Trans Alt holds bike ride to raise cyclist safety awareness

Giovanni Nin’s family, friends and Transportation Alternatives members gathered around the Ghost Bike on East Tremont Avenue before the annual memorial bike ride.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

For the third year in a row, Transportation Alternatives took a ride to promote cyclist safety and awareness on Tuesday, July 10.

Called the ‘Third Annual Bronx Memorial Ride,’ cyclists from around the borough came to East Tremont and Mayflower avenues and venerated a memorial to slain bike rider Giovanni Nin before pedaling away.

Nin was killed in March of 2017, during hit and run while riding his bike across the street near that corner.

“When I first saw this incident on the news they kept calling it an ‘accident,’ but this wasn’t an accident, this was a crash. That’s something that made me realize why we need to raise awareness for biker safety,” said chairman of Transportation Alternative Bronx Activist Committee Kevin Daloia.

The cyclists went all the way to Webster Avenue, to honor the memorial of another individual that was killed while bike riding.

“The purpose of all of this is to remind people that bikers share the road, we are entitled to proper safety as well. A ride like this to places that proper safety wasn’t exhibited is an awareness tool,” Daloia added.

This year’s ride provided a good turnout; pedestrians cheered the cyclists on as they passed through Morris Park Avenue.

Sharron Behnke has been cycling all of her life. She even brought her bike on a trip to France, enjoying a casual ride from Paris to Nice. Benkhe came out to show her support of cyclist safety.

“I’m a huge advocate for making cycling safer, there’s too many people getting killed on bikes,” Behnke said.

She also mentioned how her efforts to get her own friends into biking are futile because they’re too concerned about traffic-related safety.

After Nin’s death, the NYC Department of Transportation implemented its traffic-slowing road diet plan, which had been pitched since 2015, from Waterbury Avenue to Bruckner Boulevard to narrow a portion of East Tremont Avenue, a stretch which includes the spot where Nin was hit.

A similar road diet was proposed for Morris Park Avenue last February as well, but it was met with nearly unanimous opposition at a Community Board 11 meeting. Only Daloia and one other person spoke for the proposal.

“(The vote) was 37-2, I counted,” Daloia said.

What he and other cyclists also counted was 50 double-parked cars on the road during the memorial ride.

“I think the issue is more about double parking and not about the bike lane,” Behnke said.

During that February meeting, both CB11 and the DOT representatives were in strong agreement that the issue of double parking can only be solved through law enforcement rather than road modifications.

Dalioa has been advocating for road diets through many elected officials as well as community boards.

“They know me as Kevin with the helmet, because I always go in my cyclist gear to meetings,” Daloia said.

“Diets make roads safer for bicyclists. I’ve heard the criticism that not many people bike on those roads, but if you build it they will come,” he said.

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