When Joy Covey, former Amazon.com CFO, was killed while riding her bike in California last week, the media once again began to admonish cyclists and remind us of how “dangerous” it is to ride a bike out on the road. Covey leaves an 8 year old son.
Several years ago, a friend was killed cycling coming down a hill toward her gym in North Carolina when a car backed out of a driveway and my friend hit the car – a situation very similar to that of Covey’s this past week. My friend left a grieving husband and family.
In both instances, the driver was at fault; yet, there is no mention of the illegalities of an ill-timed left turn or the backing out instead of backing in-pulling out of the driveway as is the law in many states. No – it is always the cyclist who is somehow blamed – whether implicitly or explicitly – for the driver’s misdeeds.
An automobile is AT LEAST as lethal as a gun when in a “shoot-out” with a cyclist. Yet, 99% of the time, the perpetrator gets a slap on the wrist or the minimum possible sentence.
It is time that the media follow the facts of the story and report it as it truly happened. Admonish the driver(s), remind people that bicycles are legal vehicles, and especially, make the penalties for hitting and killing a cyclist harsh and automatic.