As this week of gratitude winds down I’m getting ready for the second of 2 services today, getting my mind together for another round of things I’m grateful for. Well before I do that again I’m going to think of things that I would rather do without:
I would rather do without the Occupy movement, not because I don’t think they’re right but because I can see that this will not end without bloodshed from the 1%. Seriously I see at least 4 and as many as 10 public executions of the richest people in the world for “Crimes Against Humanity”, unless something happens to divert that in the next 2 weeks.
I would rather do without bicycle “infrastructure” that gets designed by people that haven’t ridden a bike since they turned 13 at the latest. Seriously, I have seen “infrastructure” that if used as intended and designed would get cyclists killed about half the time they use it unless drivers are very careful. Another thing to remember is that there is no formal instruction on bicycle usage in the US, any infrastructure has to be totally intuitive to use with as few signs as possible because the vast majority of users barely know which side of the road to ride on.
I have mentioned this one before but I still would rather do without mandatory helmet laws. Bicycle helmets are a joke that has had the punchline repeatedly edited for the worse. Studies done in the 80s and 90s on the effectiveness of helmets are totally non-valid now, because helmets made since the adoption of the CPSC standard don’t have anywhere near the protection of earlier helmets with hard shells that could stand more than one hit to the helmet. Even when a helmet is within its envelope of protection it still doesn’t do much, one hit and a CPSC certified helmet is used up and unable to protect even in a place on the opposite side of the head from the first hit. Every once in a while a bicycle helmet will prevent a brain injury by pure chance, and some people want to mandate taking that chance. I should note that I wear my Bellistic full-face helmet every time I ride my bike except during the winter when I use a full-face motorcycle helmet to keep my face warmer. I modify this helmet by installing a foam rubber gasket to keep my breath from fogging up my glasses and depend on the vents in the chin bar to keep my lower face from turning into a swamp.
Another thing I would be grateful to do without would be people that pass me on the right in my lane, or what is more likely pass me on the right partially in my lane, and halfway off the road. I would dearly love for someone to leave a big, car-wrecking thing in the grass off the side of the road and have one of these jerks passing me on the right drive over it and rip out something vital from their car. There are times when the only safe pavement I can ride on is the 6″ (15cm) to the right of the yellow line that marks the left side of the lane. That doesn’t mean I’m letting people pass to the right, that means there is enough bad pavement to the right that I can’t get any further over without risking losing control and crashing in front of those idiots trying to pass on my right. Many times I see large areas of broken paving with piles of loose gravel that was supposed to be a patch laying over it, with a driver angry that I’m not riding my bike more to the right.
Speaking of that, another thing I would be grateful to not have would be those “repairs” that consist of a bad batch of coldmix patch compound scattered thickly over badly broken pavement. I couldn’t ride there before and I still can’t ride there safely after the “repair” but drivers can’t tell it’s a deathtrap for a bicycle because they can’t feel the pavement move under their wheels or don’t notice that just off to one side is a large pile of really loose gravel that has come up from the “repair”. I would be overjoyed if all of those “went away”.
And while I’m at it I would be ecstatic if there was never another drunk driver on the road with me. Seriously, let them ride bikes if they have to drink away from home, the worst thing that could happen is they could kill themselves. I mean when was the last time you read about a person riding a bicycle drunk or sober running into a car full of people and even injuring one? Aside from scaring the used food out of them that is? Sure it is upsetting to see a drunk kill themselves on your car with a bicycle, but think about the motor-driven alternative and drunks on bikes is a hugely preferred alternative to drunks in cars, or any other motor vehicle.
There are other things that I would be grateful to live without, but I think that might be better for a Yule or New Year’s post, don’t you?