Equitable Routes are needed for Active Transportation Users
The benefit of owning a bicycle shop for almost 12 years is that we have met a lot of cyclists. I hope we have inspired some of you to ride your bicycle for we have been motivated by many of you! K.R., a young bloke who has been dropping into the shop for a number of years now, likes nothing better than cycling. He rides to and from work and on his days off he would go out for an even longer ride. We are energized by his enthusiasm perhaps reminded of those less complicated times when we were in our 20’s.
On a recent evening, as K.R. was biking home from his Mom’s house, a motorist ran into him. As K.R. was approaching an intersection, a few minutes from his home, there was an oncoming car fully stopped preparing to turn left. It seemed as if the motorist was waiting for K.R. to use his right-away through the intersection so K.R. amped up his pace to get through it quickly. Just as K.R. was cycling through the intersection the motorist turned left hitting him broadside. K.R.’s shoulder was crushed and he suffered from a number of other painful internal injuries.
The car driver stopped and was attempting to brush off the severity of K.R.’s injuries. After an accident like this adrenaline courses through the body making it common for victims not to realize how serious their injuries actually are. Fortunately a resident ran out of her house, interceded and called 911 before the motorist could leave. K.R.’s good Samaritan took the time to stay until the police arrived.
At one point the driver stated that he only looks out for vehicles when he is driving which is why he did not “see” K.R.’s approach to the intersection. In fact the motorist claimed that he did not even realize that he had run into someone, he had only stopped to see what had hit the side of his car. K.R. will be undergoing multiple surgeries to repair his broken shoulder.
Where is the justice? K.R. is unable to work while he undergoes a series of painful surgeries and subsequent rehab treatments all because a motorist did not want to recognize the right of a cyclist to be able to transport himself safely. When did it become acceptable for motorists to openly state that they don't recognize alternative modes of transportation from cars? And it is acceptable because that motorist is still driving his 2 ton coffin maker while K.R. has to wait for his insurance to approve coverage of the recommended surgeon who will need to order special surgical instruments because K.R.’s injuries are so complex.
In my last blog I stated that a new perception of traffic needs to take hold in our city in order to create safe neighborhoods. Denver’s traffic patterns have changed since 1989. Motorists need to understand that our city has grown and it’s not going to revert back to the “good old days.” If motorists are unwilling to respect all users of our transportation grid then they need to be fined, ticketed, and have their licenses revoked. I would like to see all motorists ride a bicycle, take public transportation, or even utilize a micro-transportation device until they gain a different perception of traffic.
K.R. will ride again but it is unfair that his life was interrupted in such a painful way. We all ride our bicycles for various reasons, I hope we can agree that bicyclists deserve respect while transporting ourselves throughout the city.