Last week a man riding a bicycle was struck from behind and killed by a motorist in my city. Tragic, but not surprising as the fellow was cycling late at night with no lights and wearing dark clothing as do the majority of our car free/light citizens. He was a young artist in our community as well as many other things no doubt.
Of course the local headlines announced: “Cyclist killed by hit-and-run motorist”. Had this young man been an astronaut, the headlines would have likely read: “Astronaut killed by hit and run driver while riding his bicycle”. In my mind, calling someone a “cyclist” just because he/she was on a bicycle when they died seems a bit strange. I have not owned a car since 1989 and have also cycled from New Orleans to every corner of the USofA. I am NOT a cyclist (other than by Webster’s definition when I am actually atop a bicycle), and I do not appreciate being called a cyclist to be honest. I use a bicycle to get where I need to be. Why does this define ME? Is my wife a motorist by definition just because she gets from place to place in a motor vehicle? That would be silly.
OK…now the rant.
At this young man’s memorial service, many representatives from the local cycling community showed up in “support”. Support of what exactly?? Their OWN AGENDA of course. Friends and family of the young man rightly ran off the people who consider themselves to be “cyclists” (even when not currently riding their bicycles) as this event was the celebration of a young man’s LIFE lost too soon and NOTHING to do with cycling. In my mind, the cycling advocates were pirating the memorial for their own selfish intents. Would members of the American Automobile Association have shown up if he had been killed in a car crash as a “motorist”. Unlikely.