Bicyclists Installed a “Ghost Bike,” Called for Funding After a Fatal Hit-and-Run

Activists are asking for millions for Vision Zero after the death of biker Rick Archer.

Hundreds of bicyclists gathered Wednesday at the site of a fatal hit-and-run that killed a biker in Back Bay, where they installed a “Ghost Bike” in his memory.

The crowd, a chunk of Boston’s close-knit biking community, installed a bicycle painted white at the corner of Commonwealth and Clarendon, in tribute to 29-year-old Rick Archer, who died of his injuries after he was struck by a car Sunday, April 30.

Activists left the ceremony and biked to City Hall, where a meeting of the City Council was underway, to call for more funding for the city’s Vision Zero program. The initiative, led in Boston by the Walsh administration, seeks to eliminate fatalities on the city’s streets. Its most high-profile accomplishment was to advocate for a lower default speed limit of 25 miles per hour, and it also focuses on improvements at intersections and busy roads frequented by bikers and pedestrians.

$3.1 million is budgeted for Vision Zero, which bicyclists say isn’t nearly enough.

Here’s their proposal, as outlined on the Boston Cyclists’ Union’s website:

  • Increase the capital budget for Vision Zero from $3.1 million in FY17 to $12 million in FY18.
  • Increase the capital budget for the Strategic Bicycle Network Project from $900,000 in FY17 to $4 million in FY18.
  • Increase the capital budget for Transportation Planning from $200,000 in FY17 to $800,000 in FY18.
  • Increase the operating budget for Transportation Department Policy and Planning from $1,074,431 in FY17 to $2 million in FY18.

Scores of them reportedly packed the hearing room as well as two overflow rooms, and the Boston Cyclists’ Union said councilors were receptive.

“We want to tell the council, to tell the mayor, that we need more funding for Vision Zero,” said Becca Wolfson, 33, of Somerville, director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said, according to the Globe.“We need everyone behind the wheel to know they are operating a weapon.”

A Vision Zero report released Wednesday showed 22 people died in traffic crashes last year. Fifteen were pedestrians.

Also on Wednesday, a suspect in the hit-and-run was arraigned on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death. Malone Kidanemariam, 25, of Boston, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $25,000 bail.