Ride of Silence honors fallen Fairport teacher

Posted at: 05/15/2013 2:57 AM
Updated at: 05/15/2013 11:18 PM
By: Lynette Adams

On Wednesday night many people got on their bikes for a ride in silence to honor those injured or killed while riding their bicycles and to raise awareness.

Organizers of Wednesday night's ride hoped to bring more awareness to bicycle safety.

Members of the "Moms in Motion" also rode their bikes in honor of a teammate and friend.

Heather Boyum, a Fairport High School science teacher, was riding her bike last July on Route 250 in Penfield, when she was hit by a motorcycle and then a car.

Opening arguments begin Thursday in the trials of the two people charged in connection with her death. Police say Mark Scerbo was driving the motorcycle and Megan Merkel was driving the car that hit her.

More than 100 cyclists took off from the parking lot of the Penfield Highway Department. They rode off to the sounds of "Amazing Grace."

Cyclists have been doing this ride for 10 years worldwide. It's called the Ride of Silence, in honor of all those killed while riding who no longer have a voice.

Wednesday night's ride took the group through Penfield on a 9-mile trek.

In light of Wednesday night's ride, News10NBC wanted to know if Boyum's death and others have made transportation officials think more about bicycle safety on roadways.

Also, what do drivers and cyclists need to do when it comes to following the law?

The ride is not only to remember cyclists who have lost their lives on the roadways, but also to bring attention to cycling and remind motorists that bikes have the same rights as cars.

“We're seeing more and more of 'I didn't see you. I didn't know you were there. I thought you were going slower than you were,' and on and on and on,” said  ride organizer Andrew Stewart.

Stewart says he's hearing those excuses now more than ever from drivers and it is more frightening than ever for cyclists.

He blames busy schedules and more distractions like texting, as well as the attitude that bikes move too slowly and don't belong on the road.

“You're out there operating a 4,000 pound missile, as far as a cyclist is concerned, and we ask that you be aware of that and give it the proper respect it requires,” said Stewart.

News York State Law allows bicycles anywhere cars are allowed. The only exception expressways. like Interstate 490.

Bicyclists have to adhere to the same rules of the road as cars. They are allowed even on roadways marked 55 miles per hour. Yet many cyclists are killed on the road.

Chris Redfield of Greece says nothing points this out better than the "Ride in Silence" website.

“It has a listing of over the last 10 years of people who have been killed or injured in bike rides and it's just shocking to look at. Even in today's day and age this is something that still happens,” said Redfield.

Redfield and others out Wednesday night say a little courtesy and patience would go a long way.

“If they could just be a little more aware of us and give us the three feet that we're suppose to have, I think that would be very, very helpful and go a long way,” said Redfield.

Bicyclists also have rules to adhere to. Their bikes must be equipped with a bell or other audible device, they must have working brakes and cyclists have to wear reflective gear.

They also have to follow the same rules of the road as cars. For example, signaling when to turn and when there is a designated bike lane, cyclists must use that

One cyclist talked about three foot rule. That is a rule for motorists If you are passing a cyclist, you have to leave at least three feet between you and the cyclist while you're passing.

For more information about the Ride of Silence, click here.