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StephenVance 270I've heard a lot of people discussing and speculating about the tragedy that took place on the 7th Line last weekend. Issues such as this can be complex and emotions can drive conversations.

There is much we don't know as yet about what took place sometime after 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 28. What we do know is that a cyclist is dead and a man has been charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing death.

So there are many questions on people's minds.

Why was someone cycling on a dark, unlit rural road at one in the morning? Did the bicycle have working lights? Was the cyclist wearing bright clothing? The police report that they charged a man with operating a motor vehicle while impaired, but we don't yet have any specifics. Impaired by what? By how much?

As you can see, there are many questions left to be answered which is why it is important to not jump to conclusions too quickly.

News of any vehicle-related tragedy said to involve alcohol stirs many emotions, for many reasons. In my own life I have experienced the impact of alcohol and vehicles twice. Nearly 30 years ago my then wife was hit head-on by an impaired driver (who was also driving a vehicle he had just stolen). Our car was written off, but thankfully my wife only needed some minor patching up at the hospital. A few years later my father went to prison after he crashed his car while impaired, leaving his life-long best friend who was in the car with him paralyzed for the rest of his life.

On all sides of these sorts of tragedies, lives are altered, sometimes shattered, and the impact reaches well beyond the immediately involved parties.

One thing we can be fairly certain of is that nobody involved in the tragedy last weekend planned to be, or wanted to be. The cyclist no doubt would prefer to still be with us, and the driver who has been charged certainly had no plans to be involved in anything like what took place on July 28.

The families of all involved are also impacted in a major way. Lives are forever changed.

In time, more details will become known and judgments will be made, but it is far too early for judgments as yet simply because of all we do not yet know.

What we can hope for is that our justice system can fairly and appropriately sift through the facts and determine what should happen next. That isn't ours to decide, it is in the hands of the courts, as it should be.

No matter what we learn in the weeks and months to come, the fact is that this is a tragedy for all concerned, and for the community itself, and over time everyone impacted will need to heal.

All of that said, if this tragedy can serve any positive purpose it might be that we should all be cautious when on our roads, whether as pedestrians, cyclists, or motorists, and we should all take a moment to reflect on how quickly any of our lives can be altered or ended. So – consider every moment precious.


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