"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

6.5.08

Punishment

There's a lot of discussion going on a few other sites about the death of Amanda Annis at Armitage and Kedzie on Wednesday afternoon. I received a comment from a woman who knows the man who was cited in the accident, and asked that I treat him as an individual. Her plea has tempered my anger quite a bit, and I realize I should be wary of inciting "scapegoatism." And that of course, while I am angry that Cordell Curtis has yet to be charged with any crime at all, he certainly doesn't deserve to go to prison for the rest of his life.

But then she asked that he be left alone, and let us focus our anger from this terrible accident on making the streets and societal norms safer for cyclists and others.

What the hell have we been doing all this time?!? Bike lanes, public awareness campaigns, community outreach? Fundraisers, constant lobbying, Bike to Work Week? Ghost bikes, silent rides, benefit shows?

Yet, there are still dead cyclists. And inattentive motorists simply walking away from the havoc they caused with a black mark on their driving records. Yes, I realize they have to live with what they've done, and that they are sorry. But Amanda Annis isn't to get any consolation out it because she's dead.

So we are merely asking that the plethora of laws in place designed to protect people like Amanda Annis be enforced, and that Curtis at least receives a justifiable charge for his actions, instead of merely being cited for "traffic offenses." Otherwise, all the work we've been doing I listed above is nothing more than masturbation.

There are people who are trying very hard to reduce the encroachment of car-culture and infrastructure on our quality of life. And this incident has made us very angry. We're going to see to it that Curtis, and anyone in the future, just as we have in the past, as we continue to press against Thomas Lynch and in the case of Thomas McBride, is charged with the crime they've committed, and that cyclists are no longer blamed for their own deaths and injuries, just for "being there."

Cars. Are. Lethal. When taken for granted by careless people, they kill people just as a gun would. It is time punishment fits the crime of taking someone's life through the misuse of an automobile, just as it would with the misuse of a gun.

And lastly, as has been stated already, driving is a priviledge, not a right. If Curtis couldn't afford insurance, he shouldn't have been driving. It's a drain on society that just passes on one person's debt to others, and it's indefensible.

It's now a fully-realized tragedy that drivers who can't afford insurance are so blinded by car-culture that they believe there is no other choice than to drive without it. There are many options for people who choose not to have insurance.

Bicycles are one of them.

1 comment:

Helen Irene said...

just so you know, cordell plead innocent at his hearing june 14, and may walk for killing Mandy.