Chicago ‘Ride of Silence’ highlights the dangers cyclists face on the city’s roads

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CHICAGO (WLS) — Cycling activists have consistently spoken out against the dangers of riding bicycles on the streets of Chicago. Despite hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes running through the city, cyclists say they are still exposed.

In single file, they set off in silence.

“We are riding in silent tribute to these victims and their loved ones,” said Elizabeth Adamczyk. “That silence is a universal language. It shows respect. It shows we’re not here to raise conflict – we’re here to live our lives while trying to move on.”

Despite hundreds of miles of dedicated bike lanes running through the city, cyclists say they are still exposed.

“Any bike lane you go down more than a few blocks, you’re going to see some sort of vehicle parked or stopped…the only way to stop a car from doing that is specifically something that stops it to do it,” said cyclist Trevor Hess.

“We really want concrete protected bike paths that are maintained,” Adamczyk added.

City data shows more than 1,600 cyclists were involved in crashes in 2021. At least three Chicago cyclists have been killed so far in 2022.

At least three Chicago cyclists have been killed so far this year.

Police say a driver never stopped after running over Nick Parlingayan while cycling along the North Milwaukee stretch near Kilbourn on May 4.

Paresh Chhatrala died after police said a young woman ran over the cyclist on a Saturday evening in April, dragging Chhatrala’s bike under her car as she tried to drive away.

And also in April, relatives of Gerardo Marciales planted a ghost bike near Balbo where he was killed while cycling across DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February.

Ghost bikes throughout the city are grim reminders of the dangers of what cyclists have said is a sustainable and safe way to get around Chicago or elsewhere.

“I’m a sign that there’s life here. Share the road, slow down,” said CDOT safe ambassador Shameka Turner. “If everyone does their part and follows the rules of the road, we could all still be alive.”

Cyclists in the suburbs and across the country are pedaling en masse Wednesday night to raise awareness of the dangers of what cyclists say is a sustainable and SAFE way to get around.

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