November 10, 2011

Yoga Loses One of its Own in Bicycle Accident.

Jenna Morrison, 38 years old and 5 months pregnant, lost her life on Monday in a bicycle accident in Toronto, Canada.

Jenna was a yoga teacher, dancer, wife and mother whose life was cut short when she was clipped by a truck on her way to pick up her 5 year old son from school. She was wearing a helmet and carrying her son’s helmet when she was caught under the truck’s back tires and killed.

I’m not a cyclist. I’ll admit that I’ve been more than frustrated by living in an avid cyclist area, where highways are narrow and cyclists ride two abreast, even when there is no bike lane to be had. We have many accidents every year and I have witnessed at least two personally.

In Santa Cruz, maybe two years ago, an almost identical accident happened on Highway 1, aka Mission Street, where a cyclist versus truck and resulting fatality occured. And I’ve been the ear of my sister in Portland, where there is much angst between the two groups on who has the ride-of-way.

Today, on my way to pick up my own sons from school,  I watched, in horror, as  a car cut a hard right in front of two bicyclists, narrowly missing an accident and the resulting bird-flying that ensued.

What’s a yogi to do?

First off: let’s remember Jenna. A wife whose unending dedication nursed her husband through cancer. Who left behind a sweet 5 year old boy. Who took with her a sweet little life-to-be.

And let’s not fail to ask ourselves how we can better be safer on the roads. I know, as a motorist, that I have screamed silently at cyclists: YOU ARE EITHER A PEDESTRIAN OR A MOTORIST. YOU CANNOT BE BOTH! I’ve watched as both motorists and cyclists have acted hastily, dangerously, angrily. I’ve secretly hated anyone on a bike that dares a road that is hard to drive, even in a vehicle.

But in the end, I am driving a body of steel and they are driving bodies of flesh and blood. Don’t get me wrong. I live in California. Much of us are not able to use a bicycle as means of transport, and those that do can be downright maddening (you realize this is a busy, narrow highway prone to mudslides, and/or this is a busy, narrow road with no bike lane). But nonetheless, those of us who have the deadlier impact should be more careful, because lives are very much at stake.

I’m saddened to hear of Jenna’s loss. As a mother myself, my heart goes out to her family, to her poor husband and child, to the loss of the child she was making. And it could have been too easy to prevent, if we “car” drivers had just been a little more careful.

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