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If I die on Monday
January 18, 2014 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Last Monday, a runner, wife and mother of three named Meg Menzies was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Today, 90,000 runners dedicated their miles to her.

If I Die on Monday (blog post)
posted by roomthreeseventeen (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very sad :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:21 PM on January 18


I'm a runner in Richmond and it has been a pretty remarkable phenomenon around town. I didn't know her well, but she was on the same marathon training team as me and active in the local running club, so I know many people who did. Universally people talk about what a kind and friendly woman she was. Today I ran with a few hundred people from the training team in her honor and it was pretty amazing on the streets. We were asked to wear blue (her favorite color) and everywhere we ran in town, the streets were teeming with other runners in blue. Everyone had a kind word and a smile for each other and a real sense that we needed to seize the day and appreciate one another. Apparently, people have already logged over 1 million miles today on the google document that is tracking who ran in her honor today -- from famous Olympians to regular folks in every country.

I think it hit people especially hard because Meg did everything right. It was light out (after 8am), she was running facing traffic and actually off the shoulder of the road, not wearing headphones -- everything they tell you to do. The guy that hit her was a doctor on his way to work, who lost his wife to a car accident, settled a case for $20 million and is fighting luekemia and undergoing chemotherapy himself and has children at home as well. Its just a heart-braking tragedy in every possible way.
posted by Lame_username at 5:22 PM on January 18 [11 favorites]


The guy that hit her was a doctor on his way to work, who lost his wife to a car accident, settled a case for $20 million and is fighting luekemia and undergoing chemotherapy himself and has children at home as well.

Interesting, I hadn't really heard any of that, got a link to his story? All the mentions I've seen of him basically just summarize that he was DUI.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:26 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Interesting, I hadn't really heard any of that, got a link to his story?

TPS, this is the only live link I can find to (some of) that information.
posted by mykescipark at 5:33 PM on January 18


Local newspaper story that provides some more detail. You can likely google up other stuff with his name.
posted by Lame_username at 5:33 PM on January 18


This is so sad. Thanks for the extra information, l_u, though it was of course hard to read (in the emotional not the literal sense). It's especially painful that Meg's husband is a cop working the DUI beat who appears to do DWI-prevention outreach of some kind.

This is something I think about a lot - I routinely bike on city streets and as this case demonstrates, even "doing everything right" isn't enough to change the asymmetry of how vulnerable you are outside of a car relative to inside one. To give another tragic example someone who went to my high school was hit and killed a few years ago while waiting at a stop sign on her bike, in the middle of her lane, by someone making a too-wide turn (who wasn't even drunk).

It really has me wondering what kind of structural changes could actually, feasibly be made to make roads in the USA safer for all users. With the roadways we have, it's just too easy for a distracted or impaired driver to hit someone who's running or biking or changing a tire in the shoulder. More and more I'm starting to think that car traffic is just unsafe at any speed around bikers and runners - but since there's so little political support (esp in many suburban areas) for building new pathways or improving existing ones with things like sidewalks, let alone physical barriers, then how do you ensure that bikers and runners and pedestrians can still get where they're going without risking a collision they have little chance of surviving?
posted by en forme de poire at 5:54 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


The guy that hit her was a doctor on his way to work, who lost his wife to a car accident, settled a case for $20 million and is fighting luekemia and undergoing chemotherapy himself and has children at home as well. Its just a heart-braking tragedy in every possible way.

My ability to sympathize with someone who gets behind the wheel drunk is really quite minimal.
posted by winna at 6:00 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


My ability to sympathize with someone who gets behind the wheel drunk is really quite minimal.
I get that and I wasn't trying to advocate for that. I think we can safely agree that his three children are victims, however.
posted by Lame_username at 6:12 PM on January 18 [12 favorites]


They are victims, I completely agree. The whole thing is a tragedy and the worst thing about it was that it was completely avoidable.
posted by winna at 6:14 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


doctor on his way to work

A doctor on his way to work drunk?!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:55 PM on January 18 [20 favorites]


how do you ensure that bikers and runners and pedestrians can still get where they're going without risking a collision they have little chance of surviving?

Support public transit at every opportunity. Support making driving as expensive as possible. Take cars off the roads.
posted by smidgen at 7:13 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


This woman (FB link, I hope it links okay) did a 10k on crutches today for Meg's Miles.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:33 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Support public transit at every opportunity. Support making driving as expensive as possible. Take cars off the roads.

I agree, I'm just increasingly pessimistic about getting any political will to do any of these things in my lifetime. I would love to help prove myself wrong, though.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:12 PM on January 18


how do you ensure that bikers and runners and pedestrians can still get where they're going without risking a collision they have little chance of surviving?

What is it about the cabs there that even doctors can't afford them ?

When I hear about a walmart worker or restaurant cook getting popped for DUI - that's a failure to provide adequate public transportation.

When I hear about millionaires drunk driving - that's a failure of an asshat to be not a dipshit. Buy a car and pay someone to drive you home, you won't even miss the money you fucking tool.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:08 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


The thing is that public transportation can also solve that problem for drunk millionaires. Not just in theory, either - plenty of rich people take the subway (or a mix of subway and rail) after a night out or to commute in the morning.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:07 PM on January 18


I think it hit people especially hard because Meg did everything right. It was light out (after 8am), she was running facing traffic and actually off the shoulder of the road, not wearing headphones -- everything they tell you to do.

Even thinking of it in those terms implies there's a situation where it could be the victim's fault. It's like telling women how to dress or where/when/how to walk in order to not get raped. The only way car-culture (and rape-culture) can possibly change is by educating the most powerful/dangerous player (drivers/men) and enforcing harsh penalties for violations (legislators/judges).

We don't need separate bike lanes and greenways (hmm, that's doing it right if you're a runner but asking for it if you're a woman...) and other expensive infrastructure if we really do share the roads.
posted by headnsouth at 7:25 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I think that anyone who is driving drunk on his way in to work at 8 in the morning probably has a problem that is bigger than his ability to pay for a cab.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:38 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


It's like telling women how to dress or where/when/how to walk in order to not get raped...We don't need separate bike lanes and greenways (hmm, that's doing it right if you're a runner but asking for it if you're a woman...) and other expensive infrastructure if we really do share the roads.

You should rethink this comparison. No matter how much "real sharing" happens, there will be accidents. Nobody gets raped by accident.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:58 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


[Please let's move away from the rape comparison. Thank you.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:34 AM on January 19


My dog, Spot, and I trotted out some mileage in her honor.
posted by valentinepig at 8:39 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I'm not a big crime and punishment guy, I'm a physician, and believe substance abuse is a medical problem. That having been said, I really believe the time has come to impose *huge* penalties for first time DUI violations. It's the only thing that will work.

It just blows my mind now, 30 years after the inception of MADD we've made little progress in changing behaviors (drunk driving fatalities are down, but it is controversial what this means and may be attributable to safer cars, the number of people caught driving under the influence is up but there's no good way to really know how many people still drive drunk).

I take care of people on the lower rungs and margins of society, lots of them substance abusers. Part of the chemical dependency assessment is asking what legal troubles they've had as a result of their addiction and it is incredible to me -- nearly everyone with a dependency problem that comes up in a medical office has had DUI after DUI after DUI. In fact any middle aged man who comes in with a falling-off-the-bike injury until proven otherwise, in my mind, is a guy who was drunk on his bike because his driver's license was taken away years ago and he's finally been threatened with enough serious jail time to actually make him stop driving.

No probation, no court mandated CD assessments. First violation, 3 months in jail, a year with no license. Second, a year in jail, no license ever again. It has to be severe enough to change the behavior of the 25 year old occasional drinker who's had a couple at the football game, because it's our excuse of that behavior that leads to the excusing of the habitual offender and either person has the potential to kill someone. A doctor on his way to work who blows a 0.11 has received the clear message that driving drunk is excusable and something you can get away with long ago.

Of course, this would mandate some other infrastructure changes -- free breathalyzers in bars, free cab service for drunks, robust public transportation. But it needs to change by shifting the attitude of the guy who has a lot to lose who wonders if maybe he can get away with one more buzzed trip home.
posted by Random Person at 8:45 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


>> Support public transit at every opportunity. Support making driving as expensive as possible. Take cars off the roads.

>I agree, I'm just increasingly pessimistic about getting any political will to do any of these things in my lifetime. I would love to help prove myself wrong, though.

Autonomous cars can't come soon enough in my book. Because of the political landscape, I think they're one of two realistic scenarios for getting a significant percentage of people out from behind the wheels of cars (the other one being gasoline going up to $20/gallon)
posted by robla at 8:58 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, I was talking to someone I didn't know very well and the subject of drunk driving came up, and he said in a sort of joking but not joking tone, "yeah, but drunk driving is so much fun." As if we were both thinking it but nobody wanted to say it.

I was just like "..."

But I think that sums up how much a problem drunk driving isn't in the eyes of a significant proportion of Americans.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:14 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


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