Postcard From Durham: A Bittersweet Ride


This has been a difficult week for the Durham community of bicyclists, software developers and my neighborhood. This week Durham got its first (and hopefully last) Ghost Bike memorial. Seth Vidal was struck and killed while bicycling last Monday night. He was killed by a motorist who was driving with a suspended license, and who turned himself in the next day. Draw from that what you will about the driver.

I did not know Seth personally. I knew him only through the neighborhood listserv and I do recall sitting next to him at a couple neighborhood meetings. He was very well known in many communities in Durham and by all accounts was an intelligent, loving, sometimes frustrating, caring human being who deeply loved his family and friends, and who was a vocal bicycle advocate. He was 36 years old, an experienced bicyclist, a software developer, lived in my neighborhood, and leaves behind a partner, friends and family.

I travel via two wheels often and I know how unsafe this city can be to cyclists of all kinds. That is why I participated in a group ride organized by Seven Stars Cycles to honor Seth’s memory this morning. About 100 or so people came out to ride through the neighborhood and have a drink at a local pub. Many riders did not know Seth but like me were saddened and angered by the circumstances of his untimely death. Many were his friends and family. I hope they found some iota of solace in seeing how many lives Seth touched.

It was a powerful thing to be part of the ride today. I hope this city and its drivers will be more mindful of people traveling on two wheels. Give them  all a little space and please be patient. We all just want to get home safe.

I’ll add links to stories as I find them below.
Seth Vidal memorial service (Herald Sun)
Bike lane study underway for Hillandale (The Durham News)
Bicyclists ride to honor hit-and-run victim (WNCN)
Memorial ride held for fallen cyclist (WTVD)

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July 2013
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