Santa Cruz cyclists participate in Ride of Silence

Santa Cruz cyclists raise awareness with Ride of Silence for those killed while out riding

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - More than a dozen Santa Cruz cyclists are joining others from around the world to remember those killed while riding their bikes.

It's called the "Ride of Silence" but those participating hope the message is heard loud and clear.

Though parts of Santa Cruz are extremely bike friendly, accidents are still happening.

The Office of Traffic Safety tells KION that in 2016 three people were killed on their bikes and close to 200 were hurt just in Santa Cruz County.

The riders in Wednesday's event hope that number can drop to zero.

Sami Abed is a cyclist and paramedic who says he's seen firsthand the risks many like him face everyday on their bike.

"I ride in some of the places where I've picked them up to take them to trauma centers. It's frightening out there," Abed said.

That's why he and more than a dozen other cyclists came together for the Ride of Silence.

It's happening around the world and Greg Braithwaite, wanted to make sure Santa Cruz cyclists had the chance to ride too.

The death of his friend five years ago, also inspired the ride.

"His name was Josh Alper, 40 years old," Braithwaite said, "[He went] out for a Saturday ride with friends and never came back and that's something that I think about everyday."

Greg hopes drivers can make small changes to their habits, making a huge difference on the road.

"There are definitely some nuts and bolt things like turn signaling, like simply staying in your lane, being sure not to drift into a bike lane, which we see all the time," Braithwaite said.

The message of awareness isn't just for drivers.

"Cyclists should always also keep in mind it's our obligation to be good ambassadors for safe cycling," Braithwaite said.

This ride, is also just the start of his work on making the streets safer.

"Being involved is important for all of us in our community for issues we believe in and I'm hoping to reflect on tonight's Ride of Silence and make it bigger and better next year," he said.

This is the 16th year the Ride of Silence has been happening world wide.

According to the movement's website last year, 22 countries participated on seven continents.

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