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Robert Haston
November 30th 03, 10:19 PM
A good read regarding how drivers act around cyclists is the theory of "risk
homeostasis" Google pulls up some good stuff. This is how drivers (or other
risk takers) have a set level of risk, and drive to that level. If you make
it "safer" - widen and straighten roads, add air bags and ABS, etc. people
compensate by driving more aggressively or absent-mindedly. Evidence our
numerous safety engineering improvements, increased aggressive driving, and
flat fatality rate.

Now consider how drivers get off after killing cyclists and pedestrians in
almost every situation - unless they are drunk. Every driver puts this into
her "risk computer". If killing a law-abiding cyclist or pedestrian meant a
felony record, a mandatory few months in jail and a few years without a
driver's license, drivers would naturally be more vigilant.

Japan for example has a much stricter view about driving. They see driving
like it was an activity that involved operating potentially deadly machinery
in an environment containing children and other not-so responsible people.
In other words, they treat driving fairly, not benevolently. Over here, a
kid enters the street and you can kill him even if you had a block to stop.

The only thing that seems to significantly change things are how societies
see mishaps - such as our freaking paranoia about airline crashes and shark
attacks - which we cannot personally control aside from not flying or
swimming in the ocean. If we cyclists make an issue every time a cyclists
is killed and the driver gets away, say holding candlelight vigils, bike
protests, marching on city hall, demanding that the press treat us fairly,
etc. we change this perception towards justice. If we don't, our
neighborhoods get less and less safe for anyone not driving.

Anyway, its an interesting topic.

--
Robert Haston
Satellite Beach, FL

Rocketman
December 1st 03, 12:39 AM
"Robert Haston" > wrote in message
link.net...
> A good read regarding how drivers act around cyclists is the theory of
"risk
> homeostasis" Google pulls up some good stuff. This is how drivers (or
other
> risk takers) have a set level of risk, and drive to that level. If you
make
> it "safer" - widen and straighten roads, add air bags and ABS, etc. people
> compensate by driving more aggressively or absent-mindedly. Evidence our
> numerous safety engineering improvements, increased aggressive driving,
and
> flat fatality rate.
>
> Now consider how drivers get off after killing cyclists and pedestrians in
> almost every situation - unless they are drunk. Every driver puts this
into
> her "risk computer". If killing a law-abiding cyclist or pedestrian meant
a
> felony record, a mandatory few months in jail and a few years without a
> driver's license, drivers would naturally be more vigilant.
>
> Japan for example has a much stricter view about driving. They see
driving
> like it was an activity that involved operating potentially deadly
machinery
> in an environment containing children and other not-so responsible people.
> In other words, they treat driving fairly, not benevolently. Over here, a
> kid enters the street and you can kill him even if you had a block to
stop.
>
> The only thing that seems to significantly change things are how societies
> see mishaps - such as our freaking paranoia about airline crashes and
shark
> attacks - which we cannot personally control aside from not flying or
> swimming in the ocean. If we cyclists make an issue every time a cyclists
> is killed and the driver gets away, say holding candlelight vigils, bike
> protests, marching on city hall, demanding that the press treat us fairly,
> etc. we change this perception towards justice. If we don't, our
> neighborhoods get less and less safe for anyone not driving.
>
> Anyway, its an interesting topic.
>
> --
> Robert Haston
> Satellite Beach, FL

Excellent analysis, Robert. I completely agree. It is becoming obvious to
me that the little guy is being shoved off the road - so to speak - in the
US (not just cyclists). This aggressive, selfish mindset (and laws that
condone and promote it) carry over into virtually every sector of our
society. Aggressiveness is the order of the day. Fat, stupid, unthinking,
uncaring people are not only tolerated here, they are the majority. They're
buying gigantic vehicles to match their waistlines, and they'll be damned if
they'll slow down for anybody. If they kill a kid on a sidestreet, it's the
kid's fault, and his parents' fault, not the driver's.

What to do? Candlelight vigils, media-oriented public protests, petitions,
lobbying and every other form of civil disobedience (including Critical Mess
^H^H^H^H^ Mass) will be required in order to realign our priorities as a
society. It's not going to be easy, or quick. With 40,000+ US
automobile-related deaths per annum, it would take a very high body count of
dead cyclists to even get the public's attention. It's a problem that I
can't figure out how to solve without a regime change and some major
overhauls of American behavior. Let's start with the former: Regime Change
Begins at Home :-)

-Barry

Tom Sherman
December 1st 03, 06:33 AM
Rocketman wrote:
>
> Excellent analysis, Robert. I completely agree. It is becoming obvious to
> me that the little guy is being shoved off the road - so to speak - in the
> US (not just cyclists). This aggressive, selfish mindset (and laws that
> condone and promote it) carry over into virtually every sector of our
> society. Aggressiveness is the order of the day. Fat, stupid, unthinking,
> uncaring people are not only tolerated here, they are the majority. They're
> buying gigantic vehicles to match their waistlines, and they'll be damned if
> they'll slow down for anybody. If they kill a kid on a sidestreet, it's the
> kid's fault, and his parents' fault, not the driver's.
>
> What to do? Candlelight vigils, media-oriented public protests, petitions,
> lobbying and every other form of civil disobedience (including Critical Mess
> ^H^H^H^H^ Mass) will be required in order to realign our priorities as a
> society. It's not going to be easy, or quick. With 40,000+ US
> automobile-related deaths per annum, it would take a very high body count of
> dead cyclists to even get the public's attention. It's a problem that I
> can't figure out how to solve without a regime change and some major
> overhauls of American behavior. Let's start with the former: Regime Change
> Begins at Home :-)

The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
vehicles.

The second would be to improve the lives and reduce the stress levels of
the majority of the working population by having a "living wage" minimum
wage and a 30-hour work week. With the productivity levels of today's
worker, it is ridiculous that people are working close to 50 hours a
week for less in real wages than they made 30 years ago at 40-hours a
week.

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

"There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough
for everyone's greed." - Mohandas Gandhi

john riley
December 1st 03, 01:52 PM
Drivers don't just kill cyclists and pedestrians; they kill other
drivers as well.

Thanks to at least 50 years of car-centric infrastructure building, we
have now arrived at a place where lots of N Ams. spend a lot of time
in their car every day. Given the amount of time they spend driving,
it would be difficult to give the task the required attention, even if
they were so inclined. Which they are not. They resent the time they
have to spend in the car, so they try to use it for other purposes;
eating, putting on make-up, talking on the phone (picking up voice
mail), etc. They tend to drive the same routes every day, so assuming
no surprises, (a bad assumption to make on the roads) they think they
can manage by giving the task of driving the minimum of attention.

There is something to the risk thing, I suppose, but it is
complicated. On one of my busy local streets, when there are parked
cars, it is difficult for meeting cars to pass each other. This
amounts to a kind of de facto "traffic calming" device. But at commute
times, drivers are aggresive and don't slow down. One frequently sees
broken mirrors on this stretch. I don't think static traffic calming
devices work.

Meanwhile in the core, traffic is slower because of signal lights and
volume, and there are always interuptions; bikes, peds, taxis stopped
in the lane, etc. The risk equasion is constantly changing. I think it
forces people to pay more attention and I actually feel pretty ok
about cycling there. Toronto has a kind of daily "critical mass" of
peds and bikes. There are always some present, so most drivers do look
for them. Bike messsengers in particular are very aggressive in
"educating" errant drivers.

I don't have any answers about how to change bad local environments.

john riley
Toronto

Rick
December 1st 03, 02:28 PM
"Rocketman" > wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s53...
> "Robert Haston" > wrote in message
> link.net...
> > A good read regarding how drivers act around cyclists is the theory of
> "risk
> > homeostasis" Google pulls up some good stuff. This is how drivers (or
> other
> > risk takers) have a set level of risk, and drive to that level. If you
> make
> > it "safer" - widen and straighten roads, add air bags and ABS, etc.
people
> > compensate by driving more aggressively or absent-mindedly. Evidence
our
> > numerous safety engineering improvements, increased aggressive driving,
> and
> > flat fatality rate.
> >
....stuff deleted

We've had this conversation on "Risk Compensation" in relation to helmets
before. Most humans adopt a "what will happen to me" attitude and pattern
their behavior on that basis. It would be safer if the prevailing attitude
were one of, "what will happen to others," but this is more than can be
expected of humans.

One thing I did notice through the years of using roads in the US, however,
is that those who feel safest driving tended to be the worst (either they
take more chances or are simply oblivious to the world around them). Volvo
drivers, for example, have always been on my short list of the chronically
unskilled. Their former advertising campaign that their cars are safe in all
kinds of accidents led to a selection of drivers who were awful, probably
because they felt safe. We are seeing the same kinds of behavior occur in
drivers of SUV's and other large vehicles because there is a prevailing
belief that size = safety. This is not the case when the majority of
vehicles on the road are also SUV's and trucks, but try telling them that.

Rick

Jeff Potter
December 1st 03, 02:52 PM
It seems like proving a huge awards lawsuit would be a no-brainer for any
lawyer involved with a reckless injury.

But maybe that's too vague: still, having every lawyer in the world in a
position to slamdunk whoever hit you or your loved one seems significant.

More specifically: I'd think that any prosecutor in the world could easily
convict an injurious motorist of something fairly serious and go for max
penalty under even a misdemeanor?

Remember, this is a world where prosecutors and lawyers easily win cases
regarding hot coffee and hayride tumbles (I just heard this one locally).

A car hitting someone should be a BIG problem for any driver. Crazy to think
that it's not.

My hunch from reading about many hit bikers here and elsewhere is that a crazy
informal extra-legal consensus has been made among the nation's lawyers and
prosecutors. They simply DECIDE not to go after deadly motorists. They
INFORMALLY decide that the injuring party "has suffered as well." Haven't we
all noticed this in the reports? Obviously, in any of these incidents, a lawyer
or prosecutor would have enough to get SOMETHING and then apply max penalty if
they liked---enough to start a HUGE deterrent wave.

My guess is that our nation's lawyers and prosecutors ARE THEMSELVES
potentially injurious motorists!!! There's a sense of "we're all drivers here"
which lets drivers injure/kill with impunity.

Unless there ARE usually big settlements via insurance companies and lawyers
and these are sealed/gagged and absorbed by the system thus resulting in no
deterrence?

--

Jeff Potter
****
*Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com
publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself culture...
...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies...
...rare books on ski, bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller
about smalltown smuggling ... more radical novels coming up!
...original downloadable music ... and articles galore!
plus national "Off the Beaten Path" travel forums! HOLY SMOKES!

Raoul Duke
December 1st 03, 05:38 PM
"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...

> The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
> both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
> an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
> vehicles.

Great idea. So why don't you start and set the example for the rest of us.
Every time you buy a gallon of gas you should send the government $4.

Dave

Zach Kaplan Cycles
December 1st 03, 06:22 PM
Tom Sherman > wrote in message >...

> The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
> both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
> an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
> vehicles.
>
> The second would be to improve the lives and reduce the stress levels of
> the majority of the working population by having a "living wage" minimum
> wage and a 30-hour work week. With the productivity levels of today's
> worker, it is ridiculous that people are working close to 50 hours a
> week for less in real wages than they made 30 years ago at 40-hours a
> week.
>
> Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

I agree strongly with both of Tom's points. Bringing it back to the
subject of recumbents though the short term solution might be to ride
configurations of recumbents that offer more rider protection in the
event of a collision with a motor vehicle and ride as defensively as
possible including the regular use of mirrors, high visibility
surfaces, reflective material and lighting. This might also mean
choosing to ride recumbents with higher seat heights. These are steps
anyone can take now rather than waiting for the governmental policies
with regards to fuel tax, traffic law enforcement and driver
accountability to change which will be a slow process if it ever
happens in the US.

Zach Kaplan

Mitch Haley
December 1st 03, 10:21 PM
Jeff Potter wrote:
>
> A car hitting someone should be a BIG problem for any driver. Crazy to think
> that it's not.
>

A nearby high school lost its valedictorian this summer. She was struck from
behind while cycling on a 2 lane road on a bright sunny afternoon, wearing
a bright yellow shirt.

The driver recently was acquitted. His lawyer offered the following defenses:
1. The victim may have swerved in front of her killer. (no evidence of this,
and it's the passer's responsibility to maintain a safe distance)
2. The victim's shirt was the same color as the sun, making her invisible.
(try using that defense when you hit a school bus)

I think the real reason for the aquittal was 3: The jury members wouldn't
want to go to jail if they committed negligent homicide with a vehicle.

Mitch.

Mitch Haley
December 1st 03, 10:23 PM
Zach Kaplan Cycles wrote:
>
> I agree strongly with both of Tom's points. Bringing it back to the
> subject of recumbents though the short term solution might be to ride
> configurations of recumbents that offer more rider protection in the
> event of a collision with a motor vehicle ...

What configurations might that be?
Mitch.

Dorre
December 1st 03, 10:52 PM
Rocketman > wrote:
: Excellent analysis, Robert. I completely agree. It is becoming obvious to
: me that the little guy is being shoved off the road - so to speak - in the
: US (not just cyclists). This aggressive, selfish mindset (and laws that
: condone and promote it) carry over into virtually every sector of our
: society. Aggressiveness is the order of the day. Fat, stupid, unthinking,
: uncaring people are not only tolerated here, they are the majority. They're
: buying gigantic vehicles to match their waistlines, and they'll be damned if
: they'll slow down for anybody. If they kill a kid on a sidestreet, it's the
: kid's fault, and his parents' fault, not the driver's.

: What to do? Candlelight vigils, media-oriented public protests, petitions,
: lobbying and every other form of civil disobedience (including Critical Mess

There is some research to show that risk compensation can be counteracted
by reminding people of the risks they are taking.

Candlelight vigils are a great way to do this. Along with calls for
fair compensation for victims, measures to stop drunk driving (remember
Ken Kifer), and gas taxes that cover the cost to society of driving.

My guess is that more will be achieved by avoiding the really
contentious issues until it's necessary to deal with them. No one will
argue about vigils to draw attention to death on the roads. It's also
hard to argue with calls that gas taxes should cover the cost of driving.
Once people accept the principle, the details can come later.

Dorre


: ^H^H^H^H^ Mass) will be required in order to realign our priorities as a
: society. It's not going to be easy, or quick. With 40,000+ US
: automobile-related deaths per annum, it would take a very high body count of
: dead cyclists to even get the public's attention. It's a problem that I
: can't figure out how to solve without a regime change and some major
: overhauls of American behavior. Let's start with the former: Regime Change
: Begins at Home :-)

Calling for regime change seems a good way of putting 50% of the
population off-side. Surely all political parties should be in favor
or reducing the carnage on our roads? Surely all political parties want
fair compensation for victims? Surely they also want drivers to pay
for the cost of their transport? Aren't taxes high enough already?
What politician would advocate raising taxes to subsidize more
driving?

: -Barry

Corvus Corvax
December 1st 03, 10:55 PM
Jeff Potter > wrote
>
> My guess is that our nation's lawyers and prosecutors ARE THEMSELVES
> potentially injurious motorists!!!

http://money.cnn.com/2003/10/30/pf/autos/bad_drivers/index.htm

CC

Tom Thompson
December 2nd 03, 12:35 AM
"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...
>
> Rocketman wrote:
> >
> > Excellent analysis, Robert. I completely agree. It is becoming obvious
to
> > me that the little guy is being shoved off the road - so to speak - in
the
> > US (not just cyclists). This aggressive, selfish mindset (and laws that
> > condone and promote it) carry over into virtually every sector of our
> > society. Aggressiveness is the order of the day. Fat, stupid,
unthinking,
> > uncaring people are not only tolerated here, they are the majority.
They're
> > buying gigantic vehicles to match their waistlines, and they'll be
damned if
> > they'll slow down for anybody. If they kill a kid on a sidestreet, it's
the
> > kid's fault, and his parents' fault, not the driver's.
> >
> > What to do? Candlelight vigils, media-oriented public protests,
petitions,
> > lobbying and every other form of civil disobedience (including Critical
Mess
> > ^H^H^H^H^ Mass) will be required in order to realign our priorities as a
> > society. It's not going to be easy, or quick. With 40,000+ US
> > automobile-related deaths per annum, it would take a very high body
count of
> > dead cyclists to even get the public's attention. It's a problem that I
> > can't figure out how to solve without a regime change and some major
> > overhauls of American behavior. Let's start with the former: Regime
Change
> > Begins at Home :-)
>
> The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
> both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
> an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
> vehicles.


Maybe, but whos to say it will be spent wisely.

> The second would be to improve the lives and reduce the stress levels of
> the majority of the working population by having a "living wage" minimum
> wage and a 30-hour work week. With the productivity levels of today's
> worker, it is ridiculous that people are working close to 50 hours a
> week for less in real wages than they made 30 years ago at 40-hours a
> week.

Hear that giant sucking sound?? How competitive would we be with offshore
wage scales then? It's a global economy, like it or not.

Tom Thompson

> Tom Sherman - Planet Earth
>
> "There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough
> for everyone's greed." - Mohandas Gandhi

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 01:00 AM
"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...
>
> The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
> both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
> an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
> vehicles.

Lets see what a hike to $4-5/gallon will do

1. Higher cost of goods
2. More businesses moving overseas because of #1
3. Fewer jobs because of #2

I doubt many will be able to afford the reasonably sized motor vehicle.
Besides the adding income to the government (assuming it does give added
income) will be wasted by the state and federal government much like the
supposed tobacco settlement was.

> The second would be to improve the lives and reduce the stress levels of
> the majority of the working population by having a "living wage" minimum
> wage and a 30-hour work week. With the productivity levels of today's
> worker, it is ridiculous that people are working close to 50 hours a
> week for less in real wages than they made 30 years ago at 40-hours a
> week.

The minimum wage was never created for people to live on, it was created to
simply be a minimum wage, and the reason for the less real wages these days
is because of added federal/state/local taxes, in most working couple homes
the spouse is merely paying the taxes while the other makes the earnings.
and your proposal will do nothing but aggrevate the situation

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday.html

Tom Sherman
December 2nd 03, 01:36 AM
Tom Thompson wrote:
> ...
> Hear that giant sucking sound?? How competitive would we be with offshore
> wage scales then? It's a global economy, like it or not.

Applying punitive tariffs to imports from countries with substandard
wages, working conditions, environmental laws and human rights would be
a relatively simple matter and would stop the race to the bottom that is
harming workers everywhere.

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

Tom Sherman
December 2nd 03, 01:42 AM
Mark Leuck wrote:
>
> "Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
> ...
> >
> > The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
> > both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
> > an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
> > vehicles.
>
> Lets see what a hike to $4-5/gallon will do
>
> 1. Higher cost of goods
> 2. More businesses moving overseas because of #1
> 3. Fewer jobs because of #2
>
> I doubt many will be able to afford the reasonably sized motor vehicle.
> Besides the adding income to the government (assuming it does give added
> income) will be wasted by the state and federal government much like the
> supposed tobacco settlement was.
>
> > The second would be to improve the lives and reduce the stress levels of
> > the majority of the working population by having a "living wage" minimum
> > wage and a 30-hour work week. With the productivity levels of today's
> > worker, it is ridiculous that people are working close to 50 hours a
> > week for less in real wages than they made 30 years ago at 40-hours a
> > week.
>
> The minimum wage was never created for people to live on, it was created to
> simply be a minimum wage, and the reason for the less real wages these days
> is because of added federal/state/local taxes, in most working couple homes
> the spouse is merely paying the taxes while the other makes the earnings.
> and your proposal will do nothing but aggrevate the situation
>
> http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday.html

Northern Europe has gas taxes in this range, considerably higher minimum
wages, much shorter average work weeks, yet does not suffer to any
serious extent the problems mentioned above. Unless the Northern
European people are somehow inherently better than those in the US are,
the arguments do not stand up. And yes, on average they drive much more
sensibly sized motor vehicles.

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

"There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough
for everyone's greed." - Mohandas Gandhi

Tom Sherman
December 2nd 03, 01:49 AM
john riley wrote:
>
> Drivers don't just kill cyclists and pedestrians; they kill other
> drivers as well.
>
> Thanks to at least 50 years of car-centric infrastructure building, we
> have now arrived at a place where lots of N Ams. spend a lot of time
> in their car every day. Given the amount of time they spend driving,
> it would be difficult to give the task the required attention, even if
> they were so inclined. Which they are not. They resent the time they
> have to spend in the car, so they try to use it for other purposes...

It is amazing how many people in the US do not enjoy driving, but yet
refuse to consider any other alternative.

> ...Bike messsengers in particular are very aggressive in
> "educating" errant drivers....

As are Jerry Garcia lookalikes with electrical assist. ;)

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

H
December 2nd 03, 02:05 AM
Tom Sherman > wrote in
:

>
> It is amazing how many people in the US do not enjoy driving, but yet
> refuse to consider any other alternative.
>
I've had a similar thought, particularly while waiting to cross busy
intersections on my way home. I mean, it's a little much to expect someone
to be happy about driving a rusted out junker with shot rings and springs
(and yet, sometimes they are), but I've been a little taken aback by the
facial expressions of two drivers in particular. One in an Audi TT and
another in a Z Beamer (sensibly sized Euro cars, but not sensible cars at
all, eh :-) . Painfully sour. I had to look away. The irony of course is
that they presumably bought these cars at least in part to increase their
happiness.

H

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 02:51 AM
"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...
>
> Tom Thompson wrote:
> > ...
> > Hear that giant sucking sound?? How competitive would we be with
offshore
> > wage scales then? It's a global economy, like it or not.
>
> Applying punitive tariffs to imports from countries with substandard
> wages, working conditions, environmental laws and human rights would be
> a relatively simple matter and would stop the race to the bottom that is
> harming workers everywhere.
>
> Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

Applying punitive tariffs tends to lead to tariff wars which is one of the
reasons Bush ended the steel tariffs today. In the end nobody wins

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 02:59 AM
"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...
>
> Northern Europe has gas taxes in this range, considerably higher minimum
> wages, much shorter average work weeks, yet does not suffer to any
> serious extent the problems mentioned above. Unless the Northern
> European people are somehow inherently better than those in the US are,
> the arguments do not stand up. And yes, on average they drive much more
> sensibly sized motor vehicles.

And considerably less productivity and employment and fewer people own cars.
Fortunatly for them the infrastructer gives them the ability to exist
without a car which in most areas is not possible here. As far as sensibly
sized motor vehicles, with the exception of the Mini, vehicles in Europe
don't seem to be any smaller or larger than ours here in the US. They just
have less per captia than we do.

When you are a company who relies on parts and employees and you raise the
cost of bringing in those parts (the added gas tax) and raise the cost of
that employee (higher minimum wage) you will soon have neither the parts or
the employees. In my industry most of the manufacturing is now overseas or
in Mexico because of manufacturing costs alone. You will never see the
benefits of that added tax money because it will not exist.

It all sounds good Tom until it's implemented :)

Bill Z.
December 2nd 03, 03:00 AM
Tom Sherman > writes:


> It is amazing how many people in the US do not enjoy driving, but yet
> refuse to consider any other alternative.

That's no surprise---they want a metal case to help protect them from
all the bad drivers out there.

Last night, I came uncomfortably close to being creamed while legally
crossing a street (in a crosswalk with the pedestrian light in my
favor.) After I had crossed two traffic lanes, a driver made a high
speed left turn, showed no indication of slowing down, and I had to
run out of the way to avoid being hit. He didn't bother to slow down
in spite of the rain, nor did he care that the intersection in
question gets lots of pedestrian traffic.

The unfortunately truth is that we live in country where life is
cheap. It doesn't matter whether you are walking or cycling. Some
drivers---too many, actually---basically don't care if they hurt
someone.

Bill

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 03:01 AM
"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...
>
> john riley wrote:
> >
> > Drivers don't just kill cyclists and pedestrians; they kill other
> > drivers as well.
> >
> > Thanks to at least 50 years of car-centric infrastructure building, we
> > have now arrived at a place where lots of N Ams. spend a lot of time
> > in their car every day. Given the amount of time they spend driving,
> > it would be difficult to give the task the required attention, even if
> > they were so inclined. Which they are not. They resent the time they
> > have to spend in the car, so they try to use it for other purposes...
>
> It is amazing how many people in the US do not enjoy driving, but yet
> refuse to consider any other alternative.

Not amazing when that's the only way they can get tho work and have no
alternative, I remember a friend of mine in LA who had to drive 2 hours to
work and 2.5 hours back every day. Then his employer when under and he found
another job less than 2 miles from home. The poor guy didn't know what to do
with that extra 4.5 hours a day :)

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 03:03 AM
"H" > wrote in message
...
> Tom Sherman > wrote in
> :
>
> >
> > It is amazing how many people in the US do not enjoy driving, but yet
> > refuse to consider any other alternative.
> >
> I've had a similar thought, particularly while waiting to cross busy
> intersections on my way home. I mean, it's a little much to expect someone
> to be happy about driving a rusted out junker with shot rings and springs
> (and yet, sometimes they are), but I've been a little taken aback by the
> facial expressions of two drivers in particular. One in an Audi TT and
> another in a Z Beamer (sensibly sized Euro cars, but not sensible cars at
> all, eh :-) . Painfully sour. I had to look away. The irony of course
is
> that they presumably bought these cars at least in part to increase their
> happiness.
>
> H

The question is: Is there anyone on this news group, who is not a known
liar, who has actually purchased an Audi TT or Z Beamer for the full
$40000.00 price?

:)

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 05:30 AM
"Kevan Smith" > wrote in message
...
> On Tue, 02 Dec 2003 01:00:00 GMT, "Mark Leuck" > from
> Comcast Online wrote:
>
> >The minimum wage was never created for people to live on, it was created
to
> >simply be a minimum wage ...
>
> And companies would make every job minimum wage or less to increase profit
if
> they could get away with it. That's why unions are so important. One
person
> can't fight a company over wages, but lots of people together can.

I never cared for unions, the biggest problem is was I could work (and did)
as hard as I wanted to yet the person next to me did little, called in sick
much of the time and STILL made as much as I did. It is much like socialism
in that in theory it should work but in reality it doesn't. The hard worker
will end up defaulting to reducing work because no incentive exists to work
harder.

Arpit
December 2nd 03, 06:58 AM
I'll do the same, in fact, ill do it for the last 6 months i've bought
gas too. hmm, empty envelope....

On Mon, 1 Dec 2003 09:38:02 -0800, "Raoul Duke" >
wrote:

>
>"Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
...
>
>> The first thing we (in the US) need is a gas tax in the $4-5/gal. range,
>> both to pay for the true cost of petroleum consumption, and to provide
>> an economic incentive for people to drive reasonably sized motor
>> vehicles.
>
>Great idea. So why don't you start and set the example for the rest of us.
>Every time you buy a gallon of gas you should send the government $4.
>
>Dave
>

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 07:32 AM
"Kevan Smith" > wrote in message
...
> On Tue, 02 Dec 2003 05:30:13 GMT, "Mark Leuck" > from
> Comcast Online wrote:
>
> >"Kevan Smith" > wrote in message
> ...
> >> On Tue, 02 Dec 2003 01:00:00 GMT, "Mark Leuck" >
from
> >> Comcast Online wrote:
> >>
> >> >The minimum wage was never created for people to live on, it was
created
> >to
> >> >simply be a minimum wage ...
> >>
> >> And companies would make every job minimum wage or less to increase
profit
> >if
> >> they could get away with it. That's why unions are so important. One
> >person
> >> can't fight a company over wages, but lots of people together can.
> >
> >I never cared for unions, the biggest problem is was I could work (and
did)
> >as hard as I wanted to yet the person next to me did little, called in
sick
> >much of the time and STILL made as much as I did.
>
> Yeah? Where and when did that happen? I think you're telling a fib.

UPS, Mesquite Texas, 1988 to 1989, think what you want

Mikael Seierup
December 2nd 03, 09:02 AM
"Tom Sherman" skrev...
> It is amazing how many people in the US do not enjoy driving, but yet
> refuse to consider any other alternative.

They don't look too happy here either. Especially not at 4 pm or so
when the workday is over and they all sit one in each wheeled contraption
in a big queue moving at a snails pace. But it brings a smile to my face as I
go by them on my recumbent. (Thank God for bikepaths. ;-) )

Mikael of Copenhagen

Tom Sherman
December 2nd 03, 09:32 AM
Mark Leuck wrote:
>
> "Tom Sherman" > wrote in message
> ...
> >
> > Tom Thompson wrote:
> > > ...
> > > Hear that giant sucking sound?? How competitive would we be with
> offshore
> > > wage scales then? It's a global economy, like it or not.
> >
> > Applying punitive tariffs to imports from countries with substandard
> > wages, working conditions, environmental laws and human rights would be
> > a relatively simple matter and would stop the race to the bottom that is
> > harming workers everywhere.
> >
> > Tom Sherman - Planet Earth
>
> Applying punitive tariffs tends to lead to tariff wars which is one of the
> reasons Bush ended the steel tariffs today. In the end nobody wins

Currently manufacturing jobs are being moved from the US to countries
with near slave labor conditions (e.g. mainland China). The service
sector replacement jobs do not pay a living wage compared to the lost
industrial jobs. In the current race to the bottom, only the 1% of the
population that controls most of the capital in the country wins.

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

"There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough
for everyone's greed." - Mohandas Gandhi

Dave Larrington
December 2nd 03, 11:06 AM
Mark Leuck wrote:

> fewer people own cars.

Not necessairly a bad thing; however, 72% of UK households had access to a
car or van according to the 2001 census

> As far as sensibly sized motor vehicles, with the exception of
> the Mini, vehicles in Europe don't seem to be any smaller or larger
> than ours here in the US.

Sorry, but this can only be decribed as Clearly ********. There are few
vehicles used for private transportation comparable in size with the
standard US pickup or SUV, and note that which full-size pickups dominate
the US market, the best selling cars in Europe are the size of the Ford
Focus or VW Golf.

--

Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
================================================== =========
Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
================================================== =========

Dave Larrington
December 2nd 03, 11:09 AM
Tongue firmly in cheek, Mark Leuck wrote:

> The question is: Is there anyone on this news group, who is not a
> known liar, who has actually purchased an Audi TT or Z Beamer for the
> full $40000.00 price?

I haven't, and not just coz it's not easy to transport a Baron in either of
the above, but the other three members of my small group of toilers in the
Nut Mines have an Audi TT, a Honda S2000 and a Toyota MR2...

--

Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
================================================== =========
Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
================================================== =========

Mitch Haley
December 2nd 03, 11:13 AM
Mark Leuck wrote:
>
> The question is: Is there anyone on this news group, who is not a known
> liar, who has actually purchased an Audi TT or Z Beamer for the full
> $40000.00 price?

I've got an S-class Mercedes. Does that count?
The price was three digits, so probably not.
Mitch.

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 02:06 PM
"Dave Larrington" > wrote in message
...
> Mark Leuck wrote:
>
> > fewer people own cars.
>
> Not necessairly a bad thing; however, 72% of UK households had access to a
> car or van according to the 2001 census
>
> > As far as sensibly sized motor vehicles, with the exception of
> > the Mini, vehicles in Europe don't seem to be any smaller or larger
> > than ours here in the US.
>
> Sorry, but this can only be decribed as Clearly ********. There are few
> vehicles used for private transportation comparable in size with the
> standard US pickup or SUV, and note that which full-size pickups dominate
> the US market, the best selling cars in Europe are the size of the Ford
> Focus or VW Golf.

Sorry I had forgotten to factor in the truck market, still I'd much rather
have a system where I can choose what I want to drive than having it forced
on my by massive tax increases on fuel and misguided governments.

Mike DeMicco
December 2nd 03, 03:40 PM
In article >,
Tom Sherman > wrote:

> Currently manufacturing jobs are being moved from the US to countries
> with near slave labor conditions (e.g. mainland China). The service
> sector replacement jobs do not pay a living wage compared to the lost
> industrial jobs. In the current race to the bottom, only the 1% of the
> population that controls most of the capital in the country wins.

Even service jobs aren't immune - witness the Dell tech support call
center debacle.

--
Mike DeMicco >
(Remove the REMOVE_THIS from my email address to reply.)

Zach Kaplan Cycles
December 2nd 03, 04:43 PM
Mitch Haley > wrote in message >...
> Zach Kaplan Cycles wrote:
> >
> > I agree strongly with both of Tom's points. Bringing it back to the
> > subject of recumbents though the short term solution might be to ride
> > configurations of recumbents that offer more rider protection in the
> > event of a collision with a motor vehicle ...
>
> What configurations might that be?
> Mitch.

Perhaps one with the bottom of the seat higher than the average car
bumper combined with a full size rear wheel for maximum crumple zone
plus an energy absorbing tail fairing.

Zach Kaplan

Dorre
December 2nd 03, 10:40 PM
Mark Leuck > wrote:
:> Sorry, but this can only be decribed as Clearly ********. There are few
:> vehicles used for private transportation comparable in size with the
:> standard US pickup or SUV, and note that which full-size pickups dominate
:> the US market, the best selling cars in Europe are the size of the Ford
:> Focus or VW Golf.

: Sorry I had forgotten to factor in the truck market, still I'd much rather
: have a system where I can choose what I want to drive than having it forced
: on my by massive tax increases on fuel and misguided governments.

Many of us would consider governments misguided if they don't embrace
the user pays principle for driving. Gas taxes should cover the cost
of the roads. It's fair enough for you to chose what you want to
drive, as long as you don't expect other people to pay for that choice.

Dorre

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 11:05 PM
"Mike DeMicco" > wrote in message
...
> In article >,
> Tom Sherman > wrote:
>
> > Currently manufacturing jobs are being moved from the US to countries
> > with near slave labor conditions (e.g. mainland China). The service
> > sector replacement jobs do not pay a living wage compared to the lost
> > industrial jobs. In the current race to the bottom, only the 1% of the
> > population that controls most of the capital in the country wins.
>
> Even service jobs aren't immune - witness the Dell tech support call
> center debacle.

Which is why Dell is bringing many back, I predict more companies will do so
in the future

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 11:06 PM
"Dorre" > wrote in message
...
> Mark Leuck > wrote:
> :> Sorry, but this can only be decribed as Clearly ********. There are
few
> :> vehicles used for private transportation comparable in size with the
> :> standard US pickup or SUV, and note that which full-size pickups
dominate
> :> the US market, the best selling cars in Europe are the size of the Ford
> :> Focus or VW Golf.
>
> : Sorry I had forgotten to factor in the truck market, still I'd much
rather
> : have a system where I can choose what I want to drive than having it
forced
> : on my by massive tax increases on fuel and misguided governments.
>
> Many of us would consider governments misguided if they don't embrace
> the user pays principle for driving. Gas taxes should cover the cost
> of the roads. It's fair enough for you to chose what you want to
> drive, as long as you don't expect other people to pay for that choice.
>
> Dorre

Gas taxes SHOULD cover the roads but they don't, in the end the gas tax ends
up being another convenient (and hidden) way government gets more money to
waste

Mark Leuck
December 2nd 03, 11:06 PM
"Marc VanHeyningen" > wrote in message
...
> Thus said "Mark Leuck" >:
> >I never cared for unions, the biggest problem is was I could work (and
did)
> >as hard as I wanted to yet the person next to me did little, called in
sick
> >much of the time and STILL made as much as I did. It is much like
socialism
> >in that in theory it should work but in reality it doesn't. The hard
worker
> >will end up defaulting to reducing work because no incentive exists to
work
> >harder.
>
> In general, you are rewarded for working hard enough that you don't get
> fired.
>
> If you work harder than that, the incremental reward you will receive is
> typically pretty small. Sometimes it's even negative, as people who
> work harder are "rewarded" by being given more work but no more money.
>
> That's been the case many workplaces I've seen, both union and
> non-union. It's just human nature.

Not from my experience although I am not doubting you.

Mark Leuck
December 3rd 03, 03:49 AM
"Kevan Smith" > wrote in message
...
> >
> >UPS, Mesquite Texas, 1988 to 1989, think what you want
>
> Wasn't UPS a **** company back then because it was _managed_ so poorly?

It could have been but the overall impression was that you didn't worry
about being fired

> Being in a union isn't an exemption from being managed. It's protection
from
> being unfairly managed.

In theory and I'm sure in most cases yes but in many others it means
regardless of what the management is like its a bitch to fire the bad eggs.

I see improvement in the job market more by personal skill improvement than
joining a union

avgrin
December 3rd 03, 04:12 AM
B"H
Congratulations Robert on an excellent observation and, as I see it, a
call for action.

Lets stop arguing about subjects that divide us -- cyclists, HPV
operators -- and focus on what we have in common. For example, I may
disagree with some about free trade, gas tax, minimum wages; but, I am
sure, we all agree on the need for better conditions for HPV
commuters, pedestrians, and recreational bicyclists. We as a group
should create specific objectives and execute them. In the world
they're many less numerous groups with objectives that don't benefit
general population at all but they get plenty of attention by focusing
on specific objectives and executing many actions suggested by Robert.
What we want saves lives, improves health, protects environment from
pollution, and provides reliable inexpensive transportation. Is not
it a noble enough cause to fight for?

I propose to set goals (strategy) by 12/31/2003;
Schedule practical actions (tactics) and appoint corresponding
projects leaders by 1/15/2004;
Then execute, execute, execute!!!

We'll need to raise funds for some activities. It can come from
donations (I pledge first $1,000.00), and cycling events.

Lets get justice for Chris Robertson of SF, Marc Webb of Palm Beach,
Ken Kifer of Scottsboro and numerous others.

Lets improve our own chances to survive by creating better conditions
for cyclists and pedestrian (with them we are MANY).

I am sure that there are groups that are already doing similar things,
so we may just join them.

Victor
Houston, Texas

Rick
December 3rd 03, 05:23 AM
....stuff deleted

> > Even service jobs aren't immune - witness the Dell tech support call
> > center debacle.
>
> Which is why Dell is bringing many back, I predict more companies will do
so
> in the future
>

Having worked in the computer industry for 15+ years, it is clear that most
companies will not be bringing back jobs to the US market. It is possible
for people in India, for example, to live comfortably on a salary that is
70-80% lower than a comparable job in San Jose. Companies threatened to move
business overseas about the time I started working in the industry because
US employees were too expensive. The H1B visas allowed foreign nationals to
be hired to fill technical jobs in the US even though their argument that
qualified workers could not be found here was hogwash.

In any case, these formerly high-paying jobs are moving to India, China,
Ireland, and Eastern Europe, and away from the US. The world economy will
eventually catch up, but until that happens, we can expect a gradual
decrease in the US economy until the whole situation stabalizes. This has
happened to Japan (as Korea, Taiwan, and China grew) and will happen here as
well.

Rick

Raymo853
December 3rd 03, 02:08 PM
> Gas taxes SHOULD cover the roads but they don't, in the end the gas tax
ends
> up being another convenient (and hidden) way government gets more money to
> waste
>

And the amount of subcidies the petrolem producing, exploring and refining
companies gets from the US gov per gallon exceed the taxes paid for each
gallon of gas at the pump. Therefore, each time you buy a gallon of gas it
costs the US gov money.

Jeff Potter
December 5th 03, 09:22 PM
Is there a pro-bike law activist group? Particularly one that goes after
killer drivers and laws/prosecutors that protect them?

--

Jeff Potter
****
*Out Your Backdoor * http://www.outyourbackdoor.com
publisher of outdoor/indoor do-it-yourself culture...
...offering "small world" views on bikes, bows, books, movies...
...rare books on ski, bike, boat culture, plus a Gulf Coast thriller
about smalltown smuggling ... radical novels coming up!
...original downloadable music ... and articles galore!
plus national travel forums! HOLY SMOKES! 800-763-6923

Tom Sherman
December 6th 03, 07:21 AM
Mark Leuck wrote:
>
> Sorry I had forgotten to factor in the truck market, still I'd much rather
> have a system where I can choose what I want to drive than having it forced
> on my by massive tax increases on fuel and misguided governments.

With the current system of highway/street funding systems in the US,
those driving small fuel-efficient motor vehicles (and even more so
those who are car free) subsidize those who drive large, high fuel
consumption vehicles for personal use. This is a distortion of the free
market that US conservatives claim to hold so dear (until it cuts into
their share of government welfare).

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

"There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough
for everyone's greed." - Mohandas Gandhi

Tom Sherman
December 6th 03, 07:23 AM
Marc VanHeyningen wrote:
>
> In general, you are rewarded for working hard enough that you don't get
> fired.
>
> If you work harder than that, the incremental reward you will receive is
> typically pretty small. Sometimes it's even negative, as people who
> work harder are "rewarded" by being given more work but no more money.

Been there, done that.

Tom Sherman - Planet Earth

"There is enough in the world for everyone's need; there is not enough
for everyone's greed." - Mohandas Gandhi

Joseph Muller
December 11th 03, 03:59 AM
"Raoul Duke" > wrote in message
...

> Great idea. So why don't you start and set the example for the rest of
us.
> Every time you buy a gallon of gas you should send the government $4.

Hm, let's see: $87 billion divided by ca. 330 million population at
$4/gallon gives you 66 gallons on which to pay a surcharge. Above this
plateau, presumably, you are allowed to rest, given that you've paid your
share for this particular budget item...until the next one.

Ah, dear. This is almost fun.

_________________________________
the universe may be as grand as they say
but it wouldn't be missed if it didn't exist (ph)

http://gisjoe.com

ma bi
December 11th 03, 05:01 AM
dont flaming liberals ever get tired of being wrong??

Dr Engelbert Buxbaum
December 12th 03, 04:56 PM
Mark Leuck wrote:


> Lets see what a hike to $4-5/gallon will do
>
> 1. Higher cost of goods
> 2. More businesses moving overseas because of #1
> 3. Fewer jobs because of #2

Your assumptions are not necessarily true. Higher costs of transport
could be offset by buying more locally produced goods. Over here for
example a lot of small, local dairy factories have closed. The milk is
instead transported over huge distances into large factories, turned
into milk products (yoghurt, butter, cheese...) and then transported
nationwide to the consumers. 20, 30 years ago a dairy factory may have
supplied a county only.

This change was possible because road transport is highly subsidised
from general tax money (income, property, sales tax (17% in Germany,
even higher in most EU countries) and the like). If road transport had
to be paid for entirely by those people who use it (road and gas tax),
other taxes could (at least in theory) be lowered. Goods transported
over large distances would be more expensive, but small, local units
could compete on a fair basis.

Producing goods more locally would result in smaller factories, for
which expensive maschines are not so economic. Thus more work would be
done by people, and the number of jobs (especially for unskilled workers
which are more easy to replace by maschines) would tend to rise.

Dr Engelbert Buxbaum
December 12th 03, 04:56 PM
Jeff Potter wrote:


> Remember, this is a world where prosecutors and lawyers easily win cases
> regarding hot coffee and hayride tumbles (I just heard this one locally).
>
> A car hitting someone should be a BIG problem for any driver. Crazy to think
> that it's not.

The difference is simple: If you go after McDonnalds for selling too hot
coffee, none of the members of the jury will be affected, as they don't
sell coffee.

If you go after a reckless car driver, all of the jury members are
affected, as they all drive cars. And they will protect the a****** so
as not to set a precedent against themselfs.

As a friend from the legal profession once told me: If the normal laws
regarding manslaughter, recless killing, grievous bodily harm and so on
were applied to car drivers, we would all land in jail, because we all
drive cars.

The result of that attitude: A car driver slams into a group of
pedestrians at a zebra crossing, killing a child in the process.
Punishment: a 250 British Pound (approx. 400 USD) fine!

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