02

Blog

The Story of the Ride of Silence

“A man may die. Nations may rise and fall. But an idea lives on." - JFK

A guest post from Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride for Silence. On May 17th, the Ride of Silence can be found in 450+ cities across the world to honor those who have been injured or killed, to raise awareness that we are here and to ask that we all share the road.

We have been told the Ride of Silence only exists to alienate cyclists, manipulate planners, profit from donations, and strangle local advocacy. That we are in fact trying to denigrate, demean, and dehumanize road users other than motorists.

It’s just not true. Not true!

This is an entirely grassroots movement, a 501©3 I’m proud to say, that has no cash flow, and where everyone’s a volunteer, from the top to the bottom. (It’s one of the reasons why we seek support SO desperately.)

The Story of The Ride Of Silence

I read something recently that fits what happened at, and immediately after, the funeral. “Don’t settle for a spark. Light a fire instead.”

Larry Schwartz ambled down the road on May 4, 2003, with his bike, but without a care, into history. He died 12 years ago on that day, becoming the initial inspiration for The Ride Of Silence.

It was late morning and everything was normal. He was well on his way to riding another 20,000-mile-year on his bike, a number that was numbing to other cyclists who thought getting in 2,000-5,000 miles for the year was outstanding. But not Larry. This was normal for him. But Larry was anything but normal to those who knew and loved him.

A bit elfish at 5’6” with a perpetual grin, he was born January 5, 1961, and always Mr. Positive. His upbeat attitude was infectious in the worst of conditions. He had been smart with investing and was able to retire at the ripe old age of 35. So, like the little kid that was believed to live inside of him, he could ride his bike. And ride he did. From coast to coast in record time, then back. Then from Texas to Canada. And back. Larry set world records for endurance cycling.

His common-law wife, Judith, supported his enthusiasm and zest for life. Together they rode to many of the area rallies, rode the longest distance that was offered (many times with the leaders of the pack), and then rode home. It wasn’t unusual for them to log 200-300 mile days, many times, for consecutive days. This was normal.On May 4, all was normal. It was a work day, the kids were at school, and the sun was out. It was another beautiful spring day north of Dallas.

On May 4, all was normal. It was a work day, the kids were at school, and the sun was out. It was another beautiful spring day north of Dallas. Normal, until the only vehicle that would share the road with him, a bus, came along in the same direction as Larry, with a full view through the windshield of Larry riding alone. It would be Larry’s final ride.

Larry was fatally hit when the mirror of a passing school bus struck his head from behind decapitating him, north of McKinney on FM 1461 around 8 a.m. on May 4.

A grand jury indicted Haynes on a charge of “Failure to Stop and Render Aid,” a felony punishable up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The decision to accept the plea was tough, says Judith Jolly, Schwartz’s widow, “but at least we knew that the defendant would spend six months in jail, and then for the next five years be closely monitored by the state. It is not only for us to remember Larry, but all friends and loved ones who died while cycling at the hands of a motorist.”

He was and will always be a legend.

Who rides in the Ride of Silence?

Racers, roadies, MTBers, BMXers, cross riders, triathletes, duathletes, downhillers, trikes, DF, ‘Bent, fixies, cruisers, trikes, elite, age groupers, commuters, critical mass, cycle chic, lycra, denim, tweed, recreational, casual, young, old, fast, slow – it doesn’t matter. We are creating an amazing experience, a moving tribute that brings light to a special shared healing for others, and yourself in the process.

Whether you know it or not, you are part of a large bicycle loving family, and this is your call to the family reunion.

Our purpose is noble; our cause is just.

Thank you for your passion as we ride silently in hope to end the tragedy on our roads, continuing the tradition of excellence that distinguishes The Ride Of Silence, and as together, we envision the path for the future.

The unity and visibility of this event depend on the solidarity of the cyclists taking a stand.

We are creating an amazing experience, a moving tribute that brings light to a special shared healing for others, and yourself in the process. Through this ride, we are showing that the weakest and most vulnerable of all road users are by law afforded equal protection, under the law, city, state, and federal law.

Join Us

The Bike Law network has been involved with Ride of Silence for well over 10 years. Every one of our members has a story and personal tie to the Ride of Silence. Join us at one of the Ride of Silence events near you on May 17th across North America and the world.

Ann Arbor
Boulder
Charleston
Charlotte
Chicago
Decatur
Kansas City
Lansing
Maine
New Orleans

 

Comments

Rachael Maney Nov 28, 2018

I asked my 7 year old son, Will, to draw me a picture of each of these things: life with cars; life with electric cars; life with autonomous cars; they all looked the same. But the fourth picture- life in a modern, forward thinking, and environmentally, economically, and socially responsible place- looked very different. Even […]

Read More
Matt Johnson Nov 06, 2018

We were somewhere around Denison on the edge of the corn fields when the Eurostyle Chamois Butter began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded, maybe we should stop at a watering station…” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us, and the road was full of […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Oct 02, 2018

October is a big month in the triathlon world, with the Kona Ironman World Championships on the 13th. So it is good news that Triathlete Magazine chose its October issue to focus on bicycle safety and advocacy. Bike Law Director (and our resident triathlete) Rachael Maney was featured and interviewed in the piece. She shared […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Sep 28, 2018

Chicago has become one of the nation’s top cycling cities, but along with more has come an increase in dooring crashes. A Chicago news channel has covered the issue and interviewed attorney Brendan Kevenides, Bike Law’s legal resource in Illinois. Brendan explained the growing risk to cyclists and how the “Dutch Reach” can help.  The […]

Read More
Amy Benner Johnson Sep 21, 2018

Drivers are coming within less than 1.5 feet of cyclists on the road in Knoxville with alarming regularity. Drivers are coming within less than two feet of cyclists on the road in Knoxville with alarming regularity. It’s not your imagination. It’s not all in your head. Your combined senses of touch, sound, and sight all […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Sep 12, 2018

You may have already seen the video below. If you haven’t, please watch. On Tuesday, August 24th just before 7PM, Jeff McCord and approximately 20 other cyclists were stopped at the intersection of Karl Daly and Grants Mill Road in Irondale, Alabama, a town outside the city of Birmingham. As McCord waited for an ambulance […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Aug 30, 2018

In 2010, Richmond, California got lucky when Brooklyn born Najari Smith planted roots in the Bay Area city, quickly claiming a very important role in his new community. Having given more than 1,100 bikes to Richmond’s youth and community members in the last 6 years, Najari’s vision and mission to promote a bike-centric lifestyle has […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 17, 2018

On July 11, 2018, a very experienced rider and friend to many in the Rockdale County area, Albert “Ab” Roesel, was killed while out on a rural road doing a ride that he no doubt had done many times before.  Ab was 75 years old.   The police investigation concluded that Ab had been headed Southbound, […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Jun 04, 2018

At sea a boat under power must give way to a more vulnerable craft.  The law requires that a power driven vessel give way to a sailing vessel.  A sail boat must give way to a craft engaged in fishing. These simple rules are consistent with the maxim that with greater power comes greater responsibility. […]

Read More
Commuter Bike
Bruce Hagen May 29, 2018

Recently, my wife and I moved into a new home that’s closer to my office, which has allowed me to start commuting by bike.  I rode my bike to and from my office 4 consecutive days before my schedule forced me back into the car. My hope and plan is to commute by bike at […]

Read More
Pat Brown May 10, 2018

Strength, ambition, and courage are just a few words that come to mind when we think of Anthony Lue.  Growing up, Anthony enjoyed playing competitive sports such as baseball, volleyball, basketball and mountain biking, but his true passion was discovered on his high school track.    After winning gold for 100m hurdles at the provincial championships […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 30, 2018

Following a horrific bicycle crash in 2016, Dr. Michael Rifkin has become a new type of bicycling advocate — one who is deeply committed to ending distracted driving. Read his op-ed on Making Distracted Driving in Maine Taboo here. Dr. Rifkin’s piece reminds us that we can be distracted by our phones and other electronic devices even […]

Read More
Load More