Silent ride a memorial to cyclists who were injured or killed by cars
by Lindsay Field
May 06, 2013 12:16 AM | 2589 views | 8 8 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dave Matthews of Decatur prepares two ghost bikes he made in honor Lawrence Joseph Young and Joseph Gathambiri, who were struck and killed by drivers this year. He hopes to display the bikes following the fourth annual Ride of Silence on May 15 in Marietta.
Dave Matthews of Decatur prepares two ghost bikes he made in honor Lawrence Joseph Young and Joseph Gathambiri, who were struck and killed by drivers this year. He hopes to display the bikes following the fourth annual Ride of Silence on May 15 in Marietta.
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This year’s Ride of Silence, which annually honors bicyclists who were injured or killed in accidents involving cars, will take place to remember two riders who recently died in Marietta.

Event coordinator Celeste Burr, an avid rider for 10 years, held the first Ride of Silence four years ago in honor of a friend’s brother who was paralyzed after being hit by a car in Washington.

“The Ride of Silence is a great way for people to come together and support each other and we often have people show up who have been hit or know someone who was hit and either survived or died,” she said.

“We also need to bring awareness to the fact that cyclists and motorists need to learn to share the road.”

This year’s eight-mile ride will be Wednesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. Riders of all ages will gather in the parking deck at 191 Lawrence St. near downtown Marietta at about 6:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.

“We ride with the slowest participant … no faster than 12 miles per hour,” Burr said. “No words are spoken. It’s very solemn, a very somber processional.”

Before the ride starts, participants will have the opportunity to say who they are riding for, and many wear red armbands in honor of someone who survived an accident or black armbands in memory of someone who was killed.

The route will stay within the city limits, be escorted by Marietta Police and travel past the accident scene off South Marietta Parkway where 25-year-old Joseph Gathambiri was hit last month by a man police believe was drunk.

Ghost bikes have been made in honor of Gathambiri and 55-year-old Lawrence Joseph Young, who was hit and killed along Powder Springs Street in March.

“The accident involving Joseph (Gathambiri) really struck home because it was right around the corner from where I live now and a route I’d take on my way to work,” Burr said.

Decatur resident Dave Matthews made the two ghost bikes.

“They are totally white bikes that are usually donated by some of the Bike Friendly Atlanta followers,” he said.

Matthews stripped down the bikes, removed the cables, breaks and chains, and cleaned and painted them all white with “Rest In Peace” signs.

He has been making ghost bikes for about a year now. The first one he made was in honor of Paul Taylor, who was hit and killed April 30, 2012. Taylor’s ghost bike is the one that Matthews was hit on.

Burr said they won’t be able to place Gathambiri’s bike in the location where he was killed because it’s located on a state road, but they are hoping to set up Young’s after the ride.

One Marietta man who will be riding for the first time this year is 30-year-old Derek Caffe.

“I am really excited to be part of the silent ride, to get out there and show my support,” he said.

Caffe, a health and wellness coach, began riding about two years ago to stay in shape and promote environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

He is also participating in the Ride of Silence to further encourage a mission with his profession.

“It was all about participating in activities that promote a culture of wellness and health,” he said. “I wanted to be involved in all sorts of activities to do that.”

Rider Jean Lindstedt of Mableton has participated in the last three rides in honor of Carrie Kane, a former fellow co-teacher at Sky View Elementary School.

“She was hit two years ago riding her bike on the way to school,” Lindstedt said. “It was a hit and run. … She did have injuries but did survive and is okay now.”

The 20-year bicyclist said she continues to participate in the Ride of Silence to show support for others who have lost their lives in accidents as well.

“It’s just a very neat ride because it’s silent and your thoughts are with them and their families,” she said. “It’s my hope that I can do anything to help drivers be able to share the road with bikers.”
Comments
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MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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May 07, 2013
I was taught that "With equality comes responsibility." To date, I have yet to witness anyone on a bicycle who rode with even a small measure of personal responsibility. Plainly speaking, I would love to disobey (while driving my car) the basic "Rules of The Road" as often as those riding bicycles! And they wonder why no one takes them seriously.
anonymous
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May 06, 2013
When you enact driving laws to address some of these issues, I may consider what you are saying. Bicycle riders do not require a driver's license to be on public roads. Trust me, my car rammed into one long ago and it was in no way my fault. If a vehicle I am sharing the road with does not require a driver's license, to me it has absolutely no business whatsoever in any way sharing the road with me. Ignorant.

Cycling Advocate
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May 06, 2013
No, what is ignorant are your statements. You are essentially saying you have the right to disregard a person on a bicycle if they get in the way of your convenience. Well, here's a news flash. There ARE laws enacted to promote the safety of EVERYONE. Cyclists AND motorists SHARE responsibilities of the road. In the event a cyclist is at fault, the motorist is not charged. However, this whole cause is aimed at those cyclists who are conforming to the rules of the road. Here's a handy-dandy guide for you. http://www.dot.ga.gov/travelingingeorgia/bikepedestrian/Documents/motorists_cyclists_sharing.pdf
anonymous
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May 06, 2013
This is the most does not make sense thing I ever encountered. If I drive a Cooper on the same highway as F150s, I know the risk I am taking. I drive a Mirage. I know what a full-blown SUV can do to my Mirage. If you want to risk yourself to riding a bike or a motorcycle on major roads and highways, you know the risk you take when you do that. This is akin to me of pilots of two-seaters asking why they were blown out of the sky by a jet. People who are attending and support this parade, there are no laws you can get enacted that will ever make it safe to drive a 10 pound 10 mile an hour self propelled vehicle with no air bags, no outside cover, etc. safe to be on the road with 2 ton and more vehicles. Give it up to sanity and let it rest that bikes and motorcycles are dangerous to all on major highways. I find it very distracting to be in proximity while driving a car to bikes and motorcyles. You cannot change that. It is just plain dangerous to all to drive major roads. Have all the rallys you want. You cannot change the danger. WE DON'T LIVE IN AMISH COUNTRY. It is insane to blame society at large for these deaths. It is sane to blame people that don't have common sense to not drive on motor driven thoroughfares, ignoring common sense and having parades about the senseless deaths that occurred.
BFA
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May 06, 2013
Thanks for being so compassionate and caring ANONYMOUS. I guess hiding your identity makes you feel important. I guess if I drive a tank then it's your fault if I accidentally run you over? Just help everyone to enjoy life and drive responsibly, that's all we ask.
anonymous
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May 06, 2013
Agree with the previous two posters to a degree. The problem I see with cyclists on the road is that they DON'T follow the rules of the road and end up putting THEMSELVES into risky situations. I live in midtown, and have to always be on the lookout for cyclists that don't stop at stop signs or red lights, that weave through stopped cars at said signs and lights, and don't have lights on at night. I have no problem sharing the road when driving my car, but the cyclists need to return the favor and respect drivers to the same degree they wish it to be returned.
Cycling Advocate
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May 06, 2013
Okay, so going by your logic, your Mirage doesn't deserve the same regard for safety as a larger vehicle. I mean, why drive your Mirage on a major highway when it doesn't stand a chance in a crash? For that matter, we should all get the largest, gas-guzzling, earth-destroying vehicles, because there's no reason to consider the fact that I'm not the only person using the roads. That's how your argument comes across. By the way, there's no need to get laws enacted. They are already in place. They are just violated by people who think they don't have to share the road. http://www.dot.ga.gov/travelingingeorgia/bikepedestrian/Documents/motorists_cyclists_sharing.pdf
Readmopaper
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May 07, 2013
I have a car and a pickup truck and a very fast motorcycle, and I have a bicycle that will go as fast as I can pedal it. Each of these things has unique abilities, but I recognize the bicycle is by far the least safe vehicle I own. That is foremost in my mind any time I ride it. No matter which of these things I take into the street I assume responsibility for my own safety. Too many people see bicycling on roads as some kind of special entitlement, expecting that all the drivers who are ACTUALLY TRYING TO GET SOMEWHERE should alter their behavior to somehow make bicycling safe. Faulty thinking.
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