Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hope, Dilbert & nonAccidents

I cut out of work early to get to a meeting. I left late.

Downtown was experiencing Automania causing many of the main roads to be closed. 5pm traffic chaos. I took some alleys to get through the best I could but eventually I found myself wanting to exit a parking lot where a law officer was directing traffic. I stopped appropriately at the apron, communicated my intent to the officer by, you know, left arm extended.

Oh how I wish I had a photo of the exact moment the officer realized what he was going to have to do to let this left turning bicycle riding scofflaw through. Priceless. His professionalism and knowledge of, you know, the law quickly returned and I was able to get back on the road toward my meeting.

Next up, road construction. I missed a memo on some major road construction. Road deconstruction is a better description...the entire area is just gone. I bet I rode half a mile through a construction area. I was nervous, alert and knew I didn't belong there.

But I was late.

I arrived at The Center of Hope for my tour. They collect used adult bikes. They repair the used bikes (to the extent your abandoned Magna can be repaired). They deliver the repaired bikes to individuals with a specific need.

The specific need? Adults who will use the bicycle as their primary mode of transport to work.

They'll give away 400 bikes this summer if they can get 200 more donated and repaired. Want to help?

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Dilbert was excellent today (6/20):



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Finally, Cycling Sasquatch reposts Elly Blue's post from the BikePortland.org blog.

Entitled "Our 'Accidental' Car Culture" it's about the use of the term accident to describe automobile crashes. Most stunning is her referral to this text that appeared in the New York Times:
"May 18, 2006 Man Strikes 5 With S.U.V. in North Bellmore, N.Y. By JENNIFER 8. LEE A man intentionally ran over five people in North Bellmore, with an S.U.V. after a fight last night, the Nassau County police said. The driver fled the scene of the accident, at 2800 Pacific Ave. But the police later located the vehicle they believed was involved in the accident in Garden City and took the driver in for questioning. The victims were taken to Nassau University Medical Center, the police said. One was in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said."
When is attempted homicide an accident? When it's attempted with a motor vehicle.

The rest is excellent too. I'm glad I didn't miss it. Thanks Sasquatch.
"Why have we built our communities around driving, stranding those who cannot, should not, or just don’t want to drive a car?"

6 comments:

Vertigo said...

There are no accidents, only careless (or homicidal) people.

Smudgemo said...

A reporter isn't a judge and jury, and I still believe in the quaint notion one is innocent until proven guilty. Perhaps this type of situation while unfolding should instead be referred to as an incident.

Of course, lazy reporting is much more obvious to those able to read and think.

bmike said...

At some point a higly mobile and adaptable organism became seemingly inextricably linked to an exoskeleton of steel, glass and composite plastic. We've traded our freedom and mobility to lurk in metal carcasses that typically only follow paved surfaces from point of commerce to point of commerce. Somewhere, somehow these exoskeletons, hooked to an IV of cheap energy and favorable legislation became our identity, our means of getting around, and the primary driver of the design of our dwellings, towns, cities, and very lifestyles. Sad, for sure, and I am certainly part of the problem - living in my hulk of metal and glass, cut off from the world that we spent so much of our existence happily inhabiting.

Accidental, perhaps.

mytzpyk said...

But Smudge! "A man intentionally ran over five people in North Bellmore..."

You can have all the innocence you want but you can't call it an accident after calling it intentional...unless you're talking about a person behind a steering wheel.

Smudgemo said...

I was just bagging on shoddy reporting. I just can't equate purposefully with accident in the same report.

I had a guy try to run me down one day for no reason other than I used both arms for the "WTF??" response to trying to pass my wife and me on a narrow road (heading downhill at or above the speed limit) while a car was coming in the other direction. This kind of crap happens all the time. A few years ago in SF a guy was run over on purpose by a big rig, but I seem to recall him hardly getting any real punishment. Seems a gun is weapon, but a car is an incidental part of the equation. It's wrong.

mytzpyk said...

hear hear