Bicycle enthusiasts from across Texoma came together Wednesday to bring awareness to cyclists on the roadways and bicycle safety with the 16th annual Ride of Silence. The event, celebrated across the country, seeks to honor cyclists who were injured or killed in collisions with cars on the road.
“We want this to grow every year, so it is good to see so many people show up,” Mike Boyd, co-president of the Texoma Cycling Club, said before a crowd of about two dozen riders took to the streets.
For Wednesday’s ride, Boyd said cyclists would follow a 10-mile route through Sherman as a group while riding at about 10 mph. The group was asked not to make any noise, talk or listen to music while riding through the route.
The riders in Sherman were joined by cyclists across the country who were riding in 400 events in remembrance Wednesday. Boyd said events in larger cities were expected to bring out thousands of cyclists, adding that tens of thousands were expected to attend overall.
The event had significance to many of the riders Wednesday as the local cycling community lost a member about two years ago, Boyd said.
“We lost a member due to an accident,” cyclist George Mason said. “It wasn’t due to a driver, but it still hits close to home.”
Mason said the decision to ride silently makes the event a solemn occasion, equating it to a funeral procession.
Ron Singletary of Fort Worth said he has known several people who were injured or killed while riding their bicycles on the road. Singletary said a close friend from Grand Prairie was struck and killed in a hit-and-run collision. Ultimately, the driver was found, he said.
While many said the event was aimed at bringing attention to cyclists on the road, Boyd said it was a two-way street and the event serves as a reminder to cyclists to obey traffic laws as well.
“We have laws like the cars do, and we need to abide them like cars do,” Boyd said, admitting that he has broken traffic laws on his bike in the past.
Sherman Police Sgt. Brett Mullen said situational awareness and following traffic laws is the best way for cyclists to ensure their own safety while on the road.
“Be aware of the potential dangers all around you, as much as possible,” he said. “But your primary focus should mainly be on what’s ahead of you and try to anticipate any problems, whether it be with the condition of the roadway or oncoming vehicles.”
This situational awareness extends to motorists as well, Mullen said, asking that drivers remain attentive of any cyclists sharing the road.
“Avoid distractions, remember that bicyclists share the road with you and be sure to watch for any signals or indication as to what that rider may do next,” he said.