City of Laredo hosts Ride of Silence event
Updated: Dec 18, 2017
This article, written by Sebastian Martorell, was originally published in the Laredo Morning Times.
As part of National Bike Month, the Laredo Cycling Association in partnership with the City of Laredo will be hosting the second annual Laredo Ride of Silence on May 17 at 7 p.m.
Cycling enthusiasts of all ages are invited to come together in an eight-mile, silent bike ride in honor of cyclists who have been injured or lost their lives while on the road. It serves as a funeral procession held in silent remembrance.
A press conference was held for the event Wednesday, led by Laredo Cycling Association member and master of ceremonies Frank Rotnofsky. Rotnofsky opened with how the community can speak volumes through silence.
“We ride as one. Not only nationally, but internationally…(it’s) an opportunity to unite the globe like nothing before it,” Rotnofsky said.
As an international event, the City of Laredo teamed up with Nuevo Laredo to hold the world’s first and only binational cycling event last year, in which Laredo riders met with Nuevo Laredo riders on international bridge 1. As one ride ended, another began, showing how the spirit of Ride of Silence goes beyond borders.
This year, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo will ride together again, with hopes for an even larger turnout.
“Last year, being our first, we had 125 riders from Laredo and 50 from Nuevo Laredo … we were very inspired by that, and this year we want to be bigger. The bigger we are, the louder we speak,” Rotnofsky said.
This event also works to raise awareness on keeping roads safe, for both bicyclists and drivers alike. Drivers must understand the importance of sharing the road with and being aware of cyclists, just as cyclists must also understand how to keep safe while on the road.
In attendance at the press conference was Acting Chief of Police Gabriel E. Martinez Jr., who spoke on helping keep Laredo streets safe.
“Last year we had 29 accidents involving bicyclists, this year we have six so far, so hopefully we’ll keep reducing that with more awareness,” Martinez said.
Also in attendance and acting as representative for the City of Laredo was Councilman Roberto Balli of District VIII. Balli was at the heart of bringing the Ride of Silence to Laredo, as he was looking for ways to bring more cycling and active events to the community.
“Here in Laredo, we have a history of drivers not being friendly to cyclists,” said Balli. “We want to create a more friendly atmosphere for cyclists.”
It’s Balli’s hope that the city can slowly evolve to become more eco-friendlythrough the use of other modes of transport other than motor vehicles, such as cycling. Other than keeping citizens healthy, it’s the goal of the City of Laredo to reduce the city’s carbon footprint in order to keep the planet healthy.
Laredo will also be holding a proclamation ceremony and presentation for National Bike Month on May 1. Along with Ride of Silence, other cycling events coming to Laredo include the first historic bike tour through downtown Laredo during Laredo Main Street’s El Centro Farmers Market on May 20 at 9 a.m. and will be followed by a “glow ride” later that evening at 7:30 p.m.