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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ride of Silence 2011 Recap

I showed up on State Street at 6:45pm and traffic was still flowing down the street weaving in and out of the cyclists. Traffic flowed through the gathering cyclists almost to the point of the ride start, which was closer to 730pm than the advertised 7pm. The police seemed annoyed, but were not doing anything about it. I estimated between 400-500 cyclists this year and it seemed a little larger than last year. Someone emailed me that they counted roughly 280 cyclists, but I think that is low. I DO NOT think that 800 cyclists attended as announced by the organizers. They seem to have a track record of inflating their accomplishments. The speeches were barely audible with the audio system the organizers used and it seemed to be a pep rally for the organization, rather than discussing the real issues of cyclist safety. After Taps and bagpipers played a song the ride got started.


The cyclists lined up and the mayor, who did not show up on a bike, officially launched the ride. We turned right on High Street and headed north. When we got to the Kroger on King it seemed as though a staged situation took place in front of the TV camera crews. A car was parked in the right hand lane with his blinkers on and the motorcycle policeman yelled at the driver to pull into the parking lot to discuss the situation. About a minute later the same policeman drove by us quickly so I don't think a ticket was given. It just seemed too convenient to have a driver pull into the middle of the ride in front of a camera crew. 


The ride seemed well paced until we turned up Arcadia. I noticed the ride leader was standing at the turn taking pictures of the event and in retrospect his leadership would be better served at the front of the ride. The small hill on Arcadia blew up the group and as I crossed Hudson I realized that the front group with police escort was 6-7 blocks ahead of me. At this point I was really disappointed because I rode up Arcadia at a decent pace and there was a big group behind me. Since the road was clear I pushed it to 25mph to catch up and decided to abandon the ride at 5th Ave. I turned south on High St. to head back to my car.


Out of curiosity I stopped at Paradise Garage to watch the ride make the turn on High Street from East 1st Ave. I saw the police enter the intersection and the first group made the turn and then a smaller group made the corner. Traffic seemed to be getting antsy and started moving. A good number of cyclists were nimbly entering traffic from E 1st onto High Street. At this point I was flabbergasted by the poor planning and poor coverage by the police escorts.


Here is a quote from a friend who emailed me after the ride - 


The ride of silence was a real letdown this year. The police weren't blocking the intersections and people were trying to run us over. ghb


No pictures this year. 

2 comments:

edo said...

Very unorganized event. Riders that were escorted were the ones that were closer to the cruiser. Some a$$ hole almost ran us over on Ackerman. After the Arcadia hill, ride turned into the race.

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll not only blog here, but actually be in touch directly with organizers and police about what they can do to improve next year.

Complaining afterwards may feel good, but offering up solutions in advance to potential problems and well communicated expectations for 2012 will do far more for community.

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