Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ride of Silence recap

Additional photos on our Flickr site
Yesterday evening between 200 and 300 bicyclists gathered at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the Ride of Silence. In beautiful weather, ride organizers Ray Scheinfeld and John Siemiarowski read the names and stories of the 7 riders killed by vehicles in the Delaware Valley over the past year (the most recent victim just earlier this month). As in previous years, Ray and John voiced the universally held sentiment that they hoped for no need for such a ride next year.

The assembled cyclists reflected the diversity to be found in bicycling if one takes the time to look. Students from Neighborhood Bike Works rode alongside Bicycle Coalition staff and volunteers, bike messengers, men and women in business attire just arriving from work, bike shop employees, and weekend club riders. The participants reflected the many different reasons and needs for bicycling, and lent additional poignancy to the ride's other purpose: reminding everyone that cyclists have a right to the road.

Men, women, and children ride bicycles to get to and from work and school. For the exercise. Because they cannot afford to own a car. Because their car is in the shop. To lose weight. To train for a triathlon. For their jobs. To make friends. Because public transit is too slow. Because it's fun. To recover from injury. Because their parents taught them how.

The law requires all bicyclists 12 years of age and older to ride in the street. The Ride of Silence reminds everyone that you cannot assume to know why someone is riding a bicycle, but they deserve and are required to ride in their space in the street.

Thanks to Ray, John, and the other volunteers who arranged the ride and spread the word about its time, place, and purpose. A big thank you to the cyclists who took an hour out of their evenings to participate in the ride and share in 8 miles of silent, pedal-powered reflection. We look forward to not needing to write about the 2013 Ride of Silence.