Daily Archives: December 23, 2012

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