Running with Rani: A Silent Journey for Change

KAILUA-KONA — In a solemn tribute to fallen cyclists and a call for greater awareness of road safety, the 13th Annual Silent March took to the streets of Kailua-Kona on Saturday, uniting cyclists from all walks of life. of the life. The event partnered with community organizations such as the Hawaii Cycling Club (HCC), Coffee Talk Riders, PATH (People for Active Transport Hawaii), and the Hawaii Police Department (HPD).

The Ride of Silence is a global event now in its 20th year, taking place in 50 states and 18 countries during the third week of May. The first annual event, which drew 1,000 cyclists, began in Dallas, Texas on May 21, 2003, after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was struck by the mirror of a passing bus and killed.

Here locally, the annual event continues to gain momentum as cyclists and advocates join forces to honor those who have lost their lives in cycling accidents while delivering a powerful message for change. With cyclists simply gathering in silence, Ride of Silence serves as a poignant reminder of the vulnerability of cyclists and the urgent need for greater respect and protection on our roads.

HCC President Franz Weber said: “The idea is to raise awareness for anyone who has been injured or killed by a car, it’s about sharing aloha on the roads and being mindful and observant of other people on the roads.”

“Almost every two years in Kona we have riders killed,” Weber said. “So, we’re trying to raise awareness and educate the community to be courteous, to take care of cyclists, we want this to be a community that shares aloha among everyone involved in traffic.”

Sergeant Brandon Mansur, a 15-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department, agreed that increased education and awareness are key to decreasing motor vehicle bicycle accidents.

“The importance of this event is not only to remember those who have been killed or seriously injured by bicycle and vehicle collisions, but also to raise awareness of vehicles on the road to take care of cyclists and to share the road, especially here. in Kailua. -Kona where we have Ironman and other events.

“Regarding cyclists and traffic accidents, it’s something we deal with all year long, especially around Ironman times and other smaller cycling events. In recent years, Kona has done everything possible to develop safe paths for riders to operate; however, there are still many places in the city where it is difficult for vehicles and bicyclists to share the road. Also, we have the issue of riders coming from other countries to race here where the laws may be different and that obviously creates a huge safety risk.

Community Police Officer Dwayne Sluss said Saturday’s event was his third year participating as an HPD escort in the Ride of Silence.

“All of these events are equally important,” Sluss explained when asked about the importance of having the Ride of Silence community. “Our community is very diverse, so this is just as important for the kids playing soccer on the fields as it is for the bikers. This particular event is nice as it is a memorial to all the cyclists who have passed away while riding their bikes and enjoying what they loved to do. It’s a nice tribute.”

Under clear skies, a group of nearly 50 bikers set off quietly from the Kona Community Aquatics Center and were escorted by HPD up the slow-paced two-mile route up Alii Drive through the historic village of Kailua, to Hualalai Road and Kuakini. Road, before heading back to the pool parking lot.

The absence of spoken words amplified the meaning of the event, as participants rode with a sense of shared purpose. La Cabalgata del Silencio reminds us that road safety is a responsibility shared by all road users, urging drivers to exercise extreme caution and vigilance, while highlighting the importance of infrastructure improvements to accommodate cyclists. The event also serves as a rallying point for local organizations like the Hawaii Cycling Club, Coffee Talk Riders, and PATH, inspiring them to continue advocating for policy changes and educational programs that prioritize rider safety and create a more inclusive road culture.

Sergeant Mansur shared some tips for those on our roads.

“Just be careful, watch everything that happens around you. Keep your head in a twist because while you may be paying attention, other motorists or cyclists may not be, and you need to be prepared for that.”