Silent event urges awareness of bicycle safety


More than 25 bicyclists rode for about eight miles through the city Wednesday evening, not uttering a word. They wanted to raise awareness of bicycling safety as part of the second annual Garrett Wonders Ride of Silence.

Jay Wonders of Warren, whose son Garrett was killed in March 2004 by a motorist in South Carolina while riding his bike, coordinated the local ride.

The Ride of Silence is held nationwide in May, and the local ride the third Wednesday in May. The national event has been held for 11 years, and honors the memory of 700 cyclists killed each year on American roads, promotes road safety, and makes a difference through ”a silent roar,” Wonders said.

The local ride is held in memory of Garrett Wonders, Gregg Snyder, Emil Manus and Larry Furniss, all killed in bicycle accidents.

The riders traveled from Warren G. Harding High School along Atlantic Street to West Market Street to Perkins Park along Mahoning Avenue and back to the school’s parking lot. A police escort went along.

”Last year was our first year. We had about 45 people, so we were very pleased,” Wonders said.

Dan Drummond of Warren said he wanted to support the effort, having known Garrett Wonders and also another friend who died in a bicycling accident.

”I want to show my support for them and for the need for safety for cyclists,” he said.

Jesse Wonders, Garrett’s brother, said it is important to share the road with bicyclists, motorcycles, cars and trucks.

”Bikes are required in most all states to be on the road. Drivers need to be aware and share the road with everyone,” he said.

New to the ride this year were Cortland residents Michelle Preston and Lauren Schattinger.

”My spinning instructor told me about the ride and said it would be a good one to participate in,” Preston said.

Schattinger said Preston recruited her for the ride.

”The weather is great for this,” she said.

Richard Clark of Warren, Garrett’s father-in-law, said the ride raises awareness as people in cars or even outside seeing a group of bicyclists together wearing shirts in memory of Garrett and others.

He said another ride will be held in the fall in honor of Garrett starting at Trumbull Career and Technical Center.

Mark Albani, a retired Harding High School teacher, said Garrett was his neighbor and he wanted to be part of the ride.

”I enjoy bicycling and use the bike trail in Champion quite often.This is my first time being part of this and appreciate honoring Garrett and others by doing this,” Albani said.