The annual Maryville Ride of Silence set for Wednesday, May 15, will mark the 12th year Blount County bicyclists ride in the memory of Jeff Roth.
Roth, married with three children, was killed when struck by a motorist’s vehicle while riding his bicycle on Aug. 9, 2006, on West Lamar Alexander Parkway near North Union Grove Road in Maryville.
Bicyclists will assemble at the Blount County Courthouse in Maryville in time to roll out for the annual Ride of Silence in memory of friends, family and associates killed or injured by motor vehicle operators.
The Maryville Ride of Silence is one of more than 373 rides that occur worldwide on the third Wednesday each May. In 2017, an estimated 15,000 riders from 47 states, 20 countries and seven continents participated.
More than 700 cyclists are killed each year while riding. The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation sponsors the event to educate motorists that cyclists have the legal right to the road and to watch out for cyclists whenever driving.
The Ride of Silence is similar to a funeral procession. The ride will be a slow-paced, eight-mile loop of Maryville, ridden no faster than 12 mph. There will be no talking, only silence. Black armbands often are worn in memory of those who have been killed, and red armbands may be worn by who have been injured while riding.
In 2007, the Jeff Roth and Brian Brown Bicycle Protection Act was signed into law in Tennessee. It requires that the operator of a motor vehicle when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction maintain a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle.
The ride is open to all. Participants are asked to arrive at the Blount County Courthouse by 6:30 p.m. with riders departing promptly at 7 p.m. Helmets are required, and front and rear lights strongly are recommended.
Additional information about the ride can be obtained on the foundation’s website, www.jeff rothcyclingfoundation.org, or by contacting the Jfoundation at 865-309-5723.