13 November 2010

Bison and Bear

Picture of the day

I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, when I saw this photo I thought, this is exactly why I don't ride on snowy roads in winter - you never know what could be heading your way. Sadly we recently experienced a sad and tragic injustice involving a hit and run between a car and a cyclist in Avon, Colorado (which has me feeling ashamed that the city of Avon was awarded a Stage Start in the upcoming Quiznos Pro Challenge - and I personally think they should CHANGE THAT NOW!).

That horrible incident aside, we have made some headway in cyclist safety in the past year. The hard working folks at Bicycle Colorado recently succeeded in passing a 3 Feet to Pass law. Of course a law is only as good as it's enforcement. Drivers still remain to be educated and penalized when they harm cyclists.
I am now going to admit that this past summer I reported a cyclist for unsafe behavior after repeatedly witnessing the same cyclist nearly injure runners and children, and screaming at drivers in my local park. I subsequently received 4 phone calls from the police department and city over the complaint. Wow, that sure got a response. I have always felt it was my responsibility to follow the laws and set a good example as a cyclist, or the driver I offend could take their anger out on the next cyclist, and possibly cause them harm. 
Sadly drivers do cause harm to cyclists all too frequently and those cyclists have done nothing wrong. The cyclist Steven Milo who was recently injured in the hit and run in Avon was on vacation, riding a rented bike along the side of the road, he was a husband, father of two, son, brother, friend and surgeon. Why don't drivers make the connection that cyclists are real people physically vulnerable on the highways where cars can kill? I was so appalled that Martin Erzinger, the driver of the vehicle in Avon, fled the scene of the hit and run without stopping, thought first to report the damage to his car, and never seemed to feel much remorse during or after he struck Milo and left him on the side of that road. 

I would like to believe this was a one-off incident, but at this point I'd much rather take my chances with an oncoming bison and grizzly, than with individuals like Erzinger who seem to care so little about others. I certainly have no concern for his future, but I do have a concern about the example this case sets for other drivers. 
About the photo at the top: Alex Wypyszinski, a retired professor and amateur photographer, shot this amazing photo of a grizzly bear chasing down an injured bison when he stopped to take photos of geysers in Yellowstone National Park in May, where he works at a post office in the park during the summers.

Post post 12/19/10: The Explainer: Thoughts on Erzinger and why I won’t boycott Vail By Charles Pelkey Published Dec 18th 2010