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Local cyclists are remembered thanks to Ride Of Silence

On Wednesday, May 15, cyclists around the world will participate in a Silent Ride in memory of cyclists who have been struck by distracted or reckless motorists over the past year and to raise awareness that cyclists and motorists must share the road.
The ride is also an opportunity to mourn, in the mansion of a funeral procession, the cyclists who were killed, according to a press release.
Goshen cyclists will also participate in a ride of silence on Wednesday. The ride begins at 7 p.m. and will begin and end at Lincoln Avenue Cycling, 430 W. Lincoln Ave., Goshen. The ride is free, and organizers ask cyclists to ride no more than 12 miles per hour (a minimum of 8 mph) and to remain quiet for the duration of the hour-long ride. Cyclists should arrive at the starting point by 6:30 p.m. so the ride can depart promptly at 7 p.m. In the event of rain, the ride will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 and a cancellation announcement will be posted on Lincoln Avenue. Cycling Site before the 18th at 3 p.m.
The region has recorded at least 14 cycling deaths in the past six years, including four last year.
• On August 7, 2023, Marlan Schwartz, 21, was killed by a truck in Leesburg, Kosciusko County.
• On July 28, 2023, Heather Lynn Lafler, 39, was killed by a pickup truck on US 131 near Millard Road in Three Rivers, Michigan.
• On July 15, 2023, a still-unnamed cyclist was killed at mile marker 71.8 on the Indiana Toll Road in St. Joseph County.
• On April 13, 2023, Carl Prince, 24, was struck by a tractor-trailer on Ind. 119, just west of County Road 13, in Elkhart County. He died on April 18.
• On August 23, 2022, Father Jan Klimczyk, a retired Catholic priest, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle on Ind. 2 in St. Joseph County.
• On August 4, 2022, Clifford Gilbert III, 62, was killed by a train while crossing the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on Lincoln Avenue in Goshen.
• In June 2021, Blaine Fisher, 18, was killed in the 3000 block of Greenleaf Boulevard in Elkhart.
• In September 2020, Tyler Allen Carver, 24, was killed at the intersection of County Road 10 and County Road 15 in Elkhart County.
• On September 9, 2020, Mahlon “Mel” L. Lehman, 77, was killed in a collision with a pickup truck on East Warren Street at Grace Lawn Cemetery in Middlebury.
• In November 2020, Leon Yoder, 44, was killed on County Road 38, just east of County Road 37, near Millersburg.
• In August 2019, Goshen resident Dr. Dereck Klopfenstein, 49, was killed after being struck from behind in the 11000 block of Pierce Road near South Bend.
• In August 2019, West Noble running coach Charles Schlemmer, 58, was killed when he was struck by a U-Hall truck on River Road, south of County Road 900 North , in Noble County.
• In September 2018, MJ Beachler, 78, was killed while crossing South 15th Street at the crosswalk between the Winona Railway Trail entrance and Greencroft Manor in Goshen.
• In September 2018, Ronald Strieby, 70, was killed by a hit-and-run motorist at the intersection of County Road 800 N and County Road 650 East near North Webster, County. Kosciusko.
The statement said: “We are not aware of any deaths in 2017, 2016 or 2015, but two cyclists were killed in 2014, two in 2013 and three in 2012.”
Nationally, 966 people lost their lives in bicycle-motor vehicle crashes in 2021, the latest year for which statistics are available, compared to 948 in 2020 and 859 in 2019 (FARS Encyclopedia (dot.gov). A study of hospitalizations for bicycle injuries between 2002 and 2009 estimated that approximately 6,877 people were hospitalized for injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident, and 18,457 people were hospitalized for non-motor vehicle accident injuries. From 2011 to 2020, cycling deaths due to motor vehicle crashes averaged 806 per year in the United States (NHTSA crash statistics).
Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in 2003 in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz died when he was struck by the rearview mirror of a passing bus on an otherwise empty road. Several other cyclists were injured after being hit by a motorist.
Participants are encouraged to bring photos of those they know who have been lost and to wear black armbands. Helmets are required and lights are recommended for those who may be heading home after the ride.
As of 2023, there have been 228 Rides of Silence in 40 U.S. states, 16 countries, and five continents.
For more information, visit www.rideofsilence.org.