Alcohol is a drug. We seem as cyclists to be able to clearly come down against the use of drugs that enhance our performance during competitions. But when it comes to the ones that mess up our bike handling skills and put us at risk of riding into holes cuts into the pavement late at night after we have tied one on to celebrate our graduation, we are reluctant to say anything.
It is this conspiracy of silence that is all too predictable in other situations. Like when a female gets so drunk that she passes out and wakes up ‘naked and afraid‘ in a strangers dorm room. The same thing happens then. We clam up and say nothing because, well it’s none of our business.
But the problem is that for all the blather we like to sling around concerning Vision Zero the concept means diddly-squat to most folks. We tend to think of it in press release terms. You know how we are going to ‘lower the boom‘ on derelict drivers.
But like the Ride of Silence there is a hollowness in the integrity of the movement if it cannot find a way to honor the pedestrians killed by cyclists. Like everything else we are reluctant to ‘speak truth to power‘. Horse crap!
It is time to stop treating the Urban Cycling Movement as if it were some sort of extension of our frat house days. It is not. This is a deadly serious business. Vision Zero means in laymen’s terms zero tolerance for things that put peoples lives at risk in the context of transportation.
And when I say people I mean EVERYBODY! We do not differentiate between the lives of motorists or their passengers or pedestrians or cyclists. It is all the same to us! If someone dies it should be of paramount importance to bring the collective will of the people and their brainpower to root out the causes of ‘accidents‘.
Nobody wakes up of a morning intending to get into a physical collision with a mom crossing the street with a pram, or a cyclist coming home late from work or another motorist trying to make it home to tend to a sick child. Our lives just don’t have that many spare seconds for nonsense. And yet the Urban Cycling Movement seems only to have compassion for those who are cyclists who die at the hands of motorists.
We try and avoid the uncomfortable alteration to our Collective Narrative that says that the only ones that kill are car drivers. That is a lie! And yet it gets repeated on a daily basis because it is what we believe. And were we to take in the full meaning of that reality it would mean having to think outside that tiny box we have erected where the only villain is the automobile driver.
Beer Is The Answer
If ever there was a lie, this is one of them for certain. Especially in the context of a tandem team riding/driving home from a late night party and dying or killing someone else. Then all the photos we take of ourselves hoisting a legal drug start to look a bit tacky and sophomoric.
Like every other drug, there is the perception that you can sorta dabble around the edges and live to tell the tale. But for every knucklehead involved in that bit of self delusion there is an addict who remembers thinking the same thing before waking up one morning wondering where his life went.
If we really want to continue with the frat house antics, fine. Then let’s drop the notion of Vision Zero and even drop the sham activity that is the Ride of Silence. Why? Because clearly if we are not willing to actually sacrifice to be safe, then why should anyone else?
Drivers have as little respect for their lethality as do we. So why act as if they do not deserve the right to drive drunk, but conspire to never speak about biking drunk? In fact when you look at the number of cyclists who are drivers it is astounding that we are as well acquainted with alcohol as we are.
Read the article cited from the Ride of Silence to learn the astounding statistics regarding the number of drivers who are also active cyclists.