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Safety Advocates Hold 'Ghost Bike' Memorial Service for Square Cycling Victim

A fatal accident, which shut down Harvard Square Aug. 18, ultimately led the city to institute a number of bicycle safety measures.
A fatal accident, which shut down Harvard Square Aug. 18, ultimately led the city to institute a number of bicycle safety measures. By Aidan F. Ryan
By Ellen M. Burstein, Crimson Staff Writer

Bicycle safety activists held a memorial service for Darryl Willis, the victim of a fatal August cycling accident in Harvard Square, Saturday.

Willis was killed on Aug. 18 when a tractor-trailer collided with his bike near the former Out of Town News kiosk on Massachusetts Ave. His death intensified calls for Cambridge to institute safety measures for cyclists in the heavily trafficked Harvard Square area.

Another pedestrian, 67-year-old librarian Sharon Hamer, died in Sept. 2019 after being struck and killed by a truck while crossing outside of the crosswalk.

After Willis’s death, the city ultimately instituted a number of safety measures, such as constructing separated bike lanes.

Activists constructed a “Ghost Bike” memorial near the spot where Willis was killed. Ghost bikes are roadside memorials placed where cyclists have been killed or seriously injured.

Pastor Laura E. Everett presided over the memorial service.

In a video posted to Twitter, Everett thanked the attendees at the ceremony.

“By being here, you honor Darryl. By being present together, we proclaim that Darryl’s death will not go unnoticed,” Everett said.

Peter Cheung, the Ghost Bikes Boston founder who organized the ceremony, said the service was “very beautiful” and praised Everett’s remarks.

“She presides on all of our ceremonies, and she has a beautiful ceremony prepared every time,” Cheung said.

Cheung also lauded Cambridge’s recent efforts on bicycle safety.

“That was a really great improvement,” Cheung said. “Unfortunately, it did take a fatality for that to happen.”

—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at ellen.burstein@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.

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