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Ride of Silence remembers fallen cyclists

May 15, 2013|By JoVona Taylor | RedEye

Bike riders from all around the city will gather at Daley Plaza tonight for Chicago’s Ride of Silence, an international event to commemorate cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which has spread to more than 300 locations worldwide. Illinois has organized a record 17 rides for the state, according to Elizabeth Adamczyk, board member for Ride of Silence and coordinator of the Chicago chapter.

Adamczyk said after encountering too many life-threatening situations while riding her bike, she decided to bring the event, which originated in Dallas, to Chicago in 2005.

“Our purpose is to bring attention to the fact that cyclists need to be seen by motorists and that we all need to share the road,” she said.

A grim reminder of the group's mission made headlines Tuesday night. An 83-year-old cyclist was killed after being struck by a car on the Northwest Side.

From their departure at Daley Plaza, Adamczyk said participants will ride toward 18th street, then make their way north for a final destination at the intersection of Oak and Wells, making stops at six ghost bikes.

Ghost bikes are memorials to cyclists killed on the road and are made near the sites of the fatal accidents. The memorial sites display a bike, painted white, to remember the cyclists.

This year the ride will end at the ghost bike dedicated to Neill Townsend, a cyclist who was killed in October.

After this final stop participates are invited to Seward Park for a post-ride gathering and refreshments.

Adamczyk said anyone is welcomed to ride in the event, which will depart at 6:30 p.m. She also asked that participants wear a black arm band in tribute to killed cyclists or a red arm band if they are a survivor of a bike/motor accident.

 “It’s not an easy event to do but it is so rewarding after you finish,” she said. “Every cyclist should be a part of the Ride of Silence at least once.”

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