Boise Mourns Dead Cyclists During Twilight Silent Ride


Victor Haskells ghost bike.

The evening light was just beginning to fade when Jimmy Hallyburton of the Boise Bicycle Project, pant legs rolled cavalierly about his ankles, took the stage—a green painted park bench at Sunset Park on the edge of Boise's North End neighborhood. The heads of about 40 area bicyclists, police officers and media turned.

"When something like this happens in the community, it's devastating," Hallyburton said.

He was talking about Victor Haskell, who died Sept. 26 in an apparent hit-and-run incident while he biked along State Street.

The assembled cyclists had joined representatives of Boise's several bicycling associations, including BBP and Lisa Brady of the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, for a "ride of silence," during which they rode from Sunset Park to the spot where Haskell died at the intersection of State and 30th streets. But Hallyburton and Brady were clear on the point that they hadn't assembled to do anything but grieve for a lost fellow traveler.

"We're not here tonight to protest anything," said Hallyburton. "We're here to honor Victor."

Brady read a poem, "Ride of Silence," about cyclists who die on the road before the group departed.

The ride began at approximately 7:35 p.m. By then, the ranks of mourners had swelled to about 50, and the procession rode silently to the intersection where Haskell died, and where a ghost bike—a white-painted bicycle with a sign indicating the deceased—and Haskell's family were waiting.

By then, the light of day was all but extinguished and the air had grown chilly. A few speakers paid respects to Hallyburton and reiterated the importance of bicycle safety, but there was an uneasiness about stressing educating cyclists about using helmets, reflective gear and flashing lights, as Haskell was wearing a helmet when he was struck and had safety lights on his bike. According to Hallyburton, Haskell had "done everything right."

"This is somebody that could've been any of us," he said.

Haskell is the first of two cycling fatalities in the last month. In an upcoming issue of Boise Weekly, you'll learn about what the City of Boise is doing to make the city a safer place for cyclists and pedestrians, and how these deaths have made the discussion of bicycle friendliness in Boise more urgent.