Another murdered cyclist

February 6, 2023 Comments Off on Another murdered cyclist

John Michael Mammone, MD, was run over and stabbed to death by a cager while riding his bicycle.

As much as I wish there were some news here, there isn’t.

He was murdered in Orange County, one of the worst places in California after Fresno and Bakersfield for riding a bicycle. And of course he was murdered while riding in a bike lane. I guess the invisible, protective force field given off by that strip of paint didn’t work. Again.

Dr. Mammone’s death is barely even a drop in the bucket when you look at the big picture. There were 52 mass shootings in the USA in January resulting in 98 deaths and 205 wounded. February is off to a roaring start with 5 shootings, 4 dead, and 18 wounded. It may seem odd to compare murdered bicyclists with victims of gun violence, but why? One senseless death is no worse than another, and neither traffic violence nor gun violence are anything other than an accepted fact of daily life.

Just as the parents of schoolchildren don’t do anything about gun violence until their child is shot up in a senseless killing, bicycle riders take roadway violence as an accepted risk of doing business. The one time I sponsored a die-in to showcase cager lawlessness in Palos Verdes Estates, we drew the police, a couple of citations, no news coverage, and more business as usual in that particularly violent community.

Life doesn’t mean anything in general because there are so many people engaged in daily acts of terrible violence. People are dispensable.

Nations like Austria and Poland, sharing a border with Ukraine as that former nation slowly drowns in a bath of blood under Russian aggression, do little more than watch it happen. The same thing is true for the civil war that continues in Syria, where some people raise an eyebrow but most shrug it off with the most effective strategy ever: it’s not happening to me.

Statistically speaking, your chance of getting killed by a car while bicycling is far higher than if you are driving. Only 1% of all trips are taken by bicycle, yet bike deaths account for 2% of total transportation fatalities. Since almost 90% of the approximately 1,000 bike fatalities are older white men, you greatly reduce your risk by being female, non-male, or non-white passing, fyi.

We accept these deaths because we value speed, cheap road construction, and cheap law enforcement more than we value cycling in relative safety. Keeping people healthy while biking isn’t complicated, you simply have to lower speeds, pay for better roadways, and spend more money enforcing the laws that we already have.

But to do those things would mean that society values individual health more than it values commercial efficiency and low taxes.

Dr. Mammone’s death was preventable, but actually, it wasn’t.


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