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SAN DIEGO — Cycling groups and supporters gathered in North Park Monday to share their grief over several recent cycling deaths while urging cities around the county to do more for cycling safety.

“The choice to ride should not cost us our lives,” said Elizabeth Mayer with Bike San Diego.

Groups at the event Monday said 12 cyclists have died this year in the San Diego area. In the last month, five cyclists were killed.

Laura Shinn, an architect at San Diego State University, was biking to work last Tuesday when a suspected DUI driver hit and killed her on Pershing Drive near Balboa Park. A ghost bike and memorial were placed in the area to honor her.

“It’s devastating,” said Kristen Victor, a friend of Shinn’s. “I rode my bike crying here today from Pacific Beach.”

Advocates say the City of San Diego is taking too long to begin projects that are already approved to make streets safer. They want the city to start building 25 miles of protected bike lanes every year.

“Cycling is fun, healthy and safe,” said Andy Hanshaw, with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “It just needs to be safer in our most dangerous areas.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria released a statement saying his administration “is establishing a new team to create bike lanes more quickly.”