- ‘Risk Taking’ versus ‘Safety’ (BeezodogsPlace)
- ChainLinker : Coast Guard suspends search for man who fell into Lake Michigan from sailboat (BeezodogsPlace)
When tragedy befalls us we are more than up to the task as Liberals to point the finger.
- A Tragedy Not Even A Bike Lane Could Prevent (BeezodogsPlace)
- The ChainLink Crowd Is Often Silent At The Wrong Time… Remember Steven Lane? (BeezodogsPlace)
- Cyclist Dies on Critical Mass, NBC Opens Fire (BeezodogsPlace)
- I would bet that this reckless cyclist didn’t imagine how easily he might end up killing someone. (BeezodogsPlace)
- The Urban Cycling Community is Full of Cowards (BeezodogsPlace)
- ChainLinkers, Morales Is Calling You Out! (BeezodogsPlace)
- UPDATED : Being Petulant Is Inconsistent With Safe Cycling (BeezodogsPlace)
But when one of our own dies and it appears that there is no ‘government ineptitude‘ to blame then what is our recourse? We simply have none.
This is what we crave:
- Tribune Blames the Victim of Bike Crash Caused by City’s Negligence (BeezodogsPlace)
This is something we can sink our teeth into and find tasty raw meat to chew on as we diagnose what was done wrong on the ‘other side’. But if we have a friend who decides not to wear a personal flotation device and is likely to have been ‘impaired‘ with alcohol while boating it makes us uneasy to say the very least. Our only activity in these instances is to go maudlin. And even that gets a bit soppy and pathetic.
And the very last thing that people seem to be able to take is ‘critical analysis‘ of the situation that might have brought about injury or death. We have all sorts of excuses as to why we dress as ‘ninjas‘ at night and why ‘helmets‘ are a hoax being perpetrated on unsuspecting suburbanites who really do not know better.
But we have all the answers. And if you buy us a round at our favorite watering hole we can regale you with bullshit until you eyes droop and you being to snore. But when the only possible outcome is that we have to accept personal responsibility for the outcome of a situation that went sideways, we begin to cringe.
Nothing that can or will be written in StreetsBlog this coming week or so will be able to ‘spin‘ these sorts of situations well enough to satisfy us. We have cut our teeth on not wanting to accept blame for anything. There is a famous video of Randy Cohen telling the camera and his viewers how wonderfully liberating it is to disobey stop signs and red lights but then deciding that ‘riding against traffic’ is somehow worse than treason.
We Are Never ‘The Only Ones With Skin In The Game’
We have told that lie to ourselves so often it seems true. But recent Coast Guard activities have shown us that when one of us is hurt others often come to the rescue. Every time a cyclist is struck somebody has to come and view the scene. They have to write any tickets or pick up any remains or rush the injured to hospital. And the fact is that each person is put at risk for having to answer that call. And even if they arrive safely and execute their duties then can never ‘un-see‘ that particular scene.
Every time a cyclist rides around a downed crossing gate and is struck by an on-coming train there is an engineer who must live with that scene for the remainder of their lives. The very least we as Liberals must have the courage to do is analyze the situation with an eye ‘to laying blame‘ where it is due. Now that sounds harsh but there really is no other way to couch this. When you find the weak point in a protocol you need to ‘call out the person or practices‘ that led to failure.
NASA would never have been able to carry on its missions following its most famous failures without going through this painful process. It is hubris that makes us reluctant to do this. We fashion some sort of excuse that ‘laying blame only hurts the movement‘ or only serves to hurt the loved ones. But that is just plain cowardice speaking on our behalf. We are larger than life when we talk about how proud we are to not wear helmets and dress in geeky looking clothing just to ride on the streets. And yet when we end up running into construction holes on the street because we are drunk, have no lights and thus are helpless against ourselves we tend to write up a story about how bad the city is and console ourselves that they had to pay.
Meanwhile the poor schlub who bought into the collective bravado is lying at home in total paralysis and no amount of money will ever change that fact. We are too quick to bestow sainthood on those who work for large corporations and have been our drinking buddies. We are never eager to ask whether they were drinking or otherwise impaired while trying to operate their vehicle of choice (the bicycle). It is as if, we never left high school.
It Is Time For Us To Reconsider Alcohol and Cycling
And for that matter, alcohol and boating and alcohol and driving and alcohol and open windows or roofs 18 floors up. It is time for us to admit that alcohol is a drug. That when we imbibe the stuff some of us are likely to do stupid things. That there will not always be someone else to blame. That like ‘Door Zone Collisions‘ most of the alcohol-related deaths and injuries are on us. We share a common bad habit with every single motorist, alcohol. We are not just victims we are often enablers. We not only fall prey to motorists who drive drunk we often serve them the alcohol that puts them in that state because we work either as bartenders or servers. This is not speculation but fact.
The problem is not one that sits only on the laps of motorists. This is a cultural problem. We are guilty of taking too many photos of ourselves glorifying the drinking of alcohol. We act as if getting drunk and riding bikes are rites of passage that must be celebrated with each passing day. We have entire subcultural groups that ride weekly at night so that they can drink to excess and then cavort on their bicycles on nearly empty streets. We enjoy doing this sort of thing with or without benefit of lights and bright/reflective clothing. We do it when the weather is great and when the streets are icy or wet. In short we snub our noses at ‘safety‘ and make a fool out of ourselves and those who shill for us as bicycling advocates.
We let them knowingly lie to the public that if we just get enough bicycle infrastructure we will behave ourselves in traffic. And despite all of that we still make videos demonstrating the fact that we do not now or in the future plan to give a hoot about ‘safety‘.
Safety it would seem is for ‘wussies‘. We lost a valuable piece of real estate when cyclists began killing pedestrians. We used to claim that ‘only cars could kill, bicycles did not‘. Now only the truly ignorant or deluded keep flogging that expired equine. So yes, we should set ourselves the very ugly but important task of analyzing our behaviors:
- Do we drink and then attempt to ride home?
- Do we binge drink and use cycling as an excuse to do this in front of others?
- Do we fail to dress appropriately when riding on streets at night?
- Do we have a good reason not to use lights front and rear?
- Are we being ‘safe‘ when we disobey street lights and signs?
- Why are we so distrustful of motorists when their interests and behaviors mirror our own?
- Add your own ideas to this list…