Ride of Silence speaks volumes about bike safety

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Bowling Green bicyclists hope to speak volumes with a Ride of Silence next week.

Since 2003, cyclists around the world have been holding the annual Ride of Silence to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling and to make people aware that cyclists are part of the roadway. This event is held worldwide on the same day, same time during Bike Safety Month.

The cyclists ride slowly and in silence.

This year in Ohio, 11 communities are participating, and for the first time, Bowling Green is joining in the ride.

“There could never be enough awareness of bicycle safety,” said Linda Kidd, a member of the Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission and organizer of the ride in the city. “This is a world-wide event and we couldn’t be happier to bring awareness to bicycle safety and honor those who have lost their lives in bicycling accidents.”

The Bowling Green Ride of Silence will be held on Wednesday, May 17, starting and ending at City Park. Bicyclists are asked to arrive at 6:30 p.m., and be ready for the ride to start at 7 p.m. The ride will cover 8.3 miles and travel at a slow pace, escorted by the Bowling Green Police Division and the Bowling Green State University Police Department.

Riders will pause at First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street, in memory of Eric Ramlow, who was killed in 2016 while riding on Sand Ridge Road. Ramlow was an active member of the church.

Prior to the start of the ride, those participating will also remember and honor others killed while bicycling, including Tom Santoro, Sierah Joughin, Douglas Kania, Matthew Billings, James Lambert, Emilee Gagnon, Harvey Bell III, Andy Gast, Jimmy Hughey and Jeff Roth.

The ride is supported by We Are Traffic, Maumee Valley Adventurers, Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission, Toledo Area Bicyclists and Bike 4 A Better BG.

Helmets are required. This event is free and open to the public, with no registration necessary.

Because the ride is slow and law enforcement holds back traffic at intersections, it is a safe ride for families and children. In previous years, more than 200 people have ridden together in Toledo. That group makes stops in Ottawa Hills and at Toledo Hospital to remember local citizens who have been killed. Ghost bikes may be part of the ride: bicycles painted white and parked on the route where they remind riders and drivers to be careful.

The first Ride of Silence was organized in 2003 by Chris Phelan in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

In addition to remembering those injured or killed, the rides are also intended to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways.

Bowling Green’s ride will start at City Park, turn right onto Conneaut Avenue, right onto Haskins Road, and right onto Poe Road. It will then continue right onto Mercer Road, left on Alumni Drive, then straight onto Campbell Hill Road, and right on Clough Street, where bicyclists will turn into the parking lot at First United Methodist Church to remember Ramlow.

Then cyclists will continue on Clough Street, turn right on Mercer Road, left on Wooster Street, right onto Wintergarden Road, right onto Conneaut Street, then end back at City Park.

A map of the Bowling Green route can be viewed at https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Lhn9fMBwnoQAz-iqrOQRAFubOg8&ll=41.3764135252045%2C-83.66146134215694&z=15

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