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Ride of Silence a chance for remembrance and much more

Annual 10km ride begins May 17 at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery

The Ride of Silence on May 17 is a chance to remember those who have died cycling, but also to raise awareness about sharing the road.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Remembrance and awareness – at Oshawa’s Ride of Silence, the two go hand in hand.

The worldwide event, honouring cyclists killed while taking part in their two-wheeled passion, is set to mark its 15th anniversary on May 17, and the sixth year the event has been held in Oshawa.

“It’s just to raise awareness that cyclists belong on the roads and to share the road and to also take a moment of silence to remember the ones who have died,” says Joe Arruda, the Ontario coordinator for the Ride of Silence and chair of the Durham Region Cycling Coalition.

For Arruda, the event is particularly poignant this year. In December, 21-year-old Bakari John was struck and killed while riding his bike on Cedar Street in the south end of Oshawa.

This year’s event will take place tonight (May 17), beginning at the RMG before travelling a 10-kilometre route through the city.

In previous years, the ride has seen between 25 and 55 riders. Arruda says it’s an opportunity to highlight to riders that there are safe places to ride along city streets.

“It gives me chance to show what might be a bit of safe routes in the city,” he says. “It’s just another way to get the word out there.”

The Oshawa event is one of hundreds taking place across the world today. In 2016, there were 445 events across 48 countries.

In Durham Region, the ride is starting to gain traction, and Arruda hopes the event can be shifted to different municipalities as cycling infrastructure improves in coming years.

“(It) seems like, especially the lakefront communities, Pickering, Whitby, Ajax, Clarington, they’re all picking up the pace a bit on cycling, so we just want to move it around,” he says.

The ride is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. next to the RMG. Helmets are mandatory.