Ride of Silence honors bicyclists, promotes safety

The International Ride of Silence started in 2003 in Dallas, Texas. It's held annually on the third Wednesday in May and has grown to include hundreds of locations worldwide.

Posted: May 15, 2019 11:29 PM
Updated: May 16, 2019 10:46 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Bicyclists in Eugene and Corvallis hit the road Wednesday evening to honor their loved ones and raise awareness for bicycle safety.

Every year, bicyclists around the world participate in the Ride of Silence. Here in Eugene, cyclist Aaron Franklin said he's riding for his brother, Ryan, who was hit by a motorist in Idaho in 2016.

"If no one ever had to go through what my family goes through daily, that would be fantastic," Franklin said.

Another cyclist, Marina Hejek, lost her 10-year-old son 12 years ago while he was trying to cross Bailey Hill Road in Eugene and he was hit by a 16-year-old driver.

"You could see 125 feet of skid marks," Hejeck said. "It was too late for him. Too late for my son."

The Ride of Silence is for them and every member of the biking community that has lost someone they love. Cyclists ride past memorials and ghost bikes that mark the places where cyclists were hit and killed by motorists, silently paying their respects for lost members of the biking community.

However, cyclists said the ride is also more than that.

"Hopefully rides like this kind of raise that awareness that if there is a cyclist in the lane ahead of you then you need to pay extra close attention," Franklin said.

That's why for Wednesday's ride, Eugene cyclists also wore vests made by Claire Roth with Better Eugene Springfield, that said 'may use full lane' rather than 'share the road.'

"Bicyclists do not have the protection that cars do," Roth said. "So, when you say share the road it makes it seem like there's an even playing field, and it's just not that way."

Eugene recently adopted the Vision Zero Action Plan, aiming for no loss of life or serious injury in Eugene's transportation system, and cyclists said they need the community's help to make that happen.

"Many say, oh, well, we cannot expect that there won't be -- that there will be zero fatalities," Hejeck said. "I say, well, but, do you want your child to be the one who will be killed. That's the question, no?"

Wednesday's ride ended on a positive note at the David Minor Theater in Eugene to watch the movie 'Why we Cycle' to inspire them and others to do what they can to make the streets safer for everyone.

The International Ride of Silence started in 2003 in Dallas, Texas. It's held annually on the third Wednesday in May and has grown to include hundreds of locations worldwide.

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