Archive for March, 2013

How To Fix A Flat

March 31, 2013

One of the most annoying things in the cycling world is the fact that people have no clue on how to fix a flat.

This is especially bad etiquette on a group ride.

Fixing a flat tire is an essential skill in being self sufficient. Many people do not know anyone who is good at fixing flats so they think it’s a useless skill. Others tried to fix a flat, did a bad job, and then assumed that patches “don’t work for a long term solution”. These people are wrong. Patching makes a tire stronger than before. Patching can extend the life of a tire significantly.

Still, we have our Patch Nay Sayers.

Often naysayers get around the whole notion of fixing a flat by bringing extra tubes. The problem is that extra tubes are expensive and they are wasteful. You can fix dozens of flats with the equivalent space and size of a patch kit to that of a single inner tube.

So carry a patch kit, tire levers, tweezers, a pen, soap, water, a towel, talcum powder, and a pump. Make sure that the pump matches your tire which is presta vs. shraeder.

Next, learn how to use the kit. If you follow all my instructions below you should be fine.

Finally, let those who know do. Often those who know is a girl. If you’re a boy then please GET OUT OF THE WAY and let the girl do her job. Don’t be sexist. Your dick won’t get smaller for admitting that a woman can fix tires better than you. Also, BACK OFF. If someone is fixing a tire at a group ride give them ten or more feet and start a conversation, text, or read a book. Don’t stare at the the fixer.

Also, you could have a slow leak. If you have time, try to blow the tire up and ride on that. If you can get a few miles this way, then this might get you home.

If not, here’s how to fix.

First, feel the outside of the tire. Sometimes you can find metal or glass this way, best.

If you find something mark the spot with a pen. Then deflate the tire.

If you can’t find it deflate the tire anyway.

Next take the tire off with the levers. At this point, you DON’T NEED TO TAKE THE WHEEL OFF.

If you are opening the back tire make sure you do this on the side which DOES NOT HAVE THE CASSETTE. As the cassette can puncture your tire.

Pull out the inner tube and make sure there’s nothing poking it. Now inflate the tire. Use a normal pump and not the stupid CO2 pump. As you blow it up, feel around for the hole and also listen. If you still can’t find the hole, you need to feel around on the inside of the tire for glass or metal. If you find it, match the inner tube’s stem to the stem hole and you might be able to match where the glass came into the tire. If not, you might need to wet the small piece of soap and rub it around your inner tube. You’ll see lots of bubbles when you find the leak. Don’t be fooled by a few bubbles.

Finally, you have found the hole! Next wash the area around the hole. Then dry well with a towel.

Now buff really well with the sander. You need to do a big area around the hole. A really big area.

Now deflate the tire. Find an appropriate size patch and use the tin foil backing as a model for how much rubber cement to add. You only need a thin layer but it has to cover 100% of the inside of the rectangle. Mine is usually slightly bigger than the actual tin foil, and I do a little on each side of the tire as well just to make sure.

Set a timer for ten minutes. YOU MUST WAIT A FULL TEN MINUTES. If you rush this part, you’ll waste more time in the future.

After ten minutes take the backing off the patch. CAREFUL! If the patch folds in on itself, toss it. Now gently apply the patch WITHOUT FOLDING IT. IF YOU FOLD THE PATCH THEN PULL IT OFF AND START OVER WITH THE BUFFING PHASE, NEW GLUE, ETC.

Push really hard on the patch and especially smooth out the edges. Do not take off the clear plastic.

Blow up the tire, slowly while pressing on the edges of the patch. IF PART OF THE PATCH DOES NOT STICK, PULL IT OFF AND START OVER.

Once the tire is partially inflated and it looks good, rub the patched area with talcum powder. Some people dump a little powder into their tire, too. This is a sound idea. If you skip this step your inner tube could stick to the tire and you’ll get another flat and you’ll be one of those fools who can’t patch his tires because he doesn’t think it works. Loser.

Now put inner tube back into the wheel. You probably didn’t even have to take off the wheel! Once the deflated wheel is on and and the wheel is between the brakes where it should be, inflate. Done.

Now you are a step closer to self-sufficient and a step away from being a loser who forces his wife to sit by the phone to pick up up from his long ride. Forget all that. A cyclist can be _more_ reliable than a motorist if she knows how to fix a few things.

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Meeting All Objections

March 27, 2013

LTRs probably know that I try to examine all the pluses and minuses for infrastructure.

Over and over again, we hear the same, tired objections to cycling infrastructure.

I have learned a sales technique for this, but I’m sure that it won’t work because objections are not real–they are confabulation, things people make up because they are in the closet cyclist haters.

The technique is to ask if anyone’s objection is their final one. For example, if someone says that they are against cycling infrastructure because they don’t want to spend “transportation money on someone’s hobby”, ask “is that your final objection.”

If they say, “no” then they should put ALL their objections on the table. It’s hard to satisfy someone who has an infinite, but secret well of objections. If we are to make a case, it’s only fair that we can hear the COMPLETE other side.

Usually, what happens is that we get objections to infrastructure, then we meet them. For example, it’s too expensive. We find the money and point out that this is a tiny, tiny fraction of the total transportation bill. The world’s best infrastructure is literally pennies on the dollar compared to even a modest motoring program to say nothing of the gorilla sized projects that we have.

Next, they say that there is not enough room on the road. We find that room.

Now they think that it will put the city on the hook due to liability. We let them know that there is a level of legal immunity and that if the city is on the hook for a bike lane, are they not on the hook for lack there of?

This can go on for ever.

The point is that we need the objections to be on the table and to be final.

The only sane objection I will object to is that people just plain out hate bicycles because it reminds them of liberals or nannies or kind people or some other group that they flat out hate. Or they had an altercation with someone on a bicycle and that’s it for them, all cyclists must be exactly like that one person.

To this, the response is “one person one vote.”

Motoring Morality

March 25, 2013

We often think that our morality is our only one, but there are many other forms of morality out there.

For example, in some pagan moralities, instead of protecting one’s family at all costs, a king would kill his son if he felt it would help win a war.

Similarly, in our mostly Christian Nation, we are actually dominated by an unforgiving pagan style morality I call Motoring Morality.

Note that I strongly disagree with this–however, this is an accurate reflection of both how much these “safety” organizations protect us as well as how they classify and treat victims. (Spoiler: they punish them like scape goats).

Here are a few lessons from the NHTSA and others:

1. If you are walking and you are wearing dark colors at night, you deserve to die. No other questions asked.

2. If you are walking and you drank a little, you deserve to die. Better to drive.

3. If you ride a bicycle and you make a single traffic violation, you deserve death.

4. If you ride a bicycle, you are a thief, and society must somehow find a way of extorting the money you owe for the extremely expensive government road program even though the fact that the roads are so obscenely expensive is to make room for all the bulky cars.

5. Just like the pagans, children’s deaths are most often blamed on the child if a motorist is involved. Thus, just like pagans would sacrifice their children to win wars, we sacrifice a few thousand people to the transportation gods even though making things safer is entirely possible. This is because of #6.

6. Whatever a motorist does is right: If you are in a car and you commit a crime, the state may not be able to stop you because it “violates your rights”. If you are in a car, and many people commit the same crime such as running stop signs or speeding, enforcement and even the laws are changed to excuse the crimes and to make them legal again.

7. If you travel by any other means than car, you are stupid because the state will do nothing to protect you or kill you. If you drive a car, and make a lot of mistakes, the state will bend over backwards to protect you by installing guard rails, cutting down trees so you don’t crash into them, and mandating more safety standards so you are more likely to survive a collision.

8. “Roads are for cars.” Motorists should no have any sense of personal responsibility. Instead of driving at a sane speed so they can stop for someone, possibly someone who is mentally impaired, from running in front of them, instead, they will clear out any non-motorized humans from the roads. If someone enters the roads outside of tiny designated areas, the law, which is too busy to ticket motorists, will punish them. If the law fails to punish them, a motorist will eventually kill them.

9. We take Motoring Morality as a law of the universe not as an arbitrary set of moral guidelines made mainly by motoring companies to make people feel good about their products killing so many people. If you mention Motoring Morality, even to agree with it, you will be branded a social outcast.

Look on any forum online where they mention bicycles and you are sure to see one or more of these moral statements.

E-Bike are Not Bicycles

March 22, 2013

I’m tired of reading stupid stuff so here’s the deal, you want to comments, you need to answer one of the following questions:

https://cyclingunbound.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/e-bikes-are-not-bicycles-ii-questions/

 

Also, we turn up the temperature on e-bikes as I argue some of the nonsense we’ve been getting from the community:

https://cyclingunbound.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/e-bikes-are-not-bicycles-iii-rebuttal/

===============================================

I have been thinking of e-bikes every since I first heard of them. I have always had a negative feeling about them, but I wasn’t sure why. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle]

After having thought about this for a bit longer, I realize that the main reason is that e-bikes are not bicycles. They should not be called bicycles because bicycles are “human powered machines” and motorcycles are “motor powered machines.”

Why do they say e-bicycle then?

I think that there are many reasons. One of them is that they feel that they can sell more in this category. After all, what would you rather have, a bad-ass bicycle or a wimpy motorcycle?

Also, over the years, bicycling has some cultural and symbolic capital in certain circles, and e-bikes would like to co-opt that without doing the actual work that got us there.

There’s a certain amount of respect someone gets from climbing a hill due the effort and patience. E-cycling robs us of that sense of accomplishment while at the same time demanding the same amount of respect as if the e-cycle rider actually put out some effort.

Thus, in a sense, it’s a fraud not unlike doping is in racing.

When someone pedals past you on the road, you can admire that person. Imagine what happens when you realize that the person used a motor. You feel cheated.

Another reason that e-cycles suck is because the reasoning for using them is the exact same reasoning for motoring. If climbing a hill is too hard, let’s put a motor on the bike! But if you are too weak to ride a bicycle why not drive a car? After all, isn’t an e-bike just a Prius without walls?

If you really want comfort, you probably don’t like it too hot or too cold. A climate controlled car solves these problems as well.

Thus, the whole motivations of incompetance, laziness, and comfort seeking make a Prius more attractive than an e-bike which puts bicycles, in this value system, on the bottom of the food chain. Again!

In the cycling world, we are all ready shat on by motorists, and despite this, we are able to create a sense of beauty and joy due to our perseverance and strength, both inner and outer.

Now these douche bags, who are really motorists in Lycra, want to take this away from us, too?

Finally, if we permit e-bikes to ride on our trails why not have mopeds on bike lanes, too? And aren’t mopeds smaller motorcycles? Why not invite them to the party? And now that we’re spewing petrol, let’s just cover ourself up from the elements. (Thanks Bike Snob). At the end of the day, why not do what a wise man once said, “Fuck it, I’m leasing a Hyundai.” [http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2012/03/cycling-american-style-vehicular.html]

I don’t “hate” e-bikes, but I do not think that they should be called bicycles any more than people like Lance should be called a champion cyclist. If you want to ride your bike faster up hills by doping or attaching hidden motors (yes they hide them because they are ashamed of using them) then do it. Just don’t be an asshole and lie to the rest of us about it.

E-BIKES ARE NOT WELCOME ON OUR RIDES. YOU’RE NOT WELCOME IN THE CYCLING WORLD.

GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE TRAILS, BIKE LANES, AND BACK INTO YOUR SMUG, SELF-CENTERED MOTORING WORLD!

https://cyclingunbound.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/e-bikes-are-not-bicycles-ii-questions/

How to pay less tax UK

March 21, 2013

This is the UK edition of Cycling Unbound. Long story, but I am watching a lot of UK TV, etc.

If you have stories like this one:

http://money.uk.msn.com/save-money/how-to-pay-less-tax

“These 10 legal loopholes could reduce your yearly tax bill by thousands of pounds.”

Yes! Save on tax money.

Sounds good right? Isn’t saving on taxes a good thing? Would you EVER criticize someone for using legal loop holes to save money?

I think not.

That’s why, again and again, cyclists, by running with the narrative created by motorists, shoot ourselves in the face.

Here’s the deal. Whenever someone talks about how my life is good, I don’t disagree. That would be foolish. People love to see people who are different suffer. Many people laugh at cyclists getting hurt because they feel like we are doing something dangerous and deserve it.

When the clip-on is on the other foot, I don’t fight it.

That is, when people whine that we don’t pay road tax, I agree.

It’s the eleventh way to save on taxes.

Legally.

What can be wrong with that?

So please, stop things like this:

http://ipayroadtax.com/

“Road tax doesn’t exist. It’s car tax, a tax on cars and other vehicles, not a tax on roads or a fee to use them. Motorists do not pay directly for the roads. Roads are paid for via general and local taxation.”

Zzz…

No, try this on for size:

“No, I don’t pay the road tax, baby, you pay that for me. I’m not any more a free rider than the anyone else who saves money on taxes.

What, you don’t take _any_ deductions on taxes, but, instead, insist on paying the full amount? If you are so generous with your money, you don’t mind footing the bill for me, do you?”

See, dominate these assholes. Don’t try to placate with facts and suck up to their paradigm. Saving money on taxes is good. Cycling saves money on taxes therefore cycling is good.

Easy.

‘Irresponsible’ cyclists should pay road tax, say quarter of drivers’

http://metro.co.uk/2011/11/20/irresponsible-cyclists-should-pay-road-tax-say-quarter-of-drivers-in-confused-com-study-226041/

So if you save any money on taxes at all, don’t whine that I save even more money.

Stop trying to placate motorists with facts and start shoving your costs savings in their faces. 🙂

Does the AAA Aid and Abet Manslaughter?

March 20, 2013

Every year about 4,000 [http://www.wherethesidewalkstarts.com/2011/01/nhtsa-releases-2009-pedestrian.html] and about 600 [http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/crash-facts.cfm] cyclists are killed.

Many of them die due to motorists running red lights. In fact, many researchers believe that this crime goes unpunished more often by not.

As big of a menace to the public as deadly motorists are those who encourage and protect them.

If someone encouraged someone to act negligently in another field, they would be called out for it and perhaps even punished.

The AAA, living the dream of Motoring Exceptionalism, goes unchallenged as they encourage illegal and often deadly behavior.

“There is growing outrage over the millions of dollars collected from red light camera tickets in the District. Now AAA is saying those cameras amount to a war on drivers.”

[http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/03/red-light-camera-tickets-bring-in-millions-86436.html]

I agree that the AAA has a duty to defend their members. But as a cycling advocate, I do not encourage law breaking. In fact I ALWAYS RECOMMEND COMPLYING WITH ALL LOCAL LAWS.

I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but wikipedia can be a friend:

“(a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.

(b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal.”

I love how the AAA manipulates the situation to make it look like the greedy government is robbing its citizens to pay its bills.

BUT MANY OF THESE MOTORISTS ARE KILLING PEOPLE. DO YOU REALLY THINK IT’S WISE TO DEFEND POTENTIAL KILLERS?

“It is necessary to show that the defendant has wilfully associated himself with the crime being committed, that he does, through his own act or omission, as he would do if he wished for a criminal venture to succeed.[4] Under this statute, anyone who aids or abets a crime may be charged directly with the crime, as if the charged had carried out the act himself.[5] This is distinct from the concept of being an accessory after the fact, a charge distinct from being a principal.”

The AAA needs to be held accountable for its actions. Its members kill thousands of people a year in a system that they help to build then they turn around and defend those killers. For those of us who have not yet been killed or terrorized by law breakers; they make our lives a living hell.

The AAA should continue to push for their member’s rights, but they should do so in a prudent and sensible fashion instead of taking the radical view that it’s OK to break the law and not get punished.

Also, they really need to shut up about the “War On Motorists”. Stopping manslaughter is not a “War”. Every time they use such violent imagery, I think about the countless lives that are ruined for the friends and families for the victims that they defend and I wonder whom is really the victim of a war.

YOU CAN’T KILL OVER 30,000 PEOPLE A YEAR, LOSE NOBODY FROM THE OTHER SIDE, AND WHINE THAT YOU ARE A VICTIM.

It reminds me of the kids that killed their parents then plead for mercy as they are orphans.

Contrast this to the cycling community which not only encourages legal cycling, but some members stop one another to verbally castigate law breakers. There are also classes which teach people to follow the law. Then there are the few law breaking cyclists who get the death penalty.

If there were different laws being broken and if they killed the same number of people, the AAA would be considered a terrorist organization.

I’m not saying that they are terrorists, but their members kill more people in the Continental United States.

Bright Colors Save Lives

March 18, 2013

LTRs know that in principle, I’m against bottom up safety for cycling.

The AAA, on the other hand, is only for bottom up safety as they’d rather have some dead cyclists on their hands than to take an honest look at how much pain and misery their members are causing society.

Thus, the whole bright colors nonsense which is awesome because it’s so hard to comply.

This is because most people intuitively realize that if the color of your shirt is your biggest danger and you are not in a gang then things are messed up.

This is why nobody buys a car and paints alternating light and dark florescent stripes on it. That’s because they’d rather get into a wreck than drive a dork mobile.

To test this, I emailed the following to AAA:

“I have a problem when parallel parking on 50 MPH roads where I try to cross (there is no cross walk) and I almost get hit everyday because I can not see the black and gray cars.

I noticed that you suggest bright colors for cyclists:

http://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/bike-safety/

Since the roads are so deadly there are almost no cyclists on these roads. There are many cars.

Can you please recommend bright colors to motorists as well so we can get to and from our cars safely?

Can you please sponsor a bill which states that if a car is not brightly colored and it’s hard to see then the one driving this car is automatically liable for the accident? Often dark clothing is given as a reason. I can see people walking on the street with my car because it has headlights, and I drive slowly enough to stop at any time.
Plus, pedestrians are slow. Cars literally come out of no where due to the dark colors even during the day.

The car below, for example, has a good mix of colors to be seen in any kind of daylight:

I have tried to get them to slow the speed limit, but I have heard there’s a law which prohibits this obvious safety precaution. 50 MPH roads and parallel parking do not mix!

Can you please propose a solution which still allows me to park near my gym, but not be faced with almost certain death, daily?

Certainly your organization is in favor of brightly colored cars and slower speed limits, both obvious solutions which will save many of your member’s lives.”

The response was:

“Dear Mr. Unbound,

Your email to Ms. Yolanda Cade, Managing Director, AAA Public Relations was received and referred to my attention. Thank you for sharing your concerns and ideas regarding cycling safety. Car buyers often ask, “What color car is safest?” Unfortunately, the relationship between car color and safety is not at all clear, because only two scientific investigations of the matter have been conducted to date, and the authors of both studies admitted that they were not able to draw clear or generalizable conclusions. The relationship between car color and safety is complex. Background color (trees, desert, etc.), weather conditions (rain, fog, snow),and daylight have a profound effect on conspicuity. In addition, any study of the relationship between car color and crashes must consider all confounding variables including age, sex, weather conditions, and the time of day that the crash occurred.

It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a safer solution for parking your vehicle when you visit your local gym. A good start may be to discuss the safety concern with your gym, and also with your local city planning department. Traffic Engineers are tasked with this solving these types of issues, but they often don’t know about them, because they aren’t reported. We suggest visiting the League of American Bicyclists website for more information on safety techniques for riding in the traffic situations your faced with daily. We welcome your feedback at any time and thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/education/courses.php”

My response:

“Thank-you for your reply.

Knowing that a single color is not safe in all conditions, will you
please take down the advice to those of us trying to get to our cars
to wear bright colors?

As you said, the relationship between color and safety is not clear.

Does not advice to wear bright colors give us a false sense of
security? Shouldn’t cyclists and pedestrians be advised that bright
colors have questionable if no benefit at all?

Finally, can you please advise the NHTSA and police reporting agencies
to stop using “dark clothing colors” as a “cause” for pedestrians and
cyclists being hit by automobiles?

I feel that for all modes, useless safety advice is worse than no advice at all.”

I still have not gotten a reply.

Apparently the AAA is deliberately giving useless safety advice to cyclists and pedestrians which they know is so crazy that most people will not follow it. This way they can protect their members when they kill us.

Cyclists, pedestrians, and yes, even motorists deserve better.

Creating a system where there’s a certain death for 30,000 plus people a year is wrong.

Boycott AAA until it puts out some real safety information such as slowing down cars, getting dangerous drivers off the road, and supporting safer infrastructure for all mode users.

85% Reduction in Injuries and 88% Reduction in Head Injuries

March 15, 2013

LTRs know that the above title is a paraphrase from a paper I despise:

A case-control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets by Thompson, Rivara & Thompson. New England Journal of Medicine 1989, Vol 320 No 21 p1361-7.

This is the single most cited paper in all the public agencies in the United States.

I personally think that the Thompson paper is either garbage or highly misrepresented–I’m not smart enough to know which–but I do feel that we need to prove Thompson wrong.

However, Thompson is a peer reviewed paper and that gives it a lot of weight with many people, including me until I looked further into it.

There is a lot of back and forth on whether the famous quotation means what people think it means:

“In regression analyses to control for age, sex, income, education, cycling experience, and the severity of the accident, we found that riders with helmets had an 85 percent reduction in their risk of head injury (odds ratio, 0.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.07 to 0.29) and an 88 percent reduction in their risk of brain injury (odds ratio, 0.12; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.04 to 0.40). We conclude that bicycle safety helmets are highly effective in preventing head injury.”

Critics are often called idiots because we don’t understand odds ratio. I don’t know what that means.

But I do know this, I’ll be $1000 to the first person responds that next time there’s a new Mandatory Helmet Law, accounting for the changing population of cyclists, there will NOT be a 88% reduction in brain injury. No weaseling out this time. I don’t care if people wear helmets or not. I’m saying that if there’s a MHL in a state such as California, the next year, there will NOT be 88% less brain injuries in cyclists.

It’s easy to quote papers and call people idiots, and in this case it’s easy for me to make a thousand dollars. Yes, the Unbound household has a budget for extorting fools who believe in this nonsense.

There has been a lot of criticism to this paper. [http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1068.html]

“Numerous studies show that virtually all cyclist deaths and the vast majority of debilitating brain injuries are caused by collisions with motor vehicles. According to one source, not a single helmeted cyclist in the TRT89 study was in collision with a motor vehicle (Snell).”

Plus According to the law (below), the government should do a _comprehensive_ review of the literature. A comprehensive view shows that some studies show a strong safety effect for helmets including MHL, some studies show that helmets are useless, and some show that MHL actually increases risk to cyclists including head injuries.

“With respect to influential scientific information disseminated by the DOT organizations regarding analysis of risks to human health, safety, and the environment, DOT organizations will adopt, with respect to the analysis in question, quality principles of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 300g-1(b)(3)(A) & (B), except where the agency adapts these principles to fit the needs and character of the analysis. These principles are as follows:

“Use the best available science and supporting studies conducted in accordance with sound and objective scientific practices, including peer-reviewed studies where available.

Use data collected by accepted methods or best available methods (if the reliability of the method and the nature of the decision justifies the use of the data).

In the dissemination of influential scientific information about risks, ensure that the presentation of information is comprehensive, informative, and understandable. In a document made available to the public, specify, to the extent practicable:

Each population addressed by any estimate of applicable effects.

The expected risk or central estimate of risk for the specific populations affected.

Each appropriate upper bound or lower-bound estimate of risk.

Each significant uncertainty identified in the process of the risk assessment and studies that would assist in reducing the uncertainty.

Any additional studies, including peer-reviewed studies, known to the agency that support, are directly relevant to, or fail to support the findings of the assessment and the methodology used to reconcile inconsistencies in the scientific data.”

[http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/subject_areas/statistical_policy_and_research/data_quality_guidelines/html/guidelines.html]

That’s a lot of verbiage. I think that the main point is that the NHTSA and the CDC should give both the lower bound and upper bound percent of people that they expect to be helped by helmets.

So the fact is that even among experts there’s no consensus for whether helmets help at all. A conservative approach, in the lack of any consensus, is to not say anything at all on an issue or to acknowledge the lack of consensus.

Further more, I have been made aware of a list of things that good researchers and public policy organizations do NOT do:

“They do not eagerly seek out the highest possible figures in a series of statistics, independently of their reliability, or otherwise, simply because they want, for whatever reason, to maximize the figure in question, but rather, they assess all the available figures, as impartially as possible, in order to arrive at a number that will withstand the critical scrutiny of others.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denialism]

So even if Thompson had a nice study, over 24 years ago, this single number should not be used to build all of public policy regarding helmets.

Know Your Representatives: Dan

March 11, 2013

A legend in the California cycling world commented on my little blog yesterday making me feel really happy.

https://cyclingunbound.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/the-myth-of-better-enforcement/

Dan, in 2013, is President of Cabo:

http://www.cabobike.org/about-us/board-of-directors/

One of the organizations which represent, you, as a cyclist, to the great state of California.

And he seems to be similar to the others in the VC crowd:

Here’s a video of him since I can’t find an online photo in less than 5 google minutes:

1. Does not care for Dutch infrastructure, though he does not seem to know much about it:

Here’s some of his posts:

http://www.cabobike.org/2009/11/08/problems-with-bike-lanes-striped-solid-to-the-intersection/

LTRs will know what his mistake as: NIH (not invented here).

Why bother with these silly diagrams when the solution has all ready been discovered, implemented, and successful:”

http://wiki.coe.neu.edu/groups/nl2011transpo/wiki/ba51e/15_Dutch_Intersection_Design.html

2. He seems to adhere to the “VC creed”:

“A culture of segregated disempowerment dependent on paint and paths is artificially high in North America because of discriminatory traffic laws
and inferior road behaviors perpetuated across the continent over the last century.”

Notice how he thinks that safer roads “disempower” cyclists? He also feels that he is superior to others as those of us who just want the dangers for cyclists that the government built to be mitigated are “inferior”.

Finally, he tries to drum up civil rights fervor for basically a bunch of old white dudes who get off with mixing it up with high speed traffic with the word “discriminatory”.

Sad.

TRL Report PPR 580 FINDINGS: Infrastructure and Cyclist Safety: More VC Nonsense

March 8, 2013

I’m continuing my love affair with the UK with my review of this report that recently crossed my desk:

TRL Report PPR 580 FINDINGS: Infrastructure and Cyclist Safety

“The Department for Transport commissioned TRL to conduct a literature review to consider the
role of infrastructure in relation to the safety of cyclists and their interaction with other road
users.”

What could be more fun than a literature review?

Unfortunately, a review this is not because it has NO references. Not show a single reference and making assertions without a single citation is garbage level research.

Furthermore, their findings contradict some things that I have discovered in my own readings of the literature.

“Overall, it proved problematic to draw firm conclusions from the literature.”

YES! If they had just stuck with this mantra, we’d be all good. Unfortunately, right after saying that it’s hard to have conclusions, they start taking conclusions based on zero evidence, speculating, and making recommendations.

“Taken as a whole, the
most significant infrastructure-related risk factors for cyclists in single vehicle incidents on
highways appear to be slippery roads (due to weather) and poor or defective road surfaces.”

I don’t know the UK literature, but in the United States the biggest problem is speed of a cyclist. Is there a reason that they don’t want to put this here? I can only speculate myself, but VCer do NOT talk about slowing down cyclists even though riding slowly and cautiously is the single most important thing one can do to be safe.

” For
multi-vehicle collisions, the main infrastructure risk factors appear to be posted speed limits and
encounters with other road users at junctions.”

Yes to speed limits. I found this with Australian crash data, the only data that actually gave a table of posted speed limits correlated with fatalities and injuries.

Junctions? Yes and no. Again there are many, many collisions. The most deadly appear to be from behind.

Vehicular cyclists like to sweep this risk under the rug because it would mean that infrastructure makes one safer (it does) and that vehicular cycling is dangerous and foolish (it is).

http://www.devon.gov.uk/cyclist_casualties_webpages.pdf

Depending on how you look at it junctions were 50% or less accidents. There’s the urge of VCers to reclassify everything as a junction in order to get the stats up, but in the pie graph I linked to, 50% of collisions are not even near a junction. This is far from a literature review, but it shows how little work is required to disprove something which sounds good to those who have taken classes but is not supported by all the data.

Also, in the above data, collisions from the front of the bicycle were 51% which means that in almost half the cases, the cyclist was struck from either the sides or behind.

Plus, only 12% of cyclists were faulted. Thus, lane positioning or other types of voodoo would have not helped in 86% of the cases.

Other literature shows that the impact speed at collisions tends to be less than that of mid-block which is because often motorists slow down or even stop at junctions; something that they seldom do mid-block.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-accidents-study

“The data, which was analysed by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), showed that more than a quarter of all cycling deaths in 2005-07 happened when a vehicle ran into the rear of a bike. This rose to more than one-third in rural areas and to 40% in collisions that took place away from junctions.”

“Of all interventions to increase cycle safety, the greatest benefits come from reducing motor
vehicle speeds.”

I agree 100% with this statement.

“Reducing the speed of
traffic through junctions appears to be an effective approach to reducing cycle casualties, and
physical calming methods are a reliable means of achieving such a reduction.”

No. There are many treatments which are available, but this stupid paper doesn’t list them. I wonder if “comprehensive” means “made up off the top of the head by the author” instead of “looking at wide variety of sources.”

“Providing segregated networks may reduce risks to cyclists, although evidence suggests that the
points at which segregated networks intersect with highways can be relatively high-risk,
sometimes of sufficient magnitude to offset any safety benefits of removing cyclists from the
carriageway.”

I never, ever saw evidence of this. Furthermore, cycle tracks are seldom made without follow up studies, treatments at junctions (which I personally consider to be PART OF INFRASTRUCTURE). SINCE MAKING JUNCTIONS SAFER IS PART OF INFRASTRUCTURE, IT MAKES NO SENSE TO SAY THAT INFRASTRUCTURE MAKES THINGS MORE DANGEROUS.

” A number of infrastructure interventions that are not widely used in the UK have been
implemented on the continent to increase safety at junctions.”

YES!

“Particular examples include cycle
lane markings continued across junctions, cycle pre-signals and Trixi mirrors (mounted below
signal heads to allow drivers of heavy vehicles to see cyclists at their nearside). The literature
suggests that, appropriately applied, the former two approaches can have a beneficial effect on
cycle casualties.”

Yes, yes.

“Reducing the speed of traffic through junctions
appears to be an effective approach to reducing
cycle casualties. This can be achieved by side entry
treatments, raised cycle track crossings and
signalisation of large roundabouts, for all of which
there is evidence of a casualty reduction benefit for
cyclists. Traffic calming in general, including
features that reduce traffic speed through junctions,
such as raised tables, is likely to be of benefit to
cyclists, although care should be taken with some
features, such as road narrowings and the
placement of speed cushions, that they do not
increase conflict between cyclists and other road
users.”

Great!

“Although speed reduction may provide benefits,
cyclist injuries involving heavy goods vehicles
(HGVs) at junctions were often found to take place
at low speed. This suggests that relative
positioning and visibility of the cyclist may be a
key factor in these incidents.”

NO! Stopping mixing lorries with bicycles and getting better lorry drivers is the answers you are looking for. A SHITTY DRIVER CAN KILL SOMEONE IN A CANARY SUIT AS DEAD AS SOMEONE IN GOTH GETUP!

“Providing segregated networks may reduce risk to
cyclists in general, although evidence suggests that
the points at which segregated networks intersect
with highways can be relatively high-risk,
sometimes of sufficient magnitude to offset any
safety benefits of removing cyclists from the
carriageway. This may be particularly the case if
segregated networks remove cyclists from
relatively low-risk links but then increase their
exposure at junctions.”

I have not seen any separated infrastructure that increased exposure to motor vehicles at junctions or otherwise. Note that, like other nonsensical assertions, there’s not any reference here. This is purely speculative.

http://cottenhamcyclist.blogspot.com/p/stats.html

“3% of all collisions leading to deaths or serious injuries took place on bike lanes…”

Ah, the wonders of 5 minutes of google. 🙂

“Piecemeal implementation
of such an approach, however, is unlikely to be
satisfactory, and careful consideration needs to be
given as to the best sequence in which to introduce
measures.”

I agree 100%. No network, no right to cycle, no cycling safety.

This study repeats the debunked notion that “facilities” make things more dangerous at junctions at least four times. There’s some strange verbal tic going on here which has to be based in VCdom as it’s not based in any facts I have seen. Overall, “cycling facilities” take junctions into account and thus, it’s kind of stupid to say that “building facilities, which make junctions safer, will put cyclists at risk in junctions.”

TRL Report PPR 580 another complete waste of government money promoting someone’s personal agenda without regard for facts nor common sense.