Ride of Silence Remembers Cyclists Who Died on the Road

by M-Berens
A ghost bike commemorating a cyclist who was killed while sharing the road with motorists.

Ghost bikes can be found in many cities and memorialize the site where a cyclist was killed. The Ride of Silence is an annual event to remember those cyclists who were killed on the road.

The Ride of Silence… by Mike Murgas

Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight’s ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride

It started in 2003 at the funeral of Larry Schwartz, 38 years, who was killed while riding his bike in Dallas, Texas on May 1st of that year – a school bus mirror clipped him as it passed. Schwartz was a professional cyclist, he was wearing a helmet and in the end the school bus driver plead guilty to causing his death.

Chris Phelan, a friend of Larry Schwartz’s came up with the idea to hold an event in his honor that would also serve to remember all those who had been killed while sharing the road with motorists. Through word of mouth and email, in ten short days, 1,000 cyclists and runners of all ages came together to participate in the first Ride of Silence which was held just outside Dallas at 7 p.m. on May 21, 2003. “The air became thick with emotion” said Chris Phelan as the first Ride of Silence began, “In silence, they rode as one, remembering those that have gone before, themselves, and each other.”

Initially, Chris Phelan didn’t intend the Ride of Silence to be an annual event but the response was so overwhelming that 50 cities around the world wanted to participate in 2004 and so the Ride of Silence became an annual event on a global scale. In 2013, 372 locations in 26 countries on all continents took part in the Ride of Silence.

To find out if there will be a Ride of Silence in your area or for information on organizing one visit www.rideofsilence.org. The website provides all the information needed to arrange and register the event that takes place on the third Friday every May. The site also provides an “In Memoriam” section where family and friends can post photos, remembrances and links to websites in their honor.

Find out more: Ride of Silence

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