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Stan Oldak, NYCC Club Rep
Yesterday we heard the awful news that Stan Oldak of the New York Cycling Club was killed by a hit and run driver while completing a 400km brevet outside Houston, Texas this past weekend. The crash happened about 210 miles into the ride in the town of Columbus, Texas. Stan was completing the ride as part of the qualification series for Paris – Brest – Paris later this year.
You can see from the NYCC cover story that Stan Oldak was a great cyclist and a tireless volunteer. He was the NYCC club representative to the League for a couple of years and had been a League member for many years. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and colleagues in the cycling world.
Stan’s death comes at that time of year when we should be celebrating bicycling. It’s National Bike Month, for goodness sake. The weather is turning nice (at least in the DC area). And bicycling is such a healthy, worthy, and enjoyable activity that people shouldn’t pay for enjoying it with their lives.
We don’t know all the details of the crash – except that, yet again, the driver couldn’t be bothered to stop. I don’t know what the actual numbers are, but it seems to me that each year more and more fatal and severe bicyclist and pedestrian crashes involve hit and run drivers. Given the pretty pathetic punishments handed out to many of those that do stop and face the consequences, this is even more disappointing.
What do we do? We express our sincere condolences. We hope the driver has the courage to turn themselves into the authorities. Maybe we join a Ride of Silence (May 16) and honor Stan and the other 700 cyclists we can be pretty sure will be killed this year on our nation’s roads.
Somehow it doesn’t seem like that’s enough.
We’ll carry on with our education programming and our exhortations to build better roads to accommodate cyclists. And we know that somehow we need to do more to instill in people in this country that cyclists are people too, with real talents, value, skills, family, and friends. Our lives should not be cheapened or diminished because we happen to wear Lycra on occasion and ride a bike. We must drive home the idea that driving a car is a responsibility, not a right, and that the privilege given people to drive can and must be taken seriously or be taken away. For real.