This was not my lawyer*. This was not my mode of transportation when I survived a hit-and-run earlier this year. But as I’m selecting the photos for my year-end street photography collage (as usual), this one is a keeper.
Gosh, can you believe just a year ago scooters were all the talk — so much so that the environmental journalism nonprofit Ensia paid me to do this story (which is still the only one about scooters on that site)? I was hopeful that was gonna make a difference (oh, pathetic, sweet optimist that I am). I also thought at the time that scooters coming to the burgeoning ‘burbs were gonna be what finally changed things. Lol.
NOTE: Feel free to stop here. That’s already a complete post. I know my posts are often long, and that’s counter to everything we hear about people’s attention spans, especially during a pandemic. However, I also know from my stats and emails that, increasingly, people who can make a difference are tapping in (hello!) and so, although I do post many shorter, breezier things across my social media platforms (such as Leaps of Faith), no, I don’t intend to stop with these deep dives. We are simply too close to actual, measurable change that saves lives to stop. As I said in my previous post:
I AM INDEPENDENT OF ALL GROUPTHINK AND EXTERNAL PRESSURES. I WILL CONTINUE TO SHARE MY LIVED AND LEARNED EXPERIENCE HONESTLY.
A quick personal update:
Both the criminal and civil cases against the person in a 2.5-ton SUV who hit me while I was Traveling at the Speed of Bike have concluded. In addition to ensuring the $500 actually arrives that I requested my assailant give to the statewide bike advocacy group Georgia Bikes (which is encouraging a statewide Vulnerable Road User ordinance — here’s why anything less has no teeth), and the publishing of what was intended to be a public letter of apology, my family and I are evaluating global nonprofits that give bikes to girls and women to which to give our own private donation, taken from the settlement, in the hopes of paying it forward.
On my radar, I currently have World Bicycle Relief, Qhubeka, GlobalBike, and a whole selection of individual bike/girl-related projects on GlobalGiving. I am also considering just putting it away as a future fund for when I get to the Peace Corps, where I hope to spearhead or advance a bike-related project as my secondary focus (after agribusiness). If you have any additional suggestions to how this money can make a difference (including through a matching program to double it), please contact me. It’s not the million I would have liked to donate (or use to start my own micro-grant program to help more women and girls ride bikes), but it’s more than nothing. You can also purchase products from my Holiday Gift Guide, linked at the bottom of this post, if you would like to help more girls and women ride bikes, too. (My book is available in all these other places as well, with all proceeds used to provide mostly-free bike skills classes.)
My next global Zoom call with all 105 Bicycle Mayors around the world (whoops, a few more have been added — maybe we’re at 110 now) is this upcoming Friday. Maybe I’ll ask there if anyone else has any suggestions. Maybe the Bicycle Mayor of Kampala (where I was supposed to be on the very day that I was almost killed) has or knows of a program there.
A quick Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor update:
I am also trying to ensure that this precedential case is communicated correctly in order to serve as a deterrent, especially in official city education efforts such as the in-progress driver education course for which I provided input and feedback. The almost-final draft currently includes my GoPro footage but says in the voiceover that I was not hit. I’ve requested that the voiceover be changed to say the driver did hit this person on a bike. If not, I have revoked my permission for the use of the video. I’ll let you know what happens. (Related: See Cone of Silence.)
In good news, the city where I live has on its City Council Meeting Agenda for this upcoming week the mention of a dedicated Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan that would include the adoption of NACTO guidelines. Finally. Here’s a handy little chart about what that means, by the way:
In other good news, streets in the City of Atlanta where people driving motor vehicles killed people riding scooters are finally showing signs of being changed to provide safer access for all, thanks to the endless advocacy work of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and perhaps finally accelerated (?) by the creation of an Atlanta Department of Transportation and its impressive first leader, Doug Nagy (for more about Doug, see Atlanta by Bike, and Why Metro Atlanta Leaders Are Invited).
I attended an online meeting about the street I ride frequently (or used to) that connects Peachtree Street with West Peachtree Street on the south side of the Woodruff Arts Center (it abuts this). A person on a scooter was killed on 14th Street and another was killed on West Peachtree Street — both well over a year ago. We may soon see a dedicated LIT Lane** there (although there is currently no approved funding for it).
Qhubeka, by the way, means “Forward Progress.”
Are we having forward progress? We shall see. All I know is that for the first time ever, I shared the bike rack at the supermarket yesterday with someone else, and it happened to be a boy on an electric bike with two dogs onboard (one in the front basket, one in a back carrier — photo cropped for privacy purposes as the boy is a minor). That gives me hope, but also cause for concern as I know the routes to and from that store are not yet safe***. Think of him, please, as we make our next moves as a society.
* The firm that published this story was
** Light Individual Transportation Lane, a term coined by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and now used nationwide — not to be confused with what I call LOP Lanes, which are Lipstick on a Pig Lanes that don’t meet NACTO guidelines, commonly found in cities and suburbs across the USA, created as appeasement and to pad Bicycle Friendly Community applications — see The Width of a Prius.
*** It looks like this to go to and from the supermarket (although I now mostly ride on the sidewalk in this suburb-city, which is the only city in the State of Georgia where it is legal to do so). (See 7-Low-Hanging-Fruit Actions Your City Can Take Right Now to Be More Bike-Friendly.)
Click here for fun, functional, and even free gifts. All proceeds help more women and girls ride bikes (like Diana, and the girls in the most diverse square mile in the USA with whom I’ve been working).