Outerbridge wins right to cycle
A man who challenged a blanket ban on bike riding during shelter in place has been allowed back on the road.
Karl Outerbridge was cleared to practise the sport by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, after he told The Royal Gazette that not being able to ride had affected his mental health.
He'd used the exercise to help cope with ADHD and an anxiety disorder. Since April 4, when residents were told to shelter in place and pedal cyclists were ordered off the roads, he'd struggled with extreme depression. Although he'd applied for an exemption to the riding ban, it was refused.
“I do want to thank the Ministry of National Security for considering my needs,” he said. “I did my first main ride today. It's almost like somebody turned a switch on. I could feel the natural chemicals that my body should make, I can feel them kicking in — the endorphins, the adrenalin. whatever chemical it is that my body doesn't properly make enough of.
“For me it takes about an hour's worth of riding to get that. I feel like a completely different person.”
He said the Royal Bermuda Regiment “deserved a massive round of applause” for being “extremely respectful, patient and polite” as he passed through check points.
A completely unexpected gift was an offer from a member of the public to pay for Mr Outerbridge's internet costs for the next six months. Having once worked in re/insurance he's now on financial assistance and unable to pay for access.
“Part of the reason I why don't work in international business any more is because I got treated a certain way and I never recovered from it,” he said. “Once I slipped off the rails ... all of a sudden people started saying, ‘If he's got a learning disability or mental health issue, he needs to go to MAWI.' I became institutionalised when in actual fact they should have been pushing me towards services to get me back to the workforce. Instead I was isolated.
“It leads back to today, where I'm jammed in my apartment. I can't do anything and everything just closes in on me.”
The donor, who wanted to remain anonymous, was aware of Mr Outerbridge's desire to further his education in geographic information system mapping.
“He called me back and reminded me of how when I last met with him he wanted to figure out how to pay for my internet and some of my educational needs. He said his wife had also seen the story [in The Royal Gazette] and they wanted to offer me $600 towards the first six months of internet service. He knows that's fundamental for me.”