Last Friday a cyclist (and friend of mine) was commuting in Queens. He was fully within the law and was not speeding, not riding recklessly, not running lights, etc. or any of the other things that “heartless speed demons” (as Andrea Peyser likes to call them) do. A pedestrian stepped out in the middle of the block from between parked cars. In an effort not to hit her, the rider hit his brakes. His front wheel locked up and he flew over her, never touching her. The rider was left with two broken elbows and the pedestrian literally walked away, leaving him on the ground. She showed no remorse, no concern for him, nothing. He did no wrong and is now faced with his injuries and no way to pay for his medical expenses.
Upon hearing the story, I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened had he not locked up his brakes. There’s a very real possibility that his injuries would have been less severe. But there’s also a very real possibility that he would ended up on the cover of the NY Post being vilified and ridiculed for hitting the pedestrian. Folks would be digging up his previous ride data as if it were relevant, even though he was doing nothing wrong. (For the record, using previous Strava data to condemn a rider is like Fox News digging up old photos of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown to further their agenda and argue that they must have been up to no good. It’s lazy, irresponsible, and shows that your mind is made up and you’ll fit the facts to suit your agenda.)
In the meantime, my friend is home with two broken elbows. No outcry to ban pedestrians. No one ridiculing pedestrians in general, calling them names, making fun of the way the dress. No media attention at all. And no consequences for the woman who stepped out from between the cars and left him laying in the street. Nothing.
It is my sincere hope that my friend heals quickly. I also hope that drivers, cyclists, runners, pedestrians – each of which describes me at some point – ALL remember that we need to behave responsibly in sharing our city. Finally, I hope that no one is small-minded enough to condemn all pedestrians because of the irresponsible and callous actions of this individual.