Cyclists stake quiet claim to the road

EVERETT – Joey Cordell, 9, had never biked across the overpass without his father by his side.

The boy’s dad was in his heart when he crossed the 112th Street SE I-5 overpass Wednesday night.

Joey and his mother, Heather Lewis, took part in the Ride of Silence, a nationwide event to honor bicyclists who have been killed or injured in accidents with vehicles.

More than 20 people accompanied Joey and his mother during the 8-mile ride. They dedicated the evening to Joey’s father, Joseph Cordell, who died last October after he was struck by a car while biking across the 112th Street SE overpass.

“I’m a little nervous about tonight, but with a bigger group, we’ll be OK,” said Lewis, 32, before the start of the ride.

“I think (Joseph) would get a kick out of this,” she said.

Riding slowly, the bikers left Thornton A. Sullivan Park at Silver Lake, crossed the freeway and eventually looped back to their starting point. Some wore T-shirts with the message “In memory of Joseph Cordell.”

The Ride of Silence also is meant to raise awareness about the needs of bicyclists, ride leader Debbie Kawamoto said.

Kawamoto, 53, of Everett was hit by a car in July 2004 while riding her bike in Monroe. She was following traffic laws and wearing bright clothing when the accident happened, she said.

“We need to educate people to share the road, and educate government to provide safe paths for bicyclists,” Kawamoto said.

Kristin Kinnamon, president of the BIKES Club of Everett, said the 112th Street SE overpass is a good example of a dangerous road for cyclists. The bridge is narrow and the sidewalks are small and elevated. Bicyclists are forced to ride in traffic, she said.

“(Cordell’s) accident made us realize that complacency, that letting things go on without notice, can be deadly,” Kinnamon said. “We want to make a showing that bicyclists have a right to the road, and the roads need to be safe for us, for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

The state Department of Transportation has plans to widen the 112th Street SE overpass to five lanes.

Dan Scott, 57, of Everett said impatient drivers also put bicyclists at risk.

“If you try as a cyclist to take the lane, so to speak, then your speed is such that other drivers grow impatient,” Scott said.

“We need to obey traffic laws, but we also need to be considered as part of the flow of traffic,” he added.

Joey Cordell and his mother tied two balloons to the 112th Street SE overpass before Wednesday’s bike ride. On one balloon was the message “Love ya,” and on the other was “You’ll be missed.”

“I just liked riding with my dad,” Joey said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

Tips for riding safely

* Obey traffic signs, signals and lane markings.

* Never ride against traffic.

* Don’t pass on the right.

* Scan the road behind you.

* Keep both hands ready to brake.

* Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones.

* Wear bright clothing and use hand signals.

* Make eye contact with drivers.

* Use lights at night.

Source: state Department of Transportation

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