May is National Bike Month, which means it’s the perfect time of year for anyone with a childlike hankering to get on a bike again to do so. In Niagara, with winter’s thaw well underway, it’s also the time of year when cyclists from all over the world start descending on the region to enjoy the picturesque scenery, the vast, open roads, and the increasingly charming weather.
If you’re someone who enjoys cycling, you should definitely bring your bicycle along with you the next time you stay in Niagara. Especially if you’re here over the 20th of May, consider joining with other cyclists in the area to ride in and mark the Niagara Falls’ ninth annual Ride of Silence.
Every May 20th at 7 p.m., bicyclists in communities around the world join together to take part in a silent bicycle ride to honor those cyclists who have been severely injured or killed while riding on public roads.
A slow-paced event that welcomes anyone of any ability who would like to ride, the Ride of Silence seeks to not only honor the dead and injured, but to also raise awareness of cyclists and safety, as well as the necessity of sharing the road with one another.
Many motorists are unaware that bicyclists have as much a legal right to the road as other vehicles do, or motorists are unaware of bicyclists traveling along their roadways — in both instances, tragic and avoidable accidents can and do occur.
The first Ride of Silence happened in 2003, when Chris Phelan organized a ride to commemorate the passing of Larry Schwartz, a nationally known endurance cyclist, who was hit and killed by a school bus mirror. Organized in less than two weeks following Schwatrz’s untimely death, the first ride took place in Dallas and saw more than 1,000 participants, most of who heard about the ride by word of mouth.
Originally intended as a one-time event, each year now finds hundreds of rides happening on May 20th, from Canada and the United States to Cyprus, Israel, and the Philippines. Here’s how the Ride of Silence works: A free ride without sponsors, fundraising efforts, and registration fees, the only stipulations are that those involved ride no faster than 12 miles per hour, that all participants wear a helmet, that everyone follow the rules of the road, and that silence be maintained for the duration of the ride.
The Niagara Falls Ride of Silence
On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, Niagara Falls’ concerned residents, cyclists, and any visitors who’d like to mark the event with them will meet at the MacBain Community Centre parking lot, which is located on Montrose Road. The ride will leave at 7 p.m., and will travel down the road in silence, procession-style. The entire ride will cover roughly 6 miles, and everyone is welcome. Riders must wear helmets and follow the rules of the road.
Regardless of what brings you to the Niagara Falls region, if you’re a cyclist, events like the Ride of Silence are working to keep you and others like you alive. Building a bridge toward better safety on both sides of the equation — motorists and cyclists alike — the Ride of Silence honors the dead so that the living can enjoy the road from bikes and vehicles in greater, shared safety.