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#2 Bike Lanes / Facilities » New facilities to protect pedestrians » 2021-12-29 13:04:43

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 0

"A pilot to alert vehicles when a pedestrian is about
to cross the street in East Austin began in November.
The program, monitored by the Austin Transportation
Department, is at two crossings on Rosewood Avenue:
Angelina Street and Navasota Street. The technology
for the project runs on solar power and is provided by
TAPCO and Siemens.

When a pedestrian pushes the signal, it alerts oncom
ing drivers who have vehicles connected to wireless
networks, or connected vehicles, that someone is
trying to cross. It also provides an alert if the driver
is about to run a red light. In addition to displaying
messages for connected vehicles, the crosswalks also
have rapid flashing lights that will go off."

Community Impact

#4 Helmet Laws/Other legislation » Bruce Todd, former mayor who championed a helmet law, dies » 2021-12-27 10:45:35

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 0

Austin had a brief, unpopular all-ages helmet law in 1996.  It was amended to be kids-only after public blowback.

In 2006, former mayor Bruce Todd tried to bring the helmet law back, without success, possibly because cyclists packed City Hall to protest.  I remember bemoaning how energized cyclists were for that effort, which I couldn't get anyone on board the same year to help advocate for car-free bike lanes on Shoal Creek Blvd.

Anyway, Bruce Todd just passed, at age 72.

#5 Getting started with biking » To turn, you have to steer in the opposite direction » 2021-12-04 18:21:14

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 3

This video shows that to turn left, you first have to steer right, and vice-versa.

I didn't know this.  It blew my mind.

Who knew this already?

#7 Bike Lanes / Facilities » Manor Road re-do, red bus lanes » 2021-10-27 23:15:53

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 1

The City is painting some bus lanes red:  https://www.kxan.com/traffic/seeing-red … nitiative/

They're also blowing up the Manor Rd./Cherrywood area.  The bike lane in each direction will transition into a "shared use path" with pedestrians.  Me, I think I preferred the dedicated bike lanes.

https://www.austintexas.gov/CherrywoodManor

BTW, I own every property on the east side of Stafford Street, there's no sidewalk, and all the yards slope towards the street so you can't walk on the area where a sidewalk would go.  I contemplated excavating and building a retaining wall at considerable expense so there could be a path for people to walk on instead of having to walk in the street (and there's an elementary school right around the corner), but the City won't allow it unless I also spend untold thousands of dollars building an ADA approved sidewalk (200 feet long), so I won't build the path.  The City could get a free walking path, but because they're mandating a sidewalk, they (and the neighborhood) get NOTHING.  Typical CoA.

#8 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Woman cyclist & dog hit & run'd on Manor Rd., 9/28/21 » 2021-10-11 12:10:57

Perhaps.  The description of what actually happened is completely different according to the witness I talked to.  She said that the driver slowly tailed the cyclist and her dog (who were in the bike lane), and then accelerated to intentionally hit them.  But the page you linked to blames the cyclist for not yielding the right of way.  Though again, we know about police bias.  I remember about one cop who said something like, "It's a collision involving a bike, of course it was the bicyclist who was at fault."

#10 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Woman cyclist & dog hit & run'd on Manor Rd., 9/28/21 » 2021-09-30 19:31:36

Alexander is 0.2 miles west of Airport.

The white poles are missing in the section she got hit.  The witness told me the driver had been tailing the cyclist, so maybe he was waiting for the absence of poles so he could have easy access.  Or maybe he was the one who knocked out the poles.

There are poles missing all over Manor Rd., people hit them all the time.  Within a couple days of their being installed, almost all of them had black marks from drivers hitting them.

#11 Justice Issues / Collisions » 16yo who hit six cyclists in Houston faces no arrest or charges (9/21) » 2021-09-28 22:56:19

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 3

A teen driver who tried to roll coal (spew exhaust) on a group of cyclists lost control and hit six of them.  Four had to be hospitalized, including two who had to be airlifted out.

Regular readers won't be surprised that the driver wasn't arrested and hasn't been charged.

The anchor on the radio news was incredulous and asked the reporter why there were no charges, and the reporter didn't have an answer.  Oh, I wish they'd asked ME that question, and I could have explained in detail how this is PATTERN AND PRACTICE.

https://www.lmtonline.com/news/houston- … 490862.php

#12 Justice Issues / Collisions » Woman cyclist & dog hit & run'd on Manor Rd., 9/28/21 » 2021-09-28 22:48:25

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 5

A woman cyclist and her dog were hit & run'd around 8pm today on Manor Rd. at Alexander.

A witness told me it appeared to be intentional.

If I wasn't officially done before, I am now:  I will not ride on the roads in this country any more except to get to a path or trail.

#13 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » What does it take to be charged with killing a non-driver? Being black » 2021-09-27 22:37:50

Here's my coverage from 23 years ago.

Damn I'm old.

Motorists frequently face no consequences for injuring or killing cyclists in Austin. What does it take for a cyclist to get action taken against a hostile motorist? Well, if recent news is any indication, it takes being local sports cycling celebrity Lance Armstrong.

In a front page story [Dec. 15, 1998], the Austin American-Statesman reported that Michael Carter ran Armstrong and two cycling buddies off Volente Road near Lake Travis. After buzzing the cyclists with his car, the cyclists yelled at him. Carter then made a U-turn and aimed his car straight at them, throwing Armstrong head-first over his handlebars to avoid being hit.

That same day, Carter was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the attack. At the request of Carter's lawyer, the judge lowered his bail from $300,000 to $30,000, angering both cyclists and women's rights advocates. (Carter posted bail and was released from jail.)

Why were women's advocates upset? Well you see, when Carter attacked the cyclists, he was out on bail awaiting a trial for tying up, beating, and raping his wife. In September, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years for that crime, but he is out while awaiting an appeal. Having a hard time following this story? Let's back up and start from the beginning.

In 1996, Carter was charged with punching his 6-year-old daughter in the face. In 1997, he was charged with assaulting his wife. He got out on bail while awaiting that trial. While he was out on bail, he attacked the cyclists in March 1998. In September, he was convicted of assaulting his wife and sentenced to 10 years in jail. The judge approved an $80,000 appeals bond for that case, and a $30,000 bond for attacking the cyclists. Carter posted both bonds, and returned to roaming the roads with impunity, while awaiting his appeal for assaulting his wife, and his trial for attacking the cyclists.

The judge's decision to let the convicted rapist go was certainly controversial. Check out how the judge downplays the seriousness of Carter's attack on the cyclists. Regarding the attack, District Judge Jon Wisser said, "No one was actually injured in the incident. In the scheme of things around here, it was not as serious an offense." Hmm. Well, if Judge Wisser really feels that way, we'd like to see him get his ass on a bike and ride around Austin and see how he feels when some lunatic runs him off the road with a deadly weapon.

Consequence to the motorist: Surprisingly, Carter was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the attack, marking the first time we know of that a motorist in Austin has faced punishment for harming or threatening a cyclist. Let's see if this ever happens again when the cyclist doesn't happen to be a celebrated local hero.

#14 Justice Issues / Collisions » What does it take to be charged with killing a non-driver? Being black » 2021-09-26 20:48:56

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 3

Regular members know that I've long bemoaned the lack of penalties for at-fault drivers who kill cyclists and pedestrians.  It was the main part of my activist journalism starting in 1996.

Well, recently an at-fault driver was charged with killing a scooter-rider.  At first I thought this might signal a change of culture, then I realized that the driver is black.

It reminds me of an opposite case in the 90s, when I opened my radio show with, "What does it take for a cyclist to have his aggressor charged with reckless driving?  If recent events are any indication, it takes being local cycling celebrity Lance Armstrong."  His aggressor got charged.

Anyway, reading a little further into the recent case, while the driver was charged, she was charged with DWI.  She wasn't charged with killing the cyclist.  Maybe that's coming, but so far, no.

https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/driver … ral-austin

#15 Re: Organizations » Bike Austin opposes Proposition A about police staffing (2021) » 2021-09-22 20:41:28

Thank you for replying Chris.  Yeah, I forgot the obvious:  Double the police budget, less money for everything else, including bike lanes.

Austin becomes a mini version of the U.S., which spends most of its budget on the military, leaving less for education, housing, homelessness, infrastructure, etc.

#16 Re: Organizations » Bike Austin opposes Proposition A about police staffing (2021) » 2021-09-22 13:43:01

I did see the BoD page, but who's the staff?

Endorsements should be made by either a majority of the BoD, or the executive director, if the director is authorized to make such decisions.

I don't necessarily disagree with the decision, I'll be voting No on Prop. A myself, but if an organization is taking a side on an issue it should say so publicly (on its website).  Of course, for that matter it should also say who its staff is, publish its budget, etc.

Could be a bike issue because of the mistreatment of cyclists at the hands of the police.  But this is about police staffing levels, so maybe not related enough.

#17 Organizations » Bike Austin opposes Proposition A about police staffing (2021) » 2021-09-22 11:29:19

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 5

Proposition A would require Austin to increase the size of its police force at considerable cost.  The group opposing it, No Way on Prop A, lists a bunch of organizations on its side, including Bike Austin.  That's probably true, but of course there's nothing on Bike Austin's website about that.  Heck, Bike Austin's website doesn't even say who its staff is.

#18 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » The Bluejays will buy a car and give up bicycling » 2021-09-16 20:38:41

ggw, did you mean to post this in the other thread?

I'm sorry my earlier comment came off as confrontational.  I'm genuinely happy for you that you get pleasure rather than frustration out of cycling.  I'm afraid I just don't have the same experience.

#19 Re: Train, Bus, Transit » The Man in Black on Trains » 2021-09-15 14:47:46

Thanks for posting this, interesting.

This reminds me, a while back I hacked the forum code to allow YouTube videos to be embedded.  I edited your post to embed the video, rather than just link to it.

To embed a video do it like this, taking out the spaces:

[ youtube]PgW1F6PtFDc (the id from the YouTube url)[ /youtube]

#20 Justice Issues / Collisions » Remembering Reed Murray and Fred Meredith » 2021-09-15 14:38:26

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 2

Back in the Critical Mass (CM) days, comprised of mostly young riders, two "old guys" (in their 40s/50s) showed up regularly to lend their support:  Fred Meredith and Reed Murray.

Fred was a fixture on the CM email list which started in 1993 and which was a precursor to this forum.  He was the editor of Austin Cycling News (later Southwest Cycling News) for the now-defunct Austin Cycling Association.

Once on a CM ride, Fred and Reed were riding side by side in a single lane, and a cyclist passed them on the left.  So for a second or two they were three-abreast, and a cop ticketed all three of them.  That was the kind of harassment we had to deal with in those days.  But it just further strengthened their resolve to keep riding CM and pushing back against police overreach.  They likened the police response to what it was like in the Vietnam War protest era.  They were both featured prominently in the Bike Like U Mean It documentary which covered the local cycling community, including CM, released circa 2000, and now available for free on YouTube.

Freed passed away in 2019.

Reed was the founder of White Mountain Foods, which makes yogurt and meat substitutes like wheat roast.  He was killed in 2008 at age 57 in a hit-and-run collision while riding his motorcycle.  The driver was never located.

Here is his obituary.

Yesterday I visited the White Mountain Foods headquarters for the first time since the 90s.  They have a little memorial for him in the lobby.  His nephew, Hannibal Murray, is Reed's successor as CEO.

#21 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » The Bluejays will buy a car and give up bicycling » 2021-09-14 21:57:34

I see the same law-breaking when I'm in my car as when I'm on my bike, but when I'm on my bike my life is more frequently threatened, so it angers me more.

I love Andy Singer.

#22 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » The Bluejays will buy a car and give up bicycling » 2021-09-11 14:49:46

Hi Tom, good to see you here again.

I hope you weren't permanently injured when you got hit.

It's funny you mention the trails, because that's kind of why I was on the road:  I want to ride the trails with my son, so I was riding the bike to the shop to get it tuned up.  But next time I'm just gonna put it in the car.  I have a Prius hatchback, even a long recumbent like a Rans Wave will fit.

#23 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » The Bluejays will buy a car and give up bicycling » 2021-09-10 21:11:22

Eight years later I thought I'd update.

I almost never bike any more.  I did once, about a month ago, but within just a few minutes I saw so many motorists breaking various laws, including a few which could have ended my life, and it reinforced why I don't bike any more.  I was car-free for 27 years, but now I feel I've paid my dues and won't continue to risk my life.  That ride put me in such a foul mood, especially as every time I saw a driver breaking the law I'd hear ringing in my head, "Bicyclists have to follow the law just like drivers if they want respect."  I was reminded of how annoyed and frustrated about the danger I felt on the road during my biking years.  I'm glad to have all that behind me.  I don't know how anyone bikes in this country without becoming misanthropic.

#24 Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » New chinless, beltless bicycle » 2021-09-06 08:49:58

MichaelBluejay
Replies: 0

Pedaling generates electrical energy, which is supplied to a motor in the rear wheel.

Clever.

I'm feeling that battery backup is essential, because there's inefficiency in the generator and the motor, so if pedaling were the sole source of power, it would be far less efficient than a chain-drive bike.

https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2 … -chainless

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