Another preventable tragedy: It's time to act.

Dear members and friends,Ride in Peace Rick

As many of you know, one week ago, we lost a member of our community. While riding home through the Back Bay, Rick Archer, 29, was struck by a car recklessly speeding down Comm Ave.  From all accounts, Rick was a thoughtful, creative, caring person whose early departure has left a large hole with his family and friends and the courier community in Boston.  The entire community feels this loss – yet another preventable death in Boston.

On Friday, friends of Rick’s called a meeting and invited others from the bike community to gather to talk about how to take this tragic loss and turn it into something productive.  As an activist and advocate himself, and someone whose identity was closely tied to biking, those close to him felt that advocacy for making our streets safer for biking was what Rick would have wanted us all to do in his memory.

The outcome is an action this week that we invite you all to participate ina ghost bike ceremony on Wednesday May 10th, followed by a mass ride over to City Hall to join the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) Budget hearing.

The annual budget hearings are significant because the City Council will be analyzing the FY18 budgets that the departments and Mayor have proposed, asking questions, and trying to figure out if it is enough funding to accomplish what needs to be done to achieve vision zero and make our streets safer for biking and walking.  It is not, and we have been saying this for months.  The budget hearing on Wednesday is a place for all of us to make a statement loud and clear, to Mayor Walsh and the City Council, that he is not doing enough to change our streets and make them safer for people to bike and walk.  The Mayor is not backing his vocalized commitment to Vision Zero with action, and we invite you ALL to join us in delivering this message on Wednesday.

We, and the City, know that speeding is rampant in the Back Bay.  There was a drag racing incident on Beacon Street in the Back Bay just over a year ago, in March of 2016, where one of the racing cars mounted the sidewalk, hit a tree, a fence and a person on the sidewalk and the car’s operator got in another car and drove away. Two people were also hit and killed while walking along the sidewalk on Beacon Street as a result of a crash involving a speeding vehicle, in June of 2014. While reckless driving is an individual choice made by the drivers in these cases, the way the streets in the Back Bay are designed contribute to these crashes by allowing reckless drivers to reach speeds that are double, or even triple the posted speed limit.

Changing these streets requires commitment, financially and politically, from the City and Mayor Walsh. We need to make it clear that his constituents want these changes to be made now.

The ghost bike ceremony will take place on Wednesday at Comm Ave and Clarendon from about 5:30-6:30pm and then we’ll all ride over to City Hall together. We’ll arrive in the middle of the hearing, by about 7pm, though the hearing will have started at 6pm. Anyone is welcome to simply go straight to City Hall for the hearing at or after 6pm as well.

Here is an important detail about our late arrival to the hearing: our entrance and disruption won’t be a loud one.  Having a silent and somber interruption and flooding the room with hundreds of people will be the disruption itself.  We invite you to wear black as a demonstration of mourning.

We shouldn’t have to wait for people to die to see changes made to our streets, but I have hope that our actions on Wednesday will push the City and the Mayor to take action. Please join us on Wednesday to call on Boston’s leadership to make the investment necessary to achieve Vision Zero.

In solidarity,
Becca Wolfson
Executive Director

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