May 18th 2011
Last night cyclist gathered at Green Square Park for the 3rd Annual Ride of Silence that memorializes those who died while cycling. Although the weather had been cool for part of the week, Wednesday evening was warm for the ride. As the riders gathered, talk of people lost not only of last year but in past had moved around the cyclist. Linda Kulish and Gina Boebel dawned shirts with Matt’s name on it. He had died several year ago after being hit by a semi truck. Others sported black bands for those who died or red bands if they were involved in a traffic accident with a motorist.
The route started up third avenue to 19th street then down second avenue, navigating the detour successfully. Most of the motorist were gracious to the line of cyclist with only one group in a car heckling the riders. The police escort on bikes, provided by the city, swiftly handled the motorist and then rejoined the ride. The ride ended at Parlor City, the cyclist favorite stopping place, to continue the conversations of .loved ones and rides to come through out the year.
Like last year, this year I was impressed by the number of cyclist that showed up for the event. Moving through the course the group was silent except for the clicking of shoes clipping in and out of peddles as they stopped and started at traffic lights. Bystanders watched quietly with a random person calling out , “Why are there so many people on bikes riding down the street?” A few, including me answering back “It is the Ride of Silence.”
On paper we had 30 people sign up but when you did a quick count I found there were as many cyclist, 70, as we had last year. Cedar Rapids was one of many cities that hosted the ride across the nation. For Cedar Rapids the ride started in 2009 but the original ride was created in early 2000 in Texas which grew nation wide from there. Last nights ride happened simultaneously in Iowa City, Des Moines, Mason City and Sioux City all riding in memory of a lost loved one making it collectively the largest ride for one cause.
As the days temperatures along with gas move up, there will be more and more cyclist out on the road. As a motorist please be aware of them and give cyclist plenty of room when passing. Bicycles are fun to ride and a great way to move around the city or trails while enjoy your surroundings. But cyclist also have the same responsibility to follow the rules of the road. To both motorist and cyclist, share the road, watch out for each other and maybe next year we will not have so many cyclist lost in traffic accidents.
Ride often, ride safe.