Ride of Silence Encourages Cyclists and Motorists to Share the Road

On Tuesday, April 19, the Marana Town Council unanimously passed a proclamation recognizing Ride of Silence Day, which will occur on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.  This annual international event honors cyclists who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.  Furthermore, it raises awareness that cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists.  In passing this proclamation, the Council emphasizes the importance that all travelers—drivers and cyclists alike—share the road with respect for the law and for each other.

The Ride of Silence organization hosted its first event in 2003 in response to tragedy in Dallas, Texas.  In May of that year, long-distance cyclist Larry Schwartz was struck and killed by the side mirror of a passing bus.  In the days following his death, the cycling community in Dallas organized an informal gathering that attracted over 1000 riders.  Every year since then, the ride has grown substantially, and this year will occur not just in every state in the US, but also in 38 countries across the world.  On May 18, over 300 rides across the globe will raise awareness of the importance of bicycling safety. 

Marana is proud to participate in year’s event.  Community and recreation are both focus areas in the Town’s strategic plan.  Ensuring that local cyclists feel safe while pedaling on our streets and bike paths helps Marana fulfill both of those commitments.

“The safety of bicyclists in our community is an essential consideration in responsibly planning for future growth and development,” explains Varney, a planner with the Town. “Town staff work collaboratively in planning and developing bicycle facilities that provide a safe, comfortable, and convenient means for bicycle travel within Marana. Such facilities include shared-use paths detached from the roadway, paved shoulders where shared-use paths are not feasible, and options for recreational riding such as the Santa Cruz Shared-Use Path and smaller neighborhood-scale trail systems similar to what we have in Gladden Farms.” Varney, himself an avid cyclist, is proud to be part of these efforts.            

Marana has demonstrated its commitment to bike safety through its construction and maintenance of the Santa Cruz Shard-Use Path.  This car-free stretch of pavement extends for miles along the banks of the Santa Cruz River, paralleling a picturesque riparian corridor.  Not only does this path afford cyclists a safe place to travel, but its regular maintenance ensures a smooth and steady ride.

On May 18, and on every other day of the year, be sure to share the road.  Both cyclists and cars have a right to the roadway, and the Ride of Silence will help remind everyone about the importance of safety and respect on the streets.