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Ride of Silence works to raise bike safety awareness

Ride of Silence works to raise bike safety awareness
Seventeen bike riders stop to pose for a photo Wednesday evening during the annual Ride of Silence, held each year to honor those bicyclists who have been killed or injured while riding, and to raise awareness of bike safety and bicyclists’ right to use public streets and roads. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

Seventeen bicyclists rode at a measured pace through Charles City Wednesday evening. Virtually the only sound they made was their bike chains engaging sprockets and the occasional shifting of gears.

The 2019 Ride of Silence took off from and ended at the Charles City High School parking lot. The annual ride is held in memory of riders who have been killed or injured while riding, and to raise awareness among motorists of bicyclists’ presence on the road and their right to share it.

Bob Krueger, a dedicated cyclist who organizes the ride each year, started this year’s event by talking about the Iowa Bike Coalition.

The group’s purpose is to promote cycling in Iowa as safe and enjoyable recreation and transportation. One of its current focuses is on finding safe ways for children to ride bicycles to and from school, Krueger said.

The coalition is dedicated to informing people that bicyclists have a legal right to use the public roads, but also informing riders that they have a responsibility to follow traffic laws.

“Experienced, knowledgeable cyclists should take the responsibility to educate other cyclists through formal instruction, personal interaction and by setting a good example in the safe and efficient operation of their bicycles,” the coalition says.

The Ride of Silence began in Dallas in 2003 to honor a bicyclist there who had been killed when hit by the mirror of a school bus that passed him. Since then the annual ride has grown to include thousands of riders in hundreds of cities around the world.

The ride is a low-key, no registration required, just show up and participate event. The only guidelines are to go no faster than 10-12 mph so everyone can keep up, to wear bike helmets and follow traffic rules, and to remain silent during the ride.

The ride is held on the third Wednesday of May, during National Bike Month.