Tragically, Allston was also where Wallace’s life ended. The 24-year-old Methuen native was a casualty of a deadly bicycle accident on May 6 at the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Cambridge Street. Two “ghost bike” memorials now stand at the accident site in her memory.
“[She was] sarcastic, energetic, lighthearted and young at heart,” said her friend, Heather MacKinnon. “She was admired by every girl, and desired by every guy. She was one of those people that just got along with every single person possible and just had nothing wrong with her. She really did not have any bad qualities. She was one-in-a-million in every sense of the word.”
Her friend, Zack Smith, agreed. “She was a beautiful person all around,” he said. “So down- to-earth and extremely positive, but not in an unrealistic way.”
Though she lived in Somerville, Wallace spent a lot of time in Allston. Her boyfriend and many other friends lived there, and she loved the “alternative” arts and music scene that centered around Harvard Avenue and Franklin Street.
Tragically, Allston was also where Wallace’s life ended. The 24-year-old Methuen native was a casualty of a deadly bicycle accident on May 6 at the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Cambridge Street. Wallace was struck by a car while riding around trying to find a friend. Although her 93-pound body survived the initial impact, her injuries were severe, and she later died of her injuries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Two “ghost bike” memorials now stand at the accident site in her memory. Festooned with flowers, notes, pictures and record albums, the unassuming, silent markers are a small symbol of a huge tragedy. Unfortunately, they barely seem to register with passersby rushing up and down Cambridge Street — busily to-ing and fro-ing, they are unaware of the heartbreak in their midst and the girl with the big heart whose life was sadly cut short.
In a strange twist, Wallace was a friend of artist Gordon Riker, another cyclist who was killed recently on Huntington Avenue in Boston. “She knew him and was affected by his death,” MacKinnon said. Ironically, Wallace posted a message on her blog after Riker’s death, pleading with her bike-riding friends to be careful.
As a tribute to both Wallace and Riker, Zack Smith created an organization called HELL, short for Helping Everyone Live Longer. The aim of HELL is to help prevent people from dying in accidents by promoting bike safety and giving out free helmets.
“With better safety equipment and driver responsibility, hopefully we can better the odds of survival in a terrible accident,” Smith wrote in a message on his Web site.
Smith is busily raising money to buy and distribute helmets for free to anyone who wants them. In the three weeks since Wallace’s death, the organization has already raised $1,300, and plans to hold its first helmet giveaway on June 2 at Proletariat in Harvard Square. Helmets will also be sold and given away though the HELL Web site, www.hellmets.org.
Smith is adamant that everyone needs to do more to keep cyclists safe, whether it be the city, drivers or cyclists themselves.
“[Bike safety] is such a big issue,” Smith said. “There are a lot of bad intersections. So many people bike, and it’s the best way to get around the city, but the city hasn’t done anything to take that into account except for a few places in Cambridge. Drivers have to be more aware, too.”
Furthermore, Smith hopes that cyclists get past their vanity and put a helmet on, because it may save their lives.
“Cyclists have to get away from fashion,” he said. “Safety has to come before fashion.”
With this in mind, the free helmets he is distributing are adorned with funky tattoo-like stencil designs. The kind of thing Kelly Wallace would have loved.
Want to learn more about bike safety?
District 14 Police will be holding their 10th annual children’s safety bike ride on Saturday, June 2. Registration is at 10 a.m., and the ride begins at 11 a.m. Meet at the rear of the station at 301 Washington St., Brighton. Open to boys and girls age 6 to 12. T-shirts and refreshments will be offered. Don’t forget your bike helmet.
Need a bike helmet?
Franciscan Hospital for Children is offering free bicycle helmets in preparation for the summer months. The helmets were donated through the Statewide Bicycle Helmet Distribution Program from the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau.
A total of 100 helmets of various sizes will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Children must be measured for helmets and will receive some educational material about safety. These helmets are free of charge, as they have been donated to Franciscan Hospital for Children by the GHSB.
Anyone interested in receiving a helmet should report to the Pediatric Clinic on the first floor on Monday, June 11, 2-5 p.m., at the hospital, 30 Warren St. Boston.
Franciscan Hospital also offers bicycle helmets at $5 each at all other times by appointment. To make an appointment, call 617-779-1500.
Honoring Kelly Wallace
To find out more about the HELL giveaway and where donation boxes are located, go to www.hellmets.org. A memorial concert for Kelly Wallace is also being planned for June at the International Community Church in Allston. Call 617-782-8120 for more details.