Texting While Driving III

It appears Yankees are good for something. Charles Schumer, Senator from NY, has introduced a bill in Congress to cut Federal highway dollars to states that fail to enact texting bans. This came on the heels of a report from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute report on the dangers of texting and cell phone use while driving. Currently 13 states and the District of Columbia have texting bans in place or slated to take effect. The largest issue surrounding these laws is enforcement. Unless the act is seen it is difficult to prosecute although not impossible. My take is anything that makes road use safer, which this type of law has potential to do if enforced, is a good thing.

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How to Organize This

Boston has a new program to combat bike theft. A simple online form allows a bike owner to register their bike giving a full description and even allows photo uploads.

The hard part is GPD buy in. Despite the fact that the "take" from bike theft is four times higher than bank robbery (DOJ stats put bank robbery at 72.7M and bike theft at approx 225K units--it is estimated only 1 in 5 bike thefts gets reported so at an average value of $250 bike you have a take of over $281M) my guess GPD would cry "understaffed" to any request for a new/revamped program given they say as much in their FAQ about why they don't respond to certain crimes. Also, the bicycle registration form looks like it was designed back in the '70s and hasn't been revisited since (Banana seat? Give me a break!).

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Get a Hold of Yourself

This kid goes totally ballistic when his birthday present is a small truck that is, shall we say, a little pre-enjoyed. I think I would have broken him in two if he came at me with the bat. Not sure what he expected but given the rest of the vehicles visible in the stable I expect it was something for a total narcissist.


...From My Cold Dead Fingers

I'm guessing it is a sign of the times that bicycles are getting a bit more acceptance when they are lumped in with cell phones in a threat to confiscate either as a official government crackdown on antisocial youths in the UK. I'm having personal issues with how I feel about this one...

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And I Thought GSO Motorists Were Bad

Take a look at this video from Kansas City. A couple of the motorists slowed for the stop sign but nary a one even approached a state lacking in inertia. Some even were accelerating strongly when they were approaching the sign.

How can motorists even think about complaining about cyclist behaviour regarding stop signs when there own is so horrible?

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Waste Not Want Not

Bottled water has been popular for some time now among the health conscious. I've never bought into bottled water as being any better than filtered tap water, only more convenient when away from home. It appears I was right. Combine bottled water's lack of superiority over filtered tap with its imherent waste factor in the bottles and it appears we have a no brainer. Don't buy bottled water. This has gone so far in New Zealand that after banning plastic shopping bags (a bit short sighted IMHO--plastic bags are far cleaner to recycle than paper) the town of Coles Bay has banned bottled water. This action has spread to Australia where the town of Bundanoon has followed suit.


NC DOT Adopts "Complete Streets" Policy

Until now NC road designers had no requirement to add facilities to highways that accommodated any other users except motorists. Now a "Complete Streets" policy has been adopted that directs designers to consider the needs of non-motorists. The operative word there is "consider". Using costs of adding such infrastructure as a reason to drop plans from consideration is something that will have to be watched closely before we can call this a "win" for transportation outside of privately owned motor vehicles.

If You Can't Afford a Segway...

...Maybe this is in the cards for you.

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The Lance Effect

Is Armstrong a certified genius or just a total attention whore? From what I had been seeing leading up to this years TdF I assumed he didn't have the form to podium, much less win, the race. And yet yesterday he catapults from 10th to 3rd position on the GC and today with a little help from his "friends" he is now 0.18 seconds out of 1st place. Cancellara will fold in the mountains, that much is a foregone conclusion. Maybe not in the Pyrennees but definitely in the Alps. Will Armstrong hold together and will Contador hand over the reigns? Alberto is young enough to potentially eclipse Armstrong in TdF wins if he were to focus on that tour as Lance did. He's shown the strength to win any tour he decides he wants with Giro and Vuelta wins after his first TdF win. Prior to the TdF it looked like Armstrong was in the mix almost purely as a Livestrong/Cancer Research Awareness publicity stunt. Now it almost looks like he might have been sandbagging in the Stage 1 ITT in order to generate shock and awe during Stages 3 and 4.

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This Should Get Some Attention

The Kiwis know how to get your attention. I particularly like the police officer telling it like it is about "accidents".

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Texting While Driving II

The Averages

This not quite scientific study from Car and Driver magazine illustrates the dangers of Texting and Reading while driving. Their measurement methods seemed sound enough but their test pool was decidedly small (two people). Given this is a magazine devoted to cars and driving I would expect the drivers to be of above average skill levels. This makes the results all the more frightening. The driver reactions times were universally worse than if they were over the limt for Blood Alcohol Content, for some tasks much worse. Surprisingly texting produced worse results than reading when operating at high speeds. If no one is conducting a scientific, peer reviewed study of this nature then it needs to be done now. Legislatures have resisted making texting illegal because of a lack of evidence of any danger. This pilot study appears to indicate a huge danger. A proper study needs to be completed so the vehicle codes can be adjusted to reflect this danger given current distracted driving laws don't seem to be making a difference in curbing the problem.

The Results

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NAHBS Richmond, VA

The new site is up and the exhibitors list is building.

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