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Ride for Silence honors those cyclists killed or injured in Lane County

A gathering Wednesday honored cyclists that were killed or seriously injured on Lane County roads. (SBG).

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - A gathering Wednesday honored cyclists that were killed or seriously injured on Lane County roads.

The Ride of Silence is a worldwide event. For Eugene organizer Marina Hajek, the event is personal. Her ten year old son, Vaclav Hajek, was hit and killed by a speeding driver as he walked his bike across Bailey Hill Road in 2007. Hajek said her son was on his way back from a community garden where he was watering pumpkins for Halloween.

Now, Hajek advocates for safer roads.

"Be conscious that the street is not just for traffic. It is for bicyclists and pedestrians and we have to be aware of each other," Hajek said.

Before the slow, silent ride began, organizers read the names of those injured or killed on a bicycle in Lane County, and a representative from Vision Zero gave a presentation. The city-wide initiative, adopted by Eugene in 2015, wants to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2035.

Members of the Vision Zero are studying intersections and streets and developing ways to make them safer, starting with 13th Street in Eugene.

"We're actually going to be building a two-way protected bike way on 13th Street in 2019 that will make the street a lot safer for people biking as well as people driving and walking," said Larisa Varela, an Associate Transportation Planner with the City of Eugene.

Varela said, on average, every year one bicyclist is killed in Lane County and five others suffer life-changing injuries like paralysis or permanent brain damage.

The Ride of Silence starts on Bailey Hill Road near 18th where Vaclav Hajek was killed. The final destination is David Minor Theater on 5th street. Helmets are required.

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