A "Silent" Bike Ride That Wasn't Quiet

By: Christine Kennedy
By: Christine Kennedy

Over 50 bicyclists met in downtown Greenville Wednesday night for a silent tribute ride, but their message was anything but quiet.

The annual event started in Texas in 2003 and now spans to all 50 states including 18 countries worldwide.

The silent tribute ride honors fellow cyclists who have died or been injured while riding on the road.

Since 2004, Eastern Carolina has had at least 10 bicyclists lose their life in accidents involving motorists.

With the most recent occurring this March, when 54-year old Joseph Smallwood died after being struck by an ECU transit bus in Greenville.

EC Velo Cylcing Club President, Christy Deardorff says the ride may be silent but the message is deafening.

The bicycle ride went through Greenville's busiest streets and totaled about 10 miles.

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  • by zed Location: Greenville on May 22, 2009 at 07:28 AM
    Sam- You and others may wish to contact your local legislators with your suggestions so that state and local laws can be changed. Local laws prohibit bicycles from being on the sidewalk and state law treats them as motorists/vehicles. Bikers should follow the rules of the road but they have every right to be anywhere in the lane. Maybe you might like to read your driver's handbook again before you encourage illegal acts. Interesting that people here complain about bikers using the road but say nothing about farm equipment, motor scooters, or other slower moving vehicles. Maybe if the speed limits were enforced (or gasp...followed) cars and trucks would go safer and not kill or hurt so many people...just warm the planet and kill the air..a slow death shared by all instead
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on May 22, 2009 at 06:47 AM
    I have no problem with bikes in general and I have ridden them before both out in the country and in town, but there would not be so many deaths to the cyclists if they would learn to respect the drivers and stop taking up the road acting like they are a motorist holding up a motorist that is trying to get from place to place or trying to cut out in fromt of someone, risking getting hit and swindiling money out of the motorists bank account cause of their stupidity. At least when I have rode a bike out in the country, I would pull over to the shoulder when a car comes, which is the considerate thing to do and so should everyone else. As far as in town, thats what sidewalks are for(if there are any). If there are none then stay along the edge of the road and get out of my way when I am on the road. I don't want or need to be held up by you or to hit you, hurting you and having my insurance go up or cancelled and bank account go dry because of your stupidity. Common sense people!
  • by FEDUP Location: Plymouth on May 21, 2009 at 08:20 PM
    To l location, g'ville. Are you nuts? I live in a small rural area. NO public transportation. Taxing my gas is going to help who? I agree that bikers deserve to ride the roads and we should respect their right-of-ways and their desire to ride their bikes. At the same time, they need to obey the law just the the car driver does. More than once in G'ville, and other areas, I've had to slam on brakes to avoid hitting a biker who just appeared out of nowhere. Many will ride into traffic from side roads, convenience stores and never stop regardless of how heavy traffic is. So lets make sure ALL are following respectful and lawful rules of the road. Those who ride bikes and follow the rules of the road, should be allowed to do so without ridicule from anyone. My experience is more of the unthinking bike rider rather than the serious law-abiding biker.
  • by John Location: Goldsboro on May 21, 2009 at 06:31 PM
    Cyclists do not own the load and should respect drivers. What kind of message are you sending when ride bikes down the busiest street in Greenville??? Lets hope children do not try to copy your actions, they will not have a police escort.
  • by Steven Location: Farmville on May 21, 2009 at 10:14 AM
    Thanks to all who supported this ride last night. It was great so many turned out and the Greenville police supported everyone by keeping us all safe and protected. Keep it up and maybe someday Pitt county will be a safe place to ride.
  • by L Location: Greenville on May 21, 2009 at 10:10 AM
    What a respectful way to honor the dead and injured. I am sorry that some drivers do not drive in a respectful manner of others. Perhaps they are too busy talking on the telephone, eating, drinking, blaring music, and racing to the next red light to notice that bikers are also entitled to use the road. If more bikers would use the road maybe the drivers would see how much their cars are killing us all. I'd suggest that gasoline gets taxed an extra dollar per gallon and all of those funds go into pubic transportation, sidewalks, bike lanes, and other ways to make Greenville a safer, healthier, and better place to live.
  • by Brian Location: Greenville on May 21, 2009 at 07:10 AM
    This was great....... Cyclists telling Greenville we need to share the road and THEY were blocking traffic in the process. Ta heck with them. Use your brain when you ride and stay to the side of the road so cars can easily pass you.
  • by Michael Location: Greenville, NC on May 21, 2009 at 06:39 AM
    I tool part in the ride this year, and I understand the sentiment the first commentators are expressing. One of the purposes of the ride was to bring attention to the fact that Greenville is extremely biker unfriendly. Many cities and towns in the east and all over our state have well developed bike routes a lanes that make getting around on a bike safer. Yet Greenville is lagging in this matter. It's the "don't show me the sign which reads-Share the Road" mentality that we are trying to change. So help push our initiative for safer biking routes, and this would in turn help alleviate your traffic concerns.
  • by B Location: Greenville on May 21, 2009 at 06:27 AM
    I saw these cyclists last night and it was an impressive sight and I was glad that some people are out there trying to make the roads in Pitt Co safer for everyone. It was sad to hear some drivers swearing at them as they road past. While the law requires us to share the road since riding a bike on the sidewalk is illegal in Greenville, it would be nice if the police enforced the laws and ticketed cyclists who are in the wrong and pulled over cars who do not give the mandated two feet of clearance around a biker. We all pay for the roads so we all have to share them..just wish the county leaders would design the roads so that we could share without killing each the bikers. Other towns do it well and it makes life better there so why can't Pitt Co get its act together and be healthier and safer?
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on May 21, 2009 at 06:27 AM
    I agree Anonymous, I get behind packs of 50 or more bike riders on Old Pactolus Road all summer long. They have no regard whatsoever for other traffic.
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