One mother’s plea

I am a mom; many Asheville residents are moms too. Your readers [still] have a mother and/or know someone who is or has a mother. It is a connection we all have. It is safe to say that for every injury or death there is a mother somewhere profoundly affected by the event. Please think about this each and every time you start your car and especially each time you rush by a cyclist or blow through a crosswalk or rush to the bank before it closes. The actions you take behind the wheel of your car affect me and everyone else living in Asheville.

We all need to get around and, like it or not, bikes have the right to use public roadways. By N.C. law, motor vehicles must give bikes three to four feet of wiggle room. Bikers are responsible for driving predictably, using hand signals and making themselves visible; they are not required to drive along the shoulder of the road. Pedestrians, bikes, wheelchairs, strollers, scooters and cars are all a part of the Asheville roads. Car owners pay taxes in order to operate their vehicle. We all pay a “price” to use our roadways. The cyclist may pay a hefty price when they navigate the narrow roads or blind turns throughout Asheville, West Asheville, Montford, Biltmore Village, Riverside Drive, Beaverdam, North Asheville, East Asheville. Many of your readers live in or drive through one of these neighborhoods regularly. Odds are good the cyclist in front of you, slowing you down, is your neighbor. Maybe you know his wife or maybe your kids are in school together or you work with his mother.

Please give each other a break. Be mindful. Stay connected to what you are doing. Please put down the cell phone, PDA, latte, newspaper, tweezers, whatever—and drive that car like your life depends on it, because it does. You are driving around in a 3,000-pound WMD!

This hurried little life can end at the blink of an eye! Imagine: On a crisp fall morning a young mother rides home after picking up the weekly paper at the corner gas station. She is on her way to meet her kindergarten son at the bus stop. He waits and waits, but she doesn’t come. What if it was your self-absorption or impatience or misjudgment that kept this sweet, funny neighbor from getting to her son? Would you want to live each day of your life with this on your mind?

Well, this scenario hasn’t happened, yet! This woman is me! I am your neighbor, the woman behind you at the checkout in Earthfare or Ingles. My family loves me! If you pass me or another cyclist riding along Waynesville Road or across the Clingman bridge or anywhere, please do so in a way that would make your mother proud! Thanks, neighbor.

— Jacquie Hammond
West Asheville

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3 thoughts on “One mother’s plea

  1. bluegrassbrad

    Well said, in particular this part:
    “Please give each other a break. Be mindful. Stay connected to what you are doing. Please put down the cell phone, PDA, latte, newspaper, tweezers, whatever—and drive that car like your life depends on it, because it does. You are driving around in a 3,000-pound WMD! ”
    I’m tired of the cell phone chatters cutting people off, driving erratically, etc and not even realizing it. Dangerously self absorbed. Hang up and drive folks.

  2. cwaster

    A cell phone chatter killed my cousin, crippled his wife, and put his baby son in the hospital.

    In any case, biking in this town can be dangerous. Great letter.

  3. inkjen

    I really appreciate your reminder to put down the cell phone, latte, pda, etc., slow down, pay attention, and share the road.

    When I was learning to drive, my dad called the car a 3,000 bullet. I think WMD is a much better metaphor, because the destruction caused by a auto accident can be wide ranging, deeply affecting many lives (not just the ones in the car).

    Thank you for your wake up call, Jacquie! I’ll keep my eye out for you :0)

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