The Ride of Silence, Wednesday, May 18th 2011

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Here's a scary statistic for you.

In 2009, 34 people were killed and 503 severely injured when they were hit by cars while walking in Chicago. Also in 2009, six bicyclists were killed and 165 injured severely after collisions with cars in Chicago.

We all know that feeling when a car gets too close, a horn blasts, the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you say a silent prayer to keep you safe.

Unfortunately, sometimes things turn bad, quickly and the worst case scenario plays out, a rider is killed or injured.

On May 18, 2011, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways.

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

Gary Gilbert, organizer of the Arlington Heights ride says, "The ride is silent, like a funeral procession, to honor those who have been killed or injured while riding a bicycle.  It promotes the fact that cyclists have the right and obligations of being a vehicle on the streets.   The ride is very uplifting in the same way that some funerals are celebrations of life.  We are making a strong, but silent statement, that cyclists are on the roads,  have a right to be on the roads, but we understand that cyclists do die while riding and we all need to look out for one another.  One motto of the ride is LET THE SILENCE ROAR. Silence in the busy noisy world is an effective message."

Locally there are going to be several Rides Of Silence that you can participate in.  Here are the details.

Locally there are going to be several rides in different locations for you to participate in: Arlington Heights,  Bartlett, Chicago, Evanston, Joliet, Peoria and Urbana.  Click here for all the ride details.

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Joliet organizer Sara Jo Briese shared her story with us.  "The afternoon of the Ride of Silence in 2005, I heard about the RofS taking place in Research Triangle Park, NC, 1 1/2 miles from where I lived.  I went by myself and didn't know anyone.  I called my Mom that evening and told her how touched I was by the experience.  I asked her to think about hosting a RofS in Joliet (near where I grew up).  Eight days later she was killed by an 88 year old motorist while leading her Joliet Bicycle Club ride as she had for 12+ years.  Never in a million years would I believe that I would be hosting the Ride of Silence, Joliet for my best friend, bike pal and sewing buddy in 2006.  This is my 5th year hosting the RofS, Joliet.  It was a senseless tragedy.  The driver walked away free of any responsibility and no charges.  Hard to believe once you know the rest of the story.  It was a farce in the legal system and justice was not served."

Ride of Silence, Chicago from Steve Veach on Vimeo.

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no
faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There are no
sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during
National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police
and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public
roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have
been killed or injured.

We all have training plans, work and
hectic lives, however this is a great opportunity to take an hour and
pay respect to fellow bikers who have been injured or killed. 

See you
out there.

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