Memorial to a Bicycle Commuter
Randall L. Lorraine, 58, of Langley was killed while bicycling home from work. Whether by choice or necessity, he commuted by bicycle instead of by car, truck, or bus. Some ride because they want the exercise or the quiet. Some ride because it makes financial sense. Some ride because it is one way to show they care about the environment and taking action on climate change. All bicyclists recognize the risks. Unfortunately for Randall Lorraine, the risk became real. He was struck by a car and died at the scene.
Hindsight usually provides suggestions of how accidents could be avoided: brighter clothes, more lights, better pavement markings, safer drivers, alternative routes. While implementing those suggestions may help to avoid future incidents, they cannot change the fact that a bicyclist was killed by a car driven by a suspected drunk driver.
The roads exist for all of us, whether we decide to drive a car, ride a bicycle, or walk. When infrastructure and budget opportunities are debated, bicycling is marginalized—frequently treated as recreational and therefore optional. For those who commute by bicycle, getting to and from work safely isn’t optional. For them, safety improvements aren’t niceties. Recreational trails aren’t as useful as proper signage and road maintenance.
We can’t undo what happened to Randall Lorraine. Infrastructure and budget debates may improve safety, eventually. In the meantime, all of us who use the roads, cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, can take a tragic event as an inspiration to be more careful, do what we can to advocate for safe bicycling infrastructure, and remember to be aware and share and have conversations about stories like this.
Words are easily forgotten. To raise awareness and to continue the inspiration, we created a ghost bike memorial that has been erected at the site. A reminder of someone who died too soon, and a reminder to keep it from happening again.
We thank all the people whose efforts make this possible, and Island Recycling for providing the bicycle.
—Occupy Your Bike, a bicycle advocacy movement based on South Whidbey Island