Death and Fear in Cycling

Photo: http://mtbs.cz
Photo: http://mtbs.cz

Today, the cycling community lost a very dear friend, South African XC mountain biker, Burry Stander.  He was tragically killed by a taxi while training in his hometown.  The entire MTB racing family, and most friends that follow competitive cycling, are mourning greatly.

Burry was riding his bike, just like you or I ride our bikes every day.  If we take to the roads, we are putting ourselves in danger.  Cyclists cannot predict what auto drivers are going to do while driving.  We can take all the precautions possible, but we are still no match for a 2,000 pound vehicle heading our way.  Mountain biking carries its own inherent dangers, even if we choose not to ride insane stunts like riders in our favorite MTB videos.  Rocks, roots, trees, and even crazed animals are all hazards that could be encountered on a trip in the woods.

Should we stop cycling, all together?  Should we take all risk out of our lives to ensure that we survive our day-to-day lives?  Absolutely not, I say.  Regardless of how we try to shelter ourselves from potential threats to our livelihood, ceasing our activities and living under an umbrella of fear is no way to live life.

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” — Spanish proverb, in Baz Luhrmann’s movie Strictly Ballroom

Remember Burry Stander’s family and friends in your prayers, as well as those family and friends of other cyclists that have been killed while cycling.  Take time to mourn, but do not allow sadness and fear to encompass your life.   Do not live in fear, but in action.   Join a cycling advocacy group, and do your best to encourage positive and progressive cycling legislation in your local cycling community.  Obey the rules of the road.  Wear your helmet.  Teach a beginner road cyclist how to properly ride in traffic.  Lead a group ride.  Go live.

My friend, VeloNews journalist Dan Wuori, echoed the sentiments of many cycling fans tonight in a Tweet:

“@dwuori: A Cyclist’s Prayer: Watch over those who ride and bring comfort to all who mourn. #RIPBurry”

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