'I had to do something': Mother of Eugene boy killed by car continues to promote safety
EUGENE, Ore. - A speeding driver hit and killed Vaclav Hajek as he walked his bike across this street when he was just 10 years old.
"Imagine your son is all healthy," Marina Hajek said, "and then all of a sudden he never comes back home."
Vaclav died 10 years ago.
"You never imagine that you're going to be having this kind of experience in your life," she said.
His mother has spent those years working to make Eugene's streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
She is one of the organizers of the Ride of Silence on Wednesday. The ride honors the bicyclists and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents.
According to the City of Eugene, one bicyclist dies and another 5 are seriously injured on average each year. | Learn more about Vision Zero
Many of those who participated in the ride say they had loved ones who were killed on the road.
Cyclist Aaron Franklin rode for his brother, Ryan, an active cyclist. Ryan was hit by a driver in Idaho on May 18, 2016.
"It's tough. It kind of hits home on all the different levels," Franklin said. "But it's neat to see people come out. It's neat to see that people care about this stuff and I think it's really, really important to show that support as a community as well."
"And especially make a statement with our presence on the street, that we are there to share the roads," Hajek said. "It is bringing awareness that we are there as cyclists, sharing the road, because there are many drivers that believe that the road belongs to the cars."
The Ride of Silence is one more way for Marina to spread the word - and fight for her son.
"I was always telling him: you need to stand for what you think is right, and you need to do good to others if you want them to treat you well also," she said. "So to me, I couldn't be staying - I couldn't do nothing. I had to do something."