Almost 600 people have said on Facebook that they will attend today’s Ride of Silence event in downtown Charleston, a tribute for people who have been killed or injured while riding bicycles.
The Ride of Silence will begin with a short memorial at 6:30 p.m. in the north parking lot of Hampton Park, and bicyclists will start riding at 7 p.m. with a police escort. The ride will go south on King Street to Murray Boulevard before returning to Hampton Park via Ashley Avenue.
The bicycle advocacy group Charleston Moves is organizing the ride in coordination with the international Ride of Silence memorial. Charleston Moves Board Chairman Tom Bradford says that while he can’t be sure how many people will show up for the event based on Facebook invitations, he expects the number will be significantly more than the 100 or so riders who have participated in previous years.
“There are still people dying on our streets, and we believe that our streets are not properly configured for optimum safety,” Bradford says. “I think that everybody on the ride is either going to be grieving somebody who was killed or injured, or at the same time also indicating that they agree at least in some measure with our message, that the streets have got to be made better.”
Bradford adds, “A number of Jae Bellamy’s friends will be on this ride, as will a number of friends of Edwin Gardner and Mitchell Hollon and Matthew Denton, who was killed on Riverland Drive a couple of years ago,” Bradford says.
Organizers on the Facebook event page say the Ride of Silence will take place rain or shine, although they write, “If lightning or major flooding occurs, we will make an announcement closer to 6:30 p.m.” Click here to see the Facebook event.