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'Ride of Silence' To Honor Decatur Bike Fatality

Decatur police are still investigating the April 30 death of bike rider Paul Taylor.

The death of Paul Taylor, will be fresh on the minds of fellow bike riders Wednesday, May 16, during the annual "Ride of Silence."

Riders will gather at 6:30 p.m. at the 10th Street/Charles Allen Drive entrance to Piedmont Park and ride about 90 minutes to honor bikers who were injured or killed on the road. Rides of Silence are held across the country that day.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked to Atlanta area bikers and heard many of them complain about poor biking conditions throughout the metro area.

While hard and up-to-date data is difficult to find, between 2003 and 2008, 28 people died in bike related accidents in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, according to the Atlanta Bicycle Association. The association reported 1,476 accidents and classified 137 of those as serious.

“Some drivers see us as nuisances,” said Ken Rosskopf, a semi-retired Decatur lawyer who is an avid cyclist and specializes in bike injury cases. “But we can share the road, as long as everybody recognizes the roads are there to share.

 

Meanwhile, Decatur police say they have not completed the investigation of just west of the intersection with Willivee Drive. No charges have been filed.

The police report says Taylor's GT Series 3 bike and a 2004 Ford Ranger truck driven by Jorge Mercado-Perez, 57, of Snellville were both in the inside, eastbound lane of North Decatur Road.

The report said Mercado-Perez "stated the bicyclist appeared to be kneeling in the roadway as if he had fallen."

in neonatology and a champion of women’s health at Grady Health System for over twenty years.

He ran marathons, participated in triathlons and was well-known for supervising the annual fund-raising barbecue at Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Decatur.

Ralph Ellis May 30, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Clay, Maureen and others, thanks for your comments. Let me check about the status of changes at the intersection in Avondale Estates.
C. Walker May 30, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Hi Ralph, Thanks for starting this dialogue. It’s really interesting the corners that everyone seem to be in and speaking from. However, it seems like we all have the same goal here - which is to get wherever it is we are going, safely. My opinion comes from the position from someone who rides daily. I follow the rules of the road and wear highly visible clothing. And, I also drive too. I have been riding for about 39 years now. I raced for 13 years and worked as a bike messenger in Philadelphia & New York City. That being said, I say a little prayer every time I go out to ride in Atlanta as it is the most dangerous city I have ever ridden in. It seems to be a combination of bad roads and this being the ‘golden age’ of distracting handheld electronic devices that every motorist seem to be using while driving. I rode over 6000 miles on Atlanta’s streets last year and I am approaching 3000 for this year. I recently participated the 200 mile ride AV200 ride for the Emory Vaccine Center. We have a four-fold problem: the roads in Atlanta aren’t going to get any wider, there are a lot of motorists that believe bicycles should not be on the road, there are a lot of cyclists who think they can do whatever they want to do out on the road and there is really no one out there enforcing bad driving / bad riding issues. (to be continued)
C. Walker May 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Part 2 I’ve recently been to both Amsterdam & Montreal and I can say that Atlanta is never going to become one of those cycling-friendly cities. Our city just is not physically designed like that. Most of my cycling friends hate it when I say this but I think the largest safety/attitude change is really going to have to come from cyclists. I really don’t see ‘die hard’ motorists changing their point of view on cyclists and the roads any time soon. Cyclists are going to have to wear high visibility clothing, have proper lights/reflectors on their bikes and obey the rules of the road. That will actually solve a lot of the day-to-day issues that are going out there. My sister lives in Spain and all cyclists there have to wear a bright yellow vest or clothing for visibility yet in Atlanta the preferred cycling colors are black helmet / black jersey & black shorts. Basically, black jerseys are going to have to outlawed. And while I am hard on cyclists because I can actually communicate my safety concerns with them, I have to say Atlanta motorists are among the worst I have ever seen. I have to say it loud & clear to you – get off your phone while driving and pay attention to what you are doing! (to be continued)
C. Walker May 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Part 3 The best set of ‘road rules’ that I can list at the moment are: All cyclists are going to have to: *Wear a helmet *Stop at all stop signs *Stop at all red lights *Stop passing cars at red lights & stop signs. Wait your turn! *Stop passing cars on their right side. *Stop listening to iPods while riding *Wear highly visible cycling clothing. black jerseys & black helmets should be outlawed (on the road) *Stop riding two abreast on 2 lane roads. *If you have cars trapped behind you, let them pass. *Pick routes that are the safest & widest. *bike shops are going to have to stop sending out ‘gonzo’ training rides into rush hour traffic that break every rule of safety *respect the communities that you ride through. *Be polite to motorists. All motorists are going to have to: *Slow down *Stop at all stop signs. *Stop at all red lights. *Start actually using your turn signals. *Stop talking/texting on your phones. Georgia is going to have to pass a hands-free law or a no talking law. It’s ridiculously unsafe for everyone. *Stop dramatically passing cyclists moments before you are going to make a dramatic right turn right in front of them. You can wait 5 seconds. *accept the fact that bicycles are legally allowed to be on the road with you *Be polite to cyclists.
C. Walker May 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM
PS I do find it unfortunate that one of the worst patches of road in Atlanta that I go down is at the corner of E. College / N. Avondale and heading onto Clarendon right by the Avondale Police headquarters. That road terrain is like something you would see on a motocross course and I know there have been a lot of cycling injuries at this stretch. Any chance that will be smoothed out any time soon?

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