MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one thousand people die in bicycle accidents each year in the United States.

Each year bicycle groups around the country set aside an evening in May to remember and honor those cyclists who have passed away or who have been seriously injured while riding. It’s called the ride of silence.

“It just becomes part of your friendships knowing that it (getting seriously hurt while cycling) could possibly happen to any one of us,” said Fox Cities Cycling Association President Casey Calmes.

He told Local Five News that he’s lost several people very close to him in cycling accidents. Prior to participating in a ride of silence that left from Jefferson Park in Menasha on Wednesday evening, he read aloud the names of his friends who have passed away while bike riding.

“Sorrow, I miss my friends, it’s a lot of reflection on your personal safety,” said Calmes.

A small group of cyclists joined Calmes for the ride. It’s supposed to be silent and also spreads awareness to motorists that they need to share the roads safely with cyclists.

“Knowing the rules of the road is a good idea, as a cyclist you always want to ride with traffic,” said Scott Steeno who is the owner of ‘The Bike Pub’ in De Pere.

Steeno stresses that riders should always wear a helmet and that wearing bright, reflective clothing and having lights on bikes can also make your ride significantly safer.

Steeno also recommended riding with a buddy when possible and bringing your phone with you when you ride.

“Knowing your body and knowing what your limits are so you don’t ride out 30 miles and then turn and have to face a headwind coming back and exhaust yourself,” said Steeno.

Steeno said that this time of year is busy at the shop as the weather warms up and people want to get back out on their bikes.

He said having experts look at your bike before you take it out for the first time is another way to make riding safer.

“Wheels can get out of true and they can be a bit more dangerous,” said Steeno. “Parts on the bike just might not be adjusted correctly.”

At the Ride of Silence in Menasha, organizers required riders to wear helmets and have lights on their bikes. All of the riders also wore brightly colored clothing.

They hope that by doing this ride they not only can remember those they’ve lost, but also make the Fox Cities a safer environment for all riders.

“We’re out on the road doing a slow silent ride and it’ll bring awareness to the motorists who also might be out on the road,” said Paul Gessler who is on the board of the Fox Cities Cycling Association.

According to the event’s website, rider groups from 226 communities worldwide participated in the 2023 ‘Ride of Silence.’