Monthly Archives: November 2011

What a ride this month has been, and the Feed

Well, I must say that this has been a very interesting month for me personally, and also in the news. There has been the Occupy movement, Tasha Borland’s appeal of her sentence, and a number of drivers that hurt or killed cyclists actually being found guilty of being really bad drivers that should never get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle again in their lives. Not to mention that I might be getting a job that is related to this blog. The job isn’t funded yet, so I’m not going to release specifics yet, but if the job gets funded I’ll be talking to engineers about road projects from the view of someone that rides a bike for transportation under a new state law that requires all new roads make accommodations for all modes of transportation including walking or riding a bike. Since none of the people designing the roads around here use a bike as transportation they have little (as in no) idea what a person riding a bicycle really needs to go from A to B. I will be used to fill in that knowledge gap. Given that here in the suburbs of Hell we still have a majority of our streets with no sidewalks or shoulders, I see a rather daunting task ahead of me.

Up first is another amusing link to someone being stupid on a bicycle, drug paraphernalia edition. Police: Crack cocaine found on Carlisle bicyclist I suggest putting your crack pipe away and not having it on your person when riding your bike while drunk. It should be noted though that even in his mentally muddled state the cyclist was never a danger to other road users except himself. I hope the dash cam video of this arrest makes it to YouTube soon…

Another TX cyclist is messed up while in the intersection when the light is red. Bicyclist critically injured in West Side crash I don’t know if this cyclist ran a red or entered under a stale green that turned red after he entered, but he might have had his SA impaired by wearing headphones. Anyway, intersection protocols and watch for stale greens (if the intersection has countdown pedestrian crossings look to see that there is at least 3 seconds per lane left on the counter (you can figure 4 seconds of yellow on top of that, so for a simple one lane in each direction you need 3 seconds of time on the countdown, 2 lanes each way 6-9 seconds and so on). Of course there are some intersections you can’t cross on a bike even if you’re at speed at the stop bar when the light changes to green because of a too-short green phase. Report lights like that as unsafe.

Update on the condition of a cyclist that was left-crossed in VA. Injured cyclist out of ICU Ignore the comments section.

I mentioned drivers getting way harder sentences than they used to get for hitting cyclists this month, here’s an example of that. John David Hines, Drunk-Ass Fire Capt. Who Mowed Down Cyclist, Gets Jail, Probation and $102k Restitution Bill I would still like to see drunks that kill or injure banned from driving for life if not longer (you killed someone while DUI in a previous life, shoe leather and a bicycle are your only legal transportation in this life ;) )

A woman in CA gets Jerry Browned. Bicyclist injured in College Area accident There was another vehicle in the oncoming lane and the SUV tried to pass anyway and hit the cyclist, making the driver guilty of DWS (Driving While Stupid).

More on the homeless man in CA that was killed in a hit-and-run wreck early this week. Police seek witnesses to crash that killed bicyclist in Santa Rosa Because of the second impact they don’t know what way the cyclist was going when he was hit the first time so I can’t tell you how to avoid a similar wreck other than making yourself visible as possible and watching out for idiots. The watching out for idiots should go as a given but I’ll say it anyway, as many times as necessary.

News from the UK as they crack down on homicidal bus drivers after a group of 5 cyclists was “nudged” by a bus. Spies sent on Leeds buses in ‘bad driver’ cycle probe I keep mentioning that driving a motor vehicle deliberately into civilians or unarmed soldiers in a time of war is a war crime (mis-use of a WMD) so why isn’t the same thing even criminally charged during a time of peace? I love the ever-present comment about cyclists not paying the “road tax” that has been abolished since 1937. Vehicle owners in the UK pay an excise tax based on the amount of pollution made by the vehicle, if bicycles were subject to this they would get the £0.00 charge that all non-polluting vehicles get plus a free tax disc that would cost the government about £1.50. Given the current best guess of 23,000,000 bicycles in the UK “taxing” bicycles so they can properly display their “road tax” sticker would cost the government about $46 million per year. That would fill a lot of potholes and build a lot of real bike lanes.

Infrastructure! from Indiana. Don’t forget walkers, cyclists in street design Imagine that, actually letting people have a choice about how they get from A to B in this country.

More on the movement in the Great White North to make trucks safer to be around human beings. Cities move independently to put safety barriers on trucks I don’t know how legal it is in Canada to have different equipment standards from one city to the next, but obviously if the upper 2 layers of government won’t help than it devolves to the lowest level of government to protect its citizens.

A Montana jurisdiction loses a suit over poorly maintained bicycle infrastructure that caused a serious injury wreck. Motorized bike rider wins $100K settlement after crashing on ice in Ravalli County Someone deliberately left an ice patch in the bike path, that caused a serious injury wreck and they are surprized to get sued?

And that’s all the news that gives me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Another visit to the Lab Rat Keeper, and now the Feed

Yet another visit to the Lab Rat Keeper this morning, complete with a vampire session (blood drawn). I weighed in at 203.4 pounds, had my BP under 120/80, and my rest pulse was 48. IOW I’m doing pretty good for the week after Thanksgiving.

Up first is a link that is like Mumbles from Dick Tracy, only less intelligible. (2011-11-28) Open Face helmets – Rider Wear Great Offer I believe this was machine translated (poorly) from the original Chinese press release, and have no idea what they are selling besides motorcycle helmets. At any rate it was good for a laugh, and really lightened my mood as this was the last link I read while filtering.

A two-fer with a hit-and-run in CA. Police seek witnesses to crash that killed bicyclist in Santa Rosa The first wreck was a hit-from-behind hit-and-run, the second was a driver hitting the body that was flat in the road. I don’t know if the first wreck was avoidable, but the second wasn’t.

Something that might do something to slow down or even stop the hit-and-run wrecks plaguing CA. Cycling Advocate Calls for More Drivers License Checkpoints It is estimated that as many as 75% of hit-and-run drivers are driving without license or insurance, that these checkpoints will catch.

can cyclists and pedestrians learn to share in Prospect Park. Can Prospect Park Cyclists AND Pedestrians Just Act A Little Less Like Jerks? As I keep mentioning a big part of this conflict is caused by the fact that the markings for the infrastructure only apply during the brief periods of time when cars are allowed in the park, and then the rules change when there are no cars in the park, but the markings don’t make those rules intuitive. People ride bikes in the car lanes, run in the bike lanes and continue to walk in the pedestrian lanes…

Stories like this are why I don’t like mandatory helmet laws. Cyclist dies after collision with truck Drivers have this bad tendency to drive too close when cyclists wear helmets because they think those cyclists are protected, and bicycle helmets are a bad joke…

Infrastructure! news from the Great White North. Cyclists call for truck side guards and Mandatory truck side guards urged

And our final link is one with a message that is familiar to readers of this blog. Get tougher in auto-cyclist accidents The writer rides a motorcycle, but says something that resonates with most bicyclists.

And that’s all the news that gives me fits.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Are you kidding me? And the Feed

I have been reading around the Web today after a trip into town to pay a bill that Mrs. the Poet couldn’t get to in time, and sometimes I wonder at our government. There is a bill that basically overturns the Posse Comitatus act, a law that has stood for over 150 years outlawing military action inside the US against US citizns. This bill will allow military police to arrest and detain without charge indefinitely, AKA Police State. This bill is currently pending before the Senate S.1867 S.1867: The hunting of America expands and Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window We were in a Fascist Republic, government of, by, and for the corporations but still essentially controlled by the people. Now, not so much.

Up first is a wreck involving 2 cyclists, a jogger, and an SUV driven by an unconscious driver. Two injured in Rancho Cucamonga after driver fell asleep at the wheel The three non-motorized users were crossing in a shared crossing that was used by a bike path and a separate walking/jogging facility coming from opposite directions with the right-of-way over the street traffic (whether they had the ROW because of CA’s crosswalk laws or because of a signal was not spelled out implicitly), and the driver was either asleep or unconscious from exhaustion and hit all 3 of them at the same time, sending 2 to hospitals with the third requiring just first aid. No way to avoid a wreck like this as a cyclist, but perhaps a law that allows suing employers that schedule their workers into sleep deprivation when it is known that sleep deprivation is as bad as driving drunk would result in people having to work fewer hours in a stretch unless they lived within walking distance of work?

A NY cyclist is hit 3 times while “crossing” a road. Cyclist Hit By Three Cars Assuming this isn’t another SWCC where the first car to the wreck didn’t actually hit the cyclist from behind, the cyclist in this wreck was obviously displaying very poor SA in that he was hit 3 times in rapid succession trying to cross the road. Looking at the Google Street View of the wreck scene shows a nightmare of an intersection with a total of 10 lanes including the right turn/shoulder on each side of the road, with wide lanes on all 10 of them and a signalized intersection that has dipole sensors on the street the cyclist was coming from. So we could also have a cyclist that entered the intersection as the light changed to green who failed to clear the 120+ foot wide intersection before the light changed to green in the other direction, and the drivers only watching the green light and not the actual road where they were driving. More Bicyclist Struck By Three Vehicles and Cyclist Hit By 3 Cars on Long Island, Dies

Remembering a fallen brother in MN. Bicyclists honor Mpls. hit-run victim I have a love/hate relationship with Ghost Bikes. I love the fact that they memorialize a fallen cyclist, I hate that a cyclist died to have one put up.

Infrastructure! from Canada… Trashy bike lane makes not so subtle point There is room for a bike lane where the cyclist was hit from behind by a turning truck.

Same wreck different infrastructure. MP Chow seeks mandatory truck side guards This would have possible prevented the death but not the wreck, possibility of minor injuries but most likely not a fatality.

Cyclists v pedestrians in NYC as lawsuits fly after a cyclist hits a jaywalker in the bike lane. Brooklyn cyclists continue to rip through Prospect Park at unsafe speeds despite crackdown and Her logic is half-biked and Oh, The Humanity: Cyclist Sues Pedestrian She Struck In Central Park and New York cyclist Sabine von Sengbusch injures pedestrian – then sues her

And that’s all the news that gives me fits.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Watch my mind wander, Wreck-Free Sunday

As this week of gratitude winds down I’m getting ready for the second of 2 services today, getting my mind together for another round of things I’m grateful for. Well before I do that again I’m going to think of things that I would rather do without:

I would rather do without the Occupy movement, not because I don’t think they’re right but because I can see that this will not end without bloodshed from the 1%. Seriously I see at least 4 and as many as 10 public executions of the richest people in the world for “Crimes Against Humanity”, unless something happens to divert that in the next 2 weeks.

I would rather do without bicycle “infrastructure” that gets designed by people that haven’t ridden a bike since they turned 13 at the latest. Seriously, I have seen “infrastructure” that if used as intended and designed would get cyclists killed about half the time they use it unless drivers are very careful. Another thing to remember is that there is no formal instruction on bicycle usage in the US, any infrastructure has to be totally intuitive to use with as few signs as possible because the vast majority of users barely know which side of the road to ride on.

I have mentioned this one before but I still would rather do without mandatory helmet laws. Bicycle helmets are a joke that has had the punchline repeatedly edited for the worse. Studies done in the 80s and 90s on the effectiveness of helmets are totally non-valid now, because helmets made since the adoption of the CPSC standard don’t have anywhere near the protection of earlier helmets with hard shells that could stand more than one hit to the helmet. Even when a helmet is within its envelope of protection it still doesn’t do much, one hit and a CPSC certified helmet is used up and unable to protect even in a place on the opposite side of the head from the first hit. Every once in a while a bicycle helmet will prevent a brain injury by pure chance, and some people want to mandate taking that chance. I should note that I wear my Bellistic full-face helmet every time I ride my bike except during the winter when I use a full-face motorcycle helmet to keep my face warmer. I modify this helmet by installing a foam rubber gasket to keep my breath from fogging up my glasses and depend on the vents in the chin bar to keep my lower face from turning into a swamp.

Another thing I would be grateful to do without would be people that pass me on the right in my lane, or what is more likely pass me on the right partially in my lane, and halfway off the road. I would dearly love for someone to leave a big, car-wrecking thing in the grass off the side of the road and have one of these jerks passing me on the right drive over it and rip out something vital from their car. There are times when the only safe pavement I can ride on is the 6″ (15cm) to the right of the yellow line that marks the left side of the lane. That doesn’t mean I’m letting people pass to the right, that means there is enough bad pavement to the right that I can’t get any further over without risking losing control and crashing in front of those idiots trying to pass on my right. Many times I see large areas of broken paving with piles of loose gravel that was supposed to be a patch laying over it, with a driver angry that I’m not riding my bike more to the right.

Speaking of that, another thing I would be grateful to not have would be those “repairs” that consist of a bad batch of coldmix patch compound scattered thickly over badly broken pavement. I couldn’t ride there before and I still can’t ride there safely after the “repair” but drivers can’t tell it’s a deathtrap for a bicycle because they can’t feel the pavement move under their wheels or don’t notice that just off to one side is a large pile of really loose gravel that has come up from the “repair”. I would be overjoyed if all of those “went away”.

And while I’m at it I would be ecstatic if there was never another drunk driver on the road with me. Seriously, let them ride bikes if they have to drink away from home, the worst thing that could happen is they could kill themselves. I mean when was the last time you read about a person riding a bicycle drunk or sober running into a car full of people and even injuring one? Aside from scaring the used food out of them that is? Sure it is upsetting to see a drunk kill themselves on your car with a bicycle, but think about the motor-driven alternative and drunks on bikes is a hugely preferred alternative to drunks in cars, or any other motor vehicle.

There are other things that I would be grateful to live without, but I think that might be better for a Yule or New Year’s post, don’t you?

PSA, Opus

I have a new link in my sidebar, and the Feed

Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed I put a link to my ride journal on BikeJournal.com over to the right (for users not reading this on a mobile device). Now should it strike your fancy you can see just how many miles I actually ride going to the grocery store, church, the hardware store, the bike store, etc. For a guy that seldom goes anywhere I manage to put a lot of miles on Blue, over 1700 so far this year.

Up first from a meager selection is this hit-and-run in PA. Teen cyclist dies in Lancaster hit-and-run The bits left behind in this wreck are a real puzzle, the driver’s side fender and headlight and the passenger side mirror? There is no single impact scenario I can come up with that has one person on a bicycle doing that damage to a car. Which kinda draws into question if this was an “accident” or an “assassination”. I can’t determine if this was a hit-from-behind, or the driver drifted into the oncoming lane or what. I can tell you what I think happened, I think the driver hit the cyclist with the passenger side mirror which knocked him down, but the cyclist started to get back up. The driver turned around and hit the cyclist a second time to make sure he couldn’t talk to police. If I was doing this wreck I would look for a second body within a mile of the first that would be a more normal kind of hit with a gun or a knife.

Four wheels between two vehicles in this wreck in MA. Two sent to hospital after motorcycle, bicycle collide in Marlborough One thing missing from the wreck description is who had the green light? At least one of the vehicles involved in this wreck was running a red light, but even though cops and the MSM love to blame people riding bicycles for running red lights who ran the red was not mentioned in the article as I read it right now. What might be there when you read it is another kettle of fish entirely.

Infrastructure! from still in MA. The Boston bike-share success story They built it, they learned from previous attempts at building bicycle sharing infrastructure, and people came in droves… and profits (or at least no real loss) were made.

Another infrastructure story from Oz.Reflecting on a tragedy A cyclist gets doored in the bike lane and because of Aussie liability laws applying to the people that build the roads (and bike lanes) there is a sudden call to correct the infrastructure so that people in cars don’t have to be careful when they open their doors that they don’t severely injure or kill a cyclist going by, plus other calls that there be an automatic fine or prison sentence when dooring results in death. This is another one of those things that once the infrastructure has been built so that cyclists must ride in the door zone eventually someone is going to get killed because a driver opened a car door in the cyclist’s path.

Amazingly enough that’s all I have today. See you tomorrow for another Wreck-Free Sunday post.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Back to the meat grinder, the Feed

You know some people have terrible jobs because that was all they could find. I went and deliberately created this terrible job. Every once in a while I get to relate something nice to you but usually the best I can give you is like the Tasha Borland initial sentence of 24 years minimum for killing 2 bicyclists. And the stuff I read about the motorcycle riders is just horrific, they are held only slightly higher in esteem than us and get about the same treatment from LEO in a wreck as we do (their fault for being there without a car around them…). And the pay really sucks most of the time, I do this for donations, or mostly free. But as I said in yesterday’s post, doing this gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, so it’s not the pay, it’s the satisfaction.

Up first is a physical example of why MS passed a 3-foot to pass law, that isn’t being enforced. Columbus cyclist hit by vehicle I’m just so angry about this, she sideswiped the cyclist, which is a clear violation of the MS 3-feet to pass law that went into effect this year, and not even a ticket because she used the universal “Get Out of Jail Free” card “I didn’t see him”. Could we get some LEO in the state of Mississippi that know the law and apply it?

Closer to home the “cyclist ran a red light” meme in Houston. Bicyclist injured in crash on Sawyer I’m still dealing with some residual anger over the previous link because I only half believe that the cyclist actually ran that red light given that they don’t state the direction of travel for the cyclist. The comments section points out why cyclists have a hard time following road rules in Houston, because when they do there are so many people that try to run them off the road.

More news about the cyclist killed by a cop in FL. Bicyclist Fatally Hit By Pembroke Pines Cop Was Drunk: Cops What I found interesting is that when tox tests are needed to establish that a driver was impaired when killing a cyclist the tests take weeks to come back, but this one that was required to clear a cop came back within hours… Just sayin’

And the US isn’t the only place where a cyclist doesn’t get justice when killed or seriously injured, read this link from the UK. 85-year-old driver who drove on for three miles after killing cyclist escapes jail The driver had to be told by his wife that he had just hit 5 cyclists, when she recovered enough to speak. So the best thing that came from this was he will be banned from driving for the next 10 years. can we all say it together now? TANJ!

A trial still under way in the UK shows that drivers of large vehicles with even bigger blind spots are frequently careless about making sure those blind spots are cleared. Driver in crash that killed cyclist ‘failed to check blind spot’ This will probably go down as another SMIDSY case with little or no penalty against the driver that killed a cyclist. Because this is am ongoing trial comments on the article have been blocked.

A driver in Oz that hit 2 cyclists and killed one while mutilating the other has won an appeal to reduce his sentence. Jail term reduction for driver who killed cyclist I don’t know why he got a reprieve for destroying 2 lives… The excuse that they had never put anyone away that long for killing a cyclist before doesn’t cut it with me.

Infrastructure in WI as an injured cyclist settles over a bike trail that crumbled under his tires and caused a serious injury wreck. Black Hawk County settles lawsuit over bike trail spill Given that the settlement was for only half the cyclist’s medical bills and that a crumbling trail surface was the direct cause of the wreck, these guys are getting a good deal.

More on those lawsuits over park safety in NYC, well another link at any rate. City Getting Sued Over Cyclist Collisions in Prospect and Central Parks Part of the problem is the roads are marked for the short amount of time that cars are allowed in the park with few signs and none actually on the road explaining how things work without the cars. This is like the 15 MPH speed limit for bicycles when cars aren’t present that isn’t actually posted on the park roads which makes enforcing that law… problematic. Rules that change depending on the time of day that are not posted where they will apply are rules that will be ignored.

Trying to get underrun guards mandatory in Canada. Councillor wants to push feds for bike safety The guards would protect anyone in a vehicle smaller than a semi truck from getting rolled over by the back wheels of a truck large enough to require the guards, which is about 90% (at a rough guess) of the vehicles on the roads. And the devices would save fuel when they weren’t preventing people from getting run over by big trucks, so why the resistance?

Death by crappy roads from the UK. Cyclist died after being thrown from her bike at 35mph when she hit a pothole I noticed that the fact that she wasn’t wearing a helmet when she went down at 35 MPH was pretty much a non-starter in the blame game.

More infrastructure news from the UK as the LCC shows a design for the bow roundabout that is 100% better than the existing design but still very dangerous. LCC reveals how Bow roundabout could have looked had TfL heeded safety advice They have bike/ped signals but I don’t see motor vehicle signals. I assume there are such but the place would still give me the heeby-jeebies to ride through it, and I have been riding a bicycle on the street since LBJ’s first term in office, or more than 47 years. The “improved” design would require waiting for 3 lights and a dangerous merge to continue straight, or 4 lights and that dangerous merge to turn right (remember they drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK).

An infrastructurey story from Oz about moving the bike lanes away from parked cars after a driver kills a cyclist by opening a door into him as he passed. Cyclist’s death a catalyst for change

And that’s all the news that gives me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

What are you thankful for?

On this day of thanks there will be no links to bike wrecks, just a list of things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that I survived an angry man that tried to kill me ten years ago, first and foremost. Had I not survived that I wouldn’t have been able to do what little good I have been able to do these days.

I am thankful for “my smoking hot wife” to borrow a phrase. She doesn’t consider herself to be “smoking hot” or more than lukewarm at best, but she isn’t the best judge of that.

I am thankful for all my bikes, even the ones that aren’t rideable at the moment. Having bikes that are not rideable gives me something to occupy my mind and hands when I’m not working on this blog, and keeps me closer to not going nuts from the high levels of stupidity I find in the Feed (and let me tell you I see a lot of stupid stuff that doesn’t make this blog because it isn’t even remotely about bicycles).

I’m thankful for my church, because without it I would have near zero social interactions. Because of my brain damage I don’t interact well with other people and would tend to avoid what little I would get outside of church.

And I’m really thankful for this blog, my outlet for my frustration and a way to give back to the community. Really, without this blog I would have just lost the will to live long ago. Having this blog gives me a purpose to my days, a reason to get up in the morning. Otherwise I would just spend all day in bed or surfing porn on the net. You guys are what gets me up in the morning, because the thought that I can help save someone’s life with a concrete reminder of the stupid things people do around and on bikes is all I have anymore to keep me going. So, don’t any of you guys get killed, OK?

PSA, Opus