Two-Wheeled Victimization Complex
Regarding (Facebook) posts in Sept. 17 issue, by Dan Foley and Amanda Alves, I find it remarkable they both nailed it. They said in a few words what I have tried to say in many. My ideas are a little broader and more detailed but I loved their response to an ongoing and increasingly more complicated issue.
My complaint in the bike issue is one of common sense. I find it hard to find any in most dialogs on biking and safety concerns. To wit: The biker’s safety is strictly the responsibility of the motorist. What person in their right mind figured that one out? Where in the bible or anywhere does it say bikers have priority and superiority?
There is only one reason today we have paved roads. That reason is the invention of cars and trucks. The demands of these vehicles for sustained and efficient thoroughfares made possible the financing of roads through taxation and fees derived solely from them, not the bikes or bikers. Today the upkeep (be that as it may) is financed the same way.
Car and truck numbers surpass that of bikes by probably thousands to one. Their inherent value surpasses bikes by millions of dollars to one.
The qualification process to legally buy, own, and operate a motorized vehicle takes weeks of time, learning, testing and spending money to achieve. To operate a bike you just have to go to Walmart with a few bucks and walk out. No tests, no license, no skill.
The biker wants something for nothing and wants sympathy for asking for it. It begs the old quotation: “They want ice water in hell!” Typical today, the perpetrator plays the victim.
Violence in America
Last year at a baby shower for our not-yet-born grandson, something happened that made me think about what the future might be like for this child. I began to think with increasing concern about how this impacted our national consciousness, so that a three-year-old girl can karate chop an eighteen-month-old toddler and think it okay to hurt someone she says “is not her friend.”
It was a California Sunday afternoon in a garden when we heard a child crying in the house. I went in to find Tommy sobbing loudly, tears trickling down his cheeks. I asked what happened and four-year-old Ben said, “Sissy did it,” pointing to Olivia who said, “I did ‘hi-ya.'” She mimed a karate chop with her hand. I said, “you have to say you’re sorry.” She said, “I am not. He’s not my friend.” After a quick consultation with her father, our son, I told her again that she must say she’s sorry. She did. But was she really? At three years of age, she may not have much feeling for the pain of others. Although earlier that year, after seeing a Winnie the Pooh play, she demonstrated true sadness for Eeyore the depressed donkey.
But back to violence in America. When I mentioned the “hi-ya” incident to the parents of young children, one said: “Oh, ‘hi-ya’ is the salute of four year olds.” And we laughed. I suppose that is better than pointing a forefinger saying “Bang, bang, you’re dead.”
The issue was more clearly spelled out in reading the Sunday paper and learning that Plymouth is producing a yellow Plymouth Prowler. A prowler for the name of a car? What does that suggest? Not only do we perform violent acts with little or no concern, we witness them daily on TV, read about them in the daily news, and drive vehicles that articulate our anger.
Bikes are Awesome
My 3-year-old son awoke one Sunday morning, a few weeks ago, bound and determined to ride his bicycle. I was surprised that he was ready, even though bicycle blood flows through his veins. I avidly rode my bike the whole time I was pregnant and he started riding a tricycle before he was one year old, moving onto a scoot bike and a training wheel bike when he was one and a half. I guess he’s been on the bike more in his short life than he’s been off.
So that morning, without further ado, he hopped on his coveted two-wheeler and after some wobbling and a couple of falls, with his dad and I running behind shouting encouragement, he was off and pedaling on his own like a flash of lightning! It all happened so fast and smoothly. The irony is that I now need a pair of running shoes to keep up with him, but I bet it won’t be long until we can ride our bicycles together.
He loves riding his bike and he rides every day for longer and longer distances. At the ripe age of 3, he is learning the rules of the road, to watch out for driveways, to stop at all intersections and look around for traffic before crossing the street. He knows how to get to our neighborhood parks and stores and friends’ houses. He is embedded in his physical community, always waving to our neighbors and passers-by, and pointing out favorite fruit trees and berry bushes.
I know that he will ride his bike for his entire life and that he will be happier, healthier, stronger and more engaged with those around him because of it. Raising a child who loves bicycles and rides them safely does so much good for our community and for our world. My son is able to get himself around under his own power and that is an inspiring and beautiful thing. I am enjoying every minute of this, even as I run along behind him trying to keep up!