I’m reeling this morning. I just read the story about the nine Michigan cyclists who were run down by a hit and run driver outside of Kalamazoo. Five are dead. Four are hospitalized. I hope they make it.
I’m sad about this, but more than that, I’m mad. Really mad. I’m mad because I encounter somebody just like this just about every time I get on a bicycle. You probably do, too. We all do our best to play defense and avoid these people, as we should, but at the end of the day it’s just dumb luck that it wasn’t me…or you.
So I have a better idea. Instead of just playing defense, we need to play offense. We need to work with lawmakers, prosecutors and the law enforcement community to get these morons off the roads BEFORE they kill…before it’s too late. We need to speak up about the things we’ve seen and the things we know because I believe that most reasonable people would be absolutely appalled if they knew what some of their fellow motorists were doing to vulnerable road users. We need to have courage, because if we don’t nothing will ever change.
America’s automakers need to lead on this. They use speed and reckless behavior to sell their vehicles. They need to step up to the plate and recognize that there’s a small percentage of the population that’s unable to process that. They need to be part of the solution. Their products are being used to kill people.
And make no mistake about it. People who use their cars as weapons are no different than people who use knives, guns or golf clubs to kill. They have evil in their hearts. It seems like these road warriors, these macho motorists (both men and women), always run and hide after they kill. Always. So not only are they killers, they are also cowards. They need to be slapped, and hard. Legally or with the karma stick…it doesn’t matter.
I’ve written before about how the Dutch got their cycle paths. It was as the result of public outcry against the senseless killing of children by motorists. The seminal moment was a journalist’s heartfelt plea after his child was run down and killed. It galvanized the country. It led people…even those who never cycle…to rearrange their priorities. It’s time for something similar here.
I’ve had enough. I’m not willing to be nice about it any longer. Things need to change.
Not someday. Now.