Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 14, 2013

Editorial: Can bicyclist's death spur change?

It’s impossible to fathom what went through the driver’s mind as he or she plowed into bicyclist Kelly Ann Boyce early July 5, just a few hours after fireworks burst above West Grand Traverse Bay in a celebration of our nation’s birth.

Perhaps the driver didn’t see her tucked near the curb, well out of the driving lane, as she peddled achingly close to her home on Washington Street in Traverse City. Maybe the driver was drunk or drugged or distracted and drifted into her — the driver’s fault, for sure, but nothing borne of malice.

But that’s benevolent thinking, and any benefit of the doubt that one could extend to Boyce’s killer vanished forever during the horrific seconds that followed.

The unmistakable, impossible-to-ignore impact of vehicle on human, then her screams so piercing and anguished that neighbors started from their slumber as the vehicle dragged her a block then sped away and vanished as she lay bleeding — well, there’s simply no mistaking evil.

No one without access to the driver’s mind knows if he or she embraces the death of this young woman, much-loved and married nearly a year.

And no one in the traumatized Traverse City community truly knows if the driver is responsible for incidents in 2010 and 2012 in which local women on bicycles were hit by someone who piloted a vehicle similarly described as the one that struck Boyce — a dark pickup or SUV.

In one of those incidents a pregnant woman who received multiple injuries said the hit-and-run driver veered at her.

It’s clear Boyce’s death spurred to action a community that extends far beyond the bicyclist crowd that’s long had an uneasy relationship with northern Michigan’s non- — and yes — anti-bicycling factions. Boyce’s slaying hit home for most everyone here because the apparent randomness and savagery creates a sense of vulnerability in us all.

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