DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hundreds of riders from central Iowa’s bicycle community took to the streets in a slow, silent ride Wednesday. It was for the annual ride of silence where cyclists honor those in their ranks who have been injured or killed by a car in the past year.
Wade Franck's name was on the tongues of almost every cyclist that lined up to ride from Kyle’s Bikes, the shop where he used to work in Ankeny, to the “Ride of Silence” in downtown Des Moines.
“There are a couple of my guys who aren’t going go because they don’t think they can intermix with everyone,” said Kyle Robinson, the owner of Kyle’s Bikes. “They’re too emotional.”
“When the word came back, it hit everybody pretty hard. And Wade is just a phenomenal person. He helped me out personally. He was kind of an educator. He liked to help everybody learn stuff. He was passionate about it and just a great guy. So, yeah it’s going to be an awesome turnout and respect to honor Wade’s memory,” said Joe Bechen, friend of Franck.
Last summer, Franck was hit and killed by a drunk driver during an organized ride. On Wednesday, hundreds of fellow cyclists took to the streets in a somber procession. Only the shifting of gears and riders clipping into their pedals made noise.
“Every cycling death is important, but specifically, Wade Franck’s death really hit home to a lot of us and I wanted to support a lot of my friends who knew him really well,” said Andrea Parrott, of "Ride of Silence."
Franck was just one of over 300 Iowans who were hit while riding their bike over the past 12 months. And cyclists say this ride is also to remind everyone on the road to co-exist.
“It’s a two-way street. It’s both cyclists and motorists. You know, cyclists sometimes, they don’t obey the laws, as well as they should either, so both parties hold the responsibility to make it safe for everybody,” Robinson said.
The man who hit Franck, Jonathan Leyva-Rodriguez, was found guilty on all six counts against him and will be sentenced in June.