Speed Kills Myths

January 27, 2014

Speed Kills Myths

http://jalopnik.com/this-is-the-best-takedown-of-the-speed-kills-myth-you-1302382244

It starts out by admitting that actually speed does kill. Then it back pedals to talk about how speed limits are too low for “conditions”.

In many ways I agree, I think “conditions should change”.

That is, in contrast to those who made this video, I am 100% against enforcement of speed limits. I think all speed limit signs should be removed and enforcement should only be done when the motorist “exceeds conditions” which is a judgment call for the police officer. This is one of the standards for enforcing the speed limit now so this isn’t really a big change.

So I actually agree with the sentiment of the video, but, as usual, my videos are a lot less milquetoast than their’s.

This policy would educate communities that in order to slow people down, they should use traffic calming.

However, my dreams are not reality and the makers of these videos are not advocating anything that’s feasible. In fact, they get a lot of their “facts” wrong.

For example, I don’t know the laws in Canada, where the video was made, but in the United States, according to the 85% percentile, and a law that has no basis in safety, requires continual raising of speed limits by law. This is one law that, at least in the US, that we refuse to bend. Knowing this, it’s absurd to think that “speed limits are too low.”

They didn’t get by a minute and a half before they dropped the “socialist” canard. All ready they are admitting every fact that I agree with but trying to emotionally manipulate one to doubt them.

Then it goes on to whine about speeding tickets. What happened to the law? Do we just routinely ignore laws that we don’t like?

I won’t repeat the links to where it shows that motoring speed is directly proportional to traffic deaths. This is the basis of “speed kills”. The video can not refute this fact.

Here’s the thing that really got me:

“I don’t want to ruin the crux of the story and the evidence, but the use of actual facts and logic to get rid of the notion that lower speed limits is mind blowing,”

Wow!

To me what’s mind blowing is the sheer level of carnage and the total level of callousness this video and post has to the millions of people who die in motor vehicle accidents. You’d think that they would even mention this fact since it’s the most salient part of the entire debate!

Instead they have law breakers, criminals in other venues, whining that they have to pay for breaking the law. The only reason that they are not arrested and incarcerated for their anti-social behavior is because the breaking of the laws is so common and flagrant that we don’t have enough jails to put people in. Also, because this is one of the few cases where “the public” overwhelming supports the killers of innocent people.

I suggest a better use of the brilliant “facts and logics” minds of those who made this video would be instead of whining about proper and just law enforcement, they should figure out how to stop motorists from killing so many people.

I suggest traffic calming, but I’m sure that these people would rather like to drive recklessly without any consequences even when they kill people. Then we’ll hear the same old insulting Motoring Trinity about “cyclists running traffic signs”, yellow vests, and helmets.

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Do Vision Problems Kill More People Than Alcohol?

January 23, 2014

There was a blog post not long ago who talked about how he was passed,
safely, by thousands of cars a year while cycling. So clearly all
these people saw him. Thus, he was visible. That is established fact.
Otherwise they would not have gone around him. Since he was visible
and a driver hit him anyway that means that CYCLIST VISIBILITY is NOT
the problem.

Otherwise, we would have been all dead long ago. This is awesome b/c
it kills off the whole yellow vest bullshit once and for all.

Not only that but since we are visible and aren’t seen and a motorist
says “they didn’t see us” this should mean a vision test at the scene.
Officers all ready conduct field sobriety (psychology) and breath
tests (analytical chemistry) why not optician (eye tests)?

Not only that but we need to collect stats on how many drivers say
phrases like “didn’t see him” and “came out of no where”. I suspect
that motorist reported vision difficulty kills more cyclists than
drinking and driving.

If so, then we need to seriously address vision as a problem and deny
people licenses when they report vision problems.

Cycling Safety: The Good and the Bad

January 21, 2014

I have been thinking about cycling safety interventions and some of them have appealed to me more than others.

Until now, I have not had the time to sit down to ponder why this is. Now I have.

Public safety interventions regarding cycling should make cycling more comfortable, more convenient, and more appealing. If they do not do so, then they are not intended to help cyclists at all.

Let’s look at interventions that make cycling more appealing

1. Separated direct routes. These interventions will connect neighborhoods and make cycling more fun on high speed streets. I don’t need to know that a street will suck to bike on. It probably all ready does. I still need to have them since San Diego traffic engineers decided to abandon the grid in favor of a strict separation of useful and easy arterials.

I can all ready ride safely and comfortably on side streets, so not only do they not need any improvements, but I usually they don’t go where I want.

2. Minimum sentencing for motoring infractions. We need to get the bad apple motorists off the road.

3. Proportional fines. Fines are regressive by nature unless they are proportional to assets.

4. Mandatory alternate transportation. Judges often allow dangerous motorists to keep motoring because “there’s no other way for them to get around.” If we built alternative places to live then we wouldn’t have this problem.

5. Economic incentives for cycling. Instead of “free” parking at grocery stores those who cycle will get a small discount on all purchases.

Stuff that does not help cyclists.

1. Side street improvements such as bicycle boulevards. Like I said above, the improvements are often superfluous and the notion of taking a round about way to get anywhere is an insult and will increase travel time and thus discourage cycling.

2. Mandatory safety gear. This is just more junk to worry about and thus will discourage cycling. Also, it’s doubtful whether a motorist who is dedicated to personal irresponsibility will see me in a yellow vest if she’s not looking at the roads.

3. Cycling “safety” classes. Cycling is safe all ready. Motoring not so much. More classes for cyclists won’t protect from irresponsible motorists. Also, some of the safety techniques are actually less safe than how I ride all ready. This is all ready documented elsewhere.

4. PR/Awareness Campaigns. In general these are both insulting, useless, while a minor bit of the advice is actually wrong or harmful. If PR campaigns were effective we’d use these to reduce congestion: “Please don’t drive so much.”

5. Bad infrastructure. A few years ago, I would not have put this because there were too many VC DBs would take this out of context and call _all_ infrastructure bad. By bad, I mean bike lanes that in the gutter or near driveways where cars pull into them without looking. I also mean round about cycling infrastructure that avoids arterials. I could go on. There’s a very, very bad example of infrastructure on Central Street near my house that has too many problems to list here.

6. Police crackdowns on cycling. You’d think this was obvious but it’s not. I consider these campaigns to be spiteful and malicious because it criminalize and discourages an activity that is safe, helps the local economy, is fun, and is healthy. Thus, those in power who stand by and let this happen, have betrayed the public and have show incompetence that should result in immediate termination of their position.

Collectivized Transportation

January 12, 2014

I find it to highly hilarious that the party of “rugged individualism” has collectivized transportation in terms of motoring by building Soviet Style Transportation Architecture.

What!

I thought bicycles were for commies?

Um, no. Cycling is almost universally hated. Thus, it has to be done by someone with a thick skin who doesn’t swing the way of the masses.

So here are some reasons that motoring, as it is done in the United States, is Soviet Style.

1. Soulless architecture. Just like the massive concrete blocks that serve as housing, the US motoring industry takes our beautiful environment and turns it into miles and miles of straight and wide concrete that looks the same no matter where you are America. Just like the Soviets wanted to melt all the nations into a gray amorphous mass, the motoring industry homogenizes the landscape of our once beautiful country.

2. Use of mental illness as a way of dealing with criticism. In the Soviet Union, dissidents were put into mental hospitals to discredit them. Under the motoring regime, we constantly hear how cyclists are “crazy for riding with the sharks.” In reality, cycling is a sane decision that is demonstrably superior to motoring in a vast majority of the cases where it’s given minimal support by the powers that be. Thus, the system needs to maintain the illusion that cycling is dangerous and crazy and we are denied all but the most rudimentary and sometimes insulting of resources.

3. Appeal to the masses over the individual. Roads and parking are made everywhere, whether we want them or not. Similarly, for the most part, provisions are made for motoring at the expense of all other modes of transportation.

The language used for this is to deny the rights of the individual and to marginalize one’s personal choices. “Everyone drives anyway” is a way of taking money and public space from individuals to give to the motoring collective.

4. Forced collectivization. In the Soviet Union, farms were taken by the government from individual farmers in order to build massive collective farms which were controlled by the state.

Our once vibrant and variable streets were taken by the Motoring Collective and turned into uniform areas under their control which is in the form of “standards”.

5. Totalitarian decision making. We never vote on freeway expansion or free parking minimum requirements. The only time we get to vote is to vote AGAINST cycling. Again, this is not done by individuals but by party members such as Small Business Owners. The safety of the individual is sacrificed to the motoring masses.

6. Massive propaganda programs. In the Soviet Union, people started to catch on that their lives sucked and that people’s lives were better elsewhere. In order to stave off dissent, the citizens were bombarded by the incessant messages that communism is best. Every time you hear someone say that there are “no alternatives to driving” or that “cycling is done by arrogant people”, you are hearing messages that are encouraged by the propaganda machine. Despite this massive public brainwashing, a few individuals assert their minimal rights to get around by cycling.

7. Government sponsored looting. In the Soviet Union the government took money away from individuals and pooled it in the hands of party members. In our Motoring Collective, the profits for cars and their maintenance take money away from each individual and give it to the very few profit holders in the motoring industry. Since motoring is all but mandated by the government, this is government enforced looting of the individual in order to give to Motoring Party Members.

In contrast, I have saved thousands of dollars each year. Instead of praising this individualism, I’m often told that I am a leech on society who “does not pay the road tax.” This silly phrase doesn’t take into account that the expensive road is necessary due to the massive costs of motoring. Thus, the “road tax” would not exist in its form if motoring were not so heavily subsidized by forced looting.

Why “Freeways” and “Free Parking” Are a Bad Idea

January 9, 2014

I saw this stupid article which is made by someone who doesn’t realize how much he leeches off those of us who don’t motor.

http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/why-free-public-transport-is-a-bad-idea/

1. Fairness. Not everyone can afford a car, can drive due to disease, youth, old age, or prior convictions. Designating some areas as “motoring only” essentially gives public space away for those who choose the motoring lifestyle and imposes this lifestyle on the rest of us.

Also, freeways tend to benefit those who don’t actually live near them the most by shipping companies and long distance travelers. Thus, they leech off those who have to deal with the noise and inconvenience, forever, while in a few minutes they are all ready in the next rest stop a few counties away.

The least we can ask for, in exchange for giving away, without compensation, our peace of mind, safety, and public space, is for those who use it pay directly back into the system by tolls.

2. Financial Stability. It seems like every decade or so we get a new plan which is going to end “congestion” by essentially taking public money and space and giving it away to a minority of our population. Then the problem recurs and it’s as if Ground Hog Day style, we forget that we just had this plan a few years ago and it failed. Since the roads are ever growing but the return is shrinking, we are doomed to financial ruin unless we get some revenue.

3. Crowding. No matter how wide our roads are there is more congestion. Just the idea that one can get to a very far location in “15 minutes on a good day” means that people will choose to live too far from work. Their commute will suck and they will ask for MORE public money to fix the problem that they created by living too far from work.

4. Impact on public health. Greater car use will result in more obesity, asthma, and personal injury due to inevitable accidents. Again, these costs are paid for those who don’t motor more so (look at childhood asthma and obesity rates).

5. Unpopularity. Ask anyone about their commute or the search for parking and you’ll get nothing but complaints. Thus, one has to start to question if motoring makes people so unhappy why are we spending MORE money on it?

6. Corruption. We’ll start to wonder more about the “jobs” and the profits of the motoring industries which steal from us while promising us benefits. All jobs are NOT created equal. The economic benefit we get from having more doctors or cooks is not the same as from hit men. Since motoring is so inefficient, it is going to cost the most money. This money gets into the hands of people who will use this money to bribe public officials, influence elections, and public opinion to convince them that “motoring is the only way” and that they “chose freely with no compulsion at all from all the choices in transportation which were equally funded and encouraged”.

7. Destruction of the free market. Only when we have an equal array of choices do we get any kind of economic “freedom”. If more money is going into motoring in terms of parking lots and freeways than other choices, we have essentially “picked winners and losers”. Only in the Soviet Union was the government so involved in market manipulation and that failed. Likewise, the motoring system will fail with the poorest of us being forced once again, for a bail out like we had in 2008. This will encourage another round of irresponsible spending and development.

Eric Britton has pretended that motoring is free and that society only pays for public transportation. Not only this is bad economics, but it is a highly misleading (and some might say dishonest) way to look at things.

Once again, we see some begging the question where the selective deletion of the most important fact, the absurdly high cost of motoring that the government extracts from the public whether we want it or not, has created a misleading framework where the conclusion is predetermined.

Sharing the Road Sucks

January 8, 2014

OK, I have been avoiding writing this for a long time because I didn’t want to give the idea that I’m angry or something. Haha! Cow left that barn long ago.

So I have been thinking about those people who feel that we should all “share the road” or that cycling puts a HUGE burden on motorists.

Here’s the burden of motorists without cyclists on the road.

1. Don’t crash into things.

2. That’s it. There is no #2.

Here’s the burden that cyclists add to motorists:

1. Don’t crash into things.

2. “Things” could be a bike (see #1) or it could be another car, a tree, a divider, an elderly person who wandered onto the road, a small child who ran out into the street and so on. It’s all just not crashing into things.

Here are the risks associated with cycling without cars:

1. Don’t crash into things.

2. Don’t fall off your bicycle.

Aside from children and the very old, I don’t know how people manage to do #2. #1 is a bit harder because when there are no cars around people seem to run willy nilly into the road without looking at all, but when there are cars around, people do the same, so it’s no big deal either way.

Here’s what cyclists need to do when there are cars on the road:

1. Don’t crash into things.

2. In a narrow lane, decide whether to pull off the road, “take the lane” or whether you can just keep on cruising.

3. Make sure you have lights.

4. Put on a helmet because well because they said so.

5. Wear hi viz clothing.

6. Stay out of the door zone.

7. Stay out of the travel lane except for #2. Oh, and #6.

8. Memorize the roads which cross freeways so you don’t get in a massive dead end which requires miles of back tracking.

9. Don’t fall off your bicycle especially when cars are passing dangerously close, yelling at you, and sometimes tossing garbage at you.

10. Watch out for debris that is “up to code according to the state” that can come flying off the road and hit you in the face with the force of a sling shot pellet.

11. Indicate and LOOK before getting on that freeway merge. Be sure to smile and wave to that kind person who moved his foot a few inches to avoid from killing a human being.

12. Ride single file and SHOUT to your loved ones over traffic or refrain from talking all together.

13. Memorize a bunch of laws just in case someone decides that you are riding illegally.

14. Check the smog reports in case the smog is so bad you’d collapse from inhalation.

15. I’m sure I’m missing some things here.

Oh, in no way think that I want to limit cars or motoring in any way. That would send the wrong message. Everything they do is perfectly OK with me. I LOVE having a huge list of shit to worry about every time I want to jump in the saddle and take a “relaxing” bicycle ride.

Pity the Pitiful Pedestrian

December 31, 2013

Every time there’s a story about cycling there are usually half a dozen pedestrians who comment. While pedestrians come from various walks of life, there is one thing in common with all of them. If Internet comments are to be believed, they are all unhappy.

Usually, they have zero problems with motorists despite the fact that motorists acount for nearly 100% of their deaths.

No, they like to pick on scofflaw cyclists only.

Are scofflaw cyclists a problem?

Yes!

However, scofflaw cycling is incredibly safe! Despite “every cyclists ALWAYS breaking the law”, scofflaw cyclists only managed to kill a single person a year or less. Not efficient at all. Compare that carnage to the number of “legal deaths”. (Note “legal deaths” are when a motorist kills someone but is not charged. The vast majority of people are killed legally.)

Thus, a scofflaw cyclists is actually safer than a law abiding motorist.

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2012/08/07/in-new-nhtsa-report-scarce-information-on-causes-of-pedestrian-deaths/

Still, I hold it near and dear in my heart that pedestrians ought to be respected. That’s why, at least once a day, I lock my brakes for a pedestrian who jay walks right in front of me without looking. In fact, most cyclists have a great deal of respect for pedestrians which is why they don’t call them out for being the hypocrites that they often are.

Ask yourself, did you follow every single pedestrian law? Always? You never ever broke a law? Because if you did and you bitch about cyclists, you’re a hypocrite. If you do think you follow all the pedestrian laws, name them. What is the vehicle code that allows you to walk on the sidewalk?

Most cyclists, at least in San Diego, can actually quote the vehicle code, from memory for every last maneuver that they make.

Again, I ALWAYS yield for pedestrians. I don’t expect them to be perfect. But I do expect pedestrians to realize that I’m not perfect, and I might not see you slipping through those rows of stopped cars. All I ask for is reciprical respect that pedestrians crave.

Who is NCUTCD?

December 19, 2013

This apppears to be a national organization devoted to keeping innovation out of traffic engineering. I don’t know about you, but there’s something soul crushing about the notion that we can’t have any diversity in traffic control devices. This should lead to stagnation in engineering practices and ultimately make streets safer than places where they are more free to experiment:

 

http://www.ncutcdbtc.org/members.html

 

I don’t have any problems with people expressing their own personal fears when it comes to innovation and change, but it kind of sucks when this backward thinking is entrusted to a nationally recognized organization.

 

As a left nut tea bagger this is yet another government organization abolished. Innovation should be allowed in every city in the United States.

 

Finally, this committee is packed with known VC DBs: John Allen who routinely overstates traffic deaths associated with dooring to manipulate people to “take the lane”. In a previous post he got punked when I asked him why there were so few dooring in Orlando. He doubled down in VCism despite this.

 

Then there’s¬†Mighk Wilson who until recently has kept Orlando as one of the top cities in the country for cycling danger.

 

One can only speculate how many people have either died or been deterred from cycling because committees like these have stood in the way of safer infrastructure for cycling.

 

 

 

 

Helmets Negatively Affect Cycling Perceptions III

December 18, 2013

cycling-tbi

[Above is a breakdown of traumatic brain injuries and their causes.]

Finally the good stuff from the study:

“As compared to nonwearers, helmet wearers reported significantly less Perceived Exemption from Harm and greater Perceived Danger of Cycling.”

So there you have it. People who want us to wear helmets have the belief that cycling is dangerous.

I suggest that if you think cycling’s dangerous, don’t do it.

“Helmet wearers reported greater or more Emotional Benefits and Safety Benefits than nonwearers.”

Again, those who want us to wear helmets are doing it for emotional reasons rather than a real thought at how we can collectively spend our helmet money on something more substantial and useful.

Also, those who wear helmets have an exaggerated notion of how protective they actually are. I know at least one intelligent person who has modified her stance from thinking helmets were the bees knees to acknowledging that she wears a helmet out of habit and to feel good. This was based upon detailed reading of crash stats including the recent rash of unfortunate deaths of helmeted riders.

“Others have found that Personal Vanity and Discomfort played little to no role in the decision to use a helmet; the current study, however, found Personal Vanity and Discomfort to be highly predictive of helmet use or nonuse. Perhaps the fact that this sample was predominantly female elevated the importance of vanity for predicting helmet nonusage.”

OK, first of all, let’s be insulting and belittling of female attitudes. Instead of “vanity”, I’d prefer to use something like a “Healthy Concern for One’s Image” or the like. But whatever, dismiss one of the most important things in human existence, beauty.

Now that we know that people don’t like to wear helmets because we realize that cycling is safe and that helmets don’t help much. Furthermore, we don’t like to look like dorks for marginal safety gains at best.

So what does the researcher want to do? Push people to wear helmets, of course.

“Researchers highlight the importance of peer pressure and discuss how social cues can genuinely induce intention, citing a need for more campus outreach by organizations and individuals to recommend bicycle helmet.”

In conclusion, in order to get people to wear helmets, we must make them think that cycling is more dangerous, helmets would probably save your life in cases when it doesn’t, and that one’s own personal appearance isn’t that important.

We’ll do this by wasting money which could be used for real safety to repeat the tired message that we have all heard so many times that many of us believe it: “wear a helmet or you’re an organ donor.”

In order to get more helmets on people’s heads, we need to surround ourselves with like minded people who all spout the same party line.

Instead of this dark future, I suggest that we stop manipulating statistics to cover up the fact that only a few thousand people a year hurt their heads in cycling and only a few hundred die. There are many other dangers out there that we accept without questioning which we are spending far less energy on.

Helmets Negatively Affect Cycling Perceptions II

December 17, 2013

Continuing where we left off yesterday. From the survey:

“Only 12% were self-reported helmet users; the
majority (72%) reported not wearing a helmet and having no intention to do so in the future.”

CDC [http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/prevguid/m0036941/m0036941.asp]

“Although bicycle helmets provide effective protection against bicycle-related head injury, only approximately 18% of bicyclists wear helmets all or most of the time.”

Also, the CDC notes how unlikely a person who’s hospitalized for head injury is to be adult: “During the same years, greater than 75% of persons treated in emergency departments for bicycle-related head injury were less than 15 years of age.”

“Conversely, in a study of patients warranting emergency room care for a serious bicycle-related head injury, only 4% of patients had been wearing helmets.”

But only 6% of the adults are there for head injury anyway so this would not have made a difference in the vast majority of cases. Why they are fixating on such a tiny number is beyond me.