Ride of Silence was a solemn affair.
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(All photos © J. Maus)
About 70 Portlanders took part in the Ride of Silence last night.
After a brief speech by BTA executive director Scott Bricker, the crowd rode from the North Park Blocks, made a loop through downtown, went over the Broadway Bridge, then up MLK Jr. Blvd., and ended at N. Interstate and Greeley.
The ride was solemn and silent (except for the occassional chime of bike bells) and riders pinned signs on their bikes and bags that read “share the road” and “remembering fallen cyclists”. We rode through the streets with a full police escort, unencumbered by the hassles or molestations of motor vehicle traffic.
Along the way, we passed by the memorial ghost bike for Tracey Sparling — the 19 year-old art student who lost her life after a truck turned into her path at W. Burnside and 14th last year.
Though Tracey was not an avid cyclist herself, her family has come to appreciate the support shown to them by Portland’s bike community. Joining the ride last night was Tracey’s aunt Susie Kubota, her husband Jim Lundblad, and Tracey’s mom and dad, Lee and Sophie Sparling (Sophie rode in a pedicab).
When I got home from the ride, I found an email from Susie Kubota in my inbox. She expressed her family’s gratitude for the education and information they’ve received in part by following the thoughtful dialogue in the comments of this site since their daughter was taken from them.
She also shared why the whole family joined us on the ride:
“The Ride of Silence is a memorial ride, and a ride for awareness, so our family rode tonight to remind everyone of our precious Tracey. We rode tonight because we have been overwhelmed by the empathy and kindness we have received from the cycling community during our tragic time of sorrow.
It was sobering but comforting to travel with others contemplating the memories of Tracey and other riders killed or injured while cycling the very streets we were riding.”
When we passed the site of Tracey’s untimely death, Kubota stopped to lay down fresh flowers. It was a powerful moment.
The ride also passed through the site on MLK Jr. Blvd. where Chris Burris lost his life in September of 2005 and it ended at the fateful intersection of N. Interstate and Greeley, where Brett Jarolimek was killed just weeks after the Tracey Sparling tragedy.
In Beaverton, 18 riders gathered at the Beaverton Library to participate on the 2nd Annual Westside Ride of Silence. According to ride participant Jim Parsons (K’Tesh in the forums), all riders were given black armbands before their six mile ride, which passed by several ghost bikes.
The Portland ride was covered by several local media outlets including the Oregonian, and TV crews from KATU, KGW, and FOX.