NAMPA, Idaho — Cyclists in two Treasure Valley cities took part in an annual bike ride Wednesday to honor those killed while riding on public roads.
The Ride of Silence is an annual event - held in several locations around the world and in several states - that aims to raise awareness of the dangers cyclists face, especially from other traffic.
One of those rides happened Wednesday night in Nampa - the first time the city has had its own organized ride.
Nampa's Ride of Silence was in honor of George Grant, a 69-year-old cyclist from Caldwell who was hit and killed by a driver in April while riding his bike on the shoulder of a Nampa road.
To kick off Nampa's ride, George Grant's son, Jared, spoke about the kind of person his father was.
“He was an amazing man. He was somebody that could really inspire people, really uplift people and connect with people,” he said.
According to Jared, George was a longtime resident of Caldwell, a cancer survivor, and worked for both the Caldwell and Vallivue School Districts for many years.
Jared said he's an avid cyclist himself and after his dad's accident, it makes him a little hesitant to get back on a bike because he sees the dangers firsthand.
“Certain drivers just get frustrated or whatever and they see you as an obstacle on their way to work or whatever it is, and I’ve had a lot of close calls where people just kind of fly by you on the road,” Jared said.
According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 783 cyclists were hit and killed on American roads in 2017.
That's why organizers, like Alex Hackett, say the Ride of Silence is so important - it reminds people the road is a shared space and that means courtesy is a must.
“A bicycle is considered a vehicle in all 50 states and just like we need to share the road with other vehicles, we also need to share the road with people bicycling and people walking,” Hackett said.
Jared hopes others can learn from what happened to his dad.
“If we could just take something away from this, it’d be that when you see a cyclist on the road, that’s somebody’s dad, somebody’s brother, somebody’s sister, somebody’s mom – whatever it may be – just think about it from that perspective and when you’re operating a vehicle, think about the safety,” he said.
Boise also held a Ride of Silence on Wednesday as part of the city's bike week events. The ride in Boise was in honor of the 10-year anniversary of three cyclists who were killed in the city in a short span of time in 2009.
The first Ride of Silence was held in Dallas in 2003.