David Ortiz Memorial Ride this Wednesday 4/4 at 4pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
San Diego, CA- Local San Diego cyclists are organizing an advocacy ride in memory of David Ortiz, a local cyclist who was killed while lawfully riding his bike on his way to work last week.
The death of David Ortiz highlights the quintessential problems faced by San Diego cyclists on a daily basis: inattentive drivers, poorly designed roadway infrastructure, and a societal mindset that cyclists always ride recklessly.
Contrary to initial information provided by the San Diego Police Department, Mr. Ortiz was riding in the same direction of traffic, was properly positioned on the roadway, was wearing a helmet, and one of the motorists appears to have fled the scene prior to police arrival.
The ride will take place Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 4pm. The ride will begin at the fountain in Balboa Park and conclude at 202 C Street. in front of the City Administration Building. At the conclusion of the ride, cyclists will lay down on the ground with their bikes to represent the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians struck by motor vehicles every year in San Diego.
The latest statistics from San Diego County’s health and human services agency and emergency medical services indicate that 997 cyclists were either killed or injured while riding their bikes and 1,054 pedestrians were either killed or injured while walking the streets of San Diego in 2009. These numbers are quite high compared to other cities around the world. Paris, France, for example, did not have a single cycling death in the year 2011.
San Diegans deserve significantly better bicycle infrastructure. Too often cyclists are left to ride in narrow, poorly designed bike lanes filled with debris, potholes, and other hazards. A police department that lacks both the will and the resources to make traffic enforcement a stronger priority further complicates these issues. Those who choose to commute to work or school by bicycle should not have to risk their life for their commitment to healthy lives, a sustainable city, and a more livable urban environment.
Today America faces a significant number of issues: an obesity epidemic, a clean air problem, increasing deaths from motor vehicle collisions, crumbling roadway infrastructure, a diabetes epidemic, dependence on foreign oil, and climate change. All of these issues can be seriously mitigated by a stronger commitment to safer bicycle infrastructure in San Diego and other US cities.
We are calling on the city to immediately adopt guidelines developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). These progressive bicycle infrastructure designs strongly contribute to both perceived and actual safety for the cyclists using them.
It is our hope that publicity about this event will remind motorists that cyclists are your neighbors, co-workers, doctors, teachers, firefighters, programmers, and dentists. Most importantly, cyclists are humans, not an object on two-wheels.
For more information contact:
For more on the story, read Ted Roger’s post on this.
UPDATE (4/3/2012): Michael H. Ortiz, David Ortiz’s brother, will be flying in from NY tomorrow to participate in the David Ortiz Memorial Ride. Michael said the following statement via email to Timur Ender and me,
Hi Timur, I wanted to contact you and Sam Ollinger and tell you know that I really appreciate what you are doing. David was my brother. In many ways, his passing makes me feel helpless, but the event you are organizing makes it so that his passing is not in vain. I live in New York, but I would like to participate in your event.
UPDATE: This is what we want from the City and the SDPD:
1) A public apology from the police department to the victim’s family & the cycling community for jumping to conclusions and immediately blaming the cyclist before fully completing the investigation.2) A stronger commitment (from City) to safer infrastructure and roadway design.3) A stronger commitment from PD to enforce traffic laws that have an adverse impact on cyclists/pedestrians (failure to stop/yield, distracted driving, etc.)4) The City immediately become a NACTO affiliate.