Ride of Silence on May 21

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Cyclists will silently wind their way through the roads of Bainbridge Island on May 21 to honor fellow riders killed or injured on public roadways.

The island’s planned ‘Ride of Silence’ is one of over 300 set to happen at the same time around the world. The first such event on Bainbridge, organizers plan to make the ride an annual event.

The ride is a reminder for motorists that cyclists share the roadways and have a legal right to do so, said ride organizer Kim Bottles.

The free event is also aimed at promoting cycling as healthy recreation and as an Earth-friendly mode of transportation.

Global participation in Ride of Silence events has more than doubled over the last two years, with over 270 communities taking part in 2007. Seattle’s ride drew over 1,000 cyclists.

Three island cyclists have suffered nearly fatal collisions with motorists in the last four years. Last month, a Bainbridge man was struck and injured by a truck on State Route 305. The crash forced the man’s head under the rear tire of the truck but his helmet prevented serious injury. The motorist left the man unconscious on the roadside and was later arrested for hit-and-run and driving while intoxicated.

In 2004, art teacher Chris Stanley was hit from behind at 50 mph by a motorist who was distracted while reaching for her cell phone. Stanley suffered internal bleeding, a collapsed lung, four broken ribs, a cracked skull and four breaks in his left leg.

Also in 2004, island resident and emergency medical doctor Ernie Franz was struck by a drunk driver on High School Road. Franz sustained multiple injuries, including a broken neck, and can no longer practice in the emergency room.

Ride of Silence organizers are asking participants to travel slowly, silently and in a single file line on May 21. The ride will depart from the Marge Williams Center, 221 Winslow Way, at 7 p.m. The course will range from eight to 12 miles. Participants are encouraged to wear a black armband if they wish to honor a cyclist killed on the road or a red one to honor an injured cyclist.

For more information, call Kim Bottles at (425) 702-6628.