According to the Facebook group Bike Uneasy, at 6 a.m. on Monday, October 21, 2019, Robert “Hog” Blair was riding his bike down St. Charles Avenue – like so many of us have done – when he was struck and killed by a motor vehicle. Hog was the fifth person killed on the streets of New Orleans while riding a bike this year. In contrast, there has only been one death from 2017 through 2018.
Tragically, Hog was killed near Please-U Restaurant and Igor’s, on that stretch of St. Charles where he was such a fixture that he was known by everyone.
As of 12:24pm on Tuesday, October 22, no other news outlet has covered the story of Hog’s untimely death, and Big Easy Magazine is still seeking additional details related to the incident. We will update our readers accordingly as we receive more information.
As Charlie Schully, founder of Bike Uneasy, has noted, the City of New Orleans declined to put a bike lane on that same stretch of St. Charles, despite pressure from the cycling community, when they completed repairs there in 2017. “Hog would likely be alive today if they had put that bike lane in,” Schully said.
In response to the unfortunate incident, Bike Uneasy along with Stolen Bikes NOLA and the family of Mr. Blair is organizing a memorial in which bicyclists and advocates will ride from City Hall to Please U Restaurant where Stolen Bikes NOLA and Hog’s family will donate the new Ghost Bike.
According to Bike Uneasy, “Ghost Bikes are placed in memory of bicyclists who have been killed while riding and also serve as a warning to those who drive by the location and to remind our elected officials that their complacency is killing us.”
This event will commence at City Hall, on November 2 – the Day of the Dead (because “Hog would have loved” it) – at 3pm.
“We will ride from there to the Please U Restaurant, where Stolen Bikes NOLA and Hog’s family will dedicate the new Ghost Bike. We’re celebrating the life of another beloved New Orleanian, who was like family to those outside of his family, because the City decided to prioritize convenience over his life. But we’re still going to celebrate, ” Schully told Big Easy Magazine.
This comes on the heels of advocates mourning the tragic deaths of David Hynes and Sharree Wells. The group notes that only one city official attended the memorial ceremony. Councilmember Jason Williams spoke to the mourning crowd and declared, “This cannot keep happening in New Orleans.”
Schully expressed concern that these sort of tragic accidents will continue to happen until this city decides that pedestrians, cyclists, and people who use public transportation deserve to get home to their families safely.
For more information about the memorial that will be held for Mr. Blair, you can visit the Facebook event page.
Scott Ploof is Publisher and Founder of Big Easy Magazine.