As it has each year since 2003, Dallas's bike community gathered last night for the Ride of Silence around White Rock Lake, honoring the many cyclists who've been killed on roads they shared with cars and trucks.
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Chris Moreno nearly ended up on that list last July when a hit-and-run accident left him laid him out unconscious in the middle of Swiss Avenue. He broke his collarbone, one of his vertebrae, a shoulder blade and three ribs, but after a three-month recovery in and out of the hospital, Moreno said he got back on his bike in a hurry and hadn't slowed down. "Actually, I ride harder now. I take it a little faster," he said. He hadn't been along for last year's ride, but last night he joined the crowd in a leisurely sunset loop of the lake.
Last night's Tour de White Rock was one of 312 rides scheduled to mark the occasion around the world, but back in 2003 it was the only one -- a ride of 1,000 bikers organized by Chris Phelan to honor Larry Schwartz, who'd been killed by a passing school bus in early May of that year.
Since then hundreds of other biking communities have taken up the cause, though rider Kato Bentley wondered afterward why the ride wasn't held where it'd get more drivers' attention. "I hate to say it, but it's almost a waste doing this around the lake," he said, sparking some discussion with the bikers around him about whether it would be possible to hold the ride out on Dallas streets. "If we're about making a statement," he said, "a thousand bikes out on the streets" would do better at getting drivers attention.
Kristian Donaldson, though, said that he'd shown up as "a citizen of the biking community," and the ride's strength lies in bringing bikers together to remember the common dangers they face. "We are, in a sense, taking a risk when we get on the roads," he said. "That's something we all share."