League of American Bicyclists’ 2011 Annual Appeal Campaign: Toward Zero Deaths

Today I received an annual appeal letter from the League of American Bicyclists informing me about a new strategic shift in their advocacy and outreach: putting an end to harassment of cyclists by drivers and changing the debate at the national level by educating motorists about cyclists’ rights to the road. This campaign is a marked shift from previous campaigns by the League and other bicycling advocacy groups that often put the onus of responsibility on the vulnerable road user rather than the aggressor on the roads.

Jim Swarzman, a local cyclist, was recently a victim of a hit and run while riding a brevet. Chris Kostman has written a very moving post on the void Swarzman’s death leaves behind in the Southern California cycling community. It is very difficult not to get emotionally wound up at the callousness on the part of the driver who took the life of a cyclist that knew how best to live his life to the fullest.

Tragedies continue to amount, with another cyclist in National City being shot and killed. Meanwhile, when cyclists do experience dangerous encounters with motorists and report the aggressor to the authorities, nothing happens.