Does it Matter?

They say that there are two things that are certain death and taxes.

Well we’re fast approaching tax time and I’ll leave your tax situation between you and your accountant. That leads me to the other half of this equation and that is death.

It’s not a matter of if we’re going to die it’s a matter of when. I’m assuming since you’re reading this that you are very much alive and can ponder this. Yesterday marks the first time that I have ridden a bike in the year since I was hit by a car while lawfully riding on a bicycle in another city.

So join me in a little victory lap or celebration dance, if you will, for the fact that I got back in the saddle and I rode! Being new to the area I rode a bit further than I planned because I took a wrong turn and I’m paying for it today. But that’s the least of my worries – a sore butt.  

I’m just thrilled that last night there was a magnificent sunset. All of the beautiful colors of baby blue, gentle pink, and bright orange that faded slowly into a black sky. It was breezy but it was warm and delightfully comfortable.  I tried to capture that delicious eye candy in a photo but there’s nothing better than tasting it with all of your sense.  

As I was reading through my news feed I was particularly drawn to the story of a man who had been hit on the same road that I had to navigate just yesterday. It seems that he rode his bike frequently and went to volunteer at one of the animal shelters. His life was far more rich than I can get into detail in these few words.

We take much for granted.

We often don’t slow down enough, or pause, to reflect on who we are, what we do, and how our actions affect those around us.  As I read about this man who worked with animals and always showed up to do a job that he might not have ever been thanked for, I began to see my story in his story.

I wondered out loud as I walked my dog last evening what people would say about me if this man and I had traded places. It had been weeks ago that very serious injuries hospitalized him and yet only recently had he succumb to those injuries.

So my question is: what will his death certificate say? Will it say that he was a Vulnerable Road User and that someone caused so much bodily damage that he could not recover to walk another dog or take in a sunset? Or do we only use the words “bicyclist killed by vehicle” when the bicyclist dies at the scene, in transport or while in the ER?

In my book all of these tragedies are the same, they should all be treated the same, and they should all be called the same thing. People who are Vulnerable Road Users who are struck down and maimed, injured or killed by a person driving a 2-ton vehicle should all be treated the same.  

To me it does matter. It matters a great deal the way that we talk about, categorize, justify or turn away because it’s too hard to stare at our own mortality.  He matters, I matter, you matter.  All of us who are Vulnerable Road Users – we all matter.