We are constantly being made aware of the dangers of texting while driving. Everyone knows that it increases the risk of an accident and that it is one of the leading dangers for road cyclists. Yet many people see texting at other times as a harmless means of communicating, and never give it a second thought.
As it turns out, this assumption is false. Texting is hazardous no matter what type of motion the texter is engaging in.
Recent studies have shown that distracted walking results in more injuries per mile than distracted driving. Among the injuries seen are bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping and walking into traffic. In London, the problem has become so common that bumpers have been attached to light posts in areas with large numbers of pedestrians to prevent people from crashing into them. Continue reading ….
For several generations American roads have been dominated by motor vehicles. No one alive today can remember a time when non-motorized vehicles dominated the roads.
According to a history of automobiles I read recently, there were approximately 10,000 cars on the roads at the beginning of the 20th century. It only took a few decades for all of that to change in the U.S.
“The United States alone—where 25 million horses supplied most local transportation in 1900—had about the same number of cars just three decades later. The country also had giant industries to manufacture them and keep them running and a vast network of hard-surfaced roads, tunnels, and bridges to support their conquest of time and distance. By century’s end, the average American adult would travel more than 10,000 miles a year by car.“
Continue reading ….
Whenever I’m interested in reading about climate change I turn to Grist Magazine to see what interesting facts they may have uncovered in this realm. While I’m there, I peruse their section on cities, which contains a selection of information about urban living including things related to walking and cycling.
One such article caught my eye recently because the title was quite definitive. “The city should shovel your sidewalk” it proclaimed. It was written by none other than Ben Adler who usually talks about climate change and environmental issues with a few articles about green cities thrown in.
His argument begins with the following observation: “Cities, and especially suburbs, throughout the country take the bizarre position that roads are a public good but sidewalks, where they even exist, are a luxury that homeowners must maintain for themselves.” Continue reading ….
The other day, I was talking to a neighbor about the large number of bitter cold days we have had in Massachusetts this winter. Naturally, the subject turned to heat and how much it was costing to heat our homes this year. Our costs have been higher than usual because our heating systems have been running continuously just to make our homes livable.
My home’s heating system is good when it’s working; it keeps us nice and warm. But unfortunately, it’s not as reliable as I would like it to be. Our boiler shuts down for the strangest reasons, at the most inconvenient times. Continue reading ….
The 2014 Winter Olympics is well underway. Athletes from around the world have gathered in Sochi, Russia to test their skills and to try to become the best in the world in what they do.
To me, sports has always been about pushing the limits of what humans can do from a physical standpoint. Typically, athletic endeavors revolve around strength, quickness, coordination and strategy. And, ultimately sports is about beating the competition and coming out on top.
Initially, athletic competitions were confined to activities humans could do with their bodies. Running, jumping, and lifting weights were all ways to show whose body performed the best. Continue reading ….
One of my readers is a strong advocate of the three foot passing law which requires motor vehicles to allow three feet, as a buffer zone, when passing bicycles. He often leaves comments to that effect.
Generally speaking, I’m in favor of requiring motor vehicles to allow plenty of space between themselves and a bicycle. However, where this reader and I differ is in how a safe passing distance law should be worded and what should be emphasized. Continue reading ….
Once the calendar passes the month of January, I begin to think about the spring and how nice it will be to ride my bike without the hassle of contending with snow and frigid temperatures. This longing for spring encourages me to read more about cycling and what infrastructure changes might be in store for cyclists, for better or for worse.
As part of last week’s reading, I saw an article about another state’s dilemmas regarding their plans to improve bicycle infrastructure. The article was written by a pro-cycling columnist who focused on how drivers in her area see cyclists as opposed to how cyclists see themselves.
Much of what she wrote was in agreement with things I’ve written myself, but one thing she described about her local townspeople, and their reaction to accommodating cyclists on roads once reserved for cyclists, made me think about why stark differences between cyclist and driver perceptions exist.
Continue reading ….
Despite the best efforts of cyclists and advocates, the myth of the scofflaw cyclist still persists. Bloggers, journalists, and news reporters rank among the public facing figures who publish material characterizing cyclists with stereotypical traits we have come to identify with the image of cyclists as lawbreakers.
Not only does this image portray cyclists as lawbreakers, but it paints them as rude and entitlement minded. Both drivers and cyclists agree that some bikers engage in the behaviors from which this stereotype arose.
All cyclists are not angels. And all cyclists are not scofflaws.
Cyclists are individuals and can only be held accountable for their individual actions, not the actions of other people who happen to ride bikes. This seems like common sense. Yet, as more people take to the roads by bike, drivers are becoming increasingly exasperated. Continue reading ….
My last post dealt with a blog post I became aware of via Twitter. It described a driver who blogged about having multiple rear-end crashes while driving, which she attributed to stress, and which she did not regard as serious, since they were minor accidents.
Most of my readers and I disagreed with her post. Some of them commented on it and others just followed the thread.
More people got involved via Facebook. Multiple Facebook users shared my post and their friends visited my blog to read it. A majority of those Facebook visitors did not leave comments, so their thoughts about my post and the discussion which followed will remain a mystery.
Unfortunately, the discussion was not as fruitful as I had hoped it would be because the author of the car crashing post had her blog suspended by her hosting company only a few hours after I published my post. Continue reading ….