One year ago today I was in a meeting and answered a call (which I NEVER do in a meeting) to hear the fire chief inform me that Alison was in a bike crash. I left the meeting and was in my car before the call was over. I picked up my son, who was about to be released from preschool, and then drove past the scene of the accident and learned that she was hit by a drunk driver.
It is hard to believe that a year has passed–the psychological wounds are nearly as fresh today as they were then. I had a bike race scheduled for that evening, but I never made it, and I haven’t raced my bike since.
I’ve spent more time on trails in the last year than probably at any other point in my life. I’ve been hit twice, but found those incidences easy to shake. This was different–I simply found it easier to get on a trail and think about rocks and line choice than to wonder whether something might happen again, or whether the punishment really fits the crime, or whether I’ll ever enjoy the fitness I had the day before Ali was hit, among a million other thoughts.
We’re so fortunate that Ali is doing so well. Her arm still bothers her, and more often than not she still looks like a geriatric when she tries to get up from the couch, but all things considered, she is in great shape. I wish I could say the same for other friends and acquaintances who have also been hit.
The statistics show that riding a bike is safer than being a pedestrian, and both walking and riding are safer than being a car driver or passenger. That’s somewhat comforting, I guess, until someone you care about is hit by someone who has been careless, reckless, or worse.
In the last year, I’ve had a handful of friends who have been hit and/or purposefully run off the road. A month or two ago, Liam and I were a few feet from being hit while in a crosswalk, with flashing lights, by a driver traveling well over the speed limit, who had a clear line of sight to us for nearly 1,500 feet (over 1/4 mile), but who didn’t screech to a stop until the last five feet. Why are people so careless and/or entitled when sitting behind the wheel of a 1,800 pound (Smart Car) to 5,800 pound (Suburban) hunk of metal/plastic/whatever? Why do people get so uptight when they see a pedestrian or cyclist in the road? Since when does one’s desire to get somewhere quickly (try leaving earlier, maybe?) surpass another’s right to get somewhere safely, irrespective of mode of travel?
Please, if you choose to get behind the wheel: (a) don’t be under the influence; and (b) let driving be your ENTIRE focus from the minute you get in the car until the minute you get out. The text, hilarious Facebook post, and adorbs Insta post can wait–I promise.
Anyway, rant over! Get outside and have a great weekend!