Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Death In The Family

I can't overlook the tragic death of Little Rock cyclist, Marilyn Fulper, aged 56. The accident on Cantrell Road and Rodney Parham has been widely reported within the local cycling community and well-covered by the local media. It gives us a pause to be reminded of what vulnerable being we are any time we take to the road on the bike, even when we ride by all of the rules. The incident reported here a few months ago involving Tom Ezell being rear-ended at a downtown traffic signal made for some good stories,  but the result could have been equally tragic.
How do these things happen? It's easy to see in this case. The red light for crossing Cantrell from Rodney Parham is painfully long and yet the green is so short that it is easily missed if you are behind a couple of cars. The road is six lanes wide and it's difficult to see all of the lanes on westbound Cantrell if there are cars lined up in the left turn lane. Cyclists, myself included, tend to scamper across quickly. In Marilyn's case, what should have been a safe, protected crossing of a busy road coincided with a moment of inattention on the part of a driver. On the phone, late for church, just daydreaming? We've all had lapses behind the wheel but, luckily for most of us, they pass without incident. I didn't know Marilyn Fulper, but she was a cyclist and I wish her spirit well. She was memorialized by friends tonight and "ghost bikes" placed at the intersection as a reminder to all who pass, an event that was very well-covered on Fox 16 news and probably other media as well. It is no solace to her family and friends, but perhaps her loss will help to raise the level of awareness of cyclists on the road among people in our community.
 Ride carefully. Drive safely. Let's watch out for each other.

No comments: