WCCO reported a story yesterday to which I could relate for all the wrong reasons. A Wisconsin bicyclist died after suffering serious injuries when he was hit by a distracted driver. David Landgraf sounds like a remarkable man. When I read the police report, it wasn’t the cyclist in me who winced. I’ve been the mom in this scenario many, many times. Police say she turned to talk to her children in the backseat and when she turned forward she saw the biker, swerved to avoid him, but hit him. Thankfully I haven’t had such a close call with a cyclist or pedestrian. But as a driver, I’m ashamed to admit I have been careless.
What’s different about me is that when I turn to “talk” to my boys in the car it’s usually because I’ve reached my wit’s end with their behavior. Wyatt and Keegan are four and six and they act their age. I’m the mom who’s often distracted behind the wheel as I try to stop them from touching each other. I’m the one yelling their first and middle names, reminding them that I nearly died giving them life and making threats I dread I’ll have to make good on… instead of watching the road. What sane person acts this way while carrying such precious cargo? And how about all the innocent drivers, cyclists and pedestrians around me who can’t control my mom rage? I’m convinced that our cars make us somehow feel invincible. But there’s nothing like riding a bike in traffic to change your perspective.
Angela Keegan Benson is the Assistant News Director at WCCO-TV and a mother of two. On August 1, 2011 she began her quest to live one full year as a bike commuter. Follow along as she figures out how to mesh the cycling culture with the demands of parenthood and an affinity for 4-inch heels. And yes, she’s committed to sticking it out through February storms. For more Cycling In The Cities, follow @Angela_Keegan on Twitter.