Daily Archives: December 2, 2009

OK here’s your rant, and some other things

First things first. I need some full finger water and wind proof glove shells to fit over a military size 9 glove liner. My fingers still haven’t warmed up from last night’s ride home from the Full Moon at church, what with the rain, low 40s temperatures and the wind and the gloves I was wearing not being waterproof.

Now the rant.{rant}

In Philadelphia they are losing their minds about “dangerous” bicycles after 2 pedestrians were killed in one month when it had been more than a year since the last bicycle-caused pedestrian fatality. Folks this is a statistical blip, a coming up boxcars two rolls in a row, heads 10 times in a row, that kind of thing. It’s notable because bicycle/pedestrian wrecks are so rare to begin with and fatalities are rarer still. Seriously, the last pedestrian fatality caused by a bicycle in Philadelphia was sometime in the middle of 2007. Now you have 2, and because of that you lose your minds?

Or maybe you just see a potential cash flow that hasn’t been tapped until now. Well keep looking, bicycle registration has never paid for itself, much less been an income source. Bicycles go for as much as $10,000 and as little as $1. How much do you think you can get from someone who paid less than $10 for their bike? I noticed that the registration (bike tax) would hit cyclists as young as 12. Since federal laws prohibit people younger than 16 from working a steady job, and from using the tools that are required to mow lawns and the like, and paper routes have been adults-only for decades, where do you propose that Johnny and Suzie 12YO get the money to pay your bicycle tax? Or don’t kids deserve independent transportation alternatives?

So, why are you acting so crazy? Motor vehicles kill more than 100 people a day in the US, and almost that many in Philadelphia in a year, but 2 people get killed by bicycles in a month after nearly 18 months of death-free existence and you lose your mind? I forgot the technical term but there is a condition where people ignore the obvious danger they live with every day, and focus on some less dangerous thing because it is novel. This is what is happening here. You ignore the constant threat caused by motor vehicles that kill someone 3 or 4 times a week, and focus on bicycles that have killed an average of less than one person a year, because they suddenly killed 2 in a month. Ask your friends and neighbors if they know someone that was killed by a motor vehicle, and I’ll bet you that every single one of them knows someone or is related to someone that died because they were in a motor vehicle wreck. Then ask them if they know personally anyone that was killed or injured by someone riding a bike, and most have no personal knowledge or experience of that happening.

Let’s look at the relative risk of a 200 pound or so person moving at maybe 20 MPH, versus the motor vehicle that 2009 averages 4000 pounds and in the city moves about 40 MPH (30 MPH limit plus the 10 MPH that cops “give” before writing a ticket). The cyclist hits as hard as a HS linebacker except without pads, so yes that will hurt a bit, you might get a sprain or a broken bone, and in very rare cases the person falls and hits his or her head and dies (pedestrians don’t wear helmets). Now the motor vehicle on the other hand will cause death at 40 MPH more than 85% of the time and send someone to the hospital the other 15% with some permanent injury more than half the time when they survive, and that you’re good with, but the bicycle you get all kerflemt about how dangerous it is. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that motor vehicles kill more people on the sidewalks, where motor vehicles are prohibited, than bicycles do. I know this is a fact in NYC where motor vehicles kill an average of 100 people a year on the sidewalk, roughly 2 a week, where bicycles kill an average of 1 pedestrian a year in the entire city.

So, Philadelphia, stop focusing on something that is inherently non-dangerous, and do something about the things that are killing people daily, like cars. You had 300 murders last year, and 2 killed by bicycles last month. If the murders went according to averages, there were 25 people killed deliberately with something other than a bicycle with another 2 killed with a bicycle. How’s that for perspective?

{/rant}

Opus

Bicycle zombies take over the news, people still getting killed by cars, the Feed

Yes, “zombies” are all the rage now, and have spread from the UK to the US. In the meantime cars are still killing people at a rate of nearly 110 people a day in the US, and nobody is saying anything about that (except me and a few other bicycle fanatics). I feel a rant coming on, and I don’t think it is going to be pretty.

Up first is another report on the waste of human skin that had 20 beers before going out and driving into 2 cyclists, killing one. Driver who downed 20 beers, killed cyclist gets 25-40 years in prison This is the guy that in a previously linked report the victim’s mother gave him a Bible and said he was going to heaven. I hope she’s wrong about that, because if there was ever a guy that deserved to suffer, this is the guy. Interesting that the previous reports said the disgusting piece of filth got 45 years determinate sentence, but this report has him as serving 25-40. I wonder who’s right.

In other court news the driver that dragged a cyclist 860 feet under her car while the man was screaming and beating on the car (that part was new information), is facing undisclosed criminal charges in the case. Driver of car that dragged bicyclist in Natick to face criminal charge The complaint was filed Nov. 25 in Framingham District Court against Lorraine Peterson, 61, of 359 Berlin Road, though police redacted the specific charge. Apparently public records are not public for certain people.

More on the wreck that killed the driver while only slightly injuring the cyclist he hit. Vehicle crashes kill 4, injure 5 Not a good day to have been driving a car, or riding a bicycle for that matter. If I’m reading the report right the vehicle hit the cyclist on the north side of the street and then crossed the road to hit a tree on the south side of the street. That ain’t normal. Hitting a cyclist isn’t what I would call “normal” but the circumstances of the wreck speak to me of a person who was dieing before they hit the cyclist, and the tree just finished the job. This sounds like a stroke or heart attack in progress when he left the road the first time and grazed the cyclist and then tried to stay on the road and pulled left on the wheel, then died. I know that’s an awful lot to pull from a tiny report…

Another hit-and-run in LA CA. Cyclist struck in West Hollywood hit-and-run Not much to go on in this report, but it appears to be a typical right hook wreck, good that the cyclist survived.

In Scotland a cyclist has a run in with a bus and survives. Cyclist in serious condition after accident with bus and from the Beeb Cyclist injured in bus accident It’s good to know that you won’t get hurt driving a bus into a woman riding a bicycle [/sarcasm]. For those who live on my side of the pond, it appears the woman was trying to turn across traffic when she got hit. They drive on the wrong side of the roads in Scotland so you have to turn right to cross traffic, not left.

Someone driving a silver Mercedes is going to have a rough time of it when he gets caught. Cyclist seriously injured in hit-and-run As per usual in UK wreck reports I can’t say anything about how to avoid a similar wreck, other then to always be alert, this cyclist being able to say make and color may very well result in the miscreant being brought to justice.

And what seems obvious as the nose on your face is debated in the UK. Cyclists are not a menace, Spectator debate decides In the end the argument was mass times velocity, would you rather get hit by 200 pounds going 20 MPH, or 4000 pounds going 35 and up? In the overall scheme of things it was like getting hit in a rugby game versus getting hit by an artillery shell. Every once in a while someone will die in a rugby game, but not often, but get hit by a car and you stand a good chance of dying or being permanently injured.

A cyclist is injured in a left hook wreck in Oz. Cyclist injured after collision with car I noticed the cyclist got a few licks in on the car as he was hit, tearing off the passenger side mirror and crumpling the hood a bit and only sustaining minor injuries in the process. As they say “Good on ya!” for returning fire in the face of the enemy 😉

Still trying to figure out if the guy that hit a cyclist in South Africa was just stupid or culpable. Cops hunt for evidence in cyclist death Hit from behind in the cycle lane, and there’s a question of culpability? Did these guys get their training from AZ LEO?

And the “bicycle zombies” meme makes its way to these shores. ‘iPod zombies’ blamed for UK road deaths Note that in this article from the people that actually make the iPod, using one on any vehicle that one is in control of is not a good idea. Bicycles because you might get hit by a car you didn’t hear, cars because they distract you from your environment, and you already have way too many distractions while driving a car anyway.

An opinion about the ruckus over the recent pedestrian deaths by bicycle in the City of Brotherly Love. Road Rage at Philly Newspapers Why are Ronnie and Stu whipping up fear when cars and trucks pose a bigger threat? Because they don’t like bicycles in their streets, and making then out to be a danger to pedestrians arouses fears that they can use to get them legislated away from their city…

On the same subject but from a different direction. Registering bicycles will not prevent any accidents If there was just some way we could easily identify cars so that when the hit someone and drive off the owner could be brought to justice… and pedestrians they just wander around like they own the place, we need some way of identifying pedestrians too… 😛

I hope NY has a better time of it than TX when they pass their 3 foot passing law. NYS Assemblymember to Introduce Safe Passage Law for Cyclists This is desperately needed legal infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

And SF finally gets to build bicycle infrastructure again. Eyes On the Street: SF Gets Its First New Bike Lane in Three Years The paint was barely dry before people started using the new bike lane, who had been trying to ride vehicularly but because of driver attitudes were not having a good go of it.

And that’s all I have today, but there will be a rant later, I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to phrase it yet.

Billed @$.02, Opus