Tag Archives: changing the world

Post! or something and the Feed

Making beans today because we are having a guest and my beans and rice were requested. I have red kidney beans instead of the small reds I had before, so slight change in texture from the usual, but the flavor should be about the same as usual. And good news, one of the people here without a job is at a job fair. I have a job, actually several jobs even if you don’t include this blog, so I’m speaking in the third person non-ironically. I’m still having computer issues related to the latest versions of Flash and Chrome OS but there is a ticket out on that so maybe soon I won’t get crashing while I’m working? Please? The issue of the wandering cursor is getting worse, too, and appears to be related to the number of Flash ads I have in tabs or open windows, so back to the first problem.

Up first is another article that puts blame on the infrastructure for placing cyclists next to fast traffic when a cyclist was killed by a driver who was DUI and texting. A driver killed Tom Palermo in Baltimore, but road designers deserve some blame, too Specifically blamed are multiple wide lanes of traffic and a median that looks like a highway to a drunk person with the cars on the wrong side of the bike lane to prevent the drunk driver from hitting the cyclist.

Bicycle deaths in the Windy City more than double. 7 Chicago cyclists died in auto-bike collisions in 2014, up from three in 2013: data Actually 2013 was an anomaly, 7 dead cyclists a year is an average year, and 2014 is one less than 2012.

From ABQ is a report that bad infrastructure hurts lots of people even when only one is actually physically injured. One injured bicycle rider, many victims Looking deeper this is another “I ran over a cyclist, now I’m a victim, too!” from someone safely enclosed in a light armored vehicle.

More on the SF truck driver who killed a cyclist being found “negligent” after escaping criminal prosecution. Truck Driver Who Killed Cyclist Amelie Le Moullac Found Negligent Just like OJ, he got away with the criminal charges (because of a wimp PD and DA rather than from having a good lawyer) but was not able to escape the civil courts.

Updates on infrastructure spending in WA. WSDOT Report: Bike/Ped and & Safe Routes to School Projects up for state funding in 2015-17 In a nutshell, about 20% of the projects that need to be built “yesterday” are getting funded, with some of those needing to be built “last week”, not just “yesterday”.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: CicLAvia comes to the Valley, bike confusion east of Barstow, and why our roads are dangerous

A Facebook group devoted to bicycles not just as transportation but as a transformative force for good. Bikemuters – Public Transformation

“Not enough room” to build bicycle infrastructure? Once again, ask the Dutch. Dutch Suburbs Are Like America’s, and Protected Bike Lanes Work Fine There The trick is not to just assume that people will drive everywhere if that’s the only alternative to staying home. Give people a choice and they might choose to ride a bike. Hell people are choosing to ride a bike even when that really is not a viable choice because of a lack of infrastructure. Just look at the number of people riding bicycles in Garland, TX, the literal “Beautiful Suburb of Hell” where WoaB is located. Garland is one of the most car-dependant towns in the US with an average annual mileage of 19+K miles a year. And in spite of this there are people other than me who live without motor vehicles, riding bikes and taking transit where they need to go.

Dude, when you get assaulted with a motor vehicle and then assaulted for a second time when the driver gets out of the vehicle while you’re on the ground, and you have a camera recording the event, take it to the police, don’t just post it to YouTube. Police issue cyclist appeal on Twitter after shocking ‘van assault’ video is shared on YouTube

And last link is a collection of e-assist devices that were all destined to “change the world” by being cheaper and easier to install on your bike. All-In-One E-Bike Motors For An Environmental Commute Swap out the front or rear wheel, run the wire to the throttle or the pedal speed sensor, and wallah! electric power to aid your legs…

And those are all the links I have today.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

Why are we still killing our kids? Wreck-free Sunday

Where this comes from is an amalgamation of the start of the Dutch cycle re-revolution (see Stop the Child Murder ) and a CDC report on un-natural deaths (see Ten Leading Causes of Death and Injury or if you really like lots of reading GMWKI). As you can see, the most dangerous thing we can do to our kids is put them in a car. The main reason for the decline in motor vehicle deaths in the 0-5 age group is the mandating of child restraint seats up to age 4 or 6 in some states. If motor vehicles were a disease there would be telethons and people protesting in the streets for a “cure”. Instead we just make sympathetic noises and chalk it up to “wrong place, wrong time” or “natural selection” like the kid had any choice in the matter. The number of child <16 YO deaths has decreased pretty much at the same rate as other age groups, except as noted the slight added decrease because of mandated restraints for the under 5 crowd.

So, what can be done about this?

The most obvious answer is to remove children from the most dangerous thing in their lives, the motor vehicle. I mean we are constantly bombarded with messages to parents about not leaving kids in hot cars, that kill a few kids every year, when just putting them in the car and driving is far more deadly to your kids. We have got to get kids out of cars, all the time, not just parked cars in the summertime.

And how do we do that? The American parent spends much of their away from work time driving the kids here, there and everywhere. And when kids are left without immediate adult supervision parents are threatened with jail time and loss of their children. If only there were some way to get kids safely from one place to another and still keep them under adult supervision…

Of course part of the answer is to not get so hyper about children always having an adult around to "protect" them. The fear is of course that some evil pedophile will swoop down on them and steal the kids away, when the facts are that most pedophiles find jobs that place them in the child-supervision business, or are close friends or family of the victim(s). In other words the fact that we require constant adult supervision is a leading cause of children becoming victims of sexual predators. It gets the kids into a known location where they are easy to find and pick over for a victim. Kids that grew up in my era knew that for a perv to make them a victim the perv had to find them first. When kids are widely scattered instead of gathered together it is harder for a predator to select a victim. The answer then is the counter-intuitive dispersal of children away from adults. If an adult is required to move children around, this becomes nearly impossible.

So, we need to get kids out of cars, and then we need a way to move them around in small groups or individually so that they aren't centralized for pedophile shopping convenience. If only there was some vehicle that a child could operate that they could use for the short trips that kids normally need to take, that could be used without adult supervision so that we didn't get kids forced into prolonged contact with a potential abuser… What miracle device could we use that would fit those criteria? And if it also got the kids some exercise in the process to combat the rising childhood obesity rate that would be a plus. But what? What miracle could we use that would allow kids to get around with having to have an adult present at all times? What vehicle can be operated legally by a child?

OK, OK I know, you know, and the preceding paragraph was mainly for the people that have no idea that a bicycle can be used as actual transportation, even for children. Impossible as it is to believe for some of us that read this blog, there are people that still think a bicycle is a toy for riding around a park, not a serious transportation tool.

The Dutch solution for the same problem we are having was to make bicycle infrastructure that even children understood and could use to get around with. The age range touted was 8-80, roads simple and safe enough for an 8 YO, and relaxed enough for an 80 YO. You can find out more by clicking the "Stop the Child Murder" link at the top of this post and reading the rest of the blog, or clicking the "View From the Cyclepath" link in the sidebar.

As a side benefit instead of making kids that don't know what to do with themselves who grow up into adults that don't know what to do with themselves, we get people capable of independent thought and action. People that know what to do without being told what to do, what a concept!

PSA, Opus

You are the change you want to see in the world

I just returned from our final Sunday evening service until it gets cooler here in the suburbs of Hell. The subject for the final evening service before Summer was the 7th Principle of UUism: “Respect for the interdependent web of creation, of which we are a part.” What became the catalyst for this blog post was the discussion during the service (We UUs generally do discussions more than we do sermons as a way to get people to think about the service.)

One of the things said (and there were many thins said during the discussion) was a quote from Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I say the corollary of that is “You are the change you are going to see in the world.”

What that means is what you do an a daily basis determines what the world becomes. If you sit on your duff becoming a couch potato, sofa spud, or davenport tuber, well the world is going to change to whatever other people want. If you drive around in a WMD spewing toxic chemicals (even in really tiny amounts) then people are going to die so that you can move your butt. As oil gets more and more scarce in the future, more people will die so that you can move your butt. If you let corporatists dictate the debate then corporations will control the world.

Or, you could ride your bike. You don’t have to ride your bike everywhere, everytime, which would be awesome by the way. Start small. According to the US DOT 80% of journeys in the US outside the home are less than 2 miles each way. For a car this is a bad thing because this is the distance during which a car emits the most pollution, but for a bicycle this is a good thing, because 2 miles is 10-15 minutes at a sweat-free pace. With a properly equipped bicycle ridden by a properly clothed rider you can do almost everything imaginable you need to do on any 2-mile trip in any weather at any time of the year. Granted if you need to carry tools and supplies to a work site you will probably need some kind of motor vehicle, but for the vast majority of people travelling under 2 miles the only thing they are carrying is their butts. And if they rode a bicycle they would have less of that to haul around.

So, imagine a world where every trip under 2 miles was made by bicycle. What would that world look like? Well to begin with there would be a lot fewer cars on the roads, and more room. That’s just because of the size difference between bikes and motor vehicles. Those roads would have fewer potholes and other pavement issues because bicycles do 4-5 orders of magnitude less damage to roads than even the smallest and lightest motor vehicles, other than motorcycles. The air would be cleaner and so would the water as there would be less oil-contaminated runoff to foul waterways.

Now, add that to moving goods and people long distances by electric trains instead of diesel trucks and buses, and things are even better. Our dependence on fossil fuels for transportation would nearly vanish as the only things we would need IC engines for would be moving freight from the rail depot to the final vendor, or not even then if speed limits are reduced to bicycle levels and solar cell technology continues to improve as there is more than 40 HP available from the top surface of a standard 53′ trailer.

So, that’s what I want, what am I doing to get it? Well I badger and harangue the local City Council to provide decent bicycle infrastructure. It is a proven fact that people won’t ride bicycles unless they feel safe doing so, and they won’t feel safe having to share the road with 3000 lb. killing machines moving twice to 3 times or more their speed. The way to make people feel safe on the roads is proper infrastructure. The more people who ride, the safer they actually become, which increases the number of people who ride. It’s the opposite of the vicious circle, call it the virtuous circle.

Billed @$0.02, Opus