Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday Musette

Tonight on CNBC

"Inside American Airlines" (120 minutes, 8PM and 10PM CST) This documentary focuses on many aspects of the airline's huge, complex operation, including airline maintenance. Much of it was filmed here on the maintenance base in Tulsa. If you're lucky, you may see my bicycle parked in the rack out front! I won't, or at least for the first hour I won't because it's on opposite "Lost". Gosh, if I'm ever stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash, I hope to be surrounded with such photogenic people too.

Those pesky cyclists!

I did an informal traffic count at Main and Broadway on Tuesday. At 5 PM, I started counting the vehicles that actually stopped - that is, the wheels stopped turning - at a 4-way intersection controlled by stop signs and a flashing red light. Of a total of 155 vehicles, pickups, trucks, SUVs, passenger cars, and motorcycles, 23 came to a complete stop. Those few vehicles stopped mainly due to cross traffic in the intersection. But even when crossing traffic was present, many persisted in moving forward slowly until the intersection cleared.

A common complaint about cyclists is that they do not stop at intersections. I'd postulate from yesterday's observation that NO ONE stops at intersections. In fact, I watched as a police car rolled through it. If the wheels do not stop turning, it is not a complete stop, and when anyone fails to stop - regardless of their transportation mode - they have broken the law. It doesn't matter if they roll through at 3 mph, 6 mph, or 10 mph - it's still breaking the law.

Some of the motor vehicles barely slowed down for the intersection. This street is marked for a 25 mph limit and the intersection is less than a block from the police station.

No cyclists were seen. From experience, I can state unequivocally that the majority of bicycle riders in Owasso are on the sidewalks if they're not on neighborhood streets. The busy arterials have few road-going cyclilsts, and of those few, I've seen two blatant red light runners in the last month or so. Both approached an intersection with a red showing in their direction. Both slowed slightly, then blasted on through. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad if it were an unidentifiable cyclist blowing off a light, but one of them wore a jersey from a well-known local club.


I did that traffic count while waiting for a class on MS Excel at the Owasso library. I use Excel at work for tracking units and parts, but I've never had any formal training in using it. The Tulsa City-County Library offers a series of free classes in Excel, Word, and Access. Naturally, after signing up for the class, I found out that my employer has a tutorial series on the training website (no public access, unfortunately).

TPS class tomorrow.

We have another Road1 class scheduled for Tulsa Public School teachers, and several bike shop employees will be attending also. I think we're making good progress with the local bicycle shops. Several owners are very supportive of the educational effort.

But we could do more.

The motorcycle community has a new-rider course that is mandatory in Oklahoma, and I'm told that in other places it's highly recommended for all riders. It gives them a break on insurance. We don't have that impetus for bicycle riders. I'd almost call the motorcycle course coercive, but that's not the precise sense. I'd like to see a program that riders wanted to take rather than one they're almost forced to take. But that's not the precise meaning, either.

The bicycle industry does provide some funding to various advocacy groups, but most of that money gets channeled into organizations devoted to the build-it-and-they-will-come mentality. In other words, more bicycle facilities rather than educational programs for cyclists. Some of these organizations promote the idea that cycling on the road is an extremely dangerous activity and if only the government provided more money for their pet projects, cycling would be much safer. They're little more than whores rooting at the government trough, but that's a subject for another post.


Blogger Fritz said...

Bikes rolling through a stop at 5 mph are traveling at a substantial percentage of their normal traveling speed.

Cars rolling through at 5 mph, however, just seem like they slowed down a lot more.

2:30 PM  
Blogger SueJ said...

Some motorists complain to find some way of rationalizing their simple desire that life were less complicated - it would be simpler without bicycles, so let's find reasons for them not to be there. Some of the "cyclists don't pay taxes" and "they never follow the law" arguments fall under this category.
Some of 'em have a really valid point, though - a lot of cyclists around here do major bobbing and weaving which often means the same car has to pass them several times. Not often - most of the "guerrilla" riders are be-bopping on the sidewalks. I often catch one of 'em three or four times on a trip across town. THey're not just "rolling through..." they're "Blowing the stop sign."

7:29 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

Suppose you v-cam and u-tube the perps rollin' through intersection. Get tags too.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

The mainstream bicycle industry is severely afflicted with cycling inferiority complex too. I trust 'em as far as I can defecate on their hollow slogans, logos, and self-serving congratulatories.

10:23 AM  

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