Homewood cyclists take to the streets to raise awareness in least bike-friendly state

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — Dozens of cyclists took the streets of Homewood Wednesday evening to take a stand for safety.

Bicycle safety is a growing problem in Alabama, and the annual “Ride of Silence” aims to raise awareness.

This year, the League of American Cyclists ranked Alabama as the least bike-friendly state.

“Almost all of us know somebody that has at least been injured,” said Gene Wallace, who helped organize this year’s Ride of Silence. “We ride in silence to bring attention to cyclists in our community.”

This is the tenth time the event has been held in the Birmingham area, and it will continue to be held, as long as cyclists continue to get hurt or killed on Alabama’s roads.

“It’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” said Pete Foret, a cyclist who was hit and injured by motorists twice in 2013.

Foret said in the first incident, he was intentionally hit by a driver who told him to “get off the road,” During the second collision, Foret said the driver ran a red light.

“People have a lack of patience, and they don’t understand that we have a right to the road,” Foret said.

Still, Foret won’t give up on his passion.

He and his young daughter, Elizabeth, rode in silence Wednesday on a detachable tandem bike.

“I just feel the air rush against me, and it makes me relaxed,” Elizabeth said.

Foret said he’s had multiple friends killed while riding a bike. He uses the Ride of Silence to reflect on those losses.

“You never know who’s under that helmet. It could be a family member, it could be a coworker, it could be your boss,” Foret said. “So just take a few seconds. What is a few seconds to go three feet around someone so that they’re safe?”

Before the ride started, Wallace read aloud the names of 24 cyclists, who were killed in Alabama within the past decade.

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