There are those in the Cycling Movement who preach a thinly-veiled hatred of motorists and their vehicles. To listen to these folks on a Critical Mass Ride or the Chicago ChainLink Forum one would get the impression that these are warriors returning from a tour of duty in some far-off war zone. Karlyn Beer is someone who could easily have expressed a message of bitter rage against the man who chose to drive under the influence of alcohol and did her bodily injury. Instead she was given the gift of Forgiveness. And she managed to pass it on to the rest of us.
The struggle for Complete Streets and Protected Bike Lanes can never be allowed to dwarf our sense of compassion for those who travel along life’s road with us. We need to understand this above all else. Complaining should never be equated with commitment to a cause. Anyone can sit down to a meal prepared with loving hands by someone else and find it less than satisfactory. Do we rage at the person who prepared the meal or do we offer to help with the preparation the next time?
Critical Mass Rides run the risk of turning folks with an honest sense of yearning for better transportation routes into bitter, vengeful, hateful people who cannot get beyond those emotions. It can make us do things that we despise in others (e.g. riding against traffic) when we know in our hearts that is the wrong thing to do.
We must never ask of motorists to be more mindful of our bike lanes than we are of the personal property of others. Ours must never be a route of hypocrisy. As Ghandi says:
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.