Richmond Cyclists Organize Ride of Silence

A rash of accidents has bicyclists looking for safer roads.

Twenty-one-year old James Johnson is feeling pretty fortunate he's still around. Johnson was hit by a car as he rode his bicycle along main street on May 5, leaving him with broken ribs, an injured neck, and a cracked skull.

My skull and stuff was cracked," he said. "My neck they had to put a rod in my neck and some screws in my neck."

Johnson, who co-owns the bicycle shop Richmond Spokes, isn't the only cyclist who's been hit.
According to Richmond's bicycle advisory committee, 69 Richmond cyclists have been hit or killed since 2008, including a man struck and killed on Barrett Avenue just last month.

The Richmond Police Department is quick to point out that bicycle accidents in the city are often the fault of the cyclists, not the drivers.

Police say they are seeing a "disturbing trend" of cyclists impaired by drugs and alcohol, not following the rule of the road and not wearing basic safety equipment.

The last two fatalities involving cyclists in Richmond found that they were riding intoxicated, according to police.

Johnson's friends and co-workers put up a ghost bike to pay tribute to that victim Wednesday and they've organized a Ride of Silence to remember all the cyclists who've been impacted.

Dozens were scheduled to take part in that ride Wednesday evening.

"We want to be able to feel safe when we get on the street and remember those killed or hurt," said Rosa Ayala of Richmond Spokes.

Johnson wishes he could join his friends but he's hopeful the ride will raise awareness so cyclists can stay safe.

"I just hope the message out of tonight comes for drivers to basically take precautions for bicyclists and learn we both share the roads we gotta follow the same laws and everything," he said.

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