Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charlotte Area Cyclist Killed

A Charlotte-area cyclist was struck and killed by a motorist early Wednesday morning (March 17) as he road to work. Adam Little, 34, was an experienced cyclist and member of a local race team. He was riding appropriately, had a warning light on the back of his bike, but was still struck and killed by a motorist who claimed not to have seen him.

The driver was a 24-year-old female who failed to report the incident (hit and run) but was later apprehended and charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

This was unnerving news, since I did a 41-mile ride myself yesterday. I always pray for safety before I leave on a ride, and give thanks when I return safely, knowing how dangerous this sport can be. The last statistic I read said, on average, two cyclists per day are killed by motorists in the United States. My greatest danger yesterday came in the form of being chased three times by a total of five dogs, one a pit bull.

Amazingly, just a week before this incident, a national ESPN radio commentator, Tony Kornheiser, issued an on-air rant against cyclists, encouraging his audience to "run 'em down." He spent five and a half minutes on this rant. "I'm not saying you kill them—just tap them." When Lance Armstrong got wind of this he sent out the following Tweet to his more than two million followers: "Listening to Tony Kornheiser on ESPN radio re: cyclists. Disgusting, ignorant, foolish. What a complete f-ing idiot. . . Big mistake, Tony." This drivel can be heard here -- scroll down to Part 1 of the March 11 broadcast. The rant begins at 31:28.

Here's part of what Kornheiser said: “And they all, my God, with their water bottles in the back, and their stupid hats, and their shiny shorts, they’re the same kind of disgusting posers that in a snowstorm come out with cross-country skis on your block. Run them down.”

3-22-10 Follow up: Kornheiser had Lance Armstrong on his radio show to apologize for his remarks. That 16 minute conversation can be heard here (scroll down under Kornheiser's show until you see a picture of LA). The interview was weak -- a missed opportunity by LA to make stronger points about the need of the public to recognize that bikers have a right to the road in most states, etc. But at least the host apologized.

A California doctor is now in prison for attempting to teach two cyclists a lesson by stopping short in front of them, causing them to crash into the back of his car and suffer massive injuries.

Cyclists should obey all road laws, and so should drivers. Please drive alertly—and keep your dogs penned.

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