on sunday i rode my bike to tiburon, like i’ve been doing lately. it was a really nice day and a beautiful ride and i have been doing this thing where i allow myself music on the few horrible uphills and on the bike paths, which makes the ride even nicer; i love going fast and listening to music. anyway, just outside of sausalito i was coming down a little hill and there was a red light ahead of me and at least three dudes on bikes waiting there along with some cars and a big new white pick-up truck. the light turned green and the first biker started across the intersection just as the truck turned right. i saw the whole thing happen and the dude was okay because he saw what the truck was doing too and ended up banging on the side of its bed and sort of turning with it. the truck didn’t stop and the guy stayed on his bike, so everything was okay, but this is like THE EASIEST WAY to die on your bike. i’ve gotten hit this way myself. anyway, i was just a little bit behind these guys and the guy who got hit seemed pretty embarrassed and not interested in going on about it. but another biker dude and i got to talking, as we rode up on to the bike path, about the violence of cars. it’s a big topic for me, always on my mind. i love riding my bike SO MUCH but at the same time i am almost paralyzed from the fear of cars challenging me in a metal versus bones death battle. i believe the metal usually wins. so as we were riding, it occurred to me to say to this guy something that has been on the tip of my tongue for awhile. i told him: “i live in this neighborhood where people are always nervous about stray bullets and getting murdered by gang violence and getting jumped and stuff, but the most violence that has ever been done to me was by a middle-aged woman in a lexus in tiburon.”
on sunday there were probably lots of bike accidents, but the death of two hardcore cyclists in cupertino is getting the most press around here. all these kinds of stories are disturbing but these people were killed by a sheriff’s deputy who fell asleep at the wheel and then swerved across the lane to collide with them head on. people are likely to say, have already said, “what a tragedy!” as if this was unavoidable fate, as if everyone was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. but i don’t think that is true. three people (one is in critical condition) were riding their bikes on a rural road, apparently frequently used for training rides. they were obeying the laws, doing something that made them feel good and not hurting anyone. one person, a sheriff’s deputy, was piloting a deadly weapon. yeah, it is sucky for him that the second he fell asleep, he swerved, and that the second he swerved, three bicyclists were in the path of his car. but still, he got into the weapon. he turned the key.
i wish everyone driving, especially everyone driving next to me, would think about the power they are wielding every time they get in their cars. because ultimately doesn’t really matter if this sheriff is a nice guy, just like i don’t really care about the contributions the woman who hit me has made to society. i’m pretty lucky i am just going to have a weird bruise on my leg FOREVER. a lot of other people are dead.
alongside the story of the cupertino accident was a piece that begins: “riding a bicycle in the bay area is an increasingly deadly pastime.”
in my class last night a girl asked me if i smoke a lot of weed before class and if that is why i am so “paranoid.” we were talking about oprah but i get heated about A LOT of stuff in that class, just like right now i am heated about this car issue, this problem OF LOADED GUNS POINTING AT ME WHEN I DECIDE TO GET SOME EXERCISE AND ENJOY THE OUTDOORS. i said, “am i wrong to be paranoid?”
anyway, it isn’t paranoia, it’s just a desire for a reasonable world. why is that crazy?
on that note, i really wish this was the whole thing: