Annual Philly ride commemorates cyclists killed in crashes

    A cyclist rides beneath an overpass along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke

    A cyclist rides beneath an overpass along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke

    With miles and miles of bike lanes, Philadelphia is becoming one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities. Still, 10 cyclists were killed across the Delaware Valley in the last year — most of them in the city.

    The 11th annual Ride of Silence, an event to commemorate those losses and promote safer cycling, took place Wednesday. It began with a roll call of names to honor riders killed in accidents with a motor vehicle.

    As recreational cycling and biking to work become more popular, there’s safety in numbers, said event organizer Ray Scheinfeld.

    “When people see us out on the road, it really does provide a visual that we are here, and that they should look out for you,” Scheinfeld said.

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    At the end of the eight-mile route, the cyclists will pause for a salute.

    “What we do is grab the bike by the tubes and lift it above our heads,” Scheinfeld said.

    A hit-and-run driver struck bike-commuter Jamal Morris, 27, in April. Morris, an engineer, died from head trauma the next day.

    His mother spent Wednesday in Harrisburg asking legislators to pass laws that could reduce motor speeds and a make it easier for police to identify hit-and-run drivers.

    Channabel Latham, who was exhausted by day’s end, said her goal is to make sure her son’s legacy is safer roads for cyclists.

    “How do we save another Jamal Morris?” his mother said.

    The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, which organized the lobbying day, wants to reauthorized Pennsylvania’s red light-camera program that is set to expire in 2017.

    If drivers know they can get “caught” on camera at a red light, Latham said, they will be more careful.

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