On Saturday, May 18th, a silent procession of cyclists rode from Kihei to Kahului to honor fellow cyclists who have been killed or injured while bicycling on public roadways. While motorists are legally obligated to share the road with cyclists, the general public is not completely aware of the rights that bicyclists have. Those that are do not always take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians alike.
May is National Bike Month. As such, it presents a fantastic opportunity for communities to promote the many benefits of bicycling, encourage more individuals to try cycling, and raise awareness of bicyclists’ legal right to public roadways.
A subchapter of Hawai’i Bicycling League, the Maui Bicycling League (MBL) took full advantage of that opportunity, hosting a free ride on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The Ride of Silence is an event held throughout all seven continents during National Bike Month. Through MBL, Maui was one of almost 390 locations across the world to participate in this ride. This was the 17th anniversary of the worldwide event.
Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in 2003. The ride took place in Dallas, TX and honored endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz, who was tragically hit and killed by a bus while cycling. Although the first Ride of Silence was intended to be a one-time event, it quickly grew into a global movement in honor of cyclists who have been injured or killed while riding.
MBL’s memorial Ride of Silence took place on the Maui Veterans Highway (Mokulele Highway) bike path. The local event was in commemoration of Karl Hagen, a Maui resident and avid cyclist who passed away in 2014 after being struck and killed by an intoxicated driver. The cyclists rode from Boss Frog’s in Kihei to Target in Kahului and back. Participation was free to MBL members and non-members alike, and Maui residents and visitors rode in silence as a group, covering a total distance of 22 miles and making a statement about this important cause.
Cyclists practiced bike safety and etiquette by wearing helmets, following the rules of the road, and remaining silent to honor and remember the millions of lives impacted by bicycle accidents. MBL’s ride leaders led and trailed the group of cyclists, ensuring safety.
Advocacy updates and actions surrounding cyclist safety followed the event, along with refreshments, which were provided by the late Karl Hagen’s wife, Robin Hagen, and Karl’s family. Karl’s daughter Ariel Hagen also participated in the ride. Special guest Lauren Armstrong, the Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization (Maui MPO) Executive Director, attended as well, providing updates on multimodal transportation projects on Maui.
“This ride takes place all over the world, but it is just as critical to support the biking community and educate cyclists to be courteous, safe riders right here on Maui,” said Saman Dias, Chair of MBL.“Whether we are individuals in cars, on bikes, or walking, we can all do our part to have safer roadways.”
Along with cyclists in locations all over the globe, MBL raised awareness for cyclists on roadways everywhere, and made a silent but powerful request that the roads be shared by all through its participation in the Ride of Silence. MBL also hosts a series of bike rides island-wide to provide a scenic, safe outdoor experience for those who call Maui home, as well as those visiting. This month they partnered with RideSmart Maui to offer ride support for the Ride of Silence.
For photos of Maui’s Ride of Silence 2019, visit the MBL Facebook page.
For more information on all of MBL’s upcoming events, visit www.mauibike.org/calendar.