World Day of Remembrance 2021

Ghost Bike Memorial for Peter A. Del Sette, Jr.

This Sunday, November 21 is World Day of Remembrance. As a somber tradition every year, those who participate in World Day of Remembrance will pause to reflect on the humanity of those lost to traffic violence in Massachusetts. The purpose of World Day of Remembrance is to note that each fatal crash is not a statistic, but a person lost. Whether they were driving, walking, biking, or otherwise caught in a terrible circumstance, we remember a person with family members, mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and community members who still mourn.

Every day through our work at MassBike, we strive to build a better world. We earnestly believe that by advocating for safer cycling, we are saving lives. This is a noble cause, and we believe each fatal crash is avoidable and the dangers able to be mitigated through changes to infrastructure design, vehicle modifications, and education for all road users. At MassBike, our intention is not to focus on the dangers of our roads, but rather on the work we can do to make our world safer for everyone out there. 

Specifically, World Day of Remembrance emboldens our work in our legislative capacity to pass bills that would define Vulnerable Users on our roads and require a 3+ foot passing distance for drivers, mandate safety protections such as backup cameras, convex mirrors and side guards on trucks, and standardize crash reporting so we can better analyze and react when crashes occur. 

World Day of Remembrance also gives humanity to our infrastructure advocacy. As we pursue road redesigns at specific crash sites that realign dangerous intersections, paint bicycle lanes, and slow traffic, we are able to honor those killed at sites by placing memorials, or “ghost bikes,” and giving a place where a bicycle rider took their last breath a sacred reminder to the severity of responsibility we all accept when we choose to drive and ride on our roads.

How will we remember this year? Throughout the state on Sunday November 21, in cities and towns across the commonwealth, we are encouraging local advocates to organize vigils that call attention to the people killed. In the major cities of Springfield, Worcester, and Boston, where people have been killed in the past few years, we will gather to lay flowers at crash sites and at city halls, and call on our elected leaders and policymakers to join us.

When someone dies on our roads, we all feel a shudder of loss throughout the community. And together with our allies, we want to be clear that we are redoubling our efforts to extend this work for all roads, bridges, intersections, and paths. And we vow to not slow our efforts until the perceived and actual danger no longer requires us to call aloud those killed and to reaffirm our demand for no more ghost bikes.

How to Celebrate World Day of Remembrance 2021

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