It seems Daisy Lynum, Orlando City Councilwoman, had to be hit by a ruddy car to realize that Orlando, Florida has the worst ranking for cyclist and pedestrian deaths of ALL metropolitan areas anywhere across the United States. Yes, we’re worse than Austin (all those cowboys), worse than Boston (all those distracted yuppies) and worse than Atlanta (all those cars).
Yes, we injure and kill cyclists and pedestrians at a higher rate than anywhere else. And given America’s shabby car-alternative efforts, that probably puts us behind most of the world.
Better police enforcement would help. I mentioned the incident HERE, which was essentially vehicular assault, but the cops never returned my call. They were probably pissed at just about everyone, given the fact that Ms. Lynum abused her authority not too long ago by phoning a police chief in the middle of the night when her son got pulled over in a traffic stop. Yes, Master Lynum, call your mommie when you get busted. She’ll fix it.
So Ms. Lynum got brushed by a car in the crosswalk and now she’s forming panels and committees to look into it. This won’t fix anything, of course. We have a city whose paint is still wet, little more than a Hooterville until Disney put us on the map a half-century ago. Nobody is from here, the roads are all wide and high-speed, nobody gives a rat’s ass. I’ve seen something like twenty (yes, two! oh!) cars make an illegal right turn on red while a woman in a wheel chair was marooned in the crosswalk in the middle of the road, terrified to finish her crossing. Yes, twenty corndogs all rushing to get home to watch their Netflix movies, regardless of what is decent and true and civil.
I have to ask myself (even morning and ever evening) why I’d ride in this place, where politicians use dead pedestrians to look good, where drivers vinyl their plates to hide their identities, where the bike lanes are cratered, where the police don’t bother with cyclist complaints unless there is a corpse involved. I ask it in the pre-dawn when I turn on my lights and mount up, and hear the roars and honking from the warpath I’ll soon have to cross. Or in the evening when I sit on the loading dock, looking out over all those Walter Mittys, rageful from their office humiliations and ready to recover their pride. I ask it while riding right on the edge of the road, a line of FUVs thundering past my handlebars, flat-out ignoring the three-foot clearance rule.
Every time I see a Cadillac Escalade, or see someone rush through a light well after it’s gone red, or get the finger, I ask it.
Why do I ride?
In a way, I’ll quote the main character from “Riding Bean”, a Japanese anime about a high-speed driver who does odd (and criminal) jobs in Chicago. Having killed off the baddies in a parking garage, with the joint surrounded by cops ready to apprehend him (or at least try) his woman partner asks if the town is getting too hot, if they should move. He drops the car in gear, looks over to tops of his sunglasses (of course) and replies-
“Don’t be silly. Good-hearted rich guys, out-and-out slimeballs, and these crazy cops… We can still have fun in this town.”
Yeah, I get it now…