Archive for category safety

Bicycle Rear View Camera



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Car Grammar

This concept helmet includes headlight, turn signal and brake light.

via clusterflock

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in the saddle…

I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.

I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.

I’ve dropped those same men.

I’ve been dropped by women.

And old men.

I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.

I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.

I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.

I’ve had road rash.

I’ve run red lights.

I’ve been defeated by headwinds.

And Coleman Valley Road.

I’ve stopped for wildlife.

I’ve been honked at.

And yelled at.

And waved at.

And smiled at.

I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.

I’ve taken turns at the front.

I’ve been stopped by the police.

I’ve underdressed.

And overdressed.

I’ve suffered.

But mostly, I’ve had fun.

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posted from the safety of my car

Last night I had a dream that I was vilified on local news for jaywalking with my daughter. In the dream, my daughter and I appeared on the local news, first waiting to cross a street at a stoplight. On the news, the image was of my daughter and I and apparently came from one of those traffic cameras they use to spy on citizens. The voice over on the TV was about negligent parents. I knew that my family was with us as the news cut to another spy traffic camera of my daughter and I walking, diagonally across an empty street and the legs of my wife, mom and brother just at the edge of the frame. There was a sound of a horn and a squeal of over inflated tires which, I knew, had been added to the video by the news station. The voice over told viewers about the dangers of walking and crossing streets in particular.

This morning I woke up and found this in my Google Reader Feed:

Also, I read this (from an article about a high school student who was killed last Thursday when she was struck by a car walking to a bus stop):

“You really have to wave the flag at the bull, so to speak,” he said, “because drivers are really self-consumed, and it is hard to get them to stop.”

A superstitious person would lock himself in his house for a few weeks and wait for the bad omens to be forgotten. Perhaps, give up walking and cycling all together. Sleep in his car. Because, as we know from all evidence that is available, your car is the safest place you could ever be. I mean that with absolute sincerity.

Really. Using my advanced graphing skills, I’ve drawn a bar graph* of my own to demonstrate:

As you can see, cars are not dangerous at all which is why it makes sense to compare walking on a public street to the safest and most sane of all sports: bull fighting.

*Information based entirely on the data above making many assumptions about the data that are probably inaccurate and shortsighted.

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RoadID | review

How do you write a review for something you hope never to use as intended? I mean, I can give you all the details about the bracelets and the ordering process and the laser engraving, but let’s face it, nobody orders a RoadID because it’s the cool new trend, it’s not a Power Balance Bracelet, it actually serves a purpose, one that we never want to test.

It’s a little bit like your insurance company, you hope it works well, but would be happy never to find out.

With a few promo codes sent by the folks at RoadID, the Tread Heads ordered a Wrist ID Sport (Sam), Wrist ID Elite (Kurt), and Wrist ID Slim (Michael). Here’s the rundown:

Wrist ID Sport ($19.99): Basically a nylon strap with RoadID tag and Velcro closure, is probably the most durable of the three we tested. According to Sam (this is the only style of the three we’ve tested that I’ve never worn) it’s more comfortable than it looks and it has the added advantage of being easily identifiable to any medical personnel that might need the information. Available in six colors and supports up to six lines of text.

Wrist ID Elite ($29.99): A little more expensive and a lot more stylish. For $10 more than the sport you get a band made from “Fashionable Rubberized Compound” (think sports watch band) with metal clasp. The elite is comfortable and easy to size. The watch-like clasp makes putting it on and off a breeze. Our only complaint was the slight rattle in the clasp when riding on rough roads and the tendency for grime (sunscreen, dirt, soap scum, etc) to build up on the clasp. That said, when asked what he would change, Kurt suggested adding a bottle opener. Available in eight colors and supports up to six lines of text.

Wrist ID Slim ($15.99): In my humble opinion, the best of the three. Basically, a high quality Livestrong bracelet (far more durable, however) with a smaller stainless steel ID tag. More stylish (in that it’s less obvious) and more comfortable than the Elite, the Slim is designed for people, like me, who, either, can’t be bothered to take it off or have trouble hiding the inevitable tan-lines that came free with every Wrist ID (somewhere around here there’s a photo of my mid-summer RoadID tan-line…). Of course, the tradeoff for the small design is that, perhaps, it’s less likely to be noticed by medical professional. Available in seven colors and supports up to six lines of text.

All three IDs come with laser engraved stainless steel tags that can be customized with whatever information you think might be helpful in the event of an emergency. Choosing who or what to put can be daunting and the limited amount of space makes it likely you’ll offend the person you didn’t choose to include. Mine looks something like this:


Kurt drops the organ donor and blood type info and includes a home phone number (because he thinks it’s 2003 and still has a landline), drug allergies, and an inspirational quote. Sam has included me on his list of contacts, which is only a little silly because we ride together so often – or, that’s what I tell him so his feelings aren’t hurt. But, don’t fret, the RoadID website also offers examples and suggestions for how to abbreviate things so you can fit as much as possible in the small space.

If you’ve got a long medical history or your emergency contact keeps changing his/her phone number, you can also get an “Interactive” RoadID which has your name and a phone number/url for medical personnel to call/access in the event of an emergency. The pin # printed on the back of the tag will give emergency responders access to the information you’ve uploaded to your Emergency Response Profile. The first year is free with purchase of a new RoadID, each additional year is $9.99.

I’ve had my RoadID for…a long time and ridden over 3000 miles with it. Except for a few minutes here or there, it’s been on my wrist 24 hours a day. It has been exposed to heat, cold, sand, salt water, chlorinated water, soap, grease, yard work… The bracelet itself still looks new but, most importantly, the laser engraving is still as clear and easy to read as the day I took it out of the box (I’d take a photo, but then you might call my wife and talk her ear off about how awesome I am and she gets enough of that from me).

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Worth a read

Okay I’m going to link straight to another dude’s blog here because everyone who drives a motor vehicle ought to read this post, and please pass it on especially to non cyclist friends & acquaintances…

Click below then read the entry for December 30, I can’t link directly to it for some reason.

Institutional Cyclist’s Christmas Lecture

– Sera

Update: Below is the bit I’ve found most moving, I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on it because of the inability to direct link to the post  (but really, go read the entire thing). -Michael

The point is this: behind the statistics, lie people. Each of the hundreds of cyclists killed every year, each of the thousands of other deaths and injuries on the roads each year are real people that have families and friends. Each death is a family devastated. Each death affects a hundred friends. For a hundred deaths, read ten thousand people grieving. A small town’s worth of grief.

The point is this: This is not a war. This is not genocide. This is not a disease. These people are no one’s enemies. Their deaths are not meant as a warning to others. Their deaths are pointless and banal. They are not killed out of spite but out of ignorance, out of foolishness, out of incompetence. They die because others send text messages. They die because others misjudge speed and distance.

The point is this: The people that kill these people do not want to kill them. We must never forget to spare a little pity for them. They are only there because the gamble that paid off on all the other times failed to do so on this occasion and the video game reality through the windscreen suddenly became horrifyingly real. They are, after all, only acting in that way because the society that we live in allows them to and only suffers to penalize their actions when people die.

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We got a small amount of grief last night regarding Heather’s post I’m talking about you @SchwankyTown. So, I thought I’d expand on the comment I made in response to the post and pull it out here for all to read.

I’ve rolled through stop signs. Both on my bike and in a car. Intentionally and because I wasn’t paying appropriate attention while driving or riding. Same with stop lights. Also, I’ve been pulled over, both in a car and on a bike.

Of course, there are a few laws I think could be improved. I’m a big fan of the Idaho Stop Law and wish we could implement something similar here in California, and, with a few exceptions, red turn arrows have always seemed pointless to me (I won’t go into detail, let’s just say they only add value if there at an intersection with a blind approach). None of that gives me license to break the laws I disagree with and not expect consequences.

What I mean here is that I’m not trying to defend cyclists who break the law. They shouldn’t do it.

But, even if a driver sees ME blow through a red light, he doesn’t earn the right to knock me down with his car door (which, I’m sure, isn’t what Heather was saying) and he certainly doesn’t earn the right to knock some other cyclist down with his car door. That driver also doesn’t have the right pass closely, honk, drive in the bike lane, or yell at every cyclist he passes (again, not what Heather was saying).

Cyclists, too, need to get over it. Some Lycra clad roadies will run red lights and some skinny jean wearing hipsters will ride the wrong way down one-way streets. We should be encouraging not criticizing. So, scofflaw or not, get out and RIDE.



Motorist Tip of the Week, 12

Read this car blog.

A car blog giving sane and sensible advice about how to share the road with cyclists, it seems like fiction, but it’s not.

I particularly liked this bit:

90% of cyclist casualties in recent years were caused by careless inattention, firstly by drivers, secondly by cyclists. It’s your responsibility to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you.

That’s advice written for people who drive cars by people who drive cars…yay!


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Motorist tip of the week, 11

Be visible and predictable.

Most often this is one of those tips given to cyclists as means of protecting themselves from motorists. And, though I define “visible” a little differently than others, I’m on board with both of those things as they apply to cyclists.

Motorists need to meet the same standards. Visibility is easy. I’m not suggesting you run out and paint your civic Hi-Vis yellow (so please don’t suggest I wear one of those vests) just turn your headlights on when it’s difficult to see (and make sure they both work). A lot of newer cars take care of this for you, so it shouldn’t be difficult.

Predictability is also pretty easy. Drive in your lane (use two hands if you’re having trouble with this). Signal when you’re going to turn. Start braking for a stop earlier rather than later (bikes can rear-end you too). Stop at stop signs. Etc. It really helps cyclists out because, believe it or not, we watch what you guys are doing in those cars and we try to avoid getting run over.

Update: I just noticed this was our 500th post. Surely that deserves a celebration of some kind…

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from the O’Conner Family

Sam has previously written about the hit-and-run death of 27-year-old, Patrick O’Conner. As cycling advocates and citizens of Northern California, stories like this one hit close to home.

This morning we received this press release from the family of Patrick O’Connor. The O’Connor Family is reaching out to the community for letters that might be used by the judge as he determines sentencing for Vanessa Carrillo.

I don’t want to comment on the character of Ms. Carrillo nor do I offer judgment on the O’Connor Family’s claim that Ms. Carrillo’s relationship with law enforcement has had significant impact to the handling of the case. Instead, I want to reiterate my opinion that negligent, illegal behavior that results in the death of a cyclist, pedestrian or other motorist should be treated seriously by law enforcement. As a cyclist, I do not see a significant difference between a death caused by a drunk driver and death caused by driving over the speed limit while using a cell phone. It is my hope that the judge considers how Vanessa Carrillo’s illegal driving behavior and her flight from the scene contributed to the death of this cyclist and sentences accordingly.

Press Release:

November 6, 2011

PLEASE write a letter to the Judge for Patrick O’Connor!
Stanislaus Superior Court
Judge Thomas D. Zeff, Court #5
Case # 1426693
800 11th Street
Modesto, California 95354

On November 1, 2011, the Stanislaus District Attorney decided to Plea Bargain this case instead of going to trial. As a major part of this process, the DA recommendation to the Stanislaus County Probation Dept. is to file a Pre-Probation report. This report will be submitted to the Judge Thomas D. Zeff, Stanislaus County Superior Court with a recommendation for sentencing. The Probation Department has requested we send the letters within the week so as to collect and file them in the court documents, to ultimately be read and reviewed by the Judge. If you send your letter to the judge, please email me a copy at this address ( that we may ensure your letter reaches the probation department.

We as victims of this tragedy have an opportunity to express how you feel about the Death of Patrick O’Connor. How has it affected your personal life, your family, your friends, either emotionally, mentally, physically in any way or aspect or outlook of you or your family’s lives. The tragedy in the lost of Patrick cannot ever be justified in our court system; however, this is our opportunity to tell the judge and make an impact on the legal process.

You may feel free to express your thoughts about this 22-year-old woman, Vanessa Carrillo, who hit, killed Patrick, and left the scene leaving him to die in the middle of the road. She has four prior “at Fault” vehicles accidents, four major traffic violations, two for high speeding. She was on her phone while traveling over 65 mph and had just sent a text message prior to killing Patrick, then fleeing the scene. Her phone behavior is an openly defiant choice she made knowing, it took Patrick’s life. She has a very cavalier attitude and feels that she is not responsible for this murderous act! Additionally, she has lied and given false information to the police as a means to prolong and avoid the repercussions of her actions. In the past several years Vanessa Carrillo has built up a relationship with local, law enforcement officers, specifically an intimate relationship with a deputy sergeant of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept. She has been on numerous all night ride-alongs with this local law enforcement department. This has been verified by the elected Stanislaus County Sheriff who openly admitted that his officers have “manipulated and interfered” with this case.

This is our chance to be heard and have an impact on this case. This is our opportunity to persuade our justice system to strike forth with the fullest extent against Vanessa Carrillo, whose incompetence and malicious behavior has cost us someone very dear to our hearts. She must be held accountable for her actions. We appeal to your moral principles of social responsibility, justice, and accountability as we humbly urge you to write a letter to the Judge expressing how you feel about Vanessa’s behavior and how Patrick’s death has affected you.

The DA has accepted a plea bargain in order to avoid a trial.

Please write your letter with a heading to Judge Zeff at the above address ref: case # 1426693 and sign your letter with your job title.

*Please share this with interested friends or loved ones.

With deep appreciation and thanks,
The O’Connor Family

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