The Union Recorder

May 14, 2013

Ride of Silence rolls through Milledgeville

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A notable event will not only take place in other parts of the globe Wednesday, but it will also make its way to the city of Milledgeville. 

Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of the Ride of Silence, with observances scheduled around the world — all making a powerful statement on behalf of cyclists everywhere. Cyclists worldwide, including many in Milledgeville, will participate in a silent, slow paced ride in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. 

The Bicycling Club of Milledgeville will participate in the worldwide event by hosting a silent bike ride beginning at 7 p.m. 

“We feel it’s important to join others around the world as we create an awareness of the rights of cyclists,” said Bicycling Club of Milledgeville member Benny Watson. 

Watson has been organizing the local event on behalf of the club for seven years and he said he feels strongly about the message the bike ride conveys.

“Most car drivers don’t pay attention to cyclists. They have every right to be on the roadway, just as someone controlling a car,” Watson said.  

According to Watson, cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, but oftentimes, the motoring public isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves. 

Cyclists interested in joining the Ride of Silence should meet at the city parking lot on Jefferson Street between Vinson Memorial Library and Oconee Outfitters. 

“Everyone is invited, no matter the age of the cyclist, and helmets are required,” Watson said. 

The very first Ride of Silence occurred in 2003 and was organized by Chris Phelan. It took place in Dallas, Texas to honor the death of endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz who was hit by the mirror of a passing bus. The Ride of Silence is free and open to the public. Participating cyclists are asked to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear their helmets, follow the rules of the road, and to remain silent during the ride. 

“We hope people will come join us to help make a statement and remember those who have suffered due to the negligence of others on the road,” Watson said. 

Additionally, May is designated as the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month. 

The Bicycling Club of Milledgeville meets the last Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Blackbird Coffee, located at 114 W. Hancock St. 

For more information on Wednesday's event, visit the Ride of Silence Facebook page. For more information on the Bicycling Club of Milledgeville, visit www.mvillebikes.com.

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