NBC Today Show anchor Matt Lauer joined the ranks of cycling's walking wounded when he crashed his bike last weekend while riding on Long Island. Unlike Lance Armstrong, who was taken down in a mass pile-up of racers, Lauer was forced to brake hard and slid out when a deer jumped into his path. Coincidentally, Lauer fell on his shoulder and now looks to be headed for surgery as well. And, like Lance, Matt is hoping to be back and doing his job within days of the operation.
So, what's up when a couple of America's most famous cyclists go down and end up in the hospital? These guys are cycling's ambassadors; they are the ones who represent biking to the general public. Do their recent accidents give the perception that cycling is dangerous? USA Today ran an op-ed piece commending both Armstrong and Lauer for wearing helmets strongly suggesting that all cyclists follow suit. Recommending that bicyclist wear helmets is a good thing; making it seem that cycling is a dangerous activity is not.
It's double edge sword. Riding a bicycle is a totally healthy activity, but sometimes, people do get hurt. Sometimes it is the rider's fault other times as in the case with Armstrong and Lauer there were circumstances beyond their control. When you are in a hospital bed or on the operating table, it probably doesn't much matter how you got there (unless you don't have medical insurance).
It seems that with motorcycle riders crashing isn't a question of "if", it is more of a question of "when". Hopefully, that doesn't become the perception for cycling. OK, I am rambling a bit, the point being that even though Lance and Matt have an arm in a sling people shouldn't give up on cycling as a healthy and enjoyable activity. Pretty soon, both will be back on their bike. How about you?