Archive for December, 2011

Questions for Orlando Data

December 28, 2011

http://www.metroplanorlando.com/files/view/bicyclist-crash-study.pdf

I have been trying to compare cycling fatalities across cities and states in the US and other countries.

I find that your data presentation is peculiar in that it’s difficult to determine the safety of various activities.

For example, if you look at NYC data or NC data, you will find that the data is much easier to compare across state lines.

For example, I’d like to see, over 10 year period, how many people were doored.

Also, I see that you have broken out data for “cyclists violations” incsome categories, but you combine some illegal activities such ascsidewalk riding with legal activities such as riding in a bike lane.

Why did you do this? Perhaps you should break out bike lanes and sidewalk riding into separate categories.

Also, places like NYC separate out collisions with serious injuries.
In hazard analysis, serious injuries are much more important than those particular collisions which cause no injury. Can you please look  into this?

Anyway, I appreciate the good work you are doing in Orlando.

Thank-you for the data.

In my continued search to look at data, I have found some from Orlando, the most dangerous city in the US for cycling.

The data was very strange, but I did notice that 76%  of accidents were NOT on a sidewalk or bike lane. Despite this, the paper takes an anti-infrastructural approach.

Also, the door zone was my original goal, and I found that in this paper, ZERO, that’s right ZERO fatalities from dooring.

Yet none of the analysis seemed to indicate that riding in the door zone was safe. This is in line with the tone of the paper which was to pin the blame of cycling accidents on cyclists, only, and to absolve the city and motorists, for the most part.

This is probably due to the “just world fallacy” where people try to convince themselves that they are different from victims and the victims did something wrong. This serves to protect one’s ego from realizing how vulnerable they are.

Overall, the paper seemed to be written by someone who needed constant assurance that cycling was safe, and it spent most of the time assiging blame to cyclists instead of presenting the data in a way that was comparable to other cities.

I _am_ interested in what one can do to ride safer, but I found the notions that wearing neon made you safe to be laughable especially when there was ZERO data to back this belief up. Contrast this to other cities that sticks to data and analysis and leaves speculation to the uncycling thinkers. 🙂

Below is my letter.

I have been trying to compare cycling fatalities across cities and states in the US and other countries.

I find that your data presentation is peculiar in that it’s difficult to determine the safety of various activities.

For example, if you look at NYC data or NC data, you will find that the data is much easier to compare across state lines.

For example, I’d like to see, over 10 year period, how many people were doored.

Also, I see that you have broken out data for “cyclists violations” incsome categories, but you combine some illegal activities such ascsidewalk riding with legal activities such as riding in a bike lane.

Why did you do this? Perhaps you should break out bike lanes and sidewalk riding into separate categories.

Also, places like NYC separate out collisions with serious injuries.
In hazard analysis, serious injuries are much more important than those particular collisions which cause no injury. Can you please look  into this?

Anyway, I appreciate the good work you are doing in Orlando.

Thank-you for the data.

I have been trying to compare cycling fatalities across cities and states in the US and other countries.

I find that your data presentation is peculiar in that it’s difficult to determine the safety of various activities.

For example, if you look at NYC data or NC data, you will find that the data is much easier to compare across state lines.

For example, I’d like to see, over 10 year period, how many people were doored.

Also, I see that you have broken out data for “cyclists violations” incsome categories, but you combine some illegal activities such ascsidewalk riding with legal activities such as riding in a bike lane.

Why did you do this? Perhaps you should break out bike lanes and sidewalk riding into separate categories.

Also, places like NYC separate out collisions with serious injuries.
In hazard analysis, serious injuries are much more important than those particular collisions which cause no injury. Can you please look  into this?

Anyway, I appreciate the good work you are doing in Orlando.

Thank-you for the data.

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Cyclist Rights

December 28, 2011

I’d like to take back the term “rights” regarding cycling.

Often, we hear that “if we build infrastructure” cyclists will lose their “rights to the road due to motorist’s perceptions”.

I do agree with rights to the road, but not in the same way.

Thus, there are rights and there are rights to the road.

Let’s look at some concrete examples.

If some group has the right to go to college, but they fear that if they actually excercise this right, they will be killed.

Do they really have a right?

Many (callous) people would say “yes” because there’s nothing inherently stopping the person from going.

I say, “no”, we must do more to protect them especially when they are dying at two to three times the norm.

Similary, with 1% of mode share in the US, cyclists typically face 2% death rates which is small, but it’s double that of the “norm”.

Here are my ideas for rights to cycle:

1. Right to wear whatever I want without judgement. We don’t anyone else’s death into a fashion show. Thus, we need stop saying, “he wasn’t wearing bright colors.” Thus, my right to ride includes my right to wear black.

2. Right to be incompetent. In some places, cycling is a two minute class. Here it is apparantly a 15 hour lecture and hours of practice. I want the roads to be like an iPhone like they are in other places and not like a blinking dos prompt like they are now.

3. Right to be lazy. I want to be able to jump on my bike and get somewhere by navigating signs. I don’t want to need a map, compass, and a secret decoder ring. I should be able to ask directions to a normal person without stopping them every 30 seconds with, “but it’s illegal for me to get on the freeway.” After this, literally, they stop helping me because they don’t know how to get around otherwise.

4. Right not to be afraid. Ever. I should be taken care of.

5. Right to not be a mechanic. In other places, there are bike shops and bus stops everywhere. Here due to zoning, I have to literally walk for miles if I get a flat. This isn’t right!

6. Right to converse. I need it to be quiet enough for me to hear my wife. Also, I need some protected lanes so we can ride side by side. All motorists have this right, why don’t I?

Thus, while some see rights to the road as an abstract thing in motorist’s and police officer’s minds, I see it as a real, tangible reality.

For me, the “right to control the lane” is meaningless.

If one is going to fight for my “right to the road” they should consider that rights are not one thing, but they are many things.

Overall, the way to judge whether we have rights is to see if we have the same level of protection, comfort, and lack of thought that the govenrment currently gives to motorists.

Nobody but a daredevil wants empty rights.

Door Zone (and Other NYC Safety Data)

December 27, 2011

If you google for “door zone United States fatality statistics”, there is little data which is itemized for this hazard.

Mostly,  you see things like this:

The Door Prize: Cyclists killed by dooring:

http://bicyclesafe.com/doorprize.html

You will notice that this has very few deaths, and many of them are dated.

Despite the paucity of deaths and the venerableness of the data, this is given as evidence that one should avoid the door zone.

I searched and searched for more data. Here’s one piece:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&ved=0CHMQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fdot%2Fdownloads%2Fpdf%2Fbicyclefatalities.pdf&ei=74H6Ts7UN8b0sQKv5oC_AQ&usg=AFQjCNFFbYnqh05Qz1-6w5xTeryiiMxAMQ&sig2=Hnyp5OCBrjwOnUu33RaEBw

Here are some juicy bits:

“Between 1996 and 2003, a total of 3,462 NYC bicyclists were seriously injured in crashes with motor vehicles.”

“Between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists died in crashes. Bicyclist deaths remained steady during the 10-year period.”

Keep your eye on the latter number because there’s much more.

“Nearly all bicyclist fatalities (92%) occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles.”

“Only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bicycle lane.”

Thus, 99.6% of all bicycle accidents occured OUTSIDE of a bike lane.

“A total of 7 fatal crashes occurred as a result of a bicyclist hitting a motor vehicle door or trying to avoid one. Four occurred in Manhattan and 3 in Brooklyn.”

Thus, 96.8% of the people who died in NYC were NOT in the door zone.

I submit that a 3% chance of death is absurdly small, and there is no shame, and little danger in riding in the door zone.

I’ll do more data analysis another day.

Five Lies Your Quisling “Advocate” Told You

December 27, 2011

I am limiting myself to five because I’m a busy guy. I might address more later.

1. “People want infrastructure because it enhances safety.”

I’m so sick of hearing this.

Yes, infrastructure is much safer than “taking the lane” on a cloverleaf interchange. We know this from data, from experience, and from common sense.

However, other reasons that are given for wanting infrastructure are totally ignored because Quislings know that if they address them, they will lose the argument.

Our desire for infrastructure is due to desire for comfort and for good manners.

Let’s look at comfort. Nobody argues we should give up indoor plumbing and indoor heating. But I can teach a class on how you can live without it. I know a mental game you can play so it’s AWESOME to live outdoors with the bears. But I don’t do that because it’s retarded to give up our material comforts.

Those of us who have enjoyed the material comfort of cycle tracks know that this is our opinion, only. It’s like toppings for a pizza. There’s no right answer.

You can probably figure out the healthiest toppings for a pizza, but I want anchovies. I’ll take the nitrates and mercury, thank-you.

Also, due to manner because we feel that a single cyclist holding up traffic is bad manners. We all have differing views on manners and will never 100% agree. So again, this argument can not be defeated because it’s a personal opinion.

My opinion happens to be held by the vast majority of motorists and cyclists.

So if someone brings up the nonsense above, kindly cut n’ paste this argument ad nauseum. Then move on with your day.

This topic over and done, and I don’t EVER want to hear this canard again.

2. “VC cycling is the ONLY safe way to ride a bicycle.”

VC cycling is highly arrogant, stupid, and dangerous. I NEVER see anyone riding vesicularly in almost 15 years of cycling.

I am actually on the look-out for people riding like this in the wild. I’d like to take photos of it and hang it in a gallery like a zoo of strange human behavior.

3. “If you are for infrastructure or you oppose VC then you don’t know how to ride a bicycle.”

I have challenged many VC cyclists to come to San Diego and to show me how my commute would be AWESOME if I rode vehicularly.

Particularly, I’d like to sit down on Fairmount and have a picnic and let them show me now that we have a LOUD road with no alternatives, things are great.

Thanks to all those of you who fought against the bicycle by-pass that would have made my commute safer, more fun, and quieter.

The funny thing is that during this picnic, if you live to get there, I won’t be able to hear all your brilliant arguments. This is because the road is too loud.

Loud noises and noxious smells are some of the few stimuli that humans will NEVER acclimate to. They will always be annoying.

4. “Research shows that bike infrastructure is inherently unsafe. It can NEVER be made safe.”

Really? I have never seen this research. I have seen research on the racist “segregated cycling” Wikipedia page which says the opposite of the quotation.

One of my New Year’s goals is to join the page and set things right! 🙂

I don’t have time to get into all the details, but the upshot is that there are no massive fatalities in places like Portland, Longbeach, NYC, Copenhagen, and many other cities which built infrastructure.

Thus, I’m not asserting that infrastructure need to be safe to be built (even though it is safe). I just feel that it must be shown to not be any more dangerous than what we have built all ready. Currently, our traffic safety on roads which follow the law, for cyclists who follow the law, is bad. That is a fact.

Finally, the whole notion that American engineers can not build bike lanes safely is insulting to engineers, cyclists, and Americans in general. They did it elsewhere, and they can do it here. Make safe, fun, and comfortable infrastructure.

5. “Cycling infrastructure is “illegal” because it’s not in the vehicle code. Building infrastructure opens a city up to liability risk.”

First of all, the vehicle code is a book of guidelines not some iron rule which we must all obey.

The actual law says that road design is in the engineer’s discretion.

Further more, the vehicle code is constantly evolving. It wasn’t given to us by Moses from on high.

Engineers like to innovate. This innovation has given us all the mechanical and electrical things that we enjoy. Allowing them to innovate on the roads have given us freeways and stop signs. We didn’t always have any of these things.

In the future, we are going to look back and everything going to look barbaric and primitive. The only question is how FAST innovation goes.

There have been a few court cases where cities have been sued for liability for infrastructure that has killed people. They have been tossed out of court. Thus, there’s a legal precedent protecting cycling infrastructure.

Finally, there has been at least one lawsuit by a family who’s family member died because they did NOT build infrastructure.

So in terms of legal liability NOT building things is actually more risky than building things.

In summary, I’m sick of reading the same garbage ad nauseum.

I know that this is mainly my fault for caring to read about cycling online at all. But overall, I do this out of love and as a public service to correct the lies that have been sputtering around the Internet since its inception.

Please stop.

Analysis of a Bad Case Study: Road safety and perceived risk of cycle facilities in Copenhagen

December 23, 2011

John–are they ALL named John? :)–recently pointed out a
study.

“If the figures for the road sections are combined with those for the junctions, an increase of 9-10% in accidents and injuries has taken place.”

This is actually an effect I’d expect if someone started something new.

Before 1869, there were no motoring accidents. They increased as more people started driving.

Similarly, if more people bicycle, more people are going to get hurt.

Thus, it’s idiotic to look at absolute increases in cycling accidents if we don’t know the increase in mode share.

Fortunately, they finally give it which is 18-20% increase.

I don’t have the absolute numbers, but if I increase a large number and increase a small number, the relative risk should go down.

But this study compares absolute risk only, and never gives relative risk.

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.

I really smelled the fish, when they said that there was an 18% increase in female cycling accidents, but only a 1% increase in male cycling accidents. But there are all ready many more accidents for male cyclists than female ones. Thus in an absolute sense, there could actually be more males getting injured, but in a percent basis, this will look like less. Again with no raw data, one can’t really say anything here.

Next the study admits that there is a large increase in safety for elderly cyclists and elderly motorists. Combining those two groups is bizarre, but there’s one thing they have in common. Elederly and children take the least risks, and they are the most vulerable groups.

Thus, cycle tracks protect our most vulnerable groups. By how much? The study is silent on this, but it’s a lot. Thus, we might say that we have slightly more accidents in teen girls, but not more in any other category.

We don’t know how many more women ride, but from other studies, we know that women are the bell weather species of cyclists. That is, things are only good for cycling when women say so. I can think of a lot of other things that follow this rule. 🙂

The study didn’t follow normal engineering standards, but rather it combined all injuries together which is stupid because I don’t mind trading a fatality for a few skinned knees.

Also, the study is mind numbing in its detail in other areas that don’t matter.

A 2000% increase is meaningless when there’s a small risk of a minor problem.

Also, many of the problems the study pointed out are currently being mitigated or have been fixed which is why this type of study, when done well, can be very useful.

“It should be noticed that blue cycle crossings, retracted stop lines for cars and pre- green lights for cyclists have been used in only very few places on those streets where cycle tracks have been constructed in Copenhagen in the studied after periods. More extended use of these safety measures would very probably have improved road safety.”

Great quote, but you will see uses of this study, out of context, ignoring the fact that in places like Copenhagen, safety through design is increasing daily, used against infrstructure.

“Taken in combination, the cycle tracks and lanes which have been constructed have had positive results as far as traffic volumes and feelings of security go. They have however, had negative effects on road safety.”

Again, “safety” is a vague term. If there were more fatalities and serious injuries in a _relative_ sense then this would be true, but I don’t have enough data to tell.

“Taken in combination, the cycle tracks and lanes which have been constructed have had positive results as far as traffic volumes and feelings of security go. They have however, had negative effects on road safety. The radical effects on traffic volumes resulting from the construction of cycle tracks will undoubtedly result in gains in health from increased physical activity. These gains are much, much greater than the losses in health resulting from a slight decline in road safety.”

This is a nice conclusion which I’d like to agree with but what’s a much, much greater health gain? How is that measured?

Overall, this was a terrible study with so much useless data and not enough good information.

However, it did suggest safety improvements so it wasn’t a total wash.

Bike Summit: Cycling For Sale

December 23, 2011

Here’s some more news from the Complete Streets meeting.

We were last seen talking about the challenge of making room for cycling on streets.

Someone noted that the last thing one wanted to do was to remove on street parking.

Personally, I hate to look at things through this lens of a “loss” of parking, but rather to think in terms of what we are gaining.

Someone suggested that other cities should emulated Fresno and to hire an official sales expert to sell cycling and road diets. Of course, I feel that’s totally brilliant.

Also, we spoke of the usual notion of asking for more than we think we’ll actually get rather than starting with what we think that they will think is “fair” then backing away.

We also talked about the three speed limits: the one designed for, the one posted, and what people actually drive.

Then we talked about that not only are engineers free of the chains of following the “law and code” in design manuals, but they have the RESPONSIBILITY to follow their own judgment.

Then they spoke of the “Green Hierarchy” of road design where we prioritize for the most vulnerable vehicles. Brilliant.

Also, since most city streets are free–save for a few toll roads–trying to create a congestion free street is a fool’s errand. Free things tend to be taken up, freely and road space is no exception.

Another good quote was we should start planning from the “outside in rather than inside out.” This means that we should prioritize non-motorized vehicles then finally ask what space is left for automobiles rather than making a lot of travel lanes for cars then try to squeeze transit, pedestrians, and cycling on the fringes of roads and wonder why we don’t have any space.

Another excellent quote is that “We you are successful at determining the mission, engineers are problem solvers.”

We shouldn’t say a problem can’t be solved by engineers and give up. We should clearly define the problem then give it to engineers to chew on.

Overall, there were a lot of really inspiration and brilliant things that were said. Everything they said had resonance for me and was totally the opposite of advocates from San Diego were saying.

Thus, I feel that local advocates here are either totally ignorant of how the government, laws, and engineering work or they are completely lying about things.

There’s far more hope for cycling in California than I had ever imagined.

Concerned About Concerns

December 22, 2011

This is another nonsensical debate in the swirl of endless argument over things that have been resolved for decades in more civilized parts of the world.

Instead of doing experiments and looking at data, we are concerned.

How very generous of you.

Well, one thing my princess loves about me is that though I have trained myself to have a facade of a nice person and to not argue with everyone over everyone–though I am silently judging you, yes you! :)–I do love to argue.

While she gets worn out and sick of it, I can keep going–not with her, though, we never argue–ad museum until my heart gives out.

Thus, I’ll rehash this hot mess again!

“One-way cycle tracks trade the perception of increased safety between intersections, for a documented increase in bicycle-involved collisions at intersections due to through-right conflicts”

Note the false duality right off the bat? We can either REALLY be safe or have a PERCEPTION of safety. Notice that our perceptions are often completely wrong.

I have found, in my life, that this is usually not correct. When I feel safe, I usually am. When I feel like I am in danger, I know it.

I have had a queasy feeling right before each bicycle collision, mugging, and bar room fight. (Just kidding about the last one). 🙂

The only exception to this is statistically speaking. But these stats are really, really long shots. For example, the difference between flying and driving. Scratch that, I’m actually more afraid when I drive, and guess what? I’m right on that one, too.

Yes, sometimes ghettos are safe and people get shot by their loved ones in their “safe” feeling home.

But overall, we can feel safe and be safe all at the same time.

“Without intersection priority for bicyclists — either a bike-only signal phase or a bicycle head-start phase — combined with restriction of right-turn-on-red, there is no way to remove this hazard from cycle-track designs.”

Wrong!

There’s nothing magical about a cycle track that increases intersection risk. This is total nonsense.

Someone who pays attention while riding on an unsafe road with no infrastructure will NOT suddenly stop paying attention when there’s a cycle track.

When I rode in cycle tracks, I always looked over my shoulder for the right hook.

The only difference is that nobody tried to do it in Denmark.

Contrast here with NO infrastructure, I have near misses all the time.

Also, the traffic light adjustments are part of infrastructure. So you can’t say that infrastructure is unsafe then point out light design or something else and say we need this otherwise your design is unsafe.

No, the design is one piece which IS safer. John knows that and he’s just playing word games because he hates infrastructure.

Note I’m skipping a lot of this because there’s too much to cover. If you think I missed something big, I’ll argue that later.

“A sidewalk-level bicycle facility, whether 1-way or 2-way, will generate frequent driveway conflicts”

No! No! No!

I “take the lane” each day because of three big conflicts with driveways.

There is no bike infrastructure.

Adding paint and some cycle tracks would make the situation BETTER not worse.

Remember John is going to make up an imaginary situation with a retarded person designing the fixes. This is an insult to American traffic engineers. They will do a good job of mitigating any potential problems.

If they don’t get it totally perfect the first time, we’ll run HAT analysis on it, and 2.0 will be better.

Today I saw wreckage of a CAR accident at this dangerous driveway. John, what magic did the engineers do when they failed to provide anything for bicycles to make this safe?

They didn’t.

There are thousands of dangerous intersections in the US right now. They are all within code and blah, blah, blah. Yet we lose 3000 people a month due to these legal and non-cycling oriented designs.

“Cycle tracks do not allow cyclists to properly prepare for vehicular-style left turns at intersections”

“Vehicular style left turns” are idiotic and dangerous and ought to be discouraged.

“In the Netherlands, such turns are prohibited for bicyclists; a bicycle-specific signal phase enables bicyclists to turn left from the right side without motor vehicle conflicts. This greatly increases total signal cycle time and consequently average delay for all users.”

No! I was not in the Netherlands, but in car oriented Southern Californian, lights take way longer than in cycling Denmark.

In Philly and other big cities which are not totally car oriented, lights take less time.

The more car oriented you make a place, the bigger the intersections and the longer the signals because of left arrows, etc.

So this is totally false.

6. “Urban cycle tracks that run behind busy bus stops have high incidences of pedestrian-bicycle conflicts and collisions.”

No they don’t.

7. “If the vehicular part of the street is not narrowed, including potential removal of on-street vehicle parking, adding cycle tracks in the sidewalk area takes away width for walking and other uses such as trees, seating, and cafés.”

Yes, infrastructure for cycling takes up space. Wow, what a genius.

Quick, John, what’s the biggest public space right now?

The answer is vehicular traffic and parking. If you want to advocate for that then come out of the closet. Otherwise, stop pretending to be a cycling advocate.

I care about motorists, too, but not in such a bull headed way. I want to give them transportation options, to keep up good traffic throughput, and to make their trips safer. Cycle tracks accomplish all those goals.

Most motorists do NOT like parallel parking. They park parallel only when they feel there are no other options. The fact is there is a glut of parking in all major cities.

Again, such a nonsensical argument suggests that we only care about suppressing infrastructure.

“8. Perhaps most importantly, because of the limited width available in any streetscape cross section, I fear that many agencies would remove on-street bicycle travel width (bike lanes or shareably-wide outside lanes) if sidewalk-level (“cycle track”) facilities were installed. Do you want to see narrow outside lanes on the streets you now ride?”

Yes, I do.

You fear many agencies and a lot of other things.

I fear that such nonsensical ideas have been taken seriously for far too long.

I don’t know where you live, but Denmark is an OLD country with some narrow streets. They accommodated bicycles in many cities if not all.

How come in more modern places, we can not do the same?

It’s all a matter of priorities.

It’s not up to the advocate to find “concerns” or other reason NOT ot do things. That’s for other people to say.

It’s up to advocates to push for things, politicians and other motorists to resist, engineers to worry about the technical ptoblems, and to lawyers, only, to worry about liability issues.

If you are coming up with nonsensical reasons why we can’t do good cycling design, you are not a cycling advocate nor a decent engineer.

Things will be designed differently everywhere just as freeways have been adapted to each country.

“Many cycle track advocates assert that they are the only way the U.S. can hope to achieve northern-European bike mode shares, or even double-digit mode shares…”

No. I have not heard a single advocate say this.

I enjoyed riding on cycle tracks, and I am very much in favor of seeing more of them in San Diego. However, it’s not up to me what to put where. Again, that’s up to the engineers to decide.

I do know, however, that there are no good objections to them in many place, but still there’s this annoying yammering about them due to people’s insane fears of anything new or from Europe.

“Denmark’s own roads agency has published a report, which I can send you, that ranks the effectiveness of various engineering, education, enforcement and encouragement measures in increasing bicycle mode share. Car parking restrictions and fuel pricing (i.e. making motoring less convenient) ranked higher than cycle tracks.”

I am in favor of all of these, but it seems that Quisling advocates oppose any extra regulation of motoring even when it has been proven to save lives and to promote cycling.

I have noticed that one of the myriad of tricks that Quisling advocates have pulled is “divide and conquer”. This means that they take all the pieces from a comprehensive program and they point out that they will not be as effective if the entire program is not implemented.

For example, they argue that new infrastructure will be hard to use because we are not educated. Then they argue against education of new how to use the infrastructure because it’s not safe because people aren’t educated.

Then they argue against the entire program on legalistic or procedural grounds.

To summarize, Quisling advocates are racers who are highly uneducated about cycling infrastructure.

They spread misinformation masked as “concerns” regarding it because they hate dedicated cycing infrastructure.

There are many reasons for this including brand loyalty. If cycling infrastructure becomes mainstream then their “style” of riding will be obsolete.

Many are racers who like to ride in traffic because it gives them a rush. Others sincerely believe, due to misrepresentation of studies such as Ken Cross’s, that infrastructure is dangerous.

The are totally immune to learning new things due to the sunk cost fallacy as well as confirmation biases.

Arguging with them is totally pointless, but can be a lot of fun if you don’t have much else going on in your life.

A Crash Report You’ll Never See

December 20, 2011

I decided to make up an imaginary crash report because I’m sick of the double standard in the media.

Note that this is NOT real, and I pray, everyday, almost continuously, actually for the good will, success in life, and health of nearly every motorist that passes me on the street. Details are in prior blog posts.

Here we go:

This just in, a Nissan 350Z rolled over and crushed its occupants. Mr. and Mrs. Unbound were crushed shortly after getting rear ended by a Greyhound.

They were not wearing helmets nor were they wearing any bright flourescent colors. I’m not saying they _deserved_ to die due to their dress code, but the SUV was black which is obviously harder to see.
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Thus, their death was in some way a tragedy of the father of four, Mr. Chabot, who had never been in an accident before.

“They just came out of nowhere,” he said. “I was driving down the freeway one moment then the next, they were in the way!”

Crash analysis shows that the deceased had probably been driving the speed limit, however, many are quoted as saying that the median speed was much higher.

“You’d have to be insane to drive the speed limit on that road,” said one anonymous person.

A crash expert noted that less than 1% of people who died in traffic accidents were wearing helmets.

“Car helmets really save lives,” he said. “If they had been wearing helmets, they might be with their family today.”

Furthermore, it’s known that the 350Z is the most dangerous vehicle in its class..

“You would have to be crazy to take your life in your own hands. You have a 35x higher chance at dying.”

“(In a thirty-five m.p.h. crash test, for instance, the driver of a Cadillac Escalade—the G.M. counterpart to the Lincoln Navigator—has a sixteen-per-cent chance of a life-threatening head injury, a twenty-per-cent chance of a life-threatening chest injury, and a thirty-five-per-cent chance of a leg injury. The same numbers in a Ford Windstar minivan—a vehicle engineered from the ground up, as opposed to simply being bolted onto a pickup-truck frame—are, respectively, two per cent, four per cent, and one per cent. ) ”

http://www.lilith-ezine.com/articles/automotive/SUVs-Are-Dangerous.html

Others have noted that they feel that while they are sad the couple is dead, SUV owners tend to be smug.

“According to Bradsher, internal industry market research concluded that S.U.V.s tend to be bought by people who are insecure, vain, self-centered, and self-absorbed, who are frequently nervous about their marriages, and who lack confidence in their driving skills.”

One of the biggest contributing factors to the couple’s death besides the poor vehicle choice, lack of bright colors, lack of helmet was the relatively small size of the vehicle.

“Let’s face it, the roads are dangerous,” said one expert. “If you drive a small vehicle like an SUV, you are taking your life into your own hands because you will not fare well if you get hit by a bus or semi.”

Another noted, “The couple could have taken the Greyhound and they would be alive. Instead they took the risk and jumped in a smaller vehicle and paid the price.”

Nobody is saying that it’s their fault, but logic states when two vehicles collide, the bigger one wins. Thus, they should have been in the bigger vehicle. This is not a value just a law of physics.

Some say that road safety standards should be higher, but the government disagrees.

One source said, “The roads are for big trucks and buses. Sure tiny SUVs can ‘share the road’, but we aren’t liable if they get hurt.”

Repair Notes: Crank Arm Extractor

December 20, 2011
Front Cassette Extracted

Front Cassette Extracted

Longtime readers know that I had previously had been fixing my bicycle.

I am happy to announce that it’s almost (that’s right almost) done!

I have only to tune the gears which is something that I have a lot of (painful) practice with.

Last night, it was the icing on the cake.

I finally got my crank arm extractor tool. I got the good one, but it still only cost $17 which is well worth having a tool I’ll use over and over again.

Using it was easy. Just take off the outer nut with a hextool. Note that I needed to use a hammer on this. Thankfully, this and the rest of the job followed the usual counter-clockwise pattern.

One I banged this open, I screwed in the crank arm extractor. Again, I needed to use a hammer. The directions try to scare you because they say that if you don’t get it 100% screwed in, you will damage threads. This was not true for me. I could not bang it in all the way so I just gave up and moved on.

The next step has us screw in the smaller inner nut on crank arm extractor. This needed a hammer as well. I failed before because I failed to realize that more force is OK.

Finally, the crank arm just came off. What a blessed relief.

Getting the other one on was easy. However, my front derailler was improperly installed. Intead of fixing it like I should have, I got princess to held jimmy it into place.

Finally, I took changed my pedal which was easy.

The next day when I went to ride, I realized a few things.

First was that pedals are supposed to be 180 degrees apart by mine were more like 30 degrees. The crank arm will go on all wrong if you are dumb enough, like me, to do so.

It was funny almost falling off my bike because I could not pedal.

So I had a rushed mess the next morning. Fortunately, I knew how to do all this so it was easy.

When I got things hooked up, I realized that my derailler was getting damaged because it was too long. I should not have jimmied things last night. So I raised this which was easy, too, just a hex nut.

Finally, I had it all together.

With no time to tune derailler, I still have second gear only, but it’s much, much faster with the new, strong teeth of the front (and back) cassettes!

I’m so happy.

Great Risk to the (cycling) Environment is Environmentlists?

December 16, 2011

Sometimes, cyclists are accused of being environmentalists which is usually not really true.

That is, most environmentalists don’t really think of cycling as a “practical” choice for their cause.

To me this is hilarious for many reasons outlined before, but the main one being that, with the wealth of Midas, we don’t live in Soviet Russia. That is, if you can afford to have a car, you can afford not to.

But why is it that we believe, so badly, that we do need to own cars?

One of the biggest reason is the American dream, owning one’s own home.

Not only is it important to have a place of one’s own, but one needs to have a place that’s a minature country estate.

The funny thing about living in the country, in contrast to city living, is that the more people who move there, the more the country sucks. In fact, the more people who move there, the less of the country it is and the more like suburbs.

In order to preserve this awesome “country living” (snore), people have taken drastic measures to preserving their isolation.

One of them has been pointed out in the excellent book, _Reluctant Metropolis_ by William Fulton.

In it, Fulton talks about how LA (and other places) sprawl is caused, in part, by people wanting all to live out in the country. As silly as it is, as LA is NOT the country in most places, people are STILL trying to preserve their way of life.

So it is there, it is in San Diego county.

That is why this story angered me so much.

It’s not that I don’t like people to live out where they want to live, but part of this whole thing is for people who have chosen to live out in the country to keep it that way under the guise of “environmentalism”.

This is pure twaddle because if an area does NOT urbanize then you here the lame-ass excuse that “things are too far for me to bike”, “biking is dangerous”, and “biking is not practical.”

All of this really means is that the powers that be made things that way.

Now instead of fighting this, and focusing on cycling and city living, both of which have a smaller footprint on the environment, we are instead wasting time protecting the property values of people who spent too much for their homes.

That’s right, some of this so-called environmentalism is just a way for people to keep their own personal environment pristine while living a life which exports their damage to other parts of the world.

I have a big stake in this because as a decade long resident of Philadelphia, I was well aware of the parasitic attitude suburbanites have of the city. They love to brag about how they are from this really big city, but in reality they never go there. Most wealthy suburbs are the products of successful cities which ought to be glorified as the antecedents to _civilization_ but instead problems such as homeless and stadiums are relegated to the city while the suburbanites try to hold back the tax money they have produced in a large part by the city that they scorn.

It gets worse. From the article:

“John Weil, chief of staff for County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, said Friday that the acreage is quality habitat worth exploring as mitigation land that developers could buy in exchange for destroying nature elsewhere.”

So they aren’t even going to preserve the environment, but rather use the land to mitigate guilt as well as legal requirements for other developments! Ug, this just makes me want to scream!

I’m actually not against preserving green spaces nor to I hate the environment.

I just hate it when people aren’t totally honest with their intentions.

If you want your area to look natural and beautiful, I am in favor of this.

However, I really hate to see the notion of actually realizing the Earth, like everything else, has a carrying capacity and that resources are limited conflated with making a home in nature.

Living in nature is the anti-thesis of environmentalism.

If you care for nature, live in a small apartment on weekends and commute by bicycle. You can take public transportation out to the nature you preserved by not building a house on it.