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Austin Miller

March 04, 2008 By: Peter Smith Category: Uncategorized

Austin Miller was a 15-year old boy who was killed while riding his bicycle in Beaverton, Oregon. He and a transit bus somehow managed to collide. The accident happened about three weeks ago.

About a year before his death, Austin wrote in his school newspaper a column titled, “Please Do Not Run Me Over“.  The article is just straight up and talks about why we need to do everything we can to address bicycle safety. One thing that Austin Miller seemed to understand very well is that our lives, as bicyclists, are constantly on the line. Some responses to this petition seem to suggest that we should just get over it - that this whole ‘safety thing’ is really nothing more than alarmist drivel - that maybe we just need an injection of bravery. There are several things that can cause this type of reaction, I think, but one of them seems to be the belief that things are fine the way they are. Well, for me, I don’t believe things are anywhere near fine the way they are. And I hope you feel the same.

The final two paragraphs of Austin Miller’s article, about a year before he died:

Bikers will always be here; as long as it costs less than driving, helps us stay fit and pumps those feel-good chemicals throughout our body, we will remain on the early morning pavement, and that will not change. There is no excuse for a driver who does not pay attention and mind not only other cars but bikes. You cannot control other people’s actions, but you can control your own. Why anyone would rather sit inside a massive metal death trap for their commute is beyond me, but there are those with family, disabilities and other impairing things keeping them from biking. There will never again be a society 100% dedicated to driving or biking. It is like all other integration that had to happen in history-it takes time, patience, and a great deal of compromise.

There will always be hard feelings about this subject-we can only hope that no one will get hurt or loose a loved one due to a lack of responsibility and respect for the road. These are dangerous times, and especially for bikers, our fate lies not only in our hands, but in the hands of the drivers of which we share the road. I am glad for every day I reach the X point unscathed, but besides doing everything I can for myself, I cannot control you, I can only mutter these few words in a hope that it might do good: please do not run me over.

I don’t think it’s fair that Austin, or any child or adult, should ever have had to wonder if they would reach ‘the X point’ uninjured. And it’s obviously not something we can let stand, now.

Whenever I think about tragedies like this, I get angry - very angry. And when I think of the suffering of the family - mom and dad, brother and sister, an entire community - I know I’m going to be part of the solution, and that I have to get busy right now.

1 Comments to “Austin Miller”

  1. Luke Pederson says:

    Please add “bike there.”


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