Monday, March 30, 2009
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, David Zabriskie has been a professional cyclist since 2001. He has ridden for the best teams in the world, including Team CSC and United States Postal Service. In the 2005 Tour de France, David rode the fastest time trial in Tour de France history to beat out Lance Armstrong and wear the highly-coveted yellow jersey during the first few days of the race.
David’s Story: Why I started Yield to Life
We all travel life’s roads. I stand before you to ask for your cooperation in providing safe space for cyclists. When you see a cyclist on the road, please, yield to life.
–David Zabriskie, world-class cyclist and founder of Yield to Life
As a professional cyclist I have ridden my bike all over the world, but, sadly, each of the three times that I have been hit by a car has been in the United States; the worst of the accidents was in 2003.
I had just flown back to Salt Lake after my most successful season to date when, on May 23, I was in Millcreek Canyon in Salt Lake City. I was enjoying one of my favorite rides when I was hit by an SUV on the way down. The SUV made a left hand turn directly into me. I flew through the air and landed on the ground, unable to move the left side of my body. After spending a week in the hospital, I left with pins in my wrist and my leg, and some cadaver bone in my knee. The doctors did not think I would ride again.
It took a lot of hard work and determination to come back from my injuries. I often wonder what I could have accomplished had I not had such a devastating set back. I also wonder what went through the driver’s mind when she hit me. If she had only thought of me as life, a living, breathing person, rather than an obstacle in her way. Did she ever consider the prolonged agony she was creating by her reckless attitude and wrongful acts? If she had just waited a split second for my safe passage, I would have not been reduced to a wheelchair for months, and then in need of a walker and painful rehabilitation to even walk again, let alone ride a bike.
Ultimately, I was able to overcome my accident; but there are many riders who are not as fortunate. As I hear of the countless other cyclists who have been badly injured and, worse yet, killed by motorists, it sometimes seems as if we are viewed merely as nuisances who don’t deserve consideration on the road.
It is my mission to humanize and personalize cyclists to help motorists to always be aware that we are "life" and that we deserve a safe space on the road. I love to ride my bike as do my fellow cyclists, but we should not have to place our lives at risk everyday for that enjoyment.
Yield to Life is a non-profit organization devoted to creating a safer environment for cyclists and, by so doing, encouraging more people to ride for their own health, the good of the environment and the well being of society.
By making cycling safer and promoting the activity as a responsible means of transportation and a healthy means of recreation, Yield to Life can contribute to tackling some of today's major concerns—from such issues as pollution and global warming to obesity and diabetes. In this way, Yield to Life can play a role in increasing the quality of life not only for cyclists, but for everyone—for our generation and those to come.
Yield to Life’s Mission
Yield to Life will engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life.
Cycling is a healthy, life-affirming, environmentally-sound activity that adds value to anyone’s life. Since cyclists' lives are often in motorists’ hands, motorists must understand the vital role they play in a cyclist's safety.
Yield to Life will concentrate on road-rule education programs for motorists and cyclists alike through driver's education programs, public awareness movements and media campaigns in order to ensure a safer and more harmonious environment for all those on the road.
Yield to Life will engage in a hands-on educational program with target audiences that range from school assemblies to corporate conventions. Workshops will be created to arm cyclists with tips for navigating through traffic and tools for riding in a safe and responsible manner. Yield to Life will work on a database for cyclists to find the best, the safest and the most accommodating roads for commuting and for recreation.
Please click on the title link to learn more about Yield to Life.