Reflecting on my mortality on my Death Day

No wrecks today except for a first-person (with supplements from other witnesses) account of a hit-and-run. Long-time readers of this blog know which wreck I am referring to, but as we have a bunch of new readers since then I’ll just open with the tl;dr version: At 0119 on 31/08/2001 I was killed by a hit-and-run driver. I stayed dead about 2 minutes, less than 5 for sure, and woke up to a world of pain.

The long version goes like this more or less. I was riding home from my second-shift job as a Windows help desk operator, and having to dodge thunderstorms along the route. My ride home was 15.2 miles from Farmer’s Branch to the northeast side of Garland, mostly along arterials because there was no connected grid of streets between the 4 cities I had to traverse to get home. In 3 of the cities I was mostly protected by LEO “not on quotas” following me to catch the crazy drivers that seemed to be attracted to me like moths to a flame, or as one LEO put it I was an idiot magnet and they could get a month’s worth of tickets just following me for a week. Except for Garland, my police shadow stopped when I crossed into my home city.

Any way, I had just crossed into Garland proper when some idiot driving a white pickup that might have been a late ’90s Chevy (I had rain on my glasses) stuck his head out the window to bellow, “Get off the fucking road!” As there was no place to get off the road and still continue to get home I ignored him and continued to ride. This infuriated the driver so much that the driver went to the next available cut-through in the median separating us to make a u-turn to get on my side of the road. Yes he was horribly upset that I was riding all alone on the opposite side of the street with 2 other unoccupied lanes of travel that he had to stop what he was doing to reverse direction and get on my side of the street. Did I mention he was presumed to be drunk at the time?

Location What it looks like now, there was a steakhouse where the mosque is now and no sidewalks

Anyway, after getting on my side of the street and about a quarter mile behind me at this point and driving on wet streets (rain) he basically floored the go pedal on the truck and got up to about 60 MPH (the guy that did the reconstruction put the speed as “between 45 and 65 MPH with highest confidence on 60 MPH”) I heard a noise behind me and started to turn to look over my left shoulder and heard “Get off the fucking road!” again just before everything went black. This is where what I remember about the wreck and what I was told about the wreck diverges sharply, because the people not in my body were watching a different channel than I was.

Location In the far right lane, notice how many lanes of travel there were

Watching from the outside people saw my body bounce off the windshield of the truck, crushing the roof, and then flipping and spinning violently on all 3 axis at the same time to land about 50 feet later on my face. My bike was crushed up to the seat post and went flying about a quarter-mile away to rest against a bus stop sign that is still there today.

My LZ Right in front of the camera car

And the bike’s LZ That sign! Still the same post, but the signs were different in 2001

Outside channel saw what appeared to be a broken corpse only oozing blood in the middle of the street as they called 911. The woman passenger in the car that was behind me and the weapon vehicle actually had enough time to grab her cell when she saw the driver make the u-turn in front of that vehicle and hit 9 and 1 between seeing me come over the top of the truck and landing on the street.

At this point the inside channel was being tuned to a new program. I didn’t get the “life flashing before your eyes” or the “light at the end of a tunnel” program, I got “welcome home, you get to become one with the Universe”. The only problem with that program is learning to use the zoom function, because from where they (whoever or whatever “they” was) left me all I saw was a bunch of dots that were galaxies on a dark background and no way to tell which one was the Milky Way from all the rest of the galaxies, much less find Earth and watch what was going on there (here). At this point I said something along the lines of “this is stupid and I still have things to do” and decided to be not-dead.

Inside channel and outside channels converge about this time as someone tried to move me and I told them I had “broken the upper end of my femur!” several times then I passed out again. Shortly after this I woke up in the back of the ambulance saying, “Did anyone get the number of that truck?” and wondering why it was so dark in there. I could see the cop asking if I saw the truck that hit me but only just barely, and I told him that it was a joke, that I said “truck” because it was already too late to be a bus. Yep, the second thing I said after coming back from the dead was a corny joke.

On that blindness, I should have been freaking out about not being able to see, but I was very calm about the situation and just decided they had the lights down low for my benefit. Obviously I was going blind from all the blood pooling in my head from the flipping compressing the optic nerve, similar to what happens to sprint car drivers after a violent flip. But I didn’t know that at the time. And I could see normally after about 3 days recovery. Well as normally as I could after losing my glasses in the wreck.

I have done the inventory before, but there have been many new readers since the last time so from the bottom: I had some abrasions to the top of my left foot from where my shoe came off in the initial impact, there are still a few scars left but you have to know where to look. The front of my lower leg blew apart from the impact to the back of my leg, exposing both the gastrocnemius and the soleus as well as the tibialis anterior and part of the extensor digitorum. All of those muscles had scarring and reduced mobility in some degree with the gastrocnemius taking the brunt of the scarring and reduced function. I can only raise the front of my foot slightly beyond level now. There was also much nerve damage that healed, for lack of a better description, “cross circuited”, I have numb areas and areas that touching one part will feel like another part of the leg or foot. I also broke the tibia and fibula, but the tib reset while I was flipping and the break wasn’t detected until after it had healed when they did the MRI of my knee. The swelling of the damaged muscles effectively splinted the leg until the bone knitted.

Moving up I lost some skin off the knee and tore both cruciate ligaments and the meniscus of the knee, both of which were not discovered initially because of other damage preventing the diagnosis. The internal damage I mean, the skin was quite easy to see. Above that I also broke my femur somewhere and broke the hip off the end of the femur, which was the only injury I felt at the scene. Since the treatment for the broken hip also took care of the other break nobody bothered to show me where that one was, but I got to see a lot of X-rays of my hip because that was the one they were afraid wouldn’t heal. I was also told that this one was a major pain in the tuckus because of how dense my bones were, requiring the use of power tool that had been only used for carpentry at that point…

I also lost skin off my hands where the gloves were not covering them, a large patch of my left forearm, and part of my face was detached when I landed face first on the street and had to be sewn back on. That one was the most annoying injury in hospital because it felt like ants were crawling on my face while it healed. And that segues (not Segways) into the other major life-altering injury, the TBI that didn’t get spotted because they didn’t know to look or how to look for it back then. I have what is now called Diffuse Axonal Injury, what was back then called severe concussion. I had 2 seizures, one in the ambulance and the other in the ER, that should have tipped someone off, but like I wrote they didn’t know what to look for or how to look for it back then. These days there are two ways to find the injury, one is with an MRI that can see the damage in the first hour or two after the injury, the second is to have a baseline CAT scan for comparison to spot the brain swelling that accompanies the DAI. These are required for F1 drivers and I think IndyCar, but AFAIK they are the only ones who do this. The NFL were considering this, but I don’t know what became of the consideration.

Anyway, the rest is history, my left leg got much shorter, my TBI caused me to lose some cognitive functions and a huge chunk of my vocabulary and foreign languages, and I went on long bike rides because I couldn’t get a job after the wreck because of very little overlap in what I could still do physically and mentally. Basically riding a bike and this blog plus basic life support are about all I can manage since the wreck. Other stuff could be done but not at a level of proficiency that would get me paid for it.

And that’s my 14th anniversary of the day I died. I will have a small party tonight, and then I get to do a massive blog post tomorrow with the links that have been accumulating since Saturday.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet.

This was a long day even before I sat down to post today’s blog post, and the Feed

As the headline says, today has already been a long day. I had to go by the bank again and get out money to pay the bills that have to be covered by this weekend, then start paying them. A big part of the problem is I was using DART to get around instead of my bike that I can’t ride yet because I’m spending so much time getting around by DART I don’t have time to finish the extended stem so that I’m sitting up on the padded part of the seat like it was designed for. Let’s face it, Francis/es has the aerodynamics of a mid-’60s COE semi or a brick with the tall, wide side facing forward, and riding in the racing crouch is not going to materially affect the cruise speed of the bike over the “sit up and beg” position. I might as well be comfortable as I ride slow. But because I still don’t have that piece built and installed I can’t ride more than a couple of miles yet. And So It Goes.

The other thing that delayed the beginning of filtering and posting to the blog was tonight’s Full Moon service, which I had to help with. It was a nice service, but a little sparse on participants. That was OK as both I and the lady who was putting this on with me had to be someplace else as soon as the service was done, she to work and me to this blog post.

And tomorrow I’m going to get my neck rubbed some more in the hopes I can get that muscle that had been compressed by “Chris Christy” until it left “Arthur, Arthur Dent” loosened up so I can ride without pain and be able to turn my head all the way to the right. My new provider only charges $25 instead of the $60 (old charge) or $100 (new charge) of my old therapist, because this is a school and they need lab rats for their students to work on. Since I am comfortable in the lab rat role I have no problem paying $25 for the use of the building to keep the school open while some mostly-trained person hones their craft on my neck.

Up first the Big Story was a ex-Navy Seal taken out riding his bike in DC. Bicyclist killed on Massachusetts Avenue identified as Bethesda man And Former Navy SEAL killed in Bethesda bicycle accident Also Cyclist fatally struck by vehicle in Bethesda identified AFAIK the cyclist was hit from behind in or near the bike lane, and was more than legal in regards to lights and reflectors to the rear. More than that hasn’t been released yet.

More on the scum that ran down a cyclist in MI and left the scene. Man surrenders in crash that killed Lake Orion cyclist and Man charged in hit-and-run death of nurse bicycling across Michigan I never will understand why they give people who have already fled once to avoid prosecution bond or bail when they catch them. Especially a guy with failure to appear warrants in his history.

Here’s a break with Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Honked at for riding sharrows, Vision Zero lost in Mobility Plan fallout, and upcoming bike events

In Jolly Olde, OMG potholes are going to kill us all! Cyclists face pothole peril as road repairs are delayed and Potholes blamed for increasing numbers of cyclist deaths If I’m reading this right over 3400 cyclists a year would be dying from potholes except for the level of care provided by the NHS (this being the reason for the KSI stat, the NHS provides the highest level of emergency care in the world, and most people survive wrecks that would have been deadly after a long hospital stay before). Man, is that a lot of pothole wrecks or what?

Back in CA, someone needs instruction on the meaning of a right hook. Cyclist In Critical Condition After Collision At Divisadero & Golden Gate Nevermind, this is the same bunch that blamed a woman for getting hit by a truck making a wide right turn, without a turn signal, across a marked bike lane.

Still in CA, a driver pleaded down from Murder and 20 years to Manslaughter and 4 years. Four-year prison sentence in Foresthill Road bike-death case Maybe this is 4 years more than he would have gotten in a trial, maybe not… But he was under the influence of a dangerous narcotic and he killed a man.

Over in UT, a salmon cyclist is hit by an SUV that apparently rolled a stop sign. 1 hurt in auto-bicycle collision; police urge caution Two wrongs here, but they only issued the ticket to the one that got hurt. Also the cyclist appears to have been riding in the sidewalk, and as I frequently say, sidewalks are not bicycle infrastructure.

NYS, where killing someone with a motor vehicle is “just one of those things, you know?” Too early to know if Hammond driver will be charged in Route 3 bicyclist death Seriously it is easier to charge someone with murder than it is to get a homicide charge on a killing with a motor vehicle.

And this juicy tidbit from NYC. Ask A Native New Yorker: Is It OK To Yell At Cyclists Who Run Red Lights? The comments section…

Another dead cyclist in ABQ. Bicyclist killed in Thursday crash Who saw the cyclist run the red, aside from the driver that killed him? SWCC wreck until proven otherwise.

Deadly hit-and-run in KY Bicyclist killed in hit-and-run on Newtown Pike The narrative makes it sound like the driver was impaired chemically or by lack of sleep.

Here’s hoping the CM tonight in Miami was safe. CRITICAL MASS RIDES TONIGHT IN MEMORY OF FALLEN CYCLIST AND AHEAD OF TROPICAL STORM ERIKA

A wreck in the Great White North. Crash southeast of Stratford leaves cyclist critically injured Prayers and energy for the injured cyclist hit by a goober on the wrong side of the road. Ain’t nothing you can do about that.

More from Jolly Olde as LEO say if you ain’t dying don’t call about your bike wreck. Police chief writes to cyclist to explain why he can’t investigate crash

And last link for this tired blogger, is this the bike that gets fat asses out of cars? Is This The E-Bike That Finally Gets Commuters Out Of Cars? Absent some tax or fee that disincentivises SOV commuting, I’m going to say no.

And tired blogger says “Good night”. Programming note there will be no wrecks in the 8/31 blog post, if I even write it. I may go out and get drunk instead. Or stay home and get drunk. Or have cookies and cupcakes. I have been told there will be cupcakes with dark chocolate bats on them (can’t stop, this is bat country) :D

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet

Things are Not Good on the church front, and the Feed

I’m working at transferring a mailing list that I moderate for the church over to someone else, only I can’t because I’m not the owner. The last anyone heard from the owner was in 2012, and we are not even sure that he is still on this side of the veil. He would be in his late 60s or early 70s by this point, and his access to social media or email are “iffy” if he’s still alive. But right now I can’t do what needs to be done, and that frustrates me.

Up first, Google cars don’t understand track stands. How fixed-gear bikes can confuse Google’s self-driving cars The combination of moving back and forth and the rider in the same position as moving forward confuses the AI. But they are still working on it.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: San Diego police blame bike mob; unconfirmed report of bicycling fatality on PCH in Malibu Is there a stick or magic wand we can use to beat sense into cops?

And Daily Ted part 2. Bike rider killed crossing PCH in Malibu; bicycling deaths down over 40% in LA County compared to 2014

Infrastructure news from Portland. Neighborhood greenways breeze through council with unanimous support

Also from Portland, I think if we find that stick down in CA we need to send it north to see if it works on traffic engineers. State says there’s not enough proof that bike lanes boost safety, so 26th Ave lanes should go Apparently a decade of statistics from NYC aren’t good enough for ODOT.

Update on a MI hit-and-run, they found the driver. Sheriff: 16-year-old identified as driver in crash that injured cyclist And it looks like the “penis enhancer” theory about the weapon vehicle may be factual.

Two links about a WA wreck. Mill Creek cyclist critically injured in hit-and-run and Cyclist critically injured in hit-and-run; police search for suspect See, now why can’t trigger-happy LEO ever pull one of these idjits over and shoot them in the face? Seeing as how they are actually armed and dangerous and proven willing to use the weapon? And from the narrative there was nothing the cyclist did wrong or could have done to avoid the wreck.

More from CA. Cyclist Dies After PCH Collision Again, without seeing the wreckage I can’t verify the “crossing” portion of the narrative. Assuming the narrative is factually correct, what we have here is either a cyclist not paying attention (possible) or a stretch of road that can be clear when a cyclists starts to cross, but there may be cross traffic before getting to the other side. There needs to be testing to see if the second scenario is true, and either a refuge island provided to make a 2 stage crossing, or a reduction in the speed limit so that crossing the road isn’t like playing Russian Roulette. Give people at least half a chance at survival.

A KS cyclist is right-crossed while crossing with the light in the crosswalk. Bicyclist injured in accident I’m trying to wrap my head around the geometry of this wreck, it appears the cyclist may have been riding salmon but would have been coming at the weapon vehicle from the front rather than the side. So basically the driver blew the red (because the only way this could have happened as described would be for a simultaneous ped signal and turn arrow signal, which would have been a solid red to the driver) and didn’t look in front of the vehicle to make sure the crosswalk was clear, oorrr, the driver failed to notice the light had changed while making sure traffic had cleared and when they stopped he went without looking. So either way this went, the driver went without looking in the crosswalk to make sure there was nothing in his path.

Cyclists are injured in multiple wrecks in West Canuckistan on the same day. Cyclists injured in two separate Saanich crashes One was a two-for-one that was almost a three-for, as a driver either crossed or hooked three cyclists but one managed to avoid the vehicle. How do you turn into three cyclists, unless you meant to? The other cyclist was hit running a stop sign. [sigh]

This one was from the Great White North. Cyclist in coma following downtown Montreal crash Another Single Witness Crossing Cyclist wreck where they say the cyclist was running the red.

Still from the Great White North, blame ALL the cyclists. Many cyclists taking chances

In Jolly Olde stockholm syndrome is beginning to set in. Cyclists welcome report into safety of Frideswide Square After decades of neglect or outright hostility, any slight display that might get mistaken for compassion is fawned over.

Last link is from Enn Zed, and is something I can commiserate with. Cyclist badly injured in truck crash accuses Wellington hospital of neglect This sounds exactly like what happened to me, because CAT scans can only detect DAI (Diffuse Axonal Injury) when there is a baseline scan for comparison, like what is required for F1 and IndyCar drivers before the start of every season. Diffuse Axonal Injury is a sneaky kind of TBI, it can affect a large part of the brain, but unless it is a part the victim has to use while being treated it doesn’t get noticed until it’s too late to treat it. For me it was the loss of foreign languages and a large chunk of specialized vocabulary. For other people it is other things.

And I’m done, wiped out, beat, semi-functional. TIRED.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet (3 more shopping days until my DeathDay)

Already working on Halloween costumes, and the Feed

Some of the people in my RPG group are real big on Halloween, like REAL big. Start planning your costume and buying for it in August big. So I was out pricing and comparing body paint with one of them this afternoon. Body paint is sold in sizes from 4 oz. to multiple gallons in a bucket (not sure if that was a 3 or 5 gallon bucket, but that was a lot of body paint). The person I was shopping with would not need any of the large sizes, but depending on coverage she might need a gallon for the base color. Or she may decide to just go to a pro and get the job done right. I know I’m going to be busy that night because my church has decided to do a full ritual on that night. I’m not on the ad hoc for that ritual, but it will be a barn-burner (probably not literally as don’t have a barn to burn).

The Big Story tonight is a continuation of one from last night as the links and news on the drunk salmon driver who killed a cyclist in CO. Cyclist Killed On Lookout Mountain By Suspected Drunk Driver Leaves Behind Wife, Son and Cyclist killed after being struck by suspected drunk driver on Lookout Mountain Still the same story even with more links, it won’t get any better unless the perp hangs himself with a trash bag in jail.

The “new” Big Story is from the Most Deadliest State to walk or ride a bike in the US. Bicyclist dead in hit-and-run crash on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee and Search continues for driver in Kissimmee fatal hit-and-run on U.S. 192 The problem with drunk drivers who run is it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a drunk driver driving like a drunk, and deliberate murder. This case illustrates that difficulty, the cyclist was riding in the bike lane when the driver swerved off the road through the cyclist and hit a pole and another vehicle, then the driver got out of the car and ran, leaving the cyclist’s broken body in the grass in front of the weapon vehicle where it fell after the weapon vehicle hit the pole.

Still in FL, a SWCC wreck. St. Augustine bicyclist dies in U.S. 1 crash Not much in this one, just a cyclist hit while “crossing” a busy highway. Since the cyclist was dead at the scene when LEO got there there was no account from the victim of the wreck.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: More on Monday’s Vision Zero event, and a rider’s eye view of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix

Still in CA, why is breaking a car window a crime but running a bike over after knocking the rider off of it and dragging the bike several blocks not a crime? Especially when the car window was broken trying to get the attention of the driver after the knocking down and dragging? Driver, bicyclists tussle in Normal Heights Hit-and-run against the injured cyclist with the damaged bike, and they are going to charge the cyclists? TANJ!

Also in CA a cyclist is knocked 176 feet by a hit-and-run driver. Hit-and-run leaves Hanford bicyclists injured This idiot driver came within inches of killing 3 people, they should throw the book at him, pick it up, throw it again, then pick it up and throw it one more time. When they catch him that is. If you see the black Caddy pickup truck the driver is probably a poseur with “compensation issues”, treat him as armed and dangerous. And Stupid, a bad combination.

Not done with CA yet, we have a left cross wreck. Cyclist injured in Alpine Road collision There are a lot of people who don’t know the how to drive in CA as evidenced by the comments section.

Moving closer to home, another LA cyclist is hit. Teen riding bike to school injured by hit-and-run driver Since they never mentioned lights and reflectors in the story in spite of the early hour before sunrise, the cyclist was at least legally conspicuous. And I am so tired of hit-and-run drivers.

Another wreck in MI. Sheriff: Cyclist injured in Charlevoix County hit-and-run crash I still want to run hit-and-run drivers through a car shredder with the car they hit-and-ran in. I might be benevolent and allow the driver as much to drink as they wanted before the trip through the car shredder, or I might be an asshole and make them drink Red Bull and Monster so they are really wired and alert, and have to pee. Can you tell I’m really angry at all the hit-and-runs this week, and it’s only Wednesday.

And now we get to that great cyclist and pedestrian killing field, NYC. Woman On Mobility Scooter Killed By Driver In Sheepshead Bay The victim was crossing with the light in the crosswalk when she was left-crossed from behind.

This just makes me angry too. Police Seek Riverside Park Hit-And-Run Cyclist Who Hospitalized 2-Year-Old Asshole, you hit a little kid, you stick around and exchange information with the parents. Oh, wait a minute she tried, but the parents left with the kid to go to the hospital… See what I get from reading too fast?

A little NYC infrastructure change. These Scary Atlantic Avenue Intersections Are Now A Little Less Dangerous

Another “safety” article that begins and ends at “helmets”. NYS Fair bike helmet giveaway; Upstate Medical’s free lids not just for kids anymore I think every one knows how I feel about helmets, even though a major reason why I quit riding was I couldn’t get the helmet over the tumor on the back of my neck.

Lovely infrastructure article from West Canuckistan. More than 200 people killed or seriously injured on Whyte Avenue in 10 years The area is a 3 km long stretch that has an average of almost 2 wrecks with injury or death every month. That’s about 2 miles in “old money”, to use a Britishism. That is too many for too long a time. Something needs to be fixed there…

This is an insane assault on a cyclist in Jolly Olde. Man who pushed cyclist into path of traffic turns himself in to police I still don’t see how this isn’t attempted murder to push someone into traffic, bicycle or not.

Last link, instead of just adopting the CROW manual, they have to do things the hard way. New junction opens to save bike riders

As an aside, I composed this post while listening to the 6 hour complete soundtrack music to Cowboy Bebop on YouTube and my phone. You’re welcome. Seriously this is just a long silky ride on a cloud of jazz, blues, a little rock, some heavy metal, a little Western Swing, some pure J-Pop, all written by an enormously talented Japanese woman who could have made a small fortune composing new classical pieces and directing orchestras, Yoko Kanno. I hope she got boatloads of yen for all the anime she has scored over the years. She also wrote all the music to the Ghost In The Shell series, Brain Powerd, and a couple dozen others that are not coming to mind right now. Good stuff, and lots of it, even if it is an anime soundtrack, if you didn’t know it was you couldn’t recognize it from the music. Unless you watched the show, of course. Oh, Gawwds they just got to “The Real Folk Blues”… about 2:50 or so into the 6 hours, but not the version in the end credits, the one used in the final battle between Spike and the Mob Guy…

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet.

Our DM is very good at TPK, and the Feed

Today’s post is getting a late start because of another game session with the Kinky D&D group. After getting my head pointed the right direction last time, after it was removed by another party member under a compulsion, my character was ready to take on the world, and plunder the dungeon. Unfortunately we ran into a pair of succubi, sisters as it happened, and once again we had a Total Party Kill. The only one to escape was my NPC apprentice, the half-elf bard, because she ran when she saw what we were up against before the first spell cast or shot fired. Which was good considering that my character was the only one to get a shot off at the succubi, causing enough damage and disruption to the one I hit that she was out of the battle for the rest of the fight, but in the meantime her sister managed to get all the other characters compelled to attack the other members of the party, which given how lethal our characters are is probably the best strategy rather than going toe to toe and slugging it out (except with my character, he can’t fight in melee and has to keep taking 5 foot steps back and casting defensively so going toe to toe with him is a good idea, and going toe to toe with him by compelling another character to attack is even a better idea). Where we made our mistake was not attacking the succubi immediately as they were being held prisoner and we figured they would prefer a unimpeded release to combat. We had a better than even chance to take them out had we just gone in shooting instead of trying to negotiate for their release. Anywho, the bard managed to find the efreeti outside the dungeon (that we had only entered in the first place because there was a tornado coming), and convinced him that it was in his best interests to revive the party so we could rescue his sister from the half-fiend, half-green dragon who was intent on using her as breeding stock. He honored her wish to revive the party and get all the treasure in the dungeon from the areas we had already cleared, and then we moved on to taking care of the efreeti’s quest to save his sister from being forcefully impregnated by the fiend/green dragon. At this point we all had to level up. My warlock is now level 9 and does 5d6 damage with his Eldritch Blast, has a +7 attack bonus against the touch AC at ranges up to 250 feet, and a +8 bonus at ranges inside 30 feet. My apprentice is now 5th level and no longer has to fork over 500GP to my character at every level after this, her apprenticeship is complete (but she’s still an NPC).

The Big Story comes from the Great White North, as a head-on wreck between two cyclists kills one and puts the other in hospital. Jacques-Cartier Bridge bike path crash kills 1 and Fatal cycling collision on Jacques-Cartier Bridge Basically, someone crossed the centerline before daylight on a blind curve (because of the walls that keep the cars out of the bike lane) and heads literally butted. Both cyclists had head injuries, and neither one was wearing a helmet. To prevent with built environment, same thing as I say for drivers, slow down to a speed that you can stop in the distance you can see clearly. To improve the built environment replace the concrete walls with heavy steel bollards filled with concrete and put a transparent wall on the bicycle side of that.

The other Big Story is on this side of the northern border as a suspected drunk driver drives on the wrong side of the road and hits a cyclist head on and kills him instantly. Cyclist killed after being struck by suspected drunk driver on Lookout Mountain and Golden dad out on evening bike ride killed by alleged drunk driver The only thing that will prevent a wreck like this with the built environment is changing the built environment. Driving drunk is already against the law, driving on the wrong side of the road is against the law, and passing more than one vehicle and passing on a double-yellow line are also both against the law. My change recommendation is public execution of drunk drivers and public destruction of their cars, preferably in a single step operation.

Closer to home a cyclist north of the Red River from WoaB World HQ in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell while riding on the shoulder of a road to the right of rumble strips intended to keep cars from driving in the shoulder. Norman bicyclist killed near Purcell I don’t see how this could be avoided by the cyclist, he was hit from behind while riding about 4 feet to the right of the fog line on an 8 foot wide shoulder, about 2 feet to the right of the rumble strip. I suspect that the driver was impaired or distracted, and that nothing short of a barrier-protected bike lane could have prevented this wreck. The likelihood of getting barrier protected bike lanes on a semi-rural OK highway is slightly higher than the likelihood of a magnitude 6.5 quake in OK City.

Over in WI another cyclist is killed by another hit-and-run driver. Suspect in custody after fatal Germantown hit-and-run crash And Suspect in fatal Germantown hit-and-run crash released from custody He is impeding the investigation by refusing to give up the driver. Of course, since he’s probably the driver he’s protected against self-incrimination by the 5th Amendment. So, screw the 5th and charge him as the owner of the vehicle, which makes him responsible for what happens with it. That’s one of the things people are constantly harping about on bicycle registration, that it makes people accountable. Well, if registration makes people accountable, make this owner account for this wreck by going to prison.

And another hit-and-run wreck. Bicyclist injured in hit-and-run The cyclist was injured but the bike was undamaged, a strong indication of a buzz job or punishment pass. This is very similar to the wreck that killed Larry Schwartz outside Plano which precipitated the Ride of Silence in 2003. The main difference here is the cyclist was alive and semi-conscious when someone got to her a few minutes after the wreck. By the time someone found Larry, well that’s why we have a Ride of Silence.

Wanna bet this one gets solved ASAP? Wayne cop struck while training for charity bike ride Nothing on what happened aside from telling who owned the weapon vehicle.

Our Daily Ted (I bet you thought I forgot). Morning Links: Caltrans may remove dangerous Topanga Cyn reflectors; Vision Zero becomes official LA policy

And still in CA, another frikken hit-and-run. MAN ON BICYCLE KILLED IN MARIPOSA HIT AND RUN I am so freaking tired of hit-and-run drivers I could scream.

Last link is from Oz. Australia’s biggest bike-lane skeptic ‘wants to destroy cycling in Sydney’ Neanderthal, ain’t he?

And I’m tired, I have to get up early tomorrow, and I’m still very unhappy about that last link’s comments section.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet

I got caught in the rain coming home from my haircut, and the Feed

Trip to the bank, trip to the hardware store, and trip to the nearest haircut place when they said they knew how to do a flattop haircut. Unfortunately they had only a vague idea of what a “flattop” was and what I got was more of a high and tight than a flattop. What I was looking for was something close to this.

But what I got was this.

And I look a lot more unhappy in that picture than I intended to, wow. I guess that’s what getting caught in the rain and having to change all your clothes and put your shoes in the shoe dryer looks like. It wasn’t raining when I left the bus stop 0.4 miles away on the main road, but the water was running ankle-deep in the street by the time I got to the corner of my street less than 10 minutes later.

The Big Story today is a UK politician having a bike wreck because someone tampered with his brakes. Police open investigation after Labour councillor is injured after bicycle brakes cut and Cyclist seriously hurt after saboteurs cut brakes After years of anti-cyclist propaganda from the Murdoch media empire is anyone surprised about this? Seriously check your brakes after every stop where you leave your bike unsupervised, you never know what kind of sick sociopaths will take delight in your possible death or dismemberment.

Next biggest story was a tie between this Oz story and the next paragraph. Qld road safety push after cyclist death and Bike group calls for urgent review of inner city truck use The “shocking” news that there is a 25 foot (7 meter) blind spot in front of a conventional cab truck isn’t really news, but the fact that there has been nothing done about this blind spot to the passenger side of the truck in all the years since it was discovered is disturbing.

Back in the US we have another cyclist killed in gun violence. Witnesses: Man riding bike shot, killed on near north side and Man riding bike shot and killed on north side It appears the cyclist was killed by pedestrians on the sidewalk, rather than a drive-by shooting. So you’re dead if you do (ride in the street) and dead if you don’t.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: Tragedy in Santa Clarita, LA announces Vision Zero, and too much racing news for one day

Wildfires in the PNW impact a treasured Portland bike event. County urges bikers to use TriMet as wildfire smoke fills Portland streets (updated) It came ][ this close to getting canceled, but the wind changed direction to push the smoke away from the city a bit.

Closer to home, another hit-and-run in Austin. Popular Austin cyclist falls victim to hit and run The good news is he’s alive and looks like he will recover without further disruption to his life after he heals.

I’m sure this MD cyclist wishes the driver had left the scene instead of what he did. SUV Driver Cited for Hitting Cyclist, Road Rage: Police He beat up on a man with a broken arm and rib and threw a wheel into the woods so the cyclist couldn’t follow him, and his bail was set at only $25K? TANJ!

A young cyclist in LA is killed when he fell over into a truck’s rear wheels. Young boy killed in bicycle accident in Opelousas Gee I wonder what would cause a bicycle to fall over into the rear wheels of a truck? A buzz job or punishment pass maybe? Or a horn blast just a few feet away from his head?

AZ cyclists are having problems with streetcar tracks. N4T Investigators: Another cyclist files lawsuit over streetcar tracks The problem is not the tracks alone, there is also a lot of traffic in the intersection and a cyclist has to have superhuman levels of multitasking to be able to watch for traffic as well as for road defects and streetcar tracks, and the costs for the cyclist could be extremely high, and I’m not just talking about the $300K lawsuit filed for medical expenses.

A NJ cyclist ran out of luck. Newark man, 23, killed in Granville crash Given that no information about the wreck is coming from LEO, and the driver is in jail, maybe a drunk hit the cyclist from behind semi-on-purpose?

How much does not having bike lanes cost your city? Bike-lane advocates cite new Albany County data on cost of injuries The direct, to-the-cyclist cost of a wreck can be higher than the median family income of the city. The average cost is almost the median income in the city, so it doesn’t take much worse than an average wreck to get way past the “average” cost for a wreck.

Back in AZ for encouragement to ride. Get out and ride, but be safe

Bad wreck in NYC. Chinese food delivery guy, 65, seriously injured after hit by truck in Brooklyn Remember the story from Oz about conventional cabs and their blind spots to the front passenger side? Same thing applies here.

Beautiful article from MO. Ghost bikes honor cyclists killed on road

Is “fell over in front of me” the new “I didn’t see him”? Cyclist killed in Rosemont La Petite-Patrie Québécois are more like Parisian French than your average Canadian, but still a lot better than the average N’Yawker. This just sounds so… suspicious.

And Rob Ford is casting a huge shadow on Toronto cyclists. Most cyclists are not considerate

This is what most of MY bike rides feel like. What Happens When A Tank Crashes A Bike Race

Last link, sometimes we can do great things. A Katrina hero: He hopped into a boat and became a one-man rescue squad He kept rescuing people for days, over a week. And he was One Of Us. Given that level of exertion he pretty much had to be, or some other kind of endurance athlete.

And I’m outta links again.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet (only 6 more shopping days until my Deathday, be sure to hit your favorite liquor store so you can celebrate properly, at home)

My Warlock has been revived and other crucial news on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Getting to the good news from the Kinky D&D game, my Warlock8 has been revived and his head put on the right way so he can again aid the party in fighting the whatevers we have to fight now. I think we have about 3 overlapping quests we are stuck with counting the one we have to fulfill to “pay” for reviving the dead party members. We now have to rescue a effrit princess from a half-fiend, half green dragon, the very same dragon we were supposed to “take care of” to get rid of the monsters that had been harassing the trade routes in and out of the city we had been based in before this round of adventures started. So we have come full circle…

In other news I think I may have found a massage provider I can afford, $25 for a 50 minute massage. The bad part is these are student intern massages so I won’t have any way of selecting a therapist I know works well with my injuries. But if I come every week, I can get the people assigning students to let me work with students specializing in treating people like me. So eventually it will work out and I’ll be able to get what I need at least some of the time.

Continuing the health news, you may remember that I ran my second toe on my right foot over with the dolly while moving furniture Friday night. No broken bones, but the toe has been sore and swollen and has taken a lot of abuse because it sticks out further than the big toe. The same toe on the left foot is also swollen because it got jammed against the inside of my shoe as you can see in this picture.

You can also see the bruised nailbeds from delaying the trip to the nail spa until I injured my toes on the inside of my shoes. I know, I defer maintenance until things get too bad to do otherwise, it is a failing of mine.

On other things I really need and want to finish building the extended stem for Francis/es, but I have worn out all my cutting tools on the CroMo steel I purchased for the task. Well technically I still have a fresh sidemill cutting tool, but as I don’t have the kind of PPE I need to use it given the kind of shavings it throws off, I’m gonna put that one on the back shelf for now. I really don’t want to spend another couple of days using forceps to grab and pull tiny needles out of my skin when they work their way to where I can grab them. The process is as irritating as the little slivers of metal in my skin. The deal now is I need to make the top (outside) edge of the cutout about 3mm deeper in the raw stock, and I need to relieve a lot of material from inside the raw stock so the donor stem fits flush with the edge of the cutout and the top of the donor stem fits flush with the top of the raw stock of the extension.

That’s the hole.

And that’s the Hole Problem. You can see where the top of the donor stem extends past the raw stock of the extension by more than a bit, meaning the hole has to be made larger/longer. You may have also noticed that I went through the side of the donor stem trying to make it fit inside the raw stock. That can be filled or covered when I braze the donor stem into the extension and then filed or ground smooth for painting. NBD. The combination of welded donor stem brazed into the raw stock will be more than strong enough for the forces applied even when standing on the pedals even with the gaps in the donor stem. The donor stem survived the wreck that killed me, it should survive a few trips to the grocery store in its new form. The bottom of the extension fits flush against the top of Francis/es’ steer tube so when the binder bolt is tightened up there is very little stress applied to the bottom of the extension. I’m still looking for the one odd part I need to complete the binder bolt, the “coupling nut” that connects the bolt that fits the top of the donor stem to the hunk of allthread that spans the added space in the extension.

It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work in darkness inside the extension and hold the two threaded pieces together.

So when I go deposit the check to pay for the massages, since I budgeted $60/week and I only need to pay $25, I have a little bit of money to pay for things like coupling nuts and abrasive tools for the Dremel. And I get to do that and the Huge Blog Post all in the same day. :P

It’s time to go to evening services, and I think I have blathered on enough for one day.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet