A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

WHY BICYCLISTS DIE ON THE ROAD

Okay, simple answer, cars hit them or they hit cars, but wouldn't be much of a blog if I stopped there.

Here in Colorado, around town, there will be about 2 cars for every bike on the road, unless they are having one of those stupid town things where people dress in costumes and ride their bikes down the streets and then home then it's about 3 to 1 bikes to cars.

Hard to pick up the paper and not see a story of car hitting a bike sometime this week.

So let's build out on the first sentence and break it down a little more.  There are two reasons:  one is because there are absolute idiots behind the wheel and two is because there are absolute idiots riding bicycles.

Today, coming home from the store, coming to 4 way stop, no traffic either direction, but some teen on a bike about 100 ft from the stop sign to my right, so I pull out going straight and suddenly see this teen or young adult right up next to my car.  He blew thru the stop sign at a high speed and made a right hand turn but was going so fast he couldn't stay hold the turn and blew right out of the bike lane so I swerved across the center line and gassed then he fell in behind me and then cut in front of another car coming towards us.

Or last night at Sprouts, a grocery store chain, and the parking is one way each lane so lane I am in you will drive away from the store to park or leave.  As I'm putting two bags in the back seat I see a guy coming towards the store, on a bike, pretty close to the cars, not in the middle or anything, and then notice he's got a thing attached to the back of the bike with a little less than two year old strapped in - going the wrong way in a parking lot where someone backing up will not see him backing out because after a quick glance will be looking the other way for people pulling into the lane etc.

Then when leaving, at stop sign to make right on Drake Road and there are two lanes, a left turn and right turn.  And there is a cyclist curbside in the right lane, all the way at the front, so I am stuck.  And what is he going to do, well of course, what else does a cyclist do next to the curb at an intersection in the right hand lane onto a four lane road, he is going to turn left.  Never once does they guy look behind him to see me with a right blinker on, or the car behind me, or that car behind that car, or the car waiting to turn out of the parking lot but can't because numb nuts is blocking everything, waiting for four lanes to clear long enough to make a left hand turn across 4 lanes of traffic on a Friday afternoon.

I know, I should have run him over and hoped he hadn't had a chance to reproduce.

Less than 24 hours and see three people who but by the grace of God could have been hit by a car and don't you know it in Colorado the driver of the car is almost always at fault for idiot morons who think they are immortal.

But I also ride my bike, on the streets, and know the terror of idiots behind the wheel who are texting, eating, reading, doing their eyes in the rearview mirror or just plain psychopaths, these are easily identifiable by the large pickup trucks jacked up so their front bumpers are nearly 4 ft off the ground, who hit cyclists all the time.

See, in a fair universe, the idiot drivers would only hit the idiot cyclists and in 20 years the roads would be safe with the idiots in graves or prison, but it just never works out that way.

As I plan my potential ride across america in 2020 I am debating what safety equipment to include.  Helmet, oh for sure, but considering BMX equipment too for the shins and knees, hockey pants for the hips, and this really cool BMX upper body thing that protects the spine, ribs and has shoulder pads and the spine thing up the back attaches to the helmet - that is a lot of weight to ride with along with a backpack but thinking of a hikers pack with the top packed with bubble wrap  so the idiot in the pickup trucks buddy who leans out the window with a bat and smacks me will not do much damage.

And a quick draw for a 10mm Glock chest holster that will assure they won't do that ever again.

No, just the tires.  Okay, maybe the brake lights and the tires.  Couple in the radiator for good measure.

But here is the point.  Car will always win a collision with a bike.  There are no exceptions to that rule, none.  The car always wins.   It is the rule with no exceptions.  Driver will never get hurt unless the cyclist or the bike flies into the air and comes thru the windshield impaling the driver.  But even then, cyclist loses, okay, maybe with a smile on his face when part of  his 2000 dollar bike impales a driver in the chest, but dead just the same.

Someone told me one time if you really want to end all car accidents, remove the seat belts and airbags and put a 4 inch spike on the steering wheel, everyone will drive real slow and real kindly then.

I always thought the Tao  was the best drivers ed/ cycling book I ever read.  It could be summed up very easily in 5 words; Don't Fornicate with the Flow.  Okay, fornicate wasn't exactly the word I was thinking of but their might be imaginary children reading this.

But that is how I drive and it's how I ride, do absolutely nothing that interferes with the flow of movement.  Never pull out and cause another person to change lanes, slow down, or brake.  Same with cycling.  I don't care what the laws are, only one law exists when biking, don't get hit by a car.  So when coming up on a red light with cars lined up, get in the damn line, don't ride up the right side of all the cars where someone might make a right hand turn and you run into them - which - by the way is the drivers fault in Colorado and the second leading cause of accidents - the law is wrong, that is on the biker, you can't watch for pedestrians, people coming from the right, people making a u turn and oh ya, look 180 degrees behind you too.

Franky, if I had to do what  that cyclist in front of me was doing, I'd get off the bike and walk it across, down the block a little and away from an intersection

So back to gear, here is what someone should invent.  A little button on the handlebars that a cyclist can press and an airhorn goes off 3x as a series of lights all blink on and off like a strobe in multiple colors like red white orange yellow blue green and now unless Helen Keller is driving no driver will be able to say "I didn't see him".

I think I'd ride all the way across America with that thing on.  Well, maybe not the airhorn, that would get old after 3 weeks.  But I love the idea of getting a cop light on the back of the bike.

Oh, while I'm ranting, riding a bike with headphones, really?  Seriously?  Put on sign on your back, "I'm and idiot, hit me please"?

See, here is the thing, there are more and more bikes coming to our roads.  I am sure one day towns in Colorado are going to designate roads to bikes only.  Count on it.  And as cars are more and more expensive ( did you know that a 30k car will provide you with a monthly car payment greater than people paid for mortgages prior to the 1980's )  Five year car loans were rare, now they have 8 and 10 year car loans.  Where was I, oh, yea, another big thing coming will be the eBikes, who can afford a car, get a bike with this little electric engine that will allow you to go 100 miles at 20mph on a bike.  Less than 5k.  Put bags on front and rear racks and you can do everything by bike.  You can still pedal, but instead of peddling to do 10mph you can now peddle with the engine and get 30mph.

Which means who's gonna pedal?

We look over the last 30 years of 3rd world countries where almost everyone travels by bikes or scooters now mixing with cars, where did you think America was headed as the middle class is squeezed down into the lower classes?  More bikes on the road dealing with the cars and trucks.

So do we license bicyclists?  You can almost see that coming with our governments love of rules and taxes.  But why bother, we license car drivers and it doesn't prevent them from hitting cyclists who are doing nothing wrong, do you think a license would have changed the behavior of any of the three examples earlier?


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