About 70 cyclists, along with over a dozen walkers/runners, and motor vehicles joined in the procession meant to draw attention to the need for all users to share the roadway and crosswalks. The procession concluded at the County-City building in downtown South Bend where there was a press conference, and short speeches by local dignitaries. The gathered crowd seemed especially inspired by the words of Yatish Yoshi, the chairman of the event. I am re-printing his speech below, and it is well worth reading.
Let it be known to humanity of mankind, to citizens of South Bend, Mishawaka, St. Joseph County and all surrounding counties and cities: we as bicyclists, we as walkers and runners, we as wheel chair users, are here to stay. We as motorists and motorcyclists are here to stay. The roads and streets belong to all of us: bicyclists, motorists, walkers/runners, motorcyclists, wheel chair users. We all must feel safe all the time while we are using the roads/streets/sidewalks/bike paths and trails.
Hi, my name is Yatish Joshi, appointed Chair of the Procession Committee. The Procession Committee came about because various groups and citizens in our community wanted to raise the awareness “Share the Road….Every Life Counts”.
The fact is that accidents will happen: the most important thing is how we as individuals and citizens of our community can reduce the number of accidents; how we can make our community, our city, our state, our nation and world as a whole a better place to live where everyone can enjoy their freedom: freedom to walk, freedom to ride bicycles, freedom to drive motor vehicles.
As Louise Addicott said “It is not what we can do for ourselves but what we can do for others: that is what matters”.
The accidents of Steve Carey, a bicyclist hit by a car from behind in St. Joseph County, and Edna Mast, a motorist who was hit by a semi-truck from behind in Goshen while stopping for a bicyclist: they both were killed and are the catalysts for this procession. We as individuals and as community have to take these accidents as a starting point and make our community better. And by doing that, bicyclists, motorists and walkers/runners all can coexist side by side and share the road. It is not about “them” vs. “us”. We as a community, we as news media, we as elected officials must focus dialog and solutions on a common approach that all users of the roads can live by.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream……” and yes, we all are here because we also have a dream to make our communities, our cities better places to live. Another great man said “We as an ordinary people have a capacity to do extra ordinary things” and that we shall do.
I will now present to you Mike Keen, Office of Sustainability, Indiana University-South Bend, Alfred Guillaume, Vice Chancellor, IUSB, representing area higher education institutions, Hodge Patel, representing Congressman Joe Donnelly, and our Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Thank you for believing in yourself and having a dream.