On November 6th, a Chicago cyclist was killed after she was run over by a driver of a commercial dump truck. The cyclist had the right away and was biking in a poorly maintained painted bike lane. This was the second cyclist killed in the Old Irving Park neighborhood in a week. Vincent Tran died on October 28th a week after a driver hit him and fled the scene. Police quickly and publicly suspended the search for that driver.
After hearing the news of yet a second cyclist killed within a week, we assembled a people protected bike lane to draw attention to these preventable deaths. While the name of the cyclist killed that morning had not yet been released, cyclists came out to show our solidarity for the victim and her loved ones. We stood quietly in the cold that night, side by side with fellow cyclists and pedestrians. All of us recognized what happened to the unnamed cyclist could have easily happened to us instead. I personally stood next to a 15 year old who witnessed the aftermath of the crash.
The cyclist was identified the next day as Carla Aiello, a mother of 2 young children. Carla's family and student's have reached out with messages to the Bike Lane Uprising community:
A message from Carla's family: "Things like that restore my faith in humanity. Amazing to see people coming together for Carla. To see the support you provided makes me want to help prevent anyone else from this type of heartbreak."
A message from Carla's students: "Carla helped hundreds of students at Sturgis Charter School to fulfill their academic potential by guiding them into and beyond the high school experience. Her valuable input shaped students' choices while encouraging them to follow their own passions. Her loss is felt deeply by every community that knew her, but so is the dedication from these communities to honor her. Thank you to Bike Lane Uprising and cyclists in Chicago for being one of those communities."
The night of the vigil I returned home to find an email from the mother of Virginia Murray. She had watched the vigil on the news and felt the need to reach out. Virginia, better known as Ginny was killed in a similar right-hook crash involving a driver of a commercial truck. She was killed in 2016 just two weeks after I was almost run over in a similar incident. She was the first share bike rider to be killed and her death is a key reason why Bike Lane Uprising exists. I've always recognized I could have been her.
A message from Virginia Murray's mother: "My daughter Virginia Murray died on July 1 2016 at Sacramento and Belmont. I am finally ready to help to educate and support her passion. Please let me know what opportunities there are to help those who have lost a loved one and educate drivers in Chicago. I so truly want to keep my daughter's voice alive along with all the other bikers to make a change. I know change is a slow process. But alas it is needed. Grief is a life long journey. With all my heart Thank you"
I would also like to personally thank everyone who showed their support that night. Thank you to the media who helped raise awareness that cyclists are still out and that we bike year round. The media attention not only raised awareness, but it also helped push the police to re-open the case of Vincent Tran the next morning. Special thank you to the reporters of the Chicago Sun Times for being the extra nudge needed. The police have since released a photo of the car involved in the hit and run. Please help us identify the owner of that vehicle.
Related press on this topic:
11/20/2019 - Curbed Chicago
11/19/2019 - Block Club Chicago
11/7/2019 - Block Club Chicago
11/7/2019 - Sun-Times
11/7/2019 - Streetsblog Chicago
11/6/2019 - Univision
11/6/2019 - Telemundo
11/6/2019 - NBC
11/6/2019 - ABC
11/6/2019 - WGN
11/6/2019 - Illinois Bicycle Lawyers
11/6/2018 - Chicago Tribune
11/6/2019 - Block Club Chicago