Mat Olson, the 26-year-old BMX daredevil who conquered the arches of the West 7th Street Bridge on Saturday, continued his victory tour on Monday morning with an appearance on News 8 Daybreak.
There, he offered a rebuttal to the haters out there who have suggested that his stunt was irresponsible and sends the wrong message to kids.
"There's a ton of wrong messages out there. There's messages, 'Hey play this video game. Hey, you know, go eat this fast food,'" he said. "I figure I'm outside doing something that's you know healthy and obviously beneficial for me and it's just something that I do, it's in my realm of work."
But wouldn't a "Don't try this at home, kids" disclaimer be in order? Olson wouldn't go that far. "At least wear your helmet." Nor did he really address the question of what he would tell drivers were he to fall from the arches and die: "I couldn't say much since I'd be on the ground."
OK, so thoughtful reflection on the moral implications of BMX stunt riding isn't Olson's strong suit, but there are plenty of other people wringing their hands for him. Like the city of Fort Worth, which has an obvious interest in keeping people from killing or maiming themselves on its new bridge.
Responding to Olson's stunt, city spokesman Bill Begley issued a statement reminding the public that, while the new West 7th Street bridge is a "modern engineering marvel," its arches "were not designed for that purpose, and climbing, walking or riding a bicycle or skateboard on them is a dangerous endeavor"
He continues: "It is a beautiful and safe structure when used properly and for its intended purpose. That said, we discourage residents to participate in risky behaviors like that of the BMX rider this weekend. ... We are studying ways to reinforce that message, but in the meantime we encourage residents to use and enjoy the new structure safely and in the method it was designed and built for."
In other words, enjoy the arches from the relative safety of your automobile.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
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