Ride of Silence Focuses on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

Photo by Sacha Kohlmann

Wed 5/5 @ 6:30PM

As we make headway into May, the streets, sidewalks and paths get increasingly crowded. If you listen closely, between the rustling of the trees and the shuffling feet, you can hear a driver sitting alone in his car that could fit an entire brass band and their instruments. He is mumbling profanities at a cyclist mindfully riding in the street.

Yes— I am looking at you and your single-occupancy vehicle. It’s getting scary out there as a pedestrian (I still haven’t learned how to drive). More than anything else, I am writing this as a plea for drivers to be more conscious of their power and place on the road.

The Ride of Silence is an internationally recognized event that will take place on Wed 5/15 to honor those who have been killed while riding their bike on public roadways. Organized by Bike Cleveland, this slow-paced and silent bike ride is a powerful message to pedestrians and drivers alike: transportation is no joke. Riders will be meeting at the Free Stamp in Willard Park at 6:30pm and taking a calm ride to Case Western Reserve’s campus, where a short presentation by the Heights Bicycle Coalition will conclude the event.

We rush to discuss answers when it’s heart disease or tobacco use that is killing people, but when something so common as moving yourself from one place to another becomes dangerous, we don’t talk. Hundreds of cyclists die every year due to collisions with cars. In 2018, the number of pedestrian fatalities reached the highest it’s been in decades and continues to climb. In fact, traffic injuries are the #1 cause of death among people ages 5-29 — this is a problem that is preventable. Meanwhile, deaths of auto drivers & passengers have dropped more than 30% over the last 25 years.

Cities must consider all modes of transportation when designing their roads. The primary role of traffic design and flow should not be moving cars from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, and you drivers should remember this. Remember and respect cyclists and pedestrians, their speed and space, and their right to move safely in the streets. Join in Bike Cleveland’s solidarity Ride of Silence to show your support in this movement! More information here.

[Written by Jenna Thomas]

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