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Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007

In Memoriam
By MIKE MILIARD  |  May 24, 2007

REMEMBERED: Wallace, left; a memorial “ghost bike,” right.

Kelly Wallace had a lot of friends. In the Merrimack Valley. In Somerville. In Allston. “Everyone knew her,” says pal Erik Lipson. “She had friends down in Florida, up in New Hampshire. In California. In Chicago.”

One of those friends was Gordon Riker, an artist from Boston-via-Halifax who was killed while riding his bike on Huntington Avenue on April 4.

The day after Riker died, Wallace wrote a message on her MySpace blog.

“I can’t even believe this. Gordon was such a safe rider. I even made fun of him for wearing a helmet before, but he laughed at me for NOT wearing one. . . . So to all my friends, all over the country, riding bikes . . . please be careful.”

Kelly Wallace was killed on May 6, after her bike was hit by a car in a crosswalk at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Harvard Avenue, in Allston. Near that spot, a stark white “ghost bike” stands in her memory, adorned with handwritten notes and a profusion of blooming flowers.

It’s the second fatal bicycle accident in Boston in a month. But no newspaper besides the Eagle-Tribune, from near Wallace’s hometown of Methuen, seemed to notice. Why?

“A lot of people who knew Kelly, or who didn’t but [who] care about Boston bike issues,” says her friend Carolyn Zaikowski, “are really confused and sad that there hasn’t been any coverage of this.”

Kelly Wallace loved animals. She loved her dog, Zero, and her two rats, Sophie and Chloe. She loved books and writing poetry. “Music and reading and words,” says friend Nikkie Wordell. “Those were her life.”

And she loved music. Everything from the Beatles to the Misfits. Kid Dynamite. Bane. Converge. “She went to shows all the time,” says her friend Jamie Press. “She was the smallest girl ever, maybe 100 pounds. And she would be on top of people, crawling to the front of the stage to sing into the microphone.”

“We used to call her our little scene queen; if there was a show, she was there,” says Wordell. “We really clicked and got along because we were both really sarcastic. She was also really caring. Always there to give you advice.”

“She didn’t always have the easiest life herself,” says friend Gina Luciano. “So it was really cool that she put everyone in front of herself.”

“Kelly was just amazing, from point A to point B,” says Bob Tyrrell, who was with her the night she died. “She was absolutely gorgeous. Every dude I know had a crush on her. She was really into tattoos; she had some awesome ink. She was just a great person and would always make you smile.”

As Wallace’s friends commemorate her life with new tattoos, mix CDs of her favorite songs, and memorial concerts (one is being planned for June at the International Community Church, in Allston), they’re also working to make sure her death was not in vain.

Immediately after the accident, Zack Smith established the Kelly Wallace Memorial Fund, a nonprofit to buy and distribute bike helmets for free. Already, the fund has raised nearly $1000, he says. At — that’s H-E-L-L: “Helping Everyone Live Longer” — you can donate money or buy a helmet for yourself at cost.

Jaffney Roode, a bike messenger, didn’t know Wallace, but her death, along with Riker’s, hit home. So she’s organized a meeting on June 10 at the Democracy Center (45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge) to talk about how to make Boston’s streets safer.

In the meantime, wear a helmet. And remember Kelly Wallace’s own words: “please please please be careful.”

  Topics: This Just In , Kelly Wallace , Gordon Riker , Culture and Lifestyle ,  More more >
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Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
Kelly Wallace, she really was one in a million and i feel so lucky to be one of the handful of best friend's she has. She and my boyfriend Bob Tyrrell were on a mission that night, to find me. I love her and miss her more than words. This aricle is amazing and i wish, like Mike mentioned, more and more newspapers will follow along and put the word out about this tragedy.
By heatherhorrible on 05/23/2007 at 8:37:47
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
in addition to everything mentioned in the article, kelly wallace was a beautiful soul with an unusually big heart who would have done anything for the people and animals she loved. she was tiny but her presence was so huge, compassionate, energetic, and real. We love you so much Kelly.
By everyone on 05/24/2007 at 10:30:15
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
Incredibly sad story. My thoughts go out to all her family and friends. I read about Gordon's death also and as a cyclist myself wondered why the absence of any media attention. I really think people in cars don't give a damn about bicyclists unfortunately. Its a shame about these two young and good people. R.I.P.
By lyn on 05/24/2007 at 11:47:34
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
I didn't know Kelly, but many of my friends did. It's sad that there have been two bicycle deaths already this year in Boston. It just goes to show you how horribly inadequate the streets are in Boston when it comes to cyclists. I bike to and from work every day, and I also run errands around the city, logging an average of 30 miles per day, and everyday I narrowly avoid at least one accident because there aren't any bike lanes, or because the potholes are so bad that I have to dart in and out of traffic just to avoid them. Adding to the danger are Boston's notoriously bad drivers, who often seem more concerned with talking on their cell phones or cutting off other drivers than they do with minding their surroundings and looking out for pedestrians or cyclists.
By JP on 05/24/2007 at 1:51:18
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
Thank you for the article, Mike. I love you and I miss you, Kelly.
By gina on 05/24/2007 at 9:04:03
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
i am kelly wallace's mother. my daughter was an amazing young woman. she was really a free- spirit and i adored her. life will never be the same without her. i am so pround of all the kids that are keeping her memory alive. thank-you for this wonderful article.
By jeannie payton on 05/25/2007 at 7:27:03
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
I was brought to tears reading this. Thank you Mike for bringing these tragic accidents to our attention and also reporting on bike safety and some of the things that have evolved from these terrible losses. ALso- on a personal note- of late I have taken to riding without my helmut. And I have a 5 year old to live for along with everything else. I will never not wear it again. I am sorry it took this article to help me regain my common sense when it comes to biking safety.
By miiki on 05/26/2007 at 7:59:58
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
Thank you for taking the time to write about Kelly. She was one of the most amazing friends I ever have had and ever will have. There was never a dull moment with her, she could always make anyone smile and laugh and I'll never forget her. I hope word spreads and more newspapers bring this to the media and public's attention. It is an absolute tragedy, not to mention a month before with Gordon's accident. Clearly it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Thanks again, I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else.
By amandabrutal on 05/26/2007 at 10:37:32
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
I just read the story about Kelly's death and my heart goes out to everyone who cared for her. I live in Brighton off of Cambridge St. and I drive through the intersection where she was killed all the time. I am constantly amazed at how unaware and/or aggressive other drivers are when they pass through this spot and, unfortunately, not surprised to here that someone was finally hurt as a result. I noticed the bike memorial with all of the flowers a few weeks ago, but had not seen any mention of the accident by the local media. I am glad that Mr. Miliard has made it a point to cover this story, therby making people more aware of the issues surrounding safe biking in this city, as well as providing Kelly's friends an opportunity to share a bit about her personality and their memories of her. The article gives people in the community a little window into the life of this special person who was tragically taken in such an avoidable accident, as well as an increased incentive to be alert and aware whenever we are on the road.
By on 05/31/2007 at 11:59:21
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
this is kelly's mother again. just wanted to comment on an article that i read yesterday. some jerk was trying to say that it was kelly's fault she was hit and killed. i was so angry!! this person had no idea the true way kelly died. if he is reading this, i want him to know that kelly was doing nothing wrong on her bike, the driver of the car came all the way across numerous roads to kill her,kelly was the victim in this accident. how can people be so insensitive! kelly was such an amazing girl and should still be with us. thank god for the people who knew and loved kelly, lets all keep telling all the wonderful things about her and always remember kelly was a victim!!!!!
By jeannie on 06/11/2007 at 3:51:25
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
Benefit Show for Kelly Wallace June 22nd Gaythorne Hall(Knights of Columbus) 426 Broadway Methuen Ma. 7pm $10 Harder the Fight Dogfight U.S. Finisher Movers and Shakers
By Sam_Hall on 06/14/2007 at 3:25:05
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
im so sorry for what happened to kelly. when i found out i just felt so sick. the time in my life in which i knew her was brief, but the impact she has left me with is much greater. the memories that i have of hanging out with her are sacred to me now, i will hold on to them so tight. i moved far away from the place i knew her a long time ago, the friends that surround me now never knew her, its harder when you dont really have anyone around to share your stories and memories with, its just makes the pain more bearable when you do. my deepest sympathy goes to kelly and all of her friends, to those iv known and to those i never knew and i wish all of you to live long, long lives and to take happiness where you can get it and try not to let the ugliness that life can bring take away your hearts. to her mother jeannie i am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. i hope you are doing ok or at least as good as you can be in a time like this. im sure you have many that love you and i hope you find happiness in their company. when i got the news of kellys death i was so worried for you and im glad that i can communicate my feelings to you in some way.
By bart on 06/15/2007 at 8:56:17
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
I used to live next door to Kelly, when she was 4 and I was 8 on Pease AFB, NH. We played together EVERYDAY. When I had to move 2 yrs later, I was walkin to my car to leave forever, she came running yellin WAIT!!and gave me a little purple mirror, to remember her by and candy for my trip. A 6 yr old thought of that?? I've thought about her and of her constantly since then!! Becuz I am a military brat, people always ask me, out of all the places I've lived, which was my favorite? I always always always always answer New Hampshire & when asked why? I never could say why, but I'll try... New Hampshire to me is a feeling. I have never ever been able to find the feeling of pure FUN, silly fun, innocent fun, no competion fun, a carefree feeling of true 100% carefree happiness since N.H. The the reason for that wonderful wonderful unmatched since feeling, is all becuz of Kelly Wallace. For 20 yrs I have always thought of & missed Kelly. I willl continue to, for as long as I live. See u heaven little girl!!
By Manda on 06/20/2007 at 7:34:22
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
the sunday after kelly was killed was mothers day. we arrived back from boston in the early morning of mothers day and i immediately started trying to find anything that kelly had wrote me or made for me. the very first thing i found was the poem she had written for me last mothers day. i would like to share this beautiful poem with everyone.......... a poem for my mom by kelly with love... only certain words can describe it, its the way i feel for you, its a love greater than no other, its a bond that can't be broke. it all started when i was young, and keeps going even when i'm older, it all started when you became my mom, right then i knew you loved me. you're the one i'll always trust, the one who keeps my secrets. you're the one who always looked out for me, you've taught me all my discipline. even though at times i hated it, but hey i needed it, i'm a kid. you've granted me with great wishes, supplied me with 2 loving dads, what more can i ask for except for your always forgiving........i love you forever and ever, your loving daughter, kelly.
By on 07/11/2007 at 5:15:42
Kelly Wallace, 1983-2007
First, I'm really sorry to hear about Kelly Anne. I'm amazed there wasn't more in the Globe and local Allston publications--I didn't know about the accident until I stumbled across the memorial at the corners of Allston and Harvard and did QUITE a few Google searches. Having had the experience of driving in Boston, and knowing how scary it is, I can't imagine riding a bike around the city. I won't let my hubby ride a bike in Boston--and he agrees with me for now after hearing Kelly's story. I'd totally support it (my dad owns a bicycle shop in my home state too, btw) if there were bike paths/lanes for people. Until then, I'm not willing to risk being a widow. That being said, I have one key complaint. I recognize how important it is for those who are grieving to remember the dead. I do take issue with the memorial at the place of the accident. Getting off the 66 Bus everyday, I've lost count of how many people have had trouble getting off without hitting the two bicycles, dozens of flowers, etc. I've seen pedestrians almost accidentally get tripped on it, I've seen disabled people (wheelchairs, walkers) have to navigate around it...last, I've seen bicyclists have to swerve to avoid it! Keep in mind there are often two buses stopping at a time at that stop (several lines serve that intersection) and riders must get off farther behind the corner. It may not seem like a lot to contend with if there are two people or so around that corner, but during rush hour, etc, it can be challenging if there are large numbers of people getting off buses, crossing streets, walking dogs, jogging, etc. in that location. What is going to happen, furthermore, when winter comes and there is snow and ice to contend with? I don't think that people or public works should have to deal with that. If maintaining a memorial is important, I take no issue with the pictures on the lightpole, utility box, even the spraypaint on the sidewalks and asphalt. I take huge issue with the styrofoam cups getting knocked and blown all over the sidewalks and streets. It just looks trashy. Please be respectful of the neighborhood. We aren't all just drunken college students who don't care about our home area. Invest in a banner that says "You are Beautiful" if you want to tie to the fence. And above all, don't add to the tragedy by creating further hazards for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. My family and the neighbors understand why the items are there--but can it be executed in a manner that doesn't impede any effort to keep the streets clean and is environmentally friendly? Thanks and godspeed.
By Allston Issy on 09/19/2007 at 10:50:39

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