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Orlando Sentinel: Humanizing ‘cyclists’

baldwin-park-01One Orlandoan shares his thoughts on the bicycling culture in Orlando in the Letters section of the Orlando Sentinel: 

Regarding the article “Florida named deadliest state for cyclists” on OrlandoSentinel.com   on Tuesday: That’s a scary fact, and it’s not uncommon to see headlines like “Cyclist killed after being struck by car.” The problem lies in the fact that those headlines dehumanize the situation. What actually happened is that a person on a bicycle was killed by a person driving a car. It may be semantics, but it can go a long way to change perceptions toward safety on our roads. In 2011, a group of advocates in Seattle began making a conscious effort to change the way we talk about our use of and interactions on our streets. They weren’t biking advocates; they were neighborhood advocates. This wasn’t about a war on cars; this was about safety for people. As the leader in deaths and injuries on the streets in the United States, we need to start thinking about safety for people. Let’s stop talking about cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. We are, first and foremost, people 

people on bikes, people in cars and people walking. Complete streets, bike lanes and cycle tracks aren’t about accommodating alternative transportation; they’re about providing people with transportation choices. The car didn’t get into an accident; the person driving it crashed. And this isn’t coming from a cyclist; it’s coming from a neighbor and Orlandoan who sometimes rides his bike.

Sam Gallaher, Orlando

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