Quitting. Vocally, and loudly quitting. Writing a (blog post)[http://surlybikes.com/blog/post/im_done] to be read by other cyclists about why you are quitting and all those bad car drivers and all the risks. Then actually getting off the bike, either riding on indoor trainers and racing on closed courses only, or selling it altogether. Either way, these people are quitters. They are becoming part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, all because of fear in the face of overwhelming statistics that show that they are choosing the wrong side of the road.
Don’t be a quitter.
Seriously folks, yes, cycling can be dangerous. Let us all be reminded about the other singular truth. Life is dangerous, and the only promise in life is that it ends. If maximizing the amount of time you get to spend in life then you have to understand the risks you take, and put them into perspective. So about that perspective? You want to hang up your bike, put away your messenger bag and take a car instead.
You know a car, which kills enough Americans under 65 per year to be a top 5 cause of death? Consider the things that we do to cure, and or avoid cancer or heart disease, and yet we blithely climb into a car. Seriously. 1 out 112 Americans will die in a car crash, and that number is going up, not down. Worse, these statistics fail to address the indirect damage they are doing to our lives, not just the health risks that run the gamut from obesity, depression, cancer, heart disease but also the environmental impacts and even the financial damage.
Yet, there are cyclists that have made the investment into themselves, to ride. To improve their quality of life through fitness, and getting out of the car who are now quitting and getting back into a car, because they feel threatened by those very cars.
Part of the problem, not the solution.
Keep in mind, that quitting is the easy way out. Blogging that you are quitting, is contributing to the culture of fear that has become part and parcel to riding a bicycle in the U.S. A culture where every bike fatality where a car is involved is shared and published on social media. A culture that reinforces the fear with every fatality, with every near miss, all in the name of being informed and sharing.
I am a cyclist, and I’m not going anywhere. That is the message we need to be sending. Per hour traveled, it remains safer than getting a car. The benefits of riding a bike so far outweigh the merits of driving a car, that even with the distracted drivers that are just as likely to smash into parked police car as they are to hit me on my bicycle it is a risk that makes logical, statistical sense.
Of course, I want cycling to be safer. No cyclist doesn’t, but quitting is not the answer. Getting involved, seriously involved in advocacy of ideas like Vision Zero and promoting safe, non-car infrastructure. Working with your governments and communities to push agendas that make our cities safer for everyone, including car drivers, is in every citizens best interests, even though people will fight against it. If you can’t do it for yourself do it for your kids, so that when they are your age, they don’t have to fight this battle.
But no, quitting is easy. If you can’t beat them join them, right?
Yeah, about that…
Don’t be a quitter.