LOWER MAKEFIELD >> Close to 200 bicyclists pedaled silently through the township Saturday afternoon in remembrance of 14-year-old Josh Goldinger who was killed by a car this summer while he was biking through his neighborhood.
Escorted by the Lower Makefield Police Department, a group of Josh’s friends led the "Tribute Ride of Silence" east on Edgewood Road and then south on Makefield Road passing by the site where Josh lost his life on North Homestead Drive.
Many of the riders wore green, Josh’s favorite color, as they biked the same streets Josh biked to promote safety in the community and remind all motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists that “we are neighbors on the roads in LMT and to act accordingly.”
Among the riders was Josh’s dad, Scott, who rode with family friend Mike Brody and his son, Max.
Prior to the ride, Goldinger thanked the bikers who turned out for the event and township parents Danielle Stinson, Michael Brody, Kevin Treiber and Ken Boyle who organized the ride with the help of Bike Bucks County, Bucks Safe Kids and Lower Makefield Township.
He also thanked the community for its outreach following the death of his son. “It has certainly been helpful during a very difficult time,” he said.
“For those who didn’t know Josh he’d be acting goofy with the squad right over there,” he said pointing to a group of Josh’s friends wearing white shirts. “He’d probably be doing an ‘I love you dad’ or an ‘I love you mom’” said Goldinger making a gesture with his hand. “We miss him. I’m sure all of you do as well.”
Looking around at all the bicyclists gathered for the event at the entrance to the township pool, he added, “This is a great tribute to him. And there will be many more. There’s that old slogan that says if someone deals you lemons, make lemonade. Unfortunately we’re trying to make lemonade ... We’re looking forward to better times. This is a start. We have a long road ahead of us.”
Lower Makefield Supervisor Kristin Tyler, referring to the large turnout of bicyclists, turned to the Goldinger family and said, “I hope you can look out at this crowd today and see that your community is full of love and support. All you need to do is ask and I’m sure many will be there to help you.
“This is a very sober moment,” Tyler continued, shifting her remarks to the parents and children participating in the ride.
“You have to follow the rules of the road. You have to wear your helmet. You have to be careful and aware,” she said. “As you ride today I hope you will take with you the knowledge and understanding that what you are learning today can keep you alive.”
Ken Boyle, who helped organize the event through Bike Bucks County, underscored the importance of safety and awareness in preventing such a tragedy from happening again.
“We’re here to honor the life of a young man who left our community way to soon,” said Boyle. “We’re also here to remind ourselves and our neighbors as we ride that the roads are there for all of us - walkers, bicycles and cars - and that we must act like neighbors on the roads.”
Mike Brody, a family friend of the Goldinger’s who helped organize the event in memory of Josh, expressed thanks to Boyle and Bike Bucks County, Safe Kids Bucks, the Lower Makefield Police Department and Firehouse Cycles for helping with the ride.
He also thanked State Rep. Perry Warren and Supervisors Tyler and John Lewis for participating in the event. And he thanked Makefield School for participating in a bike safety program, which he hopes will be expanded to include other schools in the township.
“Josh was a phenomenal spirit full of energy. When I was around he was rarely silent,” said Brody. “He listened to music if he wasn’t making music. His laugh was infectious. Now it’s silent.”
Speaking to the participants, he said, “As you ride in silence I want you to think about what you did this morning, think about what you’ll do tonight, think about who hugged you and who kissed you, think about what it is you want to do and think about what it would be like not to be able to do any of those things.
“We can’t give hugs to Josh,” he said. “We can’t say we love you. He can’t say it to us. No more blogs, skateboarding, Snapchats or music,” said Brody. “Please think. How will this tragedy change you? What will you act differently in the future? When you’re driving your car, maybe a little more patience for other drivers and other road users. When you see a pedestrian or bicyclist maybe you’ll give way just a little bit more and when you’re walking or riding your bike or skateboarding around town maybe you’ll be more aware of cars and people around you. We all surely hope so.
“Nobody can change what happened,” continued Brody, “but we can all try to use this opportunity to change the future for the better for all of us as neighbors in LMT. No words. Just hugs,” he said.