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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yes, we made the paper, but not online so I have to wait for somebody to show it to me :-)

Filled in detail: Spent last Thursday lunch at CUMTD (champaign-urbana mass transit department) at a web broadcast survey of Bicycle Treatments. That would be: what do different places do on their roads to try to direct bicycle traffic?

Interesting stuff - including a railroad caution sign showing a cyclist doing an endo over railroad tracks, as well as "bike boxes" (place in front of traffic at an intersection where bikes get to go first), funky painted bike lanes, special signs saying "bikes take full lane here," flashing lights that say "Bicyclist in tunnel," and all kinds of stuff.

Bike treatment page ( ) links to the powerpoint with pictures & everything :-) have at it!

Today was my first time riding in freezing rain.
When I googled for how to ride in freezing rain, the prominent hits were ones that included "rides may be canceled" in the text. Trying to tell me something? has a more optimistic view, and of course (Icebike ... and yes, I"m sure that top photo is a compilation...)

It was like a dare since I had a long weekend, was caught up on laundry, stepped on teh scale Saturday (haven't since Oct or so, I don't obsess), rode 40+ miles yesterday but it made me tired so I want to ride more, and didn't want to drive. WILL said it was 34 degrees and raining a little.
I rode half mile in ordinary drizzle, stopped at my friends' house to feed their cat, caught the weather channel informing me that it was ICY now, with freezing rain. Stepped outside and felt the railing up the stairs... yup, that's what freezing rain does on a metal rail. Got on the bike to go back home to get the car. Welp, no freezing rain on the ROAD. Didn't feel freezing to me. Turned back around (those people at the crosswalk must *know* I'm certifiable now - they've watched me throw sticks at the window to wake Pete up when I didn't have the keys) and headed to Green Street.
Thought "Oh, this isn't too wise... this is my late day so there's more traffic." Made basically every light. Feet got really wet (sneakers and socks aren't exactly foul weather gear). Fancy wicking tights did their job, though, so only the sweats got rainy.
Saw three or four other bikes. Did *not* get splashed by a big truck that could have, but he slowed 'way down. (Didn't get splashed by anybody.) Arrived and discovered that yes, it was freezing rain - my handlebars were coated, my *coat* was coated with ICE.
Now, I can only hope the computer puts out enough heat to dry the assorted clothes draped over it...

You've learned by now the computer is probably not enough to dry the clothes. I bought a dryer for my shoes and gloves that I keep in the bike room. It's actually for ski boots and gloves but works well for any kind of shoe.

I saw something at about a drunk driver who hit a cyclist up by T-boro?

The photo at Icebike is for real; the cyclist is a friend-of-a-friend. I was a couple of mountains over from Loveland Pass on the day that photo was taken at about 12,000 feet. The weather moved in and BAM instant snow storm, but that's typical of Colorado. From Loveland Pass, fortunately, it's a very quick downhill on Highway 6 to a reasonable elevation and temperature.
Actually, it's done an okay job. (There are two computers.) Okay, the shoes are still going to be wet... but the socks are dry.
I hope you mean the one from August. (I used to participate in bikeforums but it lost track of me and the two times I tried to get back on board it wouldn't let me, even with new user names, so I figure it's too crowded to keep up with itself and I stick to ) Don't know what they had to say on bikeforums; my buddies and I wondered why (though we weren't trying to blame the victim) somebody would choose route 45 when for hte most part there are good parallel roads (and whether he had lights, which an awful lot of people around here just don't bother with), though you never know hwich one the drunk driver is going to go down. It wasn't somebody we knew but it was, um, sobering.
I was thinking about it on the way in, though, composing a letter-to-councilpeople in my head about good reasons for having yes, dare I say it, IDENTIFIED places for bicycles to go. It's always possible that were there a road with a bike lane, or a route marked as a "bike route," that either he'd have been there instead of in the pathway, or the driver even impaired would have been more aware that a cyclist might be there. And that the cyclists on the roads are real... so that their fear of hyphothetical lawsuits that they don't have to be liable for as long as they don't overtly say "bikes belong" is hypothetical, whereas the danger to the genuine humans out on the bikes is real... and while part of me sincerely believes that as soon as a person takes a political office that thing called a conscience ceases to exist (if ever it did), that maybe they should consider their real *responsibility* to their real citizens on bikes, instead of hypothetical liabilities.
Bikeforums: The discussion had something to do with several charges against the drunk driver getting dropped recently.

Bike Routes & Liability: Did the Boub Bill ever pass the Illinois Senate?
Here's the article from the News-Gazoo:

Rankin man pleads guilty to DUI charge
Published Online Jan 3, 2006
News-Gazette Staff Writer

URBANA - A Rankin man who admitted driving while drunk, which led to the death of an Urbana man, faces penalties ranging from probation to three to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.
Brandon E. Leonard, 26, pleaded guilty last Thursday before Champaign County Judge Thomas Difanis to a charge of aggravated driving under the influence, admitting that on Aug. 8, he was driving at a time when his blood alcohol level was 0.13 percent. The limit for an Illinois motorist to be presumed intoxicated is 0.08.
State's Attorney Julia Rietz agreed to dismiss an equally serious charge of reckless homicide and a less serious charge of driving under revocation against Leonard, but made no agreements about what his sentence should be.
Difanis will decide that on Feb. 3.
According to Rietz, Robert Barrett, 34, was riding a bicycle north on U.S. 45 just south of Thomasboro about 10:50 p.m. Aug. 8 when he was hit from behind. Leonard was driving about 55 to 60 mph when he heard a thud and had a tire go flat. He called his brother to help him and the pair called 911 after they found Mr. Barrett, who had been fatally injured. Mr. Barrett was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.
Champaign County sheriff's deputies found beer cans in the bed of the pickup truck Leonard was driving, Rietz said. The passenger side of the windshield was shattered.
Because aggravated DUI is a probationable offense, Leonard's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Schmidt, asked that he be evaluated for drug treatment and intensive probation supervision.
Court records show Leonard has two previous convictions for driving under the influence and one for driving under revocation since 2003.
Rietz said about six members of Mr. Barrett's family were present to see Leonard enter his guilty plea. Leonard's mother was also present, Rietz said.
Boub bill didn't pass. So IL is the only state in the union where "well, you shouldn't have to expect a **bicycle** to be riding on the road."
It really does make it hard to talk about making things better for cyclists with stereotypic lawyers doing their machinations in the background.
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