I’m a little edgy today. I set my alarm last night for 4:45am to ride to my first-ever CX practice, and then I forgot to turn the alarm on. No CX practice. Then as I was driving to my office from a meeting, I heard someone discussing the Bike Fed on the radio. I turned it up, and heard exactly what I expected – us vs. them.
“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”
– “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
This crap has been going on forever – “lefty car-haters” against “right wing bike-haters”. Really? Does even the simple joy of riding a bike have to be identified with a donkey or an elephant? In the words of Rodney King: “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”
I’m a car-driving taxpayer. I’m a bike-riding taxpayer. I drive to work. I ride for pleasure. I guess that makes me some kind of political hermaphrodite – an anomaly. Here’s my perspective: Many car drivers do not respect other beings on the road – bikes, pedestrians, motorcycles and even other cars. How else do you explain driving and texting, drunk driving, aggressive driving, etc.? Many cyclists do not respect other beings on the road – pedestrians, motorcycles, cars and even other cyclists. How else do you explain blowing through stop signs, flipping off drivers that don’t do what we want them to do, and treating the roads like our own personal bike path? The elitist attitude permeates both camps – We’re Number One!
As my then-2-year-old famously said one time: “It’s all crap”. Respecting other people is not a right. The people on the radio were dismissing cyclists as kooks and loony tunes, while at the same time downplaying the severity of car/cyclist deaths. One of the most influential people in my life was accidentally and needlessly killed by a motorist last year. He was a cyclist, a motorist and a small business owner – not some goofy nut-job Hell-bent on writing a manifesto in his primitive mountain shack. He was an honorable man, with a family and literally thousands of friends. He did not deserve to die. There were no winners in that tragedy. It, and the thousands of other deaths like it, should serve as a red flag for unity. As a society, we need to put our political views aside. We need to mourn together, we need to work together to give each other the honor and respect in life that we are all too eager to bestow in death – regardless of what kind of machine you use to get from Point A to Point B.