CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Twenty-one bicyclists rode from Honolulu Hale to University Avenue and back yesterday afternoon for the "Ride of Silence," held to draw attention to bicycle accidents and fatalities. The ride also honored bicyclist David Wayne Aldridge II, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident early Tuesday while riding his bike in Wahiawa. Bicyclists Steve Tataii and Michael Kimmit checked for traffic while leaving Honolulu Hale.
‘Ride of Silence’
Bicyclists take to the streets to raise awareness of safety and memorialize an 18-year-old rider killed on Tuesday
Twenty-one bicyclists cycled from City Hall to University Avenue and back yesterday afternoon to remember 18-year-old bicyclist David Wayne Aldridge II, who was fatally struck early Tuesday by a hit-and-run driver.
"That's so sad," said participant Mary Webster, 64. "The fellow was so young. I can't imagine (the driver) leaving the site when they hit the bicyclist.
"It's really scary on the streets," said Webster, who has opted to bike instead of drive unless she is carpooling. "We hardly have any place on the street."
She urged city and state officials to create more bike paths.
Aldridge was riding home from work at Burger King at Schofield Barracks at 1:43 a.m. Tuesday to his home at Helemano Military Reservation when he was hit by a red truck on Kamehameha Highway in front of Dole Plantation near Wahiawa.
Less than three hours later at 4:30 a.m., another bicyclist was critically injured after being hit by a vehicle on Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach.
Yesterday's silent ride organized by the Hawaii Bicycling League was also to draw attention to other bicycle accidents and fatalities. Honolulu police reported two fatal bicycle accidents this year as of yesterday, compared with two in all of 2007.
The participants in the silent ride were a mix of beginners, commuters and recreational and competitive bicyclists.
Eddie Cox, 45, who commutes to work from Kapolei to the airport on his bike, said, "I say my prayers every time."
"People are going 55 to 60 mph, and people don't expect a cyclist out at night," he said about the site of Tuesday's crash.
Gregory Pang, 54, said, "It's pretty dark out there, and people are flying through there at that time. There's a big shoulder, but all it takes is someone to drift over, a little inattention, not expecting to see anybody out there at that time of night."
With skyrocketing gas prices, many motorists have opted to ride bikes to work.
Glenn Gamponia, manager at the Bike Shop in Honolulu, said the store has seen a 30 percent jump in sales from last year, and most customers say "the biggest thing is the gas prices," prompting many to forsake their cars and $100 weekly gasoline fix.
He urged cyclists to wear reflective vests and use a flashing white light in the front and a red rear reflector.
Cyclist Harry Partika, 55, said, "A lot of people who don't ride say they don't think it's safe to be on the road." He said a quick fix would be to block off lanes to create bike lanes during rush hour traffic to promote safe bike commutes.