|Lessons to be learned
||[Oct. 12th, 2011|05:53 pm]
Adding insult to fatality?
I don't actually enjoy speaking ill of the dead, nor do I enjoy blaming the victim.
But sometimes there is an important difference between moral and practical blame.
The death of Ottawa civil servant and avid cyclist Danielle Naçu marks one of those times when it is better to risk hurting feelings than it is to observe the social niceties of soothing grief and anger.
So it is necessary to point out what many cyclists — and others — in Ottawa seem to have missed.
Namely, that if Danielle Naçu had been following two basic rules of safe cycling, she would not have been hit and so she would have almost certainly still been alive today.
For the rules and a bit of a rant, click here.
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That happens a lot here in Portland- in fact, awhile ago on a Portland-specific community a cyclist straight out admitted she was cycling intoxicated, not wearing a helmet, not wearing lights or reflectors, wasn't following road rules, and was soliciting donations for her medical care.
And on the one hand, I felt for her in the simple sympathy of it sucking to get slammed with tons of medical bills, on the other hand she was being a total idiot.
Not to say that all people hit are that careless (she's the bottom of the barrel that I've seen), but quite a lot of the people hit seem to take it for granted that they've got no fault by dint of being a bicyclist. As an observer, I've been almost hit by bicyclists more times than almost by cars (5 to 2), invariably when I was crossing an intersection in a crosswalk on the green and they did not pay attention to traffic signals and blew right through, somehow expecting me to hear them whoosh up. I've also seen many more almost-accidents happen when cyclists blew through red lights at intersections, causing the cars to screech to a halt.
It might be perception; it might be more visible somehow when cyclists cause these problems, and I feel for people that are hurt or killed at some level, and for their families, but if cycling is to be taken seriously as a means of transportation- cyclists need to be just as respectful and careful of the rules as anybody else... more so, actually, since they're the more vulnerable party. Cars should obviously be aware of bicyclists, but there's nothing about being on a bicycle that makes it OKAY to ignore traffic rules.
2011-10-12 11:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, and no
... I felt for her in the simple sympathy of it sucking to get slammed with tons of medical bills ...
Reposted to remind myself and others just how bloody glad I am my country offers a reasonably decent public health care system.
Not to say that all people hit are that careless...
Ironically enough, the woman was killed on the same day a major trial was happening of a Very Bad Driver who plowed into five cyclists and (I believe) then drove off hoping he wouldn't be caught.
It might be perception; it might be more visible somehow when cyclists cause these problems, and I feel for people that are hurt or killed at some level, and for their families, but if cycling is to be taken seriously as a means of transportation- cyclists need to be just as respectful and careful of the rules as anybody else ...
I rather suspect that cyclists are more careless than either pedestrians or car drivers. There is the perception that you can't hurt anyone as a cyclist, so many of us are more willing to take chances, on the grounds that it's only us at risk. God knows, you don't have to walk far in Ottawa to have a close call when some asshole whizzes by on a crowded sidewalk.
In any event, as a cyclist who shares the road with traffic, I know that my Two Rules keep me about as safe as I can be, and probably help to keep others safe, too. If a driver can see me, they're not going to suddenly swerve ionto a pedestrian or another car to avoid me.