Monday, September 19, 2016

For Non-Cyclists (a message from Scott Wycoff)

This post is copied from my friend Scott Wycoff. He is a fellow cyclist. Parent. Taxpayer. Human. He posted this a while ago and I stumbled across it again. I wanted to share this because he brings a different perspective for non-cyclists and cyclists alike. Please take the time to read. Please share his thoughts if you agree.

From Scott Wycoff via facebook:

Ok. I want to talk to my non-cycling people... I want you to think back to when you were a child. To when you got your first bicycle, the happiness of having a shiny new bike. The pride you felt in learning to ride without training wheels, it was like a right of passage to becoming 'big kid'. Bombing around the neighborhood with friends, the hours of just cruising around. Building a sketchy ramp out of a cinder block and a piece of plywood. Sure, you crashed, you scraped knees, and even broke bones. But you still got back on it, because it was your bike, your ambassador of freedom. 
THAT is why I still ride. Cycling brings all of those feelings back to me. I now have a whole new group of friends to bomb around with. So, the bike is more expensive, the clothes are different, my banana seat is replaced by a paper thin piece of carbon. But the feeling I get is the same. During a stressful week, I can get out and ride. I can forget all the crap in life that weighs me down, it's freedom. It's a time to let it go, get some fresh air. I've seen the sun rise in Death Valley from a bike seat. I've ridden in sub zero weather, without a soul around. Unique experiences all brought to me through the joy of cycling. How many of you love to experience once in a lifetime things? What if it meant dying? Is that fair? That's what cycling has become. I am getting a source of happiness taken away against my will. You are doing that. You refuse to pay attention behind the wheel. You refuse to move over, give some space, and wait for a second until i is safe for everyone to continue on heir way.
How many of you have bought bikes for your kids, because you wanted them to feel those same feelings? To see your children experience that pride from riding all by themselves. It's great! 
So what happens? Somewhere along the way, you all decided that riding a bike as an adult is a reason for them to die. Why? Because I am on the road? Because I'm in your way? Are any of these a reason to kill me? 
If there is someone in the grocery store that is front of you, in your way, do you ram your cart into the back of there legs until they get out of the way? Do you haphazardly crash into them? If there is someone with a cart coming toward you and you want to go around the cart in front of you, do you squeeze through, risking crashing into everyone? Do you sideswipe the cart in front of you, run them into the produce stand? If everyone in the supermarket behaved the way they do on the road, the grocery store would be a deathmatch. So why would you do this on the road with human lives at stake? 
I've heard all of the excuses that people give, why they can justify their actions on the road. There is NO excuse to kill someone. Why do we all teach our children that the bike is a source of wonder and joy, if we at some point are going to flip a switch and decide at some point they deserve to die for riding? Stop hating cyclists!! 
Ultimately, I feel, the problem is a lack of education. On all sides. The public at large do not know the law and what a pedestrian's rights are on the road. You see me and friend riding side by side, and you think it's us being assholes. It's actually lawful AND makes us more visible. Motorcycles get hit all the time because people say they don't see them. So cyclists try to make themselves more visible. Many cyclists, or people on bikes, do not do lawful things on the road. I get it. I see cyclists blow through a stop sign, so that means all cyclists don't obey the law? How many times have we all seen someone do something dumb on the road? Do you judge all, on the part of the few? So why do cyclists? 
Care should be taken on the part of the party that can inflict the most damage. If someone has a conceal and carry permit they don't walk around pointing their gun at everyone. They know, that it will get them shot, killed or arrested. So they act in a responsible manner. We've seen the nutcase carrying an AR-15 around a Walmart, because "he has permits, and the right under the constitution". Just because he can, doesn't mean he should. Same on the road. Just because you can run someone over, doesn't mean you should. I want to understand the hate you feel and how that justifies killing someone.

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