killed last year. Here are some more photos from the memorial, including a couple of shots sent by a woman who was friends with Bob Bowen, the Hofstra professor and jazz bassist who was run over by a flatbed truck at Second Avenue and 59th Street. Brina Bishop tells us:
We met up at Bob Bowen's site on 58th and 2nd ave. He was killed on his way to me late on the night of August 26th. There was a woman there today who had survived a terrible bike accident, but who goes to the memorial sites in support of road safety. There was also a radiologist tech who had been working the night Bob was brought in. I was so deeply touched by this ritual.
I included the text of the poem posted below the sign. Bob had written it a year earlier in honor of his uncle Paul's death. To me, it seems like he was reaching ahead in time to those who mourn him now.
(We've included the poem below.) Cyclist and photographer Dmitry Gudkov also participated; he writes, "I joined the north Brooklyn ride, which stopped at street memorials for Diego Rodriguez, Timothy (TJ) Campbell, and Jake McDonough. That third stop was especially sobering, as Jake’s family and friends were in attendance. He was 19 when he was struck by a driver trying to pass a slower car on a city street... It was a solemn procession, as it had to be—but it was heartening to see cyclists of many ages and styles come out for the event—the kind that we all hope will not have to be repeated."
The DOT says 151 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed in 2010; in 2009, 156 pedestrians and 12 bicyclists were killed on NYC streets. And so far this year, two bicyclists have been killed. According a statement from the Street Memorial Project, participants in yesterday's memorial called upon the city take stronger measures to reduce traffic fatalities citywide, through necessary improvements to street design, enforcement and education to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.
"Brooklyn has emerged as a hotspot in the bicycling renaissance, and is the location of more Ghost Bikes this year than any other borough,” said Leah Todd, a volunteer with the New York City Street Memorial Project. “While public officials here have been slow to endorse safety measures, like amenities to support the wave of new bicyclists or public education campaigns for the most dangerous drivers, we hope this ride and these memorials will draw attention to the costs of ignoring the need for safer streets."
Streetfilms put together this video documenting yesterday's memorial:
And here's Bob Bowen's poem:
Astoria, drip-dry grey days
Smothering solitude of desperate
Deafening dimensions …
Thoughts spilled from the plate
Options a la carte …
Heavy rhythms slowly grinding
Down, fits and starts …
“Time to go” - There is no
Chronology for this curtain call.
Pooled together at the very
Edge of this event horizon
We sit, stand, lie, laugh and cry
Sing and play …
There is no more time after this
The air is thick with the
Lacuna, ripped from the very
Fabric of so many hearts
Only the smallest, simplest things
Can keep us - take them one by one
To refasten ourselves back to the
Belts of being.