Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Storm Before the Calm

Anybody who has been in a bike wreck can identify the above photograph.  Hint: the tire is not supposed to touch the down tube.  That's a telltale indicator of  a front end wreck.  The fork is bent backwards and, in this case, the impact was strong enough to bend the down tube and top tube as the impact on the fork squished the head tube.  

The result was, as I have previously alluded to, unpleasant.

I woke up in an ambulance with my neck in a brace and my head strapped to a board.  It was somewhat disconcerting.  But I'm fine and I keep riding.  I'm so brave.

Some cyclists haven't been as lucky as me recently.  Our city's newspaper's bike blogger has gone through months of treatment and therapy to recover from his encounter with a driver.  He may never ride again.  It's not just physical, he's (understandably) scared.  Travis Freeman was hit in my neighborhood in March.  He's still in recovery too.

And we faced tragedy this year.  Local lawyer Joe Giampapa was killed by a 78 year old driver while riding his bike on a straight, flat road on a clear day.  An experienced cyclist riding on a clear day on a flat, straight road.  It's still "under investigation." 

In another case, a drunk driver hit a cyclist and left him "seriously injured."    The driver will face 15 days in jail and 400 hours of community service.  Seem a little light to you for getting behind the wheel drunk and seriously injuring someone (on a bike or otherwise)?  Me too. 

More heartbreaking, high school teacher Bob Lennon was killed by a hit-and-run driver who suffered from blurred vision and double vision.  Her defense?  "I forgot my glasses." 
Mr. Magoo wasn't funny.  Mr. Magoo is an asshole.
The sentence for killing someone while piloting a 2,000 pound vehicle on city streets while legally blind and then fleeing the scene?   Four and a half years.  This sentence was lower than the maximum of six years charged.

I have been trying to think of an analogy, but can't come up with one.  Hunting while blindfolded?  No, I suspect that would be less dangerous.    

Bob's sister said, “I think the state of Ohio just told cyclists to stay off the road because they’re not safe here.”

I didn't know Bob, but by all accounts, he was good people.  He didn't deserve what he got.

It could be worse.  A Canadian driver is suing the families of the teen cyclists that she killed with her car for her "emotional distress." 

All of this is disheartening.  It can feel like motorists are being excused for hurting or killing cyclists because, come on, what are they doing riding bikes on the road anyway?  Ugh.

Let it go.  Hurt and anger don't help.  I have this blog to help me let go.  Like Dilated People said "My lyrics take care of me, they therapy, get shit off my chest."  

So what can we do?  Well, come out for the Ride of Silence on May 21 at the Ohio statehouse.

I'll be there with my family.  You can throw things at me (silently).

Thing is, don't come out mad.  This isn't a protest.  And it's not a memorial.  We aren't there to treat those who were hurt or injured this year as martyrs.  Because they're not.  They are just ordinary people who happened to be riding bikes. And they deserved better than they got.

So, we will ride in silence to get noticed and respected.  I hope my boys are noticed and respected when they ride their bikes to school.  You'll come out and ride with us too, right?

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