Thursday, February 5, 2009

A community loss...

Yesterday Kevin Black, 39 year-old Seattle cyclist and father of two little girls, was killed in a collision with a van while biking to work.

The closeness of our bike community, coupled with the high speed of news these days, saw blogs and forums and twitter pages light up... first with disbelief, then condolences, and finally with sad, inevitable diatribes from the knuckle-draggers.

Looking for easy answers... "Was he wearing a helmet?" Establishing fault... "This is why bikes don't belong on the road." And why in the name of Christ-and-Bacon does somebody always bring up licensing? As if taxing cyclists will spring forth a utopian infrastructure where cars and bikes never again cross paths.

Hey, we do cross paths. Get used to it. And yet, for every yesterday, there are a hundred days that pass without incident. Maybe even with smiles and a little shared courtesy.

But these tough days shake cyclists to the core.

I didn't know Kevin or Bryce or Susanne. But because of them I consider my own mortality every time I ride. Every time. I imagine it's like this for a lot of cyclists. We never forget these days, those intersections, the helicopter news images of crumpled bikes, the heartbreaking notes left at makeshift memorials.

These days are burned into our collective memory.

Update: Kevin Black's ghost bike is up

Images copped from bike hugger and My Ballard


JTP said...

Amen. Kevin was a good friend of mine, and a strong cyclist. He rode fast, but obeyed the law. He was obeying the law when he died.

It is worth mentioning that it only takes one act of recklessness from an unwitting driver to end a cyclist's life. All the bike lines and sensible design in the world will not replace human sense.

Mike said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joel. Those of us who ride hard on the streets - like Kevin did - are acutely aware of just how thin a line we're on. We ride fast because that's living. Sorry for your loss, man.

Eileen said...

I think about this all the time when your dad is out riding. I often find it amazing that he made it across the entire US biking by himself with little incident. Be safe..

sn0tty said...

I'm glad you posted this.