DALLAS, TX (BRAIN)—Thousands of cyclists will pay tribute to those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways tonight during the worldwide Ride of Silence, now in its eighth year.
As of yesterday morning, some 282 rides across 50 states and 20 countries were scheduled for today, according to Ride of Silence founder Chris Phelan.
Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in 2003 to honor Larry Schwartz, an endurance cyclist who was hit and killed by a bus driver while on his bike in Dallas. With no registration and no fees, the White Rock Lake ride in Dallas drew 1,000 cyclists through word-of-mouth and email communication over 10 days. Today the Dallas ride attracts some 2,000 cyclists.
Phelan thought the ride was a one-time event. However, as word got out other cyclists began to contact him with a desire to hold rides in their own communities. “It’s grown so much, way beyond anyone’s imagination,” Phelan said. “The ride and the thought behind the ride definitely hit a nerve.”
The silent, slow-paced ride, held during National Bike Month, also aims to raise awareness that cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists. It’s held at the same time at every location—7 p.m. local time.
“I have been leading our local Ride of Silence for several years,” said David Watson, executive director of MassBike, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition. “The need for the ride, and the need for more attention to bicyclist safety was never more clear than last month when three bicyclists were hit in Boston, one of them fatally.” MassBike is leading the Boston-area Ride of Silence tonight.
Those interested in participating in their local Ride of Silence, which is free, can go to www.rideofsilence.org and click on locations to find the nearest one.