The Ride to Life is a Two-Way Street

Earlier in the evening, I attended a brief memorial for Liz Padilla, the cyclist who was killed by a truck at the top of our street just two weeks ago. Simultaneous memorials were taking place at three other places in the city where cyclists have been killed by vehicles over the past month; tragically, yet another young cyclist lost their life on Houston Street just last week. In fact, two of the cyclist deaths have been on Houston Street, which might explain why, when I went into town for Rebellious Jukebox, I saw a group of about 50 cyclists or more gathered near Elizabeth Street, where the most recent death occurred. (That would, by coincidence or otherwise, appear to be also almost exactly where the ‘environmental education and direct action’ group Time’s Up has its headquarters.)

Flowers in the spokes for a fallen cyclist.

The gathering was finally breaking up, and cyclists began setting off in various directions – a group of them setting off along Houston Street itself, weaving in and out of the traffic, without helmets, as if the accidents that befell their two fellow riders on that street in the past month could never happen to them. At the risk of making a pun in poor taste, cycling in the city is a two-way street. If it’s true that cars and trucks need to pay much more attention to people around them, and become much more aware of the brute force of their vehicles, then cyclists need to respect the rights of drivers too, need to protect themselves from possible injury and need to ensure they don’t put themselves in dangerous situations. Please. Too many people are getting hurt and killed. Let’s all of us use our brains.

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December 2021