Monthly Archives: February 2009

More death and destruction, The Feed 2/27/09

Yeah, well there isn’t really that much death, some destruction, and some good news from Iowa (are you paying attention Kim West?).

Opening up with the Iowa news first, a bill that substantially upgrades the rights and protections of cyclists passes the state Senate in Iowa. Iowa Senate endorses “Bicyclist’s Bill of Rights” Notice that the Republicans are against anyone getting more rights. The quote from the Democrat was interesting, in that while motor vehicle occupant deaths are declining bicyclists are still getting killed at the same number every year. I don’t know if this is an indictment against cars getting more protective of occupants or what, but the basic matter is that all cyclists have to protect themselves is a styrofoam hat that is only good up to a 12.5 MPH impact, while car occupants have tons of steel crumple zones, seat belts, and air bags to prevent injury and death. Cars are tested to eliminate all injury at an impact speed that kills 80% of cyclists and pedestrians, which accounts for much of the differences in the decline of the death rate. Now let’s see the state House pass the bill, too.

A freak wreck when two cyclists collide. Man injured in bike-on-bike accident Once again, it ain’t much, but a helmet would have reduced the level of injury in this wreck. And actually this is just the kind of wreck that helmets are designed to protect in. So, wear a helmet, in case you get knocked off your bike and hit your head on the way down.

And the feel-good story that isn’t about new laws or infrastructure. Teacher, wife and cyclist hopes to tackle MERCO dream I’m all for anyone that’s chasing their dreams, as long as those dreams don’t interfere with my daily life. This is a real good story, go out there and do something wonderful in your life like this woman.

And that’s all the cycling and safety related stuff in the Feed for today. Tomorrow’s post may be a little late as I have prior engagements to attend to.

Billed @$.02, Opus


Here and there, mostly there

OK I have gotten lots of e-mails (if one is lots) asking what the heck I meant with the last headline (Two lines before “I feel happy”), and the Jeopardy answer is “What is ‘I’m not dead yet'”. And where does this come from? The movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Funny movie, I took my wife to see it on our 3rd date before we got married. I thnk it had something to do with her marrying me.

First up is a report on reinforced e-assist bicycles for obese people to get exercise and transportation. US company produces e-bikes for obese Now if you’re not obese you can still use the extra carrying capacity of these bikes for cargo, so don’t think these are just for fatties. Us non-obese people can use them for grocery shopping, commuting when large loads need to be carried, and other transportation uses that require moving weight around.

The cyclist that ran the red light in Little Rock and hit cars and died has been identified. Update: Police Identify Cyclist Killed in LR Once again, watch your speed and don’t blow through red lights,even if they don’t work for bicycles. If a red light won’t change for a bicycle federal law allows treating the defective light as a stop sign after 2 minutes without changing. Be sure to use a watch to document that you stopped, checked the time and waited for 2 minutes before proceeding.

A student on the USF campus is sideswiped by a truck that crossed the centerline. Bicyclist Struck By Pickup On USF Campus The charges seem a little, well, light. I mean how far over the line did he cross to hit the cyclist? At some point the act of crossing the line to hit a cyclist becomes assault with a deadly weapon if not attempted murder or terrorism. Unfortunately I don’t know what the limit is or should be. Obviously going into the shoulder under control is assault, but what about cyclists taking the lane? I don’t know…

A driver leaving a fast food establishment almost takes out a cyclist and leaves. Hit-and-run in Jasper injures cyclist Hit-and-run in Jasper injures cyclist The cyclist was very lucky in this case, as he could have been center-punched or T-boned by the driver. And as always if you have any personal knowledge of the wreck contact local LEO at the contact number in the article.

Another UK report on a cyclist sideswiped by a motor vehicle. Police appeal after Newport cyclist seriously injured

Also from Jolly Olde is a report on soldiers cycling to a fallen comrade’s gravesite to raise money for his memorial. Comrades cycle to soldier’s grave Good cause, I’m all for supporting veterans, I’m one myself. I was in the era between Vietnam and the Gulf War I (Desert Storm), where combat was a dirty limited thing, and never publicized. Don’t worry about me, I’ll deal with it.

And finally is a report on new laws in Vietnam for e-assist bikes and small motorcycles. Electric bikes riders to wear helmets under law Interesting that e-assist bikers are being required to wear helmets as a means of discouraging e-assist use… What does that mean for requiring non-assisted cyclists to wear helmets?

And that’s the Feed for today. A note to my readers, I have gotten a part-time job recently and will be cutting back on the number of updates to no more than one a day as my job will cut into the monitoring of the Feed.

Billed @$.02, Opus

Two lines before “I feel happy”

And with that cryptic headline let’s look at the Feed.

More on that drunk driver that hit-and-run against a cyclist in Austin. Driver accused of hitting cyclist, DWI in Southeast Austin Yes the driver got out of the car and pulled the wrecked bicycle from under his car and told the cyclist not to call police. That is Intoxication Assault and assault with a deadly. He knew what he was doing was wrong, did it anyway, and then threatened his victim to not tell police. What more can I say? This guy, when drunk, is eeevillll and needs to be put away for a while, and also prohibited from consuming alcohol after he gets out. I guess I could have sub-titled this paragraph “Meet Mr. Hyde“.

And a story that disturbs me because of the proximity of he wreck to my parents’ house and where I used to live in the same town. Cyclist Hit By Car, Left For Dead My parents’ house is less than a half mile from the wreck, and my old house is about 4 miles from the scene of the wreck. And why does the media insist on harping about helmets when that was one of the few places that wasn’t injured on this poor man? He has a broken spine not a broken skull, plus other injuries. And he was wearing reflective clothing and a bright orange hat when hit.

From Jolly Olde is another report that a cyclist was hit, this time there are no facts given because LEOs have no clues, literally. Cyclist seriously injured in crash OK so they know the makes, models, and colors of he involved vehicles, that still doesn’t mean they have a clue about what happened. If you can help please do so.

Another UK report from the Beeb brings us the sad news that a cyclist has died. Crash cyclist dies in hospital It’s always sad when someone dies from a bicycle wreck, but to have the media state that the person that killed you was uninjured while killing you is just piling it on, don’t you think?

From India is a report on a hit-and-run by a city bus against a cyclist.2 killed in separate mishaps I don’t know what the deal is in India, but they seem to have a problem with their bus drivers killing other roads users.

And that’s the whole bloody mess for this morning.

Billed @$.02, Opus

Late night Feed redux

Yes I had another late Feed, and yes I’m going to post the best parts here.

A cyclist has been killed in Nawlins, but the death was overshadowed by a fiery crash on the Interstate involving pickup trucks. Texas man, bicyclist killed in separate New Orleans traffic accidents Monday Unfortunately from this report we won’t know the cause of the wreck because the only part of the wreck recorded was the secondary impact of the motor vehicle. Something made the cyclist fall down into the lane, and I’m willing to bet money I don’t have that the primary cause was an impact with another motor vehicle.

From Jolly Olde is a final report. Cyclist died of natural causes This is a change, usually it takes more than 3 days to report the final cause of a wreck involving a bicycle (the record for stories I have been watching has been 18 months).

And finally is another report on what the cyclist hit (or was hit by) on Nudgee Road. Cyclist dies in crash with garbage truck I still love the name Nudgee Rd.

And that’s it.

Billed @$.02, Opus

The Morning Feed 02/24

Yes I’m running out of headlines, you try writing as many as 3 posts in a day and coming up with witty and informative headlines for each and every one. This is a literal one man operation on the content side, just me and the cats and the cats can’t type. Add in Google Alerts providing the Feed and a couple of subscriptions to online newspapers in hotspots for bike/car wrecks and you have the entire data gathering side of the operation as well, which I still have to read and filter out the noise. Apologies to Erik Ryberg on subscribing to the e-edition of the Tucson Citizen, but you live in a hot spot, but as a bicycle lawyer you already know that, don’t you.

First up is something funny. The last couple of days here at WoaB have been depressing with cyclists getting killed doing what the law requires and then followup articles in the same media harping about the scofflaw cyclists running rampant when drivers breaking the laws killed cyclists. This is a bit of antidote to that depressing news. Bikemakers Aim to Give an Outdoor Flavor to an Indoor Workout Indoor bikes that provide real road feel and require leaning into turns, and make you sweat bullets. All that’s missing is the cars’ exhaust and their threat of collisions. If you are just into bicycles for the exercise this would be perfect, but if you ride to actually do something useful like get somewhere, well it’s fun and there are no cars to hit you, and you never get lost…

Another hit-and-run in Austin, just 217 miles down the roads from me (259 by bicycle). Allegedly intoxicated man strikes bicyclist, drives off Umm correct me if I’m mistaken, but isn’t that more commonly known as hit-and-run? Or Intoxication Assault? Actually by my knowledge of the laws there are at least 3 charges that can be brought just from the information given in the article. I’ll have to contact my LEO son-in-law to see if there should be more.

From Jolly Olde a not-so-jolly story about an 88 YO driver hitting a cyclist. Cyclist injured in crash Some of the comments seem to indicate a belief that the driver may be at fault in this case, and one that questioned the level of thoroughness displayed by LEO in shutting down the road for four hours. Hey, I would love that kind of thoroughness in investigating crimes against cyclists in TX… here we are lucky to get a police report even though it is required by law if there is an injury requiring transport to a medical facility. An accurate report is even more rare. But that is a rant for a different post.

Finally is a report on how NYC could not run without bicycle messengers. NYC Fashion Week, like many other things, impossible without bike messengers I like seeing articles that recognize the contributions to daily life made by bicycles.

And that’s it for this Feed, you know I will be looking for more later.

Billed @$.02, Opus

The Late Feed, again

I guess I don’t get to sleep, this mess showed up in my inbox tonight, plus a whole bunch of noise. Signal to noise was about the same as usual, pretty poor, less than 0.5, actually I think the ratio was more like 0.2. I would have to go back and count articles and do actual math to make sure.

Up first is another dead cyclist over the weekend in FL. I have lost count of the number of dead, but I think they are still ahead of pace for 52 dead cyclists this year. 74-year-old Jacksonville bike rider dies following accident Not the usual way of describing a SWSS, but the same effect. How does one fail to yield right of way unless you are either riding against traffic or running a red light or stop sign? And neither were mentioned in the article. Since this is 3 days after the wreck had something like running a stop sign or riding the wrong way had happened then it would have been mentioned in the article, but it wasn’t, only the enigmatic “failed to yield”. So what we have is either a SWSS or SWCC, or possibly a hit from behind situation. I hate articles that give partial information, even when all information given is true it commits lies by omission, planting a false impression by only giving half-truths. as a “ferinstance” with this article, when a person is run over from behind the proximal cause is failing to yield to the vehicle that hit him or her, regardless of who had actual right of way. I’m not saying that is what happened here, but I’m also not saying it isn’t what happened in this article, either. And no, I’m not going all “Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist” on you, I’m just responding to the lack of information and the multiple ways the information provided could be interpreted. And that’s a lot of words to say that there’s something not right in the state of FL.

Another report from the wilds of FL is this nugget. Bicyclist killed crossing Main Street in Dunedin The driver and passenger of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade were not injured. How unexpected, that the occupants of a 2 1/2 ton pimp truck were not injured when they ran into a single human being on foot pushing a bicycle. I still want to know more about all these cyclists getting killed in FL.

In this wreck witnesses at the scene reported the cyclist ran a red light, noted in the comments section. Bicyclist Killed In Accident In this case the comments section was golden. Because of that I can tell you to control your speed, and stop at red lights. But if you read this blog I don’t think I have to tell you about stopping at red lights and watching your speed. And helmets, the cyclist died from massive head trauma. If he had been wearing a helmet his family might have been able to have an open casket funeral.

Another SWSS wreck in the Feed, this one in CA. ESCONDIDO: More details, no ID in fatal bicycle crash I don’t know how many witnesses the coroner was relying on in his report, the cyclist may have actually been trying to kill himself, or it may just be another SWSS.

Closer to home is a suggestion on how to make the MS 150 better for Houston are cyclists, not so much for the Austin area cyclists that get dropped off in Houston and end up near their homes at the end of the ride. A suggestion for MS150 alternate route Having ridden in that area before, with a predominantly south wind from the Gulf during the time for the ride, doing a loop that bends back south on the second day strikes me as an exercise in pain, and I don’t do exercise, even on a 150 mile ride. Besides some of the best scenery is in the area of the second day of the ride, after the wall in LaGrange. For those of you too young to remember “La Grange” was the name of a ZZ Top song from the 70s, and the setting for the movie “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and both were about the same thing.

Another UK story, with a typical UK level of detail. Cyclist who died in crash is named The guy died on the 15th but the news wasn’t released until the 23rd, wow that’s slow even by UK standards. And for my UK readers, I’m sorry but your media laws really get my goat, and I don’t even have a goat to be gotten.

From the land of Oz comes this report. Nudgee Rd reopened after cyclist dies in collision with truck Their street and road names are as quaint and poetic as ours in the US.

And that’s the Feed for this late night which is now early morning.

Billed @$.02 (plus a couple cups of coffee), Opus

Wow, another Feed

Well I was a little late getting started because of watching stuff on tape delay, but I filtered the Feed and after wading through the “stuff”, here we are. (Phew!, I need to hose off!)

Up first is a report from the UK about a wreck. Cyclist goes from serious to critical For a UK story it gives a lot of information. The back story provided is helpful in understanding the situation. There is a huge philosophical difference in the UK political situation towards bicycles and the TX political situation, if you know my experiences (read the About Opus page).

And in an outrageous display of bias in spite of all of the last 4 victims of vehicle on bicycle violence the cyclists were obeying the laws and the motor vehicles were breaking it, the editorial staff (or whoever is pulling their strings) insists on blaming the cyclists for breaking laws. Warning to riders training for cycle tour Three of the 4 cyclists killed or injured were riding in the “Yellow Lane”, a designated cycling area, and one was hit by a unlicensed driver (no mention of where the cyclist was riding when hit). So why constant harping on cyclists that break the law? They’re not the ones getting killed.

And that’s it. After all that “stuff” this was all I could link to for you. I hope it was enlightening.

Billed @$.02, Opus

Once again the Sunday Feed

After a nice ride today I came home to log my miles and read the Feed. Having read the Feed I will now post the relevant links.

A good article on how not to piss off drivers when you ride your bike (any more than your existence on the road already pisses them off). RECREATION: Cyclists should make themselves visible on the roadway The author has thousands of road miles of experience in not pissing off drivers, unlike me, who has thousands of miles experience in finding drivers that were already pissed off and making them even more so by just being there. 😉

From South Africa we have another cyclist injured while obeying the laws. Cyclist recovering after collision And all those comments about cyclists breaking the laws are meaningless, because the cyclist that got hit was not breaking any laws when he got hit, the driver was breaking the laws, like it’s against the law to hit-and-run.

Finally from Oz is a brief report on a cyclist injured in a single-vehicle wreck (no cars involved). Cyclist and biker hurt Oh yes there was a motorcyclist doing something stupid too (if you do something and it gets you hurt all by yourself, then by definition it’s stupid in some way).

And they found Lance’s time trial bike, minus its wheels. Forensics are dusting for prints and trying to lift some DNA…

Billed @$.02, Opus

Another Dog’s Breakfast type of Feed

Well I had another widely scattered Feed, thematically and geographically. And there was some really weird “stuff” in the Feed as well, with disappearing links that had reports on bicycle wrecks but when i tried to check them again they were gone and nothing in the sites files was even close to the story. I hate when that happens, but it happens with enough frequency that I always check the links a second time to make sure they still work.

First up is a pedestrian repeat of the MD wreck I linked to earlier, only this time in AL. Pedestrian killed while crossing the Parkway The circumstances are very similar to the wreck in MD except this one happened at a light controlled intersection that didn’t have enough duration for pedestrian crossings, but otherwise had as much bike/ped facilities as the MD road, which is to say none at all. As in the MD wreck the highway bisects a residential area, with no sidewalks or crossing lights at intersections, and not enough time for a pedestrian to make it across the intersection in one shot and no way to get the light to change when caught in the middle. The design of the highway is criminally negligent.

A police blotter report on a bike wreck and a stolen bicycle. No service to shirtless bar patron leaves him with no patience The two bike stories are near the bottom of the list. I’m still trying to figure out how you can hit someone on a bike while you’re trying to parallel park, unless you’re just totally oblivious to anything else around you. And the fact that the driver was ticketed instead of the cyclist shows that the driver was at fault.

Another criminal uses the stealth and speed of the bicycle as a platform for criminal activity. Tourist slows a purse snatcher But fortunately for the good guys he fails to use sense about making the attack in an area where he can use the speed to make his escape. This earns him today’s Waste of Human Skin tag. Usually I save that for a hit-and-run driver, awarding it to a cyclist is a rare “honor”.

From Jolly Olde a cyclist gets hit by a truck and really ties up traffic. Crash cyclist fights for life A five mile long backup for a cyclist, amazing. It would be nice if it hadn’t taken place in the UK so I could tell you how to avoid another wreck like it.

Another UK report Cyclist injured in collision on busy Burnham-On-Sea roundabout This had more actual information than the other wreck in that we know the cyclist went over the hood (“bonnet”) of the car that hit him, and that because he went over the hood that he was hit from behind. From that I can tell you that the way to avoid this wreck is to keep a close eye on your 6 and have an escape route at all times.

Final report is from the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, The Bicycle Still Rules What can I say about the world capital of transportational cycling?

And that’s the Feed for the day, I have someplace to be again tonight.

Billed @$.02, Opus

I still need a job

I’m still unsuccessful at finding gainful employment. Hell I’m unsuccessful at finding people that would let me work for free.

To quote “Kim Possible” here’s the sitch:

I have brain damage. This means that I have difficulty communicating verbally which gets worse as I get stressed. It also means that my response to situations is not always logical, or even makes much sense. I sometimes come away from an encounter wondering what the hell happened. Interestingly this seems to only affect my interactions that require verbal communications, written and e-mail communications are not affected, and if I start to get stressed I can go get a cup of coffee or something.

Second part is I also have nerve, muscle, and circulatory damage to my left leg, which means I can’t stand, sit, or lay down for long periods of time IOW I have to be able to get up and move around as needed to keep my leg from becoming an overstuffed sausage skin. Sitting or laying down I’m good for about 2 hours before I have to take a break, standing about a hour max, with a 15 minute break for a brisk walk or bike ride. Sitting 2 hours I can get by with a 5 minute brisk walk to get the circulation back in my leg, but I do better with 5 minutes every hour. That also works out well with the “getting a cup of coffee” thing in the previous paragraph. Also ladders are right out, imagine how you would feel if you got halfway up a ladder or on top of one and all of a sudden you lose the sensation in your left foot, including the sense where it is in relation to the rest of your body. Yeah, I get scared and I’ve been scarred.

Third thing is I wasn’t very social before I was hit with a truck, and brain damage didn’t help that any at all. I can interact via e-mail and written communications but actually talking to people is very uncomfortable for me now, and not just because of the verbal communications issues. This is a pre-brain damage issue which made me more comfortable with machines than people.

So, there you have it. I only need part-time employment if that helps any, totaling about $7k/annum. I also need unlimited access to free coffee, a full pot or 2 a day. I used to drink 10 to 12 12 oz cups of espresso a day, actually they were lattes with triple to quintuple shots of espresso but you get the idea. I do have skills as a computer operator, I can weld and braze ferrous metals, I have a good working knowledge of electronics, I can do some Remove&Replace style auto mechanics, and I can build up a bicycle from a pile of tubing and parts, including building the wheels from a hub and a bare rim. I also have some skills that don’t get much call for any more like making explosives from common materials (I don’t like that, it makes loud noises and I don’t like loud noises). If you know of any jobs around Garland or Dallas that I could do, or even a job in DC (I’m still waiting to hear back from Obama’s people, the first message said to hang on until they get to me) but I would have to make a lot more working in DC as I would have to relocate and pay for an apartment.

PSA, Opus