Urban Velo

Publisher’s Statement Issue #22

Tragically, the scene depicted above is one we’re all quite familiar with. Many of us have taken part in a Ghostbike lockup ceremony, and most of us have seen our fair share of these ghastly white roadside memorials. Ghostbikes are a somber reminder that the streets still aren’t safe for cyclists, and that perhaps they never will be.

The scene depicted on page 68 in the photo entitled “Death of a Cyclist” is one that only a handful of people have ever seen firsthand. It’s horrifying, intensely saddening, and most people will want to turn the page as soon as they’re confronted with such an image.

I sincerely apologize to anyone who is offended by the image, and I acknowledge that most people are reading this magazine for inspiration and enjoyment, not to be confronted with macabre photography. But I maintain that the decision to run the photo was not made lightly.

In 1972, when the Associated Press released the photo of nine-year-old Kim Phúc running naked down the street in Vietnam, screaming in pain from the burns suffered in a napalm attack, millions of people took notice. No longer was napalm just a tactical defoliant that people read about in the Sunday paper—it became real. It was something horrible that mangled children.

Human life is fragile, and we, as urban cyclists, are in danger even when we ride safely and wear a helmet. It’s not that we need to dwell on the subject, but it’s worth remembering that the people working to make the streets safe for cyclists have undertaken an immensely important job, and they deserve our support.

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11 Comments

  1. Happy Monday Mommies, my favor… | Support Single MothersNovember 1, 2010 at 9:20 am

    [...] Publisher's Statement Issue #22 « Urban Velo [...]

  2. LeeNovember 1, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I’m glad you did.

  3. Tom BaroneNovember 1, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Very nicly stated . I agree 100%

  4. jimmyNovember 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Jeff, i think you guys made the right choice. It’s not something nice to look at, but it’s an image and reality that people need to understand.

  5. josieNovember 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Jeff and Brad, Thank you for doing what you do.

    Cycling is life at its fullest. Sadly sometimes that involves death. I both fear and long for the day the the AP, NY times, CNN, Washpost or other major news organization shows a photo of a mangled cyclist under an unrepentant SUV drivers weapon. Maybe then people will start thinking of us as people

  6. FrankNovember 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks for drawing attention to this. Urgently needed.

  7. Brandon MungalNovember 1, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Amen brethren!

  8. PDXbikerNovember 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Look at it as tragic reality. An image such as this really makes a person think.

  9. Joe PeraltaNovember 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Every time I throw a leg over a bike I remind myself not to get killed. Every time, any bike.

  10. chrisNovember 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    That image truly is horrifying, offensive, and sad.
    Thank you for publishing it.

  11. timmyleesixxNovember 4, 2010 at 11:06 am

    I believe running the photo was the right call and I agree with the comments left by the other readers. People outside of the cycling community need to see images like the one we’re discussing.

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