Letter from the President
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the five cyclists killed and four seriously injured by a suspected drunk driver earlier this week on a club ride in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We are all one cycling community and any loss is a loss to all of us.
John Lindemayer, Executive Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, released the following statement, “We are grateful that the driver was quickly apprehended after fleeing the scene. The released details regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident suggest a willful and wanton disregard for human life. We urge local and state police to conduct a comprehensive investigation that will support swift prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Kalamazoo County prosecutor responded within days by charging the driver with five counts of second-degree murder for the cyclists that died in the crash, and four counts of reckless driving causing serious impairment for the cyclists injured in the crash.
The City of New York could learn from this. At least five cyclists have been killed by drivers in NYC crashes this year. The NYC.gov Vision Zero web page states, "The primary mission of government is to protect the public. New York's families deserve and expect safe streets. But today in New York, approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes. Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors. On average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours. This status quo is unacceptable. The City of New York must no longer regard traffic crashes as mere "accidents," but rather as preventable incidents that can be systematically addressed. No level of fatality on city streets is inevitable or acceptable. This Vision Zero Action Plan is the City's foundation for ending traffic deaths and injuries on our streets." These words are a good first step, but tangible actions are needed to change the status quo.
Ways You Can Get Involved
One simple action you can take is to make a donation to the victims of this horrific crash. A fund has been set up at www.kalamazoostrongorganization.org to benefit the survivors.
The Five Borough Bicycle Club is proud to be a member bike club supporting the New York Bicycling Coalition. Together, we are fighting for the three (3) foot vehicle passing amendment to NY state law to insure safer streets for cyclists. Show your support by becoming a member of NYBC and sending your legislator an email demanding change.
The League of American Bicyclists, another organization that 5BBC is proud to be a supporting member of, released a statement that "600 people are killed by car crashes during an average week in the United States. In partnership with over 400 local advocacy groups across the country, the League is sending the message that 35,000 car crash fatalities a year is not an acceptable average." Support their efforts to advocate nationally and locally to promote and protect our right to ride by joining today.