Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017
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EDITORIAL

Silent riders pay tribute

In Toledo and Bowling Green, bicycle riders gathered on Wednesday for the annual Ride of Silence to honor cyclists who have been injured or killed on the road.

The ride is slow and quiet, a thing of reverence, really, as it should be. The ride pays tribute and seeks to educate the public about safety and sharing the road.

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Bicyclists listen to organizer Keith Webb read names of those who have died while riding bikes. They rode Wednesday in the Ride of Silence, which began at the University of Toledo.

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Similar events happen around the country each May, which is National Bike Month. The events aim to raise awareness of safety issues for bike riders. Several hundred people have participated in Toledo’s ride each year, while the Bowling Green event was new this year.

Among those remembered by riders was Eric Ramlow, 53, of Bowling Green. The finance executive, who liked to commute to work by bike, was killed Jan. 6, 2016, when he was struck from behind by a sport utility vehicle while riding on Sand Ridge Road between Bowling Green and Weston.

It would be nice to think a ride in the near future would celebrate that no cyclists were hurt or injured in the previous year.

Motorists must do more to learn traffic laws regarding bikes and watch out for the vehicles that share the roads.

In 2015, the last year for which stats are available, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said 25 cyclists were killed in Ohio and 33 were killed in Michigan.

Consider, along with those statistics, the fact that distracted driving is becoming a growing threat to cyclists, pedestrians, and others as well. Texting, eating, and other distractions caused almost 13,000 crashes in Ohio last year, the Highway Patrol said.

Local Ride of Silence coordinator Keith Webb noted that the event takes on more significance each year as more and more cyclists take to the roads.

Toledo’s economic development must include making the region an accessible place for bikers — with more bike paths and dedicated bike lanes. And greater safety for bikers. Living cities are biking cities — safe biking cities.

Bikers can do better. They must ride defensively and wear helmets. Motorists must do better. They must drive with more consideration and intention. The road is for bikers too. Bike riders are here to stay.

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