In light of the Kalamazoo, Michigan tragedy, it’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong with the world. Several similar incidents this year have hit too close to home. Some friends in North Carolina were also run down in group. As were clients in in North Augusta, SC. As our community grows, we experience more and more loss, both personally and professionally.
People seem more selfish, anxious and angrier. You learn of a terrible tragedy and your heart aches for the family who lost a loved one; only to then read the cold-hearted hateful comments people write about the victim. It’s almost too much; sometimes I want to close my personal bubble in a little tighter.
But giving up would be giving in. This morning I was reminded there are still so many good people out there. People who not only care but who go out of their way to do the right thing. Social media is the local news of 10 or 20 years ago, only magnified by the hundreds of thousands. It emphasizes the negative because it’s dramatic; it fans the flames.
Like many who are reading this, much of my life revolves around all kinds of bicycles. Bicycles are my work, my transportation and most of my friends are bicyclists. So when I think about what’s right and wrong with the world, it’s often in the context of riding a bike. A beautiful afternoon ride with a close friend, followed immediately by learning of the Kalamazoo tragedy; the daily bonding ride to school with my little boy, only to be buzzed on a neighborhood road on the way to work. It’s the rollercoaster on which many of us live.
But today I see a lot of positive. Like this story about two young men (on bicycles) who went out of their way to help the woman being sexually assaulted by now the now infamous Stanford student.
There was also this recent story in Charlotte. An awful tragedy and another unnecessary death where a drunk driver killed a motorcyclist. But two witnesses saw what happened and cared enough to chase down the driver. Thinking of many of the cases I’ve handled, there are so many good Samaritans, both bicyclists and random bystanders, who not only stopped to help but completely forgot about themselves and went out of their ways to do the right thing.
In my personal life I have found that focusing on the positive often drowns out the negative and sometimes even makes it disappear. Why would this not also work as a community? These heroes are the people we should be talking about. There are many to be found in our communities. We have repeatedly seen our cycling community rally around someone who is down, whether because of a crash or other life challenges.
Deep down, most people want to do the right thing. We have to keep celebrating those who do. We have to enjoy life and continue to ride bikes and do what we love; focus on what’s good in the world. I’ll now going to go back to fighting bad drivers and insurance companies but I am going to stop to think periodically about the great people I get to work with, the wonderful clients we get to represent and all the people out there who help.
North Carolina lawyer and Bike Law founder, Ann Groninger, has advocated at the state level on behalf of bicyclists in North Carolina for over 15 years. Ann has offices in Charlotte and Durham and has helped bike accident clients in Asheville, Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and throughout the state. Read more about Ann on her bio page.