September-October 2003 Newsletter
From the President
by Earl Jones
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
About Cycling from G to R
G is for guns.
The headline was shocking and brought to
mind the nightmare every cyclist has had,
especially with all the talk about road
rage: “Cyclist Shot in Fight with Driver.“
The Courier-Journal story recounted the
July 31 run-in between a 32-year-old
cyclist and a 64-year-old motorist that
ended with the motorist shooting the
cyclist. Apparently, the incident began
when the motorist cut in front of the
cyclist as he was riding on Barrett Ave.
near Tyler Park. Witnesses reported that
during the argument that followed, the
cyclist punched the motorist, who
responded by getting a gun from his car
and shooting the cyclist. Fortunately, the
wound was not life-threatening. The
cyclist was released from the hospital
after being treated. The paper reported
that the motorist had been charged with
first-degree assault, a serious felony.
I wanted to know why the charge wasn't
attempted murder. I was ready to storm
the ramparts to protest this flaunting of
cyclists’ rights. Why should luck be a reason
to let him off lightly? And if it was
crack shooting that made the bullet merely
graze the cyclist’s head, isn't that an
even worse offense?
Someone cautioned me to be careful.
Maybe this cyclist was not someone we
should be supporting. And sure enough, a
posting on the KyCycList listserv by an
acquaintance of the motorist reported his
version of the incident: Two cyclists had
been involved and they had badly beaten
him. So far I haven't been able to contact
the cyclist to get his side of the story.
But when deadly force has been used on a
cyclist, do the rest of the details really
matter? Until those facts are sorted out
in court, the cycling community must insist
that the authorities prosecute this case to
send the right message to motorists: There
is no open season on cyclists in this
R is for racing . . . the inappropriate kind.
I mean racing on the Scenic Loop in Cherokee
Park on the Tuesday night ride. How much
intelligence does it take to know that racing
in the park in the same lane as pedestrians,
joggers, baby carriages, leashed dogs and bladers
is a recipe for disaster?
Last season, after at least one near crash,
the police tailed us on a few rides. After the
July 29 complaint by a walker on the Scenic
Loop, you can bet they’ll be back.
Why do these kinda, sorta, wannabe-racers
place their own and the safety of others at
risk? Why do they put at risk our ability to
start organized rides from the park? Simple:
they don’t give a crap about anybody else.
The Touring Committee has taken the only
responsible action it could under the
circumstances: For the rest of the season
the Tuesday night rides will leave from the
St. Matthews Baptist Church on Grandview
Avenue, not from Cherokee Park. One day we
hope we can reclaim this wonderful venue.
R is also for great racing.
Like the kind we saw in Louisville all week
by participants in the USA Cycling Masters
National Championships. The excitement began
with the time trial on Monday, August 3, and
ended in a rush of color with the road races in
Cherokee Park on Saturday the 9th.
Dave Stewart, former VP Racing and Director
of the event, has a report
elsewhere in this newsletter. What he can't report,
but I can, is that his leadership and vision was
instrumental in bringing the event to Louisville
and putting us back on the competitive cycling
map. And more than just the racing community
benefited. Residents got caught up in the
excitement and local officials saw the economic
and high-visibility benefits that a major cycling
event can bring. That's bound to help all cyclists.
Make sure to thank Dave when you see him.
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web posted: 14 July 2003
last updated: 7 August 2003