This year's Ride of Silence, which takes place tomorrow, will be supported by professional riders at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de l'Aude. The annual ride takes place on the 20th of May across the United States and in various locations around the world to commemorate cyclists killed each year on the world's roads and to campaign for greater tolerance of cyclists right to be on the road.
Team Columbia-Highroad men’s and women’s teams will wear black armbands at the Giro and Tour de l'Aude on May 20th to commemorate the Ride of Silence and to help raise global awareness of road safety.
Michael Barry, a veteran Columbia-Highroad rider from Canada, will participate as the world watches his team continue to race in the 21-stage Giro d’Italia where two of its riders Thomas Lövkvist and Michael Rogers are in 2nd and 3rd places in the general classification respectively. “I have been around cycling my entire life. It’s a special community of people from all around the world, and it feels great to do something to help raise awareness of the importance of vehicles and cyclists safely sharing the road.”
Rides of Silence will takes place at 7PM local time in locations across the globe although the vast majority will be in the US. The rides take the form of cyclists riding slowly in formation to remember cyclists killed on the roads “with the goal of raising awareness that cyclists also use the roads and to encourage drivers to share the roads with consideration..” according to the RoS website.
Given the times of the races the Columbia Highroad riders' participation will not be at the usual 7PM local and nor will they be riding at less then 12Mph – their participation will give the ride an even higher profile than usual.
The complete Columbia-Highroad Giro squad includes Michael Barry (Can), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), Mark Cavendish (GB), Thomas Lovkvist (Swe), Marco Pinotti (Ita), Morris Possoni (Ita), Mark Renshaw (Aus), Michael Rogers (Aus), and Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Byl).
The women’s team at De L’Aude include Kate Bates (Aus), Chantal Beltman (Hol), Emilia Fahlin (Den), Luise Keller (Ger), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger), Linda Villumsen (Den).
Cyclist Eric Little approached the team to ask their support following a near fatal accident with a car. “I wanted to use my example to speak up for those who can no longer speak out about road safety. Thousands of cyclists are injured or killed each year by careless drivers; it’s possible for both groups to use the roads without devastating families.”
Asked why he approached the pro team he said, “I wanted to create more awareness for all those injured or killed by drivers and I thought, what better way than to reach out through cyclists everyone universally respects?”
The Ride of Silence is a free, world-wide, slow-speed memorial to commemorate all cyclists injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. The ride begins at 7:00 pm local time with the goal of raising awareness that cyclists also use the roads and to encourage drivers to share the roads with consideration.
The first Ride of Silence took place in Dallas in 2003 when cyclist Larry Schwartz was died after being hit by a school bus mirror and his friend Chris Phelan decided to hold a ride to remember not only Larry, but all those cyclists killed on the roads. The first ride took place just less than three weeks after Larry Schwatz's death, it was organised by email and over the internet – over 1,000 people turned up for what was planned to be a one time event.
The idea took hold though and the next year more than fifty rides were organised across the US las year that number rose to nearly 300 and there were rides in 18 countries and all 7 continents, although curiously Europe has remained strangely resistant to the phenomenon. There have been rides in the UK but they have been few and far between.
Ride of Silence founder Chris Phelan said, "I began the Ride of Silence to show that each cyclist is a member of a larger community. We're doctors, lawyers, co-workers, husbands, wives and parents. Each time a cyclist is injured or, even worse, killed, that sends a ripple through the community.
Each accident hurts more than just one individual. The ride is held in silence to reflect that loss. Cyclists are part of the fabric of every community and the benefits of cycling, such as better health and reduced pollution, should make it a priority for more people everywhere."
The sponsorless ride is organized each year by volunteers. If you are organising a Ride of Silence in the UK we'd like to hear from you.
For more information on the Ride of Silence, visit the web site at:
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.