Monthly Archives: December 2012

Last post of the year, and the Feed

This was a year that was “Interesting” in the Irish Curse sense. I had to leave home to take care of my Dad after his wreck until we finally got him into a rehab facility, then 4 months later he broke a vertebrae bending over to pick up the cat and died 3 weeks after that, and we buried him the last week in November. I had to stop work on several projects that had delivery dates during the time I was away from the house and also had to deal with things I could not handle after my wreck. On the positive side I got to spend some good time with my Dad discussing things about my life that we had never discussed before and we resolved all of our differences before he died. I also started a new project that I have been wanting to do for ages, that I lacked getting the time and money for at the same time, when I would have money I had no time nor place to work on the project, when I had time and a place to work on the project I no longer had access to the money. Now I have both the time and the money. The project will get done. Then the world will bow at the demonstration of my true genius Muahhahahahahah >cough, cough< Sorry about that, my megalomaniac side was coming out a bit. Actually the project is a long-range e-assist bike made with commercially available components on a frame of my own design built from the beginning as an assist bike instead of a bike that has assist equipment thrown on it as an afterthought.

The only link I have today is a hit-from-behind wreck in OH. Bicyclist killed near Obetz Another wreck where in spite of an obvious failure of the driver to maintain control over his vehicle while passing another vehicle on the road, nothing is charged against the driver of the weapon vehicle. Hit-from-behind protocols to avoid and as this would be transitional between residential and other types of land use there may or may not have been segregated infrastructure in the Dutch model I can’t say that infrastructure would have prevented the wreck. But other than physical infrastructure the legal infrastructure of the Dutch model would have gone a long way to preventing this wreck.

And that is the sum total of the links I got today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Wishes for the New Year, Wreck-Free Sunday

I just finished a service on making your wishes come true in the upcoming year, by being prepared to make random chance roll your way. We watched a video of Justin Bieber, while I explained how he was discovered on YouTube back in 2008, and I explained the random chance involved and the preparedness involved in making The Beebe a household name. The random bit was the guy clicked on Justin’s video out of thousands of other talented kids making videos and posting them to YouTube. The prepared bit is that there were hundreds of thousands more that didn’t post to YouTube and never had the chance to be “discovered”. As I pointed out during the message in order to win the lottery you must first buy a ticket, almost never in life does something get handed to you out of the blue except your life. You got that free everything else you have to do something for it.

Then we listened to a story about the Buddha and anger, followed by a meditation on hyper-awareness, where everyone got to live in my world for a few minutes. I have PTSD but I can’t drop the hyper-awareness while I’m on the roads because there are too many idiots out there driving like I’m as well-armored as they are, only I’m not. This is one of the reasons why I don’t suggest road riding to help people with PTSD. The physical activity is good for them, the constant need to be aware of everything around you out to about a quarter of a mile not so much.

Also we did a three part sharing ceremony, using stones, coins, and black-eyed peas. The stone was placed in a bowl of water and your gratitude for the year was expressed, and the congregation wished success to the speaker, then the coin was placed in the bowl while expressing a wish for the new year, and again the congregation wishing success, followed by stirring the pot of black-eyed peas and expressing a wish for the congregation for the upcoming year, with the congregation wishing success a third time.

After that we adjourned to the kitchen for more peas (with seasoned ham hock) and 3 different kinds of pie. [Billy voice]”I like pie!” [/Billy voice] (Billy voice courtesy of “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” ).

And my wishes for you for the New Year? Live! Dead people read no blogs.

PSA, Opus

A quiet day planned, and the Feed

I don’t have much on the agenda today, a little plumbing and hanging around the house after I finish the blog post. Yesterday we had a nice Full Moon service, and tomorrow I do the last service of 2012 which is going to be about being prepared for change in 2013. I’m going to try to get people to make positive changes for themselves and society at large, but I’m not going to browbeat them over it. The big part of the message will be that most of the positive change that people like us can do will be because of random events, and to make those positive changes we must be prepared to take advantage of those random events. Taking advantage of random events requires some forethought. Beyond that I’m not going to say until after the service, because several of my readers also attend my church.

The only link I have today is from Jamaica. Pedal cyclist killed in crash Hit-from-behind wreck made worse by throwing the cyclist in front of a car in the oncoming lane. There is only one way this could have happened, the cyclist was taking the lane and the driver of the Honda either ignored his presence or hit the cyclist deliberately. Look at the weapon vehicle and remember that they drive on the “wrong” side of the road in Jamaica. The weapon vehicle hit the cyclist directly in front of the driver as demonstrated by the dent in the front of the car and also by the cyclist being moved to the other side of the road. There is no other mode of wreck that explains the damages and the cyclist ending up on the other side of the road. Also you can see the road in this case is quite narrow and not a safe place to pass a cyclist, especially passing a cyclist on the wrong side (passing to the left is illegal in Jamaica).

That’s all I have today. I expect to be getting the end-of-year summary from WordPress soon, so I can share what we have done on the blog. I use the “we” in this case because this is not just me, your comments and links also help make this blog work.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Another busy day, and the Feed

Well I have a bunch of places I need to go today after I finish the blog post, I have to go swap the toilet fixtures that don’t fit for ones that do fit, drop the mortgage payment at the bank, and then at the end of the day I need to go to the church for Full Moon services, after which I will be working with the ritual team to get the service ready that I’m doing this Sunday. I’m down to just a few services a year now because of the brain injury getting worse with age. This one is on the theme of making Luck work for you in the new year. As some have intimated 90% of luck is being there for either good or bad things to happen to you, with actual random chance only accounting for about 10% of what we call “Luck”. As an example, winning the lottery is random chance, but when was the last time you saw someone win without buying a ticket? Effort must be expended to enable random chance to benefit you. And sometimes, like in my case, effort must be expended for random chance to stick it to you.

I have only one link from North America today. Bicyclist killed in Monroe hit-and-run The cyclist appeared to be crossing legally as there were 3 vehicles stopped in a line at a traffic light. The first vehicle to hit her was the third one in line as the driver went around the first 2 to hit the cyclist, then the other drivers reacted to the driver of the weapon vehicle by moving forward only to strike the cyclist. So this poor woman was hit three times. Intersection wreck, but the protocols don’t really help much when previously stopped traffic waiting for you to cross decides to stop waiting before you finish crossing. Infrastructure would not have been of much use here either as it depends on drivers waiting their turn at intersections between bike and motor vehicle infrastructure. Only completely separated infrastructure would have prevented this wreck. Well that and mandatory destruction of motor vehicles that kill vulnerable road users. If drivers know that hitting a cyclist or pedestrian will cause loss of their vehicle (that may not be paid for yet), they might be a tiny bit more careful around cyclists and pedestrians. Naahhh! Another thing to notice in this article is the balance of people that thought the driver of the tan pickup should be executed for killing the cyclist. I thought I was reading a Texas comment section for a minute they were so bloodthirsty.

A later link with more information on the Japanese tourist killed in Russia. Japanese cyclist killed in northern Russia The cyclist was on a severe weather leg of an intercontinental bicycle tour from one end of Russia to all the former Warsaw Pact countries in the west. Still nothing about the mode of the wreck other than it was “an accident”.

Last wreck link, a cyclist is hit head-on by a driver on the wrong side of the road in South Africa. Cyclist killed in Mandela Avenue crash Not much a cyclist can do when you’re riding the shoulder on the correct side of the road and all of a sudden there’s a car in front of you coming straight at you. Separated infrastructure might have prevented this wreck.

Last link is a late LifeStyle notice from sunny SoCal. Dec. 29: Frisbee Golf Fundraiser for Injured Cyclist Korenthal (Video) This guy has been advocating for better bicycle infrastructure for SoCal cyclists for years, shortly after the first wreck where he lost his left leg below the knee. The most recent wreck was so severe that the steel pin used to secure his prosthetic was bent…

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

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Another linkless day, and I went out for breakfast

I went out this morning to have breakfast with my cycling club, RBENT (you can click on the link to their website in the sidebar). We had a post-Christmas White Elephant exchange, some nice conversations and a general good time. We also tried on the new club jersey in the long sleeve edition, which I will be getting. The new sizing plus losing a bit of weight meant I can wear a 2X instead of the 3X I got with the short sleeve version. The 2X is baggy around the waist instead of being baggy everywhere like the old jersey. I’m going to have to post a picture of me in my club jersey now that I have a digital camera that can actually connect with my computer. I just need to get someone else to take the picture.

As I alluded to in the headline, there was nothing in the Feed folder today. I expect to find many stories as kids getting hit the day after Christmas is one of the busy times for this blog.

Billed @$0.02 FREE, Opus

I hope everyone got what they wanted for Christmas, and the Feed

I got some wonderful stuff this Christmas that I’m not going to brag about. It’s enough to say I like it. I hope you got stuff that makes you feel the same way, that you got wonderful stuff that you like. Now the stuff I didn’t get, I still have to fight with cars for space on the streets, and the bike infrastructure I’m getting here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell is ridiculous, sharrows and a couple of miles of 3 foot lanes next to the curbs, with promised off-street bike paths that don’t exist yet. The AASHTO standard is for 3 feet when there is no curb outside of the bike lane, I think that when there is a curb the standard goes up 18 inches to 4.5 feet, same as the NACTO standard, but less than the Dutch standard of 2 meters which comes to 6.6 feet. I like the parts of the bike route that were marked with sharrows better as I get a whole lane, which because there is on-street parking allowed means I have to ride about 2 feet from the inside lane marker to stay out of the door zone where there are cars parked in the street. The parts of the bike route that have the bike lanes have never had on-street parking. The three foot lanes with the curb have my bike sticking out of the lane most of the time as I avoid the trash and debris that accumulates in bike lanes. That accumulation of debris is the reason why the NACTO standard calls for a minimum of 4.5 feet for bike lanes as curbs catch debris and bounce it back into the lane causing a unrideable zone about 18 inches wide. With a 4.5 foot lane you still have about a foot of “wobble room” before your bike hangs outside the lane, with a 3 foot lane getting more than a couple inches of clearance from the inevitable debris has your bike hanging out of the lane and into the “car” lane.

The only link so far today is an update on the hit-and-run of a cyclist in Canuckistan. Man charged after cyclist struck, killed in Winnipeg Apparently the drunk didn’t get very far after hitting the cyclist before high-centering his car on the curb on the wrong side of the road. There isn’t much you can do about drunks except be ready to dodge them when they come up behind you or in other words, use the hit-from-behind protocols to avoid…

(Later) The only other link to show up in the Feed today has nothing on the mode of the wreck, as a Japanese cyclist is killed on a bike tour in Russia. Japanese cyclist killed near northern Russia Why anyone would this late December was a good time to tour Murmansk and surrounds on a bicycle I’ll never know, unless they were preparing for a ride to the South Pole.

OK it is now past the time that the last report of the day should have been in the folder, and no report. So what you see is all I got today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

What bicyclists REALLY want for Christmas

Christmas really isn’t my holiday any more, us witches celebrated back on the 21st, the holiday that Christians stole for the birthday of their deity (well actually they stole a lot of holidays, December 25th was the birthday of Mithras, the deity of the Roman Legion, and Saturnalia is also celebrated this time of year). But I was a Christian for the first half of my life, so I know the drills. I was Balthazar in a Christmas pageant and sang in more choirs than I can count.

What cyclists want most this Christmas is the same thing we want every year, to be able to ride from one place to another without fear that an angry, distracted, or oblivious driver was going to kill or permanently maim us because we were “in the way” or “playing in the street”. We want drivers to change lanes when they pass us, refrain from honking (we can hear you 90% of the time and smell you, too). We want the bike lanes to be free of parked cars. We want enforcement actions against cyclists to make sense (if you set up a sting to catch cyclists running red lights, be prepared to ticket the drivers that run them as well).

Ideally what cyclists want is to live in the Netherlands, only where they live now. They want dedicated spaces and signals so that the most deadly devices in common use, motor vehicles, are separated from bicycles in both time and space so that conflict that can kill or seriously injure cyclists is eliminated from daily life.

And the cyclist in your life? The best thing you can give him/her is FOOD! Good meals at home, and snacks that can be eaten on the side of the road or while riding (but not me, I find getting food around the chin bar of a full-face helmet an exercise in frustration and I don’t do exercise). It’s a little late but find out the stuff your cyclist likes to eat on the road and by a few every month and leave them where your cyclist stores their helmet between rides. A little note (“Thinking of you on the roads”) will let them know you care. My favorite road food is fig bars, but for long distance riding I prefer peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Ask your cyclist what they like, and you can make Christmas last all year long in your heart.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas and if the stores playing Christmas songs haven’t driven you crazy, drop a CD in the player and listen to some mellow music.

Merry Christmas from the Witch on a Bicycle!

Thoughts and a single link on Christmas Eve

I had to wait until the last report came in to know if I was going to have any live links today. Make that link, singular, because that’s all there was. I’m hoping that the lack of links is due to the lack of people getting hit on bikes, even though I know that isn’t completely true. This is traditionally a slow time for bike wrecks as people hustle and bustle to get their holiday shopping done and most don’t brave the weather to get a ride in except the most ardent of transportational cyclists (like me, f’rinstance). We should be getting more links from the Antipodes this time of year but for whatever reason Down Under is not providing the links it has in the past.

Our link for today is from Canuckistan where a drunk hit-and-run driver gets caught, but not before killing a cyclist. Police say cyclist killed by impaired driver There are just too many things I could say about this link that have nothing to do with the wreck, but I’m not going to put them here because it would serve no purpose except to be snarky. Drunk driver hit-from-behind use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. The proposed regulation that would require breathalyser interlocks on all new cars and any used cars that had been previously equipped (meaning that drivers with previous DUI convictions could not remove the interlock devices after the period imposed by the courts) would go far in preventing wrecks like this.

Now the thoughts (Oh no! he’s thinking again!). Traditionally this is the season that we ask for Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men. I wonder if that includes good will towards people riding around in armored vehicles that can kill with the flick of a wrist? Because I have serious problems with that. And I have video proof of how deadly modern motor vehicles are, compared to when I first started riding around in them. Crash Test 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air VS. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Notice that the late model car just drove right through the early model car, crushing the driver against the back seat with the front bumper. And if it does that to a person inside another car, just imagine what it does to people not in cars.

And that’s all I got today. Be nice even when other people aren’t nice, because that gives you one up on them. If that is what it takes to be nice, go with it…

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Where do we go from here? Wreck-Free Sunday

OK at this point I have been counting the dead and wounded in the “War Against Cars” and the body count seems to be heavily favoring the cars, unless you count the friendly fire casualties (almost all people killed in cars were killed by people in other cars). I place the “War Against Cars” in quotes because there is no actual war against cars in any sense, only some plaintive requests that people in cars stop killing people not in cars and some regulations that are supposed to enable that. And really how stupid is that, making laws that “enable” people in cars to not kill people not in cars? There is no “enabling” about it, there should be strong laws against people in cars not killing people not in cars.

Anyway, the thing is I have been doing this since August of 2006, which is 6 years and counting. I have read thousands of articles and reports about bike wrecks that range from the ridiculous (2 cyclists suddenly swerved in front of a teen driver on a 65 MPH speed limit highway, killing both), to the sublime (a driver ran into the back of a cyclist and then into a tree killing the driver but leaving the cyclist unharmed but with a broken bike), to the incredible (a driver in South Africa ran into a cyclist at over 80 MPH and was crushed to death by the body of the cyclist coming through the windshield). I have seen the same modes of wreck so frequently that to save space I developed protocols to avoid wrecks in those modes and made a separate page with all those protocols in one place that can be accessed from any article merely by going to the top of the page and clicking the link. It has almost become a mantra at the end of nearly every paragraph to check the protocols for that particular kind of wreck, and in many cases the proper infrastructure would have prevented the wreck from happening in the first place by eliminating one or more of the conflicts that created the wreck. I just state which protocols you should be reading for that wreck and “infrastructure”, like a benediction to the dead and injured.

I don’t want to be the “Bicycle Priest” issuing final benedictions. I want to be making a difference in people’s lives, and I want the death rate to fall so low that his blog will become something frivolous. And I don’t mean that the dead will not be honored or anything like that, but that this blog will no longer be necessary to honor them. The infrastructure will be as safe as it can be without banning motor vehicles, so that deaths really will be “accidents” caused by equipment malfunction rather than by drivers not controlling their vehicles or by designed-in conflicts in infrastructure, or in other words random chance instead of predictable behavior. I want to see infrastructure that designs out conflict between motor vehicles and vulnerable road users so that you can use whatever mode suits you best for that trip without having to risk your life by not taking a car. If you feel like a walk there’s walking infrastructure to get you there, if you feel like taking a bike there’s bicycle infrastructure to get you there, and if you need to drive there is still car infrastructure to get you there. Right now we have car infrastructure with a few sidewalks and bike lanes, and if you really want to get somewhere you take a car.

Sometimes, like once or twice a year I put out a list of my personal needs that keep me on the roads, do you think that should remain a part of the blog? I feel a little foolish putting my Christmas/Yule gift list on the Internets for everyone to read, but that seems to be he only way I can get the word to all my kids who are now spread over half of Texas and across an ocean. I make the list and e-mail them the link, and every once in a while I get what I need. This year’s list was almost entirely replacements for things Mrs. the Poet wants to throw away but can’t because it’s the only one I have left, or I don’t have enough already for items I have more than one of, like winter jerseys. I can never get enough HiViz jerseys or wicking T-shirts. I know they don’t really help all that much before the wreck, but they become useful after the wreck as a way of proving that I was doing everything I could to prevent or avoid a wreck. So anyway, keep the list or lose it?

Should I use this blog to help advertise my bike-building business? I haven’t been doing much lately, because of a lack of capital for purchasing raw stock and supplies. Should I use a small part of my inheritance to build a couple of show bikes to display in the blog as examples of what I can do? I have a couple of bikes that would knock your socks off if I could build them the way I see them in my mind. They would be practical but awesome bikes that would be really useful while being beautiful, comfortable and fast. Would you guys like to see that instead of reading about dead and injured cyclists, or would you like the hot bikes on Sundays and the wrecks during the week similar to what I do now only with hot bikes instead of philosophical ramblings? Or do you just want the wrecks Monday through Saturday and philosophical ramblings to continue on Sundays? Or hot bikes alternating with philosophical ramblings on Sundays? I’m easy, I could go any of the three ways listed.

As we transition into the new year I want to make this the best blog I can, and to do that I need your input as to what is the best I can out of what I can do. So, a little feedback sil vous plait? KTHNXBYE.

PSA, Opus

The world must have ended, and this is a dream

OK after I got done with the SolstiCelebration last night I was riding my bike home from the rally point where all the carpool got together. Nobody honked at me on my bike, and all the demand lights changed as soon as I pulled up to them. Nobody honking sometimes happens, but demand lights changing as I get to them almost never happens and all of the demand lights changing as I get to them never happens. So the world did in fact come to an end and this is now Paradise on Earth…

Up first is an update on a cyclist that was left-crossed outside Chicago. An update on cyclist Justin Carver, critically injured by a left-turning driver The police noted the cyclist’s lights were functioning after the wreck and that the driver was operating outside his permitted limits (no adult drivers in the car while driving with a learner’s permit), so fault is not going to be hard to place in this wreck. Intersection wreck, use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent. Sincere best wishes for the recovery of the cyclist from on drain bamaged cyclist to another.

A UK link because that is the only other link I have. Cyclist injured in car collision I’m not entirely sure of the injury the cyclist sustained in this wreck. “Whiplash bruising”? Sounds like the cyclist’s head hit his back hard enough to cause bruises, which does not bode well for his neck. The driver is being held for hit-and-run, and all else points to a hit-from-behind wreck. Use the protocols to avoid and get the infrastructure right to prevent.

An infrastructure link that just came in. Where Pedestrians, Cyclist Were Killed This Year Compared to some cities 3 pedestrians, a cyclist and a motorcyclist are small change, but more than zero is still too many. Zero is possible, given sufficient political will, but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime.

And those are all the links that gave me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus