The ride of silence is a nation wide event that was started in 2003 after Larry Schwarzt was killed in Dallas after being hit by a passing bus. This is the 13th year for the Des Moines Ride of Silence.
The ride exists to honor those bicylists who have been killed or injured, to raise awareness that bicylists are here, and to share the road.
Nine more ghost bikes
Since the last ride of Silence in 2016, there were nine more ghost bikes added to the roadways in Iowa.
Wendell Leroy Reiman, age 66 Burlington
Bob Phillips, age 69 Nashua
Adam Pritchard, age 35 Clive
Lisa Kuhn, age 40 Muscatine
William B Davis, age 35 Boulder Colorado
Norman Eugene Needs, age 47 Cherokee
Wayne Ezell, age 72 Glenwood
Stephen Lousher, age 77 Paullina
An unidentified eight year old child, Monticello, IA
How does Iowa Stack Up?
Des Moines and Iowa have been on a roll lately and are showing up on top ten lists of best places to live these days. The league of American Bicyclist ranks states on how bicycle friendly they are. Two items included in the rankings are safe passing laws, and vulnerable road user laws. Back in 2009, I was added to the roll call at the ride of silence. This was the same year Doug Smith was run over by a pick up truck towing an anhydrous tank and nearly killed, and Lisa Shoemaker, a Polk County Sheriff was hit from behind near Polk City while riding to work. Jess Rundlett talked to the crowd last night and explained that the texting law and a law that requires drivers convicted of driving while impaired to participate in a twice daily sobriety monitoring program may be beneficial to cyclists. On the legislative docket this year was a safe passing bill. The effort the have a safe passing bill passed in Iowa has been on-going since 2009 and despite amendments that would require cyclists to use both front and rear lights at night, it still can't get enough votes to pass and we have no vulnerable road users laws.
Scott Sumpter calls out the names of the 32 killed or injured bicyclists and participants walk up and lie down to represent those killed, and sit down to represent those injured.