Ball Bearings

The recent incident of a cyclist being shot by a BB-gun this weekend really inspires confusion and rage. What’s being done about it? The BMP?

I’m not so sure the BMP is going to alleviate all of the issues this city seems to be suffering from concerning cyclist relations. If this BB-gun incident is because of some perceived cycling issue, the city desperately needs to better address the education of all road users. I referred to other points of education in a previous post. Educating motorists is just as, if not more, important as educating cyclists about the rules of the road. That said, simple consideration, respect, and apparent safety are things we shouldn’t take for granted or forget when dealing with others around us (be they motorists, pedestrians, cyclists).

I’m not even going to waste my time reading the comments in the Sound-Off section of the PI’s article. Sure to be there, raising my blood-pressure and pissing me off further, are the comments stating that the cyclist deserved it, or that more motorists should arm themselves against cyclists “in their way”. This is the regressive movement (contrary to the idea that Seattle is at all a progressive city), we should all learn to ignore them if given the choice. The first comment starts the age-old argument off:

As a cyclist… how about more education for Cyclists about the law? Why do we always make it a problem of the cagers?

Cagers, I’m assuming, mean the motorists. BMP is all about laws and education for cyclists. But how is that going to prevent getting your ass shot with a BB (or worse) in the future if there is no education and laws for motorists. Should we arm ourselves similarly? I sometimes think those Hummers all over the roads deserve some of the same treatment their military brethren experience. Leave your grenades at home people—all kidding aside, this is not the direction we should, or should have, to take.

How often have you been buzzed by a car, engine roaring in your ear? Doesn’t feel very respectful does it? Can we teach respect to these motorists? Didn’t they learn to be respectful in elementary school? How many times have you had a motorist talk/yell/inform/scream at you while they’re driving by you? Just the same as the advice (no law yet) against driving while talking on your cell phone—drivers you shouldn’t be sticking you head out the window, it’s not safe. And it screams aggression; that if we don’t heed your warning we’ll suffer your bumper.

This city has a reputation of being passive aggressive, it’s drivers should be educated about why it’s wrong and dangerous to be aggressive in any sense of the word when behind the wheel. I don’t need you revving your engine behind me, it’ll only make me to go slower. You won’t intimidate me either. I don’t need you cutting me off, I don’t want the headache, and you don’t need the lawsuit if you cut it too close. I don’t need you spouting off inaccurate road laws to me with your head out the window, I need your eyes on the road. Hopefully some of this is what the City Council president means by “education for motorists about city efforts to promote bicycling”.

Now, motorists using pellet guns in their acts of aggression takes the cake. I can only hope it is an isolated incident, never to be repeated or duplicated. Seriously, we all have more important things in life to deal with, let’s not add to that the threat of getting shot on the streets for riding our bikes. Maybe it’s simpler than that of course, maybe the cyclist was just a target and the shooter was just a malicious idiotic individual with a gun. In any case, for that matter, shooting anyone with a BB-gun, a .22, or a grenade launcher is violent, aggressive, and is just not right.

5 thoughts on “Ball Bearings

  1. I realize that a cyclist got shot with a BB and I do think this is a terrible thing, but it’s possibly inaccurate to characterize this as a cycling “hate crime”. You’re making a lot of assumptions that this armed motorist was out to get someone on a bicycle when it could have been some punk aiming to shoot any pedestrian, and just happen to hit a cyclist in this case. Malicious and terrible? … no doubt about it, but I’m not sure educating motorists would prevent future incidents such as this. There’s either some deep-seeded childhood issues in play here, or the blatant recklessness of a teenager.

  2. As stated in the original post:

    …Maybe it’s simpler than that of course, maybe the cyclist was just a target and the shooter was just a malicious idiotic individual with a gun. In any case, for that matter, shooting anyone with a BB-gun, a .22, or a grenade launcher is violent, aggressive, and is just not right.

  3. I was reading today…
    “the maximum vehicle speed at which pedestrians can escape severe injury upon impact is just under 20 miles per hour.”

    “an individual’s ability to interact and retain eye contact with other human beings diminishes rapidly at speeds greater than 20 miles per hour.”

    Further further…
    “Evidence from countries and cities that have introduced a design speed of 30 kilometers per hour (about 18.5 mph) — as many of the European Union nations are doing — shows that slower speeds improve traffic flow and reduce congestion. The reason for this is that your speed of journey, the ability of traffic to move smoothly through the built environment, depends on performance of your intersections, not on your speed of flow between intersections.”

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