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Friends, Family Of Cyclist Killed By Drunk Driver Gather To Remember Him

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A year after being struck and killed by a drunk driver, a Queens cyclist was remembered on Sunday.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis attended a rally and ride, which also pushed for safer streets.

Michael Reyes keeps his father close to his heart.

"He was a good dad," Reyes said. "Sometimes he took me to the park with his bicycle and my bicycle."

Gelasio Reyes
Gelasio Reyes (Photo: CBS2)

But now all the 9-year-old and his siblings have are memories.

"We're gonna remember my dad," Michael said.

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Father and husband Gelasio Reyes was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The 32-year-old was riding his bike home from his job.

"It was surreal, honestly. I literally spoke to him the day before for work," said Klodian Behrami, the general manager at Oaxaca Taqueria.

A year later, cyclists were meeting at the restaurant to take the same trek to Queens that Gelasio Reyes did regularly. Even strangers showed up.

"Any one of us could be the next victim," said Jake deGroot of Sunnyside, Queens.

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The ride ended with a rally at the intersection of 39th Street and 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside, where Gelasio Reyes was killed. It's the same place where another cyclist was struck days later.

"One death and one injury at the same intersection in such a short time really was a wake-up call for the community," said Macartney Morris, the chairman of the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives.

A ghost bike is set near where Reyes was killed to honor his memory, but also to serve as a silent statement in support of cyclists.

"We should do more for skillmen, 43rd Avenue so cyclists in the future don't have the same thing happen to them," Transportation Alternatives organizer Juan Restrepo said.

Transportation Alternatives is pushing for more bike lanes on city streets.

"I don't think anyone should die just because they walked across the street or because they rode a bike," Morris said.

Restrepo said the symbolism of laying down flowers in Gelasio's memory was "to help give it a little more life and color, just like Gelasio Reyes, who had a life full of color as well."

Transportation Alternatives said the Department of Transportation studied the intersection last year. It is waiting to see if any changes will be made.

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