A while back I wrote about a friend from Kingman, AZ, my age group and beat me every time. Cleaned my clock actually. He was killed on his bike on a training ride out on an open AZ highway when he was hit by a large RV. They had no idea they'd struck him. A witness on the highway that day chased the RV down and informed the driver. Bad day for my friend. Bad day for the driver. What can we learn here?
Secondly, last March, while training on the Big Island for what should have been Glory Days, re-living a 33 year old memory by riding on the World Championship Course, '82 IM finisher
"63 year old Jeffrey Surnow of West Bloomfield, MI was killed near Waikoloa in the NW corner of the Big Island on Sunday. Sadly, he was struck by a police officer on a shoulderless road in the early hours of the day. “The rising sun” may have played a part according to Acting Battalion Chief Capt. John Whitman. “It’s a pretty dangerous area.”
From Ironman.com that week, they wrote "In 1982 the Bud Light IRONMAN Triathlon World Championship was held on the Big Island for the second time. Surnow, wearing bib number 869, was one of the first thousand individuals to ever to attempt the event, making him a true IRONMAN pioneer."
Surnow, very active in the local cycling community, was the founder and director of Michigan’s Birmingham Bike festival described on the web site as, “Although the name of the event is Birmingham Bike Festival, it’s not all about bikes. It’s bringing the community together for a variety of fun and healthy life style events. It encourages families to participate in sport related activities together.”*
A Few Notes on Bike Safety; Please Take 2 Minutes to Read
I live in a university town. The closer you are to campus the more bike riders you see. Or, as you read on, don't see. Unfortunately, what you see most of is unsafe bike riders. Many ride helmet-less. Even more are virtually impossible to see in low light conditions. Dark clothing, no lights at dusk or later, that kind of thing. Things you wouldn't do. (I hope.)
Below are some thoughts of one of our peers in response to the loss of Jeffrey Surnow. I think they can benefit us all.
I've been doing a lot of morning runs this year. Usually up at 6 and it's dark and/or blowing snow. I use a Black Diamond running headlamp/taillamp and it's great; you get enough light that you can see and definitely be seen, both coming and going. Various bits of my clothing are reflective as well, which helps when I do encounter the occasional driver on the country roads where I'm running.
However, there's this other guy, lives in the next subdivision over, and he has been running every day for years. I see him on TWP Rd. 262 (NW of Calgary, it's a popular cycling route as well) whenever I commute at about 7 AM. Thing is, he doesn't wear a light, and his clothing has relatively little in the way of reflective stuff on it. So every time I go to work or to drive my kid to school early, I know I'm going to encounter this guy on an undulating, unlit two lane road, in the dark, and it might be blowing snow or whatever, the guy will be there as little more than a shadow, on either side of the road (depends on whether I'm earlier or later than his turnaround). I worry about that... it's not that I don't pay attention, and not that I don't give the guy all the room I can, but if there should ever be a combination of mistakes between the half-dozen commuters the guy is likely to encounter every morning, that guy has zero protection, and him running with no lights makes it more likely that he's going to surprise someone at some point.
Not saying in any way that this bears on the case in Hawaii - but as a runner or cyclist we owe it to ourselves and the rest of the traffic to make ourselves as visible as possible. Save the ninja stuff for other venues*.
If reading this made the same impression on you it did on me, please forward it to anyone you know who might benefit. Thanks.
*Reprinted with permission
Image, Google Images