Sunday, July 26, 2009

A bad week...

One week ago, an irresponsible driver seriously injured five cyclists riding in a bicycle lane and then left the scene. Cathy Anderson, 45, Hilary McNamee, 26, Rob Wein, 35, Rob Harland, 45, and Mark White, 33, had all gone for a training ride in preparation for a half marathon. Their route, March Road, had a wide bicycle lane. Police investigators allege that 45-year-old Sommit Luangpakham plowed straight through the group at about 8:00 last Sunday morning. Police have charged him with leaving the scene of an accident, and will consider other charges as their investigation proceeds. As of the last news story available, Mr. Wein remains unconscious and in critical condition. Over the week following this horrible crash, at least two other motor vehicles have collided with cyclists.

I read about these tragedies and think about how easily they can happen, how but for the Creator's Grace I might end up on the side of a road, critically injured. At one of the ghost bike memorials I attended, one of the participants said "they kill us and they kill each other; what can we do?" I can think of many things we can do, but above all, I think we need to end the culture of entitlement that surrounds the automobile. When people comment on these stories, we read again and again that cars "always win" by simple physics; regardless of the law, a two-tonne car always beats a bicycle. Comments like this imply, or sometimes state outright, that motorists always ought to win because they have a big bomb. We will have a lot more peace on our roads when more people begin to understand that a bully with a car threatens the lives and peace of those of us who obey the laws as a bully with an Uzi or a Glock.

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