DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Dozens of people rode bikes silently through Durham on Sunday, pushing for more safety regulations for bikers in Durham, and to honor the life of one man: Matthew Simpson.
“He was brilliant, and creative, and funny, and silly,” Allison Simpson, Matthew’s widow, said of him.
Simpson was hit by a driver near Guess Road by Westover Park two weeks ago, and later died from his injuries. He was biking home from a museum trip with his wife and two young children, who witnessed the entire crash.
“Whenever somebody goes out riding with their family for fun, for joy, or they’re walking the streets of Durham to get to work or wherever they’re going, we should never have a situation where someone doesn’t come home,” John Tallmadge, the Executive Director of Bike Durham and one of the organizers of the silent ride, said.
Bike Durham invited other avid bike riders to honor Simpson’s life on Sunday by riding in silence for about 30 minutes, but also by leaving notes and flowers for Simpson on a ghost bike that now rests on the corner where he was struck.
“There’s a lot of comfort in seeing how many people both think that this is unacceptable, and don’t ever want to see this happen again,” Tallmadge said.
Durham police say the driver who struck Simpson is Omari Newsome, who has not been found or arrested. Police are asking anyone for tips on his whereabouts.
Meanwhile, cyclists are also focusing on making some major changes to make Durham safer for all riders.
“We want to see networks of sidewalks, protected bike lanes, that means physical separation from traffic lanes,” Tallmadge said.
The ghost bike will remain on the corner at Westover Park, where people can continue to leave notes and flowers to remember Simpson.