Daily Archives: August 27, 2014

A post from the Great Beyond off line, that should have been put up on Wreck-Free Sunday

This upcoming Sunday the 31st will be the thirteenth anniversary of my death. And if that isn’t the strangest sentence I have ever written in this blog I don’t know what was, or will be stranger than that.

I’m going to take a little break next Sunday to celebrate, not that I died, but that I didn’t stay dead. Or as someone once said that I am so stubborn and ornery that even Death backed down. I don’t think of it like that, more like I have a job to do and it wasn’t done yet so I can’t leave until it is. I have no idea of what that job is (although all the dreams about building things might have something to do with it) but until I find out what that job is I will do this blog about using the built infrastructure and agitating for improving the infrastructure for riding bicycles safely.

So, moving to more pleasant things we celebrated my grandson’s second birthday yesterday by going to a movie. We saw “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, which I found to be much more adult than the first one, with dragons and people dying, and not just “red shirts” either, but main characters, like the father of the lead character. There was considerable character development since the first movie. And I liked it, which I think is about the biggest thing I can say about the movie. I admit I did not enter the theater with high expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised at the story I saw portrayed on the big screen.

Then we went to a nearby chain “Italian” restaurant for late lunch/early dinner, which is where we discovered the grandson’s limitations on good behavior in public. I mean he was very good during the nearly 2 hours we spent in the theater (15 minutes of ads and previews, 90 minutes more or less of movie) but by the time we got to the restaurant he needed some play time to burn off energy built up from sitting quietly and watching the movie. Outside the restaurant were stairs and high curbs that just demanded to be climbed on from a 2YO perspective, and after dinner he spent at least a half hour going up and down the stairs and curbed planters in front of the restaurant. He was in a much better mood after that, but it was time for him to go home with his mommy, my youngest daughter.

While we were outside the theater in the mall I think I found where I want to have my B-day party. Not too far from the mall where we saw the movie is an indoor go-kart track called Pole Position, that uses electric go-karts that are capable of reaching 45 MPH but usually can’t because of the track configuration. They race on a ¼ mile road course set up on a polished concrete surface so it has lots of grip but slides predictably at the limit. I think that would be the perfect place to celebrate being alive 56 years after dying 13 years ago.

I mentioned earlier in this post about having dreams about building things, well what I was dreaming about was race cars. Not just your garden variety stock car, sprint car, or even radical offset Supermodified, but a radical offset front wheel drive dirttrack racer. I mean seriously I have no idea how to even classify this monstrosity. Nobody has ever made a front wheel drive dirt track car that wasn’t based on an economy car to my knowledge. I know that theoretically such a design would be freaky fast around an oval track and very stable, as long as you only turned one direction, left. The theory goes that a FWD car with 67% front and 67% left weight would have perfect balance at the limit with 50% right front and 34% right rear weight and the driving wheels pointed in the desired direction of travel. The left rear tire would be just floating over the track and the remaining 16% of the car weight would be on the left front. There would be just a trace of understeer. In the dream I built the proof of concept car from a wrecked 4WD pickup truck that had been hit in the back end and pretty much destroyed from the back of the cab on back. The front differential was moved as far over to the left as it would go and the transfer case came off the right side of the transmission leaving the engine sitting just behind and to the right of the left front wheel with the driver sitting behind and just far enough to the right so that the steering shaft could clear the engine. The rear axle was from a trailer kit with a set of small disc brakes kludged on the spindles with the balance of the car adjusted by moving bolt-on ballast weights around the frame. I think there was something like 300 pounds of lead bolted to the front part of the left frame rail. And I think in the dream we never did put a body on the P.O.C. car, just a few pieces of heavy plastic sheeting to keep the dirt mostly off the driver and the air moving through the radiator instead of around it. I remember that in the dream the driver never had to lift and could drive into the corner pretty much at top speed and just turn the wheel like a video game. Of course that was just a dream, what would happen IRL is strictly a matter of speculation.

Another thing that I have been thinking about but not dreaming about has been that 20/20 crank forward bike. As I keep saying the only thing keeping me from building it right now is getting the raw stock for making the seat tube and post. I know what I need to get I just can’t find it locally or come up with a way to pay for it online. Such things are very frustrating. Everything else I can kludge out of salvaged bicycles except the seat tube which has to be done custom to keep it from rotating left or right as the rider pedals.

And the Saturday night race from Bristol was last night, and it was a barn-burner of a race. One of the characteristics of Bristol is you pretty much never wreck alone, someone will be along to join you very shortly, that is just one of the consequences fo running 43 cars on a track that has a 17 second (or less) lap time, and that was true again last night as Junior was caught up in somebody else’s wreck and taken out of the race. Joey Logano won the race in convincing fashion. Not to say he ran away with it, he didn’t. But he was able to drive the car just about anywhere he wanted to put it on the track and made it stick. That’s a combination of a good car and a great driver, and Joey is one of the best. He was brought into the Cup level of competition way too early, just 21 days after his 18th birthday. He was a development driver for the Joe Gibbs team, and was promoted to fill Tony Stewart’s seat in the 20 car when Tony left to form his own team. They called him “Sliced Bread” back then (as in the best thing since…) but to be honest he needed some more time rising before placing him in the oven of the Cup series. Well now that he has moved on from JGR he seems to have matured into the top driver he was meant to be. Yesterday’s win puts him in the group of 3-time winners this year at the top of the standings.

I was thinking about the Sprint-T and the virtual version on GT4 and about the cockpit for the simulator. What I was thinking about was using the actual body for the car as the cockpit of the simulator and mounting a display to the front of the body, using the simulator to work out the ergonomics so that if I ever get a chance to build the real thing the cockpit will be completely sorted out. One of the things I was thinking about was using PVC pipe to simulate the roll cage and work out how I’m going to get in and out of the car without assistance. After all if I can’t get in and out of the car then I can’t build it. And another good thing is I can sort out the steering wheel and pedals so that I have some place to put my left foot when I’m not using the brake pedal and just cruising down the Interstate by using the real pedals I’m going to use connected to the pedals of the controller. That means running the pushrod from the brake pedal to the brake pedal on the controller, and the throttle cable from the pedal around a pulley to the back of the pedal on the controller to pull the pedal back. And I’m thinking of also connecting the real steering column to the controller also to really get the steering ergonomics sorted.

And on the tube right now is the last stage of the US Pro Cycling Challege tour and the last race stage for Jens Voight, he of the famous “Shut up, legs!” Every time they get a pause in the action or lose signal from out on the course they go back to another interview with Jens, or talking about him, or the other racers talking about him…

And now the show shifts to the Indy Car race at Sonoma on one channel, and the Tudor USCS from VIR on the other. Two road course races of two completely different kinds of race cars, open wheel Indy cars at Sonoma, and production based GT cars of two different classes at Virginia International Raceway. The two classes of GT have very different suspension and brake regulations that mainly affect corner speed but the engine regulations result in very similar straight line speeds, meaning setting up a pass between the two different classes is “fun”. As the race continues there are many incidents on corner entry between the two classes. And the race from Sonoma is a bit slam-bang as well. I haven’t been keeping up with that one as well as I was the VIR race but I have already seen people changing out broken front wings and broken rear bumpers at the Indy Car race. And Scott Dixon won the race in Sonoma with a bunch of people running out of Sunoco E-85 on the last lap.

Annnd it’s almost time to leave for evening services so I’m going to wrap it up here.

PSA, Opus

Back on the air, and the Feed

It has been terrible here at Casa de El Poeta this weekend as our Internet, land line, and TV has been completely shut down (well except the TV was mostly off but did come on for a few minutes at a time) leaving me with no ability to make blog posts or read my “mind wipe” web comics. I did an off-line Sunday post that I will load up from the local drive after this gets posted.

Up first because of lots of links is an OR cyclist riding the bike lane on I 84 is hit and killed by a drowsy driver. Woman on bike killed in I-84 crash identified as Mosier firefighter and Police investigate crash that killed bicyclist on I-84 early Sunday also Police say driver fatigue contributed to collision that left Mosier cyclist dead As for why the cyclist was on the Interstate and why there are bike lanes there, when they built the Interstate they built it over the old US route through the same area leaving no alternative for parts of the ride but to use the Interstate. There are protected cycle tracks with concrete barriers separating bicycles and motor vehicles in other segments of the highway, but there was not enough room to install those where the wreck happened without taking out a large hunk of mountain. That only leaves using the hit-from-behind protocols as an avoidance maneuver. ODOT needs to decide how many cyclists need to get killed on this stretch before they can spend the money to fix it, and if there is a maximum time between deaths that resets the count, because the design will get more cyclists killed by 70+ MPH traffic drifting off the road and over the painted stripe marking the bike lane. More on that bike lane. Fatal collision spurs new calls to complete the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

An unknown mode of wreck after a hit-and-run in LA. Cyclist seriously injured by hit-and-run crash No pictures of the bicycle or anything else to let me know what happened, just pictures of crime scene tape hanging from a stop sign. So, Infrastructure is the answer, but we don’t know the question.

A speeding motorcycle ends one life and permanently alters another in OH. Motorcycle rider dies, teen loses leg in collision The teen cyclist was riding within the strictures of the law when the motorcyclist came speeding through a residential area and killed himself and nearly killed the kid. I don’t see anything that infrastructure could do to prevent this as the area is described as what would be partially shared space in the Dutch model where there should not be any motorcycles flying through at highway speeds.

A GA cyclist has his arm broken as he was buzzed while signalling for a left turn. Columbus cyclist injured in hit and run asking for public’s help to find suspect The motorcycle rider was lane splitting at speed and ran the stop sign where the bicyclist was preparing to turn. Again we get a motorcycle going too fast and running in to the cyclist. I really don’t know how a human cyclist could avoid a wreck like this because of the stop sign removing all maneuverability from the cyclist, and once again the motorcycle rider was not even using the existing infrastructure properly so changing it won’t have much effect either.

A serious bike wreck in CA with no witnesses and no evidence except the victim. CHP investigates bicycle crash that injured Hidden Valley Lake man OK how do they know the cyclist wrecked at 0145 when the call came in at 1045? That is a long time to lay in the road convulsing, and if the wreck was at 1045 the lack of a light had no bearing on the wreck. I think the report has serious holes in it. Anywho, depending on which time is accurate, the 0145 or the 1045 the light is either extremely important or a non-factor and I think the intersection had something to do with the wreck too. I hypothesize that a car making a right turn cut the cyclist off, causing him to fall and injure his head.

Also in CA is this wreck report via Ted Rogers of BikingInLA. Update: Experienced cyclist dies in Eagle Rock solo fall; 9th LA bicycling fatality this year The wreck is being blamed on bad pavement that caught the cyclist’s front tire and pulled the bike out from under him at speed, making his helmet not much good except for preventing some of the cosmetic damage.

Another cyclist rides around the crossing gates in CA, with predictable results. Police: Cyclist Ignored Crossing Arms Before Trolley Injury Seriously, folks, this is not rocket science. It barely rises to the intellectual challenge of 2+2=4. Don’t ride around the crossing guards and when crossing an unprotected grade crossing look both ways and listen for the train…

A NYC cyclist is accused of riding salmon and endangering her puppy (not kidding). Firefighters Save Adorable Puppy, Cyclist Struck By Truck Driver And it turns out the agency investigating the wreck is also responsible for the vehicle, which I’m sure had no bearing on them immediately blaming the injured cyclist instead of thir driver. If the report is accurate then don’t ride salmon, or it isn’t then use the hit-from-behind protocols to avoid, and get the infrastructure “up to Dutch” to prevent.

I strongly recommend against using this MI law firm if you get hit riding a bike. Cyclist Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver. DUI Law Firm The lawyers show more concern for the drunk driver than they do for the victim of the wreck/murder. Anyway, it was a hit-from-behind wreck so perhaps the protocols would have made the wreck survivable, and it’s possible that getting the infrastructure “up to Dutch” would prevent a future wreck with a drunk driver.

This DE hit-from-behind wreck is also a hit-and-run. Bicyclist struck and killed by motorist The narrative reads that the driver “didn’t see” the cyclist and “didn’t know” he had hit anything. Protocols might help avoid injury and damages, but getting the infrastructure “up to Dutch” would get bicycles away from deadly motor vehicles and prevent another wreck.

And up in the Great White North a cyclist killed by a motor vehicle and finally identified after many days. Dead cyclist identified by friends I think this might have been a right hook (there is a tire track across a curb and the bicycle looks like it was hit from the side). If so then intersection protocols to avoid or reduce damages, and get the infrastructure “up to Dutch” to prevent.

Another low-information report on a bike wreck hotspot in Montreal. Cyclist dies after accident in St-Hubert That’s 3 this summer from one small neighborhood… That screams “bad infrastructure” to me.

Speaking of “bad infrastructure”, who puts stairs on a MUP without lots of warning signs for cyclists? Cyclist killed after fall in Rundle Park There is a picture of the stairs that killed the cyclist in the link and the “warning” signs that never mention stairs, just a steep hill. I wish I could say that was “Only in Canuckistan” but not really.

An intersection wreck in the Great White North. Cyclist injured in collision While I love that LEO in Canada assume that when you hit-and-run the wreck is automatically your fault, It would be nice to know who was where when to determine how to avoid a similar wreck or change the infrastructure to prevent a future wreck.

Final word on a UK wreck where the driver was paying more attention to his phone than to the cyclist on the road in front of him. No jail sentence for driver who caused death of cyclist near Kincardine Bridge The constable that did the preliminary crowd and traffic control said he could see the victim’s bike more than 200 yards before he reached the scene when the light was not in the best position to be seen on the back of the wrecked bike. I wonder how the driver missed seeing it then? And the sentence… There are no words for how pitiful that sentence was for running over a cyclist like that. And how many people think the driver is going to honor that driving ban if they let him keep his car? More Driver accused of killing a cyclist tells court he is ashamed of using his mobile phone moments before the crash

And another UK driver admits to killing a cyclist. Hit-and-run driver faces jail over Chard cyclist’s death As I said when this went to trial the driver would probably get more time for the pot charge than for killing the cyclist…

An apparent intersection wreck in Enn Zed. Christchurch cyclist injured in hit and run Protocols to avoid, assuming the driver allowed enough reaction time to employ protocols, and get the infrastructure “up to Dutch” to prevent.

Our Daily Ted, Pt.1. Morning Links: Biking to the Emmy awards, BOLO Alert for purloined Roubaix, Jens calls it a 17-year career

And Pt.2. Morning Links: New ROAD magazine from Chris K, more on biking to the Emmys, SaMoHi kids bike to school

An Infrastructure! question that is being improperly framed in CA. The Conversation feedback: On a mission to get bikes off sidewalks The issue is the only bicycle infrastructure they have are painted bike lanes in the street. The problem is most people think painted stripes “protect” cyclists about as well as a Hi-Viz vest protects against getting shot when someone is aiming for you.

An infrastructure problem is causing cyclists grief in the Great White North. Several cyclists hurt near dangerous part of road on Lakeshore Yep, when several cyclists wreck in the same location from the same cause then you have broken infrastructure.

A little “portable infrastructure” from the UK. Laserlight, the bright idea of a student behind a lifesaver for cyclists It projects a bicycle symbol on the road 5 meters (about 16′ 5″) in front of the bike using a bright green laser. I’m going to be brutally honest on this one, it might prevent a jaywalker from stepping into you, but 16 feet is not going to be far enough in front of a car for most drivers to be able to see it unless the cyclist was already almost in front of the vehicle, or in the case of a conventional cab semi you would have to be about 5-10 feet in front of the driver to get the bike symbol out of the passenger side front blind spot.

And those were all the links that accumulated while I was unable to access the Internet, whew! I spent 2 days going through the links and pasting them to this post. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go scream at something… I’m really glad I spent the extra time on Friday night to clean out all the links before posting, or I would have had even more links. BTW what happened was something blew out the inside of the box that converts the fiber optic signal to a phone and internet signal (my land line uses VOIP directly instead of converting at a remote location), and everything inside the box except the wiring had to be replaced.

Billed @€0.02, Opus