There were 76 bicyclist in West Bend on Wednesday evening that joined in a world-wide effort to raise awareness about safe bicycling.
The annual Ride of Silence was organized locally by Tim Troutt who was collecting signatures under a white tent in the parking lot just south of the Museum of Wisconsin Art.
The history behind the ride dates to 2003 when Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.
The Ride of Silence is a free ride held during National Bike Month; it aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.
“The ride is currently in 37 countries and in almost all 50 states,” said Troutt. “Bicyclists across the country all take off at the same time at 7 p.m. central.”
Troutt said the local Bike Friendly West Bend group along with social media helped raise awareness about the ride.
Participants wore red ribbons tied to their arms to represent bicyclists injured in motor-vehicle accidents; black armbands symbolized bicyclists killed in accidents.
The 6-mile ride took off down Main Street to Paradise Drive, north on 18th Avenue to Highway 33 and through the downtown returning to the parking lot on Veterans Avenue.
Chad Leider, of Fredonia said he did it last year to help raise awareness. “It’s a good way to spread the message that bicyclists and motorists should share the road and keep an eye out for each other,” he said.
On Friday, May 20 bicyclists will gather on the Eisenbahn State Trail just outside the old train depot for the annual Bike to Work Day.