PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — More than 100 cyclists took a “Ride of Silence” Wednesday evening to honor cyclists who’ve lost their lives on the road.
Santa Rosa Pipes and Drums, a non-profit Scottish bagpipe band from Milton, played before the ride started. It was a somber bike ride led by a hearse.
“Somebody had to die for this to happen,” said Jon Tate, president of the West Florida Wheelmen Bicycle Club.
The Ride of Silence also raises awareness for drivers to share the road with cyclists.
“The Ride of Silence is to bring awareness to motorists that bicycle riders have the same rights as vehicles do out on the road,” Tate said.
Eight people died in bicycle crashes involving other vehicles last year in Escambia County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. That’s more than the previous two years combined. So far this year, no one has died but 34 cyclists have been injured on the road.
Tate said they focus a lot on their own safety but they want people driving to pay attention.
“That’s what I hear a lot..you know, I didn’t see him,” Tate said. “Why was that? Were you distracted? Were you doing something else besides keeping your eyes on the road?”
Escorted by police, cyclists rode in silence for seven miles and they’ll do it again next year.