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September-October 2003 Newsletter

From the President
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cycling from G to R

by Earl Jones


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 community.

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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