Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Night and Day...

Jim Watson, the newly elected Mayor of Ottawa, has a 10 point plan to increase and improve cycling in our nation's capital. It reads like a cycling wish list. You can check it out here.

“Safety is at the heart of this initiative,” said Watson. “I am concerned that the recent string of bike tragedies is having an effect on confidence. We can’t wait for safety. If the balance tips and people start to view cycling as risk, or antagonism builds with motorists, then we’ll suffer a real loss here in Ottawa."

"With the incredible beauty of Ottawa and the surrounding area, we simply have not made enough of the explosion in cycling tourism,” said Watson. “We can be a hub, and you think of it especially at this time of year with a natural colour show easy distance that is hard to match to the east, west, north and south of us in Ottawa. We need to jump start confidence in Ottawa as a safe and fantastic place to cycle.”

Compare that to what Toronto has voted for.  Toronto's new mayor Rob Ford says, "I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day." He is also on record as saying "cyclists are a pain in the ass" and made 'no more cycling routes' an election promise. This guy is a real piece of work but if T.O. cyclists get too frustrated they can always move to Ottawa or Vancouver like I did.  There may be some dark days ahead for Torontonians of the velo-persuasion. Good luck. You'll need it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Head down, hood up, buds in tuned out...

My commute everyday includes long sections of multi-use paths.  I encounter, everyday, some order of the following; pedestrians, rollerbladers and cyclists who wear headphones.  Of the many things that I scan for while cycling I have, for some time now, added to the list "wires coming from ears."  When detected I approach cautiously expecting dramatic changes in direction and speed.  That's not all that uncommon for your average conscientious cyclist.  What makes things worse is that my lovely bell doesn't raise an eyebrow.  Often my well exercised bark garners no response. That usually leaves me two options: slow down to a near stop and creep past so as not to frighten them or use my air-horn.  I have yet to try option two but I have been tempted.  Unfortunately, option one, no matter how well executed, seems to scare the bejesuz out of them.
I don't buy all of the "a cyclist nearly killed me" stories that seem to be rampant these days (especially on certain media's article response sections).  I have been a pedestrian for over 50 years now and have never been nearly killed by a cyclists.  It can't be just dumb luck.  It does worry me that this is a not uncommon attack from the anti-cycling crowd.  Fabricated, imagined or not, it sticks when it's flung.

That said, this from the Dallas Morning News:
A Dallas jogger who was severely injured in a collision with a bicyclist on the Katy Trail last week died Sunday, according to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office.

Lauren Huddleston, 28, died at 6:51 p.m. at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. Huddleston was hit Thursday evening, apparently when she abruptly turned into a cyclist’s path in a section of the trail near Routh Street.

She was wearing headphones and may not have heard the bicycle approaching, police said.

She was taken to the hospital with critical head injuries.

The family bears no malice toward the cyclist.

I try to remind myself everyday that pedestrians --regardless of how unhelpfully they behave-- always have the right of way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Air-Head Alert!

I just don't know what to make of this...

My question is what happens if you're sitting in Starbucks enjoying a latte and you sit up too fast?  Exactly what is the mechanism that triggers this thing?

Well at least you will look great ($450 later).
... and yikes!
Which way to Area 51?

I suppose we can say thanks for trying guys.  But why stop at wearing it when you're riding a bike?  After all, isn't it pedestrians, and more so motorists, who get more head injuries?   These would be great for drunks.  Even better for drunken boaters.  Maybe you could have a built-in blue-tooth headset so you could call 911 while you're lying in ditch.