Ride of Silence to Honor Fallen Cyclists

Hernando, MS

By: Steve Dodd

Cyclists of all ages and abilities will gather Wednesday night, May 17 at 7:00pm beside the Courthouse in Hernando for the 2017 Ride of Silence. The Hernando Bicycle Club (HBC), City of Hernando and the Hernando Police Department are co-sponsoring the event according to Bo McAninch, HBC president.

The ride will traverse 8.3 miles through the streets of Hernando before travelling back to the Courthouse. Traditionally there have been 30-40 cyclists participating in the slow ride with no one will be left behind. Officers from the Hernando Police Department will escort the cyclists via patrol cars and bicycles ensuring the safety of all. McAninch remembers at one of the events, a cyclist had mechanical difficulties and could not finish the ride. She and her bike were transported back to the courthouse by the Hernando Police Department. There is no charge for the ride but all cyclists must wear a helmet.

Although the group will be large, there will be no talking allowed during the ride to show respect to the fallen.

The national Ride of Silence organization, one of many advocates for bicycle safety and awareness, lists 3 objectives for the event:
* To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
* To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
* To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD

According to the Centers for Disease Control in a 2013 report, the latest available, there were more than 900 cyclists killed and approximately 494,000 emergency room visits due to bicycle related injuries. The report also states that most of the deaths occurred in urban areas and at non-intersection locations.

Each event begins with a prayer for ones who have been injured and for the families of those who lost lives in bicycle accidents. To set the mood, a poem written by Mike Margas titled “Ride of Silence” is read.

“Tonight, we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons.
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow.
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight, we ride and no one attacks.
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear.
Tonight’s ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share.
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride.”

Hernando’s Ride of Silence is part of an international event. The first Ride of Silence was held in Dallas, TX in 2003 to honor cyclist Larry Schwartz who was killed after being struck by a vehicle and was only planned as a onetime event. Promoted by email and word of mouth, over 1,000 cyclists attended. News of the event spread rapidly across the United States and in 2004, another ride was held in Dallas where 2,500 cyclists attended. There were also rides in 50 other cities across the country.

During the 2008 event, a total of 7,925 cyclists participated in the event. They were from 296 cities across all 50 states and 18 countries. By 2016, these numbers had increased to 445 events across the 50 states, 48 countries and 7 continents.

The Ride of Silence occurs the third Wednesday in May at 7:00pm in each location whether internationally or domestically.

For more information, you can contact Bo McAninch at HernandoBike@aol.com or visit the HBC website, www.hernadobikeclub.com.