All are invited to participate in a “Ride of Silence” to remember bicyclists who have been injured or killed in crashes involving motor vehicles. The Ride of Silence is an annual event that happens on the same day in all 50 U.S. states and in countries around the world. Since 2007, the Ride has been organized in Montpelier by the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition (VBPC) to draw attention to the need to improve the safety of Vermont’s roadways for all users. Thanks to the efforts of a group of students from UVM, the Ride will take place in 10 additional Vermont communities this year.
The VBPC is promoting the “Drive of Silence” for those who don’t bicycle or who will be unable to participate in the event. All those who drive a car on May 16 are asked to turn off all electronic devices and focus simply on the act of driving. The purpose of the Drive of Silence is to draw awareness to the dangers of distracted driving.
Bicyclists at the May 16 event will ride approximately 12 miles in silence, single file at a respectful pace while wearing their helmets. VBPC executive director, Nancy Schulz, is enthusiastic about the growth of the ride and says “Having so many additional towns participating this year is an indication of the value that citizens place on safety. Vermonters deserve to have roads that are safe for bicyclists and pedestrians.”
In Montpelier, the Ride of Silence bicyclists will gather at 5:30 pm in front of the state house and will wear black and red armbands, each of which has been labeled with the name of a crash victim. At the halfway point in the ride, the names will be read aloud to emphasize the high price of unsafe infrastructure and unsafe behavior. To personalize an armband, please send the name of the person for whom you wish to ride to Nancy@VTBikePed.org
Listed below are the participating communities and the Ride leaders who can be contacted for information regarding gathering times and places:
Bennington, Bruce Lierman: TheCyclingAcademy@comcast.net
Brattleboro, Dede Cummings: DCDesignTeamVT@gmail.com
Burlington, Matt Barrows: MaBarrows@gmail.com
Hinesburg, Richard Watts: RWatts@UVM.edu
Middlebury, Laura Asermily: LAsermily@yahoo.com
Montpelier, Nancy Schulz: Nancy@VTBikePed.org
Randolph, Mike Van Dyke: MVD2095@gmail.com
St. Johnsbury, Brian Hanson: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Hero, Carol Tremble: CBTremb88@yahoo.com
Waterbury, Sherry Winnie: Sherry.Winnie@gmail.com
Woodstock, Peter Vollers: PVollers@KillingtonMountainSchool.org
The Coalition is very grateful to the above volunteer ride leaders as well as to UVM students Larissa Baker, Matt Barrows, Rory Shamlian, Colin Swanson, and Colleen Whitcomb. There is no rain date for the Ride of Silence. If the weather is inclement, contact individual ride leaders to find out if the Ride will be held as scheduled.