Change….Begins With You

13
Nov
2013
By

It begins with you…

I started to respond to the “Please Stop Killing Cyclists” post, and after a couple hours of writing I realized this might be a better blog.  Whenever I read a story about anyone losing a life in an accident it tears me up, life is so, so valuable and to have it snatched indiscriminately in a moment of carelessness is profoundly tragic.

Maybe we shouldn’t look at it like there is something wrong, and there is this big problem to solve, maybe we should step back and look for what’s missing, that if it were present, would make a difference.  Kind of like when Peyton Manning is looking at the pictures on the sidelines after a drive doesn’t yield a touchdown, he’s not looking for what’s wrong, he’s looking for what he missed and usually in the second half, he’s not missing much.  (Sorry, this is what happens when you get a former football player and Broncos Fan Loving the Bike).

So as I read about the accidents, no matter who’s at fault I see one glaring item missing, the presence of which would make a massive difference…..Integrity.

how2truewheel_spokewrench_03_apNow when I say integrity think of it like structure, for instance the spokes in a bicycle wheel.  They all have to be properly adjusted to get the maximum performance out of your wheel.   Sure, they loosen up as you ride and you routinely have to make adjustments, but if you don’t the wheel will eventually fail.  Now think of traffic laws as spokes in the wheel of transportation…while driving a car how many times have you exceeded the speed limit, or drive while using a cellphone, or even singing and car dancing to your favorite song on the radio.  Traffic laws apply to cyclists as well, like stopping at red lights and stop signs, or signaling other riders when you pass.  Sure they may seem inconsequential, but what happens when you get a bunch of loose spokes?

Do I live a life of 100% integrity, absolutely not!  However, I do work to make adjustments when I find myself out of integrity, like a bicycle wheel I too constantly require tweaking to perform well.  The only thing we can really do is take this on, when it comes to integrity, be honest with yourself and respectful to others.  Imagine how a driver might react if you acknowledged them and then you slowed as you approached an intersection or drive they are signaling to turn into, it might relieve some anxiety and avoid an accident or verbal confrontation.  In that instant you could change how that motorist views cyclist, who could become a new advocate for sharing the road.  I too fear that penalties for distracted driving, short of requiring the permanent surrender of a vehicle and the privilege to drive, will result in any real change.  However, transformation can occur if integrity is restored and that is up to us.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Happy and Safe Riding…

- Joel

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6 Responses to “ Change….Begins With You ”

  1. Eric Hutchins on November 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I know I sound like a broken record sometimes because I always say, great post, or this is wonderful or similar, and I mean it, AND, this post is exceptional.
    Joel you have written a wonderful piece and I wish I could plaster it up everywhere for people to read.
    People need to first look inward and take responsibility for the things they do. If we ALL, one at a time, would just do better ourselves, and then maybe worry about those that we could directly influence (family close friends), we could make the roads so much safer.
    It is possible to make a real difference.

    • Joel Phillips on November 17, 2013 at 1:56 am

      Eric, you are very kind and I am humbled by your comments, always. I get that you are a very kind hearted person and eager to share your joy for life. It’s individuals like yourself that inspire others through your actions, happy riding my friend and I do hope our paths cross some day soon.

  2. Darryl is Loving the Bike on November 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I love your integrity and optimism as always. Good stuff, my man. I know you could have responded with a comment to that post, but I’m so glad you did so with this one of your own.

    • Joel Phillips on November 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks dude, you are one of a kind.

  3. David Goodman on November 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve been close to getting nailed just biking around a quiet small town – it’s really the worst thing about biking. Thanks for this post.

    • Joel Phillips on November 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks for sharing David. I grew up in a small town and sometimes I think the less traffic the less drivers pay attention. Stay positive and be safe.

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