Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Do not go gentle

Because I did not know Matthew O'Neill, this is a difficult post to write.

Matthew was a cyclist on the 3CR. A randonneur. A human being loved by his family and friends. You can read more about him here.

One thing people, especially those in the brain injury community, often say about this project is that it's too dangerous. It is unwise. To show a brain injury survivor riding a bicycle, it is wrong. They don't want me presenting to their clients. For many people, cycling is synonymous with head injuries, with great bodily risk.

This of course, is a distortion. Statistics tell us that driving a car is just about the most dangerous thing most people do regularly. The kitchen, followed by the bathroom, are the most dangerous places. Oh, and football, the fans who sit on the couch, watching other people bang their heads together...

Consider the number of hours you spend sitting doing whatever (work, watching TV) shaves years off your life. And it's not good for your brain either. Those are the alternatives.

So. I packed Matthew O'Neill's rider packet for the 3CR. I supported the last event he ever rode. With  the shock and exhaustion of that effort wearing off, I'll continue to ride. Hopefully you'll join me in asking some difficult questions. Like why cyclists are still targets on the roads we help pay for.

Why cyclists, who are doing the right thing in so many ways, are often not given their equal share of respect. Bullied, hazed, run off the road. Why that's seen as 'just the way it is'. Why the new California 3-foot passing bill carries a whopping $35 penalty. Doesn't allow drivers to cross a double yellow line, when needed. I'm not going to let that go. Hope you won't, either.

When people see me getting onto my bike, sometimes they call out "ride safe". The next time that happens I might be thinking "go fuck your cowardly self". How about telling a driver getting into the car "watch out for cyclists"? "Try not to kill a cyclist today, honey"?

Maybe it's time to start doing that.

2 comments :

  1. Did you hear about this one? http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-milton-charges-deputy-20140828-story.html
    Good to know that it's not a chargeable offense because it was an officer texting. They can just run cyclists down whenever. Totally fine.

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  2. Rachel, I did not hear that about that ruling. So glad you posted the link. It's truly shocking. I think cyclists are seen as disposable. Law enforcement is often part of the problem.

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