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On Biking: Ride of Silence to remember accident victims

Posted by Gail Waterhouse  May 18, 2010 09:00 AM

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On Wednesday, participants of Bay State Bike Week will take a break from celebrating bicycles as transportation to remember those who have been killed or injured while riding bikes on public roads. 

The Ride of Silence will be led by MassBike, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and is one of many such rides taking place across the country. The ride was scheduled before Monday's fatal bike accident in Newton.
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The ride will begin at 7 p.m., departing from Seven Hills Park in Somerville behind the Davis Square MBTA station.  Bicyclists will make their way through Cambridge to Boston, and stop at the Charles Street entrance to Boston Common, where brief remarks will be made.

Participants will ride the six-mile route slowly and in complete silence, wearing signs to explain the purpose of the ride.

?The need for the ride, and the need for more attention to bicyclist safety was never more clear than last month when three bicyclists were hit in Boston, one of them fatally,? said David Watson, MassBike?s executive director.

Eric Michael Hunt, age 22, was killed by an MBTA bus on April 7 while riding his bike on Huntington Avenue, near where the road bends to become South Huntington.

The next day, a 37-year-old man on his bicycle was hit by a car and seriously injured at the edge of Boston Common. 

According to MassBike, the route for Wednesday's ride intentionally takes busy streets in order to draw the greatest amount of attention, though the riders will take care to follow the law and minimize interference with motor vehicle traffic.

?The idea of the Ride of Silence is to draw attention to the human toll caused by roads that are poorly designed for bicycling and by motorists who fail to drive safely around bicyclists,? Watson said.

In addition to the Ride of Silence, MassBike is running two other campaigns.

The ?And I Ride? campaign is an ongoing series of personal stories and photographs that put a human face on bicyclists, according to MassBike.  The ?Same Roads, Same Rules? campaign educates bicyclists and motorist about how to interact safely on the road. 

Additionally, MassBike said it also intends to introduce a bill in the Legislature next year that will toughen penalties and make prosecution easier for motorists who kill or injure bicyclists or other vulnerable road users.

For more information about the Ride of Silence, visit http://rideofsilence.org/main.php.

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