We've had yet another horrific car vs. bicycle vs. pedestrian incident in Chicago. Due to a traffic jam, some drivers thought crossing the barriers and driving on the roads in a park was the right idea.
This Block Club Chicago article states that barriers need to be built. Unfortunately, barriers will not instill a sense of humanity in a person that thinks it's okay to operate a 3,000 lb. vehicle and risk lives of pedestrians and cyclists. If there is any sweet justice in this inconceivable act, it's that so many drivers decided to drive in the park, they created a new traffic jam. The pedestrians, cyclists, children, parents, and grandparents had a fighting chance of survival against the slow moving cars.
I wonder what the mindset of someone who justifies this behavior is. Does the driver say to themselves?, "I don't have time for this traffic. It's worth it to kill or maim a few people so I can get the parking spot in front of my house." Will a barrier avoid this kind of thinking? Or will we have to build higher walls?
In May 2018, I wrote a blog post detailing that cyclists are not always innocent and the new electronic signage is not intuitive. The previous day I discussed a road rage incident. In December 2018, I shared that Canada uses driver demerit points to sanction unruly drivers with higher rates. Perhaps if the trillion-dollar #insurance industry were to seek solutions, there would be some reform in the U.S. In the meantime, the best we can do is be aware and attempt to remain safe. Bankrate just published a Safety Guide for Cyclists.
I suppose conversation is a start. I've been blogging about this for five years. and with the recent crisis in Hyde Park. the situation only seems to be getting worse. I'm not sure cement barriers are a substitute for a sense of humanity, but anything that might solve this problem is worth a try. This situation I witnessed in June 2018 gave me some hope. A man and a woman got into a fender bender on I-290. They got out of their cars ready to do battle. When they recognized each other they broke out into big smiles and a warm embrace.
Let's try to remember that someone we haven't met yet, is a potential friend with many gifts to give to the world. Let's think about that and try to care about their safety too. Would that help?
#I often suggest volunteering as a way to meet people, share your skills and learn new things. I volunteer at HI USA. I take travelers out on tours and also help with their travel scholarship fund. It's a lot of fun and I meet great people and of course, learn a lot.
Today a man from Toronto was telling me how shocked he was to see drivers texting and driving in Chicago. He said in Toronto the driver would get hit with a hefty fine and also receive points.
Not really understanding what 'points' were, I looked them up. Seems the sage Canada doesn't simply suggest that drivers don't engage in extremely dangerous behaviors they sanction the drivers that do. Drivers receive demerit points that will result in even greater fines and driving restrictions based on repeat occurrences. Seems like a really smart and effective idea to me.
One of the most valuable benefits of travel is to learn how other people live. Travel is an extremely effective way of broadening a person's world view, It's been broadening to see my city through new eyes as well. I share the gift of travel every chance I get. #travel #volunteering
I saw a car accident yesterday. It came out of no where. A vehicle seemed to cross several lanes to turn on a side street. He cut another vehicle off that was proceeding straight ahead in their own lane, as they should. The loud crash made me stop and look in wonder "what could've happened" It's as if this guy thought he had the whole lane to himself and just decided to take the turn. He got the worst of the accident. The front of his vehicle was laying in the street. The woman who was hit out of no where was wondering what I was wondering "how did this happen?" Except she was angry, she opened her door slowly and headed toward the man, I could see an angry confrontation was about to take place.
As the man was exiting his vehicle, something odd happened. I saw them both slow down and look at each other. They knew each other. They stopped to embrace. At this point I moved on.
I saw a road rage incident yesterday. An angry man driving a black SUV argued with a bicyclist whizzing around him. The SUV was bobbing and weaving through traffic on a busy Chicago street. The bicyclist could've easily gotten killed. I watched in horror, screaming "NO!" Another car got involved, a little brown sedan. The man in the sedan was now driving side by side with the SUV. They shouted at each other as they waived their free arm out the window. All during rush hour traffic, the constant commuting for the long Memorial Holiday weekend was about to begin. I didn't have my phone. As the crowd gathered around, I asked 'can anyone call 911?' A woman with her family, her mother, and a child in a wheelchair, shouted, "don't get involved!"
I responded, "WHY?!" Sirens started to blare. The SUV dodged and weaved; he got in front of the little brown sedan and slammed on his breaks. The little car couldn't do much damage to his massive vehicle. The sedan crashed into the SUV. The men jumped out of the car and chased each other. As I watched, I thought, 'if one of those guys has a gun, today could be my last day." The SUV driver threw his body on the ground and rolled. He accused the other man of having a knife. The other man did not have a knife.
When the police arrived, the sedan took off. The SUV driver was waving his arms with great drama telling the story of how he was victimized. As more officers walked toward him, I said, "I saw the whole thing. What he's saying is not true.' An officer stopped to listen, revealing I was being recorded. I agreed.
On paper, the SUV driver was a victim. He was clearly hit by another car. If the sedan driver had stayed, would he have gotten a ticket?
How can we govern for manipulation? How do we hold people accountable when their story seems plausible? When the documented facts indicate a clear path even though the situation is not so clear? What if the bicyclist was severely injured? Or died? I saw what I saw but could I be wrong? Sure I could. I don't think so, but it's possible. Faced with recorded facts and a constant barrage of alternative opinions and arguments, could my story be changed? Possibly. How can we influence the SUV driver not to do what he did? #bycicling #law #Chicago
Alicia Dale is a strategic thinking Creative that understands the power of words to influence, change and build new infrastructures. This Blog is to capture ideas that have no where else to go at this very moment. Who knows how they will be developed? Or where they will go? For now they are sparkles of light easily stored where I can search and find them when they call my name again.