PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A couple of hundred bicyclists advocating for safer and more bike lanes on city streets gathered on the South Side Tuesday night.
They brought a white “ghost bike” in memory of a local cyclist who lost his life in a highway crash.
This latest plea for additional and safer allocated street space for bicyclists comes after last week’s death of 49-year-old bicyclist Dennis Flanagan of McKees Rocks. He was killed in a wreck on West Carson Street near the West Busway.
The street had just reopened to traffic a few days earlier following a lengthy closure, and a $40 million facelift.
Scott Bricker, who heads an advocacy group called BikePittsburgh, said, “We’re here to ride for Dennis and his family tonight and call on PennDOT to fix that road, make it better, make it more bike-friendly.”
Speaking to the group before the bike ride to McKees Rocks and back, Flanagan’s brother, Sean, said, “I heard on the radio the other day our mayor said BikePittsburgh was too aggressive, too aggressive in saving lives. My message to the group is continue to be too aggressive.”
Flanagan told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “Dennis just loved to ride his bike. It was a gift from his girlfriend. He really enjoyed it. He’s loved bikes since he was a little kid, and that’s what we did when we were kids.”
With a police escort, cyclists rode from the South Side and past the scene of last week’s accident.
In a recent interview, a PennDOT official answered critics about the lack of a separate bike lane on West Carson Street, saying space there was limited.
Dan Cessna, PennDOT’s District 11 executive, said, “We’re against the railroad where there is no room, and the hillside in the other direction. With that limited space, we were able to do a shared lane [for both bikes and cars].”