After yesterday's news about the death of Lee Ann Barry, founder of the B.I.G. ride, another traffic tragedy has struck in the US. The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) announced the death of Brett Jarolimek, who died on Monday afternoon. Jarolimek was a gifted cyclist who loved racing and excelled at the technically challenging sport of cyclo-cross. Jarolimek was an artist and an employee of the Bike Gallery in Portland.
Because of the extreme disparity between weight, power and the level of protection that exists between motor vehicles and bikes, it is imperative that both motorists and cyclists be fully aware of each other's presence and operate their respective vehicles in an appropriate and defensive manner. While the number of deaths of cyclists is only a fraction compared to motorists, many of those accidents are preventable.
Foremost is the need to educate motorists, cyclists and pedestrians about proper behaviour, the laws, safety and civility. In the US, the League of American Bicyclists educates both motorists and cyclists to share the road safely. Many of the League's activists also work together with local law enforcement as well as on a state wide level, pushing for needed changes in the traffic codes.