Ten years after the death of Luis Zhizhpon as he bicycled home from work along Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow, a bike ride and ghost bike dedication in his memory will be held this month.
At 4 p.m. June 25, riders will gather by the main steps of the W.L. Morse Elementary School in Sleepy Hollow and bike to the intersection of Millard and Broadway (also known as Route 9), where the fatal crash occurred. At 4:45 p.m., the group will arrive at the intersection and begin the dedication. Zhizhpon’s relatives will be present, and friends, supporters and families are encouraged to attend; children who are strong bikers are welcome to participate.
One late June evening after dark, Zhizhpon, a chef at the Guadalajara Mexican restaurant in Briarcliff Manor, left work on his bike, heading toward his home in Sleepy Hollow. While riding on Route 9, he was struck and killed by a vehicle.
According to published reports, both Zhizhpon, 28, and the 59-year-old driver were heading southbound in the right lane when the crash occurred. The reports also state that the driver passed a sobriety test and was not charged pending an investigation. Sleepy Hollow police did not immediately return a call this month seeking the results of the investigation.
Zhizhpon’s death became part of a tragic set of statistics. According to the New York State Department of Health, between 2000 and 2014 there were over 9,000 cyclists killed with an average of 640 deaths per year due to collisions involving bicyclists and motor vehicles.
While the memorial event is being held to commemorate Zhizhpon’s death, it is also intended to spread awareness of a greater cause — that the roads of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow are unsafe for cyclists.
Daniel Convissor, the organizer of the event and founder of the organization Bike Tarrytown, has been petitioning for the addition of bike lanes, among other safety measures, to prevent bicycle-vehicle collisions from occurring. Route 9 in particular has been a major target of his efforts.
On the Bike Tarrytown website, Convissor details his Route 9 Transportation Plan and the formation of a 15-member steering committee to advocate for improvements. Currently, the committee is working with five villages to petition New York State to support its project. Information on the committee and its initiatives can be found here.
“Luis loved cycling,” Convissor stated, and just like other dedicated bicyclists in the villages, he feels strongly that they must be protected.
While Convissor works to promote his cause, Zhizhpon’s death will not be forgotten. With the installation of a ghost bike — a painted bike placed at the site — the display will serve to remind drivers to be cautious of bikers on the roads.