Tonight in some 200 U.S. cities (and six other countries), cyclists will be joining in the Ride of Silence to pay tribute to bicyclists who’ve been killed or injured on public roadways.

And there are a lot.

From the Seattle Times article:

In 2004, in Seattle there were 258 bicycle collisions with cars — resulting in 224 injuries and one death, according to the city’s Department of Transportation.

Um, make that 260, and 225 injuries. My two collisions that year went unreported. (Stupid minivans!)

And from the Oregonian:

The most recent Oregon Department of Transportation statistics show 14 bicyclists died in Portland-area collisions with motor vehicles from 2000 through 2005. Meanwhile, the number of reported bicycle crashes has held steady for years at about 160 annually.

Join a ride near you and reclaim the streets.

With any luck, though, economics — not just cyclists asserting their rights and remembering the fallen — will compel riders to make the switch from cars to bicycles, resulting in fewer drivers overall and reducing the chances of these kinds of nasty accidents.

Which may in fact be happening, according to a recent Associated Press article.

So, newsflash people: Owning and operating cars is still damn expensive (resource wars notwithstanding):

More Americans commuting on two wheels to avoid rising gas prices

Unfortunately, instead of backing up this feel-good headline with statistics, AP offers relies on a feeling, supported by one small piece of anecdotal evidence.

As gas prices climb to record highs, more Americans seem to be abandoning their cars and biking to work to save money at the pump.

A strong assertion, to be sure.

But the indisputable bit of evidence AP offers for demonstrating the changing tides of bicycle commutership is the story of one Scott Morrison of San Francisco who “ditched his gas-guzzling pickup and started biking to work.”

Rain or shine, Morrison now bikes the six miles from his home in Fairfield, about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco, to the packaging plant where he works as a machine operator. Six months after switching to two wheels, he feels more relaxed and healthier, having lost nearly 50 pounds.

Let us all be Scott. That’s the real lesson here. And hopefully that’s what readers take away from this.

After all, a velorution seems to be under way. Join us!