Category Archives: advocacy

Vacation is over!

I’ve left the shaking, rattling rolling East Coast (hoping Irene will duck out to sea), and returned to the bucolic Midwest.

First thing I noticed was yes, a lot of people ride bicycles here :)  Getting the ride back from the airport there were at least half a dozen commuters on the little stretches of bike-friendly roads on our car route.

This morning was a little less than bike-friendly — yes, I’ve been off the bike for a week and not tuned in as well, or I’d have noted that the Carle truck that went by on State and turned was the one that pulled in… and almost doored me.  That is, I believe the very first time in my life that’s happened. I had, at State and Logan (or whatever its name is there… is it White yet?), just woken up enough to feel suddenly blissful at greeting all these people so I hollered “Thank You!”  and got an unintelligible answer that, I’m afraid, was in the tone of “you should have…”  moved further over or somethign.  Welp, it wasn’t as if he’d pulled in there as I approached and could see it and, oh, yea, there’s that stuff we learned in driver’s ed — that it is the *parked* dude’s responsibility to make sure there’s no oncoming traffic before opening the door… but of course, he is correct — I think I might have had clearance anyway (I was on the left half of the bike lane) but no, I’m not *sure.*

Then I proceeded to hit every light wrong, except Mattis & Church, where I sprinted as I saw teh tanker truck wending through the left-turn-on-Mattis-before-the-light-change and that there were six cars in the left lane on Church… so I did manage to catch the clot and get through with it.

There were many, many bicycles; I believe there were more than previous years, because several times we really were the dominant traffic… more than one cyclist going the same direction, with no cars between.  I pondered the difference between the fourteenth ranked town in percent of commuters and the actual density of cyclists on the roads —  it would be nice to get the kind of density that other high-percentage communities have.

10:00 traffic

I went to work late this a.m. which means riding in a different circadian place, which is always fun.  I had to snicker when a car with a license plate “JONZ” went by, because on my normal a.m. route, RJONES goes by me… and I managed to catch him smiling yesterday.  (Hey, he must be kin, and my brother is Ralph JOnes,  so I tend to do  my full body smile as I go by…)   It was pretty wicked hot, though.

Happily, it had significantly cooled by the time I went home, though unhappily there has been NO rain. And I was riding and alternating between contemplating my math videos and stewing over assorted online comments and deciding that okay, I’d unsubscribed, but I just HAD to post the specific examples of condescending phrases and statements when really only a couple of people got totally defensive and said that there was nothing condescending on the site and my accusations were counterproductive (oh, and the praise was louder, so they were NOT LISTENING anyway).     And I did… but will unsubscribe if replies show up in my mailbox again.

It’s interesting that condescending people are too busy saying NOBODY ELSE SAYS I’M CONDESCENDING (to more than one person, of course!) so YOU MUST BE WRONG! (and beneath me, of course, but I’m NOT being condescending!)   Guess it would take a non-condescending person to take the time to listen to anothe rperson’s perspective ;)  It annoys me especially when it’s somebody “on my side” on an issue.

And as I’m stewing (but actually successfully also spending almost equal time on Algebra Ideas), I was not looking back much… so the cyclist who breezed by on my right was a surprise.   I’m happy to say that I had *Just* been thinking “okay, these forum things are good practice in using good manners” so that I simply said “On your right!”  (now, I’m workin’ on making the htoughts as accepting ;))

Kinda like last night, when a van driver pulls around me just before we’re going to cross busy Vine ST.  and yup, his right turn signal is on. I noticed some apparent confusion on the driver’s part as I lifted and carried and turned my bike to get behind the van, saying as if to myself or the van that well, yea, I did have to move around to get behind this jerk… Right hook is what it’s called and it’s not that hard to wait… or something on those terms… Ten years from now, if I haven’t been run over and I’m actually wise and polite all the time, you can look back at this and know it diden’t come naturally :P

 

 

yahoos, yahoos…

Seems to be more of ‘em — so maybe I should monitor my riding style, but I reckon heat is a compounding variable too.  Got totally buzzed by a van on Kirby — should have been out even further, I suppose.

So I’m going South on Anderson and the guy stops at Fairlawn and then starts going, despite Frank and I being right there in front of him and having total and complete right of way.

I stated “You have the stop sign, after all!”  He hollers out taht he has a driver’s license.   I tell him that it is a public road and he didn’t pay for it personally, and then (tho’ I’m sure he was out of earshot then) that people lose their licenses for running stop signs.   Reckon my first rejoinder should have been “You have a license?  And you don’t know the stop sign rules?”

It’s about 80 out there… many many storms just North keepin’ the temp down, but I wish we’d get some of it.   115 miles needed to get to 1000 in July at the start of the day… got 24 of them and it’s time to go to the store… Krannert Outside is tonight and I want to bring the margarita maker ;)

Fast way home

I can do the round trip commute in something like 13.2 miles — scooting home to beat the plumber today proved it.   I did have an encounter with a Young Male Driver in a large (extra wheels in the back) sort of celeste green pickup who pulled out on me, and when I tooted at him, informed me contemptuously taht “I saw you.  You had plenty of time.”

I suppose he’s accustomed to giving people enough time to dodge him?  I told him something to the effect that he’d pulled out in front of me and he informed me that “most peo;ple…”  (would what? Have just ducked from his dangerously aggressive driving?) and then informed me that I should be in hte bike lane.   I pointed out that there were no bike lanes there (he had stopped to start this conversation out his window, an d then drove away talking)… so a few blocks later, he pointed out the bike lanes (as we approached Neil)… I succumbed and said “And there weren’t any back there… we’re not too bright, are we?”

I’ll work on sticking to the facts, as in “You pulled out on me.”   That “broken record” technique I learned about in my first classroom management course…

And alas, I attempted without success to not do the “Rewind, replay” of hte scenario but I’m hoping that since I’ve pretty much worked through the mental note of the level of threat (just high enough that I shouldn’t have escalated) and What I’ll Do If HE Shows Up Again (be that mature person who could be his teacher… and have my camera handy…)

And I did beat the plumber here.   And HOORAY my basement is dry.   When I thunked the pipe this morning, I swear the gurgling water in there said “Hey, we’ll do okay for  a bit.”

and hoo boy!   I’m 131 in the 2 mile challenge… movin’ up the ranks.

Defensive distractedness

WHen I heard that “legal issues in the news” at our public radio station was going to talk about the laws involved in Errol Maul running over Cindy and David on a clear day on an open road, my interest was piqued.   I might find out the rationalization/ rationale behind not revoking his license, since, as the law states, if you kill somebody breaking the law it “shall” be revoked.
http://will.illinois.edu/search/searchresults/3bf6a849f8512b5d5b6865569d0c3709/

will get you the podcast — but it’s just another exercise in distraction.   Rather than address that issue, he talks about how angry people are, and that Julia Rietz is probably relieved that there’s no negligent homicide law (which she advocated for), because given Errol Maul’s clean traffic record and lack of proof of that rather short list of “mortal sins” of recklessness or “unreasonable” driving, it wouldn’t have applied anyway.  He refers to www.smilepolitely.com which is where we brought up that law.

Rather than discuss the laws that do exist, he discussed why a law that doesn’t exist  and why wouldn’t apply anyway.
What about the law that does exist?
And yes, he tacitly and strongly reinforced the notion that it is asking TOO MUCH of drivers to be able to avoid large vehicles on an open road on a clear day.   The man was “just” looking down at some papers, after all.

Seems they don’t get too many comments on their “legal issues in the news” blurbs.   They got mine.     I’m a-gonna smack my little fingers and not type the snarky questiosn as to what would motivate this “lawyer”… no, slapping fingers…   I asked why he didn’t discuss the laws in effect, since to the best of my knowledge the law says the license *shall* be revoked — not “unless the driver has a reasonably clean record” or “unless it’s just acyclist.”  I suggested he might be a distracted lawyer, and that I would be ashamed if I weren’t angry when distractions cost innocent lives.

35,000 people die in this country in car wrecks every year.   It could happen to anybody.   Hey, good people, it doesn’t *have* to be that way!

Update (Journalism isn’t dead yet)

   David Combs is still in critical care ICU, though perhaps moving to ‘less acute ICU’ if things progress.  Prayers and support appreciated

Donations to the Developmental Services Center in Cindy’s honor

can be made by calling 217-356-9176.  A link to a blog to post memories of Cindy is front and center.

DSC is an awesome place.   Let’s at least make *something* good come from this suckage.

Cards of support can be sent to:David Combs
Room 7712
611 W. Park
Urbana, IL 61801

Annie Weisner did an outstanding job researching and covering this — including an aerial photo so you can see for yourself just how incredibly wide open the line of sight is where Cindy and David were mowed down, and that yes, the driver admitted to be reading a plat map, and that there was no sign of using those funny things called brakes.    I’m afraid that the explanation that makes the most sense is that our state’s attorney is among those who do sincerely believe that bicycles don’t belong on roads (and, therefore, if you’re disabled you should simply not be so bold as to try to get out in the world — oh, of course you can!  but don’t get in OUR way!~).   I would love it if even a single utterance or action or lack of action of hers didn’t strongly support that, especially since “highly successful” people with social clout too often don’t need to ever consider such challenges.  However, she keeps on saying and doing and not doing…

Active Transport folks thought it worth mentioning, too, as did lots of people in their blogs.

Riding the egg… and funeral/cycling attire.

… Oy.   I *must* figure out how to get those Schwinn S6 (or is it S7?) tyres to sit roundly on the rim.   I rode the Racer out to work after the funeral ’cause it will get me back faster to meet about the “what are we going to do about this?” meeting.

I decided that whilst the Racer was a somber black, the retroreflective lips might just not be appropriate for parking in front of a funeral home.   I decided the Gazelle had made sense for Fritz’ funeral, since he was my path to get that bike, but that good ol’ Xtra was the best for this.   I had trouble finding clothes… and I just wasn’t brave enough to wear my heels but I think I am going to wear them around more so that that’s an option. (Right now, me walkin’ in them is still comic.)

Black tights under black sweats under my mostly black skirt worked very well.   Yes, I could have just done the dress if I were ridign the Gazelle — but it is NOT that warm outside. We were singing from rows of chairs (they had to do multiple rooms with closed circuit TV … open casket, but only her face really showing). Many Tuesday Pedaling for Pleasure regulars there.

I got to find that critical B as a second soprano and then go back and belt out a great alto Gospel thing Cindy loved.

But… I’m afraid that yes, between the inspirational words from the pastor, and the thorough explanation of the politics of the Thessalonians, it was all a tragic accident and Cindy knew the risks and had prepared herself for them… by being prepared for death.  Not word one about the responsibility humans have for *not* taking specific actions that endanger others — to think FIRST.

I hear that actually, a lawyer has had success in a case in Illinois with our new 3-foot law that should be useful here… but… so far, I don’t know if Julia Rietz has done that homework.   I would *love* to find out that she is doing the right things behind the scenes.   However, so far the doubt I’ve been trying to give her the benefit of has been shrinking, shrinking.