RADOFRD, Va. – With the warmer weather, cyclists are returning to the roads.
According to the CDC, each year, nearly 1,000 people are killed and 130,000 are injured in bicycle crashes on roadways in the U.S.
That’s why the Ride of Silence, which is happening Wednesday all across the country, is hoping to raise awareness for bicycle safety.
The Ride Of Silence honors cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on the road. In Radford, there will be a 7-mile, slow-paced ride through and around Bisset Park. There will be a police escort to make sure everyone is safe.
This is the 15th year that the city is putting on this ride.
Liz Altieri has helped plan this ride every year since it started in Radford in 2009. She said this is important to her because she was friends with Dr. Fess Green, a Radford professor who was killed in a cycling incident in 2008.
“We all loved Fess because he was very much a part of pathways for Radford. He was the main steward of Wildwood Park and helped build a lot of trails there. So we are one of the hundreds of rides of silence that happen throughout the United States and the world,” said Altieri.
At the entrance to Bisset Park, there is a Ghost Bike Memorial set up in honor of Green. The white bike represents the rider who couldn’t be there.
The ride is held during National Bike Month to also make drivers aware that cyclists have a legal right to the public roads.
“We hope that it is not just bicyclists that take something away, but the whole community who recognizes that we share the roadway, that we don’t have dedicated bike trails everywhere throughout our community,” Altieri said. “That oftentimes whether we are riding for pleasure or as transportation, we ask everybody to be aware and to be looking for bicyclists who are on the road.”
Last July, the Virginia Bicycling Safety Act went into effect. Some of the key points are that drivers are required to pass bicyclists at least 3 feet to the left of the cyclist. If this cannot be done, the driver must safely change lanes when passing.
Also, cyclists are allowed to travel together, whereas before they were required to ride single file. Now, two riders can ride side by side.
The Ride of Silence is free and anyone is encouraged to join in. If you would like to participate, you can meet at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Sal’s.