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The message of Toledo's Ride of Silence is simple: The rules of the road apply equally to motorists and bicyclists alike.
"The ride to help remind people to share the road and there is enough room for all of us. We have a legal right to be here. On the same token, bicyclists have the responsibility to act, behave, and follow the same laws as motorists," said Keith Webb, organizer of the Toledo Ride of Silence.
The goal of the event, which will begin at 6:45 p.m. today on the University of Toledo main campus, is to remember those who have been killed or injured while riding a bicycle on public roadways and to remind drivers to share the road.
Riders will embark on the free ride in the parking lot off North Towerview Boulevard on the West Toledo campus, joining others across the globe in the silent, slow-paced ride.
Officers with UT, Toledo, and Ottawa Hills police departments, including some on bicycles, and the Toledo Fire Department will escort the group through neighborhoods on an eight-mile loop. The ride will end where it began on campus.
"We will have patrol cars to support us through the route and they will take away any fear that less experienced riders may have," Mr. Webb said.
The silence ride, which began 10 years ago in Dallas, is among the many events being held locally to celebrate Bike Month.
The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments is organizing the activities, including Bike to Work Day on Friday and Bike Day at the Farmers Market on Saturday.
Also, TARTA is reducing the fare to 25 cents through Saturday for commuters who put bicycles on the public transit system buses.
According to Toledo police, two bicyclists were killed in 2012 in accidents involving motorists, the first bicycling fatalities for the city in at least two years. There were 87 bicyclists hurt in accidents with vehicles last year, down one from a year ago.
Statewide, 16 bicyclists died in 1,748 bicycle-vehicle accidents on Ohio roads in 2011, the most current information available from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.