I write this with a heavy heart, for as many of you know, Friday morning brought with it a terrible accident on Wells Street. Neill Townsend, an attorney riding his bike to work, was doored and killed. A terrible, tragic accident.
What makes this tragedy even more heartbreaking is that it could have been prevented by safer infrastructure. In many European cities where many, many more people bike, like Berlin, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen, this would never have happened. They build their cities centered around pedestrians and cyclists not cars. According to this New York Times article, “…pedestrian deaths in the United States are three times as high per capita as in Germany and five times as high as in the Netherlands. Safer road designs in these countries slow motor vehicles and separate them from pedestrians and cyclists.” CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein and Mayor Emmanuel have made significant progress but we obviously need more.
In the meantime, some contributors to TheChainlink.org (an online bicycling community) discussion group suggest that bikers take matters into their own hands and try to mass up and take the lane whenever possible. I think it’s a good idea. Doing so will undoubtedly anger motorists but at least they’ll know we’re there.
Whatever we do, we can’t let this tragedy keep us from the streets. We have to fight harder. Think of new ways to raise awareness. Demand safer streets. And keep up the critical mass rides. It is from participating in the mass that I gained the confidence to take the lane when I don’t feel safe. And where I found a sense of community and strength.
September’s 15th Anniversary Ride drew a large crowd. Thank you to everyone who helped to print the shirts, the 2013 winter stickers, and the Derailleur! Here are some pics:
My favs first…
And here are a few photos from the July ride that my good friend and fellow photographer contributed. Once again, favs first!
A group of chainlinkers are planning a memorial next Friday for Neill at the scene of the accident. Read more about it here. I hope to see you there.