Cyclists gather for memorial ride following news of Dartmouth death

Ryan Cooke
Published on May 21, 2014

TRURO – As each new cyclist joined the group in Victoria Park, the same words seemed to spill from their lips.

“Did you hear about the woman in Dartmouth today?”

The riders gathered in the park for the Ride of Silence, a global ride that took place on Wednesday night to commemorate victims of cyclist-vehicle collisions.

Getting its start in Dallas, Texas, the event had 372 locations worldwide last year, touching all seven continents.

On Wednesday night, the riders had one place in mind – the corner of Windmill and Albro Road in Dartmouth.

Earlier in the day, a woman in her 30s was riding along Windmill, when a truck turned onto Albro, striking her down. The woman died on the scene as a bystander held her hand.

“That’s terrible…just terrible,” one cyclist said as she heard the news.

“That’s what we’re here for tonight,” said Tyler Rogers, who helped organize the event. “To spread awareness for sharing the roads and commemorate those who have died while doing what we love to do.”

Rogers got the idea after seeing a group from Chester posting information about their ride online. He decided to bring the idea to Truro, where there is a tight-knit cycling community.

“I’ve been riding here for about 20 years, I guess,” he said. “Over time I’ve seen the cycling community grow and grow, to the point where now there’s a couple of local shops, and probably more than a 100 cyclists.”

Wednesday night’s ride saw a group of 10 riders head on a 15-kilometre slow ride through town, to Truro Heights, through Millbrook and back into Truro.

Sharing the road isn’t just an issue in big cities, Rogers added. Last summer, he witnessed a driver intentionally swerve inwards to cut off a friend he was riding with. The car grazed the rider’s elbow, but did not take him off his bike.

“That shook us up a little bit,” he said. “I stayed off the roads for a few days after that, but eventually you’ve got to get back out there.”

Raising awareness is an important issue, Rogers said. It doesn’t have to be dangerous on the roads for cyclists or drivers, as long as proper caution is exercised.

“I think a lot of drivers are unaware of how fast we can go on these things, or how fast we can disappear into a blind spot. It’s a shared responsibility, and we need a little more awareness of that.”

On this sunny evening, the message hits home a little more than Rogers had anticipated when he woke up Wednesday morning.

“It’s a little more poignant today, definitely.”