It was a message Sudbury's Olympian and world champion Nordic skier Devon Kershaw sent to a group of nearly 100 cyclists gathered outside Science North for the fifth annual Share the Road event Aug. 8.
The group, which included a police escort, cycled 15 kilometres through the city's south end to raise awareness of cycling safety.
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is an Ontario-based cycling advocacy organization that promotes bicycling as a mode of transportation, recreation and fitness.
For the first time since its inception in Sudbury, Kershaw, who is the athlete ambassador for the organization, was unable to make it to the event, due to a hectic training schedule and an untimely illness.
However, his father, Will, read a letter prepared by his son to the crowd.
"It means a lot to me, and the community, that you've gathered here together to send a message about safer cycling and to promote cycling as a part of healthy lifestyles," Kershaw wrote.
"This Share the Road event underscores a host of outdoor activities — whether you are walking, running, cycling or roller skiing, our roads need to be safer."
He said the attitude toward cycling as a means of transportation has changed in the past two decades.
"(We) used to bike to school. How many children do you see biking to school now? Would you let your children cycle to school? Would you cycle to work?" he asked.
"It's through initiatives like Share the Road that we can raise the awareness that everyone should be able to have the opportunity to bike to school or work or recreate safely in a well-managed and planned urban environment.
"This shouldn't even be something we talk about in 10 years," he added. "It should just be the new normal."
Kershaw offered advice to motorists and cyclists alike. "When we're behind the wheel of a vehicle, please be patient, take care and be alert. While on our bikes, follow the rules of the road and be predictable."
Deb McIntosh, executive director of Rainbow Routes Association, was on hand for the event and took a moment before the group departed to review the proper hand signals for cyclists.
"This event raises awareness about sharing the road for drivers and cyclists," she said. "The cyclists have to learn to be predictable with their signaling, staying on the right-hand side of the road so cars know what they're going to do and where they are, and also for drivers to be aware that cyclists need to be on the road with them and give them room."
She said the Sudbury ride is one of many held across the province, and showcases the growing numbers of cyclists in Ontario.
For more information about Share the Road, visit sharetheroad.ca.