Cramer & Anderson attorneys and staff participated in the annual Danbury Ride of Silence May 15 to honor their friend and colleague David P. Burke, who died from injuries as the result of a tragic cycling accident in March of 2016.
Burke was a longtime partner at the firm and an avid cyclist who routinely traveled to Europe to cycle in the Pyrenees and the Alps over many of the same routes used in the Tour de France. He left an indelible legacy in both the legal and cycling communities.
Cramer & Anderson Partner Bill Franklin summed up Burke’s legal acumen the best: “People knew he was a hard advocate and would push for his clients, but he did it as a gentlemen.”
Participating in the Ride of Silence each year gives the Cramer & Anderson family an opportunity to recognize the importance of cycling safety, while at the same time remembering David Burke and reflecting on his legacy.
“David was a great friend. I could always count on him for advice and guidance or a good laugh. He had a tremendous sense of humor. I miss him,” said Partner Kim Nolan, who cycled with Burke frequently and thinks of him often.
Burke was cycling near Bantam Lake on Route 209 in Morris on the morning of March 12, 2016, when his bike hit a pothole and he was propelled into a guardrail. He was flown by Life Star helicopter to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, where he died March 15, 2016, his 63rd birthday.
“Cramer & Anderson started participating shortly after David Burke’s passing to honor him and others,” said Attorney Nolan, who coordinates the firm’s participation in the Ride of Silence.
The Danbury Ride of Silence covers 5.1 miles through Danbury and Bethel. Participants met at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury at 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. departure. Attorney Nolan said cyclists don’t have to pre-register for the Ride of Silence each year and can simply show up.
In all there were 227 confirmed rides held this year in towns and cities around the world to honor bicyclists who have been killed or injured on the roads, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety.
According to the Ride of Silence website, Chris Phelan organized the first ride in Dallas in 2003 after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and killed.
“The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no registration fees,” the website says. “The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.”
In addition to participating in the Danbury Ride of Silence each year, Cramer & Anderson has promoted cycling safety and honored Attorney Burke by donating cycling safety signs to western Connecticut municipalities in an initiative led by Partner John D. Tower.
Signs have been donated to New Milford, Danbury, and Morris, the town where Attorney Burke’s fatal accident occurred.
In presenting the signs to Morris officials in a September 2017 meeting, Partners Perley Grimes and Dolores Schiesel, an avid cyclist, recalled Attorney Burke as a Renaissance man who loved cycling, skiing, French cooking and photography, among other passions.
The reflective yellow roadside signs say, “3 feet – it’s the law,” a way of highlighting the Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-232(a) requirement that motorists must respect the rights of cyclists and grant them a “safe distance” of at least 3 feet when passing.
“If these signs help to avoid even one tragic accident they will be invaluable,” Partner Dan Casagrande told the Danbury City Council in 2018. “We hope it’s the start of a groundswell of support and recognition to share the road.”
Based in western Connecticut, Cramer & Anderson has a hometown sensibility, a strong regional presence, and a worldly outlook in Practice Areas extending from Personal Injury to Real Estate, Estate Planning, Divorce & Family Law, and much more. In addition to a flagship office on the Green in New Milford, the firm has offices in Danbury, Litchfield, Kent, Washington Depot, and Ridgefield, serving Fairfield County. For more information, see the website at crameranderson.com or call the New Milford office at (860) 355-2631.