Ride of Silence to honor fallen bicyclists
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Local bicyclists hope to make a major statement while saying nothing at all Wednesday.
Bicyclists will gather in Glenwood Springs Wednesday for the Ride of Silence. It’s part of an international event to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured by motorists, and to emphasize the fact that cyclists have a legal right to be on the road.
Cyclists are planning to gather at Sayre Park and leave at 7 p.m. for a nine-mile tour of the city’s side streets. They’ll ride single file, and without saying a word. They’ll wear black armbands to show support for fallen cyclists. Those who have been injured themselves are being asked to wear red armbands.
Glenwood resident Noreen Steiner falls in that latter category. She suffered life-threatening injuries in 2001 in West Glenwood in an accident involving a truck.
“I’m gathering people from as far away as Breckenridge to ride,” she said.
Steiner said a cousin who is from New York will wear three red bands for accidents he has had involving motorists while on his bike.
She said the message of the need for motorists to be alert to cyclists “is absolutely of the utmost importance for our town.”
“We’re out there. People need to start paying attention because why wait for a death here to make any changes,” Steiner said.
The Ride of Silence was begun in 2003 in Dallas by Chris Phelan in a spontaneous reaction to the loss of a friend, Larry Schwartz. An endurance cyclist, Schwartz was killed by a bus while biking in Dallas.
More than 1,000 cyclists ended up turning out for the event, according to an article in Bicycling Retailer magazine. In the years since, the Ride of Silence has expanded to include hundreds of rides across the United States and in several other countries. This year will mark the event’s fifth anniversary.
The local ride is being organized by Jeff Neer, who is an owner of Canyon Bikes, a bicycle rental and shuttle service in Glenwood Springs. He thinks the event is a good way to bring attention to the issue of bicycle safety on streets that see a lot of cyclists.
“People are really into fitness in Glenwood and they’re doing a lot of biking,” he said.
Since he announced the event, he’s talked to about 20 people who are interested in joining on the ride.
“Initially, I thought, hey, if we have a dozen people that would be great, but I think we may have a lot of people. We may have 50, we may have 150. It’s really hard to tell,” Neer said.
He believes the event could send a powerful message.
“I think if you’re sitting on your front porch on Cooper Avenue and you see 50 bicyclists go by, all with black armbands, that’s going to make an impression. You’re going to go ‘What is that?’ and that’s the whole idea,” he said.
Steiner said she suffered a crushed pelvis and injuries to a knee and ankle in her accident.
“It took a long time to be able to ride again,” she said.
She commutes to her downtown job by bike.
“I do have to stay on the sidewalks a bit because it’s just too scary where people aren’t watching,” Steiner said.