Tag Archives: transportation

Update from the Lab Rat Keeper appointment

There was lots of good news from the latest trip to the Lab Rat Keeper. First of all, I’m going to survive the near future barring accident, another murder attempt, or getting caught in another weather incident. BP was 128/88, pulse was 68 (which is a little high considering a few years back I had a rest pulse of 42) and weight was 201.6 pounds after breakfast. That means if I had been fasting I would have been under 200. Heart and lungs both sounded good and my ears are squeaky clean. My step tracker says I walked about 2 miles total between getting lunch and getting to and from the bus, so that’s good.

The main takeaway from this visit is I need better cardio than walking, as shown by my 68 rest pulse compared to 42 when I was riding 120 miles round trip to have lunch with my friend in a nursing home in Sherman. Since I can barely walk much less run it seems like I need to find/build a bike or trike I can get on and ride. The ride part I can handle but the “get on” part has been difficult the last couple of years. I have been thinking about building a stationary trainer in the living room, but Mrs. the Poet has been a little askance at another project. But compared to the average American I’m a pillar of health aside from the numerous old injuries causing me problems.

And I also need to get out more and do more walking, but there aren’t that many places to walk to near Casa de El Poeta. There’s a convenience store about 1.2 miles round trip, a dollar store I pass on the return leg that would be about a mile round trip if I went directly, and a strip mall with a major grocery store that’s just over 2 miles round trip and another one where I pay my cellphone bill once a month that’s 1.8 miles round trip, all in different directions. Just to satisfy curiosity I plotted the shortest route that went to all 4 locations without doubling back by the house and it’s a little over 4 miles. So I could walk to all of those places, but it would be a slog and there really isn’t much to do except buy things I have no way to carry home. There are a Whataburger and another convenience store as well as the place where I get my toes done in the strip mall with the grocery store, so I could make those a more frequent trip with multiple stops nearby to combine buying lottery tickets with fast food or getting my toes done with lottery tickets or fast food… which when you stop and think about it is slightly depressing, the only thing within walking distance worth walking to regularly is fast food. Really good fast food, but it still has all the health issues that come with fast food.

And now instead of feeling good about the trip to the LRK I’m a little down about how little there is to do here without a 🚗 or a 🚲 or a 🛸. I really need to get one of those that I can use, any of them. Can you imagine picking up the groceries with 🛸? 😂

Yay! Two of my favorite things come together and it isn’t a Reese’s Cup

We are coming up on the biggest weekend in motorsports what with the GP of Monaco, the 100th running of the Indy 500, and the World 600 wrapping it up from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

What got my motor runnin’ was this link Hundreds plan to bike to Indy 500 to avoid traffic and parking problems about (not) fighting traffic getting to IMS Sunday. Now if we could get that from hundreds to thousands…

PSA, Opus

I really am a scatter-brain, and the Feed

I left a ton of stuff out of yesterday’s post, specifically stuff about that lump on the back of my neck. Since I can’t recall exactly what I said and did not say (and I’m too lazy to open another tab and read it, I know that’s bad and I’m lazy) I’ll just go through the list. First of all this lump has been there for many years, at least 5 if not longer. Second there was some imaging done when I first noticed it by the Lab Rat Keeper to make sure it wasn’t something that was going to kill me (it isn’t going to kill me, it’s just really annoying now). Third the person checking me out yesterday was concerned that it has grown over the vertebrae on my neck and around the side of my neck and is concerned it may have become invasive. Fourth, it isn’t a sebaceous cyst because those are painful when poked they way I got poked during the exam yesterday, and not as firm as the lump on the back of my neck. So the thing they are really concerned about is that it might be invasive somehow and removing it might be a problem, and that it pretty much has to be removed sooner rather than later. The MRI is to determine how invasive it is and to positively identify what it is so that it can be removed without surprises when the operation gets done.

And with all that walking my feet hurt pretty bad when I got up this morning. 😛

Up first because The Onion is not the strangest source I have today. ‘What If No One Travels Anywhere Ever Again?’ Wonders Panicked Transportation Secretary Yep, nothing like a little existential angst to get the blood pumping in the morning.

Down the road from the Beautiful suburbs of Hell. I Can’t Even Why some people think we “need” a toll road through the middle of what was sold to the public as a park when the bonds were passed nearly 20 years ago now. No park, just a highway where there were pictures of people sailing little boats in tiny lakes in the brochures promoting the bond issue. Lakes that were never in the “official” bond proposal.

This note is TX-specific. Action Alert: Ask your representative to vote YES on HB 80 Since texting is a 21st Century blight upon humanity (and no I’m not just being old, I text when appropriate) it is only fair that TX should get in the 21st Century and ban it while driving.

Another TX specific paragraph on infrastructure. Texas House Takes Center Stage I like this one, because putting a designated portion of the general fund into transportation means we can demand a designated portion be put to non-motorized transportation. I suggest that $3 Billion be apportioned by fatalities for improving the safety for cyclists and pedestrians. I don’t meant that 16% of that $3 Billion should be put aside for cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure, I’m saying that 16% of the transportation budget up to that $3 Billion should be set aside for cyclists and pedestrians since this is a non-car source of funding.

And even in Houston they see the benefits of greater density in development. Houston Feels Downtown’s Lively Enough to Stop Development Tax Break The tax break had an initial cutoff of 2500 housing units that was quickly extended to 5000 when it was discovered that there was enough demand to support them, which is also about to get topped out years ahead of projected dates.

An experiment that worked out so well they wanted to make it permanent. Banning Cars Can Be Good For Business Whodathunkit? Giving more space to people instead of cars is good for business.

Our Daily Ted is really good today. (Late) Morning Links: Griffith Park road under attack, more on Sunday’s CicLAvia, and stupid Scot cop tricks

Would you like a secure lightweight lock for your crabon wunderFahrrad? LITELOK®: Lightweight, flexible and super secure bike lock. The mix of fibers in the braid that replaces cables and chains requires different cutting methods to separate, making one mode take way too long to get through and leading to thieves getting caught red-handed.

MPLS is getting serious about connected bicycle infrastructure. Minneapolis protected bike lane list for 2015 swells

What do you do when the air becomes dangerous to breathe? Ban cars for a day. Half of Paris just took a mandatory day off of driving OK ban half of cars, with the option to ban the other half the next day if needed.

Someone does not understand the concept of woonerf. 6 Places Where Cars, Bikes, and Pedestrians All Share the Road As Equals Woonerf are places where the motor vehicle is tolerated as something that has to be there but people would prefer not to be there, or basically a rowdy guest that has to be on its best behavior or get tossed out.

An e-assist bike for military use, when sometimes it is critical to be able to move faster than 20 MPH. Trefecta DRT: The $25K high-tech, military-grade electric super bike

And I’m all out of links again. I’ma have a little lie-down for my leg now.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

This is frustrating

I got a call from the PCP designated by my insurance company this morning, and he’s not taking any new patients insured under my plan. Which leaves me with Not Much from what looked like a great plan on paper (or in the web site). I mean seriously, it didn’t cover half of the meds I was prescribed for side effects from my study meds that aren’t covered by the study, when I developed a condition not covered under the study neither of the doctors I was referred to accepted the coverage, and when I tried to get a doctor that would accept my insurance I find the gatekeeper doctor won’t even see me. Basically I have catastrophic insurance that says if I have to go to the ER I won’t go completely broke.

Need a horse for your Halloween costume, but live someplace that doesn’t have space to keep a horse? Then you need a horse bike. Giddy-up, pilgrim! Yes it’s silly, but cute.

I went out and voted today, I think the “I Voted” widget is up and running by now. I voted against Prop 1 that would create a stable source of income for highways for two reasons: First and foremost, hidden down deep in the official language for Prop 1 is a clause that prohibits spending transportation $ for anything except highways, explicitly including bicycle and pedestrian projects in that ban. Second the “stable” funding is diverted from the fund used to pay for disaster recovery, meaning that while we could build roads etc. there would be no money to repair them in case of natural disasters or other unusual damages like a tanker fire under a bridge like happened in Dallas a few years back. Instead of getting money from the comptroller out of the “rainy day fund” to pay for these events, we would have to wait until the next scheduled legislature session and hope they decided to cover the repairs in the general budget… This combination was just untenable. And you know me, I’m a big transportation project wonk, but not a pro. If I can see this with just a cursory reading of the full text, what are the active transportation pros doing about this?

I have to go now because the old tenant is having a squabble with one of the new tenants about the fact that she used to be a he, and the other one used to be a she and is now a he. Since gender identity is a protected class in this county this is one of the few things that can get someone evicted in less than 30 days…

And that’s all I got thanks to the drama with the tenants.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Terminal ballistics, Wreck-Free Sunday

This is something I mention in my comments to wreck articles all the time, but for some reason I seem to have forgotten to put it up here. This is a comparison of terminal ballistics between small-arms rounds, and motor vehicles.

First, the dry statistics. according to the CDC a bullet from a small arm like a hunting rifle or a handgun is between 8 and 10% fatal with the majority right in that 9% area of the bell curve. According to the NHWSA and another researcher in the UK who came up with almost the exact same numbers, motor vehicles used against unarmored persons (pedestrians and bicyclists) are 5% fatal at speeds of 20 MPH and below, rising sharply to 50% fatal at 30 MPH, 85% fatal at an impact speed of 40 MPH, over 95% fatal at 50 MPH, and 99+% fatal at speeds of 60 MPH and over. There is always that survivor of a wreck who was hit at 60 or higher speed (like me) that keep the kill ratio under 100%, but for all intents and purposes getting hit at highway speeds is 100% fatal.

Now why that is true is interesting in a gruesome and macabre sort of way. The reason why bullets are so ineffective at killing people even when you actually hit someone with a bullet (which only happens in 1 out of 20 times a trigger is pulled during a firefight where people are actually trying to kill each other) is that bullets are small, and the human body has relatively few places where the would caused by a bullet is fatal, especially once you get away from the head. The head and heart are the only 2 places where a bullet is instantly or very quickly fatal, which is why soldiers are issued torso armor and helmets going into battle. Anywhere else and you die from bleeding to death with the larger the blood vessel compromised the faster you bleed to death. The good thing there is there are few blood vessels that will bleed out so fast that you can’t be saved with quick access to surgery and a blood transfusion. So, bullets, especially in this day and age, are very poor killing devices.

Motor vehicles, on the other hand, despite not actually being designed as killing devices are actually quite good at the job. They kill by massive blunt-force trauma over a large area of the body and sometimes by head injury. As with bullets head and heart injury are quick kills most of the time, and permanent disablers when they don’t actually kill. The difference between bullets and cars is that a bullet hits a single part of the body and creates a very small injury, where a motor vehicle hits large areas of the body and creates large internal injuries and external wounds. A bullet can only compromise a small number of blood vessels, a motor vehicle can remove entire limbs and leave several major blood vessels open to air, or rip major vessels internally causing internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can kill even faster than just dumping the blood on the ground, because the blood then interferes with blood that is still actually getting to its destination by the circulatory system and internal bleeding in the upper chest can cause the heart to stop from the pressure on the organ.

Because of the widespread nature of the injuries administered by a motor vehicle impact, even surviving the initial impact doesn’t mean you’re clear of the reaper yet. There are secondary injuries caused by broken bones piercing vital organs or blood vessels before you get to a hospital or even get in the ambulance. Broken ribs, fractured pelvis taking out major arteries or a heart or lung, or even a broken femur or humerus cutting the major blood vessels in the leg or arm when someone tries to drag a victim off the road so they don’t get hit again. Since you would die if you get hit again this is actually not as bad as it sounds, you have a better chance of surviving not being exposed to another impact.

Now we have body armor that can protect against a bullet penetrating a person to cause injury, what can be done against a motor vehicle? The answer: almost nothing. About the only thing that can protect against a motor vehicle wreck is another, larger motor vehicle or a later model of motor vehicle than the one being used against you, and even that is ineffective in about 28K wrecks a year in the US. Motor vehicles are so deadly that not even a building is sufficient protection against getting killed by one. People inside light wood-frame houses are killed in the dozens every year by motor vehicles crashing through the walls. A bicycle helmet is essentially useless against a motor vehicle wreck. As we have seen even if the head is perfectly protected the massive blunt-force trauma inflicted on the torso by most motor vehicle wrecks will still cause death or permanent injury.

So, what can be done? The only effective technique found so far is to keep motor vehicles and vulnerable users completely separate from each other so they don’t have wrecks. That means Dutch-style infrastructure for bicycles, and protected walking areas for pedestrians, and severe penalties against drivers that hit vulnerable road users. like confiscation of the motor vehicle. It won’t be cheap, and in a few years it will be moot as we run out of gas, but in the mean time we can save lives and protect potential by keeping the murder machines away from their potential victims.

PSA, Opus

Why state DOTs are running out of money, Wreck-Free Sunday

I was reading this week about several state DOTs that don’t have the funds to maintain the roads already built, much less build new ones, because they lack the budget. There are several reasons for this state of affairs.

First and foremost none of the states having budget issues has raised their gas tax since 1993 with the exception of California. Some of them haven’t raised the gas tax since 1987. In the meantime the fleet fuel efficiency has gone from 14 MPG back then to almost 26 MPG now, or about 50% better, while the retail price of gas has gone from around a buck a gallon to $3.50 as I type this, meaning the percentage of price covered by taxes has been reduced by 2/3.

Second, we have about twice as many cars on the roads as we had back then with a much lower Passenger load factor. In TX the load factor is so low now that the only thing that could make it lower would be cars driving around by themselves, somewhere around 1.07 people per car. Add to that the cars are bigger and heavier than they were back then and you get more wear and tear on the roads with no extra money to pay for it, and also more and bigger cars need more space than before and more new roads.

Something that could help that would be a larger mode share from bicycles. I know I’m preaching to the choir in this blog, but for those that get directed here by search engines I’ll make the list. Bikes are much smaller than cars on the roads, you can get about 8 bikes in the space of one car. Bicycles do less damage to the roads than just leaving them sit, one trip in a sub-compact car does as much damage as 1100 bicycles, one luxury SUV does the damage of 8000 bicycles, using the AASHTO formula comparing a fully loaded touring bike to the cars having a single 180 pound driver and no passengers. Had the increase in vehicles been covered by bicycles instead of SOV, the lowered emissions of the newer fleet would have improved air quality as bicycles are pollution-neutral and the bikes would have taken up far less space on the roads than the cars. One place that has seen all of their traffic increase covered by an increase in bicycle mode share hasn’t had to build a new street in a decade, just regular repaving as they age. This would be Portland OR, of course.

Something else that would help is making gas taxes a percentage of the price, not fixed per gallon. That way as gas prices went up and consumption went down tax revenue would hold instead of dropping like a stone in a still pond.

A third thing that would help would be a “road space tax” levied on new vehicles (bicycles included) that would pay for the space to drive that vehicle, based on the road space it needs. Bicycles use a lot less space than cars, and tons less space than SUVs so the bicycle tax would be much less than the tax on motor vehicles and would also establish a monetary right to the roads because bicycles’ space would be covered, and would also allow for increased pushing for segregated bike infrastructure as “we” would be paying for it, so long as the tax wasn’t the only source for bike infrastructure as car taxes have not been the sole source for motor vehicle infrastructure.

Now go out there and think of more ways to pay for roads, because they don’t come free…

PSA, Opus

Another Bean Day, and the Feed

Yes, I have gotten the crock pot out and warmed it up and done all the prep and started the 3 different kinds of beans cooking at a slow simmer in preparation for serving Spicy Beans and Rice tonight. This recipe is Vegan, not because I’m adverse to eating the tasty animals, but because it doesn’t need animal protein to have complete protein. And it’s high in fiber, very low in fat, and a good source of complex carbs (the good kind of carbohydrate). It would be even better if we hadn’t run out of brown rice at the same time as the local grocery store we shop at. Brown rice is so much better as a source of vitamins than white rice, not to mention that I prefer the taste of brown rice. I used to call this Cajun-style beans and rice, but the seasoning has evolved and simplified so much that now I just call it “Spicy” and leave it at that.

In spite of having 2 full days of Feed to draw from I don’t actually have a lot of links to actual bicycle stories. I have lots of links to motorcycle stories because I also search for the word “bike” because many do not differentiate between bikes with or without motors. I used to get lots of stories about people falling off of bulls because they were paid to ride them for 8 seconds, but they fixed that so I don’t get those links any more. Unfortunately they didn’t fix people getting paid to ride bulls for 8 seconds, that still happens.

Up first a cyclist in NYC is hit by a second car after being cut off by an illegal move from another car. Cyclist Critically Injured After Being Struck By Car On 2nd Ave. This is another link to the wreck I mentioned on Saturday, where the driver at fault did not even get a scratch on their car, but 1 bike was totalled (there might be a few parts that can be recovered and re-used), a car was damaged enough to require a trip to the shop before driving it again, and a cyclist is in critical condition.

A cyclist gets a small amount of justice in the UK. £11k Compensation for Cyclist after Hit and Run Accident and Cyclist gets compensation over hit and run Notice that the driver did not get anything against him in a criminal court, not even an arrest recorded against him, because assault with a deadly weapon is just not that high a priority there…

A story that has me more than a little upset, the family of a man who was injured when a car costing more than $1m crashed into his bike at about 130MPH in an urban bike lane separated by a guard rail from the road (IOW the driver was so totally responsible for this wreck there is no question about it) are having troubles paying for the upfront costs of the surgeries he needs to recover/survive after the wreck. Kin of injured cyclist in Lamborghini crash finding it difficult to raise money for surgeries The driver died in the wreck, which I guess under Indian laws prevents the victims from recovering damages? I’m not sure how this works in India. I know in Texas the driver’s insurance would still be on the hook for paying damages, and that doctors would have to do any medical care required to save the victim’s life (not sure about restoring his ability to live as he did before the wreck) and then sue the driver that caused it for compensation. Even in the US it’s convoluted, but I have no clues about what it’s like in India.

A mystery wreck in Oz, where at least they can recognize that you can cause serious or even life-threatening injuries with a car without doing anything else to the rider or the bicycle. Cyclist injured in mystery Frankston South incident

A cyclist is killed in Enn Zed. Cyclist killed in Dunedin crash named They didn’t say anything about the mode of wreck in the article, but the picture showed what looked like a touring bike that was hit-from-behind at the base of a slight hill before an intersection, with HiViz covers on the panniers.

Something of an Infrastructure! story from the UK. Trauma study is first to show how cyclists are injured and killed on city streets Surprise surprise, helmets would not prevent the most common mode of death, uncontrolled bleeding. The severity of the injuries is no surprise to me, having survived a fatal wreck.(Yes, I died. Yes I came back. Read my About Opus page.) More Cycling injuries ‘treble in six years’ Roughly 20% of bike/motor vehicle wrecks were with HGV, but HGV are only 5% of the motor vehicles on the road, making HGV 4.75 times more likely to be in a wreck with a bicycle than a car. And per wreck you are 3 times as likely to get killed in the wreck with an HGV. I think I got the math right on that one.

In Oz cyclists are calling for their version of a 3-foot passing law after a rash of cyclists are hit-from-behind. More than 8000 Perth cyclists call for buffer zone I read about roads that are too narrow for a bike to ride a safe distance from the curb and get passed at 1m clearance, but really the roads are more than wide enough for bicycles. It’s the cars that are too big to use them safely.

LifeStyle in TX. Memorial ride planned for cyclist struck, killed by truck

LifeStyle in CA. Going on tour: More than 300 people ride in Tour de Ed, a fundraiser for injured cyclists and A Day on the Bike Beat

And if you think right-of-way issues are a (derogatory term for a female dog) now, just wait until driverless cars become common. Our car/bike/ped fights will get fiercer with driverless cars

More Infrastructure from the most deadliest state in the US to walk or ride a bike. Can bike-car wrecks be eliminated? From what I have read about FL this would take a major reconstruction of just about everything in their transportation infrastructure from attitudes on up. The first place to have to change would be the attitudes that moving cars is the highest priority for streets, that streets are made for cars and not people, that the person riding the bicycle is always at fault in a wreck…

A pretty picture with bikes in it. Twin Cities Bike Picture of the Day: 3.5.12

And that’s all the links that give me fits today.

Billed @$0.02, Opus