Thomas Palermo. Stan Miller. Thomas Bruni. Lynne Rosenbusch. John Fauerby.

Those were some of the names that came up Wednesday, having been killed in bicycle accidents over the years.

A group of about 20 bicyclists — including friends of the victims — went on a 10-mile Ride of Silence through Frederick in memory of those who have died or been injured while riding bikes.

“It’s like a funeral procession,” Bill Smith, president of the Frederick Pedalers Bicycle Club, said in the parking lot of Monocacy Middle School before the ride began. “We shouldn’t have to do this.”

The number of bicycle fatalities in Maryland doubled from five in 2014 to 10 in 2015, according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

Smith said other bike rides are normally collegial and everyone chats along the way. But the annual ride is somber, Smith said as it started to rain lightly before the ride.

The Ride of Silence was an international event, held around the world, according to the organization’s website. Other Maryland cities participated, including Hagerstown, Olney, Baltimore, Annapolis and Rockville.

Hagerstown resident John Munns participated in Frederick’s ride instead of Hagerstown’s because Rosenbusch and Fauerby, who were his friends, did most of their riding in Frederick County. They were killed riding a tandem bike in Calvert County last year when they were struck from behind by a drunken driver.

“They weren’t the fastest, but they put the miles on,” he said. “They could outride anyone in distance.”

The trial of the woman accused of killing the Clarksburg residents is set for Friday, which is also Bike to Work Day, Smith said. He said he will be thinking about them as he rides his bike to work.

Middletown resident Dave Sweeney said the ride brings riders who might not normally interact with one another, such as mountain bikers with cyclists.

This was his fourth year participating. “It’s something I put on the calendar every year,” he said.

The bicyclists took off around 7 p.m., pairing up and riding side by side on Opossumtown Pike, followed by Frederick Police Chief Edward Hargis in a car. Hargis said he opted out of riding, as he had originally wanted to do, because he did a 250-mile ride last week.

Steve Miller, interim executive director of Bike Maryland, said the number and variety of people who come to the Ride of Silence is remarkable. He said the organization teaches children that a bicyclist has to follow the same rules as someone driving a motor vehicle.

“We’re all about advocating for safer biking,” he said. They work through legislation, advocacy and working with groups such as the Frederick Pedalers Bicycle Club.

Smith said bicyclists can lessen the chance of getting in a crash with defensive bicycling techniques.

“But you can’t defend yourself against a drunk driver,” he said.

And although there’s a risk to riding a bike on the roads, bicyclists do it because they enjoy it, he said.

“It’s a part of our lifestyle,” he said.

Follow Brandi Bottalico on Twitter: @brandibot.

(26) comments

William Smith

When I read someone's post that "It's safer to ride as far to the right as possible", then I know that the person writing that is misinformed. Intelligent, smart, safe cyclists know that riding on the edge can very easily get a bicyclist killed. It invites unsafe passing (squeezing by) and the infamous "right hook". So don't tell me, Glen, that you are well-informed on this matter, because you are not. I stake my 160,000 lifetime bicycle miles against however few you have.


Riding "as far to the right as possible" is not the same as riding "on the edge". I ride as far to the right as I can to stay out of the way of cars and yet maneuver safely or even stop should I see a hazard ahead, such as a rock, a 2x4, road kill, etc. If another rider is beside me, ie two-abreast, maneuvering to avoid a road hazard is more difficult and can result in the two bikes colliding. Riding two abreast on a roadway is asking for trouble. I stake my 159,000 lifetime bicycle miles on it.[cool]


Looking at the photo... its about perspective.... the riders are actually TWO-ABREAST... not "all over the road". Everyone... "haters" included... need to gain a little more perspective.


Do indeed take a look at the perspective. Those riders in the back of the group pictured seem to be taking up at least 2/3 of the roadway. Now imagine a motor vehicle topping a hill or rounding a blind curve at the posted speed limit and encountering this situation. Who do you think is gonna lose? Ride to right and ride safely - or assert your "right" to ride two abreast and you could be featured in the next memorial ride.


To all you people out there the number one reason accidents occur is because the drivers of motor vehicles are not paying attention to the task of driving. Cyclists are allowed to take up as much of the road as needed to operate in a safe manner in this state. In other words we all have one right that is to share the roads.

Glen Shiel

Yeah, and the key word is in a "safe" manner. It's safer to ride as far to the right as possible, yet too many of them think it's their right to ride right in the middle of a lane.

William Smith


William Smith

Oh my, let the anti-bicyclist hate pour in like so much gasoline. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way we rode our bicycles last night. Bicyclists are permitted to ride two abreast when no traffic is behind. That's all I'm going to say. I will ignore your uninformed opinions. - William Smith, leader of this ride


I don't hate cyclists - being one- and my opinion is informed. Just because you are permitted to ride two .abreast doesn't make it a good idea. Plus, how can you justify your riders all over the traffic lane in the photo? I've been a road captain on both long and short rides and our rule was single file when sharing the road with motor vehicles.l

Glen Shiel

I agree 100% with the first two comments. This photo is visual proof of how bicyclists abuse the law and one of the reason why there are fatalities. The law clearly states that they are to ride as far to the right as is safe to do so and when I approach any who are not I refuse to give them any leeway.


I've ridden a bicycle in various parts of the country, including Los Angeles. I've ridden in several century and half century rides (100 and 50 miles) The groups I rode with always rode single file unless we were passing another cyclist. NEVER even thought about riding two or three abreast. This group needs a new road captain and some new rules.

Glen Shiel

I wouldn't say they really need some new rules, they just need to obey current laws:
"A person riding a bicycle shall ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable and safe, except when:
o Making or attempting to make a left turn;
o Operating on a one-way street;
o Passing a stopped or slower moving vehicle;
o Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards;
o The right lane is a right turn only lane; or
o Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane (TR§21-1205)."


Nice way to pick and choose your facts. The unedited version of the last bullet point states:
6) Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motor scooter and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Note the "and another vehicle" part you failed to copy. The very next line in the code, which you omitted, states:
(b) Each person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a roadway may ride two abreast only if the flow of traffic is unimpeded.


Don't condemn these cyclist just on one photograph. Maybe there a police escort that you can't see. Ever see a special funeral procession with cars? They take up the whole street and run red lights.


And, congrats on your awesome 100 mile bike rides. It's mind-blowing that you accomplished such a feat!


Thanks. It took a while to work up to that level and it's been a few years since I did it, but it was a blast. It was also in the days before texting while driving. It's more dangerous out there now.


I find it hard to believe what you are saying.


"when I approach any who are not [ far to the right] I refuse to give them any leeway." Good one, Glenn; maybe you will hit someone on a bike one day and no one will blame you because you are so solid with the rules.


Motorists need to abide by the 3-foot law when passing us cyclists. I don't want my elbow hit again by someone's side-view mirror.


Again the reason why there are so many fatalities is the operators of all vehicles are not paying enough attention to the vehicle operation this is especially true in motor vehicles.


Ever hear of the 3 foot law just enacted that clearly states you break the law you seem to love.


I'm not impressed. If the riders were really concerned about bicycle safety, they would be riding single file instead of spread all over the traffic lane. In a bike versus car/truck encounter, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who's going to lose.


It also should not take a rocket scientist to figure out we are all human beings and all have a right to use the roads we pay for.


But please use them in a safe manner. Riding a 15-20 pound bike with an "in your face" or assertive attitude with a 4,000 pound car driven by a distracted driver or a driver also with an assertive attitude is a recipe for serious injury or death.


Lol @ in your face attitude first off the in you face attitude is displayed by the driver of the 4000 pound armored car passing cyclists unsafely to save 60 seconds. Second the admitted breaking of the Law by distracted drivers doing everything while in a car besides driving. Cyclists are not aggressive we are nearly tired of being killed or maimed by idiots who simply do not understand that everyone has a right to use our roads. Stay on interstates if you want to drive like morons.


great photo showing the cyclists taking up the entire lane, which is typical and 1 of the reasons why bicycle accidents occur.

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