One byproduct of my commute is that it allows me lots of time to ponder things. This morning, I mulled over the post MamaVee made yesterday on Suburban Bike Mama yesterday, about a cyclist who died in Newton, Massachusetts shortly before she rode by. It shook her, seeing the crushed bike, and put a damper on bike-related celebrations. His name was Andy von Guerard, he was only 21, and he was from Colorado. I read the article she linked to, and about the only information it gave, dressed up as “news,” was that he wasn’t wearing a helmet. For some reason that bothered me. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. It wasn’t him not wearing a helmet that bothered me, but that it was all they found worthy of reporting.
Later, more information came out. It turned out that he apparently ran a red light and crashed into the back of a crossing SUV; suffering massive chest trauma. No helmet would have helped. Advocates got interviewed, who took the opportunity to use his death to grind personal axes or promote already planned events. One claimed his death proved it was unsafe to ride bikes around Newton. What? As if any amount of bike paths, or lanes, or whatever, no matter how well designed and executed, will save someone who runs a red light and crashes into a massive object?
Somehow, something got lost in this media blather. A young man is no longer with us, it didn’t have to happen, and it had nothing to do with sharing the road or helmets. The unnecessary waste is, perhaps, the saddest aspect of all. It was a quiet ride to work for me today…
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