When do we become a person instead of just a cyclist? Please read, it may help save a life.
A long time ago I lived in Allentown on 15th St. and I commuted by bike to work as much as possible. If you don’t know 15th St. it’s the land of traffic lights and chaos. I had to go through about 13 lights before I got to work. Most days it was the typical scenario of drivers being about one foot away from, I mean as far as they were concerned I was in the way and slowing them down. Then one day on my ride in I saw a small American flag laying on the ground. Out of pride and respect I picked it up and stuck it in my backpack. It was sticking out of a pocket and able to wave around and be seen. Well, guess what happened after I placed this small flag in my backpack? It’s simple; suddenly people actually cared about me. This small flag that represents so much had transformed me from a cyclist into a human being, as though this small piece of cloth quantified my existence.
Now let’s fast forward to this week where I was almost run off the road by insane driver. This experience had me thinking about all the road riding I’ve done throughout the years and how dangerous it can be at times. The memory of the little flag and how it seemed to changes the world’s perspective of me came to mind and I decided to revisit the idea. On Friday evening I pinned a small American flag to my camelback and set out on my ride. I was not claiming to be anything other than a cyclist with love for his freedom, and freedom to be on the road. I can honestly say that I felt the world change around me and it was very bizarre. Not only were people suddenly giving me room, but they were going out of there way to make sure that I had plenty of it. Cars were actually almost stopping when another car was coming so that they didn’t have to squeeze next to me. I watched as car, after car gave me the space I needed to be safe. Do I believe this was 100% due to the flag? I believe that this little flag verified my existence as a person, rather than just a guy on a bike. I welcome you to try this for yourself, in fact I beg you to. If this message can help save one cyclist it was well worth it. Let’s remind the drivers that our lives matter and possibly make them more conscientious. I can tell you that I will always be riding will my little piece of Americana on my back from now on because my life does matter.