May is Bicycle Safety Month and today marks the Ride of Silence being held at locations across the globe. This ride is to honor those who have been injured or killed and to raise awareness that cyclists are here and everyone needs to share the road.
As a Floridian, these types of events are especially important to me because Florida had the second highest rate for fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report from 2012. Florida had 122 deaths, while California had 124. Florida has the highest fatality rate per million by population at 6.32. These are scary, scary numbers as a cyclist and friend to many cyclists.
I don’t know anyone personally who has been injured seriously or killed while on a bicycle but I do know many who have been struck by vehicles. I also know that every time I choose to ride my bike on the open road I put myself at risk. I always wear a helmet and I use as many lights as possible if riding while it’s dark out. I’m annoyingly careful when I ride and I don’t care if that makes me the slowest through an intersection. I think it’s crazy to ride a bike without a helmet because you don’t like how it looks or feels. It just takes a tiny fall to cause a lot of damage. Sadly, none of us are invincible.
I know this post is sad but I feel as though it’s my duty as a blogger to spread the message of looking out for folks on two wheels, motorized or not. When you see a cyclist what you’re really looking at is someone’s mother, brother, father, sister, friend. These living, breathing human beings aren’t out to ruin your day by making you slow down for a couple of minutes to pass them. They are just doing what they enjoy and should be able to do so without fear, especially from those who just dislike them for being on two wheels.
I’m not getting into the whole argument about cyclists not being considerate and riding poorly, because the bottom line is that a car will always win versus a bicycle.
Please take the time to spread the message today to look out for cyclists (and motorcyclists). Let’s take care of each other and respect everyone on the road.