As the nice weather settles in and area residents and visitors to the area are spending more time outside, there is a noticeable increase in bicycle traffic.
This is a logical shift given the high price of gasoline and the ease with which bicycle riders can maneuver their way around the towns and townships of the region.
Bicycling also provides great exercise and a means for the rider to enjoy the outdoors while getting to their destination in a timely fashion.
However, as more bicyclists are sharing the road with motorists, the drivers of both modes of transportation need to be fully aware of each other.
In particular, motorists need to realize that bicyclists have the same rights to use the roadways as they do.
To help raise awareness of these rights, the local Kitchi-Mi-Kana Cycling Group is sponsoring a "Ride of Silence" around Marquette this evening. Participants will gather at the Mattson Lower Harbor Park prior to the 7 p.m. start to the ride.
The local event is part of an international campaign to not only raise awareness of bicyclists' rights, but to honor those who have been injured or killed while riding a bike.
According to the Ride of Silence website: "The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways."
On the other side of the coin, this is also a good time of year to remind bicyclists that, yes, they do use the same roads and have the same rights as motorists, but they also have the responsibility to follow the same driving rules.
This includes not weaving through traffic, not taking shortcuts nor disregarding street signs, including stop lights and stop signs.