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VecchioJo is going for a ride, isn’t sure when he’ll be back

 

It’s often pithily quipped that if you wanted to murder someone and get away with it then the easiest way is to run them over in a car. Kill a person when you’re behind the wheel and you’ll pretty much escape scot-free; come up with some kind of excuse, it doesn’t have to be too elaborate, the sun was in your eyes, it was a bit dark, they came out of nowhere, they didn’t have lights/hi-viz/helmet, SMIDSY, whatever, it can be any old tosh, you don’t have to dream up a weaving Agatha Christie scenario of alibis or even hide the murder weapon. You’ll get a bit of a slapped hand, don’t do it again. Actually, you can do it again if you like, that’s fine. A small fine at most.

Swing that around, flip it and turn it on it’s head and you could argue that the easiest way to take your own life and leave behind a little less aftershock, distress or the hushed whispers of social stigma would be to do it on a bicycle.

Who hasn’t had that moment when you’re stood in the middle of the road, at that junction waiting to turn right, and you wonder what would happen if you just pushed gently but firmly on the pedals and swung artfully into the path of that on-coming truck. Walken's Syndrome. A simple and effortless move. Crump. Oh just once to live in a Road Runner cartoon and be able peel your flattened self off the radiator grill, maybe stagger off in a comedy concertina fashion, hold your mouth and nose and breath out hard to pop your eyes back, no harm done. Just to see what it felt like, just that once, no nasty final repercussions. It’s healthy to merely imagine. Isn’t it?

There have been enough moments in my miles where death has crossed my path and it would have been the easy option to just cycle into it open armed and eagerly shake its boney hand in greeting. I’m currently going through one of those patches where every single ride requires some kind of dramatic evasive action to duck the speeding texting erratic scythe of the reaper. All it would take is to not constantly be aware of every situation, not to know when to cover the brakes in anticipation, deliberately ignore that sixth sense, be joyfully oblivious to everything around you. That would be nice, the joyfully oblivious. Instead of tensing and hauling on the levers and giving in to instinct and luck to find the gap through to a future, just breathe out weightless, peacefully close your eyes and relax gracefully and gratefully into the inevitable. Goodnight, thank you, leave all my organs to others. Let friends rummage in the bike shed for whatever they fancy. Sink into the sweet release. No flowers, money to charity. Easy. Easy way out.

Obviously no-one would suspect it’s deliberate, why would you do such a thing? A cyclist could never have such premeditated thoughts, they’re happy people aren’t they? Riding a bicycle makes them rapturous, lalalala, hello birds, hello trees, hello sky, lalalala, they’re always banging on about it. Felt a bit rubbish, went for a bike ride, cheered up. Lalalalala. Fit, healthy, saving the bloody planet with that smug grin on their faces. Surely nothing could possibly be wrong? No-one would suspect a thing.

You could do it in full cycling regalia to show you’re a serious type; that you’re a Proper Cyclist, obviously knew what you were doing, what happened was just unlucky. Make sure you wear a helmet to give the thin veneer of some preservation intent though. Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors. Friends would say it’s the way he wanted to go, on a bike. No-one would ask any questions, just a bit sad really, others would even be grateful that you’ve gone, lycra lout, bloody cyclists.

Or if you can’t be bothered to get dressed up just pop out in normal clothes, maybe slip on a neon yellow vest flapping in the breeze, and mix it up in the rush hour traffic, play chicken with lorries. Filter up the left on the handy bike lane they painted for you there. Use the bloody bike lane. It would only be a matter of a very short time, it would be unavoidable, it would just be one of those things. A statistic. Some would even be grateful that you’ve gone, bloody cyclists, running red lights etcetc. A small article in the local paper with a stock photo, something that slips off the bottom of the web-page by lunchtime.

All too easy, before too long any discussion would have descended into the usual name calling, victim blaming, infrastructure damning, pointing and shouting whilst any investigation into the real reason gets buried under the noise. As always. Handy that. Get away with it scot-free.

 

I’m going out for a ride now, if I arrive back home it’s because I’ve decided that I want to survive another day. Unless someone else has better ideas.

 

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mind

 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

13 comments

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themartincox [553 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes

Happy Monday people!

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peted76 [1457 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

It's okay to be a bit sensitive sometimes... but reading this I can't help thinking that you need a little 'Brian Blessed' in your life saying 'ODINS BEARD, RULE FIVE!'

 

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Mungecrundle [1487 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes

Nothing wrong with a bit of dark humour, but make no mistake. Depression is real, potentially deadly and for the most part, treatable. If you really are having suicidal thoughts then reach out and get some help. You'll find that you are far from alone

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Bmblbzzz [295 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

I've no idea of Jo's state of mind but seeing as he's put links to the Samaritans and Mind at the foot of the article, I think it's safe to assume he is at least serious about taking depression seriously, whether for himself or others. 

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Duncann [1486 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

Nothing wrong with a bit of dark humour, but make no mistake. Depression is real, potentially deadly and for the most part, treatable. If you really are having suicidal thoughts then reach out and get some help. You'll find that you are far from alone

+1

Quite a worrying read. I hope the author's colleagues read it and get in touch.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I wonder how many people have actually done this - ie. ended it by making it appear like a traffic accident. Not just on bikes, but on any vehicle.

 

Would perhaps be the least devastating way to go if you wanted to. Must be hard for a family to come to terms with a death, but a magnitude greater if it's a suicide where they have to deal with guilt on the top of it. 

 

Or just any freak accident you hear about come to think of it. 'Loving husband, father of 3 drowns in river' - those sorts of stories crop up every once in a while. Almost impossible for anyone to work out if there was any intent there, if carried out with any rigour. 

 

Food for thought, good Monday blog, if a bit dark for some tastes.

 

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themartincox [553 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

unconstituted wrote:

I wonder how many people have actually done this - ie. ended it by making it appear like a traffic accident. Not just on bikes, but on any vehicle.

 

Would perhaps be the least devastating way to go if you wanted to.

 

 

apart from for the driver who assisted! 

I know we all assume drivers hate us etc etc, but to actually force one to kill a cyclist is going to mess them up for a long time!

They will say that 'they never saw us', because it was true, then they will face a barrage of abuse from the cycling community for being callous etc.

I get the idea of wanting to end one's life, but involving others seems to be perpetuating the suffering!

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PaulBox [681 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Depression is a terrible thing, and something that those who have been lucky enough not to have experienced it find it very difficult to understand.

Another organisation that I've heard good things about - The CALM Zone: http://www.thecalmzone.net.gridhosted.co.uk/

 

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peted76 [1457 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
Duncann wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

Nothing wrong with a bit of dark humour, but make no mistake. Depression is real, potentially deadly and for the most part, treatable. If you really are having suicidal thoughts then reach out and get some help. You'll find that you are far from alone

+1

Quite a worrying read. I hope the author's colleagues read it and get in touch.

Agree, feel a bit bad now for making light of this post. I've suffered with bouts of depression since my teens and I should know better. 

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jollygoodvelo [1827 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It's very true and all that... but... hope you're OK Jo.

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psling [296 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I was going to comment that she's only just disappeared until next year but, no, she's hanging on for at least another week so no need to be down yet in a SAD kind of way smiley. Take care out there.

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MartyMcCann [287 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Chapeau to Jo for posting this, whether it is a reflection of where they are at or simply a piece designed to get people thinking, and more importantly, talking about these issues (without the "Rule V" or "Man Up" brigade piping up).  Thankfully we are generally getting better at discussing depression, mental health and suicide, although probably too slowly and with too much credence still being paid to the boorish "pull-your-socks-up-and-snap-out-of-it" idiots.

 

I volunteer with my local Samartians branch and do some sportives to raise funds- amazing how being on a bike and seeing a Sams jersey can encourage people to chat to you-much more important that the money raising to be honest!

 

 

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The _Kaner [1194 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

I wonder how many people have actually done this - ie. ended it by making it appear like a traffic accident. Not just on bikes, but on any vehicle.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/10-of-single-vehicle-crashes-are-su...

2013 records estimate/suggets that at least1/10 deaths in car accidents (single vehicle) in Ireland are exactly that.

Suicide by car/proxy. Ireland has one of the highest male suicide rates in Europe.