Friday, August 29, 2008

Talk of the Nation (NPR): Cars vs. Bikes

In case you missed the 30 minute NPR discussion of increased cycling and the issues this has caused to surface, including the Rob Anderson lawsuit in San Francisco that he brought against its bike plan, here is the link.

Interesting discussion.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fatal crash in the Jemez

Someone asked me about this. This is a snippet of the Albuquerque Journal article sent me by Ben Savoca and Diane Albert. Sounds like he lost control of the bike.

I'm not sure where exactly Spence Hot Springs are, but plenty of fast descents on NM-4 where things can go badly wrong. No definitive information in the entire article on why he lost control. Speculation includes a blown front tire. On a fast descent, a lot can happen to make things go wrong.

Condolences to the family.

Bicyclist Killed in Charity Ride

By Rozanna M. Martinez
Journal Staff Writer

...Michael S. Berry, 40, was participating in the Rio Grande Bike MS Atomic Ride, a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis.
The event began Saturday in Bernalillo and went through the Jemez Mountains to Los Alamos. The cyclists then returned to Bernalillo by the same route on Sunday.
Berry was riding on N.M. 4, near the 24.5 mile marker, about 9:20 a.m. when he lost control at a turn, went into a ravine and hit his head on a rock, according to Sandoval County Undersheriff Tim Lucero. Berry was pronounced dead at the scene, just south of the Spence Hot Springs parking lot.
The cyclist was thrown 8 to 14 feet before crashing into the rock. He was wearing a helmet, Lucero said....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Darwin Award?

Was riding in to work this morning a little later than usual (yeah, its Monday). Passed by Mountain School and saw some students on bicycles waiting at the crosswalk to cross as pedestrians. They crossed safely (looked both ways, checked to see that traffic stopped) into the schoolyard and had helmets fitted properly.

Crossing Urban, two youngsters crossed Urban safely on their little scooters, headed towards Mountain School. Both were wearing helmets mounted correctly.

Got to our High School and was waiting at the light at the Mobil station. A H.S. student rode down the sidewalk and crossed in the crosswalk as he chatted with someone on the cell phone. No helmet. He then proceeded to ride down the wrong side of the street, in a little gap between cars and the curb, and then cut diagonally through traffic to get to the school parking lot.

Wonder what happens between grade school and high school to gain all those bad habits.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Are Peds Moving Targets too?

A couple weekends ago, the New York Times ran a feature called "Moving Targets" regarding friction between cyclists and motorists. To wit, all those cyclists on The City's streets might consider jerseys with bullseyes on back.

I have not seen much of that attitude here, but wonder sometimes whether some of our cycling brethren consider pedestrians to be "moving targets". Twice in the last few days I saw cyclists blow through crosswalks full of people, defying law and common sense and getting incredulous looks in return. In one case the crosswalk was full of parents walking small children to school; they were crossing Urban by Urban Park to get to Mountain School.

A triathlete tried that "split the peds" stunt near my home in Hawaii some years ago while hurtling down a similar, fast descent that went past a grade school with a crosswalk. She hit a kid, seriously injuring the child. She might have needed to buy a wind trainer for her bike, since she was charged with a traffic felony and could have been facing some training time in the Greybar Hotel.

Ferchrissakes, be careful out there and show some class! If you don't like bad traffic stuff to happen to you, then don't impose it on others. That's what the Golden Rule says, right?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How You Can Ride Better

That's the title of a League of American Bicyclists web page with loads of information on riding, tips for better bike fit, a lot about safety, maintenance, etc. Lots of this is in the League Road I course that Neale has been busily teaching this summer.

Highly recommend you visit the web page, and if this stuff looks interesting, sign up for the Road I course.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Done in by a bike path....

Fellow longtime cyclist Maynard Hershon (who has been writing about cycling for decades, see link on the right) was seriously injured by a bike path crash last week. As I have often said, paths are not panaceas when it comes to cycling safety. This exerpt, from the blog "a year of bike commuting" is a partial post from Maynard's close friend Tamar, explaining what happened.

"This is Tamar. Maynard crashed in deep sand under an overpass on the Cherry Creek bike path, near Quebec, Monday late morning. He was in the sand before he could see it, and also had just fixed a flat tire so the tire wasn't pumped up as well as it could have been with a floor pump. The sand washed up from the storm last Friday night. He crashed on some rocks which we think is what fractured his femur. It's his left leg. "

Indeed, the League of American Bicyclists claims "...a recent Federal Highway Administration study found that 70 percent of bicycle injury events in emergency rooms did not involve a motor vehicle and 31 percent of bicyclists were injured in non-roadway locations..." I suppose one of those injuries was mine, when I was riding through a parking garage (that was clearly posted with a "no bicycle riding" sign) in 1996 and I crashed on a poorly marked parking barrier, giving myself an A/C separation.

So be careful out there. Especially with all the construction, constantly moving mud, and heavy rain.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Double Bypass?

County Engineer Kyle Zimmerman recently asked me my opinion on getting through the Conoco Hill construction zone (aka the "Conoco Hill Mess") on a bike. I told him it was often a mess, but quite a manageable mess. The old expression "in order to make an omlette, you gotta break some eggs" applies. I'm looking forward to it being finished.

I'm not (and was never) happy that we went to an Interstate Highway version of the Diamond Drive reconstruction project instead of the "road diet" version, but that's the subject of another rant; maybe one I'll co-author with Jimbo over at the Bomb Town Blog. With four buck a gallon gas and skyrocketing use of the Atomic City Bus, not sure we need all that capacity.

Back to the Mess. I've been somewhat mystified that rarely on my bike rides through the Conoco Mess have I been hassled by anyone. I think it is so slow during what passes as our "rush hour" that having a cyclist in the mix hardly matters. Since I don't try to pass people on the right and scoot to the head of the line, I don't tend to get people annoyed with that antic.

But in general, I've been bypassing the Mess and riding around it: Arizona to 45th to Yucca to North and pop out on Diamond just past the Pajarito Complex. It adds about a mile to my commute, but a very peaceful and quiet mile and adds some badly needed exercise to this old coot's day.

What are others doing?

Friday, August 1, 2008

When cheap video and official truth collide

I'm no fan of critical mass rides. Too much acrimony, and we have found better ways to make progress to improve cycling. This story is an example of the acrimony, and of what appears to be official police misconduct in an escalation of the usual testiness between New York's Finest and the Critical Massers.

Thank heavens we have it much better here. Lets keep it that way.
About New York - When Official Truth Collides With Cheap Digital ...