I am just sitting here, everyone but me is asleep, reflecting on my ride home this evening.
This is a relatively small community compared to where most of the readers probably live. It isn't common for people here to succumb to accidental death. It happens, but it isn't common.
But, this past week has been an exception. We have had a bicycle death, and a motorcycle death. Both of them happened along my normal commuting route home. As I ride, I pass the memorials that have popped up in each location and I can't help but think of the polar opposites of the two deaths.
The first was the bicycle death. It actually happened on the MUP. The rider, who was I believe in his fifties, collided with a 16 year old girl. She had minor injuries. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered severe head trauma. He died a few days later at the hospital. He was well-known in the community, particularly among cyclists. We believe he was homeless, we know he had a drinking problem. He rode the crappiest old Schwinn, but could out crank a lot of people. He would do odd jobs from time to time at one of the local bike shops for drinking money. He was a nice guy who generally minded his own business. Just like that, he was gone. At the location where he suffered his injuries there is a ghost bike, a white cross, and a small collection of flowers. In a strange way he really won't be missed by anyone, but his absence will be noticed by many (if that makes any sense).
The second was a motorcycle death. It happened at a four way stop in an area where the speed limit is 30 mph. Police have not bothered to try and calculate his actual speed, but it was over 100 mph. He ran the stop sign and smashed into the side of a car that was in the intersection. The force of the impact spun the car a full 180 degrees. If he had hit the driver's side door instead of the driver's side wheel well, the driver of the car likely would have also been killed. The rider, a 23 year old, had a history of eluding police for several weeks. His high risk riding finally caught up with him. He was pronounced dead at the scene and was so badly injured it didn't take a medical professional to make that determination. That intersection has a large assortment of flowers and a white cross and gets larger every day.
Life is just funny sometimes. The first guy was someone who had nothing, but I know of noone who can recall a bad memory about him. Nevertheless, he will be quickly forgotten. The second was young and stupid (a combination most of us either have or had), repeatedly engaging in dangerous behavior that threatened not only himself but others as well. Friends and family are quite vocal about what a wonderful young man he was. Those words are falling on deaf ears thanks to his very public history.
Like I said. This thread has no real point. It is just me babbling.