Let's all share the road please!

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I don't like us­ing a war anal­o­gy but its as if we are in a war, a fierce bat­tle­field and at times, we are over­whelmed by the scale and in­ten­si­ty of the en­e­my fire.

How do we keep our com­po­sure and con­cen­tra­tion in the face of such a bar­rage?

On Sat­ur­day, while in To­ba­go, I re­ceived the news while at break­fast that there was an ac­ci­dent on the Beetham High­way and a group of cy­clists were in­volved, among them were Joe Brown and BPTT em­ploy­ee Joan­na Banks.

It was, to say the least, the most up­set­ting news and in the era of so­cial me­dia al­most im­me­di­ate­ly videos, that should have had a dis­claimer that they were graph­ic and dis­turb­ing, were in cir­cu­la­tion.

Calls were made to ver­i­fy the news and un­for­tu­nate­ly, it was true.

Brown played rug­by for Trinidad North­ern Rug­by Club when he ar­rived in T&T on as­sign­ment. Very soon his rep­u­ta­tion had grown as a tough op­po­nent very phys­i­cal and as hard as gran­ite on the rug­by field.

It was a chal­lenge at first to rec­on­cile such an ag­gra­vat­ing and abra­sive per­sona with an oval ball in his hand or when he was at­tempt­ing to dis­lodge it with his culi­nary and cre­ative skills.

The mem­bers of Slip­stream cy­cling club would be dev­as­tat­ed and trau­ma­tised by such a trag­ic ac­ci­dent.

There are no words of com­fort that can be said to the fam­i­lies, friends and col­leagues of Joe, Joan­na and Leroy Cal­liste, an­oth­er cy­clist who re­cent­ly lost his life in a road ac­ci­dent. Cal­liste, 64, was rid­ing his bi­cy­cle along the PBR, near a WASA fa­cil­i­ty, when he was struck. They were do­ing an ac­tiv­i­ty that they were each pas­sion­ate about and loved.

Joe made a con­tri­bu­tion to T&T. His pass­ing is made even more pro­found by the irony of it all.

Road Safe­ty or­gan­i­sa­tion Ar­rive Alive will be hold­ing a "Day of Re­mem­brance" for road traf­fic vic­tims on the week­end of No­vem­ber 17-18, and Joe, who was a part spon­sor of pre­vi­ous Re­mem­brance events, will be re­mem­bered on that day.

Ac­ci­dents can and will hap­pen and there are a myr­i­ad of philo­soph­i­cal thoughts and views about death and dy­ing. But it must be said that there is an at­ti­tude of dis­re­spect shown by many dri­vers on the road when they en­counter cy­clists, run­ners, jog­gers and walk­ers.

I my­self on my long walks to Mara­cas Beach have had to deal with dri­vers who seem to be­lieve on­ly mo­tor ve­hi­cles should be on the road.

Why should keep­ing fit be a high-risk ac­tiv­i­ty?

As dif­fi­cult and painful as the loss may be to all those who knew Joe and Joan­na, giv­ing up the bike or the ride, is not what will ho­n­our their mem­o­ry.

Yes, I know that is eas­i­er said than done. What is need­ed is to con­tin­ue the bat­tle for safer roads for cy­clists, jog­gers and run­ners.

If we want a health­i­er more phys­i­cal­ly ac­tive T&T, peo­ple must feel rel­a­tive­ly safe when they go out to ex­er­cise. Ex­er­cis­ing shouldn't be Russ­ian roulette.

Ed­i­tor's Note:

Bri­an Lewis is the pres­i­dent of T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) and the views ex­pressed are not nec­es­sar­i­ly those of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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