Ride Of Silence: 'We also belong on the streets'

      EUGENE, Ore. - Marina Hajek vividly remembers that day in 2007 her son Vaclav went on a bike ride.

      "My son went to water his pumpkin that he was growing to have a pumpkin for Halloween," Hajek said, "but he never came back."

      That was Aug. 27, 2007. A 16-year-old driver sped around a stopped car on the right, hitting and killing the young boy as he crossed the street in a crosswalk.

      Allowing her 10-year-old to make the short trip alone still haunts her.

      "That's my regret that I'll live with," Hajek said, "but I'm trying to be - I am being proactive."

      Hajek advocates for safer roads. The stretch of road where her son died has been reconstructed in an attempt to improve safety. A plaza erected in the wake of his death promotes pedestrian safety, not far from a pedestrian signal installed after the fatal crash.

      On Wednesday, May 21, she planned to take part in the national Ride Of Silence.

      This year's ride will start at 6 p.m. on Bailey Hill Road where Vaclav died and quietly cross the city on a route dictated by the sites where bicyclists have died. A eulogy for people killed on bikes locally will take place at 6:30 p.m. before riders depart.

      "We are making a statement that we are here as a bicycle community and we also belong on the streets," Hajek said.

      She hopes motorists take note.

      "They see us, they see our presence on the street and they need to think that we are sharing the road with bicyclists," she said. "We are sharing the road with pedestrians."