Local Cyclists Make Ride of Silence

MAY 17, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:30 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Cyclists were in full force around Jonesboro Wednesday evening, but if you saw these riders, there's one thing you may not have noticed. They were riding in silence. Local cyclists made the trip of 12 miles all to honor those who have been injured or killed on roadways.


The statistics are surprising. Most may think bicycle riding is a fairly safe sport, but across the nation, over 600 cyclists are killed on the road each year and these local cyclists say their main goal is to raise awareness to prevent this preventable problem.


“People on occasion throw things at us. We've been swerved at, been run off the road and it's a scary thing sometimes to get out and ride on some of these roads. People need to be aware that we are obeying traffic laws and it is our right to be on the road,” says Jeff Owens, the Assistant Director of Jonesboro ’s Parks and Recreation.


They say they're not out to inconvenience drivers and if everyone did their part, the injuries and even deaths could easily be prevented.


"We don't want to hold people up. We're just out trying to enjoy something and stay fit at the same time," says Owens.


These cyclists say this sport is something that's here to stay, so the best thing they figured they could do is spread the word about cycling safety.


“We've even had numerous people that have been hit by cars here in Jonesboro , which is also tragic. Really it's an issue that as we continue to grow and more cars are on the road, and as recreation and fitness and alternate transportation gets explored, we're going to see more cyclists on the road,” says Jim Sterns of Ridge Riders Athletic Club.


Their main advice for drivers was fairly simple.


"I guess the biggest thing I can say is just to have a little patience with us. We're going to be as careful as we can to be out of your way, so just give us a little room and a little patience. We're going to do our best not to cause you to have an accident and we just ask the same," says Sterns.


The cyclists said their main reason for the ride was to increase awareness for what they consider a very important sport. Statistics show that bicycling is part of our nation's