Monday, July 14, 2008

On Being Afraid Of My Bicycle

When Eric Ng was killed while riding his bike two years ago, the story hit home because I spent a lot of time on that bike path and always felt perfectly safe there. It very suddenly took away the security I had felt because I was not riding my bike in the street. Then, shortly afterwards, Seth spent six months working on a series of paintings about Ng's death and his memorial bike, known as a Ghost Bike. I learned a lot about what had happened on December 1st 2006, and became angry about it. The fact that some drunken idiot drove his car for almost two miles on the bike path without anyone noticing, the fact that someone was killed, the fact that it was a teacher. On the rare occasions I ride my bike these days, I am often on that bike path and I pass Ng's memorial, and I kind of wave at it. Because I'm not quite sure what else to do.

In 2007 when Craig Murphey was killed while riding his bike in Brooklyn, I was surprised to find out how many mutual friends and acquaintances we had, though I had never met him myself. I kept thinking, "This guy is one degree away from me..." which began to kill the "It'll never happen to me" mentality that so many of us hold on to. I know numerous people who have gotten tattoos to remember Murphey, and a few people who were very close to him, but not knowing him myself makes it difficult to know what to say when he comes up in conversation. It's kind of like, "Oh...I heard about that..." But then what?

Last night I was at a going away party for a favorite teacher of mine when I got a text message from a number I did not know saying, "Sarah?" And I wrote back saying, "Yes? Who is this?" "Amelia Geocos" and I wrote back, "Hah! How random! What's up?" I hadn't seen her in a while, but she was someone who kept popping into my life at random moments because we knew a whole lot of the same people, we both dated the same guy, and once briefly worked together. "It's Liz (a girl I had gone to high school with, who I didn't even know knew Amelia.)...Hey I saw you were friends with Amelia on facebook...I don't know if you know but she was killed the other day."

Woah. What?

As it turns out she was hit by a car while riding her bike on Friday and died instantly. That's the only detail I've been able to get, and that she will be getting a Ghost Bike and a memorial ride. I know a couple of people who were very close to her, so I made some phone calls and wrote some e-mails last night, just wanting to be here in case anyone needs anything. Because I know what it's like to lose someone close to you, and it sucks. And it's scary. And it's hard. Especially when it is someone so young.

So yeah...You were a good kid, Amelia...I hope I can be of some help to your friends during this time. You will certainly be missed.

Update: There is more information here and here. ♦DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves