Daily Archives: January 4, 2011

Opening with an untainted commentary

I open today’s post with a rantcommentary that is untainted by today’s Feed. From what has been posted in here some think I hate cars. That is patently untrue, I love cars and have ever since I was a kid in the 1960s. I love the feel when you push on the throttle and the seat pushes back, when you crank on the steering wheel and get thrown to the side. I used to race in SCCA autocross in the 1980’s driving everything from stock sedans to baby formula cars and sometimes winning my class. I used to be a card-carrying member of the ISCA, building and showing custom motorized, and later human-powered, creations for the roads. For many decades cars were my life and livelihood, and I loved them. I still love cars. The problem is there are too many cars to enjoy them any more. There are too many cars to enjoy riding bicycles any more. Ditto walking. There are just too many cars, period, full stop. We have devoted too much of our land to storing cars, servicing cars, and driving cars. As much as 30% of the land in most US cities is devoted in some way to cars and other motor vehicles. Our cars have literally taken over our cities and even our small towns. The biggest room in my house is the garage, and I don’t even own a car (two of the people that live here do though).

So, what can we do about this problem? I don’t see it going away any time soon, and I don’t see any cheap way of making it go away that won’t bring the economy to a grinding halt. What we need is some way to make not using a car attractive enough that we get about half the people using a car now to use something else for at least some trips, without making it look like people that have to use cars are being penalized because of it. Adding taxes won’t do it, the UK has proven that. Their car use is almost as high as the US in spite of taxes that would be considered outrageous in the US. Tax breaks for not using a car, perhaps? The problem there is how to track non-use of a car for tax purposes. One step is vulnerable road user laws, which unfortunately got vetoed by Gov. Goodhair here in TX, but are in place in other states. What else can we do here in the US to make people get out of their cars?

Up first in the wrecks side of the post is an intersection wreck in CA. Napa Cyclist Suffers Broken Ankle in Clash with Car and Cyclist injured on First Street When police can’t say a bicycle ran a red light, more than likely the cyclist didn’t run the red. But it is possible for a cyclist to not run the red and still get hit by a car that had the green, as the timing of many lights is such that a person riding a bicycle can enter during the green and still be in the intersection when the light turns green for the other direction. In fact there are several lights near where I live that I can start when the light turns green and use my drag race start and effort and still be in the intersection when the light turns red. This is because I’m riding a 2-lane side street and crossing a 9 or 11 lane minor highway disguised as a city street, and the light is timed for a motor vehicle to cross before the red and that’s about it, one single car at a time.

Still in CA, a cyclist injured in a hit-and-run on Christmas is released from the hospital. Cyclist Injured In Christmas Mission Hit And Run Released From Hospital Interesting how the article devolves into a mini-debate on helmet use 😛

From the most deadliest place to ride a bike or walk in the US comes the first bicycle fatality of the new year. Lakeland cyclist killed on US 98 My opinion on drunk driver, hit-and-run drivers, and just drivers that kill cyclists has been well-established over the last several years. Suffice it to say that I’m not wishing the best of the New Year to Janice MacQueen. The only thing she has going for her is that the cyclist did not linger painfully but died at the scene.

Up in Canuckistan, they are still looking for the perps in a couple of hit-and-runs against vulnerable road users. Police still seeking tips in hit-and-runs Interesting that both victims saw the vehicles but could not identify them or read the license plate. From all the hollering about licensing cyclists I thought having a sticker would make bicycles instantly traceable for LEO, funny how the larger license plates on cars don’t work that way though.

Still in the Great White North they finally decided to charge a driver that hit a cyclist from behind in the bike lane and then fled the scene. Kitchener man charged in crash that killed cyclist I don’t know what took so long to file charges, they caught him months ago.

More on the Oz cyclist killed over the weekend. Ballarat cyclist killed near Geelong and Bike fatality was at known blackspot And many in the comments section blame the cyclist for being there to be hit.

Still in Oz, in an article on infrastructure we find out more about that other bicycle wreck over the weekend, along with mentioning the one in Ballarat. Speed cameras hailed as road toll falls 10pc I’m of mixed minds about speed cameras, one side of me says speeding is so widespread and dangerous to people not actually in cars that they are pretty much required by conditions, the other side of my mind says they are an unconstitutional intrusion on our daily lives.

Just down the road from WoaB World HQ, a city decides to make it possible to actually ride a bike to any place in the city with the same safety and convenience as driving a car. Bike lanes blossoming in Cedar Hill What they are proposing is exactly what I have told the City of Garland is the minimum acceptable solution for our city.

An infrastructure article, with a humorous twist. Lazy Twerps Can’t Stand to Walk I love it, people complaining that infrastructure that protects cyclists from cars forces them to walk further because it relocates parking farther from their destination by a few feet… LOL

In DC a newspaper trolling article fails to get any bites. DC press doesn’t fall for bike-baiting The only person that actually commented for the article was not authorised to comment for the store and was merely a disgruntled employee that had to park a little further away from the store than before. The actual owner of the store was part of the group that requested the bike lane be installed on their street to calm traffic and encourage people actually stopping to shop.

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

Billed @$0.02, Opus