Akron 'Ride of Silence' Honors Cyclists Killed in 2015

May 15, 2017

The Akron 'Ride of Silence' is one of hundreds of similar events taking place on Wednesday to honor cyclists killed on public roads.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

On Wednesday, the worldwide "Ride of Silence" will honor bicyclists who've been killed or injured on public roadways. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia has more on the ride that will take place in Summit County.

The “Ride of Silence” is being organized by the Akron Bicycle Club, which has arranged for two police cars to escort cyclists on the 7-mile route.

This year’s ride in Akron will honor two cyclists who were killed in a collision with a pickup truck in 2015: Jim Lambert and Matt Billings. Billings’ mother, Maureen, has participated in previous Rides of Silence, and says she hopes to have the opportunity to share the message that motorists need to share the road with bikes.

'I think if they see my pain, they will pay attention more.'

“They’re a vehicle, just like a car is. And they have every right to take the whole lane if they need to. Or if there’s potholes on one side and they can’t ride and there’s no bike lane.

“I’m hoping to get my foot in the door places like driver’s education schools or high schools or something where I can talk to people about the rights of cyclists. People just consider them a nuisance.

"I’d like to be able to go and talk to people because I think if they see my pain, they will pay attention more than just giving them the law.”

Matt Billings’ widow, Rebecca, says she may also join the Akron event this year, after participating in Cleveland.

The “Ride of Silence” leaves from the Botzum parking lot in Cuyahoga Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The 7-mile ride is free and cyclists are asked to wear helmets, stay under 12 mph and remain silent during the ride.