Monday, September 22, 2014

"Daredevil biker" kills pedestrian in Central Park

A 59-year-old pedestrian, crossing the street in NYC's Central Park, was struck by a cyclist last week and the injury to her head proved fatal.  The STORIES I've read, and the comments following some of them, have generally been sympathetic to the pedestrian, and have called out the "maniac bikers" who are making life dangerous for innocent citizens.

I, too, am sympathetic.  Ms. Jill Tarlov, the victim, was allegedly crossing the street in a marked crosswalk when "fierce triathlete" Jason Marshall hollered a warning instead of stopping, and then struck Ms. Tarlov.

However, some questions need to be answered.  (I wasn't there - in fact, I've never stepped foot in Central Park.  So unlike so many "authorities," I need to refrain from being judge/jury/executioner... at least for now.)

Some people have stated flatly, "A pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right-of-way... period."

Not so!

At a "controlled" intersection - you know, with a traffic light and maybe a Walk/Don't-Walk sign, vehicles have the right of way when their light is green and the pedestrians have a "Don't Walk."

Do the crosswalks in Central Park have such features?  As far as I'm concerned, that's the only redemption Mr. Marshall might have.  And even then... it's shameful that he wasn't able to avoid the collision anyway.  A defensive rider would've anticipated a possible problem and been prepared to take evasive action.

(I once hit a pedestrian under slightly similar circumstances... except she darted without warning from between two cars, in the middle of a city block, right into my path.  I barely clipped her as I swerved to miss her, and slammed into the pavement.  She said "I'm sorry," and went merrily on her way... I hurt for probably 2 months afterwards.)

The speed limits in Central Park are 25mph... even a "daredevil biker" would have a difficult time maintaining a speed much faster than that.  (The story linked above says during his ride, Mr. Marshall hit a speed of 35.6 mph... but was he miles away and going down a hill or something?)

The main fact that the angry mob seems eager to ignore...?  This story is only newsworthy because it's so unusual!  How often does a bike rider kill somebody besides him or herself?  Hardly ever!  By contrast... in 2013, in New York City, 178 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in traffic aaccidents.  (Info HERE.)  It's a safe bet that all but one or two of those fatalities involved a motor vehicle.  So, when we're lamenting, "Something must be done about these daredevil bikers!!," let's just keep things objective and in perspective, huh?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Idaho drivers - RUDEST in the land!

If you're in Idaho, you've probably heard that we're number 1!  "We're Num-ber One!  We're Num-ber One!"  (But I haven't heard our governor boasting about it, or turning it into a campaign issue... yet.)

According to a poll of 2000 drivers taken by website, Idaho drivers are the rudest!  And our neighbors Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah are also in the Top Ten.

Apparently the SLOW Idaho drivers are rude for driving below the speed limit... and the FAST Idaho drivers aggressively speed around them and flip them off!

It goes without saying that Idaho cyclists can be lumped right in there.  Our slow-moving ways really annoy the NASCAR rejects in our midst.

In all honesty, I can't say that Idaho's impatient, aggressive, fast drivers are any different from their like-minded comrades in other states.  Surely even North Dakota (#51) has its share of hot-headed gear jammers.  And interestingly, Idaho's rude drivers apparently avoid accidents... we have some of the lowest auto insurance rates (#48) in the nation.

My favorite rude drivers are the ones that gun their motors to demonstrate their rudeness and lack of patience to the rest of the world... and then when they get a chance, it's pedal-to-the-metal, roaring exhaust and sucking that $3.75 gas as fast as the fuel pump will deliver it... and then half-a-block later they slam on their brakes to avoid rear-ending the next guy who's blocking their speedy trajectory.  So very impressive!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

4K miles for 2014

It wasn't so long ago that I was boasting of having ridden 3000 miles this year... and it being the 28th consecutive year of at least that many miles.  Well... as of yesterday, I've ridden at least 4000 miles every year, for the past 28 years.

Thank ya... thank ya verruh much.

(I won't be repeating the "28 year" mantra at 5000 miles... there have been several years over those 28, when I rode more than 4000 miles, but less than 5000.  Not since 2002, however.)

About 230 of those miles have been on the baby-seat bike, with granddaughter Bonnie.  Bonnie loves to go on bike rides!  Who can blame her for preferring it to riding in the car... facing backwards in a low-slung baby seat, so all she can see is a little sky through the back window?!!

(The ill-advised "selfie while riding with granddaughter" photo)

Some of those miles have been with both granddaughters, Bonnie and Mackie.  (Mackie propelling herself on her 24-inch bike.  She says it's not fair that she has to work, while Bonnie just relaxes and enjoys the ride.)

I continue to have a "writer's block" of sorts - thus the infrequent posts.  I'm riding... and I see lots of other people riding.  But it's generally "steady as she goes," and whenever I feel like commenting these days, it's generally commentary I've already put down in the past.

In fact, I'd say the bicycling population is as high as it's been over those 28 years, at least in Boise.  More and more people seem to be recognizing the many benefits of self-powered transportation.  At least during the warm months.  (And I believe September and October are the best months for bike riding in Boise, as a general rule.)

There are other bike-related things that occasionally catch my attention...

A texting Los Angeles sheriff's deputy killed a guy, and no charges will be filed because he was doing "official business."  This despite the fact that it's illegal for commoners to text in California.  I'd call it a travesty of justice.  Story HERE.

In happier bike news... Miss Oregon is wearing "bike shoes" in the Miss America pageant, to promote her state's bike-friendliness.  When I read "bike shoes," this isn't what I expected.