Ride of Silence to honor cyclists injured or killed by motorists
The death of acclaimed architect Helmut Jahn in a bicycle crash in Campton Hills Saturday has renewed the discussion about bicycle safety.
Jahn, who designed the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, was killed on May 8 after he failed to stop at a stop sign at Burlington and Old Lafox roads and was hit by two vehicles going in opposite directions, according to the Campton Hills Police Department.
The crash occurred at approximately 3:29 p.m. and Jahn was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 81.
He and his wife, Deborah Jahn, own Seven Oaks Farm near St. Charles, which trains and breeds horses.
On May 19, the Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club will participate in the international Ride of Silence to honor bicyclists killed/injured by motorists, promote sharing the road and provide awareness of bicycling safety.
The event was in the works before Jahn's crash. The ride is held during National Bike Month and in combination with the League of American Bicyclists and Ride Illinois.
Those participating in the ride will meet at 6 p.m. May 19 at the Kane County Government Center, 719 Batavia Ave., Geneva for a ceremony that will pay tribute to those bicyclists injured or killed in crashes. At 6:30 p.m., cyclists will ride in a silent, solemn, single-file procession through Geneva and St. Charles.
Cyclists who have lost loved ones in accidents will wear a black armband and cyclists who have been hit by vehicles will wear a red armband. This is the first year the Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club will participate in the Ride of Silence.
"We started making plans around February or March," Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club President Carrie Halle said. "Then the tragic event happened last weekend, so suddenly the event has gotten a lot more attention."
It is not known why Jahn did not stop at the intersection. Halle said the Ride of Silence is "really all about just trying to raise awareness of cyclists on the road."
"Be aware that cyclists are out there and that cyclists have the rights to be on the road," Halle said. "It's not pointing blame. As bicyclists, we've all encountered issues with motorists. For example, some motorists think that bikes are not allowed on streets, that they should be riding on sidewalks or only on trails, but that's incorrect. Bicycles have the same rights to be on the roads as motor vehicles do."
She noted that when passing a bicyclist, a motorist is supposed to provide a three-foot clearance around the cyclist.
"You are supposed to give the cyclist some room," Halle said. "A lot of motorists don't know that and come a little too close and it just becomes a dangerous situation."
But she noted that safety is a two-way street.
"Cyclists need to obey all the rules of the road, including stopping at red lights and stop signs and signaling, all of those things too," Halle said. "Awareness is a responsibility for both parties, both the motorist and the cyclist."
Those who would like to participate in the Ride of Silence should register at Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club's website at fvbsc.org.