ghost bike 2020

A white ‘ghost bike’ will be stationed in downtown Banner Elk on Wednesday, May 20, as part of the annual Ride of Silence event, where riders can pause and silently honor those who have lost their lives in cycling accidents locally. The event has taken place for more than a decade.

BANNER ELK — On Wednesday, May 20, Banner Elk will host its 11th edition of the Ride of Silence. The Ride of Silence was started in 2003 in Texas as a way to honor a friend that was lost while riding their bike.

Ride of Silence is an international campaign where local cyclists organize annually in order to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives or were injured while out riding their bikes. The event is ridden in absolute silence out of respect.

With hundreds of deaths reported nationwide annually to cyclists due to interactions with motor vehicles, Ride of Silence is a united tribute to the memories of those who have been lost.

“If you’re a cyclist, or even if you’re anybody, and there are people out there that are losing their lives doing something you enjoy doing, you feel inspired to honor them,” Avery County resident and organizer Doug Owen noted during a previous ROS event.

The ride is now held in more than 300 locations across all 50 of the United States, in addition to more than 48 nations across the seven continents. In total, more than 8,000 cyclists take time to honor those lost during the annual event.

This year with the restrictions from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the country, organizers will be holding the ride a bit differently.

A white Ghost Bike will be present in downtown Banner Elk at the at the clocktower at the Corner on Main. All are encouraged to ride by during the day and stop for a moment of silence.

In addition, riders are encouraged to take a selfie and email it so that a group page of everyone who visited the bike may be created online. Also posted will be the names of those who have lost their lives on local roads.

While the ride is used predominantly as a tribute, it also aims to bring awareness of proper safety precautions to those who cycle on the road and those who operate motor vehicles with their bicycle counterparts. The organization’s mission statement is simply “share the road.”

For more information about the International Ride of Silence event, click to www.rideofsilence.org.

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