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  • Thu May 19 2022
  • Posted May 19
A gorgeous night to ride bikes for the 18th annual Ride of Silence in Des Moines Wednesday evening. 110 riders took the new 8 mile route that extended out to the Papa John's Sculpture Park and and back throughout the metro.

Like you, we'd much rather be riding somewhere else and for another purpose. So THANK YOU for attending this year.

It's not a ride we like to host, but it is needed to remember, reflect and educate.

Every year we have this list of names. And the names may change each year, but the One thing that hasn't changed in 18 years is the alarming number of Iowans being injured or killed while cycling in our "bicycle-friendly" state. The list grows.... and Unfortunately, the state laws have still not changed and our legislators can't get behind even a safe passing law let alone increased penalties. The number of cyclists on the road have increased.

~~~

The number of Distracted and impaired drivers has increased. The technology that can distract us has increased (car, phone smart-watch, fast food)

The RIDE OF SILENCE is NOT SILENT AT ALL. It is a VERY POWERFUL and VERY EMOTIONAL EVENT. I think we've proven that over the last 17 years with this ride. This event exists to HONOR and pay respect to those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. It exists to To RAISE AWARENESS to motorists, elected officials, and law enforcement that Cyclists have every legal right to ride on the roadways. It Signifies the importance of staying safe and letting others know that CYCLISTS ARE NOT DISPOSABLE!

#DidYouKnow - 42 states have some sort of “safe distance passing” laws. Wisconsin became the first state to enact such a law in 1973. Eight states have no specific law for passing a bicyclist and even though Iowa is such a bicycle-mecca, Iowa are one of those states WITHOUT a safe passing law.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is working on strategies to enact a safe-passing law in Iowa. It is not an easy feat. The topic is never popular with our large rural population, so PLEASE get involved when that time comes to contact your legislators. It takes ALL of us to gain their attention and make change.

Tonight there were 406 ROS events world-wide
44 US states, 11 countries, 5 continents, 0 words spoken, and A million powerful memories

The List

Since the last ROS, 19 cyclists have been added to "the list". 10 cyclists were killed and 9 were injured while riding.

Why do we only have 19 on our list? We know there are way more than that! right?!?
Because that is all we have data on. Not every crash makes the news. Not every incident has a police report. Many victim names are not provided for privacy purposes.This list is derived from various news, social media feeds, the Iowa Highway Patrol and folks alerting us of crashes around the state.
New for 2022 - We think the lack of journalists and shrinking local newspapers have contributed to less media posts and non-life threatening crash is not necessarily "news" anymore.

We also try to follow-up and find out if the driver was charged, but sometimes it takes months or years or sometimes the information is never posted.

The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) lists 313 bike/car crashes since last May and of those crashes, they are ONLY bicycle crashes with motor vehicles. So Bicycle/Bicycle, Bicycle/Pedestrian, or other types of crashes are not part of the IDOT's data.

BIKEIOWA estimates 800-1000 bike/car crashes per year in Iowa.
So we are really riding for thousands of Iowans tonight.

~~~

WHO WE ARE RIDING FOR

These are the cyclists who have been added to the list since the last ROS in 2021. Each name was called out during the event with the crash date and details.

Status

Incident Date

Name

Age

City

State

Link

Injured

5/10/2022

William Russeff Jr

62

Mason City

IA

INFO

Injured

5/9/2022

Trysten Armstrong

11

Bloomfield

IA

INFO

Injured

3/30/2022

Roxana (Roxy) Fudge

Tucson

AZ

INFO

Injured

3/30/2022

Lee Thorson

Tucson

AZ

INFO

Injured

2/16/2022

Unknown Female

57

Maui

HI

INFO

Killed

12/25/2021

Terry Zabokrtsky

76

Walford

IA

INFO

Killed

11/30/2021

Elijah Peters

10

Le Mars

IA

INFO

Injured

11/23/2021

Unknown Male

Ottumwa

IA

INFO

Killed

10/27/2021

Unknown Female

38

Joshua Tree

CA

INFO

Injured

9/28/2021

Unknown person

Cedar Rapids

IA

INFO

Injured

9/26/2021

Juvenile Male

12

Storm Lake

IA

INFO

Killed

9/23/2021

Mark W. Adkins

58

Newton

IA

INFO

Killed

9/19/2021

Eric Christopher Lindberg

55

Urbandale

IA

INFO

Killed

9/3/2021

Lorna Moss

69

Hull

IA

INFO

Killed

8/18/2021

Robin Faught

58

Clear Lake

IA

INFO

Killed

6/15/2021

Melissa Ristau

65

Fort Dodge

IA

INFO

Killed

6/5/2021

James Powell

62

Mason City

IA

INFO

Killed

6/3/2021

Alex Marietta

40

Davenport

IA

INFO

Injured

5/16/2021

Larry Ritland

73

Cedar Rapids

IA

INFO


A full list of 400+ cyclists from previous years can be found at BIKEIOWA.com/RideOfSilence.

~~

Special mentions to four members of the Iowa Cycling Community who passed away this year from other causes.
  1. Don Reynolds March 20th 2021 - Don died of a heart attack and was a long-time Ragbraier with Team Mystery Machine and self-proclaimed "dirty bagger"
  2. Charlie Harper - May 24 2021 - stroke - He owned and operated Harper Cycling and Fitness in Muscatine for the last 55 years
  3. Gary Wiedenfeld - May 17 2021 - cancer - competitive endurance cyclist and Father to Central Iowa cyclist Nick Callision
  4. John Karras Nov 10 2021 - old age - John was the founder of RAGBRAI and his celebration of Life will be June 4th at Scottish Rite Park here is Des Moines

~~~

Other Updates & Followups

1. Ellen Bengston - Aug 2 2020 - Charles City
Ellen was a young 28 year old chemical engineer with a promising future. She moved to Iowa from Washington state to work at Cambrex. She had a master's degree from Columbia University, was a musician and ridden RAGBRAI
In Late April 2022, Ellen's killer,Colby William Elliott, 45 of Clarksville goes free.
Even though he admitted to using his cell phone to read a message, the case was dismissed after the defense attorney used a loophole in the 2017 "texting while driving" law The 2017 law criminalizes "the manual entry, transmission, or retrieval of an electronic message," but does not apply in the case of emergency alerts, and it doesn'tban dialing and making calls or using a mobile GPS direction app.
The defense said "he simply looked down at his phone and saw a notification." and THAT is the loophole. There is a good Des Moines Register post on BIKEIOWA that goes into more details.
I will say Colby was remorseful, not under the influence and was torn-up because he hit someone.
Oh - and the tax payers get to foot the bill for the all court costs.
On May 11th the Bengston family filed a civil suite for negligence and of damages to the Bengtsons, including medical expenses for Ellen, present value of the loss of accumulation of the estate of Ellen Bengtson, and loss of parental companionship by Peter and JoAnn Bengtson.

2. Object blaming

We've had some success this past year with educating media outlets on "Object blaming".
"Object blaming" is words for attaching blame to inanimate objects - like stating a gun killed a person and not the shooter.

Example last June Local 5 ABC posted the headline "Woman riding bike hit and killed by pickup in Fort Dodge"
We educated what "Object blaming" was. They apologized and changed their headline to "Woman riding bike hit and killed by driver of pickup in Fort Dodge".

Every bit of education helps.

~~~

A full list of 400+ cyclists from previous years can be found at BIKEIOWA.com/RideOfSilence.

THANKS

THANKS to Angela Lindberg for attending, riding adn speaking - She is the wife of Eric Christoper Lindberg who was killed in Urbandale on Sept 19th 2021.
THANKS to Jeff Corcoran for being the official event photographer.
THANKS to Ken Sherman of K&K images for his drone footage.
THANKS to those who have volunteered to help with course support along the route tonight.
THANKS to everyone who attended a Ride of Silence this year.

RIDE SAFE !!

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