Tonight, I drove to Murfreesboro after work to join the Murfreesboro Bike Club for the Jim Benson Memorial Ride. Jim was killed while he was wearing his helmet, riding legally on what appears to be a fairly safe place to ride. I think the driver must have cut the corner off while making a left turn. She must have been hauling ass because she was taken to the hospital with injuries from htting him.
At the start, Jim’s widow Sandy Benson showed up. They gave her a bullhorn and addressed the crowd of about 100 riders that showed up. She talked about Jim riding a bicycle when he was 3 years old. He was a swimmer. He loved all kinds of things athletic. He always worked in time to ride his bike. She talked about the last time she saw him – preparing his bike, inflating his tires, adjusting his helmet. She told him to have a great time and told him to be careful.
Weeks before the ride, I wondered what it would be like if I was run down and killed by a car. First, it’s better than a heart attack at work, or an aneurism while going to the bathroom. But, seeing Sandy talking about Jim makes me think about what Donna would look like standing there talking about me to a bunch of sympathetic cyclists. I suppose she would say good things, but Sandy choked up at the end. I hate to imagine Donna doing that. I hate to imagine the next surviving family member addressing a bunch of people.
That’s why we have to keep working to make cycling safer for everyone. That’s why people need to quit driving along chatting on their cell phone about bull$hit. Wrap it up and get off the phone. That’s why we need more bike lanes and shoulders. That’s why we need more legislation to protect cyclists and make drivers do what they already have to do with current laws. If you’re a driver or a cyclist, be careful out there.
That’s what’s on my mind tonight.