“During my free time I enjoy swimming, biking, and running,” wrote U.S. Senate candidate Natasha Pettigrew. As part of her campaign, she spoke out against “a lack of bike paths”, and she used her bicycle to get around instead of driving a car almost every day. That’s where the irony comes in: Pettigrew was killed when an SUV ran over her and her bicycle. She was riding on a road in a place where there was no bike trail.
Natasha Pettigrew had the courage to put her life on the line to help move her vision of a better world closer to reality. In a country where roads are often not safe for bicycles, she took to a bicycle anyway, instead of surrendering her ideals and hopping into a motorized vehicle like most other people. She knew that automobiles, in addition to killing bicyclists, are dangerous to the planet as a whole, emitting huge amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Pettigrew campaigned for a platform of environmentalism that went far beyond transportation, ranging from the cleaning of Chesapeake Bay to the development of wind farms in Maryland. She wrote, “We only have one planet. It is a beautiful and strong planet. We must do what is necessary to protect for our own use and enjoyment.”
Although Natasha Pettigrew was killed this week, the voters of Maryland can do justice to her cause by giving serious consideration to the Green Party candidate that will be chosen to replace her on the ballot next week.