Monthly Archives: December 2010

The last post of 2010, the Feed

If you haven’t read the Year In Review post yet, you should, I’ll wait… OK done? Good. This will be the last post for 2010 after which I will prepare for attending the NYE party at my church which will let out sometime after sunrise. The sunrise release is on purpose, to allow the drunk drivers a chance to finish wrecking before our people hit the roads (and also to allow our drunks time to sober up before driving). I’m going to be doing a very dangerous thing, I’m going to be riding a bicycle in the street after dark on NYE to get to the party at the church. I’m only going to be armed with a blinky vest that is on its last days, and warm clothing. I still haven’t gotten the MX helmet to use as a winter helmet yet, delivery will be Jan 3 or 4, so I will be depending on the Bellistic to keep my noggin intact should I have an encounter with a drunk driver.

Up first today is what appears to be a hit-and-run in Carlsbad CA. CARLSBAD: Police seeking information about injured cyclist The thing about a wreck like this is the cyclist can be hit and killed without anything ever touching the bike because the cyclist hangs out farther than the sides of the bike, or a passing truck or bus could hit the cyclist’s head with a mirror and never touch the bike or even get very close to it, so all injured cyclists in the road should be treated as hit-and-run until proven to be otherwise.

A wreck in CO with almost as much information as a UK report. Cyclist Injured After Car Hits Him No mention if the driver of the car stopped to render assistance, no mention of the mode of the wreck, whether hit from behind or some kind of intersection contretemps, nothing except the bare facts that the guy was riding his bike and was hit by a motor vehicle. Typical car-head comments in the comments section…

Moving much further east another Pakistani cyclist is killed by an incompetent driver as reported in this blotter story. 4 killed in accidents The bad thing about blotter reports is they don’t have much detail. This one basically says the driver was at fault for driving like a jerk and moves on to the next item…

A report from the enemy camp ( 😉 ) on what they’re doing to reduce distracted driving while loading up cars with video screens and GPS and sound systems with up to 4 choices of source material (AM-FM radio, CD, and MP3 players), and Bluetooth connection with your cell phone… Videos, technology try to mitigate distracted driving, but it’s still up to you Yes, don’t use all this technology we have convinced you is absolutely vital in our product advertising, here’s a YouTube video to watch to counteract the hours of advertising we pay for every day in 30-second bites just to convince you to buy the junk.

And that’s it for today. If you don’t see a new post here tomorrow evening then they got me on the roads tonight. Not likely, but possible.

Billed @$0.02, Opus


2010 year in review

What have been the “Big Stories” for 2010 here at WoaB?

Well tops of the list is the saga of Martin Erzinger and his butt-buddy Mark Hurlburt. I you remember Erzinger is the hit-and-run driver that Hurlbert claimed was too rich to charge with a felony. I think you know my opinion of people too rich to prosecute, especially hit-and-run drivers…

A close second this year was the guilty plea and sentencing of Tasha Boreland, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for hitting 3 cyclists who were not even riding in the road, killing 2 of them. With the other crimes she was found guilty of we won’t have to worry about her on the roads again until 2040, if then. Even if released early she may never be allowed to drive again.

After that was the rash of hit-and-run. We have had a massive number of stories from all over the world about drivers that leave the scene of a wreck. And it’s not just cyclists this is happening to, I get a number of stories about pedestrians, and other cars, that were hit by drivers that left the scene. so this is not a cycling story, but it is a road safety story which makes it a cycling safety story.

I think what comes to mind after that is the number of bike ninjas that were hit this year, which becomes the first story that is more about cyclists than drivers. I understand the philosophy behind riding ninja, but I don’t recommend doing it. However if you must ride ninja then you must ride like you are invisible, because you are, mostly.

Of course this is only the top stories that WoaB has covered. There were much more important stories about cycling infrastructure that were covered by other bike blogs, like Cyclelicious and BikinginLA, and let’s not forget BikePortland. I strongly suggest you read those with mine, I read them nearly every day. I also read Drunk Cyclist, but I don’t recommend that one for the under 21 crowd as the language gets pretty rough over there. Think of them as WoaB with less earthy spirituality and more earthy language. 😉

Billed @$2.00, Opus

Preparing for NYE festivities, and the Feed

I’m getting ready to attend NYE festivities at my church this Friday, looking for someone to bring as Mrs. Opus is not the party type. Line forms at the end of the post, ladies 😉 There weren’t any actual bike wrecks in the Feed today, just motorcycle riders losing control on wet streets or getting hit by drunk drivers coming the other way (and how anyone can “not see” a motorcycle with the headlight on from the front when you’re driving in his lane is beyond me). The big time for bike wrecks this time of year will be New Year’s Day as the bodies of the cyclists coming home from working parties, or just riding a bike to keep from driving drunk, are discovered along side the roads after they get hit-and-run by drunk drivers. I expect to find at least a couple of those come Saturday and Monday (and probably all through the week as reports trickle in).

The only actual “bicycle” story today was a lifestyle report from FL on a police bike ride that raised money for the families of LEO killed in the line of duty. ‘Tour de Force’ riders present checks to families of slain deputies Having a son-in-law in that line of work makes me pay special attention to articles like this, especially because he’s rehabbing from a car wreck last month and might be back on full duty in late Jan or early Feb.

For all my readers out there remember that for the next few days there is a 20% chance that the guy in the car is drunk and only by pure luck hasn’t run into anything (or you) yet. Ride accordingly.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Back again from the Lab Rat Keeper, and oh yes, the Feed

More good news from the LRK, I only have 15 more days left in this study, my BP and heart rate are both wonderful, and I weighed in at 207.2 pounds for my last weigh-in of 2010. I’m still just over 7 pounds shy of reaching my goal of 199, but I have lost lots of body fat this year. Unfortunately I have replaced some of it with muscle which makes me burn more Calories but I still have to carry up hills when I ride my bike. I suppose there are worse things in life than getting ripped with huge legs and at least one calf that looks like a cut diamond, but truth be told I would rather weigh less and be less ripped. I don’t really need the kind of female attention looking like that at 52YO brings.

Up first because I feel like starting out on the West Coast of the US are 2 reports on the cyclist that was hit-and-run at 12:30 AM on Christmas day on a San Francisco back street. Intersection Where Cyclist Seriously Injured Has Been A Long Term Problem, Neighbors Say and Police Continue to Search For Witnesses In Hit And Run That Injured Cyclist At this point they know it was a grey (gray) car, not an SUV, and that the cyclist was proceeding legally. Back channel tells me that there was a helmet at the scene but it isn’t known if it belonged to the cyclist or if the cyclist was wearing it, it was also not known if there was a headlight in the wreckage of the bike. That tells me the bike was beyond totalled if they can’t tell if the bike had a headlight or not, which in turn tells me the car was being driven far in excess of the posted limit when the driver made his left turn into the cyclist. To avoid, intersection protocols apply, but to be honest at some point you have to trust that drivers will follow the laws. Otherwise you would never get out on the roads, on any form of travel less secure than a M-1 Abrams.

Another report on the cyclist killed by a 26 wheel semi in CA, with a little more details, and more importantly a list of things left out of the CHP report. CHP: Driver found not at fault in collision with Hills cyclist One thing that hasn’t been brought out, is why the truck was in the lane to the left of the cyclist. This is not a legal place for a motor vehicle to be in CA (or most other states). Why does the report ignore this?

Moving closer to home a bicycle wreck on a limited access highway that is the only access to a popular recreation area raises calls for repairing the damaged road that caused bicycles to be on the highway in the first place. Study outlines needs to make travel safer for bicyclists, motorists The wreck that started this was a hit-from-behind, so use the appropriate protocol to avoid including lots of tail lights at night when forced to travel on limited access highways with bad shoulders. Warning about the comments on this one, the swear words are in Spanish.

Moving off shore to Enn Zed, a 14 YO is hit by a car and all the attention is placed on if the child was wearing a helmet, not on the 5W’s of the wreck. Cyclist, 14, seriously injured in crash with car I mean seriously, are they really blaming the wreck on the possible failure of the cyclist to wear a Magic Plastic Hat? Like somehow the driver of the car would not have hit the kid riding in the street if the kid had been wearing a bit of styrofoam over the top of his head? Some people are stupid.

In Pakistan a cyclist is killed with little doubt about blame in the wreck. Seven people killed in separate incidents Short and to the point: ‘A cyclist, identified as Arif of Bhaseen village, Batapur, was run over and killed by a recklessly driven car.” It was the driver’s fault, on to the next wreck!

And that’s all the news that gives me fits. I should be earlier tomorrow.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

End of year complaining

Yes, it’s that time of year again. I’m out there riding around in what passes for cold weather here in the suburbs of Hell, and things are, well cold as Hell.

There is a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather just improper clothing for the weather. I want to tell you that finding the proper clothing to wear while riding a bicycle in the winter in this area is like looking for a needle in a haystack, when you have several haystacks in several fields and you aren’t even sure you’re in the right field. I’m not saying there isn’t any cold weather gear here, I’m saying that selection is rather limited if your budget is limited. This isn’t Portland with a bike store just about on every corner (across from the coffee shop) and the LBS here don’t cater to the commuting crowd, because the 8 or 9 of us just don’t constitute a “crowd”. Finding commuter-specific gear is a challenge. Finding gloves that let me use the controls of the bike for something other than a grab handle is the biggest challenge of all here in the MetroMess.

So, here’s the call: I need certain items of cold-weather gear that I just can’t get in the DFW area. I have the long underwear and the long-sleeved jersey areas covered, I’m getting a cheap MX helmet to mod into a winter bicycling helmet so that’s covered, what I’m having difficulty finding are tights and warm bike gloves that fit my short, fat fingers. I wear a 9 1/2 glove in US military sizing, a M in US civilian sizing and a XXL in Chinese import sizing. My winter gloves adapted from other uses seem to have about a 2 year life here in TX, usually the back of the right index finger seems to wear out letting in the cold but the rest of the glove looks fine. Tights around here are mostly for women’s use, tights for men are like hen’s teeth. In tights I wear whatever fits a 36-38 waist. Most of the tights I have now started as basic black but they have faded to dark blue or a warm chocolate brown, and I wouldn’t mind a safety lime pair. I don’t like looking like a reject from Who Wants to be a Superhero but given a choice between that or getting killed, I’ll be a fashion martyr over being a real martyr.

If you have solutions to these problems please leave a comment with your e-mail addy so I can take the conversation private.

PSA, Opus

It’s a light Feed again today, so there will be an infrastructure rant at the end

The Feed is seriously anemic today, with one wreck in CA, and a something in India that I can’t identify so you won’t have to figure it out either. So, I have a minor infrastructure rant down by the bottom of today’s post so this won’t have been a wasted click getting here. Sorry about those of you that have been clicking and getting only yesterday’s post, but I was waiting for something to show up to post about.

Up first, and last, is the one single link in the Feed that I could figure out what the heck was going on, a hit-and-run in San Francisco CA. Cyclist Seriously Injured In Mission Hit And Run This was a left-cross wreck in addition to being hit-and-run, use intersection protocols to avoid a similar situation.

I have been thinking, and reading (real books) about bicycle infrastructure. I have noticed 2 things, properly designed infrastructure increases bicycle mode share and decreases traffic congestion (until the bicycle share gets big enough to overwhelm that part of the roads), and installing bike infrastructure during road construction and integrating its design into the road design costs a lot less than trying to retrofit. The irony where I live is many of the original suburban towns around Dallas are having to retrofit pedestrian infrastructure to their previous auto-centric urban planning. There are actually miles of roads that have no provision for pedestrian travel and are the only way to access large swaths of retail. Here in Garland we have a major shopping area (Firewheel “Mall”, not actually a mall but a strip shopping center on mega-doses of steroids) that has only a single bus route and a single pedestrian access point that is located on the opposite side of 2 limited access highways from almost the entire town. At this point they are having difficulty understanding why they keep losing stores that depend on walkup trade. Also I have only been able to find 6 slots to lock up bicycles, and they are located away from sightlines and are unsecured, or in other words not the places you would want to lock up your sole means of transportation, while the area is surrounded by a sea of empty parking. I mean even during the X-mas rush there were acres of empty asphalt barren of cars. This little slice of Hell is located 2 miles (by bike) from my house. This kind of urban planning is the norm where I live, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is retrofitted if it even exists at all and is inadequate where it does exist.

And that’s all the news that gives me fits, plus an editorial.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

I filtered a lot of links but don’t have much to show for it, and some stuff about Real Life

I went to the DPS again today to get my ID renewed, but I had the wrong kind of seal on the copy I had of my birth certificate, so I wasted 4 hours of travel time and 1 of waiting to be told I couldn’t get my ID renewed. I so wish a meteorite would fall on them…

Up first is a report on a busy day for LEO in NJ. 2 hit by cars in Glo. Twp. Fortunately in spite of 2 hit-and-runs injuries were at a minimum for the cyclist, and of unknown or unreported severity for the pedestrian. As for how to avoid, the cyclist was hit by a motor vehicle pulling out of a driveway or parking lot, so treat every parking lot or driveway like an intersection and have that head on a swivel.

An unusual situation in L.A., a cyclist with a rifle is shot by LEO and killed. L.A. police kill cyclist carrying rifle The cyclist with the rifle isn’t unusual, just getting shot and killed. Remember, when employing open carry you are required to stop when LEO requests (or orders) you to.

In NYC StreetsBlog lists every vulnerable road user killed this year, and the disposition (or lack) of charges against the killer. In Memoriam By my count there were 77 on the list, I might have mis-counted. Seventy-seven vulnerable road users dead from motor vehicles, with the vast majority having either minor traffic violations or no charges at all being brought against the drivers, in the few cases where the drivers hung around to be charged. There were more cases of hit-and-run than there were of drivers staying around.

To add insult to injury, an injured cyclist in the Great White North may be facing charges of riding under the influence. Injured cyclist may face charges What can I say? Don’t ride drunk, you might get hurt. Better to ride a bicycle than to drive when intoxicated as repeated experiments have shown (see MythBusters), the exertion of riding a bicycle will cause you to metabolize the alcohol faster than just sitting in a car, and depending on your initial level of intoxication and the length of your ride home you might wind up near sober at home after riding a bike. I still don’t recommend it though. Your chances of getting hit while cycling under the influence are much higher than when sober.

From Jolly Olde, legal advise on how to deal with briken infrastructure. Legal Q&A: What are my rights if a pothole makes me crash? In the US if a pothole makes you crash it’s your fault for hitting the pothole. US jurisdictions have next to no legal responsibility for damaged infrastructure, the one minor exception being construction, if a construction project creates a hidden road hazard that isn’t marked with either paint on the hazard or a sign warning of the hazard then there is a possibility that the responsible jurisdiction might be liable for damages or injury resulting from the hazardous conditions.

And in the UK still, comment on the bill making its way through the NY state legislature requiring instruction about bicycle safety in driver’s ed. New York lawmakers to vote on making cycle safety training compulsory for new drivers This was added to the test in TX but I haven’t seen much evidence that it has become widespread amongst new drivers here.

That’s about it from the Feed for today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

I hope you had a happy Massive Consumption day, and the Feed

OK so I’m a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to the secular celebration of Christmas, so sue me (or buy my silence with products). Anyway, the drunk (and otherwise intoxicated) drivers have exacted their toll on the cycling public this year (with the totals still not complete). As I type this out I haven’t even opened the folder for the Feed, but my witchy senses (and half a century of experience) tells me there will be drunks killing working stiffs riding their bikes home from menial jobs late at night. I really hope I’m wrong.

Up first is a report on why some (many?) people believe we need separate infrastructure from cars for bicycles, as a rider looking not to get hit by cars runs over road debris and gets injured in CA. Cyclist Injured After Hitting Debris On Road I love the final sentence in the article “Police said even though the cyclist was wearing a helmet at the time, the impact was strong enough to inflict head injuries that required a trip to the hospital.” The Magic Plastic Hat failed to save this man from harm, he must be a non-believer in the power of the Magic Plastic Hat. Or maybe, the Magic Plastic Hat was designed to protect when you stop and fall over, not when you fall at speed or get hit by a vehicle.

Hit-and-run with a possible drunk in NJ. Police seek information in Millburn hit-and-run Not much to go on with this one, black vehicle, possibly a Lexus, with debris left at the scene. Hit-from-behind protocols would have been appropriate in this case.

Another story on the female cyclist hit by the left side of a right turning truck that was passing on the right in the same lane. Cyclist’s Family Sues Truck Driver for Mom’s Death The more I read about this wreck the less I believe the CHP’s version of the story, because their physics just don’t match the real world to explain how the cyclist ended under the wheels of the truck. And I still don’t see how the truck driver passing on the right in the same lane was not found to be at least partially at fault, when passing a bicycle in the same lane the motor vehicle must be to the left of the bicycle, not the right. To pass a bicycle on the right the motor vehicle must be in a separate lane.

A rather large chunk of the rest of the post is from Jolly Olde. First from there is a report on a cyclist’s killer getting 4 years after being found high on pot at the scene of the crime. Driver locked up after he killed a cyclist while high on cannabis and Driver who killed cyclist while under influence of cannabis gets four years While the fact that the driver got any prison time for killing a cyclist is heartening, the driver would have gotten a higher sentence had he killed a dog with a chain. There was a story a few weeks back about a UK citizen that had abused a dog getting a 10 year sentence…

Still in the UK, the killer of a cyclist hit from behind on a straight stretch of road is sentenced. Cost of cyclist’s life – just £110 Yes, you read that right, less than $200 in costs and 200 hours of community service for homicide, because the victim was a cyclist…

A UK cyclist is injured by a hit-and-run driver in Spain, caution gory details. Cyclist Alan’s Spanish nightmare Not much information even when the wreck happened in another jurisdiction, it’s hard to do things differently in the UK even when the UK media laws don’t apply. Habits and all that.

Aftermath of a UK cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver. Chris’ death will be hard to bear for family I am filled with such anger at people that do things like this. Hit-and-run should be treated like any other assault with a deadly weapon, not just swept under the rug.

Another report on the teenager that was left-hooked by a garbage truck in Oz. Christmas tragedy: teen cyclist killed Again this is a sad story that was entirely the fault of the driver of the truck that was passing the cyclist and turned left (mirror image of a right hook in the US) without clearing his left side for traffic.

Updates on the story from 2009 where a cycling lawyer was hit by another lawyer driving a car. The Explainer: The doctor, the lawyer and the forgiving soul

And that’s all I have for you this Christmas Day. Have a cup of cheer but don’t drive after it, and be as merry as is possible in these harsh economic times.

Billed @$0.02, Opus


I have a real life outside of blogs

This gallery contains 3 photos.

And I have pictures to prove it… From the Winter SolstiCelebration held 12/17/2010 I give you the Yellow Submarine: Going up the aisle Crossing the stage Making the turn at stage right   So, I do exist outside of cyberspace, … Continue reading

We’re having “fun”, and the Feed

Yes that was “fun” as on not really fun, but something less than total agony. I’ll not bore you with minutiae but it involves wild temperature swings and grocery shopping. And it’s 2 days before Christmas and I can’t get anybody to tell me what they want! WTF, family? I have been asking since the middle of October and you still can’t think of anything?

Up first is another report on the drunk driver that claimed to only be a witness to a cyclist getting hit in Austin. Cyclist seriously hurt, driver charged Please be aware that this link is very heavy on Flash because of the number of video ads on the site. There’s nothing new in this article, but the comments can be funny if you have a very thick skin.

The MSM in FL are starting to get the idea that it’s much more dangerous to walk or ride a bicycle in their state than the rest of the US and they’re trying to figure out why that is. LeRoy Collins Jr.’s death a call to action for bike safety I’ll give them a few hints: Infrastructure, laws, attitudes are all strongly biased against non-motorized forms of transportation, and the drivers in your state have sub-standard levels of skill. And your hockey team sucks, too. Why is there even a hockey team in Florida anyway?

In Oz a father sees his son killed in what appears to be a left hook (the Aussie equivalent of the right hook in the US). Horror as dad watches his son, 13, die The reports are incomplete but it seems the truck made a left turn over the top of the cyclist as it passed. An updated link from the article sheds only a tiny bit more light on this wreck as it also reports on antother wreck. Boy, 13, killed by truck while riding bike at IvanhoeWhen I read the comments from the second link about 50 or so of the 57 were positive about the kid riding the bike, and there was only one asking if the decedent was wearing a helmet, as if wearing a plastic hat would do anything constructive against a 20 ton (empty) garbage truck.

And that’s the entire Feed, as I got it. You’re welcome, and drop in tomorrow for more.

Billed @$0.02, Opus