For some, Worldwide Ride of Silence hits close to home
GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- In 2016, 38 bicyclists were killed and more than 2,000 were injured in the state of Michigan. As part of the worldwide Ride of Silence, roughly 50 cyclists rode quietly through the neighborhoods and downtown streets of Traverse City while wearing bright yellow shirts with the message "Share the Road."
“We’re trying to make motorists aware that we share the road with all other users whether it’s motorcyclists, pedestrians, cars, bicycles,” said Bill Danly, who is President of the Cherry Capital Cycling Club and also on the Board of Directors for the League of Michigan Bicyclists. In that role, he lobbies in Lansing for better bike safety laws.
“We’re on the road together," said Danly. "Let's treat each other with respect, let’s give a safe distance, let's obey the laws of the road.”
Besides advocating for change, the ride is also meant to remember those who have passed.
“Today was really important to me,” said rider Barbara Kan before the race began. “Right now, I'm holding back tears.”
For Kan and others, the ride is a personal one. More than 40 years ago, her friend Bonnie was hit and killed while riding home on her bike. The driver never stopped.
“The police said if that driver had just stopped and given her basic first aid, and even just left her there, she would’ve survived,” said Kan.
Honoring those like Bonnie whose lives were cut too short, the riders go by in silence. Hoping to loudly raise awareness.
“It’s a pretty sobering experience," said Skip Miller, who is the director of the Traverse City Ride of Silence. "It makes you think a little more about bike safety and it makes you appreciate more the fact that you really do have to be careful out there when you’re on your bike.”