Local cyclists remind motorists to share the road

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - If you were driving around Toledo, Wednesday night, you may have seen a large group of bicyclists on the road.

Hopefully, you watched out for them and gave them space because those bikers were riding in silence during national bike safety month to remember bikers killed on the roads.

Locally, the list of names of people killed while biking over the years stretches to at least two dozen. But Wednesday, ten times that paused to remember, then pedaled off on a silent ride.

Many with stories of close calls of their own.

Mark Hopkins tells of being hit while riding his bike in Florida. "I got clipped, threw me about 30 feet, missed a viaduct with crocodiles," he says.

Chris Sanner was riding in Sylvania when he says, "This lady makes a left turn and all of a sudden she comes plowing, she hits me head on."

Jane Tomko is convinced, motorists, "purposefully try to run you off the road or get as close to you as possible."

They say motorists don't know that, in Ohio, cyclists can legally ride public streets. Events like this Ride of Silence tries to re-enforce that message.

Keith Webb, who organized what has become the 9th annual Ride of Silence event, says, "The more cyclists you have on the road, the more motorists see cyclists on the road they learn how to behave around them."

Last year alone, 19 bike riders were killed, 1500 were injured in Ohio.

So, to remember those victims, the pack of about 200 bikers pedaled to spots where local cyclists killed on the road either lived or worked.

First Ottawa Hills for a moment of silence, then to Toledo Hospital and other spots.

Motorists need to give bikers more space on the roads to keep them safe. But bikers know they must follow the rules of the road as well.

Brian Tomko says, "We should be riding with the traffic, number one. And we should be riding pretty much in a straight line."

Bike riders travel slower than cars but they have every right to the road. So be patient, share the road and know the rules.

For bikers, some simple rules include wearing reflective clothing, having front and rear lights on your bikes, avoiding darting in and out of traffic and staying close to the curb,

For motorists, give bikers three feet of space, pass safely and don't ride too close.

If bikers and drivers follow these rules we can all safely share the road.