Family of cyclist killed on DuSable Lake Shore Drive calls for safety improvements: ‘This cannot keep happening’

Gerardo Marciales, 41, was fatally struck Feb. 28 near Grant Park. The driver, a 26-year-old man, was cited for disobeying lane markings.

SHARE Family of cyclist killed on DuSable Lake Shore Drive calls for safety improvements: ‘This cannot keep happening’
Ian Bahas, a good friend of Gerardo Marciales, hugs Dubraska Diaz, Marciales eldest sister, during a “ghost bike” vigil Thursday near the scene where Marciales was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing a crosswalk at DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February.

Ian Bahas, a good friend of Gerardo Marciales, hugs Dubraska Diaz, Marciales eldest sister, during a “ghost bike” vigil Thursday near the scene where Marciales was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing a crosswalk at DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Two months after Gerardo Marciales was fatally struck by a driver as he rode his bike on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, family members and fellow cyclists gathered to place a memorial near the scene of the crash and to call for changes at the intersection near Grant Park and on roadways throughout the city.

His fiancée, Jaime Bolognone, told reporters she met Marciales during the pandemic and immediately “knew he was someone special.”

“Gerardo was full of life,” she said, at times fighting back tears. “He was hilarious. He loved deeply. He would do anything for anyone. … And to me, he was such a caregiver, and he just made me laugh every day.”

Jaime Bolognone, Gerardo Marciales’ fiancée, and Mayra Marciales, Gerardo’s younger sister, hold one another as they listen to Dubraska Diaz, Gerardo’s eldest sister, speak to family, friends and community members, during a “ghost bike” vigil near the scene where Gerardo was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February, Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Jaime Bolognone, Gerardo Marciales’ fiancée, and Mayra Marciales, Gerardo’s younger sister, hold one another as they listen to Dubraska Diaz, Gerardo’s eldest sister, speak to family, friends and community members, during a “ghost bike” vigil near the scene where Gerardo was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February, Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The couple lived in Lincoln Park and planned to marry on Sept. 3.

But shortly after the Feb. 28 crash, Bolognone got a call from a Chicago police officer with the jarring news: Marciales had been killed riding his bike on the lakefront expressway near Balbo Drive. He was 41.

On Thursday, she and Marciales’ family decorated a spray-painted a “ghost bike” in his honor. It was then chained to a street light in the middle of the roadway, just steps from where he was struck.

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Gerardo Marciales’ “ghost bike” sits affixed to a stoplight near the scene where Gerardo was stuck and killed by a vehicle while crossing DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February, Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Bolognone said the driver had blown a red light and proceeded straight in a turning lane at an intersection she claimed pedestrians and bicyclists don’t have enough time to cross. The driver, a 26-year-old man, was cited for disobeying lane markings, police said.

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Bolognone said she hopes “people are listening” and that city officials will consider implementing “safety changes” at the “dangerous intersection” and others throughout Chicago.

“We don’t want to have any other family go through what we’ve gone through,” she said.

Marciales had moved to Chicago from Venezuela in 2019 but continued sending money back to family in his home country, according to a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $9,000 to continue that support. He worked as a technical consulting engineer for Cisco Systems but also loved to learn, barbecue and spend time with friends, his fiancée said.

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Gerardo Marciales and his fiancée, Jaime Bolognone, pose along the riverfront.

GoFundMe

At least one other bicyclist and five pedestrians have been struck and killed in Chicago this year, according to Streets Blog Chicago, which tracks such fatalities.

Earlier this month, 42-year-old Paresh Chhatrala died days after he was hit by a driver while biking in the West Loop. That crash prompted renewed calls for safety improvements along Madison Street, with advocates and cyclists making similar appeals Thursday.

Marciales’ sister joined the chorus.

“I just called the Chicago Department of Transportation [and said], do something,” said Dubraska Diaz, who traveled to Chicago for the vigil along with her sister. “This cannot keep happening.”

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Rafael Portillo, Gerardo Marciales’ brother-in-law, and Dubraska Diaz, Gerardo’s eldest sister, carry a “ghost bike” for Gerardo to the scene where he was stuck and killed by a vehicle while crossing DuSable Lake Shore Drive in February, Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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