In the United States, roughly 100 people each day die in car accidents. Teenagers are regularly warned of the dangers of the road in driver’s education, yet what is often left unsaid are the dangers that drivers pose not to each other, but to bicyclists. Nationally, over 700 bicyclists die each year while out on a ride.
On Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m., Bike Ypsi will be participating in the “Ride of Silence” to commemorate those who are lost and injured in bicycle accidents each year. The ride, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary as a national event, will locally be hosted in the city of Ypsilanti’s Recreation Park on North Congress Street and sponsored by Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society and Bike Ypsi. The event is free and open to the public.
The only requests made by the event are, “The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride.”
Bike Ypsi, established in 2007, is an organization created by volunteer and cycling enthusiasts within Ypsilanti. The organization was founded on the premise of stopping cyclists from being arrested and removing their right to the road. Bike Ypsi encourages bicycle safety, teaches locals the best cycling routes and encourages a more bike-friendly community. Part of the purpose behind the Ride of Silence, in addition to raising general awareness, is to bring acknowledgment to cyclists’ right to the road.
Each week, Bike Ypsi meets twice: Sunday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 8 a.m. The Sunday ride travels through different roads and trails in the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor areas, depending on the desires of the crowd that week. The Friday ride meets at Beezy’s Café and is meant as a weekly ride to work.
The two rides show alternatives uses of biking in addition to being a fun form of exercise.
Bike Ypsi has a special connection to the Ride of Silence because of member Bob Krzewinski, who was riding his bicycle when he was hit by a motorist in 2006. After almost six months away from his job due to injuries and physical therapy, he was able to return.
“[I] saw the worst in human behavior being left for dead by a hit-and-run driver,” Krzewinski said in an AnnArbor.com interview. “Followed by the best strangers stopping to assist [him.]”
In addition to participating in the ride, locals are encouraged to join Bike Ypsi on their weekly rides and join in the movement towards a more bike-friendly world. For more information on the Ride of Silence, visit rideofsilence.org. You can also visit Bike Ypsi’s Facebook page for more information on local rides and events.