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Ride Of Silence Bicycle Event To Commemorate Accident Victims

Ride Of SilenceWednesday evening is the regional Ride of Silence bicycle ride to commemorate the persons killed or injured in vehicle-bicycle collisions in Michigan.

Ride organizer Steve Lasco is working with Bike Initiative Keweenaw (BiKE!) and the national Ride of Silence organization on this important project.

There is no cost to participate in this ride. The only requirement is that ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST WEAR A BIKE HELMET.

Cyclists are requested to arrive in Hancock by 5.45 pm, gathering in the parking lot east of the Ramada Inn and under the Lift Bridge. We will leave at 6 pm, going up the hill and over the Lift Bridge to Montezuma Ave. in Houghton, then south to U.S. 41 to the Chassell Centennial Park.

The return ride will follow the same route, using Shelden Ave. to the Lift Bridge. The round-trip ride totals 19 miles, almost entirely on level terrain. Riders are free to cut their ride short at any point and ride on the roadway or the Houghton-Chassell railroad trail. However, such riders will not enjoy the benefits of the group ride or the police escort.

Our area law enforcement agencies have graciously pledged their support and are providing police escorts for the ride. The City of Hancock, City of Houghton, and Houghton County Sheriff’s Department all are cooperating by providing escort services within their jurisdictions. Many thanks to Chief Butler (Hancock), Chief Donnelly (Houghton), and Sheriff McLean (Houghton County) for deploying resources to provide rider safety for the event.

The Ride of Silence is a national event usually held each May. The Copper Country has had these rides in past years, but not recently. In most years, during May the bicycle community is focused on Bike to Work Month/Week/Day events.

“When I saw the news about the horrific incident in Kalamazoo (where an allegedly intoxicated motorist smashed into a group of cyclists, killing five adults and badly injuring four others), it just hit me in the heart,” said Ride of Silence organizer Steve Lasco. “As a frequent cyclist myself, I’ve had far too many close calls and am very aware that I, too, could be a victim of motorist inattention. Working with our great local cycling communities, including the Hancock Bike & Pedestrian Committee and BiKE!, I was compelled to organize a Ride of Silence in our area.”

The Ride of Silence is exactly that: A cadre of riders moving without speaking, a virtual “ghost ride” if you will. In this gentle yet effective manner, we draw attention to applicable laws and what once was known as “common courtesy”, respectfully requesting that drivers share the road, pay attention, and give cyclists clearance when passing on state and local roads.

“Unfortunately, one doesn’t have to try hard to see distracted drivers,” said Lasco, who has over 45 years of cycling experience all over the USA. “Texting, fiddling with their phone, driving with a dog between them and the steering wheel…these are just a few of the things I see almost every day on U.S. 41.

“We’re not radical,” Lasco continued. “We just want to ride and enjoy our bikes within the law and get home safely, the same as any motorist or other person. Unfortunately, one moment of distracted inattention by a vehicle driver can have life-altering, even deadly, consequences to an unsuspecting, law-abiding cyclist. No text or game or other pursuit is worth taking a human life.”

This event will be held rain or shine, unless lightning storms occur during the event. For more information, contact Steve Lasco at yooperwordsmith@yahoo.com or 530.208.8205.

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