An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The nation's first alleycat fatality?

I've been staying away from the bike message boards -- too much noise to signal, in my humble-- so I missed this tragic story about Matthew Manger-Lynch, who died in the Tour Da Chicago alleycat last weekend.


Being an interested observer, and occasionally "reporting" on these events (mostly by, you know, babysitting the keg at the finish line), I feel terrible for this young cyclist's friends and family, not to mention the greater Chicago bike community.

Another regret: this is also likely to cause a spike in police crackdowns against cyclists who are bending or breaking traffic laws, and that's a cause for concern as well -- since many cops don't actually know the laws pertaining to bikes, and those laws themselves tend to hinge on vague legal issues like what's considered "safe."

Most regretable of all will be the inevitable self-righteousness of political persons who really have no choice but to blame the victim. To wit:


"[The alleycat] is an event inherently designed to have people break rules and break laws," said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, which advocates city bicycling and promotes bicycling safety. "It provides a competitive incentive, almost, for people to run red lights."



Almost?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it's not the victim's fault for running a red light, then who is at fault here? Each of us is responsible for our own actions. Red means stop, Green means go. How is Sadowsky wrong?

GOB

Matt said...

It is regrettable that this guy got killed but I'm afraid that I can't help but feel it was his fault. I regard cyclists who get killed running red lights in the same unsympathetic light I view snowmobilers who fall through the ice on frozen lakes and die; what, really, did you expect would happen? There are enough instances of purely innocent cyclists getting killed by motorist inattention and error that I can't spend much time feeling outrage for a guy who bought it running a red light. Once you are an adult, you pick your risks and you live with the consequences. And does anyone feel any sorrow for the SUV driver? Driving along in a purely legal fashion and suddenly a cyclist appears and you hit him and kill him? Sorry if I don't get outraged on this one.

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