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May 31, 2007

OC Register Columnist Comments Sensless and Destructive

Call this post: BICYCLIST TO CAR OWNERS - CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG 2.

Gordon Dillow, of the Orange County Register, published in Santa Ana, Ca., is one of my favorite columnists for the newspaper of record in this mostly Conservative bastion of Southern California.

So it  was with shock, and disapointment, that I read his latest column, in yesterdays paper.

I was driving along an open stretch of Pacific Coast Highway the other day, at or just under the posted speed limit of 50 mph, and every hundred yards or so I was passing groups of two or three or a dozen bicyclists pedaling along in the bike lane. And that's when it occurred to me:

I don't want to share the road. More specifically, I don't want to share a high-speed road with bicycle riders – not because it's that big of a problem for me, but because it's too dangerous for them.

Yet another non-cyclist out to tell Bicyclist's what's best for them!

Rather than accept that California has laws that govern motor vehicle and cyclist/pedestrian use on all roadways ( As does every other state in the Union. ), and that  Multi-use roads are in place for all to enjoy, he appears to prefer not to educate himself, or his fellow motorists, on how to share the road with us, or even join the ranks of us cyclists who are trying to educate our fellow riders on how to share with motorists... and walkers, and joggers.

He contunues:

perhaps cars and bikes can safely share the roads in residential or other areas where the speed limits are 30 or 35 mph.

But on roads like sections of Pacific Coast Highway, where speed limits range up to 55 mph, it seems like utter madness to have 3,000- or 4,000-pound cars going 55 mph hurtle past 25-pound bikes going 15 mph – with nothing more substantial between them than a thin white stripe delineating the shoulder or the "bike lane." It's like allowing baby strollers on the freeway.

Since there is no law against cyclists riding on a street w/o a bike lane, we have the right to be there, but be there in a safe manner, and to expect Motorists to be as aware of us, as we are of them.

As for PCH, from Seal Beach to Newport, I'm one of those who prefer to use the wonderful Class 1 Bike Trail along the beachs, but see no problem with cylists riding on PCH as long as they do so safely.

Yes, I know we've spent millions of dollars creating bike lanes – as opposed to separate, no-cars-allowed bike "paths" and "trails" – along our streets and highways. I also realize that in this day and age there are few things more politically incorrect than to suggest that cars be given preference over bicycles. After all, in the popular view, motor vehicles are pollution-spewing, gas-guzzling (and gasoline tax-paying) monsters, while bikes are benign, environmentally friendly little munchkins.

But the problem is that when monsters mix with munchkins, the munchkins are inevitably going to get stepped on – too often with tragic results.

Please pardon my fellow Conservative for his dig at the Political Correctness that is admittedly rampant in the land. ;-D

In this case, however, he is misguided in bringing up the issue.

Class 1 Bike Trails, and Rail Trail projects, are popping up all over the place, especially here in the OC, if you know where to look, and who to ask.

Bike Lanes are not always the best solution for streets, and using them is not always the safest option for cyclists ( I HATE the ones were cars can park between the Bike Lane, and the Curb! ).

He quotes some stats that he says make it "pretty clear that statistically it's more dangerous to ride a bike on the roads than to drive a car."

Then he asks, "And whose fault is that?"

He answers his question this way:

Stats on that are hard to come by. But I asked two veteran Orange County traffic cops that question, and both agreed that, based on their experiences, half or more of car vs. bike collisions are caused by the bicyclists. They veer into traffic lanes, they travel the wrong way on streets, they blow through stoplights – in short, they don't safely share the road.

Obviously, a lot of motorists do boneheaded things, too. They veer into bike lanes, cut across them into parking lots, don't keep their eyes open for bicyclists and so on.

But the point is that regardless of who is at fault in a car vs. bike collision, it's the bicyclist who's going to suffer, physically at least. Once again, no 25-pound bike is ever going to "win" in a collision with a 4,000-pound car – and yet we persist in trying to mix heavy, high-speed motor vehicles with light, low-speed bikes on high-volume, relatively high-speed roads.

He's right, you know, about the fault being just as much that of the cyclist, as the motorist, in these incidents.

That is something I've been saying since the fall ( Archive of posts. ), but have not been getting much in the way of reaction, except a few in anger at me.

Some of the accidents, last year, in the OC, and around the nation, were the fault of the cyclist, and in some cases, while the cyclists was NOT at fault, the cyclst was still doing something unsafe, from riding on the sidewalk, to not wearing a helmet, and more, as Mr. Dillow suggests.

He continues:

Well, some people would argue that we'd actually be better off if we all slowed down to a bicyclist's pace of 15 mph or so – and who knows, maybe they're right. But in the real world, fast-moving cars and slow-moving bikes simply don't mix. Under those conditions, the only real solution is to physically separate them as much as possible with barriers or dedicated bike paths.

No-one is suggesting that Motorists slow down to a cyclists pace, and they would be wrong to do so.

In the real world motorists, and cyclists DO mix, and always have, and they are riding locally, and nationally, from one end of the country, and the world, to the other.

The only real solution for making this co-existence work for everyone is for all parties to be educated on how to best co-exist.

Class 1 Trails, and Rail Trails, are a wonderful alternative that we cyclists can, and do, take advantage of, and more, and more, of them are being created all the time, but, especially for the Bike Commuter, using them may not always be practical.

There are motorists who hate cyclists enough to want to encourage doing us harm, and those who have actually done so.

He ends is essay this way:

Now, I'm sure I'll be hearing from bicyclists who will explain to me – in a civil manner, I hope – just how wrong I am on this one. If so, I'll try to fairly present their point of view in a future column.

In the meantime, I'll continue to try to safely "share the road" with bicyclists, and I would encourage other motorists to do the same.

But I still can't figure out why any bicyclist would be crazy enough to want to share the road with us.

I want to apologize, here, and now, for the misguided vitriol that will be fired his way by a relatively few of the more, um, unreasonable, and, um, radical, or simply just hurt, and offended, of my fellows, whose attitudes, and language, are NOT, I assure you dear reader, representative of the vast majority of cyclists, even the Liberal "Enviromental Whacko" wing of the Community. ;-D

I hope he will follow thru with his promise of a follow-up, or 2, and take the time to chat with his columnist coleague, Dave Whiting, in the Outdoors Section, like he should have in the 1st place, and especially check out the links in my sidebar, as I encourage readers of this essay to also do.

There you will find links to clubs, activist groups, Class 1 Bike trails of every variety, and length, nation, and world-wide, and to safe cycling related websites with all the info 1 could ask for, as a cyclist, in learning to best way share the road in a safe manner.

Read The full article by Mr. Dillow, and add your 2 cents to the discussion, there, and here in my comments as well: Cars and Bicycles shouldn't compete.

May 31, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 28, 2007

Bicycle and Beach Changes Url and Name

Gary Green sends word that he has changed the name of his website as it has added new content over the past year:

As of 5/22/07 I have renamed the website to something more appropriate. I have changed the name from Bicycle and Beach to "The Bicycle Bum". Similar to Beach Bum, Surf Bum, Ski Bum, Frisbee Bum, Scuba bum, Bicycle Bum .

This site is designed to provide some information for those who enjoy riding their bicycles in a non-competitive recreational manner or use their bicycles for regular transportation to and from work or wherever.

This site does not include any information or interest in bicycle racing. I promote the use of bicycles for personal pleasure and practical transportation type riding.

As it has always been, in its 4 year existence, the place is a great source of information so give it a look see. ;-D

May 28, 2007 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2007

CafePress and the Sale of Anti-Cycling Merchandise

A great collection of T-Shirts, Stickers, and more, can be found on CafePress, that Cyclists can use to promote Safe Cycling, and Sharing the Road with motorists.

An extremely disturbing side note is related to the half dozen vile Anti-Cyclist items still seen on the page as being for sale.

They are/were being sold by 1 person, and the vile image of a car hitting a bicycle, and bicyclist, is accompanied by the words:

Stay the Fuck off the Road Asshole, OR It's the Law ( Of Physics ).

Another item just has the words: I DON'T Share the Road.

Another item has the image, and both statements.

For some reason the items are no longer for sale. ;-D

Whether they were removed by the seller, or by Cafe Press, due to the outrage of the Cycling Community, is so far a mystery, as is why they are still on this page at all.

Cafe Press should be made aware that this type of encouragement to violence is dangerous to cyclists, and unworthy of the support, even indirectly, of their Company.

You would expect better judgment to be exhibited on behalf of management.

Please call CaféPress at (877) 809-1659, Toll-Free, to let them know you find this type of behavior reprehensible, offensive, and irresponsible.

Below please see CaféPress's position on this:

Thank you for contacting CafePress.com!

Thank you for contacting CafePress.com. As you may know, CafePress.com provides an automated service to a rich and vibrant community of individuals across the globe who differ in their views about what is considered offensive. All product images and ideas used in connection with the CafePress.com Service have been provided to CafePress.com by users and do not reflect the opinions of CafePress.com. While we don't endorse any particular position, we respect the right of individuals to express their own opinions. Thank you for bringing this content to our attention.

If there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

Best Regards,

Mark M
CafePress.com Support Associate
(877) 809-1659 Toll-Free
(402) 517-4480 Local/International
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM Monday - Saturday (EST)
cafepress.com

Oh, yeah, there is MOST DEFINITELY something else you can do sir!

You can make sure that ANY ITEM promoting the committing of violence toward Bicyclists, or encourages the death of Bicyclists, IS NOT SOLD thru your website... IMMEDIATELY!!

In a similar vein I strongly support the  same policy toward such attitudes against Motorists, Walkers, and Joggers, as well.

Thanks must go to Lou Elin Dwyer, Advocacy Coordinator of the League of American Cyclists, for the heads up, and to the League Blog, for spreading the word!

May 27, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2007

Ride of Silence Irvine Images

The Ride of Silence inspired me to write a poem, and to bring along my camera to record the event, and share it here.

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In this post are the rest of the photos and, with the 3 posts I've written I hope to bring to you some sense of the power, and emotion, of all the Rides of Silence held that Wednesday evening, from Orange County to Europe, to Asia, with the last being held in Hawaii, 3 hours after the one I rode in.

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As we rode out everyone was somber, and serious, some wearing black armbands, or headbands, in honor of friends, and family, killed in encounters on the road with a motorist, and some, like me, wearing a red band, to signify being injured in such an encounter ( I STILL have a brown bruise/scar on the back of my left leg, between my knee, and ankle, from an ecounter with a speeding truck, too close to the curb, at Brookhurst/Adams in Huntington Beach, a couple of years ago, that left me black and blue up, and down my left arm, and leg, for days. )

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As we rode along Alton Parkway cars of every make and model, busses, and trucks, passed us by, or waited at busy intersections as Irvine Police stopped traffic, when we had green, until the last of us rode thru.

David Whiting, the Outdoors Columnist of the Orange County Register, has been all over the story of safe cycling in the OC, for the past year, and he attended the ride ( Wish I'd spotted him so I could say hello! ).

This morning he wrote a column that captures the spirit, and emotion, of the event through the experience of one rider.

As the twilight slowly melts into darkness, Nancy Barrans finds herself thinking about a miracle.

Perhaps it is the wind. Perhaps it is the silence, an invisible force of it’s own on this night with 150 cyclists gathered and no one talking, just the soft hum of pedals and wheels.

Or perhaps the feeling that a miracle is in the air comes from the spirit of community, plainly visible by the long string of gently blinking red tale lights from the line of cyclists if front of Barrans.

In her mind’s eye, Barrans’ brother, a professional cyclist killed by a truck driver in Montreal, will be standing there at the end of this Ride of Silence...

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Robert Brisson, 43, will be whole again, strong and lithe like he was before the 18-wheeler hit him on Oct. 20, 2006, destroying his body beyond recognition, identifiable only by the tattoo on his hip that he and his wife each got when they celebrated their 40th birthdays.

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Always punctual and known for his gentleness and generosity, Robert will wave to the 150 cyclists as they finish this 9.7 mile ride, pulling into the outdoor court at the Irvine Civic Center.

Barrans and the other cyclists ride slowly and with purpose along the San Diego Creek bike path. They pass the brightly lit baseball fields in Barber Athletic Park. By the time they pull into civic center’s courtyard, they ride under the same canopy of stars seen by other groups on this night.

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But there is no miracle this night, at least not for Barrans, who never got to hug her brother goodbye, who never saw his body in a casket, who still hopes the hit and run driver will turn himself in.

Barrans coasts to a stop and sobs, alone for a moment in the crowd. Within seconds, Maud David, a fellow French Canadian who has made a home in Orange County, gently rubs Barrens’ shoulder, the two of them straddling modest blue bicycles.

David has more to say, but this part of the article is a far better accompanyment to my photos than anything I could come up with on my own, and I thank him for sharing this story with his readers.

I rode in the back of the pack so as to best capture images of the ride that visually explained the journey, and as I road along the Bike Trail, in its peaceful rubbing of shoulders with nature, passing shopping centers, and ballparks, walkers, joggers, and the occasional cyclist going the opposite way, I felt a peacefullness, and calmness, that seemed to affect everyone around me as we breathed in the air, and took in the sky,and stars, above us.

We don’t usually think about becoming members of a community when we take up a sport. We develop skills. We learn to handle the equipment. We train. And suddenly we discover we are members of a tribe.

I recall Barrans’ soft, French-accented words, about her brother, "I think maybe he’ll be there. But he wasn’t there."

Or was he?

Returning back to where we began I did not see any spirits of cylists lost, but I have no doubt that they were there, at the side of their grieving friends, and loved ones, in silent thanks for our tribute.

I was approached by Barbara Tomita, and invited to join the OC Wheelmen contingent at a local eatery for an after ride meal, and it was a pleasant hour where I got to meet other members of this club I joined a few months ago.

May 24, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2007

Ride of Silence Irvine 2007 a Success

On Wednesday evening I joined more than 150 of my fellow OC Cyclists in one of several Rides of Silence in the county, around the nation, and across the world. ( Preview report with initial pictures. )

It was a powerful experience, and quite emotional for many in attendance.

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Bill Sellin, the Founder of the Bicycle Club of Irvine, and affectionately known as its "Rasputin", led the ride, and got things under way, with introductions, and a discussion of the route.

I had a chance to meet Bill, and discovered that he was familiar with The Cycling Dude. ;-D

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Riders assembled between 6 and 6:30 at Irvine's Civic Center at the flag poles in front of the Police Department then cued up for a 7 pm slow paced, single file, silent commemoration
to the riders who are no longer with us, especially those who were disabled or killed on the road.

I had the pleasure of finally meeting in person members of the Orange County Wheelmen Club, which I recently joined, and met, among others, Club President Barbara Tomita, seen here in white on the 4 seater, and Public Relations man Mike Lee, both of who I've corresponded with in the past.

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Chris Kirkland, read the Ride of Silence Poem, in an emotional tribute to his wife Christy, killed in November, while riding with another member of the local Trail Angels Club.

There were a couple of displays, and stacks of the City of Irvine Bikeways Map ( Updated Aug. 2006. ), the Moving America Forward Bicycling Brochure from the Bikes Belong Coalition, a 2 page collection of info about cycling safe, that included 10 Smart Routes to Bicycle Safety, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin., and tips from Cal Dot Dist.9, and the really cool, 46 page, Booklet by John S. Allen, BICYCLING STREET SMARTS: Riding Confidently, Legally, and Safely, from Bicycle Magazine.

One display was in honor of a very talented 13 year old boy, Jason Kramer, killed last September.

His Father was raising money by selling a CD of music performed by the young man, and that music played in the backround as we gathered for the ride.

Orange County has seen a large number of deaths in 2006, and more in 2007, and this has the local Cycling Community very concerned.

Some are wondering if we need to start putting up "Ghost Bikes" up all over the county:

WIKIPEDIA Entry for Ghost Bikes.

Columbia News Service Article- April 2007.

GhostBike.org

The Ghost Cycle Project of Seattle.

Chicago Ghost Bikes.

The Ghost Bikes Project of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.

Ghost Bike Pittsburgh.

VISUAL RESISTANCE: NY City Ghost Bike Project.

Ghost Bikes can be found all over the world, including Vancouver, London and Prague.

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At 7pm we set out, heading west to the entrance of the nearby San Diego River Bike Trail, riding south to the entrance onto Alton Parkway, then heading east alongside traffic, single file, or 2-by-2, in the Bike Lane.

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The ride was about 10 miles, and crossed several major intersections, before entering the Bike Trail again for the trip past several community gathering spots, where we would also be seen, and heading back to the start.

Our trip was made easy, and safe, thanks to the efforts of Officer Dale Lawrence, and members of the Irvine PD, who provided escort, and traffic control.

Proceed to Ride of Silence Irvine Images.

May 21, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2007

A Bicyclist's Lament

On Wednesday evening I joined more than 150 of my fellow OC Cyclists in one of several Rides of Silence in the county.

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It was an emotional experience for one, and all.

Everyone was on their best riding behavior, the Irvine PD provided escort, and traffic control, at intersections, and the ride went off without incident.

I took numerous photos, and will share more of them, and more about the evening, over the weekend but, for now, I just want to share a poem I wrote this morning ( With sincerely apologies to Francis Henry Maynard, Arlo Guthrie, and the short song The Streets of Laredo. ).

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The Streets of Orange County: A Bicyclist's Lament 

As I pedaled down the streets of Oange County
As I rode around Orange County one day
I spied a fellow bicyclist wrapped up in white linen
All wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay

"I see by your outfit that you are a fellow bicyclist"
These words he did say as I proudly rode by
"Come stop here beside me and hear my sad story
I was run over by a car and I know I must die"

"'Twas once in the saddle I used to go ridin'
Once in the saddle I used to go every which way
First rode alone, and then with a club
I'm run over by a car and I'm dying today

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"Let six spandexed cyclists come carry my coffin
Let six outspoken activists come to carry my pall
Lay helmets, headlights, and reflectors, around my coffin
Lay them as a reminder to one and to all"

"Oh, spread the word wide, and send a message bold
And ride alongside silently as you carry me along
Take me to the great bike trail and bury me beside it
For I'm a cyclist and this is my song"

We will spread the word wide and send a message bold
And sadly remember those whose lives are done
For we all have lost someone, so adventurous, young, and old
This we believe; share the road everyone.

Copyright 2007: Kiril G. Kundurazieff

Conitinue to Ride of Silence Irvine 2007 a Success.

May 18, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007

Heading out for the Ride of Silence

A month ago, when I reported about this upcoming event, I was not sure I'd be able to attend.

I was recently able to switch days off so am about to head on out for the ride, camera, in tow. ;-D

May 16, 2007 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2007

Look Ma, No Hands!

Pama_1961

Giorgio Kundurazieff, his wife Mary, and yours truly, 1961. ;-D

Those were happy days for this new family.

Dad had been in the US for 10 years, and had a job he loved, as a Groundskeeper at Pomona College, in Claremont, CA.

Little did anyone know the tragedy that was to come 8 years later.

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MARY ALICE WELLS KUNDURAZIEFF -- 1929 TO 199O

Taken just a few years before her death, in 1990, this image shows the humor, and spirit, of a courageous, and energetic, woman, who had spent the 70's and 80's, raising 3 children on her own, as a stay at home Mother, after her husband suffered a mental breakdown.

She gave me my love of books, and the movies, my curiosity, my love of the outdoors, and my sense of humor.

Most important she gave me my sense of the importance of Family, and sticking together through the tough times of life.

Somehow, all that she gave me sustained me through the difficult years after her death, and helped me have the strength, and courage, to finally take steps to change my life between 1998 and 2002, that played important roles in who I am today.

Thank You Mom!

I love you, and I miss you.

----------------------------------

The above was my Tribute to my Mom, on my other blog, this morning.

I almost didn't share it here, but as I said, she gave me my love of the outdoors, and that began, as a toddler, with my 1st Bike.

She encouraged my Bike riding from the start, and so did my Dad, in his own way ( As long as his only son was not riding a skateboard, he was apparently a very happy camper, hee, hee! ), I'd like to think that she would be very proud of where that love of cycling has led me since her death.

May 14, 2007 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2007

A Picture to Inspire Riding California Coastline

I came across a gorgeous poster, of the peloton from the 2007 Tour of California Race, that should serve to inspire people to tour the coastline of California, along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. ;-D

May 13, 2007 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 08, 2007

Man that is a lot of Words!

I just noticed that my last post was the 800th entry on The Cycling Dude since Jan. 2003!!

Amazing! ;-D

Thanks so very much to one, and all, for caring enough to read some of them. ;-D

May 8, 2007 in Life, The Bike Trail, and Everything | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack