CBRM cyclists will be travelling together in a “ride of silence” Wednesday, May 19 on the Sydney-Glace Bay highway.
Interested participants are encouraged to gather at the Mayflower Mall parking lot at 6:45pm for instructions. The ride will conclude at Cape Breton University, with cyclists riding no faster than 12 kilometres per hour.
The ride is part of a worldwide event, held to draw attention to fatalities suffered by cyclists worldwide, and to draw attention to cyclist’s legal right to share the road with motorists.
The idea took off when local cyclist Lonnie Jones found out about the event a few months ago, and brought the idea to his fellow cyclists at VELO Cape Breton. “I thought that this is something that would tie in with VELO Cape Breton’s mandate of education,” Jones explained.
Jones hopes that the ride will draw attention to cyclists in the CBRM. “We’re not just cyclists as athletes, but also commuters and people enjoying the outdoors.” Jones and the event’s other organizers hope to raise awareness among motorists, police, and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways.
According to Jones, the stretch of highway between the Mayflower Mall and Cape Breton University was chosen because it was one that made many cyclists feel nervous. “From the perspective of someone who has cycled on that road, that section is dangerous. Coming out of the Mayflower Mall, motorists jockey for position, they accelerate quickly and don’t pay much attention to what’s ahead of them as they swerve to pass other vehicles…it’s a very dangerous section of highway.”
Jones praised the work that VELO Cape Breton has done in educating the public. “Motorists are a lot more polite and considerate than they were 5 years ago,” he said. Jones hopes to make the event an annual one in the community, in solidarity with other Rides of Silence throughout the year. For now, Jones encouraged everyone interested to show up at the mall. “We leave at 7 pm sharp, rain, shine or snow.”
The Ride of Silence day will occur just days after a major accident in Rougemont, Quebec on May 14, where a truck struck 6 cyclists, killing 3 of of them. Though the driver of the truck stopped to administer first aid, Jones regretfully noted that many collisions between motorists and cyclists are hit and run.
For those who don’t wish to partake in the ride itself, Jones said they were still welcome to come to the mall to see the cyclists off. “Even if people don’t want to bike, they can come to the Mayflower Mall to show support.”
For more information on the international Ride of Silence, visit rideofsilence.org