Joy Covey: 1963-2013
In case you have not heard via your news source of choice, former Amazon Executive Joy Covey was killed in Northern California today while riding her road bike. She was only 50, and leaves behind an 8-year-old son. While her death is indeed tragic, what is mortally sad are the reactions to her death on various news comment sections regarding her accident. I used to be a bit more optimistic rather than a pessimist regarding bicycles and motor vehicles working and playing well together. However, from the on-line comments regarding Ms. Covey’s death, and how bicyclists are viewed as less-than-nothing cretins, apparently all may have already been lost.
Apparently Ms. Covey was hit by a vehicle which had turned left in front of her, with no fault being attributed to her riding. This, sadly, has drawn comments of ill-will, and basically "Good Riddance” comments being posted on public news forums. Other sick jewels of discontent included: “Run them all down. Less stupid people in the world.” “Damn cyclists think they own the whole g** damn road.” “They need to get off the roads.” “Bicycles and cars were not meant to share the road.” “I’m glad she got whacked riding a bike. I hate those obnoxious f**kers thinking they own the road.” “They should be riding single file to the right of the road, and better yet, on the sidewalk where they belong.” “Bunch of bike Nazi’s!” “Cyclists cause most accidents.” “Bike riders should not share the road with vehicles. Too, too dangerous.” And those were some of the “Cleaner” ones that I could share. I am not making this stuff up folks.
I too have seen some of the errant cyclists which seem to draw the ire and contempt of impatient motorists. However, these are not the majority, and it is a shame all cyclists are lumped into the same pile of resentment. I have seen completely dangerous bonehead motorists on the road, however, I am mature enough to not lump all drivers into a single, solitary pile of condemnation. If you peruse any article on Ms. Covey’s death, you will be sickened by the cold, evil comments about her and all cyclists in general. See, the respect I, and many of us give to motorists, is not being returned in any way, and it appears this will not change anytime soon, either.
And just who are these obnoxious riders drivers love to hate, you ask? Well, I have to single out Fixie riders, and their unfortunate afterbirth: The Critical Mass. Blocking any road to profess ones “Freedom” is complete nonsense at best, and complete anarchy at worst. Even when not in a Mass, darting in and out of traffic at-will seems to be their mission in life. And, another group which seems to not be winning any hearts and minds are the Road Racers. You are not about to win the final stage of the Tour de France. Slow down, ride smart, be courteous, and above all, obey all traffic laws. It is not universal across the United States, but in my state it is “Same Road, Same Rules.” Ride with this in mind, and you will not only save your own skin, but you may, just maybe, make a convert out of a driver or two.
While it seems I have generalized these two types of riders, well, by simple observation, you too can see they are the biggest offenders and producers of the angst the rest of us receive from motorists.
It is a sad state of affairs when we cannot show each other even basic human respect and kindness. There are an awful lot of angry motorists’ out there, and the really freaky part is these people are your co-workers, friends, and yes, even family members. They are your grocer, banker, lawyer, teacher, doctor, young and retired, alike. The anger cuts straight through the cross-section of society.
I pray our relations with motorists change, and soon, however, I am not going to hold my breath.
It just seems something detrimental happens to a person when they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Cyclists, please don’t help them by riding irresponsibly.