LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A group of cyclists took a half-hour ride Wednesday to honor fellow riders who died doing what they loved.
The annual “Ride of Silence” is recognized internationally by the cycling community. In Little Rock, cyclists rode from the Bernice Garden to the state capitol steps. They followed a “ghost bike,” painted white as a memorial to fallen riders, which was escorted by the city police department’s bike unit.
“I just hope we can all share the roadways safely and have a good time out here together,” said Jason Barr, President of the Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA) group that organized the event. “Make it easy for everybody to get out and be healthy and just enjoy the outdoors.”
A handful of cyclists are killed in Arkansas each year. John Mundell was killed in Sherwood in 2019, and his wife Kim Mundell has made advocacy a life passion since then. She said the “Ride of Silence” stands out to her each year.
“They always remind you of what you had and what is no longer there,” Mundell said.
Mundell is now a board member for BACA. She said honoring those who cannot attend is important.
“We do this in memory of those cyclists who are injured or killed riding on the public roadways,” Mundell said. “This means more than I can put into words.”
Sgt. Eric Barnes with the Little Rock Police Dept. is on the bike unit. He said community policing efforts have increased two-wheeled officers getting out into the city. Events like these pair well with their mission.
“This event was brought to our attention, and we were glad to partner with them,” Barnes said.
Many accidents are easily preventable with simple awareness, Barnes said.
“If you’re driving, just be careful,” Barnes said.
Mundell said cities need to implement comprehensive cycling plans to make it safer for bikers and drivers. The need is there, and the incentive for implementation is fewer lives lost.
“There are many areas in this state where there’s not a safe place to ride,” Mundell said. “Really, more should be done for that.”