The Annual ‘Ride of Silence’ Should Not Be Segregated

Background Reading


Welborn Adams (right) during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march (Twitter)

Welborn Adams (right) during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march (Twitter)


The article begins:

South Carolina mayor has met strong opposition as he tries to desegregate a memorial honoring fallen troops who fought in World War I and II.

Segregation is alive and well in the Urban Cycling Movement. Like the mayor of a South Carolina town we have a segregation problem that is sometimes unrecognized for what it is. We treat motorists and pedestrians who die on our streets as ‘unworthy‘ to be memorialized during our Ride of Silence. In fact ‘ghost bikes‘ are reserved only for one of our own. The ‘others‘ are not welcomed to our memorialization events. Not even when it is one of us who is doing the killing. That is essentially what has happened in the two murders of pedestrians by cyclists in Central Park, NYC.

I doubt seriously that the two pedestrians who died in California a few years ago ever were recognized either. And when they die at the hands of a cyclist that is all the more reason to make certain that we honor their memory.

We are in essence perpetuating ‘segregation‘ of the type practiced for many decades in the Old South. But today we are doing this not based on racial characteristics, but choice of ‘transportation modality‘. Does that make it any less egregious? I really do not think so.

We give lip service as did our Founding Fathers to the notion that ‘all men are created equal‘. We even sanctify our efforts to promote ‘bicycle lanes‘ by proclaiming that we are doing this in the name of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike.

But whose deaths do we memorialize? Only those of cyclists.

That is as bigoted as anything written into South Carolina state law regarding the honoring of those who lost their lives in wartime. And it is especially disappointing that we do not honor those who we manage to murder. How do we live with ourselves?