Last week, on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, from 6:45 pm – 8 pm, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) and the Philadelphia chapter of the Ride of Silence organized the 16th annual Ride of Silence.
Over 250 cyclists gathered in support of cyclists who have been killed in the last year, and prior years, by motor vehicles. It started at Philadelphia’s City Hall and ended at the bottom of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps.
This was the first large group ride the BCGP has co-organized in 2021. Over 250 cyclists attended the event, which is more than we expected. Also in attendance was Stuart Leon Bicycle Crash Law, which offers legal support, specifically, for cyclists who have been injured while riding their bikes; and Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia (FSSGP), a collective of families who have lost a loved ones to traffic violence.
With hundreds of supporters advocating for safer streets and better bicycle infrastructure gathered, the opening ceremony began with Raymond Scheinfeld announcing the names of the 8 cyclists who were killed in 2020 and the two killed this year. Next, some of the families of the 8 victims lit candles in memory of their loved ones and gave a brief speech about their lives.
The Ride of Silence began by looping around City Hall with the assistance of the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) and the Philadelphia Bike Messenger Association (PBMA).
The group ride continued down Market St. towards the east side of Philadelphia, looping back towards West Philadelphia for a brief moment, and eventually brought everyone up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the bottom of the Art Museum steps. Surprisingly, throughout the ride, most cars complied with the PPD and PBMA stopping traffic at major intersections but there were a few vehicles that expressed their frustration as we rolled by in silence.
While it was an invigorating feeling to bike as a group again, this ride should not be happening each year. We should not host this ride at. No person riding a bicycle in traffic should get killed or seriously injured. And we are, as always working to change this. We need your help to advance this cause, and the entire Livable Communities cause, in City Council.
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The BCGP would like to thank the following for helping with the ride:
- Ride of Silence Philadelphia Chapter
- BCGP Staff Volunteers
- Families For Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia
- Stuart Leon Bicycle Crash Law
- City of Philadelphia: The Office of Information and Technology
- PPD assistance
- PBMA marshals
- Cyclists whole helped close streets