Monthly Archives: January 2011

Back to the blood’n’guts, the Feed

Well, yesterday was nice, but now I have to get back to actually reading the Feed. Speaking of yesterday I did my last ride for January and my first ride of the year in shorts, and not just to prove how tough I am like the Polar Bear Club hacking holes to swim in the ice, I actually perspired on my shorts ride yesterday. There are advantages to living in a suburb of Hell on occasion. Riding a bike wearing shorts on the last Sunday in January might be one of them, or maybe not.

Up first is a reason to have your bike wreck in a major media market like NYC rather than in some place like Pine Plains (and I’m picking on my in-laws with this one). Hit-and-Run Driver Injures Cyclist Near Times Square and Madoff vic hits and runs: cops also UPDATE: Delivery Man On Bike Run Struck By Car Notice the vast difference in tone between the 3 articles. The Times was strictly business, cyclist was hit from behind and his body slid under an illegally parked car, cyclist was named, driver of the car that hit him was named, driver was drunk end of story. The Post, on the other hand, did everything it could to make this somehow not the fault of the rich person that was driving drunk and hit the cyclist from behind, and who then attempted to flee the scene in a vehicle that was badly damaged in the wreck, to the point of trying to make the damages on the car somehow the fault of the cyclist. Then you have The Gothamist, who at first reported the cyclist was hit by 2 vehicles as the story was breaking, then later corrected their report to note that the second vehicle was in fact illegally parked and the cyclist was forced under the vehicle from behind by the first vehicle. From all this information I can say that there was no way for a cyclist to avoid this wreck, because of a combination of snow on the street, illegally parked cars forcing cyclists 2 lanes over from the snow covered bike lane (one comment referred to over a foot of snow in the bike lane) and also cutting off the escape route in that direction. Mix in a speeding drunk driver (30 MPH speed limit in NYC, cyclist’s body causing major damage to the car that effectively rendered it undrivable, that would require vehicle speed well in excess of the speed limit) and you have a situation that becomes unavoidable for the cyclist. Additional links Food deliveryman critically hurt in NYC hit-run also Cyclist in Critical Condition, Driver Charged After Friday Night Hit-and-Run in Midtown and still more Cyclist Struck by Hit-and-Run Lexus that one made it sound like the driver wasn’t actually there, the car did it on its own Cyclist Critical After Being Struck by Drunk Madoff Victim, Police Say even more Driver Arrested After Hit-And-Run Of Delivery Man On Bike another article from the Post Madoff pal’s son cuffed in boozy hit-run Slight difference in tone in that one. Late update from the Gothamist Hit-And-Run Driver Who Struck Bicyclist Charged With DWI

Other stuff happened, too, just with fewer links. From the most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bike they killed another one by running into her from behind. Cyclist killed in Manatee County crash Not much known as I post this, but it appears from the location that hit-from-behind protocols might be helpful in this wreck.

What is being investigated as a case of murder is a cyclist that was pursued and hit and then left for dead in the Bahamas. Cyclist mowed down and killed I like that they are investigating this as a murder, I don’t like that the cyclist was killed. As for how to avoid, hit-from-behind protocols might have helped, or at least made the driver have to make a second pass that would have established no doubts about the intention.

From Oz, what can you do about a drunk driver hitting a cyclist nearly head-on? Driver charged after cyclist struck Yep, hit a cyclist and them continue off the road to hit a fence, that’s major road rage and/or serious impairment, which resulted in the driver being held without bail.

Still in Oz, something caused a cyclist to hit a barrier hard, and because he wasn’t carrying ID or his ID was lost in the wreck they don’t know who he is. Mystery cyclist injured in crash at Salisbury East They know nothing about the wreck itself, and next to nothing about the victim, except he was middle-age in appearance and was riding a white “Giant” brand bike, which would be about the same thing as saying a driver was driving a “Chevrolet” car when he wrecked.

A child cyclist in the UK always wears a helmet, and now will also have a helmet camera to record the wreck. Safe cyclist Levi lands award Very nice for her, but totally ignores the actual causes of wrecks between bicycles and cars to focus on post-wreck protection.

Infrastructure! news from the most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bicycle. Bikers, drivers, pedestrians vie for space in NW 16th Ave. revisions And from the comments section you can see just exactly why it is so dangerous to be outside of a car when outside of a building in FL. Edit: Well if you could still read the comments section you would know why, but you can’t so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

More infrastructure from Enn Zed. Cyclist’s sad end to produce positive fruit for new riders Umm, why are they calling a bicycle route a bridle path?

Lifestyle from Sunday. Cyclists ride across Valley for blood donation awareness As someone that got 6 units of whole blood during the surgeries required to save my life and keep my leg, the Witch of WoaB strongly supports this cause. If you can, give blood!

And that’s all the (bike) news that gives me fits.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

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Random thoughts on a Sunday

I don’t do the Feed on Sundays because I need a death-free day on the Internets, but that doesn’t mean I stop thinking or reading. What spikes my interests today is an article I read that the state of VA is giving away land and money to corporations that move there, with no guarantee that they will create a single new job or even stay past the period when they will be given the money. Basically what is happening is a transfer of money from taxpayers to rich people who then look for more taxpayers to fleece.

On Bicycle Infrastructure, how to pay for it. We have perfectly adequate infrastructure now, street, roads, and highways. What we also have is a near total ignorance of how to use that infrastructure for more than one mode of transport at a time. So, we need to build bicycle-specific infrastructure to keep the idiots in cars away from the idiots riding bicycles so the idiots driving cars don’t kill people riding bicycles. It’s not that people riding bicycles are causing problems and killing people. In fact in the 2 years this blog has been here at wordpress.com I have seen exactly one (1) report of a cyclist killing a driver, when the cyclist’s body came through the windshield of a speeding truck after getting hit by the truck. It wasn’t anything the cyclist did other than being there to get hit by a truck doing nearly 100 MPH. On the other hand, I think I had at least one report on every one of the 600-some-odd cyclists killed in 2009 in the US, plus the ones killed in the UK, NZ, and Australia, killed by drivers of motor vehicles. So, since the problem is motor vehicle drivers not playing nice with any other mode of transport on “their” roads, motor vehicle drivers can either learn to “play nice” or “pay nice”. What I propose is that for every cyclist killed on the roads by a motor vehicle, a fund for 100 miles of grade separated bi-directional bike roads is set up, paid for by an annual fee added to drivers’ licenses. This gives drivers a choice: drive like you have some sense around bicycles, or pay to not have to drive around bicycles. While we’re at it make training to ride a bike in traffic mandatory by 6th grade, make it part of the TAKS (or whatever acronym they use for the test that determines passing or being held back) test. Even if you can’t ride a bike, at least know how to do so legally, so when you drive you aren’t getting mad at cyclists for doing exactly what the law requires them to do.

Well, I have to get ready for morning services now, so I’ll post this and go to church.

PSA, Opus

An all-Oregon Feed

Well things are interesting for a Saturday, as first we only have 2 links in the Feed (usable links), that are both from OR. Second, we are approaching Imbolc, a celebration of the coming Spring, at my church tomorrow, which is always “interesting”.

Up first is a hit-and-run against a cyclist walking his bike through a crosswalk. Police Still Seeking Suspect in Hit and Run OK for all the bike-h8ers that prowl the web, this guy was doing exactly what many of you claim is the law for bicycles, get off and push the bike in intersections. And what happened? Someone hit him and left his lifeless body laying in the street. Intersection protocols, for what it’s worth.

No cyclists killed in Portland in 2010, a record low number of car occupants killed, but pedestrians are up 36%. Record low number of Portland motorists killed in 2010, but pedestrian deaths up 36 percent So, no cyclists, fewer car occupants, but a buttload of pedestrians killed. It could be just a statistical outlier, or it could be a trend developing. I sincerely hope that this was just a statistical outlier caused by a couple of multiple-fatality bus-pedestrian wrecks this year in Portland.

That is all the bicycle-related stuff I have today. I plan another “slice of life” post tomorrow, if you like that.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Today has a meager Feed

Which is something for which I am grateful. I have to read so many links to gut-wrenching stories, most of which I can’t use for this blog because they aren’t about bicycles or cycling, they are events at which there was a cyclist, or they are about motorcycles, or things that run in cycles, and in order to find out what they are about I have to read the article which because of the search string I used invariably involve death or carnage. Unfortunately for me there is no way to prevent those results from finding their way into the Feed without also blocking the reports I need to see to help you avoid getting killed. So having few links to read and even fewer that I can use is a good thing for my sanity. And who wants a crazy poet writing a bike safety blog? I know my wife doesn’t want to live with a crazy poet, she tells me so frequently.

Up first is the notification of the services for the “drunk” cyclist killed last week. Services Friday for Ramona man killed in bicycle accident Notice that the only evidence that the cyclist was “drunk” was the report of the driver that killed him, AFAIK there was never a blood test to determine the BAC% of the victim. I can’t say for sure how this wreck went down, the only clear picture I have of the bike shows damage that doesn’t make any sense, the seat is spun almost 180 from normal riding position and there’s only half a handlebar visible. Spinning the seat would require enormous force, as would breaking the handlebars, but there is almost no damage visible on the rest of the bike. Whatever broke the handlebars didn’t do it by using the front wheel as a base, because that much force would have twisted the front wheel like a pretzle and there is very little damage visible to the front wheel. I can’t even see which side of the handlebars is intact, from the shape it looks like the left side but from the position it looks like it is on the right side of the bike. I have sent the reporter that did the article an e-mail about the questions I’m having, I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

The other link I have to an actual cycling-related story is from Jolly Olde, on the sentencing of a woman that hit a cyclist from behind and killed him. Wallasey gran’s “momentary misjudgement” killed cyclist Yep kill a cyclist go to, home? Five weeks of community service? The only thing resembling “real” punishment and protection for the public is a 3 year ban on driving, which when you consider how many people in the UK are driving without licenses and getting away with it is pretty much unenforceable. Unless they station an unmarked police car staking out her car waiting for her to drive it… Like that would ever happen.

And, that’s it!

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Finally found that BikePortland article, and a possible research topic for someone

Well I finally finished fixing the computer glitch from yesterday that kept me from including a link to a BikePortland article on bike lanes, and I have a question that if someone could answer it we would have a massive increase in bicycle safety on the roads.

First, BikePortland poses the question of keeping cars from parking in the bike lanes so that people riding bicycles won’t have to suddenly merge from a standstill into 45-50 MPH traffic. Cars parking in bike lanes: How can we fix this problem? I suggested a direct approach, break a window and toss in a lighted road flare. Losing a few cars because they are parked in a bike lane would definitely get people to quit, but might make people a little antagonistic against bicyclists. Other people had less extreme suggestions, like citizens’ parking tickets, or just having the Parking Enforcement on speed dial on their cell phones. Your $0.02 is invited on the question as well.

Now the other question: What is it about bicycles that makes normally rational people homicidal maniacs around them? I know that part of it is the motor vehicle, people act crazy in cars without any bicycles there, this phenomenon has been documented by Disney Studios in the late 1940s short “Motor Mania” starring Goofy. So, we know part of the problem is cars themselves, but why does putting a bicycle on the road next to a car such a recipe for psychotic behavior? If someone could answer that we could then do something to reduce or eliminate cyclist deaths on the road.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Infrastructure and Enn Zed, the Feed

Most of the articles from the Feed today are either Infrastructure! or from New Zeeland. That is mostly because people riding in this hemisphere at this time of the year tend to be either crazy, or super serious cyclists with tons of experience and savvy about cycling.

The one North American wreck we have is from GA. Cyclist critical after collision on Staley Avenue bridgeSimmons told investigators he was trying to retrieve a pair of eyeglasses that had fallen when his van struck Fife.” How would you like that for an epitaph? “Killed by someone fishing for eyeglasses”. This was obviously a hit-from-behind wreck, use the link at the top of my blog for protocols on how to avoid this, but in this case the cyclist was already in the shoulder, and being on a bridge he had no place left to go.

In Enn Zed, a driver that killed a cyclist tells the court that he intends to plead guilty to driving carelessly. Man appears in court over death of cyclist I think this was about the most lenient charge this driver could have gotten. I think when you hit someone from behind and kill them you have passed the “careless” stage and gone straight to the “stupid beyond words” stage, but as “stupid beyond words” is not a crime in New Zeeland I’ll guess that this is as good as we will get on this case, as hitting someone from behind absent the effects of drugs or alcohol is not enough to get you to the “dangerous driving” charge.

Next on the hit parade is a series of articles that show how a story evolves in Enn Zed. Cyclist killed in Canterbury Originally it wasn’t known what type of vehicle was used, so the all-inclusive “car” descriptor for the vehicle. Police speak to van driver after cyclist dies A van was at the scene, ask the driver what happened. Canterbury crash victim named Ah, the van driver did it. But what’s this? They are finding ways to blame the cyclist? According to LEO “initial inquiries showed Mr Townley was on the road but not on his bike when he was hit.” And “He was not wearing a helmet or high visibility clothing.” So it must have been the fault of the cyclist, who wasn’t even riding the bike when he was hit, but just standing in the street next to his bike in regular clothes. Shame on him.

Infrastructure! from the state that has killed more cyclists and pedestrians in the US than any other for 4 years running. Senate Trans Chair Puts Brakes on Most Driving Bills Lets see, one state accounted for 16% of the cyclists killed in the US, just 3 counties in that state killed 8% of the cyclists killed in the US, so there is obviously nothing wrong, right? I mean it must be just a fluke that one state has killed more cyclists than any other 4 years in a row, right? It can’t be anything to do with the laws or infrastructure being really bad combined with terrain and climate made for riding year round.

And even in the UK some people in the government are starting to acknowledge that at least some of their infrastructure is crap. Health and Safety fears reignited after two injured on Sutton High Street in a week Pity about the idiot in the comments section, though.

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

Billed @$0.02, Opus

An infrastructure conundrum, and the Feed

There is a debate going on over at BikePortland, about cars parking in the bike lane, that I will discuss at the bottom of this post, just giving a heads-up. There are also idiots driving cars in the bike lanes, in NYC, and other infrastructure woes and calamities. Plus, some people riding bicycles were hit with cars.

Among those cyclists hit with cars in today’s Feed was this SC cyclist hit from behind and left for dead. Injured Aiken cyclist identified Not enough parts left at the scene to identify the make of the car, but it was a small white one with right-front corner damage. All you Aiken-Augusta area readers (both of you) keep an eye peeled for a small white sedan with damage indicated in the article. If you see one take the plate number down (or take a picture on your cell phone) and call the contact number in the article. To avoid a similar wreck, hit-from-behind protocols as spelled out in the link at the top of my blog might be helpful if the wreck was unintentional, and can’t hurt even if the wreck was intentional.

From the Great White North comes a good report on a cyclist that was hit-and-run. Police make arrest in hit and run As I read this article there were only 2 comments, both of which were favorable to the cyclist and acknowledged his right to be on the road. Anyway, another hit-from-behind wreck, protocols, yadda-yadda.

From Enn Zed comes a report that is so breaking they don’t even know who was hit. Cyclist killed in collision As of the posting of the article LEO had not released any details of the wreck.

Still in Enn Zed is a report that drivers don’t know crap about cyclists’ rights and duties and cyclists aren’t much better. More calls for driver safety after cyclist death Apparently the driver that killed the cyclist in Wellington was not driving according to code, but to some imaginary code that did not include bicycles as legal roads users.

Unfortunately, I’m in the middle of a computer crash that deleted all my TrueType fonts, making my e-mail a sea of blank graphics with different colors where the links used to be and I can’t get to that BikePortland article. I can get the fonts back, but I have to reboot my computer to do so and I won’t be able to save this post if I do. So the links to the discussion at BikePortland will have to wait until I can reboot.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Still mostly motorcycles in the Feed

Well it’s a fairly compact Feed today, especially after you filter out all the motorcycle wrecks. The wrecks where I can see that there was only a motorcycle involved from the quotes in the Feed are not so bad, it’s the articles that require me to load the article in the browser and get all the way to the end to find out the “cyclist” was riding a 1995 Harley-Davidson, or a 2007 Kawasaki Ninja, or something like that are the ones that chap me, because by the time I get that far in the article I’m already halfway composing the little blurb I write in front or after the link about how to avoid a similar wreck. When I get that far and I discover that to avoid the wreck the rider could have twisted his wrist in one direction or the other and not gotten in the wreck…

Up first is a report from about a day’s bike ride south of WoaB World HQ in the suburbs of Hell, of a man pushing a bicycle on train tracks getting hit by… a train. Man Pushing Bike on Tracks Hit, Killed by Train No word on why he was pushing his bike on the tracks, or why he didn’t get out of the way when the train blew its horn. There is suspicion that he was either hearing-impaired or listening to loud music on headphones or earbuds, but no verification from LEO on either of those. At any rate, to avoid a similar wreck, stay away from train tracks or always be ready to vacate the tracks when a train comes. Not rocket surgery people!

Update on the 74YO Asian man killed in Boston yesterday. Bicyclist, 74, killed in South End collision It looks now like the driver might be partially at fault in this wreck, that he(?) might have turned in front of the cyclist instead of the cyclist running a red light. “Solar glare” was partially blamed for the wreck, which means that the driver might have been the one running the red.

Infrastructure! news from Oz as cyclists try to get a by-pass route around a dangerous stretch of road. Bermagui cyclists pedal pathway concept They are asking for a little more than 1/3 of a mile of paved shared-use path to avoid a stretch of road that is too narrow to share with motor vehicles and for some reason can’t be widened.

And that’s all the news that doesn’t have motorcycles in it.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

A very “Monday” Monday Feed

I’m afraid today’s headline couldn’t be more descriptive, this is a very “Monday” Feed, it would be “Monday” even if it were on Wednesday. It’s mostly depressing, with glimmers of hope, and a whole bunch of articles about 2-wheeled wrecks that don’t involve bicycles. In other words, “Monday”. The only thing that keeps this from being the epitome of “Monday” is the relative lack of Infrastructure! articles. Lately those have been showing up more in Saturday Feeds for some reason.

Up first is a cyclist running a stop sign from “Where America’s Day Begins”. Cyclist, 19, injured after hitting truck C’mon people, how hard is it to slow and yield at a stop sign? Even if you don’t stop if you slow and yield you won’t hit or get hit. I guess because the rider was 19 there was a little “teenage bulletproof” going on. Still, people, use some sense when approaching a stop sign.

Moving way to the east of the first article, in CA a driver is sentenced to 10 years in prison for driving under the influence of prescription and illegal drugs and killing a cyclist. Modestan gets 10 years for bike rider’s death I find it amusing that the defense was complaining that other drivers under similar circumstances only got a single year of prison. Times they are a-changing and vehicular homicide is getting treated much more in line with other homicides. I don’t know the mode of this wreck, the links I had from back then are all broken now (and I can’t even access that blog any more).

A cyclist in Boston is hit, nothing more about it in the blotter article. Crash & Burn: Fires in Stow, Springfield, Groton; Cyclist Killed in Boston Well it was at an intersection, so maybe intersection protocols would have helped, and maybe not. More Bicyclist killed in downtown Boston crash was 74 years old, police say

In the Emerald Isle, a conviction for killing a cyclist is overturned because the jury wasn’t allowed to consider a lesser charge? Really? Man’s conviction over David McCall death quashed Does the fact that a jury voted unanimously to convict on the charges presented mean nothing?

Moving to Oz, they are managing to kill cyclists in the middle of a road safety campaign. Three killed on day two of Operation Safe Return I love this quote: “Almost one-third of the total deaths for 2011, which is now at 23, have occurred in the past two days so it’s clear the safe driving message just isn’t getting through.Gee, ya think? For the cyclist I don’t know what happened, really. The official account states the cyclist stopped suddenly and went over the bars into traffic where he was hit, but I find this to be “improbable”. Given how hard it is to do a “stoppie” on purpose I find it peculiar that this person did one by accident. More Cyclist dies after collision with bus and NSW holiday road toll soars to six also Deadly weekend despite safety drive

In Enn Zed a wreck is partially blamed on poor infrastructure. Cyclist killed at suburban corner Nothing official on the mode of this wreck, but from the comments in the article it’s plain that traffic controls were being ignored by at least one of the people involved. Intersection protocols might have avoided this death if not the actual wreck. From the description of the remains, I would say excessive speed on the part of the motor vehicle was highly probable. More Killed cyclist didn’t feel safe in Wellington also Truckie and two motorists die in crashes

Legal Infrastructure in the UK as a principle of “proportional liability” for road users is introduced in Parliament. RAC Foundation slams MP’s call for tougher action on drivers who kill and injure cyclists The idea is that because trucks do more damage than cars, trucks are more liable in a wreck than cars, because cars do more damage than bicycles, cars are more liable in a wreck than bicycles, and because bicycles do more damage than pedestrians, bicycles are more liable in a wreck than pedestrians. Of course the largest lobbyist in the UK for cars objects strenuously.

Now we get to the “fun” part, or what is potentially fun, the Lifestyle articles. I don’t know how much “fun” you would call this first article, but as the survivor of a traumatic brain injury (nothing as severe as this one) I find it inspiring. A bike crash sends the rider on an unexpected course I find the level of care for this victim, who was not involved in a car wreck and presumably had good insurance, markedly different from the level of care I got as the victim of a hit-and-run with no insurance.

An ode to the winter cyclist from someplace where they really have winter. Joe Soucheray: The mind of the winter bicyclist Yes where they really have a winter riding a bike takes some courage and resolve, not to mention good clothing for the purpose.

And that’s all the news that gives me fits for this Monday.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Just how cold is that brass bra, anyway?

The headline for today’s post is a play on the popular description of cold temperatures: “Colder than a witch’s tit in a brass brassiere.” We have been having a rather cold and damp January here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metromess, and I have been getting questions about how I’m holding up, what with all the side effects I have been dealing with from the medications and the actual cold weather I have had to deal with.

The answer is “Not too bad, really.” All things considered I could be much worse off than I am, to which I thank my friends and fellow congregants at my church. While they clean out their closets I get warm stuff to wear, and some people have given me new stuff to keep my corpus from turning corpse.

Hands have been the big issue this year partially due to the meds issues and partially due to the “this is Dallas and we don’t carry warmer gloves than that” issue. I have purchased through the Internet a pair of ski-gloves from a brand called Manzella, an Italian company that I had never heard of before, but the gloves are very water-resistant and pretty well-insulated (rated at 40g of Thinsulate). Paul, if you’re reading this I still have your money for the gloves sitting on the table, you caught me in the bathroom when you delivered them. Combined with some Astronaut Glove Liners that somebody found in their closet that were too big for anybody in their house I’m good down to about 25F in the rain, even with the PAD issues from the study meds, and yes we had 25F in a drizzle here in the suburbs of Hell. I think they would be good below 0F when my fingers are in their normal condition and it isn’t raining.

Below the waist I now have a pair of Pearl Izumi tights from 5 years ago that have seen very little wear and are very soft and warm. I don’t know why but when it comes to tights those two words seem to be connected. Soft tights are warm, and warm tights are soft. My bike Nashbar tights from that year are both not as warm, and not as soft, being mostly a wind-stop layer that goes over long underwear or other tights. and the unknown brand of stirrup tights are also soft and warm, but not very good at stopping wind.

Now for my torso this year I hit the jackpot as I got 3 base layer shirts for Christmas, 2 of which double as single layers for summer. Add those to the mil-spec flight jacket I got back in the 20th Century when I was flying (1994 or ’95, as I recall) and I have some serious thermal insulation. Plus I have a ANSI Safety Lime t-shirt I wear over the top of the flight jacket so I can be seen during the day, which the wife says makes me look like a neon Michelin Man, but I can be seen.

The remains of the blinky vest I bought in 2002 is being fitted with a set of blinky cuffs run by the same blinky driver that used to run the vest before the wires broke. I could fix the wires, but I would have to destroy the vest to get to them, which kinda negates fixing the wires. I still have a bunch of reflective vinyl tapes on the vest, and moving the LEDs to the cuffs lets me signal turns better and also makes me more visible from the side.

Add the wool socks and the waterproof socks I have been wearing since the last century and everything is finally warm and dry.

PSA, Opus