Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Farewell Vikki!

Yesterday we lost a dear friend and fierce advocate for the rights of vulnerable people. Vikki Riley has made a major contribution to alleviating the terrible anquish faced by so many people currently held in detention in Darwin. The art exhibitions she has facilitated have given voice to so many people who would otherwise have been locked quietly away without any way of communicating their message to the broader public in Australia. Vikki went to places many of us would prefer to forget even exist. She met and supported the people who many Australians would rather be kept out of sight and out of mind. In her own obstinate way she forced people to considder realities they'd prefer to claim ignorance of! She did not take no for an answer and she did not accept weak excuses for not doing what she felt was right.

Vikki died as the result of a colission with a car while she was riding her bike. Despite the tragedy of this event the comments came flying in accusations and attacks against her simply because she was on a bike!
I am currently in Melbourne staying with family. Sadly the mentality down here appears to be even worse than in Darwin. Having fixed my bike up with the intention of using it for transport I was inundated with pleas not to ride! Whenever the subject of cycling comes up in my family it is all to do with some kind of political possition and what side you're on! Cars against Bikes! How ridiculous!

My right to go out and ride my bike appears to be subject to the oppinions of rednecks and dickheads who's 'point of view' is apparrently worthy of printing in newspapers and coverage by all kinds of media outlets. I am advised by caring family members that I shouldn't ride my bike... 'People around here hate cyclists'. Somehow any error committed by a cyclist on the road can be used to justify every degree of neglegence on the part of a driver. 
After hearing the terrible news about my friend Vikki, rather than compassion or sympathy for her family I am given an oppinion from one particular family member, who can see 'both sides' and how there really isn't enough room on the road for bikes! I couldn't f--king belive it!
There are no sides in this situation! There were two people. One riding a bicycle, one driving a car. There is a duty of care when using the road under all circumstances to avoid causing injury to any other human being, be they driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist! A person driving a car hit a person riding a bike and the cyclist died! That is what happened! This is a tragedy! The driver must now be in a state of shock and be suffering terribly for his mistake. I can feel for him.
If you want to talk to me about sides, points of view... the right of drivers to an open road where they don't have to considder slowing down or avoiding any other trafic then.... (I reserve my comments for later!)

Many people will mourn Vikki. My thoughts are with her Partner Jimmy and son Elijah. I hope there will be something published through our mainstreem media that allows the public to get a glimpse of her world as she saw it and the forces she struggled against for the sake of the vulnerable people in our Detention Centres right now and those who will soon be shipped away... Out of our sight, far enough that they can be forgotten!

I'm not sure what to say about any of this right now. I am a bundle of nerves. Maybe better you read about it in The Northern Myth

Vale Vikki Riley – “a beautiful woman lost” … and still the trolls come out to play


Chandra said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.
Peace :)

David J said...

Yes. Thanks Chandra. It was a sad day! There were quite a lot of people at the funeral, many familiar faces. A lot could be said about Vikki and it could never be denied that she left her mark!