Join the 20th annual Ride of Silence bike event May 18
Join Fox Valley Bicycle & Ski Club as they participate in the 20th anniversary of the Ride of Silence at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 18.
This is an international event celebrated in over 200 countries on the same day that aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways.
As described by the Ride of Silence organization, the mission of the Ride of Silence is to honor bicyclists killed/injured by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety. It was started in Dallas, Texas, in 2003, after bicyclist Larry Schwartz died after being struck by a school bus mirror. The first Ride of Silence was held in his memory a few weeks later with a thousand people attending.
Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves. The ride has several goals:
• To honor those who have been injured or killed;
• To raise awareness that we are here;
• To ask that we all share the road.
The ride, which is held during National Bike Month and in combination with the League of American Bicyclists and Ride Illinois, is a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, over 700 cyclists are killed on the road every year in the U.S.
In northeastern Illinois, bike fatalities rose from 12 in 2019 to 26 in 2020, due to not only the biking boom, but also vehicles traveling at higher speeds.
Riders will gather at 6 p.m. at the Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave. (Route 31) in Geneva.
A poem will be read, tributes will be issued, and then cyclists will ride at 7:00 pm in a silent, solemn, single-file procession of 8 miles (slow pace) through Geneva. Riders are asked not to speak during the entire ride, but arm signals will be used.
The Ride of Silence is similar to a funeral procession. The ride will focus on safety and be short and slow (7 miles, 10-12 miles per hour).
There will be no talking, only silence, to remember our fallen brothers and sisters. Cyclists are asked to wear helmets, subdued clothing (illumination devices such as safety vests or reflective clothing are a good idea), front and rear lights are recommended, and tributes to injured/deceased cyclists are welcome (signs, posters, flowers, etc.).
This is a free event but registration is required at www.rideofsilence.org/main.php.
If you know of someone who has been killed or injured while riding a bicycle, please send their name and the date of the incident to ride leader Pat Sweeney at email@example.com. They will include his/her name in the opening poem.