The Only Ones With ‘Skin In The Game’?

Background Reading


When Randy Cohen was with the New York Times he made a brash statement about his personal views on obeying traffic controls:

THE rule-breaking cyclist that people decry: that’s me. I routinely run red lights, and so do you. I flout the law when I’m on my bike; you do it when you are on foot, at least if you are like most New Yorkers. My behavior vexes pedestrians, drivers and even some of my fellow cyclists. Similar conduct has stuck cyclists with tickets and court-ordered biking education classes.

He is not alone in his delusions about his importance to the cycling world. For many decades it was believed that bicycles could play a bit ‘faster and looser‘ than their motorized cousins. As the saying went: Bikes Don’t Kill, Cars Do!

Slowly but surely the inevitable truth about the lies that other cyclists tell personal involvement and the beauty of the unencumbered life aboard a bicycle is being discovered.

Tragedy On A Divvy

We seem to love to tout the fact that not a single person has managed to be killed while riding a CitiBike or a Divvy. But rest assured that our fellow cyclists are working day and night to prove even that truism is wrong.

A Divvy rider may have averted death this week through sheer luck. He was intoxicated and riding down the Outer Lake Shore Drive. (The map insert below is mistakenly showing the location on the Inner Lake Shore Drive.)

If the account report by DNAinfo is correct not only did the rider lose a foot, but he involved at least two automobiles in the process! This could have been far more tragic than it already is. And the point to be made here is that this was not some sort of isolated incident. It gets repeated all over the country each and every day.

Something tragic involving bicycles and drivers and even pedestrians is happening all the time. None of us ever knows when ‘Chaos Theory‘ will make its way into our lives while we are out transporting ourselves and our loved ones from point A to point B. We have to be vigilant. And for Goodness Sake let’s drop the witticism about our lack of involvement with others when we choose to act like numbskulls.

A fellow in our church was heading home during the Holidays a couple of decades or so ago. A drunk driver plowed into his vehicle and killed his daughter. His wife who was riding in the car never really got over the emotional trauma of losing a child. She eventually committed suicide.

Alcohol Is Not Cool!

When I hear about Pharma-Parties where kids toss their parents medications into a large bowl and then fish them out randomly to down with jiggers of alcohol, I shudder. But frankly that is not nearly as frightening to me as what we as a society do with the legal drugs like alcohol. We swill the stuff down and have chugging parties and then attempt to either drive or bike home or even take the elevated train.

The latter is assumed by some to be innocuous because we are not controlling the vehicle. But walking from the train station to our front door has plenty of drama as well. We could be accosted by thugs, rapists, or murderers. And what was supposed to be a cool night out with the guys turns into a tragedy.

I watched an episode of Blue Bloods tonight. It dealt with the timely topic of date rape on campus. The daughter of the ADA told her mom that everybody drinks on campus. True. But as the mother put it, you simply cannot place your safety in the hands of some guy that you do not know and who makes you laugh.

The same holds true for biking home drunk. You cannot assume that the other folks out there are sober. And if you are driving you need to give bikers as wide a berth as possible because if they are intoxicated and they swerve (as did the drunken cyclist in the accident cited above) you could be involved in their injury or death and a very long night answer questions from the police.

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

We need to be more vigilant than ever because the Holiday Season is upon us. There are going to be bicycle club members and fellow bicycle commuters who will lose their lives this winter. There are going to be cyclists heading home late at night who run a red light and misjudge the fact that the motorist approaching the intersection is capable of safe driving.

Assume that every motorist you encounter is drunk.

And if you are a motorist assume the same of every single cyclist you see. The later in the evening you encounter people on the streets the more likely they are inebriated. Stay safe out there. We all need two feet to pedal our bikes.