Chico cyclists ride in silence to remember victims

Chico >> About 35 bike riders gathered Wednesday and rode without speaking through Chico streets in honor of those injured or killed on a bicycle on public roadways.

The International Ride of Silence is an annual event that takes place on the third Wednesday of May.

Local riders gathered at 7 p.m. at The Hands art piece by the city offices at East Fourth and Main streets.

The five-mile route looped through lower Bidwell Park, then passed by Oleander and West First Avenue, the site of the fatal bike and vehicle crash of Janee Nickerson, 20. It ended at the Kristina Chesterman Ghost Bike at the Big Chico Creek crossing on Nord Avenue.

Chico Velo, which coordinated the Chico ride, limited the bike speed to 12 mph, emphasizing traffic laws, and silence throughout the ride.

“The ride, our third, was our biggest ever, with about 35 people including Wyatt West, one of our city traffic engineers,” according to Chico Velo Executive Director Janine Rood. “Police Chief Mike O’Brien showed up at the finish and said a few words about bike safety.”

“Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, drivers are often unaware of these rights and sometimes are not aware of the cyclists themselves. The Ride of Silence is an opportunity to peacefully raise the visibility of bicyclists on the road and ask motorists to please ‘share the road’,” Rood said.

Some of the accidents have occurred as a result of drunken driving as well.

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