Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cycling Angels and Devils Emerge In This Week's News

It's difficult to understand how we will get to Vision Zero, a state of no traffic related deaths.  The program being embraced by U.S. cities is modeled on similar ones in European cities.  Bad behavior in traffic is most dangerous, as a matter of physics, if your weapon weighs over 2000 pounds - about the weight of a mid-sized car.  Vision zero DC's online surveys have a reporting code includes bad cyclist behavior.  Bleh!  And it's where it should be, toward the end of infractions to be reported to transportation officials.  I have seen cycling offenders, but far less often than the angry drivers of cars and trucks. 

Capital Bike share is getting 60 new stations and 577 new bikes, the cost of which is over $3.5 million, or over $5700 per bike.  How can that be?  Well, the numbers include all of the infrastructure, and the cost of each bike is actually far less, closer to $1,200.  Some of my bikes (yup, plural, so judge me!) cost more than $1,200 so this does not get me all worked up.  Besides, I am willing to have my tax dollars cover this important service.  Want to see the breakdown?  Here's the Washington Post story.  Want to see why people should ride bike share?  Well, they can lose a lot of weight and save society a lot of money.  So it balances out.

How many people do you know who started riding to work and suddenly dropped a lot of weight?  Here are some amazing success stories from people who lost over 100 pounds, and dodged a life of Type-2 diabetes, lethargy, and negative social responses.  And they are draining society of fewer resources.  And they look better.  In some instances a lot better.

Have you ever been to Brazil?  The traffic can resemble chaos.  Now imagine riding a bicycle in such a place?  No, not on the beaches, but on the city streets, where no one has ever heard of driver's ed class, and horns are used in lieu of turn signals.  You'd have to get a coach to figure out how to ride your bike and stay alive.  And there are such coaches as this NPR piece explains.
Bait bikes work in Sacramento.  And, according to the police there, the people arrested for trying to steal bait bikes often have a long history of property thefts, bad tattoos, and a failure to live well among us.

Another week, another YouTube posting of a psychopath reaching out of a moving car to shove a cyclist into a ditch.  And you thought politics was vicious.

Trek, that stalwart, is moving its sales online.  What will this do to the local bike shop?  What will this do to Trek?  Stay tuned.

"Morally Depraved Person of the Week" goes hands down to the bike thief who took a 12 year old cancer patient's bike.  Which circle of hell did Dante reserve for this type of sub-person?

The cycling saint of the week goes to Mathew Portell (on the left, duh).  Portell runs the non-profit organization "Ride for Reading,"  which distributes books in low income neighborhoods by bicycle.  Just wow.  That's all.

So if I see you in the bike lane, distributing books, or riding that Trek you now need to have fitted by your local shop since you got it online, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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