The past year has been tough for people in Chicago who ride bikes. 2021 has seen ten bicycle deaths in our city, the most in a decade. The rise in bicycle fatalities was likely due in part to increased cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as increased speeding by drivers during the crisis.
And tragically, 2022 has already seen reckless riders kill three young men on bikes: technical consulting engineer Gerardo Marciales, 41, on February 28, in the Loop; software engineer Paresh Chhatrala, 42, April 26 in the West Loop; and barista Nick Paringayan, 22, at Irving Park. See a full list of people fatally struck on bicycles in Chicago over the past year at the end of this article.
The 20th edition Chicago Tower of Silence, next Wednesday, May 18, meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. in Chicago, is a time to mourn and reflect on those losses. This is part of a global movement to honor those killed and injured on bicycles and demand legislative and infrastructure changes to keep cyclists safe.
The 7.2-mile ride will begin at the Thompson Center and visit the sites of three recent downtown bicycle fatalities, including the locations where Marciales and Chhatrala were struck and killed, as well as the site where the motorist was mortally struck the cyclist and the graphic designer. Adé Hogue, 32, on October 27, 2021 in the Near North Side. The event will also commemorate Thompson Center architect Helmut Jahn, 81, who died in a bicycle accident on May 8, 2021 in the western suburb of Compton Hills.
“The Ride of Silence honors victims everywhere in such a powerful way – in a silent memorial,” said longtime Chicago organizer Elizabeth Adamczyk. “It’s a universal way to respect our fallen riders and their family/friends. In our silent procession, we commemorate the victims while drawing attention to the rights of people to ride their bikes safely on our tracks We also emphasize and advocate the importance of safer pavement design.”
Chicago Tower of Silence
Meeting at 5:30 p.m., departure at 6 p.m.
Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago
End point: Emerald Loop Tavern, 216 N. Wabash St.
People of all ages are welcome and no pre-registration is necessary. The ride will proceed at approximately 8 mph, and attendees are encouraged to maintain contemplative silence during the event. Along with the Active Transportation Alliance and FK Law, this year Streetsblog Chicago is an event sponsor and helped create the route map below, also available as a Google map.
Streetsblog reached out to many of Chicago’s sustainable transportation advocacy organizations to get their thoughts on the importance of the Ride of Silence. Here are their statements.
Active Transportation Alliance
“Active Transportation Alliance is honored to sponsor the Chicago Ride of Silence and Streetsblog Chicago on this ride. This year and every year, the ride is an opportunity for all of us to reflect and remember our friends and neighbors that we have lost in preventable road accidents. The increase in traffic accidents and deaths that we have seen during the pandemic is tragic and unacceptable. City and state officials must do more to redesign our streets for safety and build high-quality cycling infrastructure — especially a citywide network of connected and protected bike lanes. The current approach to patchwork with paint and plastic is clearly not working.
Best Streets in Chicago
“It is so important for us to take the time to remember and mourn those we have lost to road violence. More than just titles, they are people. Our neighbors, friends, family – lives cut short because of the failures of our city and our state. We are grateful to those who organized the Ride of Silence and hope this will be a time when we can come together to not only remember, but to further unite our community in demanding the safe streets we know we deserve.
“Equity supports the upcoming Ride of Silence, as well as all efforts to reduce road violence in an equitable and racially just way. In Chicago, as in many cities across the United States, black and brown are disproportionately affected by road violence.This deadly inequity is further compounded by other serious racial inequalities, such as police enforcement, unemployment, poverty, interpersonal violence and disinvestment. supported in our neighborhoods.Two critically important remedies for transportation inequities are: 1) comprehensive re-engineering of our streets that reflect our history, culture and needs, and 2) investment in the social infrastructure of community bike rides, neighborhood walking tours, public transit excursions, group scooter rollers and street festivals open to the Ciclovia, helping to social ize people around the act of mobility.
Metropolitan Planning Council
“The Ride of Silence honors cyclists who have paid the ultimate price for a transport system that does not prioritize vulnerable users over cars. This event is important to continue raising awareness of the serious transport safety issues facing cyclists are faced with on a daily basis and which must be urgently resolved.The loss of the life of each cyclist is all the more tragic because that person chose to move around the city in an environmentally friendly, healthy, space-saving and safe for others It’s good for our city to have more people riding bikes, but we need to make sure they’re safe while doing so.
Ride in Illinois
“Available accident data and heartbreaking news have highlighted the reality that accidents and fatalities on Illinois roads continue to rise. While it does not solve the problem, the annual Ride of Silence is a dark and meaningful occasion to honor those who have injured or killed while riding bicycles on public roads.The event raises awareness of the profound impact that road violence has on individuals, families and entire communities. Illinois communities are hosting Rides of Silence in 2022 and we encourage Streetsblog readers to participate in order to make a silent statement to those they ride…in silence.
Shared use mobility center
“The Ride of Silence is a heartbreaking experience. Many of the lost riders are so young. They have nicknames. Their friends and families remember them with stories, even as the plastic flowers wither over the years. and may the bent white tires rot. In memory of them, DO SOMETHING to stop the carnage. Law! Build protected bike paths so the souls who help protect our planet can be safe and stay in the warm embrace loved ones rather than being remembered through a veil of tears. Joining the Ride of Silence is a step in the right direction.
People killed on bikes in Chicago last year.
- Kevin Clark, 32, on May 26, 2021 in Logan Square
- Thomas Travers, 59, July 24, 2021 at Jefferson Park
- George Sawicki, 70, on August 17, 2021 in South Loop
- Jason Hardt, 48, on September 12, 2021 in North Lawndale
- Adé Hogue, 32, on October 27, 2021 on the Near North Side
- Robert Earl Moore, 59, November 15, 2021 in Back of the Yards
- Jose Velásquez, December 16, 10, 2021 at Back of the Yards
- Gerardo Marciales, 41, February 28, 2022 in the Loop
- Paresh Chhatrala, 42, on April 26, 2022 in West Loop
- Nick Parlingayan, 22, on May 4, 2022 at Irving Park