On May 20, 2009, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence began in North America to roll across the globe. In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride Of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. There is no brochure, no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride is a chance to show respect:
- To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
- To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
- To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD
Last Saturday May 23 at 8.45am under the escort of the Victorian Police Traffic Managment Unit 150 riders from the cycling community of Bendigo contributed to the global message of the increasing need for safe shared road usage. The following are some of the reflections of some of the riders that participated.
- During the ride I was thinking injuries and also death sometimes due to ignorance and stupidity. I also thought about how much things have improved over the last twelve months alone. I have noticed they have made repairs to the bike lane near the botanic gardens and also the rail crossing near the lake to name a couple.I thought of how the Bendigo cycling community is such a really great bunch of folk too.
- Was mindful of newer riders being in the biggest bunch they have ridden in. Reflected, having played a fair bit of sport with one of Tim Ledwidges brother, a tinge of sadness crept in for those that are still coping with such a dreadful thing. However it was balanced out by the feeling of being very proud to be part of the cycling community.
- I attended the ride of silence on Saturday and really appreciated the police escort and traffic management. This gave us time to concentrate and reflect on those injured or lost their lives on our roads on their bicycles. My memory will be of a man ahead of me comforting another while he rode by simply placing his arm across the other man’s shoulders.An excellent ride for an important cause.
- From Saturday’s roll up, it is quite obvious that cycling is a passion shared strongly in this wonderful city. The strength of numbers and the respect that the riders have shown for riders that have been killed or injured whilst participating in what we know as the world’s greatest sport is evidence of this.
- This is the 3rd time I have participated in this ride and each time the feeling of unity, compassion and respect is stronger. The more we ride together, the more we remember them. It was great to see so many riders from all walks and levels of cycling supporting this important ride and riding as one.
- I always find the group ride a time to reflect on how many we are how unsafe /safe riding can be and generally how lucky we are with few accidents and the great effort to informally organise such a big group.
- As we normally ride and chat – each year this is a great time to reflect.Yesterday on this slower ride with large numbers riding in solidarity was a chance to reflect on those not as fortunate as us who had been injured, traumatised or died on our roads. It was a powerful way of drawing my attention to how blessed I am to be able to get out there and enjoy friends, the scenery and ward off old age riding my bike. It was great to see such a large number of likeminded people joining together to highlight this to our community and raise their awareness of our presence on the road.
The Ride of Silence…
Today we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But today we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Today’s ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride
– Mike Murgas
See you on the road soon God willing