Cyclist Killed in Indianapolis
I hate that stories about cyclists hit and killed by cars are more common than we want to admit, and although most of us realize that we are in a losing proposition with a car collision, the moments allow us to reflect and keep a greater sense of awareness about us on the roads. At least I hope.
I was riding to a doctor’s appointment this morning when I passed a wreck, but I was paying too much attention to the traffic to divert my eyes onto the scene. Only when I arrived at the office did I find out a cyclist had been hit and killed at that very intersection just fifteen minutes before I arrived. On the way back home I stopped to take a photo as the bus that hit the cyclist was in the road, investigative crews were mapping the area, and the rider’s bike was still on the ground. As I started to ride away I saw an officer pick up what was left of the mangled frame and place it in his car. From a distance I could tell it was a nice bike and I feared it was an experienced cyclist from the riding community, and either myself or a number of friends might know who it was. Turns out, I didn’t know him, but others in the community did. His name was Neil Kelty. He was 23. He was a new commuter, very excited about progressing Indy forward in alternative transportation, and was doing everything right. He was in the bike lane. He was wearing a helmet. But none of that mattered. The bus still turned into and collided with him head on. This was his last Facebook post.
“Absolutely love how helpful & open experienced cyclists have been as this newbie tries to learn enough to begin a 20 mile daily commute to/from work. The folks at Nebo Ridge Bicycles were absolutely amazing earlier this week – talking to me for nearly an hour after their shop was closed. Loved that they led with a teaching heart instead of a hard sell. That’s what I call great service, I’m looking forward to heading back once I’ve narrowed down options a little more.“
And this was a recent blog post. The irony of the last line stabbing.
“And if you see me out there, please don’t hit me with your car.“
I detail this story because it is an opportunity for remembrance, both of Neil Kelty, but also that we must always be on the lookout. We must always look over our shoulders, expect drivers to operate their vehicles erratically, and remain on the defensive at all times.
Further, this is another opportunity to open up the discussion about appropriate “punishments” for drivers that kill. At the time of this writing, the bus driver was not charged with anything…but is that ok? I have no doubt the bus driver was not acting maliciously or with murderous intent, but THEY screwed up and deserve retribution of some manner. They WILL have to live with the image and knowledge of killing another human, but should they also lose their job? Should they have their license taken away for at least a year? These are just thoughts of my own, but I’d be interested in hearing what you think is appropriate for drivers that kill cyclists, even by “accident”.