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At Baltimore Spokes. Is it me, or does this email from the police sound almost hostile or, at least, annoyed?
The Baltimore Sun reports that the cyclist was officially at fault, despite conflicting accounts of whether and when BCPD found the truck and also a statement that the investigation is not over?
Zack and Dan and I had coffee tonight with Zack’s four month old son. Then Dan and I took a long walk around Hampden, Rolden and Roland Park, sipping root beers, talking about the direction this blog has been heading lately. When we started this website and our tongue-in-cheek bike “club”, we had nothing in mind but fun. Why blog? To spread the fun. Environmental issues aren’t going to get as many people to ride bikes as posting pictures and paragraphs about having a fun ride will. Maybe I’m just hedonistic?
I fully realize that I am largely to blame for the recent negativity. Perhaps some of my recent posts would have been better on my personal blog (five years and going strong!). In my defense, seeing a fallen cyclist in the road does tend to breed negative thoughts and feelings, and reading hateful comments on The Sun doesn’t help. But we have to work to get past what happened and to get moving toward remembering why we cycle in the first place: it’s fun. Yes, it’s good for the planet, good for your body. But the best reason to ride is that it’s the most enjoyable way to get anywhere. If we could hear Mr. Yates, he’d be telling us to get out and spread the cycling message through example and a smile, not through angry words.
We promised ourselves we would not use this blog only to complain about cars, about any segments of the cycling community (roadies, hipsters, Freds, etc.), about politics. While we’ve done (I think) a good job of not being divisive about cyclists, we’ve gone and slipped into some us/them mind-set lately. Cars/bikes. Drivers/cyclists. That’s just stupid. I only know two cyclists who don’t have cars, and I’m one of them. Hell, you could argue that it’s good for cyclists to have cars because each of them is one more driver who looks out for other people. That’s an example we could all use on the road. Everywhere.
And certainly lumping all drivers together because of people like The Sun‘s commenters and the people who yell at us is as bad as the folks who lump us all together because they see cyclists running redlights and nearly running over pedestrians.
Something gnawing at me says, “Mr. Yates just died last week! We can’t act happy when the police haven’t even found the truck yet!” But ask yourself this, as I have: What would you tell us if you were Mr. Yates? I‘d say to keep riding. To have fun and let everyone know it. I‘d say that focusing only on danger and tragedy forever isn’t going to get butts on saddles.
So, in the spirit of lightening up, I give you Roxy, who looks like she ran into a wall.
[Roxy photo by ElRo. Evil Crack Monkey drawing and photo by Johnny.]
May he Ride In Peace.
The Ghost Bike and Memorial for fallen cyclist Jack Yates is this Sunday, August 9th, at 6:00pm. It will take place at the corner where Mr. Yates was killed, Maryland Avenue and Lafayette.
A few of us North Baltimore types will meet at the Watertower between 5:00 and 5:30 to ride down together at 5:30. If you’d like to meet up with us, please send us an email or leave a comment so we know to wait for you.
And, there is a page on Ghost Bikes for Baltimore.
The cyclist killed by a truck yesterday in Charles North has been identified as Jack Yates. My wife/ElRo used to work for the nonprofit on whose board he was a member, and she knew him. We talked this evening with their Executive Director, and it looks like the Tour du Greater Homewood will happen again this year, in memory of Mr. Yates. Advertisements of it happening this year on the 2nd were a misprint. (More on TDGH here and here.)
Also, Boson of Velocipede and a lot of other folks are working on a Ghost Bike and a memorial to be held Sunday at 6pm. Stay tuned for details.
More on this tragic story:
Video of Memorial at Baltimore Spokes (in which you can spot three NBBB type folks)
Baltimore Sun, where the police blame the cyclist
I probably speak for everyone who writes for this blog when I say that my I am sick over this tragedy and also over the cold-hearted commenters on sites like The Sun who are blaming the victim. I can’t get the image out of my head that I saw when I went by right after it happened. If I could, I’d give it to everyone who thinks this is the inevitable outcome of bikes and cars sharing the same space. When cars bother to share, that is.
I hope SOME good can come of this. Something. Maybe our law-makers can get us a 3-foot rule? Maybe more of us (myself included) will get off our butts to help the efforts of people like Barry Childress and Nate Evans who are all trying to make Baltimore a better place for cyclists? Maybe we’ll all (cars and bikes alike) look out for one another more now?
Not that anything could be good enough to justify what happened yesterday.
Ride in peace, Mr. Yates. Ride in peace.
(Image: Something I dug up on The Sun. I asked someone who knew him, and she confirmed that it is Mr. Yates. He looks happy in this photo at Druid Hill, and that’s something we could all use tonight.)