The Ninth Annual Ride of Silence organized by Sussex Cyclists, a nonprofit cycling organization promoting cycling safety and rides throughout coastal Sussex County and beyond, will be held Wednesday, May 15. The ride begins in the Tile Mart parking lot behind the Wawa on southbound Route 1 at 7 p.m. Cyclists of all abilities are invited to ride this silent cycling procession of less than 10 miles and no faster than 12 mph.
Ride of Silence organizer Michael Tyler, Sussex Cyclists advocacy chairman, explained that rides begin in North America at 7 p.m. EDST and roll across the globe. “Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves,” he said.
The ROS with a police escort from Delaware State Police Troop 7 will proceed south on Route 1 from the Tile Mart lot to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bridge. It will proceed under the bridge and then head north, returning to the starting point; the ride will take less than an hour.
Ride founder and avid cyclist Chris Phelan organized the first the Ride of Silence in 2003 in Dallas, Texas, when endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was killed while riding when he was hit by the mirror of a passing bus. That first ride drew 1,000 cyclists through word of mouth and email communication during a period of only 10 days. There was no registration and no sign-up fee. Local media reported the ride to be incredibly moving as these cyclists rode in silence, occasionally wiping away a tear or patting a friend on the back.
In 2012 the Ride of Silence took place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and more than 300 locations worldwide including Canada and 24 countries and on all seven continents. The ROS 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. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to promote Share the Road and raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to ride on public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured while cycling.
Sussex Cyclists ROS organizer Bobbi Dunham said riders should report to the Tile Mart parking lot around 6:30 for a pre-ride briefing, photos and to sign a ride waiver. She said riders must wear helmets and recommends bikes have head and tail lights. For information go to www.sussexcyclists.org or contact Dunham at firstname.lastname@example.org.