Approximately 400 people (380 of them riders) participated in the 2016 Columbus, Ohio Ride of Silence, which started and ended at City Hall. People began gathering at 5:30pm; some of them enjoyed dinner from a food truck as they awaited the start. Volunteers secured arm bands and provided instruction for the ride.
The program began at 6:30pm with a welcome by Catherine Girves, Executive Director of Yay Bikes!, which has organized the Columbus Ride of Silence since 2015. Catherine’s remarks were followed by the reading of the Ride of Silence poem by Abby Rhodebeck, who lost a mentor this past winter when a car crossed the line and hit him as he was riding on a wide berm. Then, as Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs spoke, representatives from four neighboring jurisdictions (Grove City, Hilliard, Reynoldsburg and Upper Arlington) joined her onstage. Transportation professionals from around the region then joined the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Manager Michelle May as she described how she and her colleagues are working to build better infrastructure for cyclists on the road. To close the program, local cyclist Bambo Sanusi read the names of all cyclists killed on Ohio roadways from January 1, 2015 through May 18, 2016; there were 26.
Bag piper David Celebrezze began playing “Amazing Grace” as the cyclists silently lined up to begin the slow-paced ride led by police on motorcycles. The first bike in the line-up pulled a cart with Ride of Silence banners attached so onlookers would know what they were witnessing. Silence was maintained throughout the ride by the cyclists, but there was a palpable silence by onlookers as well. Cars stopped and patiently watched as they waited for us to pass. Ghost bikes were placed along the route—eight in all. At the end of the procession the final rider pulled a ghost bike, a representation of why we ride.