Ride of Silence returns May 16

Chuck Hill

On May 16 cyclists across the country and world will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Participants in the thirteenth local observance of the Ride of Silence will leave from the GVR East Social Center at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16 and slowly ride a seven-mile route. Participants are asked to assemble at 5:30 p.m. and enjoy light refreshments provided by Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocate Committee members.

This year we will welcome student bicycle riders from the Continental School Bike Club. The group was founded this year by Seth Murzyn and Steve Lathen. The goal of the club is to teach middle school students bicycle safety, bicycle maintenance and basic mountain biking skills. They started the club with a grant through Pima County which was put together with the help of Dr. Scott Hagerman and the Santa Cruz Area Bicycle Advocate Committee. This grant provided the school with bikes, helmets, tools and educational material. Currently twelve students participate in the club that meets on select Saturdays.

The Green Valley/Sahuarita community can be a safe area to ride your bike and has experienced very few conflicts with vehicle drivers. The large number of cyclists encourages drivers to be aware of bicycle riders sharing the roads. The availability of seventy-five miles of bike lanes offers an inviting and safe area in which to ride your bike. Bike lanes help separate cars and bicycles, but do not guarantee safety. Both motorists and cyclists need to be observant and aware of each other.

The past year has left us with unfortunate bicyclist vs. motor vehicle crashes. In September Tommy McDonald was struck from behind when returning to his residence in Pueblo Estates. The motorist chose to continue on his/her way and there remains a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the driver. Tommy spent three days in intensive care followed by forty hospitalized days. In October Timothy Breslin suffered fatal injuries when hit by a vehicle at the intersection of W. Sahuarita and Rancho Resort Roads. Most recently, John Yeager was ‘right hooked’ by a driver entering a business drive on Ezperanza Boulevard. John suffered serious injuries and was saved from critical head trauma by his, now, severely cracked helmet. All three cyclists will be honored and remembered at our May 16 ride.

Vehicle operators and cyclists are responsible for cyclist safety. As a cyclist you have both the privileges and responsibilities of a motor vehicle. You can improve your safety by being visible, obeying all road traffic rules, signaling your intentions and always wearing a helmet.