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#1 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Recommend a bike shop for IGH work » 2013-10-28 13:23:33

ret3 wrote:

Although all the dots and lines seem to be in order, my Alfine 8 is slipping frequently. Is there a shop in Austin you'd recommend to lube, perform exploratory surgery, and/or replace it?

I don't use them for much else, as they tend to be expensive and slow compared to some other shops for simpler repairs -- but Mellow Johnny's is my go-to for internally-geared hubs. I have a SRAM iMotion 9 on my Tikit; past bikes have had a Rohloff, a Nexus 7, and an Alfine 8. They've never done me wrong, and once did a full rebuild when I brought the hub by for a simpler problem -- without increasing their price accordingly.

#2 Re: Commuting/Routes » Statisics Show 98.1% of Austinites suffer from faint hearts » 2013-05-01 17:49:58

MichaelBluejay wrote:
CharlesDuffy wrote:

I've seen studies to the effect that when people choose their home and workplace, the amount of commute time they consider tolerable is constant, regardless of transportation mechanism.

And that's irrelevant.  No matter how far away from their job someone chooses to live, biking is 3-10x more dangerous than driving that same distance.  If biking is 3-10x more dangerous per mile, it's 3-10x more dangerous per 3 miles, per 7 miles, per 12 miles, etc.  The distance doesn't matter.

I don't presently dispute that it's different per mile. (That's a separate discussion, which involves breaking down the statistics by cyclist type -- the statistics for, say, college students and members of the British touring club are orders of magnitude apart; cycling may be more dangerous per mile overall, but that isn't true for all segments of the cycling population).

However, you're taking into account only some kinds of risk. If I recall my numbers correctly, biking to work takes an average of two years off someone's lifespan by way of increased accident risk -- but adds on something more to the scale of 5-7 years for reduced long-term health risks (heart attack &c). I'm hard-pressed to call descriptions of cycling as dangerous as anything other than disingenuous given the relationship between those numbers.

Moreover, you're ignoring the impact of the argument made in the post to which you responded. Certainly, if the risk delta between transit modes is different per mile, that remains so at any distance. However, if the distance of peoples' commutes depends on their transit mode of choice -- a relationship for which evidence exists -- the implications of describing cycling as more dangerous as a lifestyle choice no longer hold, as cycling leads to other lifestyle choices (as with respect to commute and work locations) which effectively balance those risks.

#3 Re: Commuting/Routes » Statisics Show 98.1% of Austinites suffer from faint hearts » 2013-05-01 13:27:20

I've seen studies to the effect that when people choose their home and workplace, the amount of commute time they consider tolerable is constant, regardless of transportation mechanism.

Thus, while in the short term distance may be appropriate in determining safety, in the long term (in which folks select their home and workplace with their transportation mode in mind), time is a reasonable fit.

#4 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Bicycling in Austin 2012 recap [and Austin's bikeability Bike Score] » 2013-01-02 14:38:18

NadiaB wrote:

I'm personally very frustrated, and have contacted walkscore.  I'm not sure where they got their "bike lane" data but it is missing the majority of our bike lanes - Shoal Creek, 11th &  12th Streets, Cherrywood/Chestnut/Pleasant Valley.  I mean, the east side is one of the greatest places to ride a bike because of the topography, slow traffic, and bicycle facilities - and they have it being a glaring red.  Anyway, I just think their methodology is a bit off.  Let's see if we can't pull up that ranking a little bit :)

With all due respect, I'm hard-pressed to call leaving out the poorly-maintained parking lane on Shoal Creek an inaccuracy unless there's been a great deal of improvement since it stopped being part of my commute a year ago. Agreed on the east side, though.

#5 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Want to Hire Someone to put engine on bike » 2012-07-30 11:26:03

CharlesDuffy wrote:

We have a few specially shops in town who do electric conversion kits -- personally, I can recommend Alien Scooters or Electric Avenue. I would strongly suggest electric rather than gas; not only do they pollute far less (even taking into account production of bike, battery and electricity), but they also are allowed on Cap Metro -- whereas the train, at least, allows electric bikes.

Blerg. Very embarrassed -- I was writing this on my phone, and failed to proofread. The train disallows gas-powered vehicles onboard, but electric bikes are fine. In terms of what to expect -- a hub-motor e-bike (almost all conversion kits and the strong majority of pre-built e-bikes on the market are this type) will work best if you pedal yourself to get started, but can keep you at speed once you're there (ideally with help from your legs to maximize speed and extend the range), especially on flattish ground; however, underpowered hub motor systems can bog down on steep hills, so you'll want to keep in mind the inclines in your commute in deciding how much power you need. A mid-drive e-bike (considerably rarer) puts the motor's output through the chain, and thus your derailleur or geared hub, and thus provides far more assistance climbing hills or starting from a stop. These can be tuned to work best with a specific cadence, regardless of gear -- the one I used to use got the best output from the motor with its rider keeping a brisk cadence around 85 or 90... which meant both good exercise, and far more speed than I could maintain on my own, especially on inclines. The primary folks I know of selling less expensive pre-built mid-drive e-bikes is a local company (with their manufacturing outsourced to China), R Martin; if you were looking for a higher-end / premium option, there's a company, Optibike, hand-building custom-frame mid-drive e-bikes in Boulder, CO -- these have handily won the Pike's Peak hill climb for each of the last three years.

If you want a forum to read about some of your options on electric bikes (especially if you decided to try doing the work yourself), is a good source of information.

Anyhow -- either of those shops should have people who know what they're doing and are happy to help. And yes -- do report back about your experience! My office is thinking of moving into the middle of 360, and I'll want another e-bike myself (sold my last one a few years back) when I can no longer take the train right into the neighborhood of work.

#6 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Want to Hire Someone to put engine on bike » 2012-07-30 07:59:56

We have a few specially shops in town who do electric conversion kits -- personally, I can recommend Alien Scooters or Electric Avenue. I would strongly suggest electric rather than gas; not only do they pollute far less (even taking into account production of bike, battery and electricity), but they also are allowed on Cap Metro -- whereas the train, at least, allows electric bikes.

#8 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Tire size mismatches » 2012-03-28 08:26:39

savanni wrote:

If I can figure out the size of the rim, how do I ensure that I'm buying a replacement tire that fits easily?  One way or another I'm going to have to special order this thing, and the previous owner put a mylar coating on the rim that completely destroyed any labels that may have been there.

When it comes to needing to special-order odd-sized tires --

Have you checked Mike Librik's shop, Easy Street Recumbents (behind the Goodwill on Lamar)? I actually ride a folder, not a 'bent, but as it uses 16"x1 3/8 wheels, they're the only place I can find properly sized tires and tubes in stock locally. He certainly carries plenty in 20" as well.

#9 Re: Cars / Gas / Energy » Google Maps now shows cost of driving » 2012-03-20 18:07:52

On a related note, I'm disappointed that MileMeter (an auto insurance company with services priced by distance traveled) is now out of business -- having a fixed minimum price-per-mile I could keep in my head (my rate was $0.11/mi for full coverage) made it easy to justify commuting by bike+train -- the train fare was break-even considering only insurance costs, before adding savings from avoiding gas/repairs/other marginal costs.

It's easy to forget just how expensive driving is; always good to have more tools that help keep that in mind.

#10 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Suggestions for carrying picture frames » 2012-03-08 12:07:12

If you're in the East Austin area, I have a Cycletote trailer I'm willing to lend -- it should easily fit 14x17 frames. The hitch is a seatpost mount -- it might be a little interesting figuring out how to set it up on a 'bent, but I'd be quite surprised if it couldn't be done. My email address is registered with the forum, or I can be contacted at 512.394.3516 (voicemail and text messages left there go to my email).

#11 Other » Lost: Radbot 1000 tail light @ Crestview Station » 2011-08-06 09:03:44

Replies: 2

Thursday morning, after getting off the train, I stopped to adjust my saddle, removing my tail light for easier access... and forgot to put it back on.

I'd be happy to pay a $10 finders' fee to anyone who picked it up -- but even if you'd prefer to keep it, I'd like to have the batteries (which have stickers on them labeling them #1 and #2) back. I've been running some numbers on the effective capacities of different vendors' rechargable batteries over the course of their life spans, and was getting interesting results from that pair. I'd be happy to trade them for a different set of AAAs -- alkaline or rechargeable at your choice.


#12 Re: Cars / Gas / Energy » Go car-free and save $1.5 million » 2011-06-10 11:16:35

Adriel wrote:

I do not think you can get a cab for $6 from anywhere to anywhere, it is usually $20-50

I agree, but I also think the default numbers in terms of how _often_ you have to use a cab are pretty pessimistic.

The only times we've had to use a cab are things like...

- doctor's appointment for a medical problem that prevents cycling [back/knee issues are no fun]

- backup ride home after mechanical failure [outside car2go range, or account not working and Austin office closed]

- going on vacation, missed bus to airport.

...these are all pretty rare events. If my wife had a foldable/packable bike like I do (and a trailer for carrying a suitcase... that packs into the suitcase with the bike!), we could have just biked to the airport and avoided the 3rd one altogether. So -- price-per-trip is far too low, but number-of-trips is far too high. (A similar thing is true on the carshare charges -- I spend closer to $15/trip on car2go, but that's something I do less than once a month).

One big thing the default values missed for me was mass-transit charges -- I take the train to (within a few miles of) work every day, and the everything-included CapMetro month pass adds up over time -- and the bike-maintenance costs were lowballed compared to what I see in practice -- but the numbers still came to about $1.2M savings.

The much bigger thing it missed, though, is the cost of the new bike habit -- the car numbers assume a new vehicle every time the lease or loan runs out, after all. Factoring *that* in makes my hankering for a shiny new custom-frame internally-geared folder (but belt-drive this time!), or one of Elliot's custom stokemonkey-assist Xtracycles, or [...list goes on...] look downright fiscally irresponsible.

#13 Re: Other » Backup options » 2011-06-03 07:59:55

Donald Lewis wrote:

i built a bike with an Alfine 11.  The hub came apart in two weeks.  I got another one under warranty which failed to shift into 11th gear reliably right out of the box.  The third one is shifting well most of the time, but occasionally slips and pops.  I am not the only one who has had problems with these.

Time will tell.  The hub certainly has some advantages, but absolute reliability does not seem to be one of them at this time.

Oi -- that's a disappointment to hear, though I suppose it's to be expected in the first generation. The other hub I've had in mind is the N360, but from what I understand it's hard to get a high enough gearing using one of those with 16" wheels and a belt drive. One of the folks over at Bike Friday is thinking of setting up his personal bike with that configuration -- hopefully I'll make it up to Eugene and be able to borrow it for a test drive.

#14 Re: Other » Backup options » 2011-06-01 00:29:59

john the blasphemer wrote:

A couple more thoughts... I went to BSS and picked up three or four extra spokes which I have taped to the frame of my commuting/touring bike.  I also carry an extra brake cable which could double as a derailleur cable if need be.   Along with my patch kit, extra inner tube, bike multi-tool and multi-tool Gerber knife I also carry a little bit of parachute cord, some duct tape and a bunch of zip ties. 

I'm no longer worried about getting stuck by mechanical failure on the way to work.   With some zip ties, duct tape and a sharp knife I could carve out a new civilization in the wilderness!

My company doesn't trust me with a lap top, but for pannier bags I got some Jandd Hurricanes.  They are big, roomy and totally water proof.  They seal up the same way as a canoe/kayak bag seals.  They have never let me down.

Well, since we've switched from backup options to getting together a commuting setup that avoids needing them, let me throw in my $.02:

Wheels: Thick, double-walled rims with as many spokes as possible -- in my case 36o, to match the hub. Haven't lost a spoke or had truing issues since finding the right rim, and they were a plague beforehand. (36o on a double-walled 16" rim at a width for road riding rather than BMX is hard to find -- spent more than a little time hunting around until Mike at Easy Street ordered a Velocity Aeroheat in the right drilling, which has been perfect).

Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus (advantage: extremely puncture-resistant; disadvantage: royal PITA to remove or replace, particularly in the small sizes; also had a single case where a Marathon Plus wore out extremely quickly on one side of center tread, but calling it a one-off as it hasn't happened again).

Gearing: Internal. Not only is being able to shift at a total stop convenient, but there's that much less to clean and maintain with an internally geared hub (no derailleur, no jockey wheel, far less chain wear). Planning on an Alfine 11 (which, like the Rohloff with its 100,000km design life, has an internal oil bath) and belt drive for my next bike -- going from 2,000mi per chain to 8,000mi per belt seems like a major win (though, admittedly, belt failures are less amenable to side-of-the-road repair than chain failures... well, that's the point of having a backup transport mechanism, per initial topic of this thread). Also, the grease-reduction advantages of belt systems are particularly compelling for a folder.

Lights: At least two lightheads and two batteries for each of front and back; wide-beam on the handlebars, narrow-beam on the helmet. Maybe a little paranoid -- but I used to commute to/from Round Rock on the I-35 frontage road, going home well after dark; a total lighting failure was just as fatal to a successful commute as a broken chain.

Re: carrying extra brake+shift cable -- never had more than one brake fail at a time; rear-brake-only requires caution and awareness, but is completely doable given those things. Shifting, though, is a good point -- one of the thing I miss about using a Rohloff was that if you had a cable failure, you could detach the shifting mechanism from the hub and set the gear with a hex bit off your multitool; the i-Motion, by contrast, goes straight to low gear in the event of a cable break. I hope Shimano and SRAM get around to copying that feature someday.

On torrent-proof panniers, I've had similar good luck with Detours X-Country -- I throw my wallet and phone in there and roll it up if there's even a hint of rain.

General point: With some tuning, it is indeed possible to make the need for a backup system a very rare thing indeed!

#15 Re: Other » Backup options » 2011-05-28 16:09:18

I've traditionally used Yellow Cab and never gotten any guff from them about having a bike in the back. They certainly have mini-vans, though I've never had to request one.

That said, a quick rant (though this isn't applicable to you) -- my bike is a folder (a Bike Friday Tikit... incidentally, they also made a foldable recumbent, the Sat'r'Day, for a while; though it's discontinued and hard to find now), and fits great inside of a Mini. So -- a car2go subscription should be the perfect backup option, right?

Except that when I need to actually *use* that subscription it's typically middle of the night, and the Austin office is closed, and for one reason or another (wrong info in their insurance, credit card reported lost and never gave them the replacement number yet, etc) my account never seems to be active when I want to use it. And the overseas offices can't do anything with Austin accounts.

So -- even if you get a bike that fits in their vehicles, be careful relying on car2go as a backup unless they change their policies to empower the foreign offices to do account maintenance and reactivation.

#16 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » On-bike security camera possibility » 2010-12-07 04:49:48

I'm not so sure about the rear-facing aspect -- quite a lot of accidents (left-hook, right-hook, folks deciding to run a stop light because surely they can outrun a cyclist) wouldn't be caught by a rear-facing camera. I've been thinking about this for a while, and my inclination is a helmet cam with proper a/v support; the helmet mount means your head provides shock absorption and steadies the video, and ensures that anything which catches your attention gets tracked (unlike a fixed mount). Doesn't help for surprises from the rear, but the statistics in the TS101 class made it clear that barring cases where folks are riding at night without lights (tsk tsk) being hit from the rear is very uncommon.

It's overkill for the purpose, sure, but several folks I know online are happily using the ContourHD to record their rides (mostly much more interesting rides than a daily commute); it's light and built to be easy to stop and start while mounted on a helmet out of your view.

By the way, depending on your budget -- Eye-Fi makes cards now which upload their contents over a wireless connection and delete the oldest contents to make room for new ones. If you set up your phone to share its Internet (or had a dedicated personal hotspot), you could set up an ongoing offsite backup.

Anyhow -- it's an interesting line of thought. I've been pondering such a thing for a while myself -- though between budgetary constraints and limitations on available real estate / mounting options (helmet already has headlight + battery + mirror zip-tied on) it hasn't happened yet.

#17 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Justice goes both ways... bikes can hit cars too! » 2010-11-29 15:50:56

allendemling wrote:

Donald Lewis, I did take the lane...the bike lane. Both times I was hooked were on streets with bike lanes, and the person who hit me passed me (in their lane) then turned in front of me without signaling. I haven't taken the Traffic 101 course, so did I still do something wrong? Should I take the lane at every intersection even if there is a bike lane and no stop sign or light? That seems more dangerous since you would be weaving in and out of the bike lane at every intersection.

There's a reason newly painted bike lanes become dashed when leading up to stop signs where right turns are allowed -- and it's exactly what you described here.

Taking the lane before any intersection in which the lane to your left is allowed to turn right is IIRC among the best practices taught in TS101. Lane changes do of course need some care to execute safely... but then, that's why you've got a rear-view mirror (and practice maintaining control while looking over your shoulder and signaling), right?

allendemling wrote:

Dougmc, it is based on the idea that A LOT of laws are seen by drivers as unnecessary for them to follow all the time. Your example of speeding is one, no right turns on red signs is another, rolling through stop signs is another. We all break laws, like I said, we are all just people. But it is more socially acceptable to break some laws than others, so we almost don't even view them as breaking the law.

Indeed -- and I'm personally guilty here myself: When driving a motor vehicle, I almost never merge into the bike lane before a right turn, even though that's technically the correct and legal action to take. I almost suspect that were I to change that behaviour to be more correct, more people would be annoyed than pleased.

#18 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » Upgrading an Internally-geared hub » 2010-11-25 09:34:30

The other thing is that the 3-speed is much smaller than the 7- or 8-speed, so that wheel rebuild will need to include new spokes. If you were using a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed, I have it in my head that those are available in a wider range of spacings, so you'd need to check compatibility with your frame... but I don't know that that's the case for the Nexus 3.

By the way, if you're changing it out anyhow, I'd suggest also looking at the SRAM i-Motion 9 -- which I'm currently using and a big fan of -- and maybe even this year's version of the NuVinci, about which I've heard nothing but good things. (My favorite folding bike manufacturer (Bike Friday up in Oregon) has been thinking about using the NuVinci on their upcoming top-of-the-line belt-drive folder rather than waiting for Shimano's Alfine 11 [which itself looks to be an outstanding hub -- copying many of Rohloff's features without their pricetag]). Among things to consider is ease-of-removal -- I've never liked having to play fish-the-bolt-out-of-the-grease to disengage the shifting mechanism on a Shimano, whereas SRAM and Rohloff both have mechanisms for engaging and disengaging that linkage; also, if your shift cable breaks, Rohloff's external shift mechanism can be removed and the gear selected using a multitool, which is a lot better than being stuck in highest/lowest/whatnot.

Best of luck finding something right for you!

#19 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Justice goes both ways... bikes can hit cars too! » 2010-11-23 13:41:45

JusticeGoesBothWays wrote:

Wait, they tell cyclists to "take the lane" -- that's... ugh, that's beyond selfish.  So on a busy street with a speed limit of 35 or MPH the cyclist is encouraged to slow down all the  traffic behind them?  That lacks all common sense.

A busy street with a speed limit of 35MPH should have at least two lanes in each direction. If one of those is a well-maintained bike lane (swept clean and outside of the "door zone" in which cyclists can be knocked into other traffic lanes by parked cars' doors opening), fine and well. The larger, point, however -- if traffic of varying speeds can't be accommodated, the city did a poor job of engineering that street. More recently adopted standards (see the "complete streets initiative") should prevent that from happening in the future.

Riding in the gutter on a 35MPH street is a good way to get hit -- you're not very visible there, and can be easily right-hooked by vehicles pulling in and out of driveways (closely related to the primary sources of risk when riding on the sidewalk -- sidewalk use being one of the three primary risk factors for cyclist-at-fault accidents, the other two being riding at night without lights and running on the wrong side of the road).

JusticeGoesBothWays wrote:

Does this apply to horses, rickshaws, rollerbladers, unicyclists, etc... as well?  Because I'm just at a loss for how someone on a bike could think that they were so special that they were entitled to take up this much public space.

Cyclists are able to legally operate as road vehicles, obligated to follow the same rules as everyone else when doing so (with a few extra privileges -- access to "preferential lanes" where available, ability to ride on sidewalks and improved shoulders where not prohibited, and the like). Granted, not everyone takes the associated responsibilities seriously, but we're working to change that (in part by encouraging local courts to send cyclists ticketed for traffic violations to TS101 and similar classes). That said, to answer at least part of your question directly -- people on horseback, skaters, road workers, motorcyclists and the like are, like cyclists, "vulnerable road users", entitled to 3 feet of space (or 6 for large trucks) when passing in the same lane within Austin city limits.

We're not going for "special" -- wider public recognition for the legal status quo of "same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle" would be great. (There are even extreme branches of the vehicular cyclist community who lobby against bike lanes and other separate facilities on the theory that they reduce cyclists' ability to interact with other vehicles as equals).

JusticeGoesBothWays wrote:

Just got the estimate to fix my car back... $3200... there are dents and or scraps on like every back panel of my car, as well as the dents on the trunk.  I am just shocked it could cost this much, but that's what my insurance company is willing to pay to get it fixed.

I wish you (and your insurance company) luck tracking down the guilty party and getting them to take responsibility.

#20 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Justice goes both ways... bikes can hit cars too! » 2010-11-23 07:20:36

I'd like to think the folks who actually follow the "justice issues" thread aren't the same ones who hit-and-run. Nonetheless, I'm always sorry to hear our community so ill-represented.

That said -- you might find it interesting to take the LAB TS101 class; as a motorist, you might decide to skip the second day (the on-bike session, which includes emergency maneuvering and such), but the classroom session goes into detail on accident statistics, lane positioning strategy, applicable law and the like. TS101's goal is to generate cyclists who ride on-street both safely and courteously -- in that order. "Taking the lane" is often the safest thing to do, though moving over and allowing a faster vehicle to pass when it's safe to do so is also among the behaviors taught.

(By the way -- BicycleAustin isn't actually set up to promote cycling as a "hobby", but rather as serious transportation; I'm not sure what the appropriate forum would be to address the recreational cycling community, but that's actually not us).

#21 Justice Issues / Collisions » Folding bikes not allowed in county buildings? » 2010-11-14 09:52:09

Replies: 0

My primary mode of transportation is a Bike Friday Tikit -- with 16" wheels and a 3-second compact fold. Under normal circumstances, it goes with me everywhere as a matter of course -- shopping, on the bus and train (even when the dedicated racks are full), indoors with me in my office, etc; as such, I don't carry a lock.

A few days ago I went by the main Travis County Tax Office on Airport. The officer providing building security indicated that bicycles were not allowed inside -- folded or unfolded, covered or uncovered. He was kind enough to keep an eye on it while patrolling outside the building, and I was able to transact my business -- but being dependent on the kindness of strangers is somewhat less than ideal.

What would be the right channel by which to put a bug in someone's ear? When folded, the bicycle fits in less volume than a (non-folding) baby stroller, and is explicitly exempted from anti-bike policies elsewhere (ie. Amtrak). As such, I doubt very much that this policy was written with folding bikes in mind.

#22 Re: Commuting/Routes » Dear motorist in the maroon Honda Element in Frost Bank Tower downtown » 2010-11-04 11:09:02

cycling74 wrote:
maastrichtian wrote:

riding in the correct lane of traffic, stopping at all stop signs and lights, and signaling all stops and turns....

Unfortunately, I found this riding style ALSO infuriates some drivers. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Can't please everyone. Cliche, cliche, cliche.

If you're going to be annoying _someone_ either way, though, it's better to be in the right. (Occasionally appreciated, even -- I actually *have* had a motorist in front of me stop at a light, get out of his pickup, and thank me for being a courteous cyclist. Really wasn't expecting it, and it's something of a shame that waiting one's turn in line [or whatever other interactions we may have had getting to that point] is seen as noteworthy).

(My most recent close call was a black muscle car whose driver, waiting at a 2-way stop where I had the right-of-way, decided to gun it while I was already in the intersection and see how close he could come to my front fender; I found myself lucky that he didn't underestimate my speed, annoyed that the valve on my airhorn was closed, and once again pondering the purchase of a helmet camera -- I didn't get nearly enough time to take in the license plate or the police would have been called on the spot).

Best of luck having a productive conversation with the driver of the Element; for me, this has served as a reminder to grab a pump and fill the horn's air tank. And make sure I open the valve back up when done.

#23 Traffic Laws » Is cycling in the crosswalk legal outside downtown? » 2010-10-24 14:22:02

Replies: 5

Per subject. Here's what brings this up --

Google's bicycling directions has a recent history of giving me directions which I can't legally follow as a vehicle -- proceeding straight across turn-only intersections, turning left at a straight-only intersection, etc. Indeed, there are two of the former cases on my regular commute route (Westbound at Lamar and Morrow; crossing Airport to or from Wilshire).

I've been dealing with the situation by dismounting at these intersections, pushing the pedestrian button at the crosswalk, waiting for the signal, walking across on foot, and remounting my bike on the other side.

Is this the only unambiguously legal way to handle these intersections? Can I ride in the crosswalk when there isn't enough pedestrian traffic to conflict? Is a better approach available?


#24 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Enforcement needed again on Rio Grande north of 28th » 2010-10-15 22:36:29

cycling74 wrote:

When the parked car causes traffic to move into part of another lane to avoid hitting the parked cars, 911 is the number and the police will respond promptly (311 will transfer you to 911 as soon as you say "obstructing traffic").

Hmm -- didn't work that way tonight.

I had to swerve into the traffic lane to avoid a Ford parked smack between two "no parking any time in bike lane" signs on Pleasant Valley just south of Webberville tonight -- the light at the intersection was green and I still had momentum from the steep decline just before. Had there been other vehicles on the road it might have been ugly.

Anyhow -- called 311, and they indicated they were filing it as a bicycle issues ticket... which I take to mean there won't be any action until someone gets in tomorrow.

#25 Re: Cars / Gas / Energy » Cars that drive themselves » 2010-10-11 09:31:49

I'm putting it down as "help". Certainly, this will reduce the need for private ownership, and thus the number of cars manufactured, by making shared-car programs the cheapest and most practical way to drive.

Consider the added level of convenience to things like car2go when the nearest car can come and pick its passenger up, either on-call or on schedule. With shared-car rental becoming more common and economical (particularly when there isn't a need to insure against bad drivers in the program), peoples' driving-based transportation costs will become more directly and visibly tied to the number of miles driven, increasing the immediate, visible cost of motor vehicle use (despite being less expensive than personal motor vehicle ownership overall for all but the heaviest users).

There are other advantages to wide use of cars requested on a per-trip basis -- for instance, appropriate sizing; driving a truck 10,000 miles a year because 500 of those miles require it won't happen when you can order up the vehicle that's right for your immediate need. I'm even hopeful that cars being more commonly a shared resource should result in some cultural shifts removing the stigma around other kinds of shared-resource transportation systems, making this a stepping-stone towards cultural acceptability of high-density areas using completely different transportation solutions.

And, yes -- I trust cars driven by software (software that's been through the kind of development and testing rigor necessary to make it to production in this sort of use, anyhow) to be more predictable than cars driven by humans.

So -- I'm very much supportive of this kind of development.

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