Ride of Silence honors cyclists killed on nation's roadways

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Hilton Head Island's annual Ride of Silence (ROS), honoring those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways, will be held May 15, beginning and ending at Street Meet in Port Royal Plaza.

Sponsored locally by Kickin' Asphalt Bicycle Club and part of an international observance, the event will begin with a safety briefing and sign-in at 6:30 p.m.

Participants should arrive at the Street Meet parking lot with a bicycle, mandatory helmet, lights (recommended) and black armband.

The 9-mile, police-escorted silent procession will roll out promptly at 7 p.m. while a member of the Savannah Pipes and Drums performs a bagpipes rendition of "Amazing Grace." After leaving the parking lot, the ride will proceed south on U.S. 278 at a speed of 10-12 mph to the traffic light at Queens Way, where it will turn around and return to Street Meet for fellowship.

In 2003, the first ROS took place in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. Last year, there were 373 such rides in 47 states, 20 countries and seven continents.

This year the ROS begins in North America and rolls across the globe on this date and time.

In commemoration of the month of May as National Bike Month, the ROS is a free ride that aims to raise cycling awareness for motorists, the general public, police, traffic engineers, insurance companies, and city officials.

Its "share the road" message works to educate the public on the rights of both cyclists and motorists to use cooperatively the roadways in a safe manner.

Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, or of the cyclists themselves.

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