On Wednesday, May 19, the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition will join thousands of cyclists around the world in a silent ride to remember cyclists who have been killed or injured cycling on public roadways. While overall traffic collisions have been declining the last few years and traffic was down during the 2020 shelter in place orders, injuries and fatalities among cyclists and pedestrians are on an upward trend.
Nine cyclists were killed on Sonoma County streets and roads from 2018 to 2020:
- 35-year-old Lusiano Garcia was killed July 5, 2018 in a hit-and-run on Stony Point at Millbrae in Santa Rosa. He was on his way to visit his children, who were staying with their grandmother after the recent death of their mother.
- Sidney Falbo was run over by a dump truck on her way to a SRJC class on October 30, 2018 on Stony Point Road crossing Highway 12. She was twenty years old.
- On July 22, 2019, 39-year-old Joseph Converse was struck by TWO cars in a row on Petaluma Hill Road south of Yolanda.
- Gary Begley, sixty-one and homeless at the time, died a few days after a hit-and-run August 15, 2019 on Westside Road in Healdsburg. His killer has not been found.
- 89-year-old Valerio Estrada was riding his tricycle near the In and Out Burger on Lakeville Highway when he was killed by a milk truck on October 23, 2019.
- Genaro Viramontes Tavares, seventy-nine, was struck by a truck at the corner of Todd Road & South Moorland on November 5, 2019.
- The very next day, 79-year-old David Davison was killed on Highway 12 in Agua Caliente.
- 39-year-old Bryan Cacy was riding to work on Corona Road May 26, 2020 when he was struck by a drunk driver on the 101 overpass.
- Scientist and tech CEO Adrian Albert was killed June 5, 2020 on Highway 12 near Madrone. He was 35. His killer was sentenced to several years in prison.
They ranged in age from their twenties to almost ninety; all but one were men. These were not elite lycra-clad athletes on pricey road bikes, but ordinary people riding to school, work, the store. They were parents, college students, scientists; some were homeless.
There will be three different rides this year; participants are invited to gather at 6:45 pm for a 7:00 pm start. All are expected to wear helmets and face coverings, follow the rules of the road, and remain silent during the slow, memorial ride. Each ride will pass by two of these locations, with will be marked with white “ghost bikes.”
- Santa Rosa: Meets on the Joe Rodota Trail at Stony Point Road. Register here.
- Petaluma: Organized by Petaluma Wheelmen.
- Sonoma: Meets at Operation Bicycle on Highway 12. Contact Logan Harvey.
(If you can’t participate in one of these rides, check the map and organize your own! Or just walk or cycle past the ghost bike that is closest to you.)
The first Ride of Silence was held in Dallas in 2003. Chris Phelan organized what he thought would be a one-time event, to memorialize his friend Larry Schwartz who was killed by a school bus. One thousand cyclists showed up, and many were inspired to recreate the event in their own communities. The movement continues to grow, with tens of thousands on every continent riding on the third Wednesday of May each year.