Monday, December 2, 2013

Just STOP!

The traffic laws in the US are pretty simple and none more so than the red light.  It turns red, you stop. Period.  If not then people get hurt or killed.  Again it's trying to save those few seconds.  NO LIFE is worth 10, 20, or 30 seconds of your time.  Period. Just stop not just because it's the law, or because it's common sense, but because the life you save might be your own or someone close to you.
These videos took place on the same stretch of road within a couple weeks.  The car in the second video has Wisconsin license plate 509-UFS.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

You Can't Fix Stupid

You can't fix stupid.  I've heard that saying before and tend to believe it with some exceptions.  While you might not be able to fix stupid, perhaps we should arrest stupid or at least cite stupid before stupid kills someone.  The driver of this van with plate 339 bgj passed into oncoming traffic, which by itself wouldn't get me that fired up.  Of course there's more to the story.  This guy not only passed into oncoming traffic, he did so with a young girl in the front seat, while READING (or at least closely examining) some piece of paper.
I'd love to be able to track this guys information down so I could let his wife know about his driving habits.

Monday, June 17, 2013


In aviation there is a phenomenon known as get-there-itis.  It has apparently been identified by NASA, albeit under a different more scientific sounding name.

It’s a fancy name for “get-there-itis” — plan continuation bias, which is an   unconscious cognitive bias to continue the original plan in spite of changing conditions — and it can be deadly for general aviation pilots.
Plan continuation bias was identified in a NASA Ames human factors study from 2004 which analyzed 19 airline accidents from 1991 to 2000 that were attributed to crew error. Out of those, almost half involved plan continuation bias.
The problem is in how it can manifest itself. The study offered that it becomes stronger as you near completion of the activity (e.g., approach your destination). It essentially impedes pilots from recognizing that they need to change their course of action and, because it’s unconscious, it often goes undetected.

I can only assume that there is some amount of plan continuation bias or get-there-itis or must-pass-now-itis taking place on roads all across the USA.   This seems to be happening to me more lately and it should outrage not just cyclists but motorists, as this driver put two other drivers in danger as well as the 3 cyclists on this section of road.  The shoulder of the road narrowed just at the point where all the vehicles met.  This meant that the driver not only passed into the lane of two oncoming cars but an oncoming bike on a  narrow road.  If the other driver also had a case of must-pass-now-itis, there likely would have been major carnage on the road. 

I only wish I could have gotten the full license plate so I could have informed the driver just how outrageous her conduct was.  Her license started with 635 and might end with RM? or BM or something like that.  If anyone knows who drives this Chevy, please talk some sense to her. 

One way the pilots can avoid plan continuation bias is to have a alternative options already thought out ahead of time how to deal with certain trouble.  Maybe if someone told her she could wait 10 seconds and not endanger anyone, and she knew about this option ahead of time, she might have done the right thing.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bad Passing Checklist

The tandem seems to be a magnet for bad passing.  Some give us room at the expense of the oncoming traffic.  If there's a head on collision right next to us it likely won't end well for us, but I guess it's better than getting hit from behind.  I feel bad for the cars who have to jump for the ditch/shoulder; maybe one of them will call the police.
The driver who had the highest score on the bad passing checklist was the driver for Sidello Property Services.  Pass a cyclist (a tandem no less) with barely more than a foot of clearance, check.  Pass on the crest of a hill, check.  Pass in a double yellow zone, check. And of course the crowning achievement, passing into oncoming traffic, check. The irony is that the driver got behind us and waited long enough to clearly see and know that the crest of the hill was coming up and that it would be safe to pass in a matter of seconds.

The driver of the tanker truck didn't have as many check marks on the list but was every bit as dangerous especially for the driver who had to take the shoulder and basically stop to avoid being hit head on by the truck.

Both incidents took place on Saturday 6-1 the van pass at around 1pm and the tanker truck about an hour later.  The van pass was Northbound on Calhoun between Beloit Rd. and National Ave. the tanker was Eastbound on Lawnsdale Rd.  Both these incidents could have been completely avoided by waiting 5 or 10 seconds more.  Isn't someones life and or safety worth that amount of your time?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why I Don't Like Bike Lanes

There are many reasons I don't like bike lanes, but this is the most important one, because they could kill you.

Well actually the drivers who park there would be the ones to actually kill you but using bike lanes can cause you a great deal of harm.

My wife and I were on the second ride on our new tandem when a van driver opened his door right into what would have been our path had we been in the bike lane.  If we had been using the bike lane, the door would have opened right in front of my handlebars.  If my bars would have missed the door the second set of handlebars would have almost certainly been clipped by the door.  In either case our speed combined with the extra length of the tandem would have been a very effective catapult and my wife and I would have almost certainly been thrown into the path of the car behind us.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring; The Season of Justice?

I hadn't taken any of my bad driver complaints to the authorities in a long time because I grew to dislike the feeling of beating my head against that wall.  But time has a way of making some memories fade so I decided I would email the details of my latest incident to the New Berlin Police Department.  

Well they didn't have an email address listed on their website so I called to get one.  I was told an officer would call me back.  

Officer Fus called me back rather quickly and rather than get an email address I gave Officer Fus the information about the incident.  He called me back after he contacted the driver.  He said the driver claimed to be a cyclist himself and also claimed to have given 4-5 feet of space as he passed.  

Officer Fus asked me how I'd like to proceed.  As I always do, I told him I'd like him to view the video.  I also said I thought a citation should be issued to the driver.  I explained that based on his actions on the road, combined with his untruthful explanation of the incident, I thought a citation was warranted.  

Officer Fus called me back the next day about an hour after his shift began and told me he had viewed the video and if I still wanted a citation issued he would do so. 

I said I did and he said he would mail the citation and that would close the case unless I was subpoenaed to testify in court.

Big thanks to Officer Fus for investigating this incident with an open mind.  I sensed no anti-cyclist bias and I think that was evident in the final disposition of the case.  

As I have said countless times, I don't go out riding looking to get people in trouble and I don't, even when I contact the authorities, always ask that a ticket be issued.  My goal is to insure that the offending driver change their illegal and unsafe behavior.  Hopefully Mr. 923AVX will get that message from his $157 ticket.  Just maybe, other drivers inclined to buzz cyclists will learn from this incident as well.

Hopefully other officers can learn from the example set by Officer Fus on how to deal fairly with the cycling public.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring, The Season of Bad Drivers

So it's spring and that means getting back out on the road.  For the first time in a long time I didn't ride at all this winter so I'm really looking forward to getting back out on the road.  I'm not looking forward to dealing with drivers like the person driving the GMC with Wisconsin plates 923 AVX.  Didn't move over at all and if I hadn't turned to see what who was coming and swerved to avoid them, I would have certainly been hit.
Some things never change.
Nice night for a ride except for this.