Ten years after the death of Luis Zhizhpon as he bicycled home from work along Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow, a solemn bike ride and ghost bike dedication in his memory was held late last month.
On the afternoon of June 25, a procession of about 15 riders pedaled to the site along Route 9 where Zhizhpon died in late June 2012 when he was struck and killed by a car after leaving his job as a chef at a Briarcliff Manor restaurant.
When the memorial riders reached the intersection of Millard Avenue and Broadway, they were met by more friends, family and supporters. A “ghost bike” painted white was placed to honor Zhizhpon’s death,
Both Zhizhpon, 28, and the 59-year-old driver were heading southbound in the right lane when the crash occurred, according to published reports, The driver passed a sobriety test and was not charged pending an investigation. Sleepy Hollow police did not return a call seeking the results of the investigation.
Attendees at the June 25 memorial expressed gratitude to the Village of Sleepy Hollow and those who came to pay tribute to this long-felt loss.
Zhizhpon’s uncle, Humberto Quinde, thanked the Village of Sleepy Hollow, the village police officers who joined the procession, and other cyclists who participated, for honoring the memory of his nephew.
Daniel Convissor, organizer of the event and founder of Bike Tarrytown, followed Quinde’s remarks.
“We are so sorry for your loss. … Many families have suffered because of this road. Broadway averages 24 crashes and 17 injuries each year. Many of our neighbors want to ride places, but dangerous roads like this make people too scared to bike. Fortunately, this can be fixed,” Convissor said. He was referring to the Route 9 Active Transportation Project, which advocates for the addition of bike lanes that would stretch from Sleepy Hollow to Hastings-on-Hudson.
In 2016, a 15-person steering committee formed to help advance the project. Currently, Convissor, among the 14 other members, have found success petitioning local officials for support — those whose backing is critical for accelerating the project.
“Since the road is managed by the state, it’s crucial to have the Department of Transportation on board…and motivated,” he said. [This] is now happening—and it’s huge. This is because the
municipalities are pushing the state elected officials who are pushing the bureaucracy, and the governor too, I think, has been helpful with this. So, it’s all really crucial and appreciated.”
With the support of local officials, the project has a better chance of becoming a state priority.
Specifically, the “villages have been very involved in this project, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the State Senate majority leader, has been very active in helping advance the project as of late and [I] really appreciate her help. Mayors and administrators of the other municipalities have been very productive on it as well,” Convissor said.
He expressed disappointment with what he said was a lack of support from Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray. The mayor did not return an email seeking comment.
For those who have been affected by bicycle-vehicle collisions, there is hope that safety measures will be implemented soon in the villages. With significant petitioning for the proposal, “Engineering steps of the project should be moving forward in the near future,” Convissor said.