The Ride of Silence, a rolling memorial for cyclists who have been killed on our roads, was held on May 19. Here in Sonoma County, we had THREE different rides with a total of 110 participants. Black mourning armbands were provided, and “The Ride of Silence” poem by Mike Murgas was read. Some riders carried or wore mementos of loved ones who were victims.
Twenty-five people met at Teen Services Sonoma‘s Operation Bicycle in the Springs; our ride took us past the Highway 12 locations where David Davison and Adrian Albert were killed in 2019 and 2020 respectively. We ended at the Sonoma Plaza, where we shared our thoughts and experiences of the ride, and bade a sad farewell to departing Sonoma Mayor Logan Harvey, a major cycling advocate.
Fifty people met in Santa Rosa at the confluence of Stony Point Road and the Joe Rodota Trail, where Sidney Falbo was run over by a truck in 2018. Her family, as well as the family of Joseph Converse Marchbanks who was struck by two vehicles on Petaluma Hill Road in 2019, attended and expressed their appreciation that the cycling community was remembering their dearly departed. Sonoma County Supervisor Chris Coursey participated, and a photographer from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat got some excellent images that captured the poignancy of the event.
The Petaluma Wheelmen Cycling Club helped orchestrate a Petaluma ride of thirty-five. The widow and son of Bryan Cacy stood at his ghost bike as the riders passed, holding signs that read “Thank You” and “Drunk Driving Kills.” They also passed the Lakeville Highway site where 89-year-old Valerio Estrada was riding his tricycle when he was struck by a truck in 2019. Two councilmembers and a city traffic engineer participated.
Numerous participants expressed how heartfelt and moving they found the event, as well as feeling inspired to advocate for road improvements. In past years we’ve had only five to ten participants on this ride. This year’s turnout was likely due to our making the event more PERSONAL, routing the rides past the specific locations where specific people were killed in recent years, and telling their stories.