Taking back our roads

August 2, 2012

This morning are the funeral services for Heather Boyum 11am  Service at St. Johns of Rochester Church, 8 Wickford Way, Fairport – off of Route 31 (near 490 interchange). Many have asked if there are any places to make a monetary donation to Heather’s family, which again shows what an amazing community this is.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the

Heather Boyum Memorial Children’s Educational Fund

c/o Elissa DeChick at Fairport High School, 1 Dave Paddock Way,

Fairport, NY 14450.

“Don’t run from a challenge. Instead run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it with your feet.”

~ Nadia Comaneci

Last night the calling hours took place. We arrived around 7pm and as I pulled in I … I kind of smiled. It was jam-packed. It was a gorgeous showing of love and support. Inside was wall to wall people. A sea of pink from the Moms In Motion was visible. And awesome. The line to pay respects was over an hour-long. We stood in that line proudly as Heather’s son ran around with his cousins… smiling and laughing. Collages remembering and flowers commemorating lined the waiting route. Glimpses into her life from childhood to adult, marriage to motherhood. Fearlessly tacking adventures and tenderly loving her family.

When we came to the family receiving line I couldn’t believe how strong they all were, her husband included. They had to have been standing there for over five hours. Their exhaustion masked by gratitude, wanting to know everyone whose life she touched.

Her husband had reached out to me earlier that day and did again as we shook hands. He appreciates our community effort to bring bike safety to the forefront. When he and the family are ready they would like to join our forces. We have had a team hard at work looking at current cycling laws and examining our rights on the roads.

First things first though……. we can’t cure stupid. No law, no regulation and no amount of awareness could have prevented the idiocy that ripped Heather from this world. None. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference in her honor. The brick walls in this world are to keep those who don’t want it bad enough out.

Good thing this community likes to not only climb the hell over it, but knock the damn thing down.

We have an attorney looking at laws, I am currently awaiting a promised conversation with Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn. We are looking at possible dates at the end of August to have a meeting of….. of whatever we are or will be. If you know anything about me I seem to like to put the cart before the horse. I never have a plan. Then we assemble the team and get a plan together.

Worked for Armstrong.

Right now we are brainstorming. And that’s what we want you to do as well. We currently envision something that could someday be called “Heather’s Law” which would place certain penalties on motorists who strike cyclists. Our laws are not good for protection of cyclists.

Because quite honestly….. riddle me this…..If I call someone on the phone and I threaten to kill them it’s a misdemeanor and I could go to jail. If I fail use due care and hit a cyclists it’s an infraction and I pay a fine. Why is the threat of action a crime while the actual act ….not …..and how can we change that?

Our consulting attorney…. who is a cyclist himself….  had this to say…..

“First, there is no real cycling law, there are just parts of the vehicle and traffic laws that pertain to bikes. I’m sure you have seen at least some of the sections. The problem being that because it is scattered in different sections the terminology used is inconsistent, and thus a bit confusing. To make it worse they throw in a ton of references to in line skates to try to treat them like bikes. This only makes reading the sections difficult for the average person. What I think needs to be done regarding bicycling law is to consolidate everything into two sections. The first being related to requirements for bikes and cyclists. The second being directed to motor vehicles coexistence on the roads”

I like his thinking. This is the kind of brainstorming we need to be developing.

Yes we have the whole issue of DWI … it’s something to be addressed. Today I want to focus on making our roads safer in the effort to remain positive. Right now if I write about DWI and these people who killed her…. I am going to go down a long road. We will save that for next week.

The issues as I am thinking about them are:

1. We need to be safe cyclists: This means riding single file. Riding inside the white line. Obeying traffic laws. Wearing reflective gear.

2. We need to create awareness about the rules of the road for both motorists and us. A few people told me they ride on the left hand side of the road. Number one… that’s illegal. Number two that’s against the law. (yeah, same thing but you get the point).  If we want it to protect us we have to abide by it. We can’t be those cyclists who dodge in and our of traffic or ride like jerks. If this is going to be a two-way street we need to do our part as well (disclaimer: Heather was doing exactly what she should have been).

3. Should we designate certain roads or areas as bike friendly areas? It could at least be a start to all of Rochester being titled bike friendly. And I don’t mean in the City. Many of us dont’ ride in the city. We ride 100 miles at a time on the beautiful country roads that we already have. In establishing those roads as a start possibly mark them, line them, somehow protect them.

Or heck… do we just get these?

4. Heather’s Law: Like I said before I would like to see some sort of law that stiffens the penalty for hitting a cyclist. It might not prevent a death … but it might keep repeat offenders from getting back on the road and killing. Which….. then would be prevention wouldn’t it be?

Those are my raw and emotion filled thoughts. They are rough around the edges and maybe some are a pipe dream. But that’s why we exist as a community and why as cyclists we can come together and help make it better. I am all too aware that none of these ideas would have saved HEather. Or would have the fourth one?

Bottom line is this: we are taking back our roads. We will be doing that beginning this Saturday ay the Ride 4 Royston. We are going to honor her memory and use it to create something positive. We are going to show Kevin Royston some big time support. We will make this better. We will make it her legacy. These are our roads too.

Let’s climb this brick wall everyone. For Heather. One life lost is one too many. And we are going to do something about it.



  1. Some states have “Vulnerable Roadways User” laws that stiffen penalties…. that’s an idea….

    • Mary, It’s about preventing the cyclist from being hit. Education for the uneducated (both sides! bikers and drivers!),laws against the actions of agro drivers who feel the need to give us “a good scare”, and finally, yes – stiff penalities for harming the ‘vulnerable roadway user’ SIGN ME UP.

  2. I live in Europe and have lived in Asia and traveled a lot around the Middle East. America has some of the widest roads I’ve ever seen. I say that not to point out that drivers there are dirt bags (no one WANTS to hit a cyclist) but to say that we could easily paint a solid white line on the right side of the road, two or three feet from the curb and mark it every quarter mile with a cyclist symbol so drivers are more aware. I don’t think stiffer penalties are the answer, after all the roads were built for vehicles after all, but more could certainly be done to increase driver awareness.

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