Thursday, June 29, 2006

I understand the sentiment behind Critical Mass, although I suspect it doesn't do the cause much good. Having done a few CM rides when I lived in Sydney, all they seem to achieve is to piss people off. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm also not sure about the Ride of Silence. Where Critical Mass is too confrontational, the Ride of Silence just doesn't seem confrontational enough.

There's a rising tide of cycling activism in Australia as people get sick of the unnecessary dangers they confront daily on the roads. In my mind, two events in particular have sparked this: the killing of cyclist Ian Humphrey by Eugene McGee in Adelaide and the killing of cyclist Amy Gillett by Stefanie Magner in Germany. The Ride of Silence is an offshoot of these events, so too is the Wheels of Justice.

Every cyclist lives with the terrible fear in the back of their minds that they may be hit and killed by a car. It makes me feel angry and scared and powerless. If I am ever killed by a car, I want more than just the summary execution of the driver, an annual memorial ride, a ghost bike and the ritualised maiming of every driver who hurts a cyclist because they're inattentive, careless or just in too much of a damn hurry. It would be a comfort, but it's not enough. I'd much prefer to see something change before it comes to that.

As Hobart's cyclists prepare to remember Kate Tamayo, I wonder if there's not something more we can do to focus people's minds on the cost of careless driving. I hope for a day when ghost bikes and memorial rides and all the rest are no longer needed, because people who drive cars are a lot more careful around people who ride bicycles.


Anonymous said...

I share your thoughts, one day I hope to archive the WoJ site and look back, along with those who were involved, and think "Job well done". Until then, we'll keep working towards that goal.

David Killick said...

It will be a fine day. The idealist in me hopes it comes soon.

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