Bad roads force new route for Ride of Silence

Posted at 7:46 PM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 07:31:18-04

Pothole, after pothole, after pothole creates a dangerous ride for bikers.

"These things don't have shocks," explained rider, Yvonne LeFave.

After she lost a friend in a bike accident, LeFave began participating in the annual Ride of Silence.

She leads the pack with a white "ghost bike" on top of hers.

"It raises awareness of something that folks need to know, both riders and drivers. You know, that there are, there are some risks here and the more we can be aware of each other, the less risk there is," she explained.

One of the causes of those risks? LeFave said uneven roads.

So, this year, she helped organizers plan a route around the section of Michigan Avenue that's causing a safety hazard.

"There'll be too much weaving in and out and trying not to hit potholes," explained organizer, Lysne Tait. "So, we didn't want to get anyone hurt. I mean, we're all about safety right?"

Michigan State Police said the number of bicyclist deaths has risen 57% in the past year, with 21 in 2014 and 33 in 2015.

"We were somewhat alarmed because we're not able to explain why the increase. We can only surmise that people are more distracted while driving, or possibly, there's just simply been more bicyclists out there, exercising or just riding for enjoyment," he said.

Lt. Thomas is asking riders to wear a helmet and bright clothing, and use mirrors and lights.

And for drivers, he said, "Leave that space, slow down, move over when you can to allow that bicyclist room to operate."

Because, he said, the road is supposed to be shared.

"That's the most important thing," Tait said. "We don't want to do any more of these."

Around 200 riders are expected to participate this year. They're riding in unison with 391 other cities around the world.