9:44 PM CDT, May 19, 2010
It’s been nearly two weeks since the Huntsville bicycling community lost one of their own. Sharon Bayler was killed when a truck hit her from behind while she was riding in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
On Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., cyclists worldwide gathered to remember those who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. It’s called the Ride of Silence. Dozens of cyclists in Huntsville rode about eight miles through the city in remembrance of Bayler and many others who are no longer alive.
In this year’s Ride of Silence in Huntsville, organizer Jamie Miernik will be thinking of Sharon Bayler.
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“She was one of my best friends,” says Miernik.
Miernik says Bayler’s presence is greatly missed.
“We were friends and colleagues in advocacy for bicycling,” explains Miernik. “It’s a real big loss to the cycling community that Sharon isn’t here.”
Miernik hopes this effort will change the climate in the United States about bike riding on roads.
“If you go to Europe, you don’t get hassled by cars at all,” says Miernik. “They respect your right to the road. The right to the road is guaranteed in all 50 states in this country as well, but many of the people who drive their cars don’t know it, don’t believe it, or think that shouldn’t be so.”
After strapping on their helmets, turning on the bike safety lights and speaking the names of friends and loved ones who’ve passed on, the group of about 50 cyclists prepared for a somber, reverent ride. Once the silent procession began, the only sound was the wind and the rotating wheels of the bicycles.
In addition to the Huntsville Ride of Silence, Miernik says there were at least a dozen other rides of silence Wednesday evening in Alabama.
The first Ride of Silence was organized in Dallas, Texas in 2003, after cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.