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Identity & Community

'Ride Of Silence' Honors Bicyclists Injured, Killed In Traffic Crashes

Bicycle accidents account for only 3.7 percent of reported crashes, yet they comprise 11.2 percent of all traffic fatalities, according to PennDOT.

On Wednesday evening, local bicyclists will gather in silent protest to honor victims of bicycle-related traffic accidents at Pittsburgh’s 11th annual Ride of Silence.

“The Ride of Silence is part of a global event,” said Ngani Ndimbie, spokesperson for Bike Pittsburgh. “It’s an event that was created to remember and to honor the people who have been killed and injured due to traffic violence while riding their bicycles.”

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a memorial service, where injured riders and families of victims will be given an opportunity to speak.

“There have been a fair number of people who have been injured in crashes over the past few years,” Ndimbie said. “So there isn’t an official call out. If you come, and would like to speak, then you can do it.”

Following the service, there will be a 10-mile silent bike ride, passing several crash sites where bicyclists have died. The ride is meant to call attention to the dangers of distractions, not only for the driver but also the cyclist.

“Whether you’re on two wheels or on four wheels, it’s everyone’s responsibility to obey traffic laws,” Ndimbie said. “We would absolutely just encourage people who are operating motor vehicles … to not drive under the influence and to be attentive. And then of course, for people on bikes to also be attentive, and to what we say is ‘ride predictably.’”

Although not everyone who drives a car also rides a bike, Ndimbie thinks that Pittsburgh drivers still care about keeping bicyclists safe.

“We think that people who are driving cars do realize that they too know someone who rides a bike, and there is a person on that bicycle,” Ndimbie said. “For that reason alone, they should drive with care and should be sure to just slow down, and take a little time to respect the fact that there’s a person on that bike who has family, and is loved, and has a right to the road space as well.”

While biking will always require some element of risk, Ndimbie believes that the roads can be made much safer for cyclists in the future.

“Traffic deaths and serious fatalities are, in fact, preventable,” she said. “We really do think that we should be aiming for this vision of zero traffic fatalities … We’re all just trying to make it home safely.”