Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why Won't Dick Cheney Shut Up?

Never before has a disgraced former Vice President spent so much time criticizing the current President, predicting and hoping for failure. As our last President suggested, if he's not with us, he must be with the terrorists.

I think Dick Cheney wants the terrorists to win. His views match Osama bin Laden perfectly. He wants more destruction. He wants another attack against the US. He wants to keep things as polarized as possible. And he doesn't want peace. It's the only way his nutty "torture is ok" and "god is on our side" views have any chance of prevailing.

Dick Cheney, please shut up.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Almost Hit A Bicyclist

I was about to make a right turn onto a five-lane street. There wasn't much traffic, but I waited for it clear, then started my turn. Right in front of me, there was a bicyclist. Going the wrong way. In the dark. Without a helmet. Without a light. I didn't hit him, but I could have. As he bicycled off, I saw he had a red light on the back of the bike. Not much help that does when he's going the wrong way.

A long time ago, it was recommended that you should bike going against traffic. This stupid advice hasn't been given out for a long time. In fact, in Washington State, as in many states, it's illegal to ride against traffic. The King County web site has a good summary.

Here are the essentials:

  • You're harder to see when you're biking the wrong way, both to vehicles in the street and to others.
  • Motorists making a turn don't spend a lot of time looking the wrong way before making their turn. Pedestrians move slowly enough that they are usually spotted easily. Not so with bicyclists.
  • Your speed relative to other traffic is much greater when you ride against traffic, significantly increasing the risk of an accident and the likelihood of injury in an accident.
  • Assume that motorists are not looking out for you, both literally and figuratively. Do everything you can to be visible.
  • Always wear a helmet, but know that it will not save your life in a major accident. Do everything you can to avoid an accident.
  • Use two lights at night -- one in front and one in back. Lights that blink are a good idea. An extra light on your left leg that moves up and down for more visibility is a good idea.
  • Following the law is always a good idea, but it's not enough -- in the vast majority of bicycle accidents, the bicyclists were following the law. It will not do you any good to have been in the right when you're hit.
Further reading
  • is an excellent, quick read with practical advice. Good to read even if you're not a bicyclist.
  • Bicycling Street Smarts is book about "riding confidently, legally, and safely" which is available online.