This morning, a cycling friend forwarded an email to me that he had received from a friend of his. His friend had missed being in an accident by 10 seconds. To sum it up, one vehicle ran a light. Another vehicle hit it and caused it to spin around. In the action of spinning, that vehicle hit a cyclist who was waiting for the light to turn up on the edge of the corner.
She (the cyclist) saw it happen. She saw it coming toward her. There was nothing she could do. Another person, a witness, found her and watched her breathe her last breaths.
Naturally, the author of the email is quite upset. He is concerned. He has friends who ride, and he wants to warn them not to ride in traffic, among other things. It’s just too dangerous, he says. My friend had forwarded that email to me, without adding any comments. I’m not sure what he’s feeling about what he read this morning. However, I had some thoughts/feelings, right away. I wrote an email right away and sent it back. Then, I realized that this is something I wanted to share b/c we are all riding, here. This is a topic that’s crossed our minds…more than once!
So…here’s what I had to say on the topic. …FWIW
That’s a tough story to read. Sad.
However, a few points to share:
(a) Yes. Riding in traffic can be dangerous. So is driving in it. In fact, far more drivers get killed every year than do cyclists, and I have a higher percentage of being killed while in a car than while on my bike. I won’t stop my life because of fears. If I stop, I stop living. Then, what’s the point?
(b) I have ridden in downtown Atlanta traffic. The worst kind – morning traffic. (a la “Georgia Rides to the Capital”…tell you about that another time) It’s not my cup of tea, but that won’t stop all the Atlanta riders. Riding may not be a choice for them but a requirement. It’s life. Plus if we all quit riding then, (1) how on earth will new legislation come out that will both help protect us and educate the public further…and (2) the problem of air pollution will only get worse. There are some people who are using/offering bicycling as a choice toward a greener life and planet. In Europe (especially in the Netherlands), cycling is a way of life. B/c cycling is so immersed into the mindset, it is MUCH safer to ride over there, than here. (Plus, the number of riders who use helmets is miniscule.)
(c) This one is more spiritual. I tend to believe that we’ve all got a number somewhere along the line. [Your viewpoint maybe different, and that’s entirely okay, too!] For me if it is my “time”, it just is. I lived my life the best way I knew how up to that point. This viewpoint helps me to keep on going, keep on LIVING, keep on EXPERIENCING. B/c I will not “go gentle into that good night”. I prefer to “rage, rage against the dying of the light”. [with “rage” taken metaphorically, not literally, of course] YK? :)