Monday, February 22, 2016

Is a man who is working as an Uber driver at the age of 45 surely better off dead?

Like most of us, I have no idea, yet, why Jason Dalton went batshit crazy and randomly gunned down six people (in addition to the wounded) in Kalamazoo. But for the sake of argument, I go back to a post I put up a few years back about Neil Allen Smith, the Crab Shack dishwasher who was nailed by a hit and run driver and left to die, and whose death was met with one of those anonymous and awful Internet comments "A man who is working as a dishwasher at the Crab Shack at the age of 48 is surely better off dead.".

Perhaps, fewer Jason Daltons would go off the deep end, and fewer Neil Allen Smiths would be left to die, if their lives were valued. My grandfather, an Italian immigrant who, according to my grandma, jumped from an Italian merchant ship and landed in the New World, found satisfaction in having a mundane blue collar job in a Chevy plant. Of course, back then, line workers were unionized, if not valued, and they put product out the door. In the case of that Tonawanda, NY plant, big Chevy engines that went into Corvettes were their prized product. With the paycheck from that job, Grandpa built a house a little south of Buffalo and had an acre of land he could farm after getting home from the assembly line. I learned gardening from him. Grandma had a basement canning factory that lined the walls of that basement with canned produce every fall. What finally brought Grandpa Mike down was not hard anonymous work, or even being forced to retire from GM in his sixties (he promptly found another job), but cancer. He flicked in his own life when his body gave out and he could no longer work his ass off. Did Mr. Dalton lack my grandpa's self respect and quiet fortitude, or have times changed? Beats me.

While the politicians and spokespeople for the pro and anti gun movements go on blathering, or as the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia would say, engaging in argle-bargle, the Neil Smiths and Jason Daltons go on dying or doing things that are really stupid and deadly. I see no end in sight.  But I did really enjoy Scalia on the Supreme Court, even when I was cussing him out. One has to respect intellect. But one has to respect middle aged Uber drivers and dishwashers, too, and not just with empty platitudes.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Update on Bike Day at the Capitol from the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization (NMMRO)

This is from Annette Torrez, Chair, NMMRO

The NMMRO and motorcycle community would like to thank you all for your support at Bike Day last Saturday. It was great to see so many of you there as we promote safety on our roads and higher penalties for those who injury us and are not held accountable.

I have some good and bad news:

Good news I saw Senator Lisa Terriaco last night at the Republican convention and she will sponsor our Careless Driving Bill next year and is really passionate about it. We need to start documenting all crashes on both sides.

Bad news is committee which she was heading to review current laws and updating the penalties has been put on hold indefinitely. So for now pushing the bill is our only chance to get this done.

Thank you again for your support it was our honor to team up with your community.

Sorry for delay in sending this email, Raymond and I both caught a cold after bike day

I included Rick Miera in this email.

Please forward this to the rest of your group.

We are putting video on Bike day to post on U Tube we will share with you.
Annette Torrez

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Randy Foster, Two Other Former LAPD Cops, Vindicated

Check out Carol Clark's Daily Post for the story. I always counted Randy as a friend a well as a damn good cop. Glad this is finally over and that he, Scott Mills, and Paige Early are successfully clear of that mess.

Hemphill law firm press release.

Former Acting Chief Randy Foster with Yours Truly back in better times, discussing bike stuff
photo credit: Carol Clark, LA Daily Post

Council Approves Funds For Construction Of Canyon Rim Trail Phase 2 Project

As reported in the Daily Post, Council voted 6-0 the award Bid No. 2016-12 in the amount of $1,764,764.05 plus applicable Gross Receipts Tax to Star Paving Company.  This provides for finishing the Canyon Rim Trail so it connects the east end by the Los Alamos Co-Op to the Smith's parking lot end.

The big ticket item is a bridge (similar to the one near the East end of the trail) to get the trail across the west end of DP Canyon (follow these links for a description and a map).  Thus, providing a walkable and bikeable alternative to NM 502 between the east end of town and Airport Basin/Food Co-Op and the Holiday Inn.

See Carol's report for more details and I'll post more here when I get them confirmed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2016 Bike Day at the Roundhouse Was Quite Well Attended

  I guess the bottom line for staging a rally is "have food, will rally". Somewhere between 40 and over 50 bicyclists (as well as at least a couple hundred motorcyclists) attended this year's Biker Day at the Roundhouse Rally, far eclipsing any previous bicycling turnout that I am aware of.

As I said at the podium, this is an important alliance, brought home all two well by two recent events: the killing of motorcyclist Andrew Wright, co-owner of a Platinum level bicycle friendly business (BTI) by a motorist who, as usual, "didn't see" a man on a full size Ducati motorcycle, and the serious injury of Nathan Barkocy, who was hit from behind  by a similarly clueless motorist while on a bicycle training ride in Albuquerque. Andrew's death points starkly to the need for higher motorist accountability and better driving. So does Nathan's injury, but in that case, it also points to a high speed road with a miserable to nonexistant shoulder. While the bicycling community tends to lobby for better facilities and the motorcycling facility (since they are in the travel lanes) for better accountability, we really need to work together for both. A three inch pavement lip on the shoulder (partial paving problem) will take down a guy on a Bianchi or a guy on a Harley. A texting, drunk, or clueless motorist is a danger to all of us, as we all are on the roads sometimes, whether by internal combustion or human power. So we need to work both these issues, and be back for the 2017 60 Day session.

Inside the Roundhouse. Plenty of lycra
amidst the leather
 Photo by Dan Majewski
This year's bicycle part of the rally was fantastic. Kudos should go to Tony Farrar, owner of New Mexico BikeNSport, for hosting the pre-rally gathering at his shop and contributing goodies, to the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico for providing pizza, to Annette Torrez and the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization for as always, welcoming the bicycling community to join what initially started as a motorcycle rights rally entirely, BikeABQ for staging riders coming up from Albuquerque, and to Jackie Shane who safely led the group, many who were from out of town, from BikeNSport to the Roundhouse. Also, thanks so much to Jennifer Buntz, who started working with Annette and NMMRO about six years ago and laid the foundation for bringing bicycling into the rally via the Duke City Wheelmen. Jennifer and several DCW folks joined us at the rally.

A BIG turnout! 
Photo by Dan Majewski
As reported by BikeABQ, NM House Memorial 76: "A memorial declaring February 13, 2016 "Bicycle Awareness and Safety Day" in the house of representatives and supporting bicyclist Nathan Barkocy and Coach Stephen Williamson."was passed in time for the rally. Thank you, Rep. Matthew McQueen and NM House! Now, if the House and Senate would pass a joint resolution banning partial paving, I would REALLY be happy. NMMRO gave several talks emphasizing the need for greater motorist awareness and due care when out on the road. Jennifer and I reiterated that idea, in the context of the enhanced penalty bill that has been introduced repeatedly by now retired Rep. Rick Miera. For the first time, NMMRO specifically called out Senator Michael Sanchez, Dem floor leader, for his steadfast opposition to holding motorists more accountable via that enhanced criminal penalties bill. I also spoke on the need for a statewide Complete Streets bill and for an end to partial shoulder paving.

Annette Torrez, chair of NMMRO, at the podium 
with many leaders of the MC community. Jennifer Buntz 
and Yours Truly on the left 
photo BikeABQ
I have to admit that running this had me on the verge of a nervous breakdown given the rally was less than two weeks after my knife fight with the surgeon. But this all turned out pretty well.

We ate pizza and staged at New Mexico Bike N Sport
photo BikeABQ
 This year was a 30 day session. Let's follow up next year with an even bigger rally and collaborate with NMMRO on a statewide complete streets bill, an and to partial paving, and resurrect that enhanced penalty bill.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Go Fund Me In Progress For 15 Year Old Albuquerque Aspiring Cyclist

from Gene Dougherty
Hi all,
A gofundme fundraiser raised $44000 already for Nathan Barkocy:

Maybe some other form of support/recognition?
Story here on KOAT

Cyclists rally around injured rider

Driver who hit Nathan Barkocy faces reckless driving charge

"...Barkocy’s father says the teen is out of the Intensive Care Unit, opening his eyes and is able to communicate using gestures. He was also smiling when the Broncos won the Superbowl.
After more physical therapy, he’ll be moved to a rehab facility..."