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Complaints About How Bicycles Act On The Roads


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Once bicycles replace cars as the prominent and most widely used form of transportation then yes you will be the majority user. Until then your not helping your cause.

The most widely used form of transportation is the bicycle. It has cars beat by nearly 4x. http://www.princeton...rtation_big.jpg

So please take your car or truck to the side streets, please.

Edited by kylejack
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Certainly not in this City and my gut says not in the US either, but I dont know that to be true.

Oh, you want to talk local? Fine, I'll ride around in my local area with lots of bikes, and in those areas cyclists will be the majority and you minority auto users can cater to me.

Edited by kylejack
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Oh, you want to talk local? Fine, I'll ride around in my local area with lots of bikes, and in those areas cyclists will be the majority and you minority auto users can cater to me.

I guess my best bet is to just ride around on bicycles in giant packs with my friends, then. Use our majority to do what we want.

Feigning ignorance is not winning you any converts.

And what you're proposing (facetiously or not) - gathering a group of people to converge on a small area to enforce their will - is also known as a mob. Critical Mass tactics.

I see no car drivers (or pedestrians, bus riders, etc. for that matter) proposing similar action or even mentioning that such a childish thing should be done.

In matters of safety and security, the majority ought to account for the minority so that everyone is safe and protected.

In matters of individual rights - things that the government cannot constitutionally prohibit - the focus should be on minority groups, since it is easy for a society to slip into a pattern of denying minority group rights.

In matters of convenience and common courtesy, it's the majority that should be deferred to.

What is so difficult about this concept?

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In matters of safety and security, the majority ought to account for the minority so that everyone is safe and protected.

In matters of individual rights - things that the government cannot constitutionally prohibit - the focus should be on minority groups, since it is easy for a society to slip into a pattern of denying minority group rights.

In matters of convenience and common courtesy, it's the majority that should be deferred to.

What is so difficult about this concept?

If Arlington and Yale and Rutland are so great, why don't the cars just go there themselves? We cyclists like the bike lane on Heights. We like that it's only a one-lane road, which means less chance of a car sideswiping us while trying to change lanes. We like the high visibility near corners compared to the other roads.

If people are dragging their trash cans into the middle of the street, they are the problem, not the cyclist who is trying to avoid accidents.

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If Arlington and Yale and Rutland are so great, why don't the cars just go there themselves?

That doesn't logically from what's been said here. Others have suggested that bicyclists biking on X are inconsiderate, and if they should try to Y or Z instead, or possibly bike on streets A or B or C since they are more appropriate for cars, with several alternatives suggested. "Cars should try A or B or C" is a non-sequitur.

If people are dragging their trash cans into the middle of the street, they are the problem, not the cyclist who is trying to avoid accidents.

I don't disagree on the trash cans. Sounds like a problem that can be addressed in isolation from the larger courtesy vs. rights argument. Solutions can range from the tempting but juvenile kicking down of all trash cans in the bike lanes ... to more sophisticated involvement of media to petitioning HPD to write tickets. Since it's only the landowners/renters that would suffer these consequences (as opposed to random vehicles driving through), I would expect behavior to change VERY quickly.

Does anyone have any pictures of this that they can share? I haven't seen this myself, but don't doubt it exists.

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The first bike down the trail can solve the problem for everyone and either move them or kick them over. Problem solved and you would probably feel pretty good about it...

guess it depends on which way the trash can careens when it gets kicked.

but then, that's mighty selfish of the cyclist since there's a bunch of people using the lane for their trash, he should find a place to ride and not inconvenience all the trash cans (and homeowners).

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That doesn't logically from what's been said here. Others have suggested that bicyclists biking on X are inconsiderate, and if they should try to Y or Z instead, or possibly bike on streets A or B or C since they are more appropriate for cars, with several alternatives suggested. "Cars should try A or B or C" is a non-sequitur.

I don't disagree on the trash cans. Sounds like a problem that can be addressed in isolation from the larger courtesy vs. rights argument. Solutions can range from the tempting but juvenile kicking down of all trash cans in the bike lanes ... to more sophisticated involvement of media to petitioning HPD to write tickets. Since it's only the landowners/renters that would suffer these consequences (as opposed to random vehicles driving through), I would expect behavior to change VERY quickly.

Does anyone have any pictures of this that they can share? I haven't seen this myself, but don't doubt it exists.

There's another higher level of sophmoricness that we can achieve, marksmu, I need to borrow your truck, and don't ask where all the trash cans in your bed came from, the less you know, the better off you are.

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That doesn't logically from what's been said here. Others have suggested that bicyclists biking on X are inconsiderate, and if they should try to Y or Z instead, or possibly bike on streets A or B or C since they are more appropriate for cars, with several alternatives suggested. "Cars should try A or B or C" is a non-sequitur.

I don't accept the premise that biking on Heights is inconsiderate. Those other mentioned streets seem like fine streets for cars or bikes. I ride on Heights because of the aforementioned advantages for cyclists. There's plenty of room for me and cars, as long as some clowns haven't littered it with cans.

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Forgot who posted this (http://www.princeton.edu/~ina/images/infographics/transportation_big.jpg), but the figure 400 million automobiles in the world struck me as a very lowball estimate.

A simple search on Wikipedia shows that there are over 1 billion automobiles in the world today. Even as early as 1986, there were already 500 million. So maybe the 400 million mark was passed in 1980?

It'd be nice, as a starting point, to use only stats which aren't older than any of our HAIFers.

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There's another higher level of sophmoricness that we can achieve, marksmu, I need to borrow your truck, and don't ask where all the trash cans in your bed came from, the less you know, the better off you are.

Not too long ago, I would've joined you out there. It would be very gratifying for at least a few minutes.

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I don't accept the premise that biking on Heights is inconsiderate. Those other mentioned streets seem like fine streets for cars or bikes. I ride on Heights because of the aforementioned advantages for cyclists. There's plenty of room for me and cars, as long as some clowns haven't littered it with cans.

I don't think the argument is that ANY biking on Heights is inconsiderate, but that inconsiderate biking on Heights is considerate and inconsiderate biking on larger streets inconveniences more people. And also that people who are unable to be at least somewhat considerate of others have other biking and non-biking options available to them.

You might well be a considerate bicylclist on Heights; I have no idea one way or the other. I rode my bike on Heights for short distances before and I am certainly not one who derives pleasure by getting in other peoples' way. I'm sure I've gotten in a motorist's way before, but I dislike doing so for any longer than is needed, since aggravating people for extended periods increases the chances one will be involved in a conflict.

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Does the infographic say automobiles, or does it say something else?

The wikipedia figure includes buses and all types of trucks.

So the majority of automobiles are trucks and buses? Hmmm... I think it's more like a quarter of vehicles or less.

Momentarily assuming that that is the case, it still doesn't matter since they are also inconvenienced by slow-moving roadblocks (e.g., Critical Mass) and use the same streets as cars.

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Does the infographic say automobiles, or does it say something else?

The wikipedia figure includes buses and all types of trucks.

400,000,000 is low.

There's an estimated 250,000,000 registered cars on the road in the USA alone. http://usa.org/cars/index.html

This article on hufpo seems to put the number over 1 billion.. http://www.huffingto...n_n_934291.html

that's still less than the number of bicycles reported by that graphic on the road, and I'd guess that this number is woefully low as well.

according to this article http://tech.fortune....-to-get-around/ there were 133 million bicycles produced just last year. which is twice the number of cars produced.

what's interesting, this article seems to be pulling data from that infographic: http://www.economist.com/node/18584086

There are more than a billion bicycles in the world — more than twice the number of cars

at least that's what one can infer from it, since they don't give out numbers of cars..

Anyway, across the world, there's WAY more bikes on the road and it makes sense too, cause for short trips, less than a about 5 miles, (when taking parking into consideration) a bicycle will get you to your destination in about the same amount of time. Under 3 miles, my money's on the cyclist walking in the door of the destination before the guy in the car.

Edited by samagon
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400,000,000 is low.

There's an estimated 250,000,000 registered cars on the road in the USA alone. http://usa.org/cars/index.html

"passenger vehicles"

I think the number is probably low too, but it might be hard to distinguish between cars vs other kinds of vehicles. Probably a pretty hard stat to put a finger on, but when you consider how many people there are riding bicycles in China and India, I think the bikes win it easily.

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I don't disagree on the trash cans. Sounds like a problem that can be addressed in isolation from the larger courtesy vs. rights argument. Solutions can range from the tempting but juvenile kicking down of all trash cans in the bike lanes ... to more sophisticated involvement of media to petitioning HPD to write tickets. Since it's only the landowners/renters that would suffer these consequences (as opposed to random vehicles driving through), I would expect behavior to change VERY quickly.

Does anyone have any pictures of this that they can share? I haven't seen this myself, but don't doubt it exists.

Well, I will disagree on the cans. In fact, it was such a ridiculous statement that I immediately looked at Heights Blvd. on Google Maps...then I got in my car to drive up and down Heights (since today was trash day. Heights is the best bicycle lane in the city. It is so wide that there is a parking lane of about 10 feet, and a 5 foot bike lane unencumbered by parked cars. There is STILL 20 feet left for the vehicle lane. And, not one trashcan was in the bike lane. They were all either against the curb, or in the parking lane.

What does this mean? Two things. Marksmu is full of it when he claims that a cyclist blocked 100 cars on Heights. At 40 feet distance between cars (20 feet for the car and 20 feet following distance), that would be a line of cars 4,000 FEET LONG...8/10 of a mile! That line of cars would extend in a continuous line from I-10 to 11th Street! Did not happen. Yes, marksmu, I just called you a bald-faced liar.

When faced with a clearly made up story, what do the cyclists do? Why, they respond with their own made up story about trashcans in the middle of the street. You all are baldfaced liars, as well!

Both sides...GROW UP! Quit using hyperbole to attempt to make a point. We all know that there are narcissistic drivers such as marksmu out there, as well as militant cyclists who only wish to annoy drivers. Neither are as numerous as the other side claims. I am a driver and a cyclist.I patiently wait for the considerate cyclists, and I have been known to tell the militant ones how much damage they do to the cause. Making up crap on an internet forum doesn't help anything.

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I just finished effecting repair on a 'rescue bike' today and took it out for a spin. I hadn't ridden a bike in many years, so I was pleasantly surprised that the old adage is true, that you never forget how to ride one.

As a driver, I dislike interacting with bikes in traffic. They're slow and either hog the road, creeping along, or invite me to pass them closely (and dangerously) by staying off to the side. Many fail to follow traffic law, running stop signs, running signals, jumping on and off of narrow sidewalks unpredictably, and failing to signal their turns or intentions to rapidly oncoming traffic.

And then I got onto the road. Very quickly, I figured out why cyclists do things that piss me off when I'm a driver. It takes focus, attentiveness, and physical exertion to play nice when you're on a bike. Humans don't like doing these things. We're lazy. And just so it doesn't seem like I'm being preachy, I don't mind saying that I'm lazy too. I'm a horribly irresponsible cyclist, par for the course.

I also don't mind that I am taking up an activity that I shall do poorly and that would piss me off if I had to interact with a cyclist like myself from the perspective of a driver. I need the exercise, so screw the principle of the thing or bothering to be apologetic about it.

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I've got to appreciate Niche's honesty and admit that the confession applies to me as well. I try to be a good cyclist on those rare times I ride but I know I probably frustrate automobile drivers however unintentionally. By the way I'm no Lance Armstrong when it comes to fitness. My top speed is probably not much more than 20mph and then only for short bursts.

I vow to be more patient with cyclists in any event. As it is with other users of the roads - in general regarding people in public with whom we don't communicate directly - when they do something that disaccommodates us we make up a story in our minds and often come to the conclusion that the actor is an inconsiderate jerk.

For my own sanity I try as often as I can to make up a story which brands the actor as a decent person who has just had a(nother) episode of poor judgement. No matter how foolish the cyclist's behavior is I don't want to be the person who injured or killed him.

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I think more than seeing that cycling takes a lot of mental energy, getting on a bike and sharing the road with cars you realize how big the cars are, and how completely unprotected you are. To the point where you wonder why you even bother with the Styrofoam headgear, cause you know it isn't going to do a damn bit of good if you get tagged.

You realize how few people even notice you, you realize how few people that notice you even recognize that they can do a lot of damage if they accidentally hit you. You very quickly can get into a mindset where you just assume every person in a cage is a lazy, unobservant person who is distracted by the latest text message they received.

Edited by samagon
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I think more than seeing that cycling takes a lot of mental energy, getting on a bike and sharing the road with cars you realize how big the cars are, and how completely unprotected you are. To the point where you wonder why you even bother with the Styrofoam headgear, cause you know it isn't going to do a damn bit of good if you get tagged.

You realize how few people even notice you, you realize how few people that notice you even recognize that they can do a lot of damage if they accidentally hit you. You very quickly can get into a mindset where you just assume every person in a cage is a lazy, unobservant person who is distracted by the latest text message they received.

Actually, I became keenly aware of just how many people noticed me on the streets and that were being excessively cautious. I had to ride along San Jacinto briefly to find a viable crossing over the light rail tracks. An LRT vehicle passed me closely, blaring its deafening horn. Meanwhile, drivers were shifting two lanes over to go around me. Knowing that I was the cause of their worry and consternation made me aware that I would do the same thing as a driver. People that ride their bikes on major thoroughfares are obviously crazed and thoughtlessly suicidal, after all, but if you hit them, then you're probably presumed to be at fault.

This reminds me, I had been trying to stick to neighborhood streets...but light rail disrupted the grid and forced a detour onto major thoroughfares. I tried taking a sidewalk for a block, but vegetation kept grabbing my sleeves and striking my head. It wouldn't have been an encumberance if I'd been on foot, but it was very inconvenient for myself and others as a cyclist. The world is more constrained when you've got a pair of wheels under you.

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This reminds me, I had been trying to stick to neighborhood streets...but light rail disrupted the grid and forced a detour onto major thoroughfares. I tried taking a sidewalk for a block, but vegetation kept grabbing my sleeves and striking my head. It wouldn't have been an encumberance if I'd been on foot, but it was very inconvenient for myself and others as a cyclist. The world is more constrained when you've got a pair of wheels under you.

This makes me wonder if some of those that venture into bike-unfriendly roads are just ill-informed or are in unfamiliar territory. You can get almost anywhere inside the loop using bike-friendly roads. Of course, this requires planning at first and then familiarity. You know, like how we would eventually find the most efficient way to get around in our cars.

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When faced with a clearly made up story, what do the cyclists do? Why, they respond with their own made up story about trashcans in the middle of the street. You all are baldfaced liars, as well!

?? Did not.

In fact, I said that I guess I had been lucky enough to never encounter what he was talking about.

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It's always the luck of the draw. On my bicycle, some folks are ultra cautious and refuse to pass me even on a wide road and others don't mind tapping me with a side mirror. In the car, I actually rarely encounter cyclists on my daily drives but like in every other imaginable situation I've seen those that are cautious, a$$holes, and some that just make mistakes.

As far as the above goes, I can guess that many on bike-unfriendly roads aren't there on purpose (that's been my experience)..

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So why are streets like Washington Ave. or West Dallas St. designated as bike thoroughfares? I understand how some parts of town there are bottlenecks, where a rider has to cross or interact with auto traffic but some of these "bike friendly" roads are just suicidal.

Also what many drivers perceive as blowing through stop signs are really just "Idaho stops" kinda like an auto driver doing a "Cali stop" it's just a way to preserve some forward inertia.

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Also what many drivers perceive as blowing through stop signs are really just "Idaho stops" kinda like an auto driver doing a "Cali stop" it's just a way to preserve some forward inertia.

Even in Idaho, cyclists are supposed to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs. Although I'm unsure how well a four-way yield plays out, it does sound like a reasonable enough public policy.

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Although I'm unsure how well a four-way yield plays out, it does sound like a reasonable enough public policy.

It sounds like infinite regress to me. But I think it works in England, where they've elected to remove a lot of signage and give common sense free rein.

It takes focus, attentiveness, and physical exertion to play nice when you're on a bike. Humans don't like doing these things. We're lazy.

You need also to be able to sustain conversation the entire time you are riding, which I find amazing. I live on a bike route in Baja Westlake, where it's quite exerting to ride; about 100 people cycle past every day, many more on weekends. Because of the Doppler effect, I guess, I can hear with crystalline clarity their effortlessly carried-on conversations through the window about 15-20 seconds before they pass. Popular topics include: bike route lore, UT men's basketball, recent vacation destinations, and how much they're "pulling down." The men never talk about women. The women are sometimes talking about men. As for the stop sign up the way, it would be ridiculous for them to come to a halt just before climbing the huge hill ahead, and no one expects them to. Not that it would be hard for them -- they're incredibly fit, they all look just like Lance Armstrong to me with those machined calves.

So sweet that you took in a bike that no one else could see the good in, a bike that's been mistreated, unspeakable things done to it; and you put yourself out there and took a chance. Not to overstep, though, but I have a hunch, with your stated preference for gritty realism, The Niche, that you might possibly have more the soul of a mountain biker. It's Houston -- that's problematic, but there are probably some mountain bike trails somewhere about.

Edited by luciaphile
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So sweet that you took in a bike that no one else could see the good in, a bike that's been mistreated, unspeakable things done to it; and you put yourself out there and took a chance. Not to overstep, though, but I have a hunch, with your stated preference for gritty realism, The Niche, that you might possibly have more the soul of a mountain biker. It's Houston -- that's problematic, but there are probably some mountain bike trails somewhere about.

The gritty reality is that I'm also sort of a loner where exercise, recreation, and...well, just living is concerned. It's not so much a preference as it is a bad habit, a depressing circumstance of introversion and aversion to groupthink that I've come to accept as reality. My reality.

The craziest thing I've ever done alone is taken a sit-inside kayak out onto the Gulf of Mexico on a day with nine-foot swells (trough-to-crest) and whitecaps. Three or four miles into it, I found myself upside down under water, the paddle ripped from my arms, my glasses ripped from my head. After a frantic ejection and right-siding, I found myself sitting in a craft that was held buoyant only by air trapped in the fore and aft compartments. The waterline was above my belly-button. I was straddling a kayak-turned-submarine, legally blind, with a high center of gravity. One wave after another would topple me back over. I eventually washed up on Galveston's seawall. Lazy black fishermen for whom the N-word must've been coined refused to help me, so it was a hard landing on granite boulders. (Seriously, I'm not racist, but these guys fell within a range of stereotype that deserved some kind of epithet.) Still blind, I dragged my kayak up to the top of the seawall, bummed a phone because mine got fried by salt water, and called in for rescue.

The nature of self-propelled craft and maritime catastrophe will typically allow several moments to give oneself a fighting chance at survival. Riding down a mountain or through forests on a bike, alone, seems far less forgiving. If I hit a rock the wrong way or too quickly and go airborne, my fate is too completely decided by Newtonian physics. That's too risky. I've heard ghastly stories, even from mountain bikers riding the trails in Memorial Park.

Consequently, I've outfitted my bike for roads and gravel trails. I want to ride in places where if something goes wrong, there will be witnesses to my eminent demise.

Edited by TheNiche
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Well, The Niche, you tried:

"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea. "

And:

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep."

Moving water is absolutely overpowering. Once took child, about four, to New Braunfels, stopping on the way at Academy to buy him a little life vest; we went in the Comal and then, with him in my arms, through the tube chute through which the whole of the river is funneled. Predictably, we lost our tube. I managed to hold tight to him, but we were both carried along underwater for about 500 feet. The current then spread out and a lifeguard fished us out.

They blow a horn whenever they see anyone struggling, then one of the lifeguards jumps in. I asked the child's father, "Did they blow the horn for us?"

Him: "They blew the horn before you even entered the chute. They saw your ridiculous hat."

Child did not seem unduly stressed, but when we got back to our picnic spot, he said to me, "Thank you for buying me that life vest," which caused me to then burst into tears.

Maybe the men who didn't help you when you were in peril were not themselves able to swim. Remember, we've learned recently that Galveston has never had a public swimming pool in which people might learn.

Here is the article about stop signs -- I find things so easily ever since I outsourced (or do I mean offshored, hmm?) my brain to Google. You'll like it. Very Malcolm Gladwell-ish. An economist looks at traffic, comes to some unconventional conclusions, and is ignored.

http://www.theatlant...s-daisy/306873/

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Well, The Niche, you tried:

"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea. "

And:

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep."

Moving water is absolutely overpowering. Once took child, about four, to New Braunfels, stopping on the way at Academy to buy him a little life vest; we went in the Comal and then, with him in my arms, through the tube chute through which the whole of the river is funneled. Predictably, we lost our tube. I managed to hold tight to him, but we were both carried along underwater for about 500 feet. The current then spread out and a lifeguard fished us out.

They blow a horn whenever they see anyone struggling, then one of the lifeguards jumps in. I asked the child's father, "Did they blow the horn for us?"

Him: "They blew the horn before you even entered the chute. They saw your ridiculous hat."

Child did not seem unduly stressed, but when we got back to our picnic spot, he said to me, "Thank you for buying me that life vest," which caused me to then burst into tears.

Maybe the men who didn't help you when you were in peril were not themselves able to swim. Remember, we've learned recently that Galveston has never had a public swimming pool in which people might learn.

Here is the article about stop signs -- I find things so easily ever since I outsourced (or do I mean offshored, hmm?) my brain to Google. You'll like it. Very Malcolm Gladwell-ish. An economist looks at traffic, comes to some unconventional conclusions, and is ignored.

http://www.theatlant...s-daisy/306873/

The military didn't want me. Did not fit their medical specifications in a year during the recession that they had their pick of younger more impressionable recruits. It's not that I didn't try really hard for them to take me, though.

Well, you know that it's interesting that my outings are often close calls, and yet I bother with them anyway. Who needs the military or Samuel Johnson? The semi-submersible ocean kayaking while blind story was only the scariest. I was more scared during all of that than I was when I camped on a mountaintop in west Texas on an evening that spawned a lightning storm and during which a mountain lion investigated the campsite. I had packed a gun, although it was highly illegal to have it or to use it in that location; it was also illegal to camp on that mountaintop. That's the only time that I'd ever bothered to unpack a firearm or to load it with the intent to use it. Naively, I wasn't that scared. Of course, I also wasn't alone on that occasion and so my odds of being mauled were cut in half; but my date (things weren't as hopeless during college) was put thoroughly out of the mood. That was unfortunate.

But again, there's an element of self-determination in an unfolding catastrophe. A close call in my car at high speed induces a heck of a lot more adrenaline than anything that I've ever encountered in the great out-of-doors. And I do anticipate having some close calls on a bike.

Maybe the men who didn't help you when you were in peril were not themselves able to swim. Remember, we've learned recently that Galveston has never had a public swimming pool in which people might learn.

I just needed them to grab the side of the kayak on a swell as it approached and ultimately struck the granite shoals. If it was because they could not swim, doesn't that validate an N-word stereotype? "Whatever, nigga."

You'll like this:

http://youtu.be/13eSVr9S7YE

Here is the article about stop signs -- I find things so easily ever since I outsourced (or do I mean offshored, hmm?) my brain to Google. You'll like it. Very Malcolm Gladwell-ish. An economist looks at traffic, comes to some unconventional conclusions, and is ignored.

I wish that the quantitative comparisons had been between different urban areas rather than different countries. I'll bet that there is a fair bit of variety in terms of traffic safety between cities in both countries, and probably with reasonable explanations underlying them. It'd be interesting to try and separate out the factors that can be controlled from those that can't be. Some explanations might be perfectly innocuous. The United States has more traffic fatalities because it has a lot of wide open, flat, uninteresting stretches of road that go on for hundreds or even thousands of miles. The U.K. doesn't. It's geography. Some explanations may not be as comfortable; for instance that the elderly, the relative health of the elderly, the sheer number of young drivers, or that culture and ethnicity, that all play a part in the quantitative outcome.

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The Niche, we now have three distinct strands going, it seems to me. I'll have to revisit your posts, since it was late for me and I think you may have been a little drunk -- at any rate your spelling had begun to deteriorate. (The eminent forum maverick's demise was imminent. As his life flashed before him, he reflected a final time on the immanence of the divine in the mundane surroundings he had once taken for granted.) I do wish to pursue those strands -- I enjoy walking in and out of strangers' minds -- it helps make up for the fact that the meat of my friends' conversation, much as I love them, is: health, kids, Mad Men, aging parents; and a fair amount of spirituality that I can't share. So, as you've put it, "Notice has been delivered." I'll get back to you in "Anything You Want."

Just not now, 'cuz I'm at work.

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The craziest thing I've ever done alone is taken a sit-inside kayak out onto the Gulf of Mexico on a day with nine-foot swells (trough-to-crest) and whitecaps. Three or four miles into it, I found myself upside down under water, the paddle ripped from my arms, my glasses ripped from my head. After a frantic ejection and right-siding, I found myself sitting in a craft that was held buoyant only by air trapped in the fore and aft compartments. The waterline was above my belly-button. I was straddling a kayak-turned-submarine, legally blind, with a high center of gravity. One wave after another would topple me back over. I eventually washed up on Galveston's seawall.

I met a guy who, when he left the Marines, decided to walk cross-country. He walked from Southern California to Maine. (He cached water in the desert, but - anyway, details are not important.) A stray dog joined him early on. In Maine he fell in with a kayak-builder and decided to make the return journey to Texas via water. (I'd have to look at a map to remember how that was done.) The Mississippi spat him out and he was on the last leg, ocean kayaking along the Gulf. He still had the dog. Why wouldn't he have kayaked in the Intracoastal canal? I've forgotten. One evening he had an experience like the one you've described. He said it was the worst night of his trip, which had had some low moments since he really hadn't sufficient funds for the journey. He lost the dog.

But - happy ending - a few hours later, the dog paddled back to him! He was never so elated in his life.

I recommend kayaking in a tranquil bay. But I don't get bored easily.

The semi-submersible ocean kayaking while blind story was only the scariest. I was more scared during all of that than I was when I camped on a mountaintop in west Texas on an evening that spawned a lightning storm and during which a mountain lion investigated the campsite. I had packed a gun, although it was highly illegal to have it or to use it in that location; it was also illegal to camp on that mountaintop. That's the only time that I'd ever bothered to unpack a firearm or to load it with the intent to use it. Naively, I wasn't that scared. Of course, I also wasn't alone on that occasion and so my odds of being mauled were cut in half; but my date (things weren't as hopeless during college) was put thoroughly out of the mood. That was unfortunate.

Where were you? Do tell. You weren't camping on the seasonally-deserted Scout Ranch in the Davis, were you? We stayed there once. Either there was no gate or it wasn't locked. Lovely creek.

Perhaps your date reacted badly to your calculating of the odds.

I've only ever awakened, when sleeping out in the open in Guadalupe Mtns.NP, to find a skunk on the edge of my sleeping bag, so I am very thrilled by the mountain lion story. That is a rare occurrence. Mountain lions choose whether to be seen. Did you actually see it? I've heard people who've lived in West Texas twenty years say they've seen a lion once, or never. And if you didn't open the tent how did you know it was a lion and not a bobcat? Did you hear it scream, and did it in fact sound like a woman? The last time we were in Big Bend they mentioned that only a few days previously a child had been attacked by a lion in the parking lot behind the motel dining room in the Basin! His parents beat it off, but he was injured. Please give more details, and in return I will tell you my top West Texas travel secret, make that two secrets. You may already know them, but you might not; and it's a long way to drive and miss anything.

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Where were you? Do tell. You weren't camping on the seasonally-deserted Scout Ranch in the Davis, were you? We stayed there once. Either there was no gate or it wasn't locked. Lovely creek.

Perhaps your date reacted badly to your calculating of the odds.

I've only ever awakened, when sleeping out in the open in Guadalupe Mtns.NP, to find a skunk on the edge of my sleeping bag, so I am very thrilled by the mountain lion story. That is a rare occurrence. Mountain lions choose whether to be seen. Did you actually see it? I've heard people who've lived in West Texas twenty years say they've seen a lion once, or never. And if you didn't open the tent how did you know it was a lion and not a bobcat? Did you hear it scream, and did it in fact sound like a woman? The last time we were in Big Bend they mentioned that only a few days previously a child had been attacked by a lion in the parking lot behind the motel dining room in the Basin! His parents beat it off, but he was injured. Please give more details, and in return I will tell you my top West Texas travel secret, make that two secrets. You may already know them, but you might not; and it's a long way to drive and miss anything.

It was the mountain across from Davis Mountains S.P., where the facilities and trails are very minimal. Technically it is also part of the state park. I know that the Boy Scouts use it from time to time, and it does have a creek at the base and a forgettably diminutive gate, so that might be the place you're referring to.

I did not exit the tent in an attempt to see a mountain lion in the darkness, however I am confident of what it was based upon the audible sound of the padded paw against rock at close range. It plodded past the tent quickly enough but with a slow gait, then circled back more cautiously before taking some audible sniffs and then wandering off. And it was certainly feline rather than canine; there was no click of claw against rock. Unfortunately, there was no dirt and so there were no tracks to photograph in the morning. I suppose that it could've been a bobcat with a pituitary disorder. It definitely had a four-legged gait, so it wasn't a bigfoot or the ghost of a barefoot Native American. (We have to rule these out because producers from the History Channel might think to contact me otherwise; they might still get me on the possibility of alien bigfoot. We'll see.) But a mountain lion seemed the most plausible.

So you've got me curious. I've been thinking about taking the Amtrak Sunset Limited out to Alpine and renting a car from there. I'd probably go sometime in early November. Would love to know your secrets.

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So, bringing us back on-topic. I rode about 12 miles today. The only thing better than a cool sunny day is a cool overcast day. Keeps the sun out of my eyes, off my skin.

I noticed something. Cars approaching a two-way stop where they are not required to stop have a tendency of stopping anyway if they see me coming from the direction that is required to stop. I come to a stop at the sign and wave them past to get them moving again. It happened multiple times. I don't get it. It's kind of frustrating, actually. They shouldn't be stopping for me. Am I perceived as that unpredictable? Or is it that cyclists are just that irresponsible in general?

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Yeah, I'm not going for any night riding, and especially not on a Friday or Saturday night. That's just asking for it. And if that sounds like I'm callously blaming the victim...yeah, pretty much. Times like that are when I choose to drive in something with airbags or to walk wearing light-colored clothing.

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Another cyclist friend of mine was put in the hospital by a hit and run Friday night.

hope your friend pulls through.

were there any witnesses? Hopefully someone caught a plate and the guy will be caught and punished appropriately.

I find it very hard not wishing ill on any person who is guilty of a hit and run.

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With the change in weather, and in honor of this thread, I dusted off the bicycle yesterday and took a spin. Interestingly, not a single marksmu type was out and about. In fact, as I got to White Oak and slowed to let traffic pass, one motorist stopped to let me cross on the bike trail, even though not required. Of course, it was a Sunday. The evil drivers are out Monday through Friday, when they are mad at the world for the miserable life and job they have. Weekends are usually better.

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With the change in weather, and in honor of this thread, I dusted off the bicycle yesterday and took a spin. Interestingly, not a single marksmu type was out and about. In fact, as I got to White Oak and slowed to let traffic pass, one motorist stopped to let me cross on the bike trail, even though not required. Of course, it was a Sunday. The evil drivers are out Monday through Friday, when they are mad at the world for the miserable life and job they have. Weekends are usually better.

Im out and about every day - and if not for my truck you would think by the way that I drive that I should be in a prius with a bike rack on top and a huge Obama/Biden 2012 sticker on back...but thats just b/c I'm courteous of all road users, even the annoying ones on bikes. Despite your inability to do so - I can compartmentalize anger/rage without acting on it. Just so you know, I also do not shake crying babies, or beat my wife when we get into fights. I know I know, its crazy that someone is able to be angry at people who are inconsiderate jerk offs without acting out at them in some way, but indeed I am capable of doing so.

In fact I took a bike ride Sunday as well down the hike/bike trail....We may need a thread on peoples dogs and those long retractable leashes getting in bike riders way....What is it with people who think their dog need a 20' leash in order to go for a walk? (this is sarcasm by the way)

Oh in your response to no trash cans from last week (which I forgot about until yesterday) here you go. A trash can blocking heights yesterday....no bike riders around it though...I had to wait for 6th st to run into the two bike riders completely ignoring the red light for the zillionth time.

This may be best suited for another thread - but Im seriously considering a bike shaming wall...I will take photos of bike riders breaking laws....

post-5690-0-88973800-1349366803_thumb.jp

post-5690-0-87590600-1349366814_thumb.jp

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OK, got me on the trash can, though there is still room to ride between it and the parked car. A cyclist complaining about that really needs to get those wadded panties out of his arse.

Not the least bit upset at the cyclist running the stoplight. Given that a cyclist stupid enough to run the light without making sure that the coast is clear will only do so once, I am fine with them trying to conserve momemtum...even though I almost never do this.

By the way, that cracked windshield is a law violation. Thanks for posting the photo.

Agree completely on the dogs and leashes.

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OK, got me on the trash can, though there is still room to ride between it and the parked car. A cyclist complaining about that really needs to get those wadded panties out of his arse.

Not the least bit upset at the cyclist running the stoplight. Given that a cyclist stupid enough to run the light without making sure that the coast is clear will only do so once, I am fine with them trying to conserve momemtum...even though I almost never do this.

By the way, that cracked windshield is a law violation. Thanks for posting the photo.

Agree completely on the dogs and leashes.

I think the trash cans are set back against the curb by the truck once emptied...Last week nearly every can was in the bike lane...this week there were only 2 out, but I was home much earlier yesterday than last week.

As for the bike riders - its just annoying that they want cars to cater to them and realize they have a legal right to be on the road when they ignore all the laws themselves...if you want to ride on the road - do so legally, and obey the same rules the cars do...I dont get to just buzz haphazardly through a stoplight...they dont either.

I was under the impression cracks were only illegal if they obscured your view or were intersecting....I did a google search and came up with this:

http://www.khou.com/community/blogs/beat-the-traffic/Beat-the-Traffic-Tickets-issued-for-cracked-windshield-104485374.html

We emailed the City of Southside Place for an explanation. Police Chief Lonnie Bernhardt sent us this emailed response:

"Windshields are not an item for inspection according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Therefore it is not a violation of the Texas Transportation Code."

Chief Bernhardt also explained that officers can still write a ticket, if they feel there's a safety issue.

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I look at it as the only one endangered by a cyclist running a light is the cyclist. A motorist running a light endangers everyone. And, honestly, complaining about cyclists running lights and stop signs just makes you sound like a grumpy old man. Live a little. Don't get so upset at those who ignore government's rules. Get a little anarchy in your life. You may enjoy it.

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