I was out this week on some errands and my return journey took me past a recent accident scene where a cyclist was killed by a motorist. I noticed there was a Ghost Cycle in place and decided I wanted a picture of it. I’m violently ambivalent about cycling on the street: I would like to but I see too many stupid moves on the part of cyclists and motorists.
Down the street there is a more personal tribute by the friends and family of the man killed. Turns out he was a husband and father and a pretty accomplished rider. Many of the notes left referenced his connections to the local cycling community. The notes from his own kids and nieces/nephews were heartbreaking.
So why the title of this post? This post from a couple of years back might help (sorry I lost the pictures in some over-zealous housecleaning a while back, but it’s here if you want to see it).
In his own words:
I did not wear a helmet because I did not want to. I am a hyper skilled rider and am not going to hit my head if I fall off. A tall bike has different rules. They command respect. If you do fall, you just jump to the ground. Getting on and off is easy. The first time I rode it I wore my full face helmet, but it just got too hot. Balance is easy on a tall bike. They look dangerous but are not. Hell, people joust on them and I have not heard of any head injuries from jousting. Broken bones, yes.
Helmets are fine for those who need them. I made it thru the 1970s without one and I rode my bike everywhere! Kids hitting their heads while riding bikes is not society’s health problem! Kids sitting on the couch eating and getting fat and getting heart disease and diabeties is society’s health problem. In fact it is epidemic! Kids would fare much better if they rode bikes (or any activitiy) with or without a helmet! The kids I see in West Seattle on bikes (and there are damn few) do not EVER wear helmets. Most are first generation immigrants. They are great kids and none of them are fat! I don’t lecture them about helmets. I just ride my bike with them.
[From Point83.com ~ View topic – Need advice]
I haven’t asked him if he has changed his mind, but unpacking what I read above is that only unskilled cyclists are at risk for any injuries. He’s “hyper-skilled” whatever that means. So by inference, everyone who gets hurt or killed on their bike lacks skills or in some way doesn’t peg the Goss-o-meter.
I really haven’t thought much about this brouhaha since I first posted on it, but that tribute brought it all back. I want him and all his hipster pals to go to every family who has lost someone in a bike accident and tell them they weren’t good enough, it was their fault. Go tell those children it was their Dad’s fault, that he wasn’t as accomplished as Aaron Goss or perhaps a select few of his acolytes.
What must it be like to be able to suspend the laws of physics, to deny the weaknesses of human physiology, and to bet against the stupidity of humans and win? Lesser minds like mine can only marvel.