Bicycling is such a positive activity with so many benefits that we really don’t want to do anything to discourage people from riding. Bicycling is safely enjoyed by tens of millions of people riding literally billions of miles in this country every year – deriving benefits and pleasure we can’t even begin to calculate. Yet the activity is not without risk and periodically we have to face that awful reality. Another fatal bike crash in the Tampa area last week brings the total there to seven in just a couple of months – and bringing stark relief to the desperate need for the bike safety program that was initiated after the sixth needless death.
What raises the ire of cyclists even beyond anger and frustration at this annual toll is the disdainful reaction of the criminal justice system – and the drivers it so blithely lets off the hook. Cycling channels are rightly a-buzz right now with the Vail, Colorado case: driver hits cyclist, leaves them for dead, drives through town to get their car fixed, and is charged with two misdemeanor offenses because felony charges would affect his job. Well, guess what, the physician that he hit has had his job pretty badly affected as well.