I had been listening to “Why is this happening?” a podcast by Chris Hayes. In this episode, he featured Mariame Kaba, a transformative justice advocate and prison abolitionist. One of the striking moments of the podcast was when Mariame opened up about her own sexual abuse trauma. In it, she explains that people’s traumas are valid and they are important for us to consider, however, society cannot be governed by how to address things mainly by people’s traumas and their fears. She goes on to explain that she is a survivor of rape and that she was what she terms a reactionary survivor. Mariame explains that she did not have an analysis of what had happened to her. That she was an incredibly hurt and harmed individual, who wanted nothing but violence against the person who had harmed her. That ultimately what she wanted was revenge.
She points out that had she been put on a panel of sexual assault survivors, without processing the trauma she had experienced, she would have advocated for the death penalty for all rapists. She points out that that is no way to govern a society.
The answer cannot be to go around and use capital punishment against everyone who has harmed us.
I highly recommend listening to the entire podcast which has been linked to in the opening paragraph.
I bring this up because there is a movement within bicycle advocacy to weaponize the trauma experienced by bicyclists and use their trauma to make broad and sweeping laws to “protect” bicyclists. These people are living in trauma. I know because I used to be one of them. I commuted by bicycle daily, 32 miles round trip, and experienced wave after wave of cruelty and harm from people operating cars around me.
The trauma I experienced was real and I’m still processing through it. But I’ve come far enough in my personal growth to recognize that what we are fighting against is not individuals behind steering wheels. No. What we, as bicyclists are up against is a society that has built a system of White Supremacy into the very roads we operate on.
Justice, for us, is not stricter laws, it is not segregation, and it is not education as a stand-alone response to the trauma that we experience on public roads. What we need, as a community, is transformative justice. We need a society that prioritizes people over speed, communities over roads, and our humanity over infrastructure. We need to be treated as equal members of society, deserving of the same respect automatically granted to people operating motor vehicles.
And often, when we advocate for stricter laws, there is a rebound effect in which the police then use those laws, which were intended to protect us, to harm us.
We need to hold our elected officials accountable and we each need to process through our trauma, so that we can run for office and make the changes that we know to be just and fair to a society focused on equality.
People should not have to drive to get a gallon of milk. Kids should not grow up with glorified cartoons of automobiles as their introduction to our roads. Teenagers and young adults should not be wooed by slick films glorifying dangerous speeds and irresponsible driving. Does that mean that we banish these things or outlaw them? No!
It means that we educate parents to raise socially responsible children, school programs, high school volunteer programs and public PSA’s about the realities of speed and what happens to the human body, even when it is surrounded by a seat belt and steel, in a high-speed crash. We build walkable communities and we educate our police to be good examples, at least until we can abolish them altogether. Because a society that is ruled by the police is a society that is ruled by fear and fear is trauma.
We need programs for people who have transgressed basic laws to experience life on a bicycle. There should be training programs by certified bicycling instructors that allow motorists to travel their roads on a bike or a trike. We can implement stricter licensing requirements and require drivers to pass a bicycle operating equivalency test.
We can build up community and support for those who are harmed. City financed trauma counseling and recovery from harm programs, which center the needs of the victims. Allowing them to heal and return to society as whole people.
Our country was founded on the myth of white supremacy and it is this myth which frames our way of thinking. We need a fresh outlook and a new way of understanding the world around us. One of the ways to achieve these results will be to center victims of auto violence and find out what justice really looks like to them after they’ve had healing space to process through their trauma.
How very sad. My prayers go to his family in this hard time. Honestly though this should never have happened. There is no reason why a 16yr old boy should be out at 230am riding his bike.. Where are the parents?!
This is a very sad tragic story and I may get hate comments for this, but he had NO BUSINESS at 16 YEARS OLD LEAVING his girlfriends house at 2:30AM!?!? Wonder if he snuck out of his house… My prayers to the victim and his family… I can’t imagine their heartache….
WHY WHY WHY was a 16 yr old KID allowed to be at 02:30 !!!!!! Lack of parenting that’s why. His parents and the girlfriends parents should be charged with chiid neglect !!!!! Stop being your kids best friend and be a parent. You’re neglect cost him his life!!!
My condolences to his family and friends. I just want to say, that street is very dangerous at night. The surrounding neighborhoods have no street lights. I strongly believe the city of Victorville needs to do something about that. I have had a close call or 2 jogging on Luna Rd early mornings. I’m just happy the driver was responsible for his actions and did their part.I respect them as a person.Accidents happen lives are loss, no one is to blame. Its sad such a young kid lost his life, this should be a cause for the citizens to ban together and pressure the city of Victorville in taking more precautions to prevent fatalities like this. I’m sorry to say, but the city of Victorville really doesn’t do much.
Every single person who empathized with the driver, blamed the parents, blamed the victim, or in any way did not place direct blame on the driver needs a swift lesson on driver responsibility.
You do not hit things or people with your auto! Not ever!
It isn’t ok. It isn’t an “accident.”
It is careless driving. You have headlights for a reason. You use them to see what is in front of you. If you can not see what is in front of you then you SLOW down. If you failed to do any of these things and hit someone or something YOU are at FAULT!
If you kill someone while failing to do any of these basic driving components or use your basic safety measures i.e. dashboard to see how fast you’re going, brakes to slow down, headlights to illuminate what is in front of you. Then you are GUILTY of Felony vehicular manslaughter.
Driving is a responsibility and a privledge.
Riding a bicycle is a RIGHT. That’s why they don’t require licensing or insurance. Because it’s a right to ride your bicycle at any time of the night or day!
P.s. Streets are not dangerous. People who use streets irresponsibly are dangerous.
We lack real education on bicycle rights. We are inundated with auto commercials which depict unsafe driving and declare “Feel the Freedom!”
We have a very bad culture in the auto world and a very bad culture in the cycling world.
When the first thing out of a cyclists mouth, after I’ve told them I was arrested for legally and safely cycling on a public road, is “in the car lane?” with a slowly growing look of horror. Then you know there is more going on in America then some paint and bollards will ever be able to fix.
It isn’t the lack of infrastructure. It is the lack of people who are willing to put their bike wheels where it matters. In the lane. In groups, in the lane. Not all trying to squeeze into a bike lane. But in the entire, publicly funded with your tax dollars, travel lane which is intended for all vehicles. Motorized or not!
I placed a linen napkin next to each plate and carefully filled the glasses with juice. I brought in the newspaper and spread butter over the toast.
I watched, my heart aching, as our youngest child clung to my wife, crying inconsolably any time she was set down. Her sobbing hiccups and wavering voice asking “where’s daddy?”
I felt my heart swell with love as my son sat on the front porch. Tightly gripping my old baseball glove, leaving crescent moons in the leather.
The day after I was killed.
I walked down a familiar sidewalk and kicked a few pebbles. Watching as they bounced over the gutter and onto pavement stained red with my blood.
I wandered over to our local pub and sat with my friends as they held a vigil. Their eyes wandering from their full glasses to the television, where my face was prominently displayed. The newscaster looked grave as he reported my death.
I watched silently as my best friend hung up his bicycle and vowed never to ride again.
One week before I was killed.
A woman walked out of the local police station. Tears of frustration in her eyes. Her attempts to report a dangerous driver unheeded by police. The officer stared dispassionately as she described the driver and their actions which killed me. Firmly the officer turned her away, saying “since you weren’t hit, there is nothing we can do. No laws were broken.”
Officials reported that Prater was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
“Preliminary information suggests that he was doing everything correct,” Drifmeyer said. Via Cincinnati.com
Humor me as I give this a creative rewrite.
A woman was killed in Ohio.
Officials reported that Prater was wearing a turtleneck at the time of the attack.
“Preliminary information suggest that she was doing everything correct,” Drifmeyer said.
When a person is killed by the intentional acts of another person, why do people feel they need to defend the actions of the victim; if the said victim is a person riding a bicycle?
Typically, when the media reports whether or not a person was or was not wearing some safety device i.e. high vis. clothing and/or helmet, it is because there is some type of legislation specifying its use or someone is trying to push legislation pushing its use.
When I lived in California, every news article and t.v. spot always mentioned whether or not the person was wearing a seat belt. They most frequently reported on those collisions in which someone was injured or killed and NOT wearing a seat belt.
There is ample scientific proof that wearing a seatbelt in a motor vehicle collision provides the user protection.
He may not have suffered any head injury due to wearing the helmet. Or he may have suffered severe head injury in spite of the helmet. The evidence isn’t presented in the media.
Stop legislating mandatory bicycle helmet use and stop making a point by reporting the use or nonuse of a bicycle helmet by the victim.
A bicycle helmet is no more protection to a cyclist against a 2 ton motorized weapon than a turtleneck is to a woman being attacked.
They are both the victims of an intentional act by an outside force.
The police suspect drugs were involved.
The use or nonuse of drugs, alcohol, cellphone, discipline of screaming kids in back seat, and the ever faithful “sun was in my eyes,” excuses are just that; excuses.
A person who uses alcohol or drugs and then gets behind the wheel is committing an intentional act.
A person using a cellphone while driving is committing an intentional act.
A person disciplining screaming kids in the back seat while operating a 2 ton motorized weapon is committing an intentional act.
A person who can not see the road ahead of them, yet continues to operate their 2 tons of motorized weaponry is committing an intentional act.
When you choose to do something behind the wheel, you are making a decision which places the lives of those around you and the lives of those in the vehicle, including your own, at risk. You are committing an intentional act.
I know people who treat their bicycle as the legally defined vehicle it is and still get treated with scathing disrespect by people who operate their legally defined MOTOR vehicle as though it were a toy.
Your motor vehicle is not a toy. No matter what the auto commercials may show you.
The road is not where you express your “spirit for adventure!”
The police suspect drugs were involved.
A sober person rapes another person.
A drugged up person rapes another person.
A sober person kills another person.
A drugged up person kills another person.
The use or nonuse of drugs isn’t a defence and it isn’t an admission of culpability.
THE ACT OF KILLING IS WHERE IT’S AT!
As a society we make too many excuses for wrong behavior based on the thought that “It could have been me.” It could have been me except “I don’t do drugs,” so my conscience is clear and I’ll keep driving distracted because that’s not nearly as serious as doing drugs.
By “suspecting drugs,” we are giving a clean slate for others to kill.
The whole “it couldn’t possibly happen to me” syndrome. Except that it does.
A cyclist was riding on the edge of the road and a woman driving an SUV killed him. He was wearing a helmet and she thought she was giving him enough passing clearance. Her side view mirror struck the helmeted cyclists head at 55 mph and killed him. She was not drunk or on drugs. The sun was not in her eyes. Via. Biking in L.A.
She saw the cyclist and still killed him. She killed him because she did one thing wrong.
She did NOT treat him as the operator of a vehicle and instead of changing lanes to pass, like she would any other vehicle (including a motorcycle), she instead chose to pass him with minimal clearance.
This was an intentional act on her part.
This article also states that the driver was 77 years old.
Aging drivers are less able to judge distance. They also have poor motor coordination and it is the intentional act of the auto industry to promote their product in such a way that they have intentionally killed public transport.
By now you may have noticed a theme.
Driving is an intentional act. There are no excuses for killing someone when you are behind the wheel.
If you don’t need to drive, then don’t do it.
If you do need to drive, then do it with the thought “Today, would be the day I kill someone if I don’t put away these distractions and focus solely on driving.”
There are a lot of distracted drivers out there.
Distracted driving is ultimately the excuse given by the driver.
She claimed that she was distracted by unruly kids in the back seat. It was after the fact that they found evidence of drug paraphernalia in her purse. We won’t know for sure if she was high at the time, until lab work comes back. And if it is found that she was not under the influence at the time, THAT SHOULD NOT BE AN EXCUSE FOR GOING EASY ON HER. SHE KILLED SOMEONE!
Defending his honor!
We shouldn’t feel the need to defend the victims honor. We can honor the victim but elevating them to godlike status isn’t doing anyone any favors.
It is enough that they are a human being who lost their life.
The counter effect to defending the honor of those killed by people driving auto’s is this; Anyone who is less than perfect, and you know that none of us are perfect, implies that they are somehow to blame in their own death.
Neither does it matter that the cyclist killed is in fact a father, husband, and all around swell guy. He could be a bachelor who’s a real prick and his death would be every bit as important.
But if you paint them as being somehow unsavory then the attitude of people will be less likely to support the victim.
That is where the problem is.
Facts are the only thing that should matter. The content of their character doesn’t matter; when someone intentionally operates an auto in such a way that they kill someone, who they are as a person doesn’t matter.
The driver could have been Mother Teresa; sorry bad example. The driver could have been Doris Day and she should still be charged with a felony manslaughter. Her only saving grace would be if she could prove that she did everything possible to avoid the collision. In which case she too would be riding a bicycle, walking, or taking public transit.
This death should never have happened. Because she should never have gotten behind the wheel if she was in fact found to be under the influence at the time of the collision. She should never have taken her eyes off the road, not even for unruly kids.
How to drive with unruly kids.
Don’t have kids.
Don’t drive with kids if you do have them.
If you do have kids and you do intentionally choose to drive with them educate them on how serious driving is and why they have to behave.
If you have educated them and they still choose to behave like typical kids, then you keep your temper, you keep your eyes on the road, you scan the edge of the road for a safe place to pull over, you pull over, and then you discipline the kids.
Only after the interior of the car is completely calm do you then resume operations.
You don’t belong!
Why elevating the victim to sainthood hurts other road users.
“She sounds like someone we can support, unlike those other yahoo’s.” Andy Clarke
I’m sitting in court and my cycling advocate friend is sitting next to me. He is looking at his phone and he shows me an email he just received from Andy Clarke (Former President of League of American Bicyclists). He shows me the email. This is his attempt to show me that this backwater town isn’t going to ride rough shod over a cyclist. We have the support of Andy Clarke “big man honcho” with LAB.
My immediate thought was “those other yahoo’s?” and I asked my friend about what he meant by that. My friend brushed my concern aside by saying “You know wrong way cyclists, people who lost their license for driving drunk.” Those other people. Yahoo’s. He went on to say “but they aren’t like you Cherokee, you are cycling correctly and for the right reasons.”
Classifying people as “other” creates a distance between us and them. It creates an US vs. THEM. They are “those” people but we are “these” people. “Those” people do it wrong but “these” people do it right.
You have to cycle correctly and for the right reasons?
Because, if you don’t then you could be held liable in your own death?
That’s right! If you are driving a motor vehicle and you injure someone else then you should be presumed at fault.
But this would discourage driving so auto companies have paid to influence our perspective.
Watch the news. Count the car commercials. Notice any collisions reported where the injured person is not in an auto.
Here’s what I found.
Roughly 80% of the placed ads were for auto’s. 100% of the ads implied that driving is exhilarating, for freedom lovers, and that public roads are personal playgrounds.
Of the injuries reported the vulnerable road user was painted as somehow at fault.
Except that legally they are not.
Except that since “Deputy v kimmell” there has been a push for laws to make it legal to find fault with vulnerable road users.
Imagine if we did the same thing for rapists? Or people who kill other people with guns?
Imagine a world where it is normal to assume the woman was somehow at fault in her own rape based on her clothes or lack thereof. We don’t really have to imagine because we do live in a world where such judgments exist.
But imagine if they passed legislation placing the woman at fault if she wasn’t wearing a turtleneck at the time of her attack.
Or imagine; they passed legislation placing fault of a mass shooting on the children killed because they were in school instead of adjacent to the school.
Such thoughts should be highly offensive to you.
but this is exactly what we are doing when we blame people for being assaulted by someone with a motor vehicle.
Why I take the lane.
I take the lane because it reduces risk. I’m a survivalist. I’ve put aside all the urban myths and studied the facts.
I found that wearing a helmet to protect you from car collisions is a myth. Or to reduce the severity of injury in a car collision, also a myth. (I would however wear a helmet to protect me from head injury if I were say; Mountain Biking or Group Riding.)
I found that cycling on the shoulder isn’t safer than taking the lane.
I stopped wearing a helmet because the social response from people driving cars was “Omigosh! She’s so vulnerable without a helmet!” and they give me more space by default.
I stopped cycling on the shoulder because I found that when I’m in the lane people notice me. When I’m in the lane and people don’t notice me, this has happened, they have space to the right to ditch out on.
Anyone who would blame me for being in the lane is victim blaming. Review the graphic on Deputy v Kimmell. Anyone blaming the cyclist for being killed while on the shoulder is victim blaming.
THAT SHIT HAS TO STOP AND IT HAS TO STOP NOW!
If you would like to donate to the family’s GoFundMe account you can do so here.
Rachel @Kentuckygirl844 “…how many of those cars behind then actually have to be out and how many are just in the way “exploring.”
Grammatical errors aside.
I want to explore everything that is wrong with this tweet.
It isn’t any of your business why other people are on the road. It is a public road and everyone pays to use it. When, how, or where they use it is up to them.
“how many are just in the way” No one is ever in anyone else’s way on a public right of way, also known as a road. It belongs to the public and the public has the right to use it. These roads are first come, first served, and duty of care. We show compassion for other road users. We yield the right of way to those who were there first. It is courteous, it is wise, and it shows others that we have a heart beating in our chest.
You have nothing better to do on a terrible winter day except to sit and wonder about what other people are up to? Lucky you! This is a picture of those who are not so fortunate. So how about a little compassion?
“Adulting.” Only adults use the roadway. Only adults use cars on the roadway. This isn’t any place for “other” road users. If you aren’t adulting on the road then you are in the way. “Exploring” is for kids. So GTFO!
If they are out there having a light hearted romp in the snow; is it really any of your business?
I think your tweet says more about you than it does the people using the road.
“When a situation feels dangerous to you, it’s probably more safe than you know; when a situation feels safe, that is precisely when you should feel on guard.”
― Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do
There is a social construct to driving and bicycling, much the same way as there is a social construct to walking in a crowd. There are rules which guide our behavior and if everyone follows the rules, no one gets hurt.
Rule number one: Don’t hit what is in front of you.
As humans our eyes are adapted to seeing that which is directly in front of us. Though some of us require corrective lenses to make even this task feasible.
We trust our eyes but can our eyes be trusted?
How the brain processes the images we take in everyday is amazing. That we believe half of what we see is, to me, even more amazing.
I recently discovered “Brain Games” and I want you to pause your reading and watch this clip.
So did you trust your eyes?
Seeing is a task and driving is a task. When we are seeing and driving we are multi-tasking. Throw into the mix other drivers, street signs, stop lights, painted lines on the ground, billboards, lights, radio, cell phone, kids in the back seat, a passenger, and driving just became even more complicated.
We believe that we are safe when we are far from safe behind the wheel.
The CDC reported that in 2012 there were roughly 34K deaths attributed to the automobile. 2.5K of these were teenagers between 16 and 19 years old. Statistics
In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States (Tables 1 and 3). On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in traffic crashes. TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS
One of the things that I found interesting when reading the NHTSA website, was their reassurance that driving is much safer nowadays when compared to past history. When you have an average of 2 people killed or injured every hour is it really that safe?
Not enough emphasis is put on eliminating unnecessary multi-tasking such as talking on the phone. Example
From the data, it is possible to draw the conclusion that it isn’t safe to drive. It isn’t any safer to walk either. The only mode of travel that had under 1K deaths per year was the bicycle.
So if cycling is so much safer than the alternative, why then do we spend so much money on infrastructure that caters to car culture. Especially when it is such a dangerous mode of transportation?
Have you heard of social conformity?
Social conformity is the same construct which gives us gutter bike lanes and tells us it is “safer” to cycle on the shoulder as opposed to the travel lane.
The rules of the road tell you to occupy your lane. Even on a two way only highway.
We would have far fewer cycling deaths if people would stop trusting their eyes and social norms. Instead trust education and the rules that have been laid out for safe road travel.
For example: In Kentucky we have KRS 189.310 which states:
189.310 Vehicles meeting other vehicles and animals.
(1) Two (2) vehicles passing or about to pass each other in opposite directions shall have the right-of-way, and no other vehicle to the rear of those two (2) vehicles shall pass or attempt to pass either of those vehicles.
(2) Vehicles proceeding from opposite directions shall pass each other from the right, each giving to the other one-half (1/2) of the highway as nearly as possible.
Our perception and social construct tells us to ride on the edge of a road. To be as far out of the way of motorists as possible. This puts us out of the line of sight and creates a safety hazard. It “feels” safe but in reality it isn’t safe at all.
Examples of unsafe cycling and a message from the CDC.
Distance horizon perspective. Lane control is safer. Courtesy of Commute Orlando.
This is classic cyclist social behavior. It is perceived as safe but in reality this type of cycling has the highest number of fatalities.
Cyclist in driver blind spot.
The cyclist should be positioned over the sharrow.
Notice how the middle cyclist in the group ahead is easily viewable? The guy on the edge is in an unsafe position.
Notice the drivers perspective? Can they really judge the passing space?
What does safe cycling look like?
Be the first thing they see when they look up.
See how the cyclist stands out? If they were on the edge they would blend into the scenery.
From the cyclists perspective.
When cycling on a two lane road, hold the primary position.
You are the first thing an overtaking motorist sees.
Lane control on a lonely highway.
We need to clarify already existing laws to direct motorists to change lanes to pass.
We need transportation infrastructure that isn’t based on car culture. (pedestrians, public transit, and cycling as priority over automobiles)
We need NHTSA and the FHWA to have dedicated bicycle commuters as members of their board of directors.
We need all cyclists, motorists, city planners, transportation committees, and law enforcement to be educated in Cycling Savvy.
“Human attention, in the best of circumstances, is a fluid but fragile entity. Beyond a certain threshold, the more that is asked of it, the less well it performs. When this happens in a psychological experiment, it is interesting. When it happens in traffic, it can be fatal.”
― Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do
Someone posed the question: “When controlling the lane, how do you handle the motorist or passenger that yells, points or beeps and says get out of the road? Yell back, shake your head, wave, wave w/one finger, try to educate them or something else? Thanks!”
Here is my response.
My daughter who typically blows kisses and hollers love ya!, got caught up in a motorists obvious rage a few days before christmas. We were coming out of Oxmoor mall and heading to St. Mathews mall. We determined that the middle left turn lane was our best option to avoid merging traffic trying to get on and off the interstate. A motorist flipped his lid that we were in the left turn lane and started honking outrageously. At first I ignored him as he was pretty far behind us and I thought he was honking at traffic in general. The old man driving the minivan managed to get up to the left of us and started the aggressive honking again. My daughter and I had been feeling pretty stoked up to that point. After everything we have been through a chance to decompress over the holidays was really rewarding and this turd broke the mood. My daughter became very agitated as we advanced and passed the driver and then as the flow of traffic goes, we caught up to him and passed him. Here is where it gets funny. At the time it wasn’t funny. So my daughter gets really angry at this guy who shat all over our peace and in an italian gesture puts her hand up and says “how far did you get buddy!” She is looking at him the whole time and I scream at her to look out. She caught herself in time to avoid serious injury but still managed to rear end the car in front of her. At first we were both kind of shaken. No one was hurt and there wasn’t any damage. The driver looked in the rear view mirror and I waved. They shrugged and went on. Now we laugh about it and when someone honks or is rude to us, we look at each other, smile, and say “How far did you get buddy!” My personal opinion is do what you want. In that moment at that time your response is yours and I would never judge you are criticise you for acting the way you chose. My only advice is to not let them rile you up to the point that you lose control of your own safety.
I would like to add.
Some people operate under the illusion that we can control the behavior of those around us. The reality is that we can only control our own behavior.
There isn’t any shame in losing your temper and the adage that “Civility is free” holds true. To each his own. Sometimes I smile and wave, sometimes I holler fuck you. It just depends on the situation, my mood, and if I feel my life was in peril by their actions.
Mostly I would just like to see this bad human behavior of judging other peoples reactions to potentially life altering situations come to an end.
How far did you get buddy!
She sits thoughtfully at a charity event. She had at this point won 3 frozen turkeys. Seeing a family that had not won anything she gave them one of the birds and gave the other one to another family.