Archive for February, 2013

Paying Our Way

February 28, 2013

The whole notion that motorists pay their own way is a lie.

This law is based on nonsense.

If motorists had to pay their own way, here are some other ideas to make things more “fair”.

1. No free parking. Anywhere. Motorists either buy spots or they pay market price for their space.

2. All houses along the freeway routes get yearly payouts for noise and air pollution they suffer.

3. Asthma sufferers get payouts that are subsidized by increased taxes on motorists.

4. Motorists are taxed for all the non-motoring deaths that they cause. This money goes into a general fund which pays a life insurance policy for all those non-motorists that they main or kill to their families for their market value (annual salary) until 65 to the families. Note there are thousands of families each year that are terrorized by motorists whom currently get off the hook.

5. New cars must have doors that go up (to avoid dooring) and air bags on the outside in order to protect those they may “accidentally” maim or kill.

6. The gas tax is raised until it pays for 100% of all the roads where pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to go on.

7. Calculations are run by how much motorists have stolen from the general fund for the last 50 years and annual registrations fees are increased to pay back what they owe.

If we make things truly fair, then motor vehicles will be the toys of the very rich just like they were before the MASSIVE public subsidies.

Let’s get real when we discuss these things. Cyclists contribute a lot to society, but due to the bully attitude, we ALWAYS go unacknowledged.

Lets’ stand up for honesty in this discussion instead of buying into the maliciously bad accounting behind this law.

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Malicious Anti-Cycling Laws or Cycling Bullying Part II

February 26, 2013

A hearty thanks to one of my blog post generators BikingInLA:

http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/

Previously, I looked into possible causes of cycling bullying:

https://cyclingunbound.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/cycling-bullying-possible-motivations/

Also, I have mentioned the notion of malicious compliance which is the idea of someone following the letter of the law to the point of absurdity in order to punish someone. The example was given was for Sandag and Caltrans bragging that they were “within the standards” even though, if they cared to perform a basic walk through along the side of the road, they’d notice that the roads totally suck for cycling and pedestrians.

Now, I’m combining it all together to mention some more ways that motorists, usually in their sick revenge fantasies, will try to punish cyclists. Often the punishment comes in the form of “fairness” or “safety”. Though at this point, it’s getting to where they just want to appease motorists.

Giving in to this is a form of revenge which in my mind is due to the extreme bullying mentality that some motorists have towards to the more vulerable and less fortuante. Thus, these people should be ashamed of their vindictive and selfish behavior.

The first example, is the old saw, registering bicycles. In San Diego and other parts of the US, this useless law was never enforced. The main purpose was to stop bicycle theft which if you know the attitude that our law enforcement comes to bicycles is laughable. The other reason is that they could catch the cyclists, if they commited a crime. I can’t imagine a crime in which police on cars, helicopters, and even bicycles or god forbid, foot, could a police officer not catch up with an offending cyclist. In fact, if this is a great concern, it would make suspect the whole notion of motoring as it is the perfect get away car. In fact, that’s why they call it a “get away CAR”.

I’m not advocating banning cars, but I’m just saying that this idea does not add up.

The second idea is for cyclists to pass some kind of competency test and to carry a little car, presumably with a cute little bicycle on it. As I have blogged earlier, I’m in favor of this law as it would make the state pay way more attention to cyclists. Also, we’d have a seat at the table to demand infrastructure everywhere.

Seems like a lot of people Down Under agree:

http://www.news.com.au/national/bike-ride-licensing-a-battle-of-swerves/story-fndo4ckr-1226584208850

However, I would not seriously advocate for such a law, and I don’t think that this is a solution to any known problem. Also, it would make it harder for people to get into cycling. Finally, the law makes no sense. A child can not operate a motor vehicle and this is reflected by the lack of a license available. However, even a toddler can safely ride a non-motorized machine such as a tricycle, big wheel, or even a bicycle. Should children not be allowed to bicycle with their parents?

Obviously, this law is not well thought out because it prohibits children from riding their bicycles even with their parents.

It’s also kind of silly because we can’t even stop people with no license from driving motor vehicles:

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_22658040/grieving-dad-crusades-tougher-laws-against-unlicensed-drivers

I’ll just mention in passing that the mandatory helmet law is yet another unreasonable demand placed on cyclists by motorists (and by some cyclists who don’t do their homework).

Also there’s the law that flat out admits that it’s there just to appease motorists:

http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/WA-Lawmakers-Propose-Bicycle-Tax.html

“According to the Seattle Times, the package would place a $25 sales fee on bikes worth $500 or more, a move projected to raise $1 million over 10 years.”

http://streetsblog.net/2013/02/21/washington-state-considering-a-symbolic-tax-on-bicycles/

“In the past, some Oregon bike advocates have supported such proposals, under the notion that it would help allay the perception — no matter how inaccurate — that cyclists don’t pay for roads.”

To this, I say this DON’T TRY TO SUCK UP TO MOTORISTS! IF THEY LIKE YOU, THEY DON’T NEED TO BULLY YOU WITH POINTLESS LAWS. IF THEY DON’T LIKE YOU THEY WILL _NEVER_ LIKE YOU NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU BEAT YOURSELVES UP. PLUS THERE IS NO MOTORIST VS. CYCLIST DIVIDE.

We all have friends and family who bicycle and motor–save for those small number of people who’s social circle is extremely limited. Many motorists want to cycle, and making cyclists seem inferior is not the way to help them.

To even think of making these kinds of laws is due to an aversion to cycling. If people really cared about cyclists, they’d build the dedicated infrastructure that other places have enjoyed ever since bicycles existed.

Instead we get a series of behaviors which map on to bullying in other areas such as the workplace:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201105/the-silent-epidemic-workplace-bullying

“Bullies often involve others using many tactics such as blaming for errors, unreasonable work demands, insults, putdowns, stealing credit, threatening job loss, and discounting accomplishments.”

1. Blaming for errors: Notice how the cyclist is always blamed for accidents in police reports? “You are taking your life in your own hands.” “If you ride on this road, it’s only a matter of time before you are a victim.”

2. unreasonable (work) demands: This is noted above: licensing, helmets, etc.

3. insults, putdowns: Cyclists are elitists, little Christs of the road, road lice, etc.

4. stealing credit/discounting accomplishments: “I’m sick of how cyclists always brag about how environmentally friendly they are.”

5. threatening (job) loss: Such as the town that banned cycling “for their own good.”

http://www.problematwork.com/2851/unreasonable-work-demands-that-constitute-workplace-bullying/

Malicious Anti-Cycling Laws or Cycling Bullying Part III

February 25, 2013

It’s funny how comparing a workplace to the motorway has been such a useful too for me to pin point areas which I thought were wrong. Behaviors which are seen as socially acceptable (to motorists only) on the roads are revealed to show underlying tendencies for bullying.

I want to make things clear that I don’t believe that there are “motorists” nor “cyclists” as permanent being as most cyclists own and operate motor vehicles. The vast majority of us cyclists have active driver’s licenses whether or not we want them as the default identification for the US requires minimal knowledge of and profiency of a motor vehicle. Thus, if there’s a strange species of a hard core cyclist (who uses her passport for ID, I guess) then this is a very rare one. So when I say cyclist, you can search and replace with “motorist who happens to be riding a bicycle at the time”. I just don’t type this every time because it’s too much typing.

While researching my last article I found this one:

Identifying a Toxic Workplace (aka Toxic Road):

http://www.kickbully.com/toxic.html

“Does your company confront aggressive people about inappropriate behaviors?”

Note how many police officers routinely fail to find a way to charge a motorist who has killed a cyclist? Definitely contributes to a toxic motorway.

“On the other hand, do they turn a blind eye to bullying?”

Notice how many states will even fail to pass a three foot passing law, something that will make some kinds of bullying allowed. Also, notice how many police officers do anything at all when people complain of an aggressive motorist. They wait till the situation escalates then fall over backwards to excuse the motorist.

“Even if you aren’t directly bullied, the fumes may get you. You may even conclude that finding a new job is the only viable solution.”

And it’s true that one of the number one reason that people don’t ride bicycles is because of the toxic motorway.

“The dominant culture of your workplace has a huge impact on your ability to effectively deal with a workplace bully. Don’t even think about fighting a bully until you get a handle on the larger environment.”

I totally concur.

Here’s an example where the motor way bully is protected:

“Tire slashing suspect held on $270,000 bail”

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=8636051

I do NOT agree with tire slashing. THIS BLOG MAKES IT CLEAR THAT I IN NO WAY CONDONE COMMITTING ANY CRIME AS DEFINED BY THE LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS IN YOUR JURISDICTION. (Thanks Legal Unbound).

However, these are comparable situations. While motorists who have “sun in their eyes” walk, someone who fights back will be dealt with swiftly by the law. Not that a quarter million dollars is protecting a machine while little is done to protect human lives. Not hard to see who’s dominant in the eyes of the law.

Let’s deal with signs of toxicity:

1. “Widespread anger and frustration” aka Road Rage.

2. “Workplace bully is admired.” You only need to turn on a television commercial or watch a movie to see that cyclists are mocked while motoring is a sign of success.

3. “Scapegoats are always blamed” aka blame bicyclists first (BBF). There are whole papers dedicated to promoting this point of view as it sells classes (http://iamtraffic.org/) and it makes infrastructure look less necessary: http://www.metroplanorlando.com/files/view/bicyclist-crash-study.pdf.

4. “Dysfunctional processes: In a toxic company, processes tend to be dysfunctional, particularly if a workplace bully helps create them. In this situation, company procedures don’t make sense, making it difficult to get things done.”

Notice how it’s confusing when to ride on the road, the sidewalk, etc. Note how many people have gotten tickets for not putting down their foot at a stop sign or riding too far to the right.

“In order to create the impression that personnel issues are being addressed, upper management sets up a committee to investigate specific problems and suggest solutions. But the results are based on the premise that the employees aren’t very sophisticated and can be easily appeased. Input from employees is discounted or ignored and clueless managers rely on their own misapprehensions. Because the process is dysfunctional, the results are meaningless.”

This has happened many, many times.

“Since they must ignore the impact of bullying on morale, they instead turn to “creative” ideas. Perhaps they find some popular solution to “make employees feel better about themselves.” This could include a patronizing “Extra Special Person” award, meaningless interdepartmental competitions or irrelevant offsite training seminars…”

This is what results in brochures, “motorist education”, “cycling awareness”, yellow safety vests, and mandatory helmet laws.

“By pushing a meaningless, ineffective solution to morale, employees feel they are being treated like children, or as second-class citizens. Morale deteriorates even further, and high employee turnover is often the result.”

That is people stop riding bicycles.

5. “Dysfunctional relationships: How do employees relate to one another at your company? In a toxic workplace, everyone seems to struggle with relationships. Misunderstandings are common, leading to frustration, anger and inefficiency. Gossip and criticism are the norm, and cliques lead to favoritism and feuding.

Noticeably absent in a toxic workplace are clear and straightforward conversations. You rarely see a quick resolution of relationship issues, and bad feelings may linger for months, or even years.”

Note how often you hear things like “cyclists are ALWAYS running stop signs. And so on. We never see any resolution to problems of motorists attacking (either on purpose or due to malignant negligence) cyclists resolved with something that would actually work.

6. “Dysfunctional meetings: Do meetings at your company feel like a waste of time? Are they dominated by dull monologues and meaningless reports? Do they provide workplace bullies a forum to rant, rave and manipulate? Are reasonable people intimidated into silence?

In a toxic workplace, those who dominate meetings seem to prefer to discuss vague platitudes instead of underlying problems. They focus on theory rather than dealing with reality. By ignoring the real problems facing the company, they fail to accomplish anything of substance. The main impact of meetings is the loss of productive time from your day.

Bully is allowed to dominate meetings: A workplace bully tends to dominate meetings through his aggressive conversational style, including giving monologues, arguing, criticizing, interrupting and raising his voice.”

Hello Vehicular (Savvy) Cyclists. Hello people who bitch about Agenda 21 at planning meetings and silence people with the chants of “USA USA” as if George Washington drove a Hummer.

” He uses generalizations, innuendo and presuppositions without being challenged. He stifles open discussions and prevents any progress, except to further his own agenda. He may even use a meeting to embarrass, ridicule and humiliate his opponents.

In a toxic workplace, any complaints about the bully’s domination of meetings will likely fall upon deaf ears. In fact, his aggressive tactics are more likely to be admired by upper management.”

7. “Obvious hypocrisy in the company

A toxic workplace nearly always includes widespread hypocrisy. Executives are unlikely to acknowledge the serious problems plaguing their company, instead promoting the fiction of a healthy work environment run by enlightened management.”

This is very true if you read Sandag’s regional transportation plan.

“Management fads

Executives in a toxic company often overcompensate by adopting faddish management approaches, as if propaganda is an effective tool to overcome reality. The result may be aggressively promoted company values that don’t seem to match day-to-day events.”

Helmets, yellow vests, sharrows, and share the road signs.

“Clueless or evil management: Even when the hypocrisy seems obvious to everyone, upper management seems unaware of the contradictions between what is said and what is done. Maybe they want you to guess whether they are hopelessly unaware or utterly lacking in integrity.”

This is evident, again in Sandag’s RTP where they state that they want “more people on bicycles” but do almost nothing to make that a realistic choice.

8. “Overly restrictive systems for controlling people

A workplace bully usually thrives by controlling others. He prefers a workplace with dehumanizing systems, offering him more opportunities to tightly control their behavior.”

I covered this before when people want more tickets, licenses, and other restrictions for cyclists.

“Companies fall into this mode of operation by designing and implementing overly detailed operational systems. These include overly detailed policies, procedures and job descriptions and performance evaluations.”

Hello vehicular cycling as well as overly restrictive code such ASHTO’s Green Book which is used to prevent meaningful infrastructure from being built.

There’s a lot more and almost all of it applies so I suggest that one read the orignal article. I can only say a hearty “YES!”

Anonymous Trucking Representative: My Job is To Kill Cyclists

February 25, 2013

Well not directly, but I am getting a little sick of seeing stories of “increased danger to cyclists.” This is something very vague and statistical which presupposes that cyclists and pedestrian deaths are random anomalies.

Nothing can be further from the truth. The number of dead cyclists each year in a given road network is very, very similar from year to year given that minimal changes in the road network are made. Make the roads safer by building infrastructure and the deaths go down. Widen the roads or increase speed limits in other ways, and deaths go up.

Thus, by attempting to “reduce congestion” you are signing a cyclists death warrant. Simple as that. We don’t know who these cyclists are going to be but this is just as if you decided to off a given number of cyclists by lottery. The exact same thing.

Here’s a story from the UK:

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/raising-lorry-speed-limit-will-be-a-danger-to-cyclists/013990

“Likewise, the AA and Institute of Advanced Motorists claim that raising the speed limit from 40mph to 45mph or 50mph will prevent dangerous over-taking of slow lorries on rural roads.”

This will kill people pure and simple.

“This would improve efficiency and reduce congestion, as the DfT suggests. It would also improve road safety, an issue on which academics have been unable to come up with firm evidence but on which the industry has no doubt.”

It’s actually dead simple to predict the number of dead cyclists given good crash stats. Take the number of cyclists hit by trucks in a given year. Subtract those who died, now multiply by eighth percent (0.80). This is the number of new dead cyclists each year. If it’s great than one then this law is guaranteed to kill people.

I know that the Trucking Lobby and the AA are only “doing their job.” But did they have to pick a job where they publicly come out in favor of policies which are guaranteed to kill people?

Finally, if overtaking is so dangerous, I’d advise motorists not to do it. By encouraging overtaking, one is also putting motorists at risk.

Here’s my suggestion, a bottom up one for motorists, both voluntary and mandatory. Ban overtaking on rural roads. Put out a PFA telling motorists that they should leave half an hour to an hour early if they want to get some place on time–I do the same when I cycle. Encourage _patience_ in motorists and shame those who speed. Lower speed limits and ban more motorists that do speed (isn’t it nice that this is actually an option in the UK as it’s often not on the table in the US).

Problem solved. As for “congestion”, I’d give tax subsidies for rails and higher taxes for trucking and let the “free market” deal with congestion.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Forces Motoring on Next Generation

February 22, 2013

I have noticed that there’s a type of mythology comparable to those made by the Greeks in the motoring world. Up there with the myths that roads create jobs, motorists pay their way via the gas tax, and motoring with small children makes them safe, is the myth that roads are built in response to demand rather than the opposite which is that roads create a demand of their own.

http://streetsblog.net/2013/01/16/va-gov-bob-mcdonnell-boots-bypass-opponent-from-state-transpo-board/

Bob McDonnell is there so prove to the world just how true the fact is that motoring is forced upon people. Though there are various examples of this, here’s the latest.

“Two-thirds of public comments about the bypass were against it — and some local residents complained of being “blackballed” for expressing dissent.”

But what does the “public” know?

Surely this road is needed, right?

Haha, so funny:

“This fall, a consultant hired by project opponents found major flaws in the data regional transportation authorities used to justify the bypass.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_McDonnell

But at least the road is paid for by the gas tax right?

“On January 9, 2011, McDonnell proposed funding projects to address traffic congestion in Northern Virginia and Hampton roads by diverting 0.25% of the sales tax collected in those areas from the General Fund into the transportation fund. Legislation is required to implement McDonnell’s proposal, and Democrats responded that the revenues were needed in the General Fund for schools and public safety and that the projected revenues were insufficient to make a difference on highway needs.”

Wow, he’s tossing children and the safety of the community under the SUV for his obsession with forcing a highway on many who don’t want it and on everyone who cannot afford it.

This story can be told all around the country.

But the next time someone claims that we are motoring by choice remember who’s choice it is: the friends of those who stand to make the most money from expanding the motorways.

The end result will be a poorer state, less money for education, more infrastructure which will eventually crumble and require even more money to be wasted, destroyed property values which results in a smaller tax base, and areas that are more difficult to navigate if you are not in a car.

Vote for McDonnell, wasting tax dollars to expand Big Government for the needs of motoring socialists. 🙂

There’s those who talk about how these conservatives like to talk about freedom and then campaign against reproductive and lifestyle freedoms, but I don’t see a contradiction.

Just like your choice of partner and choice of reproduction, big daddy McDowell knows best for how you should get around. It seems like his main purpose for public service is to spend as much money as possible telling other people how to live their lives.

Your Biases Are Showing

February 21, 2013

http://transportationnation.org/2013/01/11/chris-quinn-dont-talk-about-bike-lanes-at-dinner-parties/

“And one of the problems with bike lanes — and I’m generally a supporter of bike lanes – but one of the problems with bike lanes has been not the concept of them, which I support, but the way the Department of Transportation has implemented them without consultation with communities and community boards. “

Nobody told Chris, apparantly, that the word “but” was useless when talking to others because people automatically negate anything you say before it.

Not only that, but did Chris note that we were NOT consulted before they built roads in front of our houses?

I don’t mind pedestrians nor cyclists at all because they make little noise, but cars are fucking LOUD especially when they roll by at late hours. When was I personally asked to veto anyone’s ability to motor by my house? Not that I would ban motoring all together: how are people going to pick me up to take me to the hot springs? But I didn’t even get a vote on the matter. Why not?

Probably because it would be too difficult to get a consensus on every tiny change in the streets. Also, many people would choose to have big wide roads in front of OTHER PEOPLE’s home while closing the road right in front of their own so their children could play in the street. We’d have a hodge podge of disconnected streets where you’d have to teleport your car to get from one place to another which would mirror our current state of bicycle infrastructure. I wonder how Chris would like a place where he only can drive for a few blocks before getting out and pushing his car for a while. Probably not much.

Would it be rude to tell people that they can’t moan about their extra time spent trying to secure a large parking spot for their truck?

Why are bikes such a horrible social faux pas?

“That’s a problem particularly in a community like Chelsea, where there is such interest in bike lanes but then you just create tension. It’s also a problem for example in Lew Fidler’s district in Brooklyn, where I’d say the jury’s mixed about bike lanes. They were okay with the idea of the bike lane, they just wanted it moved one block over.”

Yeah, and I want people to drive only a few blocks away from my house. Otherwise I’m OK with that.

But no talking about cars at my parties. Otherwise, I’ll think badly of you. (Not really, just playing devil’s advocate. I’m not actually going to micro-manage my guest’s speech as that would be rude.)

United State Crash Data 2010: More Myth Busting

February 20, 2013

I analyzed the data from here:

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811659.pdf

I have found that there are many myths about cycling accidents that keep getting repeated over and over again.

First I’d like to turn the reader’s attention to page 138. I know we cyclists only get a couple of pages, I wonder if that’s a good thing (few problems) or a bad one (getting ignored again).

Anyway, on this page, one can see that the largest number of accidents occured at 3 PM to 6 PM. One of the myths is that most accidents occur in the “dark of night” and thus cyclists try to reassure themselves that they are “safe” because they rarely ride at night and have big lights. Only about a quarter of the fatalities occured at night while about 7% of the injuries happend at this time.

Page 140 is chock full of myth busters:

First of all, like I give in my advice for top three safety tips, failure to lead is 28% of fatalities. This backs up my advice: “yield aggressively even if you have the ‘right’, don’t take it.” Note, I was not at these accidents so we don’t know that if following any of my advice could have helped. In many cases, I doubt that the cyclist could have done anything–sometimes we are just unlucky to live in a place with such shitty infrastructure.

Only 10% were on either alcohol, drugs, or both which means that 90% of our fatal accidents had sober cyclists. Not that riding drunk is “safer” but riding sober isn’t anything to brag about especially if you lord it over those of us who actually like a beer a few hours before we sober up and ride home. (God legal team, stop it!) 🙂

Only 9.4% of fatalities were those who failed to obey a traffic lights, signal or officer. Next time you think those running stop signs deserve to die, remember that 90% of those who were hit were observing these laws. Let’s law the whole “scofflaw cyclist who deserved it” myth to rest. And note, that since it’s know that a killer will lie and lie to protect themselves and that many officers write down the words of a killer (if he’s in a car) verbatim as if they are the God’s given truth, I doubt that this number is as high as it seems.

Wrong way riders were only 7.2% of fatalities. This really breaks the whole “wrong way riding is deadly” myth since 95% of those dead were riding in the right direction. (They count wrong way riding and wrong side of the road differently which is strange so I added them up.)

Only 3.7% “improperly crossed the intersection” which again shows that it’s a myth that most cyclists who die are incompetent.

Only 8% didn’t have lights or wore dark clothing. This is really stupid that they even count this as there is not yet a government mandated clothing law for cyclists. We still live in a free country when choosing what we wear be it on a bicycle, in our car, or in church. So it seems a bit totalitarian to even care about this. Also, most motor vehicles have lights which should illuminate anyone no matter what they wear so I think that lights and clothes should be irrelevant. Finally, no street lights? Really cheap ass infrastructure seems to be the real problem to me. (Again no lights were counted twice and I added them up for my purposes.)

Erratic behavior and many other kinds of bad cycling are a very small number of deaths. Overall, it seems like the cyclists were more often NOT breaking one of their shitty violations than they were.

So next time people say that cyclists are “always running stop signs” point out that they almost never kill people when they do so and they are not even putting themselves at risk as only about 70 or so cyclists IN ALL OF THE US die a year for doing so. Furthermore, if they assert that “motorists always follow the law” point out that 33,000 LAWFUL MOTORISTS die and about 2 million LAWFUL MOTORISTS are injured each year.

Scofflaw cycling is safer than lawful motoring.

iamtraffic Encouraging “Lawful” Cycling Or Why I Stay Off the Road

February 18, 2013

Blog post generator iamtraffic.com once again gives me the giggles:

http://iamtraffic.org/2012/12/the-enforcement-of-imaginary-laws/

Once again, they fail to understand that there are two kinds of laws, those on the books and those which are actually enforced. Anyone who has basic reading comprehension can see that these two types of laws only have a passing resemblance to one another.

It was in my late 20’s that I realized that if I continued to whine about the “letter of the law”, I’d become an old, unlikable curmudgeon!

Instead, I turned to a life of humor as well as analyzing what laws are actually enforced and following them.

Not that this blog is advocating for breaking any laws. CYCLING UNBOUND SEZ, ALWAYS FOLLOW EVERY SINGLE LOCAL LAW. ALWAYS. (My legal team can be such buzz kills sometimes). 🙂

Anyway, over and above laws which are on the books, if the police enforce a law, then it’s illegal. For the thick: ACTIONS THAT GET ONE ARRESTED AND CONVICTED IN COURT ARE ILLEGAL; IT MATTERS NOT IF YOU CAN FIND THESE LAWS ON THE BOOKS OR NOT.

For years, I have been urging my readers to stay off the road and not to play in traffic and you’ll be safe. I urged those who were on really dangerous roads to ride on the sidewalk, slowly, and to walk your bicycle around pedestrians. These are not legal things, sometimes it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk, it depends upon your location. Still, outside of a big downtown, I have never gotten into any trouble with police while riding on the sidewalk. This is much more different than riding on the street where many people have trouble, and I have been (rarely) buzzed and harassed.

So I ask you, who do you want to be? A wise and invisible ninja cyclist who doesn’t get run over, is ignored by the authorities, and makes the motorists happy, or an idiot who actually believes these fools from iamtraffic (sic–you’re not) and gets into all sorts of legal trouble.

As the Clash said, “Give ’em enough rope.” Thanks for giving me another argument against: VC, Savvy, whatever you call it this week cycling.

Who cares what it’s called clearly they teach unlawful cycling.

Another Idiot Study Examined

February 15, 2013

LTRs know that I really love data and I think that we should do as many studies as possible on cycling. I am in the process of preparing some studies myself actually, though since I have no funding, we won’t do them. But I’ll make them available for people to see what a good study looks like.

Here’s a shitty study. I wanted to thank the washcycle website and it is well done both as a blog post generator and as a resource for information. I’m extremely grateful for this high quality site. I don’t want people to think that I am mocking the washcycle. I’m not. I am mocking a study that they posted:

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2013/02/bicycle-crash-study-2010-2012.html

“The information obtained from TARAS contained a …total of 754 locations involving bicycles crashes. Since the total numbers were a broad amount, a narrowed list was selected based on the locations with a higher crash occurrence.”

Overall, the idea of looking for intersections is a good one.

OK, all ready this report is starting to piss me off:

“Performing this Report led to a prioritization of which locations needed improvements in the District of Columbia. It is clear after reading each Detailed Narrative of the PD-10 Forms, Field 179, a very high percentage of the crashes were a result of an inadequate behavior of the pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. This concludes human behavior was the main crash contribution factor when those crashes occurred.”

Since we all agree that deliberately stepping out in front of a speeding car, running a red light, or running into someone is all “inadequate human behavior” would this make almost all collisions, BY DEFINITION, due to inadequate behavior. What is the other cause? All I can think of is some kind of road or mechanical defect. So we are defining things a certain way then wondering why we keep matching up with what we just defined. This is tautological and that these researchers can be PAID to do such shoddy work breaks my heart.

The question is WHY were they inattentive? Why do they need to be attentive. Can’t I take a fucking walk without always being attentive? People like to wander and not think too hard all the god damned time. So this is a pretty harsh, totalitarian system. PAY ATTENTION OR WE WILL KILL YOU.

I’m absolutely horrified that we care about pedestrian inattention.

Pedestrians walk in front of my bicycle all the time. Do I get mad? No? I am prepared to stop at any time. The person could be a child or a confused elderly person. To say that these people are inattentive ignores some basic realities of the human species and dehumanizes the most vulnerable people. This whole paper is a vast system to mitigate the blame, as much as possible from dangerous motorists who drive way too fast. It also excuses poor design which mixes pedestrians with high speed traffic then blames the pedestrian for NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

But this paper is starting to go from bad to worse.

They actually suggest “additional signage” to prevent future collisions. WTF?

Next huge mistake is that they seem to be OK with shitty facilities if there’s any drugs or alcohol. They also have no changes for FREEWAY RAMPS. What?! These are the objectively most dangerous places for pedestrians and cyclists. This paper is aggravating.

Finally, on page 13, we get a small whiff or reason: “there was no consistent pattern.”

YES!!

If you look at crash data enough, there usually is no real pattern. People get hit from all directions. The crash rates are pretty much spread out in all categories. There’s no one huge category that dominates all the rest. There are just too many ways to die and humans seem to have embraced them all.

Here’s another plan this paper has. No joke. “Implementation of brochures”

I move to fire these stupid, stupid people. They have not a single clue about safety. This paper was a total waste of money and they are a waste of space.

I wish in the future, if they did a traffic study, they would have a way of testing actual improvements rather than make stupid remarks and even dumbed and wasteful “solutions.”

PEOPLE WILL NEVER PAY ATTENTION ALL THE TIME. THAT’S NOT HOW THE HUMAN MIND WORKS. IF YOU MEDITATE FOR FIVE MINUTES, YOU’LL FIND YOU MIND WANDER A FEW HUNDRED TIMES. IMAGINE TRYING TO DRIVE FOR A FEW HOURS IN A WARM CAR WITH A RADIO ON WHILE STARING AT THE SAME ROAD. THE WHOLE NOTION OF AWARENESS IGNORES BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE HUMAN MIND.

Stop Saying “Share the Road”

February 14, 2013

This is a sequel to “Please, please stop saying this”.

But a bit different.

I have said this before, but I’ll repeat it, we need to stop saying “motorists need to share the road.”

This is wrong on so many levels, but it’s a really brilliant verbal phrase that has gotten just enough VC nonsense into the popular nonsense to stymie any real progress towards making cycling anything less than a black art that requires hundreds of dollars of safety classes, bright colors, and safety equipment.

For one, thing, motorists are stunned when I tell them I don’t want to share the road with them, I want to be out of their way. This makes them feel good and builds instant rapport.

I’m no longer barking commands and demanding special rights. Rather I am acknowledging something that they have always felt but have been too brain jammed by “share the road” propaganda to say anything.

I ask them if they have heard that we can do better than watching some asshole in tight pants block traffic–oh I’m sorry, control the lane, while he “asserts his rights.”

This also defeats the whole “you play in our world, you play by our laws” bullshit we hear ad nauseum as if shitty drivers did not exist.

We defeat the whole, “they don’t get bike lanes until they fallow the laws” canard as well. We don’t want the same road, the same laws, the same gas money bills.

See how far we came by tossing out a useless phrase. Useless unless you are a pretend biker who drives to meeting to “represent cyclists” by blocking any forward progress in building sensible infrastructure, that is.

This also defeats the whole, “if you cycle, you take your life into your own hands.”

How does this work?

I kindly, but firmly keep reminding them that “I don’t want to ride my bike on the road ever because it’s dangerous and inconsiderate to motorists.”

I let them know that I really don’t care what people do to one another in their cars. All I want is for motorists to somehow–I don’t care how–mitigate the obstructions that they have created by building freeways and high speed roads everywhere.

I don’t give a shit about how much it costs or who it inconveniences. I don’t want a committee to meet or to go in front of a consensus vote. We didn’t do any of these things before we carved up San Diego with the freeway system. If we did we’d still have cows where there is the I-8 and cycling would be a hell of a lot more fun and safer.

I think it’s pretty clear that I could get around San Diego quite fine without all the stupid motoring infrastructure that was built at great inconvenience to many citizens who are still not compensated fully for their loss as well as at great GOVERNMENT cost.

If they would just cut this expensive government program and give me a refund, I’ll take my mountain bike and clippers and make a trail for myself.

Alternatively, they can do the above and MITIGATE THE DANGERS CREATED BY BUILDING ROADS.

The key word here people is MITIGATE NOT SHARE.

If you don’t believe me then try it. Tell some people about “sharing the road” and see how they get angry at cyclists. Then tell others how you don’t think cyclists should be allowed to block high speed roads at all and there’s a really, really inexpensive solution to the problem: “for the price of a useless helmet we can have cycle tracks.” They won’t believe the latter, but they’d learn something and be a lot happier and that’s what really counts in the end.