There are no words to describe the recurring dismay I feel every time a motorist endangers me or another bicyclist or pedestrian by driving too closely or too quickly or too recklessly. Is there something inherent in the egocentricity of our car culture that breeds such callous disregard for one another?

There are no words to describe the simmering impatience I have with elected city, county and state representatives who lack the foresight to include safe causeways for cyclists and pedestrians in every road project. Is there something inherent in a system that retains incumbents who must be constantly reminded that automobiles need not be our only means of transportation?

There are no words to express the seething frustration at our state laws that dictate only 3% of the monies collected for most speeding tickets stays in the city to pay our police. Where is the incentive to enforce speed limits when more than 70% of a reckless driver’s fine goes to Indianapolis?

There are no words to express the numbing shock at hearing the news that while riding his bike, Patrick Sawyer had been struck by a careless driver who initially, reprehensibly left the scene. Patrick was doing all the right things; he was riding with traffic, as he was legally entitled to do, he was wearing a helmet, he had lights on his bike, he was wearing bright, reflective clothing. These are the things all of us conscientious cyclists do, yet the chilling reality is it isn’t enough in the path of an unchecked, reckless driver on a street built by apathetic officials who consider only the automobile in their dealings with the road-builders.

Patrick Sawyer died as a result of his devastating injuries; there are no words to describe the heartfelt sadness for our community. We all lost a vibrant, energetic, creative and giving member of our fold and we are all the poorer for his passing.

There are no words to describe the deep sorrow I have for Patrick’s family. In the wake of a dreadful moment in time, Patrick leaves behind his beautiful wife, Nancy, and their four young children who will miss him desperately.

My friend Henry sent me an email of Patrick’s passing while I was in Rhode Island. From nearly a thousand miles away, he had forwarded a plea from Nancy for something good to come from Patrick’s death. All I can do is try to find the words to plead: if you are an elected official, please consider everyone’s safety when considering every public project. If you are a police officer, please reign in the reckless drivers. And if you are a driver, please, for the sake of all of us, for god’s sake watch where you are going. Give to all of us, your neighbors in this community, whether we are on foot, in a wheelchair or on a bicycle, the gift kindness and our mutual humanity.

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