you and the SUV you rode in on

I can’t say I knew Clive Sweeney, but when I saw his face on the news this morning, I recognized him. Probably from one (or several) of the many cycling events I’ve attended over the years. Cliff was killed yesterday riding his bicycle on Pleasant Green Road in Durham County by a driver that claimed to be avoiding a deer when he crossed the center line and hit Cliff head-on.

I’m carrying around a lot of sadness and anger this morning. Sadness because Cliff died doing something he loved. And the anger. Well, the anger…

As usual, the knuckle-draggers have come out to comment about this incident on with talk about how bikes have no place on the road. Huh?

I’m very aware that every time I go out on my bike, I’m doing something dangerous. I wear a wrist ID bracelet in case something happens. I follow the rules and I stick to the less-traveled roads when possible.

The thing is, a lot of what makes the roads dangerous for cyclists is stupidity. The dangers aren’t narrow shoulders or blind turns, they’re preoccupied drivers that’re more interested in their cell-phone conversation than driving… they’re the ‘busy’ driver that can’t wait a moment till we’re in a safe place to pass… they’re the idiot that thinks that using a turn-signal is just ‘giving away information to the enemy’.

So, to all of the people out there that backed out of their driveways this morning without looking, all of the people having trouble staying in their lane while they rummage through their purse or twiddle with their GPS, all of the folks that are just plain mean and throw trash at me when I ride: To you I extend my rigid middle digit.