Silent bike ride honors bicyclist who was killed

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – A group of bicyclists came together Monday evening to honor a Massachusetts woman who died after being struck by a car while guiding a bicycle group in July.

Mary Wilk, 22, of Cheshire, Mass., was hit on Route 1 in South Kingstown on July 31 while riding with a group that was heading to the Block Island Ferry. Wilk died from her injuries four days later.

The bicycle group planned to meet at 481 Post Road in Wakefield before beginning a short two-mile, silent bike run. Organizers said they expected dozens of cyclists to make the ride. mary wilk Blend

The group also stopped to pay their respects at a location north of the crash site, where it is safer to stop and meet.

All participants were encouraged to bring a flower, especially a wildflower, to pay tribute to Wilk.

Wilk was an avid cyclist who loved the outdoors.

“Bicycles have a right to be on the road and people in cars have to pay attention,” said Bari Freemen, who organized the Silent Ride event. “This community is really hurting. It’s scary, it’s upsetting, people are shaken up by it, and we need to get out on the road and ride together.”

Freeman, who is the executive director of  Bike Newport, said Wilk’s father called to voice his support of the event honoring his daughter’s memory.

“He said to me that Mary’s smile would light up a bike path,” she said. “She sounded like a very special person and I’m sure we all would love her and our hearts are with her family and friends.”

Police say an 88-year-old South Kingstown woman hit Wilk from behind. Investigators say speed and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the crash.

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