Dave Salovesh was a longtime advocate for bike safety—and in what his best friend calls "possibly the most cruel irony there is," he was killed while cycling in Washington, DC, Friday morning. Police say a man driving a stolen van lost control of the vehicle and crashed at an intersection, fatally striking Salovesh, WJLA reports. Dozens of cyclists gathered at the intersection Sunday morning to paint a white "ghost bike" marking the spot where Salovesh died. "It was shocking to all of us because he believed that safe streets were so important that we had to do action now, we had to do something now," says a fellow bike safety advocate who attended the gathering and is helping to organize a "Day of Action" next Friday for the cycling community. DCist notes that Salovesh, 54, had often called for protected bike lanes in the city, among other improvements.
Salovesh wanted his teen daughter "to have the freedom to ride to school safely. He wanted everybody to have their safe way to get from point A to point B in something other than a car," says Salovesh's best friend, who helped to lead the gathered cyclists into the crosswalk Sunday to increase awareness of the need for drivers to share the road with cyclists and pedestrians. "I hope that drivers see this ghost bike and realize that someone died here as a result of negligence," says Salovesh's fellow advocate. "Here’s someone who has been talking for a long time about how our streets are dangerous, and then he dies on our streets." The driver accused of hitting Salovesh, who was allegedly fleeing police at the time, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. (Read more cycling stories.)