Sussex Cyclists’ Fifth Annual Ride of Silence May 19

by Dave on May 3, 2010

Event memorializes cyclists killed or injured while bicycling

Across the nation, more than 600 cyclists are killed on the road every year. A small number compared to the estimated 300,000 premature deaths estimated to result from overweight and obesity-related illnesses. Bicycling is part of the solution to many of our nation’s problems such as obesity, traffic congestion, air pollution and the seemingly unending need to pave over land for parking lots and widen roads. As a silent but active gesture to memorialize those killed or injured while cycling on the road, Sussex Cyclists will organize its fifth annual Ride of Silence on Wednesday, May 19 beginning at 7:00 p.m. The ride will begin behind the Wawa off Dartmouth Road at the entrance of Rolling Meadows on the southbound side of Route One.

Tony Pezone, president of Sussex Cyclists, said “This ride began as a symbolic way to pay tribute to a cyclist who was killed when he was struck by a mirror on a school bus in Dallas, Texas in 2003. More than 1000 cyclists participated in that first ride.” Today the Ride of Silence has taken on global proportions with rides in all 50 states and 18 countries worldwide.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in the Ride of Silence. Members of Sussex Cyclists are usually joined by riders from Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. These include bike shop owners, casual cyclists, visitors from Maryland and cyclists from locations as far north as Milford and Dover.

Beginning in the parking lot behind the Wawa on Route One South, the 12-mile ride ride will be escorted by State Police from Troop 7. Riders ride in silence and at no more than 12 miles per hour to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bridge. Cyclists travel under the bridge onto the northbound shoulder. The police escort will retrace the route ending at the start off Dartmouth Drive near the entrance to Rolling Meadows.

The Ride of Silence has no entry fee, no T-shirt or sponsorship. Business and groups may “endorse” the Ride of Silence meaning that because there is no cost and no sponsors, the endorsers bear no responsibility (financial or otherwise) for the ride. By endorsing it, they are simply stating they believe in what is trying to be said through the many cyclists riding no faster than 12 mph in silence to support these goals that:
1. Cyclists are riding to mourn those killed or injured
2. Cycling is not going to be chased or intimidated off the streets we legally share
3. Cyclists want only to share the road with motorists
4. Motorists are made aware of the lifelong legal, as well as life changing, problems that can ensue from killing a cyclist

Endorsers can be companies, clubs, groups, driving associations, police, leaders in the community, and individuals. Any group, organization or company interested in becoming a Ride of Silence endorser please contact Sussex Cyclists at bike@sussexcyclists.org or visit the web site at www.sussexcyclists.org.

Sussex Cyclists was named 2008 Bicycle Club of the Year by the League of American Bicyclists for the club’s safety efforts in setting up safety check points to assist seasonal work commuters, local cyclists and vacationers who ride bicycles primarily on Route One during the busy peak summer months. Last season a concerted effort of Sussex Cyclists, the Delaware Department of Transportation, State Police Troop 7 and the University of Delaware Safe Kids distributed nearly 800 bicycle light sets and 300 helmets free of charge during bicycle safety check-ups. Sussex County Council also provided a generous grant to Sussex Cyclists to help purchase helmets and light sets. During these safety check-ups volunteer made tire repairs, installed new brake pads and adjusted brakes, seats and handle bars.

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