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Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Driving While Inattentive

When you come upon a scene like this, you know someone’s having a Bad Day:

Rt 376 Collision Scene - approach - 2018-09-21

Rt 376 Collision Scene – approach – 2018-09-21

I rode slowly past a line of stopped cars, became a pedestrian, walked through the lawns on the left, then turned back into a bicyclist.

It appeared to be a three-car collision, with two vehicles aligned almost perfectly nose-to-nose in the northbound lane:

Rt 376 Collision Scene - overview - 2018-09-21

Rt 376 Collision Scene – overview – 2018-09-21

The red 2015-ish Forester apparently snagged a rear wheel on the far side of another contestant:

Rt 376 Collision Scene - Forester - 2018-09-21

Rt 376 Collision Scene – Forester – 2018-09-21

Talk about heart-stopping: Mary had driven off to a meeting some hours before. Even though the wrecked Forester differed in enough details to make me absolutely certain it wasn’t ours , Mary got a firmer-than-usual hug when she got home.

A picture not shown: two expressionless officers supervising a guy having great difficulty walking the fog line.

I’ll never know the rest of the story, but the overall outline seems clear.

Other than that, it was a fine day for a ride

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Driving While Shouting

We generally don’t get hassled during our bike rides, perhaps because we ride like narrow vehicles and don’t pull stupid bicyclist tricks. The few folks who do hassle us seem to be twenty-something males, an endangered species of its own.

A shout of “Assholes!”

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Unusually, there was no nearby traffic, so it’s not a case of mistaken identity.

Protip: Don’t do something in your employer’s vehicle that your employer may regret.

A shout of “Fuck you!”

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Protip: Your car has a license plate. JCX-1393, matching my high-res version against the audio track; I shout the license plate and identifying information while I can see it.

Yes, I was young once … and stupid.

One hopes they outgrow it, too.

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Monthly Image: All Of My Paperwork Was Up To Par

Although you’ll read cogent advice to Never Talk To Police, somehow I knew this would involve a conversation long before I went around the curve:

Maloney Rd Incident 1 - 2018-02-27

Maloney Rd Incident 1 – 2018-02-27

And it did:

Maloney Rd Incident 2 - 2018-02-27

Maloney Rd Incident 2 – 2018-02-27

Evidently, someone just discovered a body floating in a bend of the small creek off to the left.

My helmet camera prompted some attention, although nothing of interest was visible from the road. A few days later, whoever owned the property bulldozed a substantial berm along the far shoulder to prevent random strangers from just driving in and doing whatever. A week or so later, a call from another police agency had me explaining I don’t have video records of the creek or of any activity, suspicious or otherwise.

Another traffic stop concerned a specific vehicle allegedly involved in an attempt to pick up abduct a girl from a school bus stop:

Traffic Stop - Jackson Drive - 2018-09-22

Traffic Stop – Jackson Drive – 2018-09-22

In both cases, all my paperwork was up to par and I just rolled on through; it doesn’t always work that way.

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Dutch Reach

I carry a garish scar under my right arm from my collision with a frameless driver door window while commuting from classes at Lehigh U, back in the day, so I’m as bike-aware as any driver you’ll ever meet. After reading several articles describing the Dutch Reach, I put a reminder on the Forester’s driver door handle:

Dutch Reach reminder

Dutch Reach reminder

The bright yellow block reminds me to peer into the mirror (*) before yanking the handle, regardless of which hand I’m using. Haven’t had any close calls yet, but practice makes perfect.

If you don’t have a label maker, you can hang a tag on the handle.

It’s surprisingly hard to retrain a habit, though …

(*) Update: Yes, I should look over my shoulder, too. At least now I’m aware of the situation and don’t just open the door without thinking. One step at a time.

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Burnett Blvd Signals: Five More Seconds!

My most recent description of not quite getting killed in front of the NYS DOT Region 8 office evidently did some good. Although I wasn’t informed directly, this happened:

The minimum green time was increased to 10 seconds.

Which is five more seconds more than before, allowing us to get nearly all the way through the intersection before crossing traffic on Rt 55 gets a green light.

As before, the numbers are video frames at 60 fps.

T=0.0 – Burnett signal goes green:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0101 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0101 – 2018-09-30

T=2.5 – The trailer ahead of us starts and we’re rolling:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0251 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0251 – 2018-09-30

T=8.0 – We reach the Burnett crosswalk. Note the car beside us isn’t making much headway, either:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0581 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0581 – 2018-09-30

T=11.93 –  Burnett signal goes yellow overhead, so the green phase lasted 12 seconds:

Burnett - New signal timing - 0817 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 0817 – 2018-09-30

T=16.16 – Rt 55 signal remains red, but will change within a second:

Burnett - New signal timing - 1071 - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 1071 – 2018-09-30

Seen from the rear view camera, the Rt 55 signal went green while we were still in the intersection:

Burnett - New signal timing - 16 s - crossing green - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 16 s – crossing green – 2018-09-30

You’ll note the cars on Rt 55 behind us weren’t visible three seconds earlier, so, as far as they can tell, we’re running the red.

Fortunately, we’re almost where we need to be:

Burnett - New signal timing - 22 s - traffic - 2018-09-30

Burnett – New signal timing – 22 s – traffic – 2018-09-30

The timing still isn’t safe, but after three years, five more seconds counts for a lot!

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Brush Clearing

Some recent brush-clearing along our usual bicycle routes:

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The bushes with oval leaves are Blackthorn, of which Wikipedia says “The shrub, with its savage thorns, is traditionally used […] to make a cattle-proof hedge.” They’re commonly found along the untamed border of Rt 376, as well as the rail trail.

It’s more effective than expecting my tax dollars to wake up and get to work …

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Excavator Family

We’re accustomed to seeing geese with goslings and turkeys with chicks around this time of year, but we didn’t realize excavators have a similar breeding season (clicky for more dots):

Excavator Family - Vassar College

Excavator Family – Vassar College

The adult seems very protective …

Spotted on the Vassar College campus, in front of the dining hall.

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