Tallahassee cyclists gather for a Ride of Silence to remember fallen bicyclists

More than 50 cyclists gathered for the 2022 Ride of Silence to remember those lost to bicycle accidents.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 12:56 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Riding for change. Dozens of cyclists gathered at the Tallahassee- St. Marks Trailhead for a ride of silence to raise awareness for bicycle safety.

The international initiative looks to recognize and remember those who lost their lives to bicycle accidents and to ensure others to suffer the same fate.

Guided by TPD, more than fifty bicyclists gathered Wednesday evening to ride together for one purpose, safety.

“The critical mass that we have here just shows how important this is to all of us that we have safe cycling spaces and there’s just a lot of people that care about it in Tallahassee,” shared Ride in Silence Organizer JoAnna Southerland.

Among those riders was Bicycle House owner Scott Benson, who rides 100 miles a day during the month of May for bicycle safety awareness.

“We serve a lot of people who are on the financial edge and I see them when I’m out riding and so during bike month I’ll make a point to get out and ride around to be seen by them to give them inspiration,” explained Benson.

The eight mile silent ride gave riders a time to reflect on victims of bicycle accidents.

“It made me think about how grateful I am to be able to ride and you know be careful and to instill in other people to be careful,” exclaimed Southerland.

In 2021 in the state of Florida alone, there were almost 6400 bicycle crashes with 182 of them being fatalities. Two of which happened in Leon County.

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“September 25 of 2021 my father was hit and killed by vehicle while he was riding his bicycle in this event helps bring awareness to that,” explained Chet Smith, Son of bicycle crash victim Chesterfield Smith.

Smith and his mom Tricia say riding the St. Marks Trail on their tandem bike brought back a lot of emotions.

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“This tandem was my husband and my bike and we rode these trails all the time,” shared Chesterfield Smith’s wife Tricia Smith. “We rode them for 15 to 20 years you know and I haven’t been on the bike since the incident and it’s really bring back a lot of memories. It’s bittersweet.”

Both say they’re just glad they can use his name to keep other cyclists safe.

“I’m very proud to do it and I think he’d be happy to have his name used in this way,” said Smith. “He was an advocate for cycling and bicycle safety riding since I was a kid who started riding.

The group hopes to create a better environment for all riders.

The cyclists say they want to ensure drivers give bikers the 3 feet of space the law specifies and for riders to always wear helmets.

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