Cyclists honor victims killed on SC roads

Published: May. 22, 2014 at 1:43 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2014 at 1:39 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Every year, hundreds of bicyclists are involved in collisions with motor vehicles resulting in injury or even death.

In 2012, 726 people were killed while riding bicycles, tricycles and unicycles, according to the National Highway Traffic Association.

On Wednesday, more than 160 cyclists took part in the Midlands Ride of Silence in honor of the victims.

The group of cyclists has more in common than just a love of pedaling.

"I would be willing to say that over 95 percent of the people here will be wearing black armbands," said Tom Malson, organizer of the Midlands Ride of Silence.

Each band is a sign of a story.

Black bands mean the cyclist knows someone who was hit or killed.

"The red armband represents if you have personally been hit," said Malson.

Some people wear both.

"I was hit when I was 15-years-old," said Malson. "A friend of mine, a customer, was hit and killed while doing a charity bike ride in 2007."

Malson was not injured in his accident. He said a car pulled out and didn't see him. He ended up flipping over the hood.

Phil Creel, president of Carolina Cyclers Bike Club, wasn't so lucky when he was hit. He broke his collarbone and had some bad scrapes and cuts.

"I was hit and I've been on rides where people have been seriously injured and killed," said Creel.

The cyclists ride two-by-two, and don't say a word during the route.

"Nobody talks," said Malson. "It's incredibly powerful."

The event is about remembering the victims and raising awareness.

"Hopefully making a statement to the community that this is something significant and people have to be careful and have to share the road," said Creel.

More than 350 cities in America and 30 countries hosted Ride of Silence events.

This was the 11th year for the world-wide event.

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