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

Atlanta Slow Roll
Bruce Hagen Apr 18, 2019

Bike Law Ambassador Niklas Volmer and Bike Law Georgia client Jordan Streiff have had enough of the City of Atlanta’s lip service and hypocrisy when it comes to building out meaningful bike infrastructure and decided it was time to do something about it. For some context, the City of Atlanta has promised to invest $250,000,000 […]

Read More
Danny Feldman Apr 17, 2019

ALABAMA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Alabama. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Danny Feldman directly. Right to […]

Read More
Rick Bernardi Apr 16, 2019

From the beginning, the Bike Law Network has had a singular focus—helping cyclists who have been injured find justice. Well, what’s so special about that? Lots of lawyers take bicycle accident cases. But the Bike Law Network is different—the lawyers in the network are cyclists themselves, and they’re passionately committed to protecting the rights of […]

Read More
Bike Walk Macon, Georgia
Bruce Hagen Apr 11, 2019

Rachel Hollar is the energetic spark behind the success of Bike Walk Macon, the leading advocacy group in the Macon-Bibb County area.   I recently had a chance to catch up with Rachel to discuss how cycling culture has changed in the Macon area since Rachel founded Bike Walk Macon in 2015.    Back in 2015, […]

Read More
Charlie Thomas Apr 11, 2019

LOUISIANA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Louisiana. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Charlie Thomas directly. Right to […]

Read More
Amy Benner Johnson Apr 10, 2019

TENNESSEE  BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Tennessee. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Amy Johnson directly. Right to […]

Read More
Ann Groninger Apr 10, 2019

NORTH CAROLINA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in North Carolina. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Ann Groninger directly. […]

Read More
Brian Weiss Apr 10, 2019

COLORADO BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Colorado. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Brian Weiss directly. Right to […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Apr 10, 2019

GEORGIA  BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Georgia. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Bruce Hagen directly. Right to […]

Read More
Bryan Waldman Apr 10, 2019

MICHIGAN BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Michigan. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Bryan Waldman directly. Right to […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 10, 2019

MAINE BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Maine. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Lauri Boxer-Macomber directly. Right to […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Apr 05, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA BICYCLE LAWS It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Pennsylvania. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Joey Piscitello directly. Right to […]

Read More
Load More