America Has A ‘Drinking’ Problem

Background Reading

Summary

NOOR KHAMIS, REUTERS

NOOR KHAMIS, REUTERS

Reply by Michelle Milham on Monday
God. How can you do that. Just mow someone down and run away. It makes my blood boil and my head spin.
The neighbor, Ms. Beverly Wilcher, says it all.

Reply by Anne Alt on Monday
I think Ms. Wilcher’s words effectively captured what many of us feel after a horrible incident like this.

I missed the part in the original NBC piece about the car being ditched after the crash. I hope that someone can provide information to police so they can identify and locate the driver.

Reply by Jeff Schneider 17 minutes ago
The statistic from Streetsblog for Chicago pedestrian and cyclist fatalities so far this year is:

  • Pedestrian: 15 (6 were hit-and-run crashes)
  • Bicyclist: 1 (1 was a hit-and-run crash)

So, statistically about half of the drivers who kill someone cannot be bothered to stop and give aid. Half is not an exception; it is nearly the norm. I don’t get it.


TakeAways

Nothing seems more lame than the perfunctory ‘so sad‘ that follows virtually every report in a thread on the ChainLink where someone dies as the result of a collision with an automobile. But what really infuriates me is the apparent cluelessness of cyclists over why motorists behave in this fashion.

America has a drinking problem

It is that simple and yet vastly more complex. Alcohol as in Europe has become a more widely distributed drug than ever before. Even Cocaine has become more widely accepted in places like London. Their cocaine problem is great enough that the drug is showing up in the water supply!

But as is usually the case everyone tries to ignore it or display willful ignorance of what is occurring around them. In Europe it is routine for cyclists to ride BUI. Here in the U.S. the predominance of this sort of activity is reserved for motorists (i.e DUI) Because the drug reduces the effectiveness of the frontal lobe of the brain to the point that it operates as if it were the size of a pea, drivers do what they can to observe self-preservation. At all costs they want not to be charged with DUI.

What’s more if a person dies as a result of their carelessness there is always the worry of having to face a civil suit where ‘the bar is lower‘ than in a criminal case in court. So they flee the scene to sober up. They can always claim to have been unaware that the victim was struck. That is mere negligence and not nearly as bad as both DUI and fleeing the scene.

We Cannot Ignore The Problem And Feign Regret

America Leads The World

America Leads The World

Unless Americans are willing to stand up and say ‘no more‘! The problem will not merely continue but get worse. There has been at least a four-fold increase in the production of beer and ale over the past twenty years. The number of outlets has skyrocketed to the point that the ChainLink can offer weekly and monthly tours (by bicycle and train) to visit these drug outlets. And keep in mind that the motoring public is as aware of this burgeoning industry as well.

People are in fact invited into these places to help do things like fundraise for the very groups which suffer deaths. Active Transportation Alliance and just about every other bicycle-related organization I can think of offers nights when you can visit your favorite drug dealer and consume his product and feel good about yourself because you are furthering cycling. In fact it is quite possible that a cyclist who drives could be attending these very same affairs and driving home DUI before hitting and killing a fellow cyclist. We already have situations where cyclists who are bartenders have gone home after working only to be hit by a motorist who was DUI.

We ate least no longer allow ourselves the luxury of smoking in every possible public situation. We need to reconsider (as is the military) the role we allow alcohol to play in our lives. College campuses and the military have a very real problem with sexual assault which is usually alcohol-related. We can keep shaking our heads and saying ‘we don’t get it‘ or we can stop ‘playing possum‘ and own up to the problem.

It will take some courage on the part of folks who dearly love to be part of a social network where they can shake their heads at the behavior of others while feeling smug about their own complicity. That is essentially what the ChainLink has become.