The Ride of Silence was started in 2003 to honor and remember cyclists killed or injured while cycling on roads. These rides now take place around the world, all on May 20th.
This year Annapolis had its first ride of silence organized by Tracy VanDagna, Alex Pline and Jon Korin of Bike Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (Bike AAA) and supported by police officers on bikes from the Annapolis and Anne Arundel Police Departments.
The ride of silence is short, at a very easy pace, and silent, while we remember and reflect. I believe many of those riding knew Thomas “Doc” Heslin and Trish Cunningham, I had not. Both were killed while cycling in Anne Arundel County, in 2013. Mr. Heslin’s son Michael rode with the group. The mother of Katie Pohler, who was struck and severely injured by a drunk driver while cycling on the southern extension of the B&A Trail, was also there to thank participants.
Tracy VanDagna spoke to ride participants and read a poem before we set out, as is done for all the Rides Of Silence.
“We join here to honor all cyclists who have been killed or injured by a mototist-cyclist accident. Tonight, we ride in tribute to two fallen cyclists: Trish Cunningham, and Doc Heslin. We aim to raise awareness of cyclists’ rights, and of cyclists’ lives. In asking that we share the road, motorists must abide by the rules. And cyclists must abide by the rules.
The following poem is the official Ride Of Silence poem that is being read throughout the world this evening:
The Ride of Silence…
In tribute to Trish Cunningham and Thomas “Doc” Heslin
Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons, wives, husbands
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight’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
While the group included four Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team members, it was a diverse group. There were riders from the Annapolis Bicycle Club, Kinetic Energy and Bike Like a Girl, though most did not have an obvious affiliation on their jerseys. Cyclists were on road bikes, tri bikes, hybrids, and two recumbents. One rider was on a beach cruiser. The group rode ten miles together down Hilltop to Bay Ridge and out to Lake Ogelton, taking quieter back routes wherever possible. We averaged 9.75 mph. It was a beautiful evening.
Ride of Silence: http://www.rideofsilence.org
Annapolis Ride of Silence: https://www.facebook.com/events/860399140701074/867683759972612/
Capital Gazette Coverage: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/ph-ac-cn-ride-of-silence-0521-20150520,0,3725056.story
Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bikeaaa/
By Maryland law, bicycles are vehicles, and bicyclists have rights and responsibilities just as do drivers of motor vehicles – but bicycles are less visible, quieter, and don’t have a protective barrier around them. Bicyclists fare best when they act like and are treated as drivers of vehicles.