People all over Iowa are riding bicycles on the Ride of Silence this Wednesday. They ride to honor those killed or injured in crashes in this nationwide movement. They ride to raise awareness that we are here riding bicycles, and we ask you share the road.

Despite the efforts of the Ride of Silence, the amount ofbicycle/motor vehicle crasheson Iowa roadways dramatically increased in 2015 following trend of decreasing crashes in prior years. These numbers are detailed in areport on 2015 bicycle crashespublished by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.

In 46 percent of the bicycle/motor vehicle crashes, no improper action or an unknown action was noted on behalf of the bicyclist.

Of the top contributing circumstances by motorists, failure to yield to bicyclists by motorists is cited in 40 percent of the crashes as a contributing factor. Bicyclists are notoriously noted for running stop signs, but the crash data indicates that motorists failing to yield at traffic signs and signals are a larger contributing factor to crashes ?—? double the rate as cited for bicyclists.

Obviously, both motorists and bicyclists need to work on following rules to improve traffic safety. But one critical statistic stands out — injuries occur in more than 50 percent of bicycle/vehicle crashes. Twenty-three percent of bicycle crashes involved kids 15 and under. In fact, 49 percent of crash victims are between 6 and 24.

The age of crash victims should cause everyone to pause. There is no amount of hurry, no amount of traffic volume, no amount of distraction that could possibly be more valuable than the lives of our children.

As bicycle riders line up on Wednesday for the Ride of Silence, they will not be silent because they are riding for those who can no longer ride because they were injured or killed. They are not silent for the children who really deserve the full and undivided attention of motorists. They are not silent because we all need to share our roads.

—Mark Wyatt,Iowa City







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