Ride of Silence

Photo Credit: Courtesy Steve Douglass

Amarillo cyclists turned out Wednesday night for Ride of Silence, an international awareness ride that takes place on the third Wednesday of May.

Upwards of 200 riders took part, making it one of the larger rides in the world.

Among those riding were members and supporters of Share The Road, a group aimed at improving the safety of drivers and cyclists, runners, motorcyclists, and pedestrians in Amarillo and the surrounding communities. During the ride, some cyclists were wearing black or red bracelets: red if they had been hit by a car, black if they had not.

"I and a friend of mine were riding our bikes, we were actually in Canyon, and we were hit by a driver," said Robyn Willis, a rider and volunteer board member for Share the Road. "I had a shattered clavicle, I had a horrible concussion, which my helmet...if you could see my helmet you would see how that played a big part in saving my life, as well as my friend's. I was on a walker for eight weeks. I had a bilateral fracture, both sides of my pelvis and my tailbone.

Willis is not alone. Just last year, cyclist Cindy Whitney was hit and killed by a distracted driver.

"We're riding in memory of Cindy Whitney tonight and there are six other cyclists who have been killed in recent years, over the last 10 years or so," said Ken Graham, president of Share The Road.

"Actually all the research shows that most of the time, when you're a driver behind the wheel and really you're feeling that you're in an impatient situation, you're really only are losing three to five seconds waiting on that athlete that may be on their bike or on their motorcycle or running," said Willis.

And waiting or being less in a hurry is just what the cycling community is hoping for.

"We all live in this world together and we need to survive together," continued Willis. "In order to survive together, we need to be a little more tolerant of each other."

"Bicyclists are on the road, all the time, doing different things--recreation, commuting to work, riding to school--and we ask that motorists remember that we have a legal right to use the road as well," said Graham.