08 April 2017

A Story I Didn't Want To Repeat

One of the things my students learn--if they don't already know it--is that the same stories repeat themselves, whether in literature, the other arts, journalism or "real life".

As for the latter:  Yes, another story repeated itself in life.  In fact, it's one I wrote about just yesterday in this blog.  Unfortunately, it's not the sort of account I, or anyone else, enjoys repeating.  But here goes:

Another motorist drove into the back of another cyclist in Florida--in more or less the same part of the Sunshine State, no less.  

Frank Atkisson in the Florida State Legislature, 2003

Yesterday, I told you about Alan Snel.  He survived the ordeal, although he still has a lot of recovery ahead of him.  Frank Atkisson, on the other hand was not as fortunate:  The force of 26-year-old Kristie Jean Knoebel's car ended his life shortly after he was struck while riding at around 7pm the other day.

Although Snel's experience garnered a lot of attention among cycling advocates and journalists--Alan is both--it didn't reverberate through the general population the way Atkisson's unfortunate encounter has.  At least, his tragedy has caused the general public--in Florida, anyway, to take notice.

You might say that it's because Atkisson, unfortunately, died.  But another reason is that he served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years, and was also a city council member and the mayor of Kissimmee as well as a Commissioner in Osceola County.

I don't want to trivialize his death, or even to seem overly cynical, when I say that his visibility to the people of Florida--especially to his fellow politicians--might be the impetus to make conditions safer in what is the deadliest state for cyclists.

Maybe, just maybe. We can always hope.  But for now, we can only mourn him--and be thankful that Alan Snel is still with us.

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