2009-06-29

The Future of US Pro Cycling


liamlivestrong.MP4 -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Just wish Liam would wear his helmet properly. He has no protection from a face plant here.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-24

Fair Weather Rage

From the Guardian newspaper in the UK we get this interesting bit of reporting about how the sun brings out the worst in people. I was struck by how true the bits about cyclists and joggers rang out. If only people would put a little research into etiquette of a sport before trying them out.

For cyclists on multi-use trails:
  • Ride right, pass left.
  • Signal when you are overtaking both other cyclists and pedestrians. I know some people plug their ears with headphones but at least if you try to signal then you have a defense in the event of a crash. As near as I can tell "On your left" means nothing to the general public though it should mean something to cyclists with any significant experience. I would recommend calling out "Passing, on your left" instead. The comma is to indicate a pause in the call to allow the person time to register that someone is talking to them.
  • Keep your speed down especially when passing pedestrians--if you want to push the edges of your envelope then take it on the road. Use the trails for recovery rides and aerobic training. Ideally you should be coasting when going around pedestrians, this will create a continuous noise from your cassette (unless you're riding a fixie in which case you just got launched off your bike by the pedals) that will tell the overtaken where you are. Obviously this won't work when passing large groups or going up hill.
  • Use some common sense in passing, if there is oncoming traffic when you desire to pass someone in front of you, wait for a safe gap. Don't try to split the space between the traffic. You wouldn't want motorists doing the same to you, would you? Remember, most of the pedestrians have cars too.
For pedestrians:
  • Walk right, pass left. Don't walk on the left on right of ways not used by motor vehicles. The only time you should be walking left is on roads without sidewalks. Don't confuse this exception with the rule from common law. Walking down the center makes you particularly difficult to overtake--from my experience there is about a 60/40 split between center walkers the split right or left respectively when the realize they are being overtaken (except those who hold their line).
  • Check over your shoulder before turning around in the middle of the trail. Nothing is causes more anxiety in cyclists then joggers that pull a sudden button hook turn in the trail as they are preparing a pass.
  • If you hear someone trying to overtake you, hold your line. An overtaking cyclist has been trying to figure out how to pass you for some time before they get to you. If they signaled they are just letting you know they are coming, they are NOT saying get out of the way (unless you are a group that is covering the whole trail). Dodging suddenly to one side is a great way to get run into. No cyclist will intentionally hit you unless they are insane in which case they will likely make another run at you if they missed you after the dodge.
On Yer Bike!

2009-06-23

DIY Bike Lane

The video above is for a prototype rolling bike lane generator that uses lasers to generate the lines. Looks promising but the video displays some horrible lane positioning which I believe comes from cyclist inferiority complex. Note how far into the door zone the rider is positioned around the two minute mark.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-19

Velophobia?


While the USA would appear to be getting at least a little friendlier towards cyclists (Colorado being an exception), Australia is becoming down right hostile. New laws have gone into effect that bring extremely stiff fines to cyclists. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact there are no reciprocating laws for motorists. I read over the laundry list of infractions listed in the news article and my thought was that if there was an equivelant statute for motorists, scaled up to match the danger motorists bring to the roadway, these might be a good thing. But from what I can tell there is no motorists equivalents (although there may be lesser penalties):
The maximum penalties under the new act include:

DANGEROUS riding - $13,610 or prison for twelve months or both.

CARELESS riding of a bike - $681 for a first offence and $1361 for a subsequent offence

IF a person is killed or seriously injured by a cyclist and the rider has not immediately stopped and offered assistance - $68,052 or five years in prison

IF property is damaged by a cyclist and the rider has not immediately stopped and offered assistance - $284 or seven days in prison for a first offence and $567 or prison for between seven and 14 days for a subsequent offence.

Unfortunately the article didn't define dangerous or careless riding so who knows what that could entail. Even given the weakness of the Aus$ these penalties are a bit steep when compared to the same type penalties in the USA.

Oh and in case you weren't aware, Oz has an all ages helmet law. That was successful in reducing ridership by a substantial margin.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-18

It Seems Like A Good Idea...

...but is it? Columbia, Missouri has passed a new ordinance that makes harassment of cyclists a misdemeanor. It seems like a good thing but I wonder--Isn't throwing objects at people, verbal assault, and threatening with a deadly weapon (a motor vehicle) already covered by existing assault and battery ordinances? Anyone who knows me knows I object to complicating an already complicated legal code with needless duplication. Why create a special ordinance when the actions being legislated against is already covered by the legal code?

On Yer bike!

2009-06-16

Texting/E-Mail Ban While Driving

A bill still has life in the NC Senate to ban texting and e-mail while driving. There is some rather odd (read ignorant) commentary in the article as well as spurious exceptions in the bill. Let's start with the odd:
The bill's opponents said it would be difficult for police to determine when someone was using a cell phone to send text messages or e-mail instead of simply dialing a phone number, which is not illegal.
Now while it might be difficult to tell the difference at a glance there are plenty of news reports that clearly indicate the cell companies keep detail logs of all transactions (given how much they make on texting it behooves them to do so).
The bill makes exceptions for police officers and emergency personnel.
Why would there be an exception for these people? They are no less prone to distracted driving as anyone else. They need to pull over to use an e-mail/text device safely. All emergency responders have radios in their vehicles and usually on their persons so what need have they for texting while driving?

Finally the penalties:
Drivers caught texting or sending e-mail would be charged a $100 penalty but would not receive points on their drivers license or insurance.
This like most driving infractions penalties is much too low in my opinion (and others reading the comments section of the News and Observer). The main purpose this statute will serve is to make it easier to prosecute someone who's neglect causes a crash/injury/fatality.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-12

Get 'er Done!


Failblog says Fail, I say otherwise.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-04

Bike Hazard Reporting Site

BikeWise is a reporting site for bicycling hazards and facilities short-comings. I've added several entries for hazards and facilities failures (non-functional traffic signal vehicle sensors). It will be interesting to see if local authorities make use of the data gleaned from this site.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-03

REI Recall


REI is recalling one of its road bikes from 2005 due to fork/steerer tube separation.

Description: This recall involves 2005 Novara Trionfo bicycles with Aprebic
carbon fiber forks. The bicycles are blue and white with black forks, and have
the name “Novara” printed on the bars.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bicycles and return them to an REI retail store a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact REI at (800) 426-4840 between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at http://www.rei.com/

On Yer Bike! (Unless it happens to be a '05 Novara Trionfo)

Cycling in the Movies


The Flying Scotsman is a docu-drama about Graeme Obree, a Scottish cyclist of the 90's that succeeded in turning track cycling upside down with several innovations despite the challenges of a lower class upbringing and battling mental illness. The movie makes a brief visit on his childhood and quickly moves to young adulthood where he is struggling to make ends meet as a bike shop owner and bicycle messenger. While on a ride he gets some inspiration on how to become dramatically more aerodynamic. This quickly escalates into a plan to go for the Hour Record and his first encounters with the WCF (now known as the UCI). To go further steps into serious spoiler zone so I'll stop here.

I highly recommend this movie to cyclists and recommend it to persons dealing with mental illness, either their own or a loved one. The mental illness issues were somewhat glossed over but one scene in the movie where it is dealt with is absolutely fantastic.

On Yer Bike!

2009-06-01

Ian Terrell

More info on the Mebane cyclist death.

The State Highway Patrol said it is consulting with the Orange County
District Attorney's office bout possible charges relating to the wreck.

This should be interesting to see if charges are filed. It appeared there would be none from the first reporting but this report paints a different picture. The biggest problem will be lack of credible witnesses (can't expect the driver to tell the whole truth if it could put her in prison).