Photos: BIKEIOWA rides in silence for solidarity and commemoration

BIKEIOWA honored those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways with a silent, slow-paced eight-mile ride on the evening of Wednesday, May 17, to raise awareness for sharing the road.

This marks the 19th year that BIKEIOWA has hosted the global call to action, with about 226 locations observing that call, including Des Moines.

The Ride of Silence was started in 2003 by Chris Phelan in Dallas, Texas at White Rock Lake following his friend and cyclist Larry Schwartz’s death by a passing bus mirror.

The Ride of Silence is held annually during National Bike Month.

Each year, while practicing safe riding and abiding by the rules of the road, cyclists from all over Iowa ride together, demanding their right to ride on roadways.

“Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves,” reads the Ride of Silence website.

For the 2023 Ride of Silence – Des Moines cyclists started at the southwest corner of the State Historical Museum of Iowa in East Village. At a speed of 12 mph or less, the ride took cyclists through downtown to Meredith Trail, around Gray’s Lake, over Blue Bridge, across MLK Prkwy to Locust St by the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, through Court Ave and East Village and ended around the State Capitol.

Before the first pedals of the Ride of Silence, a list of present and past cyclists is recited in remembrance, BIKEIOWA posts the list online. Those who know of injured or fallen cyclists may also email the organization to add someone to the list or correct information.