The Portland Oregonian has a video that anecdotally confirms what I’ve long suspected: There is frequently no obvious benefit to running red lights. Obviously, one data point doesn’t prove that there is never any benefit to it. That said, the behavior shown is pretty reckless and the benefit of getting to the next light before everybody else is not really worth risking one’s life for. Also a note to angry Seattle Times bike commenters: The vast majority of cyclists in the video are following the rules, unlike that Bizarro world you inhabit where every cyclist is a deranged monster out to run down granny, little children, and cute little puppies – Just sayin’
I’ve been thinking a lot about bicycle lighting lately and have progressively ramped up the number and power of the lights on my bike. Unfortunately, I have noticed a large number of oncoming cyclists shielding their eyes. I don’t want to blind others to increase my safety so I’ve been doing my best to aim the lights considerately and keep the power down when I don’t really need high power.
Into all of this thinking comes a series of posts by The Lazy Randonneur. (I’m not sure why he refers to himself as “Lazy”, given his prolific and detailed posts with supporting video and pictures) After digging into a bunch of his posts on lighting systems and reflective gear, I’m adding this list to my 2011 resolutions:
- More reflective gear including stripes on the side of my bike and ankle straps
- Move the mount for my 2nd taillight, a Planet Bike Super Flash, to a lower position on the bike
- Aim my Dinotte 140L slightly downward and run at lower power. Cars will still see it and it will light up the road behind me a bit. (High power is still an option in crummy weather)
- No more flashing lights. Yes, you can see them better, but they also screw with other road users’ night vision and depth perception. They are illegal in many places including Germany. (If German cyclists can live without flashing lights, I think I can too)
Lazy also references a detailed Australian study on nighttime cyclist visibility. It’s 6 pages of detailed stats. If you really want to get into the weeds, it’s a good read.
Mr. Randonneur has some pretty unflattering things to say about my favorite North American light manufacturer’s products. I’m not going to go out and replace my lights but if you are in the market for a quality lighting system, you may want to have a read. In short, the Germans appear to have some of the best lighting systems out there. No surprise since they require all bikes sold to have lights. (For my part, I’ve emailed Dinotte asking for them to look at some of these issues. I really want to support American bicycle, component, and accessory manufacturers – what few remain)
Be safe and hope to see you out on the road – even at night!
According to the Vail Daily and the Huffington Post, Martin Joel Erzinger will be spared felony hit and run charges after running over Dr. Steven Milo while he was out for a bike ride. If you dig into this case, you’ll find that the DA, Mark Hurlbert, declined to file felony charges to preserve Mr. Erzinger’s employment as a money manager at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. In theory, this was done to preserve his ability to pay restitution to the victim. But Dr. Milo, a liver transplant surgeon, never supported reduced charges and was “livid” when he found out:
“Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,” Milo wrote. “Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.”
But apparently DA Mark Hurlbert felt differently:
“The money has never been a priority for them. It is for us,” Hurlbert said. “Justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it.”
(Note: Both quotes above from the Vail Daily story)
The collision apparently occurred on US 6, somewhere east of Miller Ranch Road. After the collision, Mr. Erzinger allegedly drove through Avon, several roundabouts, under I-70, and finally pulled over at a Pizza Hut, approximately 3 miles from the crash site, and called roadside assistance because of a broken mirror. This is where Mr. Erzinger was arrested.
After digging around a bit I found many interesting things about the DA in this case, Mark Hurlbert. One particularly interesting item: Apparently, he filed felony impersonation charges against two cyclists who switched bib numbers at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. Hmmm… Run over a cyclist and leave him for dead then we’ll charge you with a misdemeanor so you can keep earning money. Cheat in a cycling competition? Well, that’s serious and we have to crack down on that sort of thing, so it’s a felony for you.
So, after all this outrage, what can you do? There is a petition on change.org that you can “sign” asking the DA to file felony charges. You can also write to Colorado Attorney General, asking him to look at the case to see if justice has been served.
Another black eye for bikes in Colorado – Bikeportland.org
John Carney at CNBC thinks the driver wouldn’t have been arrested if he wasn’t rich. Interesting, if disturbing, theory.