Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cyclists invoke higher power for safety

From Pittsburgh-
They squinted and blinked repeatedly as holy water splashed on their faces. Bicycle owners did the squinting, and the Rev. Mike Wernick, the Church of the Redeemer's priest in residence, provided the holy water as he led the Squirrel Hill-based Episcopal church's first Blessing of the Bikes on Saturday.

The service marked the beginning of a season when sunny skies and rising temperatures spur more cyclists to take to the streets, sidewalks and trails, and when bicycling-related injuries and deaths increase. "It's something fun to do and a way to remember cyclists who have died and ask for God's blessing on all riders," said Squirrel Hill resident William Ogburn, 28, event co-organizer and the church's organist-choirmaster.

Of the 922 bicycle crashes that occurred in a 12-county Southwestern Pennsylvania region between 2005 and 2010, 43 percent occurred from June to August, according to PennDOT data.
Six of the region's 13 bicycling-related deaths in those years occurred during the three-month summer periods, according to data from the state agency, which said that the tally included all deaths in bicycle crashes, including those involving cars and pedestrians.
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