Archive for June, 2011

In Your Face AAA and CABO

June 30, 2011
Motorists in Cage

Motorists React to Three Foot Pass Law

This morning, my princess made me a happy man indeed. I mean, every morning when I wake up and find out that I am married to her, I’m a happy man.

However, this morning, she made me extra happy when, during our chat, she mentioned that the three foot passing law was passed.

Thus, the state government of California finally has shown some respect to all the cyclists of their state.

That’s right, buzzing is now more than bad manners, it’s officially illegal.

I was so overjoyed this morning that I rode to work on a cloud of bliss. I felt like shouting to every passing motorist:

“We did it! Three foot passing, mutha!”

My bliss could didn’t dissipate until i tried explaining the law to a fellow cyclist.

He asked me a series of well-meaning and intelligent questions such as:

“But how will they enforce it?”

and

“Does this include bike lanes because most bike lanes I ride on are in 50 MPH zones. Do cars need to slow down to 21 miles per hour to pass a cyclist riding at 6 MPH?”

Ug, I have no clue how this is going to be enforced.

In my heart of hearts, I know that this isn’t going to change much.

Still, it was nice to have one more lemon to have the bike haters suck on.

Plus, this is a great precedent to build on.

For one, the AAA said that the law is bad because there’s no previous law which requires a motorist to guess the speed of an object that they are passing. Well guess what triple A, now there is.

Now we can make as many laws requiring motorists to have a smidgen of common sense and good manners that we want to including those where they have to estimate what 15 MPH is.

I’d argue that if someone can NOT estimate 15 MPH, they probably shouldn’t be driving.

I’d also argue that if everyone had good manners and common sense, we wouldn’t need this law nor any other law.

I can see the AAA stance against the first murder laws.

BEGIN SARCASM

“We could kill people before, so it hardly makes sense that we’d make such a fun thing illegal especially when our members do it all the time.”

END SARCASM

I’m even more happy to get in the face of every member of CABO, who, rumor has it, is not pretending to be in favor of the law.

OK, I gotta go, I have some phone calls to make and some gloating to do.

Imperfect Bicycle Control

June 29, 2011
Highway Riding

Yes, I'm on a bike here. Yes, I'm scared.

 

One of the stranger objections to commuting cycling that I have gotten, from a big bad-ass Navy man no less, was that he felt that he couldn’t “get away” fast on a bicycle.

To me, that made no sense because I feel that it’s actually much easier to escape a bad situation on a bicycle than a car.

Sure bicycles are slower, but unless you are on a straight away on a highway like Fairmount with a sheer wall on the side, it’s actually easier to get away.

You can salmon, you can hit the sidewalk, allies, right on read into traffic. I’m not saying that I do these things regularly (that’s another post, haha), but they are all available on a bicycle.

How many times have we gotten buzzed only to catch up to the a-hole (may they be happy) when they get stuck at a light.

How else do you think that I give out my charity dollars to these bullies?

Thus, I see bicycling as a way of feeling like one has no control. With the obsession of the “vulnerable cyclist” and the “helmet mass hysteria”, we see that the act of cycling, especially in a bike-hostile city like San Diego makes cyclists out to be victims in waiting.

From my perception, however, nothing can be further from the truth.

Still, it’s interesting to see how victim mentality is related to cycling to understand the fearful’s points of view.

I’m reading a chapter on victims in the wonderful book called _Imperfect Control_ by Judith Viorst.

Here’s a good passage:

“From along with the damaged self-regard that victimization bring, there are changes in how the victim is treated by others, treatment that can make him feel weak and pathetic and undeserving and basically flawed, treatment that can include contempt and rejection and sometimes outright hostility.”

This passage really rang true to me especially with regards to how motorists and the media treat cyclists who are attacked by motorists.

As Forrester said regarding cycling inferiority syndrome, there’s the notion that cyclists should be on the road, and whatever happens to them they just “get what’s coming to them.”

This is funny because with this attitude, some advocates still wonder why people don’t wish to cycle.

If I had a victim mentality regarding cycling, I wouldn’t want to do it either, and I’d see anyone who did cycle as a lunatic.

Thus, we should be careful of complaining. It’s usually bad to complain in mixed company ever, but it’s especially bad for cyclists to complain to motorists, who feel that they are being blamed for things that are “out of their control”.

Also, complaining too much of the dangers that our current system creates will perpetuate the victim mentality that many have towards cyclists. It will also get people to seek out superstitious solutions and magic panaceas such as helmet laws.

Instead of supporting sensible laws like the three foot passing law, the response will be more along the lines of you shouldn’t have worn that dress.

Thus, I feel that cyclists should see themselves as not just as cyclists, but as being, actually very powerful especially in places like San Diego.

It’s not easy to go against “common sense” and the well meaning admonitions of basically everyone who hasn’t cycled since their age broke double digits.

Thus, as cyclists, we rise against our circumstances. We’re not victims because if we felt like victims, we could just drive. Motoring is still in our power.

In fact, the government does everything except for pay for our private cars.

BEGIN STRANGE SIDEBAR

Incidentally, I wonder why we don’t get government cars. The utility of cars is in the network of fuel stations and highways which is the largest part of the cost of motoring. Without this tax payer welfare system, even the most expensive Ashton would be relatively worthless compared to a Target mountain bike.

Yet buying people cars is socialist, while paying for highways is not.

END STRANGE SIDEBAR

Anyway, rise above.

Cycle.

Virtual Parking Spaces

June 28, 2011
Commercial Trucks Taking Advantage of "Free Parking"

Commercial Trucks Taking Advantage of "Free Parking"

One of the biggest problems with getting more bicycle lanes is the old, tired argument that it will eliminate parking spaces.

I don’t think that this is actually true if, and IF is a huge word, the bicycle paths are implemented properly.

The problem with parking spaces is that it’s the same problem with any good that is free–scarcity will occur. Thus, there’s no purpose to create more parking because like any other good which is physical, it will be used and abused.

An example is the parking spaces which were sucked up by trucks which have been parked there for weeks. When the city designed free parking, they didn’t think that people would park their trucks there indefinitely, but without some kind of enforcement–which would make the parking less free–there’s no way to solve this problem of shortages.

Also, there’s a limit to the distance that people are willing to walk which is why the zoo claims it needs more parking while at the same time, they have several football fields worth of ugly asphalt which is ALWAYS EMPTY. ALWAYS.

The only way to fill it would be have people camp there which would turn the zoo into a trailer park.

Thus, we have something that is abundant and scarce at the same time.

If this were a gadget commercial, at this point, the voice over would say, “There has to be a better way.”

There is.

If the businesses encouraged biking, they’d get free parking spaces. In fact, there are infinite possible parking spaces available. That is, if everyone biked to the store, it would be possible to have a healthy business, and at the same time to have an open parking lot.

For example, long term readers know that I bike everywhere. I go to at least ten different places each week. Thus, each week, at a given time, I am creating 10 parking spaces as is my princess. Plus, we don’t have a car at home which creates more “open space”.

This stuff adds up quick. Next time you drive somewhere and find that there’s one more good parking spot left, but there’s a bike chained up out front, you see that CYCLISTS GIVE MOTORISTS FREE PARKING ALL THE TIME.

I’m not saying that they owe us anything or need to be nice to us on the road. It’s just that if I got such a benefit, I’d try to be grateful to the person instead of coming up with repetitive, shitty jokes like, “I could have killed you back there.”

Kill me! You should be kissing my ass! 🙂

Why they can’t see such obvious benefits is probably due to a depressive point of view called crystal ball.

Using their crystal ball, they’d say, “People don’t bike in Southern California so it’s pointless to make infrastructure for them.”

Which is also circular reasoning. Two logical fallacies in one!

Think about it. If you eliminate three street spots and four people bike to your store, your up one parking space.

If people are NOT biking, the problem is crappy infrastructure.

This can be discovered by reading countless papers, scientific and otherwise. There’s tons of data to support this.

Or you could talk to people who will say the same thing.

Tiny Fire Trucks

June 27, 2011

I don’t know why, but I have always had an aversion to the whole size issue especially the idea that, “bigger is better.”

I guess it’s because I acknowledge that sometimes it’s true, sometimes, it’s not. It all depends.

When it comes to rescue equipment, I feel that this notion is a false one.

Long time readers know that my nefarious, hidden agenda is to create safer, quieter streets with cleaner air.

One of the biggest obstacles to this has been fire codes which are based upon equipment which seems more to feed the egos of the departments than to actually be necessary.

OBLIGATORY STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against firefighters in principle. Some of my friends have been firefighters. Also, I have a great deal of respect for what they do. They save a lot of lives each year in the US, and I think that they should be proud of the work that they do.

But like, my doctor friends, I have found that the biggest critics of the field are actually practitioners. Thus, I’m sure there’s a lot of firefighters who’d actually agree with everything I say here. In short, this isn’t personal.

(I hate writing disclaimers, but later on, I’m glad they are there).

That being, said, let’s get on with it.

First of all, contrary to popular belief, fire is not that deadly in the US. I know that some people will never grasp this, but according to the CDC, only about 3,000 a year die in fires. Even firefighting doesn’t kill that many people as only 85 firefighters die per year.

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Fire-Prevention/fires-factsheet.html

While every life lost is a tragedy, it only makes sense to put our money and effort into areas where the most people can be saved.

I do think we should continue to fund our brave firefighters, perhaps increase their budgets, but while doing this, we can’t let our primal fear of fire blind us to greater risks.

Also, we must ask ourselves whether such a small number of deaths should cause us to completely lose our minds and totally redesign the way that millions of us live.

I’m not advocating for less safety, but with fire fighting consuming so much money, the fact is, 3000 people are still dying. At this point, it doesn’t seem like more money is the solution. We can’t save everyone. It’s sad, but the sooner we face this fact, the quicker we can start to make adult decisions.

The only way we’re going to save more people it to completely ban smoking and cooking as they account for most deaths. To go a bit further, we can do without electricity to eliminate electrical fires.

Seeing as a society, we can’t even get people to stop being proud of speeding, which kills more kids than drunk driving, we’re hard pressed to force people to eat raw meat and do without a good smoke once in a while.

I think it’s OK because I like a little risk, a little randomness in my life. I have to die of something, and I’m OK to die after someone had a decent meal or a good smoke.

What I’m really getting at is, if wide streets make people speed which kills people, and the streets have to be wide for fire trucks to fight fires where almost nobody dies of, we are we totally unconcerned about the 16 people who die in collisions for every fire victim?

Because they have bulky equipment which needs to be on bulky trucks. Right?
Fire Chief Paul Dextras said the city will benefit from using the QRVs because they are smaller and safer than regular firetrucks and they will save the city money over time.
I’m not so sure. We’ve been fighting fires for a long time. Plus, we are supposedly really intelligent and technical. It only makes sense that we could find a solution that could still save the same number of lives, cut costs, and reduce traffic collisions.

This might sound utopian, but I ask, if we can’t at least try to make the world a better place, why are we even here?

I propose that the city buy smaller fire trucks. I know that this will be seen as a bad idea by many especially firefighters, the good guys.

Billings, Montana tried to buy smaller trucks, and the Fire Chief agreed:

“Fire Chief Paul Dextras said the city will benefit from using the QRVs because they are smaller and safer than regular firetrucks and they will save the city money over time.”

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/government-and-politics/article_e9bb1a9a-46b0-11df-b8a9-001cc4c002e0.html#ixzz1QJ6pOIVg

That’s right, the Fire Chief said that smaller trucks were SAFER.

Then I looked to see how I could get my hands on one of these babies:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/118268508/Narrow_Field_Fire_Truck_Small_Fire.html

These trucks are actually pretty sexy.

Thus, the first step, towards truly livable streets, is to get the city to purchase smaller fire and rescue equipment. Only then can we change the childish laws that make every road, no matter how minor, completely out of proportion to the actual human beings who walk along it.

Narrower streets encourage people to get more exercise which helps with obesity.

People are happier when they have slower traffic, and they have less stress. Commute times will NOT increase; they might even go down.

Peace will reign on earth for a thousand years and a thousand flowers will bloom.

Surreality

June 24, 2011

Lately I have been watching Californication which I consider to be the best TV show ever because the male lead is not an asshole nor is he total pushover.

I do NOT consider him to be a role model in any way, but it is refreshing to see a male on TV who’s decisions I can relate to, someone who acts in a normal, sensible manner.

Perhaps since I was sick and watching so much TV, I have begun to feel that my life is more like a television show. Not because of what I do–I’ll always be a quiet, well mannered, nice guy–but because how I parse my experiences.

Last night, I saw the Uganda children’s choir which made me feel like I was at one of Portia’s charity events. Last weekend, in between being sick, I took a bicycle ride to find a nice cafe to write in.

These days I don’t write fiction anymore because I realized that, for me, it has a very low intrinsic reward. I started writing fiction to better deal with my own emotions.

These days, things are going well, so there’s no emotions to deal with. Well, there weren’t, but isn’t life a wonderful roller coaster of pain?

Anyway, with my muse back, I wanted to find a place to write.

During my ride, I rode down a street called Nile which I love. Other than being an amazing river in Africa which I long to see, someday, the Nile is the title of an early Pink Floyd song which is so rocking, it’s actually early metal.

Every time I ride down this street, I hear this song in my head. On the other hand, I always fear that since I don’t know the street, if I stay on it for too long, I’ll wind up at a dead end (NOT a cul-de-sac since few San Diegan streets have the canonical sac which makes a dead end a cul-de-sac). 🙂

This time there was no fear because I was joy cycling.

Guess what I found? Yes, a dead end, which actually was, in this case, a real, live cul-de-sac.

The park was empty save for the single family there (not the obligatory SUV). It was a dad playing with his children, which I love to see.

Nile Park

Actual cul-de-sac Nile Park

After I climbed that hill, I went searching for more dead ends.

Here’s a big drop off. I can’t recall where. Note there’s no point in riding down here unless you want to ride back up!

 

 

 

 

Of course, I did waste my time riding down the big hill as it reminded me for some reason of Cuerna Vaca, MX:

 

Pointless dropoff which looks like Cuera Vaca

Pointless dropoff which looks like Cuera Vaca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I followed Juniper heading West. Again, I thought it was a pointless dead end that I’d have to climb back out of:

 

Juniper Canyon West Bound

Juniper Canyon West Bound

 

But I was wrong. I was kind of happy to have found a new, but pointless because of the huge hill, way to get from City Heights to South Park:

Juniper Canyon East Bound

Juniper Canyon East Bound

This is the other side looking back. I was so happy to see so much green and so many canyons.

 

Overall, it’s been a great, but surreal week. I’m going to spend more time trying to appreciate what I have. I’d like to break the annoying habit of fault finding that I often have. It’s fun to complain, but usually it’s a waste of time.

Day of the Dead (Motorists)

June 23, 2011
Three modes co-existing

Three modes co-existing: Pedestrians, motorists, and shopping cart

I feel that I’ve been overly negative lately which goes against the entire stated purpose of this blog.

Also, I feel that while selfishness is great; we have to think about other people, too. Well, we don’t have to, but I do think that it can be healthy.

Therefore, while I love the ghost bike notion as well as the “Ride of Silence”, I feel that cyclists shouldn’t just be focused on their own world all the time.

Thus, I propose a new holiday which will help mourn, but also celebrate the lives of those motorists who’s lives have been cut short by motoring.

The idea is fuzzy at this point, but it’s a combination of Day of the Dead as well as the Ride of Silence, but it’s only for motorists who died while motoring.

Part of my inspiration is this.

I think that too often, the easy way out is to demonize the motorist, but I feel that they are people, too. I just wouldn’t want my sister to marry one. 🙂

I guess the point is that we are all motorists, and I’d like a day where we (cyclists and motorists) set aside our differences for one day.

If we do this, perhaps motorists can see us more as obstacles who want to take away their parking and create a draconian world where everyone has clean air to breath and there’s no obesity.

As part of the celebration I can see us riding our bicycles to the roadside memorials, leaving a single rose. Perhaps sweeping up or otherwise rehabilitating the road side markers.

Also, I feel we should have a prayer service for the deceased. I know that in our PC world, nobody will be able to agree on a standard prayer, but I feel that we should pray in the language of the victims.

While it is important for insurance agents and the like to determine why the person died, and who is at fault, on this one day, we won’t blame anyone.

Even if someone does something as insane and unthinkable like taking over a bike lane with no concern to cyclists then driving double the speed limit while in the bike lane, I don’t think we should judge.

For just one day.

To quote the good man R. King: “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Deschooling Advocacy

June 22, 2011
Camino De La Reina

I bet this looked great on paper.

I’m reading a brilliant, though long-winded and too angry, book called _Deschooling Society_ by Ivan Illich.

Many of the lessons from the book can be applied to bicycle advocacy.

For example:

“People who submit to the standard of others for the measure of their personal growth soon apply the rule to themselves…People who have been schooled down to size let unmeasured experience slip through their hands.”

Isn’t this exactly what is happening in advocacy? Many advocates obsess over numbers: crash statistics, this study and that study. They’ll study an issue to death instead of just implementing it.

I, on the other hand, agree with my friends who’s thesis suggests that a good road invites its users to bicycle. When they do, it’s a good experience.

Thus the only way of measuring a good road is to ride one’s bicycle on it.

But the schooled advocate has lost all trust of his own experience and judgement. He won’t invite others to ride with him because he’s too caught up in charts and graphs and tables and academic papers.

When there’s a lack of numbers on the subject, he’ll just say “no” instead of growing some and taking a risk.

Old age used to mean something because older people had more experience, but with the schooled advocate, it’s the opposite. They have no experience because instead of cycling and seeing what it’s like to ride on different infrastructure, he’s too busy driving to meeting where they endlessly pontificate on numbers and vehicle codes.

And when there’s no data to back up his point of view, he’ll make it up.

In fact, when you do mention experience;

“To them, what cannot be measured becomes secondary, theatening.”

Also, they are closed to new ideas:

“They do not have to be robbed of their creativity. Under instruction, they have unlearned to do their thing or to be themselves, and they value only what has been made or could be made [under current law].”

Ivan’s book has many more insights which apply to bicycle advocacy and how the school minded mentality shackles one’s intellect and makes intelligent decisions impossible.

Perhaps this is why there’s such a disconnect between the claims made on how San Diego’s roads, and how it feels to ride on them.

It certainly explains why people can feel that we “waste so much money on cycling” and yet the cyclists feel like they have the smelly end of the tail pipe.

I leave you with the seven steps to Southern California Cycling Infrastructure Mastery

1. Forget what you know.

2. Go outside.

3. Get on a bicycle.

4. NO! Do NOT strap a bicycle to your car–get on a bicycle where you are.

5. Ride (but not too fast).

6. Experience.

7. Now you’re an expert on cycling infrastructure.

Anti-buzz Law Elaborated

June 21, 2011

Not so surprisingly, there is actually opposition to the law that would make buzzing illegal.

That’s right, there are assholes out there who think that the law should chime in on harassing cyclists and to say that it’s OK.

Yes, I try to be positive, but if you harass someone smaller or weaker than you then you are an asshole and a bully. I still love, you, but hey, you suck. 🙂

Here are some organizations who oppose the three foot passing law:

Number one is the Quisling organization of CABO (California Association of Bicycling Organizations):

Here’s what they claim to want:

“…bicyclists are hemmed in by imprecise special laws that confuse motorists, police, courts, and bicyclists themselves as to their rights, responsibilities, and proper behavior. These inconsistencies pose a formidable obstacle to the encouragement and expansion of a socially advantageous mode of transportation. Nonetheless, bicycle issues have rarely been directly addressed in case law and have received meager attention in the legal literature.”

From their legal page just in case you think I’m taking them out of context.

This is the same Benedict Arnold that opposed research on bicycle boxes. Definitely a bunch of motorists first masquerading as cycle advocates.

Secondly is the quasi-government organization of the AAA. I say quasi-government because the government shares your private information with them. That is, if you get a license, don’t be surprised if you get junk mail from the AAA. I’m really not a lawyer, but I don’t think that any old organization can get a direct feed into a government database.

If someone knows more, please enlighten me. I’m super-curious on how they got my information. Not that I really care, too much about privacy, but I am a bit creeped out because I feel that this is unfair to other organizations who want to data mine the DMV. Imagine what we’d find!

‘AAA – The Automobile Club of Southern California and AAA Northern California oppose SB910, claiming the proposed law “replaces reasonableness and judgment with a fixed and arbitrary ‘safe distance’.” ‘

Which is so silly because I wonder how buzzing someone is reasonable and a safe judgment. In fact, I think that three feet is minimum.

Three feet is a small child. If you can imagine a small and very athletic child holding on to your handle bars and extending her little legs into traffic, if the bottom of their foot bumps the side mirror of the car, that’s three feet. For a huge truck, that’s really scary.

The problem is that there is no way to enforce this now which is why the law is created. I’m sure if there is an extreme imaginary case why someone really, really needs to buzz a cyclist, a court can take that into account.

‘AAA especially dislikes the 15 MPH passing provision, saying, “Drivers currently are not required to estimate the speed of other moving objects around them, and to precisely calculate their speed in relation to that moving object.” ‘

If these people were around when we discovered fire, we’d still be eating raw meat. No, we wouldn’t. We’d still be in trees because coming out of trees, hunting, and using fire to cook were not “currently around” when we first started to do them. 🙂

I am not a fan of the “broken window” theory, but in this case, tracking down drivers who drive erratically, including buzzing people can prevent other crimes:

“On 06/11/11 at 0127 hours Officer Jillard and Officer Cummings stopped a white Dodge Ram truck for driving erratically. When the officers tried to conduct standardized field sobriety tests the driver advised
the officers he had a loaded .45 caliber pistol in the car. The pistol and two canisters of bear repellent, yes, bear repellent were recovered from the truck. The driver was arrested for concealed carry of a loaded pistol and was given accommodations at San Diego County Jail.”

In San Diego, you can report erratic drivers, including those who buzz you (just say they are driving erratically, there are children in a car somewhere, and NEVER say you are riding a bicycle because they won’t come then).

Call the Non-Emergency Line: 619-531-2000 (memorize this)

California 3 Foot Passing Law (Warning: Boilerplate Post)

June 20, 2011

Below is a boilerplate email I got regarding this law. It’s important enough to repost unmodified. I’ll post my insightful comments in the future.

BEGIN BOILERPLATE POST

I’m writing to ask for your help on behalf of our 3-foot passing legislation.

Senate Bill 910, cosponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles, would require motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing from behind under most circumstances.

The California Senate approved SB 910 on June 1. On Monday, June 27, the bill will be up for a vote by the Assembly Transportation Committee. We need bicyclists like you to contact Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, the chair of the committee, by phone, email or fax to let her know why this bill is so important to the safety of all bicyclists on the road!

A file documenting all messages of support for SB 910 accompanies the bill as it moves through the legislative process. This information is read by legislators and their staff and helps make the case for the bill. Your voice definitely counts! The deadline for calling or sending a message is 5 PM Tuesday, June 21.

You can express your support for SB 910 by phone or by email or fax:

By phone

Call the Assembly Transportation Committee office at (916) 319-2093 with this message:

“My name is _________ and I’m from _________ and I’m calling to express my support for Senate Bill 910, which will be heard by the committee on June 27. SB 910 would help create safer road conditions for bicyclists in our area and help prevent the leading cause of bicyclist fatalities in California.”

Please make this call by 5 PM next Tuesday.

By email or fax

Copy and paste the sample letter below into an email message or onto your own letterhead, add your name and location, and email it to Assemblymember.Lowenthal@assembly.ca.gov or fax it to (916) 319-2154 by 5 PM next Tuesday. Please also send a copy to the SB 910 author, Sen. Alan Lowenthal (no relation to Bonnie), at Senator.Lowenthal@senate.ca.gov or (916) 327-9113.

IMPORTANT! If you or a family member have been involved in a collision or fall in California because a motor vehicle passed too close, briefly summarize the facts in your letter. The information is essential for showing why this law is needed.

I hope we can count on your support. Please contact Communications Director Jim Brown at jimbrown@calbike.org or (916) 446-7558 if you have questions or need more information.

Thanks!

PS: To learn more about SB 910 and tell the world what you’d do with more space on the road, visit our Give Me 3 campaign site.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

SAMPLE SUPPORT LETTER

June 16, 2011

Hon. Bonnie Lowenthal

Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee

State Capitol, Room 3152

Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: 916-319-2154

Re: SB 910 (Lowenthal) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Lowenthal,

I’m a bicyclist and I’m writing to express my support for Senate Bill 910, which will be heard by the Assembly Transportation Committee on June 27.

Bicyclists too often face dangerous conditions on California’s streets and roads due to motorists passing too closely. When this happens, the slightest error by the motorist or the most minor shift by the bicyclist to avoid trash, broken glass or rough pavement can lead to a collision. This type of collision is the leading cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the U.S.

By requiring motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing, SB 910 can help prevent deadly collisions and make more people feel comfortable about choosing to ride their bikes. The bill modifies existing state law that requires a motorist to maintain an unspecified “safe distance” when passing a bicyclist. The California Driver’s Handbook already recommends three feet of clearance when motorists pass bicyclists. Eighteen other states have enacted similar laws.

A specified passing distance provides a more objective and easily understood definition for “safe passing” and gives law enforcement and the courts a more objective basis for enforcing California’s safe passing requirement. Most importantly, it expresses a motorist’s special responsibility to share the road safely with more vulnerable road users like bicyclists.

I hope I can count on your support for SB 910.

Sincerely,

<>

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CC: Sen. Alan Lowenthal

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO WIN

Winning passage of SB 910 requires the support of everyone who cares about safer road conditions for bicyclists, including support for the staff resources needed to promote this bill before the Legislature.

Please consider making an online donation today to help us get this bill enacted.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA BICYCLE COALITION

The California Bicycle Coalition is a non-profit education and lobbying organization working to improve bicycling conditions throughout the State of California. CBC’s mission is to create safe, healthy and livable communities in California by promoting bicycling for transportation and recreation. Learn more about CBC.

END BOILERPLATE POST

Critical Hockey

June 17, 2011

Last night, I was talking to a friend about critical mass, that lovely monthly group ride, and about how the better the infrastructure of a city, the smaller the mass, and the whole pointlessness of it.

The pinnacle of this example, is of course, Copenhagen where they have no official critical mass, but in another respect, their much narrower streets manager to accommodate the amount of bicycles on every street that are only in one small area of San Diego.

This reminds me of the Nike commercials where they show other sports are criminalized. For example, tennis players had to hide their rackets when the police came around which just goes to demonstrate that the perception of crime, in sports, is caused by the class of people associated with the sport rather than the sport’s inherent danger to society such as this
Nike Ad.

Meanwhile, how many people think we should ban the true dangers to society like hockey who’s fans cause many more traffic jams than critical mass (each game) and even cause millions of dollars in damage in riots?

So whenever we talk about banning bicycles or critical mass, we should first ban all the other sports which cause more damage.

Now, I’m actually not proposing banning anything, just having a proportional response. I also wonder how awesome it would be to bicycle if we spent the same money for a stadium, the millions of dollars in road additions and improvements to get people to the games, and the excessive amount of money given to law enforcement for each game. We’d be living in a Copenhagen, and there would be no more critical mass. Also, there would be fewer auto accidents and less traffic for motorists.

This brings me to a really brilliant and bizarre rhetorical anti-cycling trick. When backed into a corner, someone who religiously supports motoring at all times even to an absurd point, will call any plans for bicycle improvements “utopian”.

In this regard, they have poisoned the well. Now the cyclist is totally discredited because all the benefits are seen as impossibly unrealistic like a utopia.

Well, I do live in a utopia now–thanks, princess–and I see tomorrow as being even better.