Sunday, March 2, 2008

Z sez: Yield to Life

Professional racing cyclist Dave Zabriskie started Yield to Life to engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life. The "About" page is worth reading:
We all travel life’s roads. I stand before you to ask for your cooperation in providing safe space for cyclists. When you see a cyclist on the road, please, yield to life.

As a professional cyclist I have ridden my bike all over the world, but, sadly, each of the three times that I have been hit by a car has been in the United States; the worst of the accidents was in 2003.

I had just flown back to Salt Lake after my most successful season to date when, on May 23, I was in Millcreek Canyon in Salt Lake City. I was enjoying one of my favorite rides when I was hit by an SUV on the way down. The SUV made a left hand turn directly into me. I flew through the air and landed on the ground, unable to move the left side of my body. After spending a week in the hospital, I left with pins in my wrist and my leg, and some cadaver bone in my knee. The doctors did not think I would ride again.

It took a lot of hard work and determination to come back from my injuries. I often wonder what I could have accomplished had I not had such a devastating set back. I also wonder what went through the driver’s mind when she hit me. If she had only thought of me as life, a living, breathing person, rather than an obstacle in her way. Did she ever consider the prolonged agony she was creating by her reckless attitude and wrongful acts? If she had just waited a split second for my safe passage, I would have not been reduced to a wheelchair for months, and then in need of a walker and painful rehabilitation to even walk again, let alone ride a bike.

It is my mission to humanize and personalize cyclists to help motorists to always be aware that we are "life" and that we deserve a safe space on the road. I love to ride my bike as do my fellow cyclists, but we should not have to place out lives at risk everyday for that enjoyment.

Yield to Life is a non-profit organization devoted to creating a safer environment for cyclists and, by so doing, encouraging more people to ride for their own health, the good of the environment and the well being of society.

By making cycling safer and promoting the activity as a responsible means of transportation and a healthy means of recreation, Yield to Life can contribute to tackling some of today's major concerns—from such issues as pollution and global warming to obesity and diabetes. In this way, Yield to Life can play a role in increasing the quality of life not only for cyclists, but for everyone—for our generation and those to come.
I already like David Zabriskie, and this effort makes him even more of a hero in my book. Via Human Powered Transport. See also this rancorous exchange between motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in San Francisco.


  1. ...while i'm guilty of making fun of dave z's new moustache, i've always respected him as a cyclist..., w/ his intelligently named "yield to life" i can't tell you how much admiration i have for the need for me to mirror the worthy objectives here, but needless to say, a well conceived program...

    ...fritz, you mentioned the exchange amongst various types in sf...i thought it interesting that someone who was objecting to cyclist's riding on certain "dangerous" streets specifically mentioned 'fell st' which has a decent width bike lane on it's south side over a good portion of its length...when it hits the panhandle, blocks before gg park, the lane channels you into paths through the 'handle...
    ...i've both ridden & driven it recently & find it decent for either of it's purposes...

    ...i only mention it to shed light on the naysayers who would object even when reasonable accomodations are made...some folks just never like to give ground...

  2. thanks for the HPT plug; to add to that rant, just learned that Squid & Co. have canceled Monstertrack! - in part due to the fatality in Chicago and increasing concern about the ability to manage the race.

  3. Got in Fritz and read DaveZ's comments, upsetting but inspirational. His dedication to cycling and his goal to improve the cycling environment will benefit everyone...good for him.