Tuesday, June 17 2014 @ 04:37 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
I recently had the opportunity to talk with North Carolina bicycle accident lawyer Ann Groninger. Ann had recently written a well-received article about being buzzed on a morning ride. Or I should say, it was well-received by cyclists, all of whom have had similar experiences on the road. But some motorists had a different reaction, expressing their disdain for “scofflaw cyclists” (despite the fact that Ann had been riding lawfully, and was nearly hit by a “scofflaw driver”), or worse, expressing a thinly-veiled intent to assault cyclists with their vehicles. Before writing about her own brush with near-disaster, Ann had written another excellent article asking “Are bicycle crashes accidents?” Ann had also written about personalizing the consequences of bicycle crashes—in this case, the impact that a negligent driver had on the cyclist she hit, and on his widow.
It was clear from Ann’s articles that she wants drivers to understand that, in her words, “these stories personalize the consequences of taking unnecessary risks when driving”… “what I want to talk about is the value of human life and how people can take it so lightly…by riding my bike on the road, especially alone, I am putting my life in the hands of people who don’t care about it and are willing to take pretty big risks with it.” For Ann, these stories “should be a daily wake-up call” for anyone with a conscience.
Ann: Riding a bike was such an important part of my childhood, and I think most peoples’ childhoods. For many reasons – safety, more indoor options, more organized activities - I think it’s tougher for kids these days to just get out and ride. A lot of them will miss that unique feeling of freedom a bike gives you, which is sad.
Also, young kids today are tomorrow’s drivers. If we can teach our kids respect for the road while riding their bikes they will hopefully carry that respect over to driving a car.