The Ride of Silence is a national day of remembrance “to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured on America’s roadways” and takes place annually on the third Wednesday of May. Coming together for the first in-person Ride of Silence in over two years, Bike Fort Collins accepts the role of leading this poignant event in an effort to remind us of the important work in keeping our streets safe for all vulnerable road users.
This year’s ride met at Wolverine Farm and Publick house on Wednesday, May 18th and followed a 7 mile course through town. The route took solem riders to each of the two bicycle fatality locations where ghost bikes were dedicated for the lives lost. The first crash site took place at the intersection of Vine and Jerome. Here we dedicated a ghost bike to Don E. Lightbody who was killed when he was hit by a truck on June 30, 2021. Flowers, provided by Paul Wood Florist, were presented to Don’s memorial bike where it hangs at the site of the crash. The second ghost bike was installed on N. Shields in honor of 29 year old, Luis Loma, who lost his life while riding his bike on October 8th, 2021. Flowers were presented and heads were bowed in remembrance of this tragic loss.
Local elected officials in attendance included Mayor Arndt, Commissioner John Kefalas, Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally, as well as Officers Brent Cain and Jason Curtis. We are most grateful for their time and participation in the Ride of Silence as it offers an opportunity for important dialogue around needed improvements in street safety and bicycle infrastructure. Sobered by the experience, Commissioner Kefalas immediately followed up on the current status of CR 17 improvements. According to recent communications with the county, bike lanes are slated to be installed along CR 17 between Willox and US 287 by the summer of 2023. At present 12 of the 20 properties in question have granted right-of-way (ROW). Project completion is dependent on successfully securing remaining ROW acquisitions, advertising projects bids, and the completion of canal crossing construction. The lack of shoulder or bike lanes along N. Shields is a very real and present danger for vulnerable road users and the completion of the above project is critical in providing safe access for cyclists traveling along this stretch of road.
The Ride of Silence concluded at Wolverine Farm & Publick House with an open and heartfelt sharing session. This gave participants and elected officials an opportunity to share losses as well as hopes for an even more bicycle friendly and safe future for Fort Collins. Bike Fort Collins will remain steadfast in our efforts to improve the safety of our roads for all vulnerable road users. Many thanks to all who attended.