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Ride of Silence to Honor Memory of Local Cyclist

Dombrofski family photo courtesy of Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center. (we-ha.com file photo)

Bike West Hartford’s ‘Ride of Silence’ on Wednesday, May 17, will honor Anne Dombrofski, a West Hartford woman who passed away last August.

[Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in last week’s edition of The West Hartford Press. See more by clicking here.]

By Abigail Albair, West Hartford Press Editor

Cyclists will ride in reflective silence next week to honor the memory of Anne Dombrofski.

Dombrofski was riding her bicycle north on Cornerstone Drive in late August of last year when she lost control and fell from her bike onto the pavement. She sustained serious injuries, including a head injury despite the fact that she was wearing a helmet, and was taken to Saint Francis Hospital where she died Aug. 30.

She was 48 years old and a married mother of two. She was a grant writer at the Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center and known in the local community.

The Ride of Silence will take place May 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m., though participants are asked to arrive at 6 p.m.

“We are asking everyone to come and wear white shirts in solidarity,” explained Scott Franklin, the chair of the town’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Commission.

A bagpiper will play music to before the ride begins, and Franklin expects Dombrofski’s husband, Mark Dombrofski, and family to be present.

The ride will be a “slow roll,” Franklin said, over an eight-mile flat route that will follow mostly less-traveled residential streets.

It will take approximately one hour.

“Nobody will be left behind, and we’re asking everyone to be silent during the ride,” Franklin said.

The event is taking place along with rides around the world as part of the International Ride of Silence and coordinates with National Bike Month, as it is always held the third Wednesday in May to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. Last year there were 445 events in 50 states, 48 countries and on seven continents.

“The ride aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured,” the International Ride of Silence website explains.

Such a ride has never before been held in West Hartford, Franklin said, and although Dombrofski’s death was a tragic accident and not caused by an altercation with a car, Franklin said the town’s cycling advocates felt it was just as important to honor her memory.

“We all know how dangerous it is going out there,” he said. “Any time somebody gets hurt, hit or killed, we all feel it.”

The Dombrofskis had attended the town’s Center Streets event earlier in the day on which her accident occurred to celebrate cycling and pedestrian opportunities in West Hartford, and Franklin said Anne just wanted to extend her day’s ride.

He noted, “She was doing everything right,” at the time of her accident, which police said was likely caused when she hit a rut in the road.

“She was universally loved,” Franklin said. “Everybody you talk to that knew her had great things to say about her.”

The ride begins and ends in the Town Hall parking lot.

For more information visit bikewesthartford.org.

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