Changing the Conversation So All People on the Road are Seen as a Person

Video Transcription:
I ran across some articles recently about the language we use in describing cyclists and drivers in a community. And, this writer was espousing the idea that instead of cyclists, we are "people on a bike", drivers are "people driving" and pedestrians are "people walking". This is actually being done in Seattle.

At first, I thought, I don't know if I agree with this but the longer I thought about it, I realized that it has a very fundamental dynamic in changing the conversation. So many times as cyclists, particularly I know in working with the Florida Bicyclist's Association, we become sort of a small group trying to change the attitude of the big group of drivers and everyone else. It's kind of like us versus them. This subtle difference in language makes everyone part of the community because we're all "people". Everyone at some point walks, drives or rides a bike.

So, a cyclist who is struck by a car would become "a person on a bicycle hit by someone driving". The cyclist can be referred to someone who is a father, husband, an employee of xyz corporation and a member of our community. When we then advocate for infrastructure changes for cycling to make it safer, we become neighborhood advocates because we're all seeking the same thing, a safer environment to walk, ride our bikes and drive our cars.

I think it's an idea that has a lot of purpose and a lot of meaning.

Jim Dodson
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.