Today, I rode bikes with 550+ fellow cyclists and friends, all of whom were affected by and brought together by the loss of a single young man last week. Not all of them knew Tommy personally, but each and every one of them understands how important it is to stand by each other. We all want to bring awareness to motorists that our lives are fragile and have value - not just to ourselves, but to every person we touch in life. We’re all affected by the senseless and 100% preventable loss of life such as this incident.

This is not the first time this has happened, and unfortunately it likely won’t be the last.

I believe cyclists have a unique perspective on the road. Among other things, we have a deep appreciation of how fragile humans are.

One thing I want is for non-cyclists to be forced to experience what it feels like to be passed by a 2,000+ pound car traveling at 2-3 times their speed within 3 feet, or occasionally even 1 foot, of their flesh and bones. Maybe then perspectives will change and motorists will be considerate and pay attention while driving.

Yes, this happens often. Even on roads with bike lanes. Even in Austin.

As a motorist, your highest priority while operating your vehicle is to not injure or kill anyone outside of your vehicle. The moment you received your license to operate, you agreed to this.

Here are two easy things you can do to keep us safe while driving your car:

  1. Slow down. While you may feel safe in your wheeled-sofa cruising along at 10mph over the speed limit, you’re putting the safety and lives of those outside of your vehicle in jeopardy. Just slow down. Your destination will still be there if you arrive 1 minute late. I promise.

  2. Put down your phone. This one is pretty easy. Just don’t use your phone while you’re in your car. The average travel time for someone in Austin to get to their destination is about 15 minutes. The person on the other end can wait. If it’s an emergency, pull over to the side of the road to take care of it.

The next time you see a cyclist on the road, remember that we just want to live and enjoy our lives - just like you.

Tommy Ketterhagen Memorial Ride