Cyclists raising awareness through 518km Ride Alongside trek

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Riders left Bunbury Police Station with their support crew early on Monday morning to start the 518km five-day journey.
Camera IconRiders left Bunbury Police Station with their support crew early on Monday morning to start the 518km five-day journey. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

Cyclists set off from Bunbury Police Station on a five-day journey to help raise awareness of mental health issues within emergency services personnel yesterday.

Ride Alongside will see 12 cyclists travel 518km from Bunbury to Denmark.

Ride ambassador Jason Barnes said as a serving police officer he had first hand experience of the tragedies emergency services personnel had to deal with on a daily basis.

“There is a problem out there and we are passionate about trying to do something,” he said.

“If we can help in any way by promoting awareness and going through regional towns to show there are people who care – that there are support agencies – then we are happy to do so.”

Mr Barnes said it was a deliberate move to again travel through regional areas after the first Ride Alongside event saw riders travel from Northam to Albany in 2017.

“Regional areas sometimes get left behind while metro areas get everything,” he said.

“There might be only two police officers in small town stations and everyone forgets them because not a lot goes on.

“No one talks and things get bottled up – we want to go out to tell them they aren’t alone.”

The ride is being supported by Sirens of Silence, a charity focused on helping emergency services personnel.

Sirens of Silence co-founder Lyn Sinclair said it was integral to continue raising awareness.

“If we aren’t finding support options then we are going to go to a lot more funerals,” she said.

“We don’t want people suffering silently. We want people to feel like they can come forward to talk about issues because nobody will look down on them.”

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