Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Call Me a Cyclist

I can't tell you how many comments I've read over the years regarding pedestrian accidents when a car has hit a person running or cycling. On some occasions these comments are downright infuriating, saying "the cyclist probably deserved it" "they never obey traffic laws" or "the runner was in the road, what did they expect."


This is someone's life we are talking about, worth significantly more then the $250 fine the driver recieves.

A while back I read an insightful article on the language surrounding pedestrians and how to make it more humanizing. The theory is that by altering the language we use we can change the tone of the conversation. Don't say 'cyclists', say 'people on bikes'. This way we can focus on the need for safety for people, rather than cyclists' right of way.

The more I think about it, the more I can appreciate this sort of language change. The mountain biker you hit this last week? Just so happens she is an amazing artist, mother and friend to the entire community, including me. The runner you almost plowed into a few weeks back? He is a soldier and much-loved boyfriend who was training for Boston. We may all be runners, cyclists and pedestrians but we are also someone's friend, daughter or father. We are people first and people on bikes or people running second.

So please, don't call me a cyclist. Instead call me a friend on a bike, and I'll call you a safe driver.

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