A group of about 50 bicycle riders took part in the Lubbock Ride of Silence Wednesday night.
The event is designed to be a way to not only honor riders who were either injured or killed in a traffic accident while riding their bikes, but also to promote safety on the road.
“We’re going to ride about 10 to 12 miles an hour, 11 miles, and we’re going to ride it in silence, and this is to show our respect for people who have died while riding their bicycle in traffic accidents,” Jill Booker, Advocacy Director for the Lubbock Bicycle Club said.
The group started out at 19th Street and Indiana Avenue and rode down to 98th Street and Indiana before turning around and heading back to where they started.
The group was escorted by Lubbock Police officers and also had a special bike that lead the procession.
“This ghost bike is a bicycle that has been painted completely white, and it is to represent those people who have been killed during traffic incidences while on their bicycle, and this is just a visual reminder of the sadness that this represents,” Booker said.
She said she had one particular rider on her mind during Wednesday’s ride.
“A friend of ours, Paul Nichols, was killed in 2013, he was hit by a car at 70 miles per hour, and he was killed instantly, and it just still breaks my heart,” Booker said.
“We miss him so much. He was 70 years old and he was just the life of the party and it was very tragic when this happened, and it shook our faith in riding and we should be able to go out and ride on our roads, and feel safe, and not feel like we’re risking our life every time we go out on the road,” Booker said.
Booker’s advice for drivers is to treat bicyclists like cars. “We have to obey the laws just like a car, and so when you come up behind us, unless it’s clear, don’t pass us, give us plenty of room when you do pass us, I know that we’re a little slower, but if you’ll just be patient, you can get around us,” she said.
She advises fellow bike riders to wear bright colors, make sure they have lights on both the front and the back of their bikes, and obey all of the traffic laws.
“We’re asking drivers to respect us as riders, and telling them to treat us like cars, they [bike riders] need to act like cars,” Booker said. “They need to obey all the traffic laws just like if they were in a car.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the West Texas Cycling Association, or joining in some of their rides, you can find that information on their website at www.BikeWTCA.org.
Booker said the ride also falls during both National Bike Safety week and month.