Seeing What's Around You

My good friend Pete (that's not him in the photo...just a guy from a stock photo) was in an accident last night. He was biking home from work yesterday and an SUV hit him. Pete was driving north; the SUV was going south and made a left turn into Pete's lane. He saw it coming, but it was too late to do anything to avoid it. He's in the hospital with a two broken bones on one leg and a broken knee on the other. I biked up to the hospital to spend time with him this afternoon, hoping that wasn't bad karma to bike there (as I don't believe in karma, it didn't matter much; I got home safely).

Minneapolis has been ranked the best city for biking in (unless you live in Portland, Oregon, which claims to retain the title). We have good trails and decent bike lanes on the roads. Many people commute by bicycle. Many more frequently bike for exercise or just to get around the city. I like to bike as much as I am able, and even with all the bike lanes and trails, it can be scary. Most motorists don't notice you. And many of the ones who do are angry at you for being a nuisance to traffic or something.

I don't know what happened--if the other guy though Pete was going slower than he was; if he just didn't see him. I think far too many drivers don't pay attention to what's going on around them; they only pay attention to their own vehicles. I know I can be guilty of this at times, too--if I'm late and feeling hurried. And that's when accidents happen.

The same is true in life. Too many of us are rushing, getting to our next destination with blinders on. We don't notice what's going on around us. We don't see "the other"--only our selves, or those we choose to see. We get too focused on the next place we have to be or thing we have to do and we miss out as we're on our way.

So take time to slow down. Eliminate things from your schedule if you need. Recognize the need to not be urgent about anything other the the present moment. Look around you, not just straight ahead. Acknowledge those you share the road with and be mindful of them--courteous, even, if you could. This goes for life, as well as on the road.

 So speedy recovery, Pete. And may we all bike safely and drive with greater awareness.

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