What would you do if you knew?

A buddy and Big Orange teammate was killed yesterday in Phoenix as he descended from South Mountain Park. I’ve heard but haven’t been able to confirm that Rob was killed when a teenage driver drifted over into his lane. Totally makes sense that we give teenagers 4,000-lb. death machines and turn them loose on public roads to “learn how to drive.”

The previous Sunday another friend was hit by a car and suffered catastrophic, life-altering injuries. The motorist was in a hurry and “didn’t see” the cyclist, who was wearing bright orange. Fortunately, the driver had rental car insurance so he was able to quickly get his car swapped out and get back on the road without any serious inconvenience.

This is how these cager-bike interactions go. It’s all over in a split second. Your life is altered forever, or just snuffed out, quicker than you ever thought possible.

What would you do differently today if you knew that tomorrow you were going to die?

What would you do differently today if you knew that tomorrow you were never going to walk again?

What would you do differently today if you knew that tomorrow would be a bend from around which you’d never come back?


52 thoughts on “What would you do if you knew?”

  1. To answer your questions, ride my bike more with family and friends in beautiful places.

  2. To add insult to injury, the teen driver has admitted to smoking pot and drinking before deciding to drive. What goes through someone’s head before they get behind the wheel? Did the driver say to herself, “driving is more fun when I’m stoned and drunk so screw everyone else on the road?” Her disregard for others means I’ve lost a friend.

    1. The system views Rob’s life as an acceptable cost for giving teenagers deadly fun weapons.

  3. A teenager under the influence at 10:30 in the morning with friends throwing pit out the window? He never had a chance…..really makes me question being on the road on a bike, in a car or even on foot with people like that behind the wheel. How is it that we have so many laws & so much technology yet we can’t monitor impaired drivers? I feel terrible for all involved.

  4. Geez, so sad 😞 And so pointless. Reminds me to value each day, even if it seems like a bad one.

  5. I have loved road cycling for many years. However, the roads are much more dangerous today than ever. The combination of more cars and the distraction from cellphones has increased our risk substantially. This increased risk has diminished my joy and increased my anxiety while riding my road bike. My personal solution has been to enjoy my mountain bike more, and my road bike less. When I do ride the road I am judicious on where I ride and I usually ride with friends. There is safety in numbers. The inevitable is inescapable.

    1. Because what could go wrong with drugs/alcohol and a 4,000-lb. steel cage? I hope she doesn’t have her life ruined with, you know, a citation or anything.

    2. Manslaughter is the charge? Knowing what you might do is dangerous to human life, then doing it and killing someone is second degree MURDER! The state should file a murder, not a manslaughter charge.

  6. Seth, do you know if anyone has set up a GoFundMe or similar for Rob? I don’t know his family’s situation, but that may be an appropriate way to show our support…

  7. South Mountain is the reference climb for most of Maricopa County. It’s gorgeous and a challenge and all too often full of kids going up to the summit to get wasted in their cars. I gave up riding it years ago, and that’s a shame.

    I didn’t know Rob personally, but have almost certainly ridden with him. What a senseless tragedy.

  8. Stuart Anderson

    I rode with Rob on Saturday in Phoenix. He had an amazing enthusiasm for cycling and racing. I must admit it rubbed off on me. I was training harder and more frequently this autumn in anticipation of racing in 2018. Rob was in amazing form. I would watch him and listen to him to try to find out how I could ride better. Last thing he said to me was “see you at the Tuesday ride!”. Now, how to turn grief into action….

  9. South Mountain is where people go to get a good climb into their ride, as we (otherwise) have no significant climbs within the PHX metro area. Unfortunately, it is also a very scenic attraction, and not only do racing cyclists find it an attractive place to train for long climbs, stoners like to go there to trip-out.

    1. I’m blessed to live in Carefree, where it’s a trivial thing to ride both Humboldt Mountain (which is *significantly* more challenging than South Mountain) and Bartlett Dam. Humboldt is deserted, but a bit interesting to get to, but Bartlett, unfortunately, gets pretty dodgy with people towing boats out to the lake.

      1. Yeah, the climbing out there on Cave Creek Road is pretty challenging too. A bit hard to get out to for many, though.

  10. Absolutely horrible news. Just wish the system would recognize that when someone intentionally drives after taking part in activities leaving them less likely to be able to drive, it’s murder, not manslaughter.

    1. A few days earlier a seriously impaired woman caused a multicar accident in the Phoenix area. Resulted in two killed while the driver walked (stumbled) away. She has been charged with second degree homocide among others. I know the manslaughter v homocide can be a bit murky but I struggle to see the difference in these cases, aside from body count and the fact one group was in anther car while Rob was on his bike.

  11. Seth:

    Sitting her stunned and saddened. I see Rob at a couple rides I do here in Phoenix (he would be out there tomorrow morning for the Tuesday ride). Didn’t know him but recognized his kit and asked him if he knew you. He said of course and then said some really nice things about you. Very sorry about this.

  12. i hate everything about this. seeing anyone leaving their loves with so much life yet to live and so much to bring to the world… is beyound the words i can find to fill this space. i’m always here if you or anyone need support or a place to talk…. and i think of all the good people we’ve lost over the years and miles… and the pain carried and shared by his friends and family. i’m sorry.

  13. There will be a memorial ride for Rob Sunday November 5th in Phoenix, departing from The Velo at 8am. Ride out to South Mountain. There will be front and rear vehicle escorts. You can find more details on Facebook on The Velo’s page.

  14. Lately, I’ve seen several articles in magazines and online, some even by cyclists about how problematic cyclists are. The comments usually posted following are basically calling to lynch cyclists.

    I was rear-ended by a car two years ago, I was VERY LUCKY. However, an acquaintance I rode with at the Velodrome was killed by a young guy driving his Moms Lexus who on a Sunday morning decided to see how fast he could come around a turn and ran into these cyclists in the opposite lane.

    I have several friends who can no longe compete professionally in the sport they love due to being hit by cars.

    Yesterday, I rode for 20 minutes each way to a coffee shop. The street I was on is a designated bike route, one of the most popular in Vancouver. Three cars rolled through stop signs and one ran a red light as
    I was about to cross This just in the first 20 minutes!!!

    Being sorry is not enough, we need to be angry. Drivers face more punishment if they text while driving then if they kill while driving.

    The question is, how do we channel this anger to actual change.

    There is a program here in Vancouver I like where they have signs at road construction that say “Drive careful, my Mother works here” people think if them as parents to children, perhaps like them, and not those hated cyclists.

    Until such time as the anger does not become a pressing issue for those who seek votes, nothing will change.

  15. Per the report, she hit and killed that poor guy at 9:40am – She did a BAC test at 12:19pm and blew a .082 – Up all night, smoking pot, drunk out of her mind –

    What a tragedy – I’m sorry man –

  16. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I lost a friend in high school who was riding to school and still remember that feeling of sudden loss for inexplicable reasons. Having survived twice getting hit myself, I resolved to always do one thing everyday and that was to tell my wife and daughter I love them. My advice, always tell the important people in your life how much they matter to you, everyday.

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