Urban Velo

Neil Kelty Memorial Ride Recap

Neil Kelty's ghost bike.

Neil Kelty’s ghost bike.

Neil Kelty was certainly not the first cyclist to be struck and killed in Indianapolis, but his death has resonated within the cycling community and beyond for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he was doing everything “right” while on his commute to work. He was in the bike lane, riding through a normal intersection, wearing a helmet, and had no reason to believe he was in danger…but was still hit and killed. The details of his tragic end hit the Indy cyclists deep, because we all often follow the same manner of travel, looking out for our safety by following the rules, but sometimes that still doesn’t work. Further, Kelty was an enthusiastic commuter, like most of us, chronicling his entrance into the world of cycling through his blog, sharing the same excitements and concerns of riding around the city on two wheels. And finally, he was young, just 23 years old, and engaged to his fiancé who had her hopes for their future suddenly taken away by one simple bad (casual?) decision by a school bus driver. There isn’t much more to say about this situation or any other, except that it is yet another reminder that we need to keep pressing for more cycling amenities, educational campaigns, and continue to look after our own safety, even when everything seems “right”.

The gallery of photos are from the memorial ride held in Kelty’s honor last weekend. His family and fiancé greeted the crowd, and the mayor, a strong cycling advocate, gave a supportive speech before we all rode Kelty’s commuting route. The ride was blocked by the IMPD (though that didn’t keep people from openly cursing our presence) and everything went as smooth as hoped. Let’s hope we don’t have to hold anymore of these rides in the future, and although we know more memorial rides will come, let’s at least hope they lead to greater improvements for the safety of those doing their part to make the world and their lives better through cycling.

About Scott Spitz

Commuting, touring, kid hauling, couriering, mechanic work, sales, advocacy, fixed, free—Scott has had his hands in it all over the years.

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One Comment

  1. Michael L. Whitworth, MDMay 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Columbike is seeking tougher laws that would require motorists striking bicyclists when bicyclists are in the ostensibly “protected area” bicycle lanes be charged with reckless endangerment or reckless homicide, depending on the outcome, if the bicyclist was obeying the traffic and bicycle laws. Too often, such as in the case of Neil Kelty, there are no repercussions for drivers not paying attention when crossing bike lanes (the BMV manual says bicyclists always have the right of way when in these lanes and traffic is turning across the bicycle lane). Thus far, no charges have been filed in this case and as a rule, in most cases where bicyclists are impaled by motorists. We believe it is time for this to change. Bicyclists are at a distinct disadvantage when a 2,000 lb vehicle strikes a 20 lb bicycle. The bicycle lanes are ours, and motorists maiming or killing bicyclists in these lanes need to be held accountable.

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