Warnings & Tragedies: A Balancing Act
Back in February 2020, I wrote this comedic piece about bicyclists who ride in vehicle lanes and why I thought it was an all-around bad idea. Later, tragedy hit the outskirts of Boulder City, NV when a box-truck plowed into a caravan of bicyclists, killing five and injuring many more. It was a tragedy and my heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones. The driver of the box truck was under the influence of meth.
While my, “You Are NOT in the Tour de France,” article was meant to be comedic, it was also meant to be a warning and my advice still stands. This brings me to the touchy subject of what many people refer to as “victim-blaming.”
Just because I take issue with bicyclists riding on a freeway because it’s an inconvenience me doesn’t mean they were at fault or deserved to die or any of that nonsense. As far as I’m aware, they didn’t seem to be violating any laws. I just feel like it’s a dangerous thing to do because they move so much slower than cars.
On the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Twitter, several people voiced the same concern and someone would always chirp back with, “Well, drivers need to pay attention!”
Completely true. Drivers need to pay more attention, but there are also idiots in the world who are careless. You cannot afford to discount the existence of idiots. Being a person with trust issues, I try to hedge my bets against someone else’s negligence.
A good example of this is standalone crosswalks. I hate the idea of crosswalks that have no stop sign, no stoplight, nor or any kind of alert light to let drivers know there is a crosswalk and pedestrians have right-of-way there. It’s even worse when the city neglects the paint on these and you can’t even see there is a crosswalk.
I actually had a debate with my wife one day because I refused to use a standalone crosswalk until both lanes of traffic were clear. I don’t care if I’m in the right when I’m on those white lines. I don’t trust drivers to pay attention because a lot of pedestrians still get killed on these crosswalks. Being in the right doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
That’s an expression everyone should burn into their mind. Being safe isn’t just about protecting yourself from your own negligence. It’s about protecting yourself against another’s negligence.