GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Cyclists took to the streets of Greenville on Wednesday for the 18th annual Ride of Silence event. It’s a worldwide campaign to raise awareness for street safety.
“Whatever the reason, whether you’re walking, rolling or riding, you should be able to be safe in public spaces,” said Steven Hardy-Braz, Greenville street safety activist.
Cyclists gathered at the Greenville Bicycle Company to prepare for around an hour-long ride.
“We are commemorating the people who have been hit or either killed by riding bikes. And we’re doing it in honor of those people,” said Johnny Fleming, Ride of Silence participant.
According to the NC Department of Transportation, around 1,000 bicyclists are involved in vehicle crashes per year in N.C. They say around 20 people are killed every year and 60 have serious injuries.
For Greenville cyclist, Hardy-Braz, the ride of silence is personal.
“I was hit by a driver who … was almost two years ago … by a driver who was driving with a revoked license, had no insurance, had expired tags and a few other things,” said Hardy-Braz. “And I’m now probably permanently disabled because of this.”
The ride raises awareness about bicycle deaths and injuries, highlighting street safety. The route cyclists rode during the event to show Greenville and NCDOT’s infrastructural features that have already been made, as well as what changes still need to happen.
“This has been something I know is at the heart of the community here for a long time,” said event volunteer Alex Joyner. “To be able to come out and actually be a part of it is pretty incredible, and to see the number of people that are coming here is absolutely amazing to support this cause.”
Even though Ride of Silence only happens one night a year, participants and organizers hope to see change and more awareness for people and cyclists every day. The goal is for everyone to return home safely.