Cyclists ride slowly to raise awareness of those killed on two wheels
Bicyclists from around Philadelphia will gather tonight for an annual ride to commemorate people who have died in the past year while cycling. The annual “Ride of Silence” will travel an eight-mile loop through Center City and West Philadelphia. It recalls the last twelve contentious months of bicycling in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has been notably bicycle-friendly in the last year, and bike-hostile. The city painted wide bike lanes onto Spruce and Pine Streets downtown; and the police targeted bicycle scofflaws in a crackdown campaign in November.
The Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition reports there are more bicycle commuters, and city blogs are fuming with complaints from motorists about sharing the road.
The organizer of the Ride of Silence, Ray Scheinfeld, has been commuting on a bike for 15 years. He says the city is going through growing pains.
“There has been a series of changes, and accelerated in the last few years. If the Ride of Silence is more significant because of that – it’s a small part but an important part in the development of Philadelphia as a bike-friendly community.”
Scheinfeld says there have been six bicyclists who have died by colliding with cars in the last year – none were downtown. Also last year, two pedestrians were killed by bicyclists, triggering unsuccessful attempts in City Council to regulate bicycle riding.
Other places in our region participating in the Ride of Silence include:
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Ewing, New Jersey
Skillman, New Jersey
West Chester, Pennsylvania