Bicyclists gather to honor bike riders hurt, killed on roads

By Josh Skurnik - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Bike riders gathered Wednesday for the Ride of Silence to honor fellow cyclists hurt or killed on the road.

The numbers show the danger to San Antonio cyclists is growing.

A hundred riders wearing white and cruising no more than 11 mph on a 9-mile circuit downtown shared a silent message: They are on the roads too.

Joe Harden, an attendee, said he bikes three times a week. He said he's lived through two close calls.

"Three feet, two feet, you feel it, and your whole body will urge. And that split second you really just seize up and really feel in danger," Harden said.

Cyclists have participated in the worldwide ride before for National Bike Month, but this is the first time the city has helped organize it.

The trend isn't good, as deaths of cyclists in San Antonio went from one in 2014 to three in 2015 to five last year. These numbers don't include injuries.

Jenny Gonzalez spoke before the ride. The biking community has rallied around her mother, Norma Moreno, since she was hit on her bike in late February just blocks from her home.

Putting a stop to the accidents is part of San Antonio's goal to end deaths and serious injuries on its roads by 2040, an initiative called "Vision Zero."

In the 2017 bond package, which just passed in the May general election, a little more than $445 million will go to streets, sidewalks and bridges.

This includes creating what is called "complete streets" around the city, with good sidewalks, room for bikes, and crosswalks with flashing lights.

"We have to be continually, continually reminded, that the road is for all road users," said Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales before the ride.

"When people are trying to be more active in their life, prolong their life, you know we shouldn't have that fear of if something is going to happen to us that could actually cut it short," said Jenny Gonzalez.

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