Jan 08

2013 was a good year for Anchorage. There were no bicycle fatalities. Unfortunately, at the start of 2014, a long-time commuter, Eldridge Griffith, was stuck and killed by a motorist. This tragedy strikes all of us at our core. And serves as a stark and solemn reminder that what BCA is about and what we are striving for in Anchorage are important to everyone in this city. With any tragedy like this, the effects are felt across the community. Family and friends’ lives are changed. Someone dear to them is gone. And no words can really serve to address the pain and loss. For those that don’t know Mr. Griffith, the loss is a tear in the tight fabric that is the Anchorage bicycling community. BCA was created in 2008 with the mission of making Anchorage more bicycle-friendly. Our vision is a city where it is safe, convenient and desirable to go by bike. We know we have a lot of work to do. We also know that much has been accomplished to date. The city is changing, and moving in the right direction. Although, admittedly not at the rate any of us would like to see. BCA will continue, with hearts saddened by this tragic loss, to work to make Anchorage safer for everyone. With this tragedy, BCA takes time to reflect on Anchorage as a bicycle-city. BCA encourages everyone, motorist and bicyclist alike, to drive or bike with attention. Often in circumstances like this, people comment about why bicyclists are even out on the roads. But we are not “cyclists” or “bicyclists.” We are citizens of Anchorage, who choose to go by bike. Many of us are as much “motorists” as we are “bicyclists.” And all of us have friends and family waiting for us to come home, no matter how we get there.  Just as motorists have a home to get to so do bicyclists. So for motorists, please recognize that that person in front of you on a bike isn’t a “cyclist.” They are just another citizen of Anchorage trying to get home, just like you, to see their loved ones, just like you. Those few seconds you may save by driving fast or quickly passing a bicyclist aren’t worth it. Please be patient and share the road. For bicyclists, be attentive, be visible and be predictable.

When a bicyclist is killed, often “ghost bikes” appear to serve as a solemn memorial and to remind everyone to safely share the road. In this instance, at the request of Mr. Griffith’s family, we ask that anyone who had the good intentions of placing a ghost bike at the scene refrain from doing so. The family is appreciative of the thought but it is too much to bear to see this ghostly reminder on a daily basis.

490897A memorial has been scheduled for Sunday, January 12 from 1:00-3:00pm at Kincaid Chalet. It is open to the public. Those that knew Mr. Griffith are welcome to speak.

For the bicycling community, there will be a vigil at 2:00pm at the Chalet. We are asking bicyclists to show up a bit before 2:00pm and line up outside the window overlooking the hill. Have your bike with you and bring a candle and light it t 2:00pm. For 5 minutes we will stand in a line offering a moment of silence. Afterwards, bicyclists are welcome to come into the Chalet and celebrate Eldridge Griffith’s life.

 

With sadness and heavy heart,

Brian Litmans

President

Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage

 

 

 

 

7 Responses to “BCA’s condolences”

  1. [...] that clearing the Cultural Trail of snow in Indianapolis is a duty the city takes seriously. And Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage reflects on bike advocacy’s progress in Alaska’s largest city after a cyclist was [...]

  2. Alan Smith says:

    I prefer “people in cars” and “people on bicycles” to “motorists” and “cyclists”. We’re all people!

  3. Brian says:

    Thanks Alan. we totally agree!

  4. Arthur says:

    Until non-human animals (and yes we are all animals) start driving bikes and cars, it will remain an understanding that all of us who operate these vehicles are people. When I drive a bicycle, I’m a bicyclist and when I drive a car I’m a motorist.

    When I read I’m a reader.

    Let’s not encumber our use of language by claiming distinctions that are not really there.

  5. Brian says:

    Unfortunately that isnt how its portrayed in the news or how people respond. people do not refer to themselves as “motorists” when the drive but they do refer to “bicyclists” as if we were some distinct species. labels are placed inappropriately on all of us. The point I was making is that we are all people and need to stop labeling bicyclists as if anyone on a bike is something different than those that choose to drive. When a bicyclist does something wrong (e.g. runs a red light) the response tends to be “bicyclists are scofflaws that think they are above the law”. but when a motorist runs a red light there is no collective blame assigned to everyone that drives. labels need to be broken down. and we need to start thinking about people behind the wheel or on a bike as people.

  6. Kathy says:

    Brian,

    We are organizing a ride via Bike Me Anchorage! Meet-Up. So far there are two of us. Could you post something about it on BCA?

    Thanks,

    Kathy

  7. Brian says:

    i can on Facebook. go to our page and share it and then i can reshare via bca

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