9.17.2008

Please help out: The 'Rose Long' fund

UVM Cycling's Rose Long climbing at the 2008 GMSR.

I met Rose Long at the 2007 Green Mountain Stage Race. We were talking at the post race volunteer's dinner and she was telling me about how she had transferred from Colby College to UVM because she wanted to race bikes...

I didn't really speak to Rose at the 2008 race but I did email her a couple of photos I had taken on Appalachian Gap. Unfortunately the next I heard mention of her was when a local cycling email list reported that she was involved in a truly horrifying accident while riding in Burlington:
Long, who is a member of the UVM cycling team, sustained a broken wrist, a collapsed lung, severe facial lacerations and a broken nose, jaw and pallet for which will have to get reconstructive surgery this week. Long will also need reconstructive dental work to replace a number of teeth that were knocked out in the accident. (As reported in the Burlington Free Press -- the 22 year old man who hit her was driving with a suspended licence -- he left the scene of the accident, a felony.)
Anyway I am very saddened that this accident occured (I used to ride through the intersection where it happened all the time) and certainly wish Rose a full recovery from her injuries. UVM Cycling has set up a website that can accept donations to help cover the costs of her treatment and recovery, not all of which will be covered by insurance. I thought I would post a link here because this site is still getting some GMSR-related traffic: "Support Rose Long".

The coverage of this accident and a related rally downtown in the Free Press has stirred up a hornet's nest of ugly comments on the paper's website about cyclists vs. drivers from characters with screen names like "realvter" & "underground82":
I live many miles away from Burlington but wanted to chime in about this problem becoming huge. It is the mindset of these idiots in their skin tight designer clothes that the automobiles on the road need to look out for them. The only reason that these guys drive their bikes the way they do is for attention. Why else would some one so blatently put themselves in these situations. ... If I never saw another bike it would not bother me.
I won't get into the merits of the bikes vs. cars thing but I am fascinated and appalled that a mainstream media outlet (granted, the Free Press is in decline, who knows how long they will be around, their business model does not work anymore) would turn over part of its online platform to such characters: They are idle -- a small pool of people dominates the discourse -- illiterate, mean-spirited, vicious, 'haters'; to wade through this dreck leaves one with the impression that the inmates have taken over part of the asylum...

Maybe Gannett's strategy is to justify professional journalism produced and edited to a certain standard of quality by allowing this waste stream on their website; but the whole experience of reading the comments is rather sickening: If these are my neighbors it's time to get out of Dodge and I don't wish them well. But this is just a digression: If any readers have made it this far please go over Rose's site and make a small donation... Thanks.

1 comment:

bmike said...

I too am appalled by the comments on the site (and you'll find similar comments on other paper's sites when you search out cycling articles).

It is scary to think that these folks exist out there in the real world... and for everyone's safety I hope that this is more internet machismo than anything. It does give me hope when I see people get together and rally for safer streets - and the mayor and the police department attend and agree.

But it really saddens me that in this 'land of the free' - people who chose to use our public right of ways in anything other than a motorized vehicle are outcast, threatened, harassed, and sometimes injured and killed due to people aggressively directing a multi-tonned machine at another human being (whether they intend to or not).



Thanks for the post... my wife was on the same floor this weekend at FAHC and I dropped by to see Rose even through I do not know her. Her family put up a sign that she was trying to rest after so many many visitors - so I kept moving. By the looks of it the support for her seems overwhelming.

It is inspiring to know that folks can rally around a downed cyclist - I only hope this can start to extend to all those unknown and unnamed utility commuters out there who are in just as much danger from reckless driving as the racers and college students...