Three beefs

I believe the correct term for the plural of beef is actually “beeves”, but if I put it above nobody would read this.  Anyway, Jerry Has Three Beeves (a good title for a children’s book).

1.)  Toothpaste prices.  One of the biggest ripoffs you can experience in American merchandising, besides bottled water and Starbuck’s Fancy Drinks, is toothpaste.  When I was taking a walk yesterday, I realized that I was almost out of toothpaste in my office (I brush there twice a day), and so stopped by the local CVS to buy a big tube.  I was shocked to see the prices: even “regular” toothpaste like Crest cost from $3.50 to $5.00 per tube, and if you want toothpaste with “extra whitening power” or for sensitive teeth, expect to pay six bucks or so. I couldn’t find anything cheaper on the shelves.

For years I bought Pepsodent (also with fluoride) for $1.00 per tube at my regular grocery store, but that closed a while back.  If Pepsodent can sell its toothpaste for that little (and it still does in stores that carry it), you can imagine that the other, pricier brands are ripoffs, garnering huge profits. There is, after all, no substantial difference between Crest, Aim (another inexpensive brand, a gel), and the high-priced brands.  Peeved and beeved, I passed on the Crest and walked on, encountering and entering a local Target store that recently opened in Hyde Park. And there, on the shelves, I found big tubes of Aim toothpaste for $1.02 per tube! Naturally, I loaded up. So, advice to readers: do not get ripped off on toothpaste. Aim is available at even lower prices in some places, and if you’re paying three or four times as much for Pepsodent or some other regular toothpaste, you’re wasting your dosh.  Now I know people are wedded to their regular brands, but there’s no need to spend three times more than you need to get the same thing. 

2.) Bad car drivers.  I am usually a good pedestrian and obey the lights, and I almost always use crosswalks.  Two days ago I was crossing the crosswalk a block from my office, and was obeying the light (i.e., I was walking when oncoming traffic had a red light). Suddenly a car turning left onto the street I was crossing was too impatient to let me cross. The driver just speeded up and turned left into the left lane (Brits: we drive on the right side) making his turn right in front of me and nearly hitting me. Here’s a diagram of the situation:

Naturally I said something to the driver, but he didn’t hear me (yes, it was a man). This kind of behavior, in which Type As can’t wait three seconds till I get across the street, is reprehensible—and illegal. Guys, don’t do that!

3.) Bad bicycle riders.  I’ve complained about this before, but will do so again. It’s against the law in Chicago to ride bicycles on the sidewalk, or to disobey stopsigns and stoplights. But cyclists almost ALWAYS ignore the law. The result is that people are constantly in danger of getting hit, and that includes the miscreant cyclists themselves. Having learned bicycle commuting as a postdoc in Davis, California, a place where you get a ticket if you don’t stop at a stop sign or light, fail to signal a turn with your arm, or ride at night without a light, I am a very considerate bike rider.

Yesterday while walking home, I was ambling along the sidewalk and for some reason veered toward the right. It turned out that there was a student on a ten-speed bike riding really fast behind me on the sidewalk, without alerting me to his presence. I veered right into his path, and was very nearly knocked down (I could feel the wind from his bike as it missed me by inches). He was riding so fast that I suspect I would have been badly hurt had he hit me.

I’ve complained several times to the University of Chicago Police about this, as this is about the third time I’ve nearly been hit by a miscreant cyclist, but of course our cops don’t enforce the laws. A cop can be standing right on the street corner, and yet just looks on placidly as bike after bike speeds through stop signs.

If I get hit or killed, please send the link to this post to the U of C Police, just so they’ll know I’ve talked to them.

If you’re a cyclist commenting below, you can defend breaking the law if you want, but I won’t agree with you.

And you can add your own beeves below.

203 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    My response to bad driving (particularly when I’m safe in my car) is to blow a kiss to the (usually male) offender. It drives them crackers and normally sends them in the general direction of away.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      My response to bad drivers is just to keep out of their way. Driving somebody crackers who is (barely) in command of a tonne of metal travelling at speed doesn’t work very well in my experience.

      I did use to give hand signals, although nothing like blowing a kiss. I’ve tried the British two fingered salute, the American one fingered salute and the universal “you’re a tosser” sign (finger and thumb form an O and oscillate the hand from the wrist). It never seemed to improve the situation.

      • Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        The kiss, Jeremy, is always accompanied by a big, cheesy smile: I find, based as it is on the gay jazz musician George Melly’s advice on how to get out of being mugged (possibly homophobically) in a dark alley – feign complete madness, speak in tongues and generally out-stupid the stupid fecker who’s trying to out-stupid you – it works. Zoom. He’s off. Safety restored.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          If people honk/give me the finger, I usually smile & wave back. This causes them to give me a more emphatic finger, to which I give them a more exhuberrant wave & a big smile.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 14, 2017 at 1:06 am | Permalink

            I always give a wave (with all my fingers) on passing some slower vehicle on a winding road. It’s a way of saying ‘thank you’ if they were intending to let me pass, and if (as I suspect in a few regrettable cases) they were being obstructively unhelpful and are annoyed at being passed, it will of course annoy them even more. It’s a win either way. 😉

            cr

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I vote Trader Joe’s toothpaste.

    Trader Joe’s toothpaste has plenty of fluoride, as much as any other.
    . It works. The price is always the same. There’s no sweeteners. Brush+rinse twice for best results. I personally floss with toothpaste in my mouth on the second round. Works wicked good.

    There might be air pockets so don’t look down the tube whilst squeezing it. It won’t fill your mouth with foam. It doesn’t have fancy modern antibacterial nonsense in it. Your mouth is supposed to have bacteria and yeast anyways, I’m oretty damn sure.

    Driving … no way I’m getting into that. Or cyclists.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Oh … oh that’s really what you mean … beeves …

    beef has a … plural…. beeves….

  4. darrelle
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    On the toothpaste, at least some of the price issue is likely due to shopping at CVS. Those types of “drug stores” are rather expensive. More like convenience store pricing than grocery store pricing. They have items on sale on a regular basis but their normal pricing on most things is on the high side.

  5. Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I, too, learned how to be a responsible cyclist while attending UC Davis, back in the Pleistocene. Here in California, the law mandates bicycle helmets for minors.

    Now, I’m a big fan of the things, ever since my husband lost control of his bike taking a tight turn on a steep mountain road, and plowed head first into an embankment. He walked away with abrasions and a helmet that was split in two.

    So I get annoyed when I see a happy family out on their bicycles together, and the adults aren’t wearing helmets. Way to set an example for the kiddos, people!

    • Teresa Carson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      In Davis, as Jerry may know, the cops give children tickets (and the kids go to bike court). They also hand out tickets for drunk biking (another fine, another trip to court). Biking is a serious business, especially since it’s usually the cyclist who gets hurt, and it’s not pretty. And, yes, helmets are lifesavers!

  6. Geoff Toscano
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    In the UK many of our pavements (sidewalks) now are split to allow cyclists to share. The trouble is it’s usually just a line separating an already narrow strip and isn’t terribly effective. We also do the same with many of our main roads but again, because there’s no physical barrier, there’s nothing really to stop drivers moving into the strip.

    Cyclists, and I’m a keen one myself, must stick to the law, and where there are dedicated cycle ways use them. The problem with this latter is that these dedicated ways tend to be social cycling tracks, rather than commuter links. So most commuting has to be done on roads shared with motor vehicles. There is one small transgression I adopt, though I think it’s a minor point. I never jump traffic lights but, if I know they are quite lengthy, I will hop off the bike, effectively becoming a pedestrian, cross as a pedestrian, and proceed on at the far side. This has the additional benefit of avoiding the cyclist nightmare of traffic moving off from stationery positions.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      I nearly got run over by a cyclist in London who ignored the red light at the pedestrian crossing that I was on. Apart from that, I’ve found cyclists to be relatively law abiding.

      Although recently, I did pull up behind a police car at some red traffic lights and it was, in turn, behind a cyclist. My jaw dropped in disbelief when the cyclist nonchalantly decided to pull away before the lights had changed. On went the police car’s lights and sirens and the cyclist got pulled over, probably for being too stupid to keep to the law when the police are around.

  7. steve oberski
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I’m a commuter cyclist, I average 100 km per week, summer and winter (Toronto area, not today though with 10 cm of fresh snow).

    I obey all traffic laws, am equiped with lights, (which I use day and night), refelective vest, mirror, bell and helmet.

    But I agree with your beef, as a group cyclists routinely break the law with impunity and like in Chicago are given carte blanche by the police.

    If cyclists want to be respected by the drivers and pedestrians with whom they share the road then they have to obey the same laws (although pedestrians are not much better than cyclists and drivers are almost as bad).

    The only real solution is to get rid of cars in cities and urban areas and give back the streets to pedestrians and cyclists.

    It is absolute insanity to think that motorized vehicals and human beings can share the same transportation routes.

    I would recommend the book “Carfree Cities” by J.H. Crawford as an excellent introduction.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      “If cyclists want to be respected by the drivers and pedestrians with whom they share the road then they have to obey the same laws ”

      As a daily cyclist, frankly I don’t give a damn about respect. I care only about my safety and when obeying the law puts me in danger, as it does on a daily basis, I will ignore it. Tough noogies for the drivers.

      Here’s my message of the day to the aggressive, dangerous drivers I encountered this morning; “As a matter of fact it IS my lane and no, you can’t have it. Not until I’m done with it.”

      • steve oberski
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you.

        When I say cyclists must obey the same laws as motorists the flip side of this is that they are accorded the same rights as well.

        I will note that I have been increasing the lights I use on my bike over the last several years, currently running 4 lights on the front varying between 2 100 lumen lights on the forks and a 800 lumen and 1500 lumen light on the handle bars which I run in strobe mode in the day and 8 red ones (seriously) on the back (4 mounted on the back of the helmet, the rest on the rear forks and back bag) which I always run in strobe mode and the difference in treatment accorded me by drivers has been significant. For example when I pull up to a stop sign and actually stop I quite often have to wave a driver on the cross street through who arrived there first.

        Which leads me to believe that most drivers would rather share the road with cyclists once they actually notice you.

        • Mack
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          Steve ~ I’m not sure how things are in the greater Toronto area, but here in Chicago I could have klieg lights and disco balls adorning my bike and still not be noticed by many motorists. Many times my safety is only preserved by offensive riding.

          I don’t favor obeying rules just for their own sake… If I have the right of way at an intersection, there’s no practical purpose for me to come to a complete stop, put one foot on the ground, and then proceed. Actually, I have experimented with this scenario – when I come to a 4-way intersection with stop signs in all directions, say with a car also approaching from my left, and I stop at the sign – one of two things happens – the car takes what should be my right of way, or the car stops and waits for me, simultaneously giving me anything from a dirty look to a threat to my life.

          Bikes one sidewalks, no, pretty much never. Bad idea.

          • steve oberski
            Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            I would have said the same thing a few years ago.

            Which brings me to another of my cyclist beefs, shaded windows on cars.

            Not because they reduce the ability of the driver to see out, although I’m sure they do, but because I can’t see whether the driver sees me by establishing eye contact.

            • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

              Oh yes, on tinted car windows! Even when I’m driving a car I hate them in others’ cars for exactly that reason!

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          I agree wholeheartedly. Despite the dangers, I think >95% of drivers are courteous, safe and have no interest in putting me or anyone else in danger.

          But there is something about being in car that transforms some people in belligerent aggressive dangerous people, who might not otherwise be so. It is those people I worry about.

          Plus the 20% or so drivers who are on their damn cell phones at any given time.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            “But there is something about being in car that transforms some people in belligerent aggressive dangerous people, who might not otherwise be so. It is those people I worry about.”

            This is so true.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            I think >95% of drivers are courteous, safe and have no interest in putting me or anyone else in danger.

            Which, if true, means that one driver in twenty is a danger to you. You don’t have to cycle far before you’ve had some sort of interaction with more than twenty drivers.

            • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              Well, I haven’t done a rigorous study but I would bet close to 20% of all drivers I see on my commutes are on their cell phones. I would bet almost all are courteous drivers and have no interest in harming me or anyone else. But are they safe?

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          I used to use a 12V motorcycle battery (charged each night) and a tractor headlight (about 80W?) and taillight (plus a strobe) on my commuting bike in the 1980s.

          This was pretty effective. I could see the road as well as the cars could and when they saw me (I could see the angle of the headlight change) is was far enough back for my safety.

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Observing people from the window of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, I saw a bicyclist who not only had lights on the bicycle, but one on his person near the derriere. I assumed it was to keep him from being rear-ended.

      • Gareth Price
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        I understand your concern for the danger posed to you by cars but what about the danger you pose to pedestrians if you are ignoring laws?

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          I did not say I ignore the law and then ride dangerously.

          • Gareth Price
            Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            if you are allowed to ignore certain laws and judge for yourself whether you pose a danger in so doing, would it be OK for drivers to do the same?

            I have the impression that you are not an irresponsible cyclist. But plenty of cyclists are. You write about the small number of motorists who are are transformed into belligerent and dangerous people once they get behind the wheel of a car. But there seems to be a substantial number of people who get on a bike and then believe that the law doesn’t apply to them.

            I am coming at this from the perspective of a runner who is constantly endangered by cyclists running red lights where I live in downtown Portland.

            • Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

              I am not allowed to ignore the law, but I do when it endangers me. Again, I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks about that. It is my life and you do not get any say in how I go about preserving it. If some cop decides to fine me, it’s the price I pay.

              I don’t ride dangerously. Nor do the vast majority of riders. The vast majority of drivers are courteous and safe, too. But there is a HUGE difference between a car ignoring traffic laws designed for cars and a cyclist ignoring those same laws.

              • Mack
                Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

                I would add that when you’re on a bike, it’s usually pretty trivial to avoid a pedestrian – you only have to alter course a couple degrees – can’t say the same for cars.

                Now, when I have had issues with pedestrians, it’s when they move erratically, pop out from between parked cars etc. My personal favorite (which happens ALL THE TIME) is when a pedestrian is completely absorbed in texting or whatever, also has earbuds in, and is crossing the street in a crosswalk with the right of way – only to notice me giving them a wide berth and then to either stop, or start off at a run – in either direction mind you – this kind of behavior is probably the most dangerous thing a pedestrian can do no matter if it involves cars or bikes. Don’t get me started about the lack of situational awareness that passes as normal these days!

              • darrelle
                Posted December 13, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

                The Squirrel Maneuver.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      t is absolute insanity to think that motorized vehicals and human beings can share the same transportation routes.

      It’s not the motorization tthat’s the issue, it’s the speed differential. Many wheelchairs are motorized today (“granny-mobiles” too but I can’t remember the generic name for them) without causing problems to pedestrians.
      Restrict motorized vehicles to around 10kmph when in pedestrian zones such as city centres, car parks, etc.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t work for the disabled or people with ailments that prevent them from walking or biking.

  8. Barry Lyons
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Yes! Aim toothpaste is available for $1.00 per tube at my local CVS. I never buy anything else.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    On the price of toothpaste or other essentials the prices have gone up quite a bit just lately. At least this is what the expert here in my family says. Groceries, soap, toothpaste, you name it, all going up. Maybe they think everyone is out doing Xmas and won’t notice. All of us are not out doing Xmas. Hair cuts, car insurance, a movie, I could go on.

    Sidewalks are called sidewalks because they are for walking. What the hell bicycles are doing on sidewalks….it’s nuts. Suggest throwing a stick in the spokes. Far as pedestrian against a car, you can be right but dead.

  10. Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    If you want Pepsodent, it is available on Amazon for about $20 a case (12 tubes). We have a case in the hall closet.

  11. TJR
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Maybe the driver was European. In most European cities a green light for pedestrians and a red light for cars only applies to the road the crossing is on (i.e. left-right in your picture). It doesn’t apply to cars turning into that road (i.e. as the car has done in the picture), who are obeying their own green light.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s against the law in Chicago to ride bicycles on the sidewalk,

      Is there anywhere in the world that it’s legal to ride on the general pedestrian footways? There are plenty of pathways where bicycle use is specifically permitted and pedestrians may or may not be allowed – which is not what I’m talking about.
      It riles me badly too. I don’t particularly mind underage cyclists who can have a genuine, justifiable fear of the dangerous aggression of “cagers”. But adults? If you’re big enough to make that choice for yourself, you should be out on the road, reminding “cagers” that they don’t own the roads themselves, not on the pavements, endangering pedestrians and reinforcing the “cager’s” erroneous beliefs.

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        I can see riding on the sidewalk — but it sure shoudln’t be at above maybe 8 mph (2X walking speed), tops. People run on them all the time — it’s not that different.

        But, then again, I am expecting people to use good judgment and that is a forlorn expectation.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, there are places I’ve seen where I would never use the crappy bike lanes they’ve provided because they are down right dangerous & it’s safer to ride on the sidewalk where people are rarely walking anyway.

          • nicky
            Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            That is something the Dutch have ‘solved’, they have bicycle roads far removed from car roads, a kind of separate network. Referring to the previous post, as far as bicycling lanes go, I guess they really are no 1.

            • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              Well, sort of, for locals, yes. When you are not a local and you are navigating through the Netherlands by bike using a Michelin map, and the signposting on the Fietspads has been effed-with by hooligans, then it’s not such a great solution. 🙂

      • darrelle
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        I somewhat agree but I think the problem is more difficult than following the rules allows for. I live in a fairly small town and it is dangerous as hell for anyone to ride a bike on the streets due to crappy drivers, cell phones, little to no shoulders, hardly any bike lanes. And in my experience the average adult, which is not an experienced rider let alone bicycle commuter, has trouble staying within the lines of a typical bike lane. I don’t know what the answer is. We can surely do better though. One improvement would be to include decent bike lanes on all new roads, of certain categories at least, as a standard.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Decent bike lanes on all new build would be an improvement for sure. To a degree, different parts of the “authorities” do mandate this already. Major roads redeveloped (new crossings, improved junctions) over a certain size and paid for by national government (not London, obviously – wrong government) are required to have cycle lanes – I think. But it’s slow progress.
          Not quite sure what you mean by “shoulders” – all our roads (again, an on-going reconstruction programme) should be kerbed at the edge of the asphalt, with the rainwater going into storm drains under the grass verge. But the verges are normally ploughed and rough to discourage people parking at the side of the road, and particularly driving up the kerb then getting their wheels bogged in the mud.
          If only all cagers had to spend some weeks each year on two wheels. That’d probably help.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      In most European cities a green light for pedestrians and a red light for cars

      I can’t think of a single traffic signal intended for pedestrians which wasn’t in the form of a stylised walking human. Occasional ones intended for bikes in bike lanes with a bike symbol. Round for vehicular traffic.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      It varies by case, there are indeed crossroads where left turning cars have the green light the same time as the pedestrian on the road where they turn. However the pedestrians always have priority in situation like this, the cars have to wait for them. Not to mention that it is not legal to turn into the left lane (in continental Europe).

    • chris moffatt
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know of any state where a pedestrian crossing on a green pedestrian light doesn’t have the right of way against all comers. Heck in Massachusetts they have the right of way even when jaywalking.

  12. BobTerrace
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I just had a driving incident.

    I was backing out of a space at the supermarket. I was the third car from the start on the (one way) aisle. I looked and there was no one coming down the aisle. I have a backup camera. When I was half way out of the space, a car pulled into the aisle (taking a left turn) and then honked me!

    I put the car in park, got out, crossed my arms and stared at the driver for 15 seconds.

    Between my car and my body, the aisle was blocked now. I got back into my car after giving a one finger salute and continued backing out (using the backup camera to come withing inches of the offending car) and drove off.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      One of the things that surprises me is that most companies mandate reverse parking only in their employee’s parking areas (where they have a policy – not everyone does, but the policies spread like a rash about 15 years ago. There was probably a fatality that the insurance companies got burned by, and they introduced it as a check-point), but I’ve never seen such a policy implemented in a customer parking area. Which is insane. If it works for an employee, it works for a customer too. Just never park nose-in.

      I have a backup camera.

      I didn’t tell the wife of the existence of such things when we were last buying a car. She insisted on a sunroof which has been opened twice in 3 years. Now she knows of such things so if we ever buy another car, she’s got a choice to make. Me? I just use my eyes, and I’m not fazed if it’s a vehicle with or without visibility out the back – I can work out where the corners of the vehicle are.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        You can’t have reverse parking in the supermarket lot where at the lanes are one way and the spaces are angled. They would have to repaint all the lines.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Never seen angled spaces in a UK parking lot. There was one place on my driving test route which had angled parking alongside the road, and I was saying in my driving test that “we have to keep an eye out for people reversing without looking along here”, but I only got as far as the “people” before having to do a real emergency stop. Passed that bit of the test then.
          Re-painting the lines isn’t a big deal – they had to do the supermarket car park along the road just a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know how long it takes for them to wear out, but I’d guess from how the road markings last it’s only going to be a few years, then do it again.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Never seen angled spaces in a UK parking lot

            Really? They are not very common but they do exist.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

              Possibly seen them, filed under “danger Will Roobinson”, then forgotten as the disappear behind me. “Seen” and “remembered” are different things.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        My car has a back up camera but I don’t really like using it. However, the thing that has saved me a couple times is it beeps if it senses someone approaching the car from behind when I can’t see it. When doofuses decide to drive at break neck speed through a parking lot when you are slowly backing up, this is a great feature.

        • Mark R.
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          I never use it either. Takes too long. Once I put it in reverse, I’m already turning around and rolling by the time the camera is operating. But like you, I do like the proximity beeps!

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          They’re good for observing people walking behind your car in a store parking lot, paying no attention to the bright red lights on your parked vehicle getting ready to back out.

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I thought very little of backup cameras (I am not a gadget person) — right up until I owned one in my car. Then I found it essential.

        One of its best uses is helping to line up when reversing into a parking space! They have alignment marks on the screen; and those marks actually mean something! They work!

        I like mine so much I retrofitted my 17-year-old truck with one. And that was even better (the visibility in reversing with a truck is poor at best). It cost me about $30 from Amazon and about 2 hours of labor (I was quite slow and methodical about it, if you knew what you were doing, it would take about 20-30 minutes). And the retrofit one has alignment marks too. And, since it attaches to the rear bumper, they work.

        https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B072J9GZ94/

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          Then I found it essential.

          I’ve been offered them when hiring vehicles – including fully-enclosed vans with no rear visibility except through the side mirrors. Never considered it worth the extra fee of about £10/day. I’m not going to disagree about them being potentially useful, but every driver on the road today has had to prove that they can perform adequately without them. If they’re “essential”, then how have you been driving for the last however-many decades without them?
          When you’re hiring a car, and none of them at the airport or station have rear-view cameras, will you forego a hire car because of it? By the sweat of Thor, I’ve used hire cars with broken leaf springs and no seat belts (front or rear) because there was no other vehicle available to cover the 50km cross-country to the rig.

          • darrelle
            Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

            Let me translate. jblilie said they were very useful gadgets, not that he can no longer drive vehicles without them.

            I find them very useful for certain conditions, but definitely not all backing-up conditions. For backing out of a parking space kind of situation they have too narrow a field of view and are actually not intended to take the place of looking around with Mark 1 eyeball. I know of at least one person who thinks they don’t have to look around anymore because they have a back-up camera. They’ve had two accidents so far because of that.

            But they can be damn useful when maneuvering backwards in tight quarters. You could still do what ever it is you are doing but it would likely take you a bit longer and you might on occasion hit something you weren’t expecting to be there.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            I still use my wing mirrors to reverse my truck into my garage, mainly because I’ve been doing it that way for 15 years and my landmarks are not very visible in the camera. But I love being able to check directly behind me, at all times, when reversing.

            The cost was negligible for me. Pretty much all new cars in the US have them, so it’s not really optional. And considering what my kit cost me, they probably add very little to the cost of a car — probably zero for the used ones I buy.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

              The cost was negligible for me. Pretty much all new cars in the US have them, so it’s not really optional. And considering what my kit cost me, they probably add very little to the cost of a car

              I think it was about a £700 option last time I looked. I don’t anticipate having to learn the options for at least another 7 years, if ever.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            I would not reject a hire car in the UK for that. When I was last in the UK, we rented a car with reverse warnings (and sensor display in the dash) and that too worked very well.

            I’ve been driving for more than 4 decades, so reversing is no problem; but having that full view directly behind me is very reassuring. My blind spot is no longer blind. Significant benefit in my opinion.

            (I was using the term essential in a figurative way. Essential in the sense that I will be having one in every car from now on.)

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

              Essential in the sense

              I was starting to wonder if it’s another of those bits of language that is diverging faster than the Atlantic.
              Actually, on reflection, the last van (no rear visibility) I rented startled me by beeping as I reversed it into a parking bay after pickup. Several such events later, I realised it was a reversing sensor (ultrasonic, I guess). It wasn’t even mentioned by the hire company.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

                Ah, the only vehicle I had in England was a brand new 1971 MGB. Got it with the wheel on the left because I was taking it back. No bells and whistles on that thing. No cruse control, nothing. It did have electric overdrive in 3rd and 4th.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

                It did have electric overdrive in 3rd and 4th.

                My first car – a 1963 Volvo Amazon – had an electrically activated overdrive on 4th. Or to quote the inevitable, “Warp Factor 1, Mr Scott!”

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            “If they’re “essential”, then how have you been driving for the last however-many decades without them?”

            Because decades ago, it was considered near-essential for the driver to have a decent view out of the side and back windows. Something most modern ‘stylists’ may-they-all-rot-in-hell seem to have ignored completely.

            Compare the view out the back of a Mark 2 Cortina, BMW 2002, or original Mini with their modern equivalents.

            cr

            • darrelle
              Posted December 15, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

              The 1st rule of Italian driving, “What’s behind you is not important” (as the rear-view mirror is ripped off and thrown out the window).

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

              Our “or original Mini” had no windows behind the B-pillar (rear part of driver/ passenger door frame). And I’ve had other vans as day-to-day vehicles in the past too. Meh – driver should be able to use it, or refuse to buy/ use the vehicle.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 15, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I know vans may have no visibility behind. And they require great caution when backing up.

                But that’s NO excuse for designing all cars with unnecessarily crippled vision.

                Yes I can drive *any* heap of shit if I have to, but that’s no excuse for a manufacturer intentionally producing a heap of shit.

                Don’t get me started on the Prius or the Jeep Renegade…

                cr

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          I use mine for parking nice & close to the border of asphalt & grass on my driveway.

      • Dean Reimer
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        I prefer backing in to parking spaces, too, but not at a grocery store. I need to load the groceries into the car, after all, so I need access to the trunk.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Backup cameras are crap, and ‘park assist’ is worse. Neither is a substitute for decent-sized windows you can actually SEE out of, which most modern car stylists seem to be incapable of incorporating and for which they should all be put up against the wall and shot (or, better, backed into by some driver attempting to use one of their worse creations).

        cr

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 15, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          Yeah, I’ve noticed a gradual decrease in window size over the last few generations. No idea why. I’ll let the wife worry about that sort of design issue while I worry bout engineering and reliability and efficiency issues. She cares about that sort of thing.

  13. Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve commuted by bike daily for more than 25 years and though I sympathize with those who encounter dangerous riders, that sympathy is highly limited.

    When I ride – and cycling is how I get around for almost everything- I obey all traffic laws except when those laws endanger me. Traffic laws are written with cars in mind, not cyclists, and it is me and me alone who gets to decide if obeying the law puts me in danger. I have little sympathy for cagers who get angry at me for taking the lane when I need to (for example).

    WRT your complaint; with the exception of children, cyclists should not ride on the sidewalk and never much more than a walking pace when pedestrian are present. For experienced cyclists sidewalks are more dangerous than the street anyway; besides walkers/strollers/skaters, etc there are curbs, root heaves, obstacles, and the fact that drivers NEVER look before crossing a sidewalk. I don’t ride sidewalks except where there are no other options – some sidewalks are MUPs -Mixed Use Paths and riding is permitted.

  14. Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Cyclists treating Stop signs as Yields (called Idaho stop) is actually allowed in some jurisdictions. Rider has to be prepared to stop and yield to oncoming traffic.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop

    • Teresa Carson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Idaho! I thought it was a California stop. My mother, who grew up in California in ancient times (1920s to 1940s) recently called it a “Monterey stop,” which I thought was very specific.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        When I was young it was called a $25 stop.

  15. DrBrydon
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Two wheels bad; four wheels good.

  16. Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    True story – there was once a show on public radio here in Seattle hosted by Bill Radke that solicited calls from listeners on topics of the day. One day that topic was cyclists and of course the callers were all cagers raging at cyclists who roll through stop signs or split lanes. The spit and bile was pretty much what one would expect (the car culture here in the U.S. is nothing if not belligerent and entitled).

    I thought I’d give it a try and call in. To my amazement I made it through the screener and was put on hold while in the queue to comment. As it happened I was on my bike and was waiting at an intersection near my home. While I waited I counted 14 cars that came to the intersection. Not one of them stopped. Every single one of them rolled through the stop sign.

    I asked Bill and his audience if he always drove the speed limit. Did he always signal his lane changes? Does he never accelerate when a light turned yellow? Does he come to a complete stop at all stop signs*?

    Of course it had no impact, Seattle is good for cycling but we have a our fair share of cagers and they were ALL calling in to that show, anymore than this will here. But it felt good to say it then, as it does now.

    *if you don’t think that’s important consider this – would you rather be hit in a crosswalk by a cyclist going 10 mph or a car going 10 mph?

  17. Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you on the cyclists. I commuted by bike for my entire working life and always obeyed traffic signs.

  18. another fred
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    “I belief the correct term for the plural of beef is actually “beeves”…”

    Brings to mind the Monty Python skit, “Dad’s Pooves.”

  19. Mark R.
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    My grandma said she used baking soda as a kid for toothpaste. Now that’s cheap! But gross. No fluoride either.

    Where I live it is very rural and there are no bike lanes. What unnerves me is when a group (it’s always a group) takes over the entire lane by riding in the middle of it. Once I encountered a group of a dozen or so climbing a real steep hill. They were crawling at maybe 7 mph. By the time they reached the top, there were probably 10 cars behind them. When we were finally able to pass them, many of the cars honked and flipped them off (a couple of the bikers flipped of the motorists in response). I didn’t gesture, but I was miffed; this to me is also rude biking. If there isn’t a bike lane, don’t ride your bike on that particular road; or at least have the decency to stop on the side of the road when cars are coming. It’s dangerous for everyone. Plus it gives bikers a bad rep as being stuck-up.

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      “really steep”…”flipped off”..can I write a post w/o making a grammatical error? Not this week it seems.

    • Dean Reimer
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but if a road gets me where I’m going I have a right to ride on it, whether it inconveniences you or not.

      And if the hill was as steep as you say, then stopping is dangerous because it is much harder to get going again on a steep hill.

      Finally, if the hill crested then riding in the middle is the correct place. Otherwise cars might be encouraged to attempt a pass only to run into someone they couldn’t see coming the other way.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        … and you would make a point of riding in a bunch thus making it impossible for the traffic stuck behind you to pass? That’s what Mark was describing.

        Your ‘right’ does not extend to being a bloody-minded inconsiderate nuisance.

        Get off the road!

        cr

  20. Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    The cyclist one is especially irksome because it is a certainty, especially around campuses. At my former college (before I was there) a prof. was killed by the scenario you described. What is more his family had no effective means of sueing the student since he had nothing to be sued for.

    Maybe speed bumps, even on sidewalks. Lots of them.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Speed bumps on sidewalks. Great idea. Then you’d have a bunch of dead or injured children.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Not for anywhere that there is snow because it would wreck the ploughs.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Good points. Oh well…

  21. Liz
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    That sort of looks like a diagram I made yesterday except with the traffic light underneath the stick figure to represent different alleles. Mine had more stick figures and no car.

  22. Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I basically agree with your beeves.

    However, when I am on my bike, I usually roll stop signs when there is no one else at the intersection (same in the car). This doesn’t apply to a stop sign where the other road doesn’t have to stop.

    Although I will say this: Coming very nearly to a stop on a bike, slowing to the point where I can ascertain the situation, unless there is another driver involved (stopped, waiting, approaching, etc.), is good enough. If there are others taking turns at the stop, then you are generally obliged to put a foot down.

    Riding a bike in most parts of the US is a hazardous undertaking. I can understand wanting to use the sidewalk. But, if one does, one should expect to go at a safe speed, which is pretty damned slow if pedestrians are present.

    I used to bike commute (20s and 30s) and I often took a whole lane on city streets. But in those days, I could ride speed of traffic — 30 mph – 35 mph. I would not do that now.

    Having crashed on my bike many times (in my more resilient 20s), I can say it is not trivial. (You may well see a connection between riding 30-35 mph in traffic and crashing …)

    I remember watching a bike-ped accident on the Univ. of Minn. campus in the 1980s. Peds in those days (still) on the campus pretty much assumed everyone else was watching for them and would stop, regardless of the situation. The simply stepped into roadways without looking or pausing. In a car, one really had to be on your toes. In this case, I watched a young woman student step into a roadway directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist — who had zero chance to do anything about it. Bam! Books etc. flew everywhere.

    Locally (suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul MN) what irks me is people riding their bikes (during rush hour) on the main arterial roads, when there is a perfectly fine bike path running parallel to the road, 5 feet away. These are roads with no shoulders. The typical speed on these roads is about 50 mph. So, it stops traffic (more or less) in one of the two lanes. This is the sort of thing that really pisses off your average taxpayer.

    That and riding abreast on our local two-lane roads instead of lining up on the shoulder. Another stunt guaranteed to piss off the taxpayers.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      “However, when I am on my bike, I usually roll stop signs when there is no one else at the intersection (same in the car).”

      Hee hee hee. I once lived in Tunisia and my friend Tofiq told me he could tell if it an American was driving. It could be an intersection in the middle of the Sahara with visibility for miles in every direction. The Americans always stopped.

      In Tunisia stops signs are suggestions.

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know if it’s still the same, but it used to be that in San Francisco, pedestrians were always supposed to use the crosswalks.
        Many people paid no attention and cut across through the middle.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      This is the sort of thing that really pisses off your average taxpayer.

      Odd. Ever since I turned 14 and started earning a wage and paying taxes, I’ve also been a cyclist. I didn’t know that you could get an exemption from taxation for being a cyclist.

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Yeah. After years (decades) of cyclist hate this is the one that irks me the most. Cagers yell at me to get off the road they paid for, as if I’m not also a taxpayer. They yell about the car taxes they pay thinking that a 20lb bike contributes the kind wear and tear on the streets that cars do.

        It’s all about hating the other. That’s our society.

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          Indeed; me too, many times. But this is nevertheless a fact: This is what people think.

          “You ain’t payin’ gas tax or plates tax — you’re freeloading.”

          As I note, when the taxpayers have actually paid for specialized cycle paths — then the cyclists don’t use them … but choose to snarl traffic, that’s pretty bad behavior.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            Also agree but it can be complicated. Here in Seattle the city has built a number of bike paths and some of them are quite useful to avoid the street. Some, however, are choked with non-cyclists, so much so that it is *safer* to ride in the street and let the pedestrians/strollers/rollerbladers/dog walkers (on those evil extendable leashes), etc have the path.

            What would be nice is if everyone -cyclists, drivers and pedestrians – gain some perspective and try to live together and use common resources fairly, safely and with courtesy to each other.

            In my experience, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

            • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              I agree on those SEA paths. I used to use them too. I had to ditch it regularly due to clueless peds! Yikes!

              Here we go, expecting sense and good judgment from people! People, for goodness sake! 🙂

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Not sure of the taxation system in the UK; but in the US, in many (most?) places the roads are largely paid for with gas taxes (by statute). This is the case in my state.

        I think the complaint is silly; but the attitude is very much a fact with a large segment of US voters/taxpayers.

        And riding abreast on a two-lane would piss me off even if I didn’t pay taxes. 🙂

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          A particular tax going to fund a particular expenditure stream goes by the name of “hypothecation”, if I understand it correctly. It has come up as an idea on several occasions, and every time the government has vigorously resisted it, citing arguments like “we’d be endlessly fighting people who didn’t mind paying for schools and health, but resisted paying for nukes and armies”. Pretty much everything goes into one bucket of “general taxation” and likewise expenditure comes out of the same bucket.
          As government levels split up – with the Poll Tax and then the first round of devolution it has changed to a degree and now some road systems (motorways, major roads) are paid for and maintained from general taxation by central government, medium roads are serviced at town/ city council level from the bucket of local taxation, and minor roads on parish level governance but still paid out of the local tax bucket. In under 50m of travel, you can go through 3 different levels of responsibility. As a geologist, you can often see where the responsibility changes by seeing where different coloured stone from different quarries are used by different responsible agencies.

          And riding abreast on a two-lane would piss me off even if I didn’t pay taxes.

          The Highway Code (mandatory reading for trainee drivers ; you have to pass an exam on this material before starting on-the-road examinations) says that riding two-abreast is acceptable, but that it is courteous to fold in to riding in single file if a vehicle behind you wishes to overtake, though that vehicle mus still do a full overtaking manoeuvrer and maintain at least a metre of road space from the cyclist. Which is how I both drive and cycle.
          How a cyclist overtakes a car wasn’t covered when I passed my test. And there was no coverage of recliner bikes either, which are far and away the ones most likely to be doing the overtaking.

  23. Frank Bath
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to learn you were not injured or done away with by the law breakers. Please keep safe.

  24. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I dislike the high price of toothpaste but worse I dislike the absurdly high price of fluoride rinses. One is 0.021 percent sodium fluoride, a little bit of flavour, colour and preservative. One costs well over $5.00 for a 500ml bottle of what is almost entirely water. It’s competitors are even more expensive.

  25. Nate
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    A couple of years ago, a guy in a biker suit (lycra pants and shirt, little racing helmet, clip-in shoes, the works) refused to stop for a flag person while there was major road construction going on. I was stopped and waiting while about 25 yards in front of me a large loader was scooping a trench for a new water main and dumping the dirt in a large dump truck. Alongside my car, I noticed the biker dude, slowly working his way forward until he was right next to the flag person – my window was down and I could hear the flag person say ‘stop’ and the biker shook his head and said ‘I’m not stopping’ and went right by him, scooting between the loader and the dump truck.
    It would have been oh so terrible had the loader operator panicked and dropped a ton of dirt on the guy…

  26. rickflick
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    After just reading the linked article on healthcare in Denmark vs US, one item of cultural differences was the very widespread use of bikes in Denmark. They appear to be very courteous riders with low accident rates. I don’t think they even have helmet laws. A big part of the difference must come from the infrastructure. Plenty of bike lanes and even bike traffic lights. Of course this and many other difference in health and safety stem from the differences in culture overall. I’m sure there are pockets of politeness in parts of the US, but when will they spread their influence? When I’m feeling overwhelmed by optimism, which isn’t often these days, I can see a distant future when bikes will play a much bigger and respected roll in American cities.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      In my experience in Denmark, the cyclists will nearly run you down as a pedestrian. The ride in a very entitled way. In my opinion.

      That said, the cycle commuting is a good thing. The variety of specialized cycles I saw there (various cargo handling features) beggared the imagination.

      • Gordon
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        The little I recall of Copenhagen was that you can’t walk on the footpaths which are blocked by parked bikes and if you step off you get yelled at by cyclists.

      • Posted December 13, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        I had no trouble in my brief walks around Aarhus, for what that’s worth. I had to get used to the different signals, though. (Which have since arrived in my own city of Ottawa, as it happens.)

  27. Gareth Price
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I have a similar beef with cyclist. I cycle myself, so I am conscious of the dangers posed to cyclists by drivers. But I also run a lot and my impression is that I am much more likely to be hit by a cyclist than by a car. In particular, in downtown Portland where I live, cyclists frequently run red lights even when pedestrians are crossing: they take a chance and weave between them. I notice that they never take a similar chance when cars are crossing in front of them. The cycling community is justifiably outraged when a driver breaks the law and injures a cyclist; but what happens when a cyclist breaking the law injures a pedestrian?

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      “The cycling community is justifiably outraged when a driver breaks the law and injures a cyclist; but what happens when a cyclist breaking the law injures a pedestrian?”

      The same damn thing. I don’t get it. Are you suggesting that cyclists think they should be immune from responsibility? Else why make the point? I have NEVER heard that from any rider.

      There are dangerous a**holes out there. Some of them ride bikes. Stop the presses.

      • Gareth Price
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        I am saying that I don’t think cyclists should break the laws. I dont know what the cyclists think but they are not required to carry insurance like motorists so how responsibility plays out may be very different.

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          Last word on this. I’ve had heard these arguments for years as justifications to get me off the streets. Decades. They didn’t fly then and they won’t now.

          Drivers are required to carry insurance because of the kind of devastation a car can wreak on people and property when they crash. Tens of thousands of people are killed and injured by cars every year. How many non-cyclists are killed and injured by cyclists, Gareth? Despite your claims, cyclists injuring others is very rare – we are the ones most likely to get killed or injured in any crash. But in no case do we get to evade responsibility.

          And for the record. I have insurance.

          • Gareth Price
            Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            I am not trying to get you off the road. I am just fed up with cyclists running red lights in downtown Portland and coming very close to flattening me.

            • dabertini
              Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              I am a cyclist and a driver. My rule is pedestrians are king, followed by cyclists and then cars. As a cyclist, I would NEVER run a red light. I do roll through stop signs but I always cede right of way. I want to keep riding and the only way to do that is to ride responsibly. I have ridden my bike to work for over 20 years and I have never had a problem. My ride follows the busiest roads and it is a lot more fun than driving.

              • Gordon
                Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

                As a pedestrian I would suggest that the behaviour cyclists hate from motorists is exactly the same as cyclists display to pedestrians.

              • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

                “As a pedestrian I would suggest that the behaviour cyclists hate from motorists is exactly the same as cyclists display to pedestrians.”

                ….and around and around we go.

          • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            Indeed: The consequences of hitting someone with your bike vs. hitting someone with your car are in different universes. Certainly more leeway can be given to cyclists.

            I was pulled over in Canberra, ACT, by a friendly police officer for running a red light. I could see several blocks in either direction and there was no other traffic on the road. I’m waiting for the light. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally I go. Red lights, chat with the Copper. I was glad he was friendly. (And I was wearing my helmet! 🙂 )

            • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

              One of the “illegal” things I do is when I am stopped at a light I try pull up as far in front as I can, sometimes forward of the crosswalk (not *in* the crosswalk). Intersections are inherently unsafe for cyclists and the safest way through them (besides walking the crosswalk) is to be in front and the first one through – everyone can see you and you can see everyone coming and going.

              So one morning I do this in downtown Seattle. A light turns read and I pull up forward of the crosswalk and wait. A cop directing traffic at a nearby construction site sees me and yells at me to move back. I pretend I don’t hear him, so he starts walking over. Meanwhile two other Seattle cops, also on bikes pull up right next to me to wait for the light. All three of us, me and the two bike cops, in direct violation of the sacred law.

              The construction cop just shook his head and walked back.

              • Posted December 13, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                “One of the “illegal” things I do is when I am stopped at a light I try pull up as far in front as I can, sometimes forward of the crosswalk (not *in* the crosswalk). Intersections are inherently unsafe for cyclists and the safest way through them (besides walking the crosswalk) is to be in front and the first one through – everyone can see you and you can see everyone coming and going.”

                I have always done this as well, for the same reasons.

      • Gareth Price
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        I also think that cyclists who ignore traffic laws are undermining the will for making the roads more accommodating for cyclists.

        • Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          And protestors are undermine the will for changing whatever the protestors are protesting. Another argument that won’t fly.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      The rule of thumb for all concerned is to keep you head on a swivel. Especially if you wear glasses which tend to obstruct peripheral vision.

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        And never wear earbuds.

        • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          We recently encountered a young female riding her bike down the center of the bike path, no-hands, earbuds from the iphone to the ears, eyes firmly fixed on the iphone screen.

          I just shook my head in an exaggerated way and said (pretty loud) “stupid … stupid … stupid!” as we passed.

        • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          One of the worst hazards on our local bike paths (no, the worst hazard) is pedestrians with earbuds in.

          Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  28. Larry Cook
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s a one-time additional cost of $50 or so, but since I’ve been using a Waterpik, I can’t imagine I ever went without one. Brushing and flossing leaves an enormous amount of debris (it sounds gross, but debris is the word that best fits) in your gums and between your teeth. No more need for flossing since the Waterpik does a much better job, but you’ll still want to brush. CVS is by far the most expensive store for anything other than prescriptions and I can always find a wide variety of $1 toothpastes, including Pepsodent. “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”

    • rickflick
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m a water pick user with good checkups. But, I have not given up on flossing. It seems to me the physical abrasion is a good thing. After all, you wouldn’t give up brushing just because the water pick pressure washes them would you? plaque can build up at the gum line and below it all around the teeth. It may become too firmly attached without some flossing.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        I agree, a waterpik is not a substitute for brushing. I use the waterpik followed by brushing.

  29. Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I ride a trike a lot now. (Balance too poor for bicycles to be safe.) I do treat stop signs as yield signs when no one is there (as do car drivers). I’m OK with that. In heavier traffic? No. I stop. After all, I want to live, and there’s no question who will come off worse in a car / trike crash.

    In Oregon, bicycles are legal on sidewalks, as long as they do not impede pedestrian traffic. Not impeding traffic in my wide vehicle basically requires my getting off the sidewalk into the grass. I prefer using the road, but in a few places I use the sidewalk to go in the “wrong” direction on a one-way street or to get lined up to use a controlled pedestrian crosswalk.

  30. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I walk wherever I can, and mostly drive when I can’t, so my beeves tend to be with both motorists and cyclists.

    I share a lot of others’ beeves with motorists, but one that nobody has mentioned so far is drivers coming in the opposite direction drifting over to my side of the road. This often happens when they are going round a right-hand bend (if the problem exists in the US it would be the mirror-image) and effectively cutting the corner. Damn annoying.

    I have two beeves with cyclists:

    a. very few of them, in the UK anyway, seem to have bells. When I was learning to cycle about 100 years ago, bells were essential as a means of drawing others’ attention to your presence. I object to be shouted at by a sweaty MAMIL* about a millisecond before he swerves past me. Get a bell and use it!

    b. some of them ride on footpaths in the countryside. They are not supposed to do this: they are supposed to stick to lanes or bridleways. Footpaths are muddy enough at this time of year without being churned up by bike tyres.

    (*MAMIL = Middle-Aged Man In Lycra).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      a. very few of them, in the UK anyway, seem to have bells.

      It’s a legal requirement. Any bike sold since the early 1980s (approx, maybe earlier) has had to have an audible warning device. Which could be a bell or a horn. Voice was not acceptable. Not sure about a gong, though I’ve heard of one recalcitrant customer who did successfully argue that point with Plod. May not be a true story.
      It’s possible that the requirement is a EuroNorm, so we’ll be dropping it in the near future.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure you’re right! Nevertheless, it is a fact that many cyclists don’t carry or use the things.

        This very afternoon, I was walking back to base along an ex-railway line converted to a bridle path, minding my own business, and was nearly mown down by a mud-bespattered MAMIL who gave no notice of his approach other than a yell when he was just behind me. I can do without that sort of thing, thanks.

        • Gordon
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          One bike shop in Wellington gives away free bells – collected from cyclists who don’t want them on their fancy bike cos it’s not cool.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Yep, i’t very rude. When I’m cycling and about to overtake pedestrians, I just call out “ring! ring!”
          Not, you’ll be glad to hear, in the ABBA rendition.

          • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            I whistle, very loud. I can do this without hands. I do it when I’m about 100-feet away, then half that, and then with words, “passing on your left!”

            My wife uses her bell, which looks like a well-loaded hamburger! 🙂

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              My dad used to say that when riding his bike but found pedestrians clueless so he got a bell. Once he rang his bell and passed a couple in 5eir 60s (my dad is in his mid 70s) and the lady gave him he finger, thinking he didn’t see. He turned around and asked her why she did it and they both, embarrassed, apologized.

              I admit I’m a clueless pedestrian. As much as I inwardly grumble at them when I ride my bike, I’m just like them when I walk. I’ve had bikes ring bells and I haven’t heard for some reason. I felt like a doofus.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 13, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

                I think pedestrians are entitled to be clueless when on the footpath (not on the road!).

                I don’t ride a bike but I tend to walk quite fast and on crowded footpaths it becomes like a game of dodgems. But I reckon it’s on me (as the faster traffic) to avoid them. After all, as the faster ‘traffic’ (and this applies to bikes too) I can see them ahead, they can’t necessarily see me behind them.

                cr

              • Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

                No vexation without peregrination, as the moderate American revolutionaries never said.

      • Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        I don’t understand why a voice is not considered an audible warning.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Me neither. It always had the smell, to me, of being like the “Man on the Clapham Omnibus”, “a passing imbecile” or “a reasonable man” – the result of some weird edge case in the dim and distant past. “Time immemorial”.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          Possibly because it’s so variable (whereas a bicycle bell makes a fairly standard and instantly identifiable noise).

          And also, in practical terms, because it can convey an additional and unwanted message, anything from meekness to arrogance, which may arouse antagonism. I’d much rather be ‘rung’ at than shouted at.

          cr

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Originally the bell had to be rung continuously…

  31. darrelle
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    On drivers and cyclists, and heck, let’s add in motorcyclists too, here’s my 2 cents. In my considered opinion most people don’t drive, bike, or motorcycle worth a shit. Most of them really shouldn’t be doing it. They are a danger to themselves and others. Don’t trust anybody on any type of conveyance to do the right thing if you can help it. That means looking ahead as best you can to anticipate the kinds of problems that could develop and do something to prevent them before they happen, or be ready with an escape plan.

    Regarding obeying traffic laws, I agree they should be obeyed, within reason. Like mikeyc above, though considerably less belligerently, I too break the law when I judge it is safer to do so. For example, when riding a motorcycle in interstate highway conditions I don’t worry to much about the posted speed limit. What I do worry about is the pace of traffic around me. Whatever the speed of traffic around me is I’ll be going a little bit faster, at least until I have a certain amount of space around me. I will not willingly stay next to another vehicle or take 5 minutes to pass them.

    Most people just don’t seem to understand that operating a vehicle on the roads is a very serious responsibility. It is life and death. Theirs and others around them. And yet most people give little to no effort to actually learning how to become proficient at operating their vehicles.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      In my considered opinion most people don’t drive, bike, or motorcycle worth a shit. Most of them really shouldn’t be doing it

      I have long argued – since before I passed my driving test – that people should lose their driving license a set time after they pass – around 10 years. Then apply for a beginner’s license, take lessons (at least one), sit and pass the current tests again. If you fail, you are back to a beginner’s license – requiring you to be accompanied by a fully qualified driver until you do pass.
      If your job is professional driving (bus, lorry, taxi, rickshaw), maybe make that 5 years. And I wouldn’t howl protest at a bicycling test either – I had one at about age 11 before the parents would allow me to cycle on the public road.

      • darrelle
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        That sounds completely sensible to me.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      In NY, you can get a discount on insurance by taking a day-long driver seminar. It goes over many of the basic rules and guidelines backs it up with statistics and dramatic case histories. I think it made me a better driver. Maybe is could be made part of driver license renewal and also a seminar could be constructed for bikes of all types.

      • darrelle
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        That certainly sounds like a good thing, but something like that could never be sufficient by itself, IMHO. A day long seminar may be a good way to start to learn to be proficient. The main thing that I fail to see in most people, and that is necessary for proficiency, is to purposefully practice yourself for an extended period of time.

        And there are two distinct skill sets to practice. Learning to operate your vehicle as well as you are capable of (within reason of course). This is both general, for example car or motorcycle, and specific as in a particular car or motorcycle.

        The other skill set is the thinking part of driving / riding. Watching what’s going on and deciding what to do about it, the rules of the road, that sort of thing. You should be proficient enough at operating your vehicle that it doesn’t take any significant amount of your awareness, so that all of your awareness, or as much as possible, can be devoted to the thinking part.

        • rickflick
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          You’d like the course I took. It stressed all those good habits of anticipation and awareness. The thinking part.

          • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            What I am already training m young son to:

            1. Never take your eyes off the road
            2. Watch everyone
            3. Anticipate bad behavior (assume it will happen)

            “Look, this guy’s gonna pull out in front of us … yep, he did it. People always do dumb things. If there’s a dumb option, they’ll take it.”

            I also tell him: If you make another person hit their brakes, then you have made a mistake.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

              Whether you’re talking about bicycling or driving, I would agree with all that.

              cr

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          The more important thing is thinking about *driving*. Not driving automatically while thinking about something completely different.

          I always drive with my window open and the radio off – this is because I like the sound of my car (no it isn’t all that loud!) and it keeps me in touch with the surroundings. And yes it’s a manual.

          But how many modern cars with air-con and automatic everything and surround-sound just divorce the driver completely from the world ‘outside’ – so s/he’s just floating along cushioned from their surroundings until those surroundings suddenly make themselves known with a bang. IMO that is just as dangerous as being drunk, and for precisely the same reasons. Or walking/cycling with earphones on and moozic blasting through yer skull.

          cr

          • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            I’m much more worried about them with their heads down looking at the phones instead of at the world in front of their windshields.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

              It is illegal (in NZ) to use a phone while in motion – though sometimes hard to avoid e.g. if a call comes in while you’re driving. You do – practically – have to answer it and tell them to wait a few seconds till you can stop somewhere.

              I support that law. Even though I will break it if circumstances force me to, it means I do so rarely, cautiously and circumspectly. Without the law, people would be blabbering on their phones in entitled fashion all the time.

              cr

      • Gordon
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        A better suggestion is that you don’t get a car licence until you have ridden a motorbike for two years-I recall reading that lifetime accident rates for the two year survivors is extremely low regardless of future mode of transport.

        • darrelle
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          It has been a good while since I looked at such statistics, but that sounds pretty accurate. At either 2 or 3 years of motorcycle riding experience there was a sharp drop off in accidents. The dark side of that though is that many people don’t make it that far. They quit before that due to an accident that scares them off riding or are disabled, or killed.

  32. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    “The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnic background, is that we all believe we are above-average drivers.”

    -Dave Barry

    https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/dave_barry_401314

  33. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    If a beef is a complaint, then the official plural is indeed “beefs”!! Only in reference to cows is the plural “beeves”.

    This according to both Random House and Merriam-Webster, so the title of this post is entirely correct!!

    • BobTerrace
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I will have to chicken out and pork that one.

  34. Ryan
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I know exactly what you mean about cyclists. I understand that for them the sidewalk is often preferable to the road, but bikes are nearly 100% silent and you cannot expect a pedestrian to walk in predictable lines at all times (especially when they are unaware of your presence).

    I’ve been hit gently once (he braked quickly) and the awareness I gained from that experience has helped me avoid any future collisions, but there have been near misses. The key as a pedestrian is to always move predictably (even if you are not aware of nearby bikes). Do not stop unexpectedly, always walk in a straight line, maintain a constant speed. If you are going to break any of those rules take a quick glace in all directions.

  35. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got a beef about toothpaste, too, but it’s got nothing to do with price; it’s got to do with waste. I’m the child of parents who were raised during the Depression, and the grandchild of grandparents who raised them. Hell, I never saw any of ’em order the most expensive thing off a restaurant menu until my siblings and I were out of college and on our own.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been profligate with money myself. (Oh, hell, have I pissed through a lotta money on fast times, hell-raisin’, and nonsense.) But my heritable parsimony manifests itself in a loathing for waste of food or disposables. Like toothpaste. Dunno about you, but when a tube looks empty, I’ve found it usually has about a week’s-worth left, if you roll it up and squeeze it just right.

    No so my own kids. I’d walk into their bathroom when they were teenagers, and it seemed there’d always be about three tubes lying around in various states of disuse. Same thing with staples in the fridge, especially condiments — ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, jelly, everything that went on the shelves in the door or got stashed in the back of the racks. As though it were somehow beneath their station in life to use the bottom half.

    I’d try employing my weapons-grade sarcasm on them (“Hey, you little turds want me to run to the store to get you some more ketchup, ’cause THERE’S ONLY THREE GODDAM HALF-FULL BOTTLES IN HERE NOW?!”). Never worked. I still squeeze the hell outta ketchup bottles and toothpaste tubes myself, though, and think of the sacrifices my folks made every time I do.

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      How about beef flavoured toothpaste? Surely Americans would lap that up! 🙂

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Me too! 🙂

  36. Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    My current beeves are to do with other people’s pets; neighbors who think it is OK for their dogs to bark all day (but are able to stop them barking at night knowing that that is against the law), and neighbors who think it is fine for their cats to roam on my property and kill the wild birds, which I do my best to encourage.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      That, and to use your yard as a sandbox instead of their own yard, with no pickup of the poop.

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      …encourage? surely discourage!

  37. nicky
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I have a particular traffic beef here in South Africa.
    When turning right (it is left hand drive here) most drivers when turning right will stay in the right hand lane, even when there is a wide central reserve where they could wait for a gap in oncoming traffic without blocking anybody. Drives me nuts.
    Cyclists here are suicidal. They cross a red light (called ‘robot’ here) without even looking. The reason, I guess, is that in a collision between a car and bicybcle, tha car is considered at fault by default, regardless of what happened.

    • Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      My daughter turned right and used the left hand lane rather than the right hand one to turn into here in the USA and was ticketed by one of our cossocks for illegal lane usage. It is required that you pull into the right lane regardless of the traffic pattern.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Regarding that last, I see that general category of stupidity all the time. Doing something because it’s your right, though you are a 200 lb bicyclist, or 600 lb motorcyclist, against a 4000 lb car. Yep, you were right. We’ll make sure and put that on your tombstone.

      Willingly doing things on the road that put you in a position in which you have to rely on other’s awareness and skill in order to stay alive is nuts. And discourteous too.

  38. rickflick
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The sudden urge for etymology overtook my ability to read more comments.

    beef (v.)

    “to complain,” slang, 1888, American English, from noun meaning “complaint” (1880s). The noun meaning “argument” is recorded from 1930s. The origin and signification are unclear; perhaps it traces to the common late 19c. complaint of soldiers about the quantity or quality of beef rations.

  39. dabertini
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I get my toothpaste free during Halloween.

  40. Neil Faulkner
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    As a cyclist I break the law pretty much every day on my way home from work. I have to go through a set of lights. They are invariably red, by default. It’s ten past six in the morning, there is no traffic, and the lights won’t change for a bike. I either jump the red light, or I wait for a car to come up behind me to change the lights. WWYD?

    But cyclists on pavements? That one really irks me, and I’ve had some near misses (as a pedestrian) from people (invariably young and male) riding fast on a crowded pavement in a busy shopping street. They should be on the road, or walking.

  41. Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    An amusing beef to me is, when in a line of moving traffic someone in a car behind you decides to overtake approaching an intersection, when we all can clearly see it’s a red light and quite often just turned red, only to have to come to a screaming dead stop.
    What is with that? and the amusing part? when a truck or line of traffic turns into the road we are going down… snigger, chuckling commences. A dangerous move for no gain but when it does payoff, see you later better not to have you around.

  42. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    My beef is with people who turn and don’t stay in their own lane, making it dodgy for people turning from the opposite direction.

    • Dean Reimer
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      When I was a new driver I got in a crash in just that circumstance. I turned into my lane, the driver coming the opposite way swung wide and sideswiped me. Since I was the left turner I was found at fault.

      I no longer make those turns, since I can’t count on the other driver to use the correct lane.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        I too wait for those people turning because I can’t count on them staying in their lane. This summer I stopped at a yield and waited for people to go by in just this situation. It took all of 7 seconds. I know this because I have a dash cam & reviewed the footage after. Why did I review the footage? Because 3 seconds in, a guy started laying on the horn behind me. After I went and was in a turn lane at the next light, he roared up beside me, slammed on his brakes and stopped traffic behind him to yell. His yelling took 11 seconds – 3 seconds longer than it took for him to wait behind me and lay on the horn. I told him to do something that ended with off and showed him one of my fingers.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          That is definitely not cool – the stopping the traffic behind him unnecessarily I mean. He would definitely get a blast of my horn if I was behind him [g]

          cr

  43. Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Here in Florida the speed limit in a school zone is 15 MPH, and zealous police officers are often ready with their radar to catch anyone going faster, even when there are no children anywhere in sight.

    But a little later in the day we’ll see those children walking among the cars at intersections, begging for money for band uniforms and such while the drivers are waiting for the light to change.

  44. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I most heartily agree about the toothpaste. I flatly refuse to buy the over-advertised brands for three reasons:
    1. They’re ridiculously expensive
    2. Their incessant stupid adverts on TV annoy me intensely
    3. By paying their exorbitant prices I know that some of my money is going to pay for yet more annoying TV adverts – I’m paying them to attack me!

    The same goes for bottled water, which IMO is a crime against the environment. I just carry an old Pepsi bottle (which cost less to buy than ‘water’ anyway, go figure) and refill it from the tap.

    cr

    • Disna MacPherson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      I worry plastics from Pepsi bottles aren’t meant to last and could degrade with use other than sitting in a dark fridge. I invested in an inexpensive steel, insulated water bottle. I put ice in it in the morning and the ice lasts all day, even when I refill it.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        The insulated bottle sounds a good idea… but I’d lose it, sooner or later. I don’t litter but I tend to lose things.

        Pepsi plastic is recyclable, but if it degrades (probably from sunlight / UV) it will just get brittle and crack. But I have to say, I haven’t had a Pepsi bottle ever do that. If it does, plenty more Pepsi bottles around.

        I’m not worried that it will degrade into toxic substances – if it’s legal for soft-drink use I’d guess that’s unlikely.

        cr

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          I’m more worried about weird plastic-ish stuff getting into me through drinking from it.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I realise that. I just think differently.

            cr

          • Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            You are right to be concerned –
            “It seems that temperature and sunlight play a role in the degradation of phthalates within time.”
            https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jts/36/4/36_4_469/_article

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

              Reading that paper, it seems that the level of DEHP (diethyl hexyl phthalate) was within allowable limits. (There are no limits specified for other phthalates).

              “Most of these phthalates were detected in the selected bottled water sample that might be either leached from the plastic packaging materials or contamination during bottling processes.” – note the last 4 words.

              This is presumably for ‘new’ bottled water that has been in the bottles for potentially some considerable time, if it’s been shipped there from overseas. Question – does ‘new’ plastic give off phthalates faster and the rate declines with time? Or does old plastic deteriorate and give of phthalates faster? In any case, this result is for water that has been in the bottles for a long time. I refill my bottle from the tap the day I use it. And what of Coke / Pepsi / lemonade?

              I think I’ll just keep on doin’ what I’m doin…

              cr

        • Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          They are polyester, tough stuff.

          If you left it sit in full sun, it wouldn’t last too many weeks though!

          And you are right, food-grade bottles are safe. Autolysis (and hydrolysis, light degradation, etc. have to be assessed).

  45. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and I most heartily agree with your comments on cyclists, too.

    Somehow, the cyclist/propaganda machine has managed to portray them as ‘environmentally friendly’. This is only true *if* they’re riding a bike to work instead of a car. The hollowness of the sham becomes apparent when you’re out in the countryside stuck behind a thundering great bloated over-powered gas-guzzling SUV with a rack of bikes on the back obscuring the rear number plate – how much fuel are they wasting to get to some rural spot where they obstruct traffic while they struggle sweatily up a hill?

    cr

  46. Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I commute everyday on a bike. I never bike on the sidewalk. I would almost certainly hurt a pedestrian. It should be illegal everyone. Unfortunately and ironically (to me) it’s not illegal to ride on a sidewalk in my community.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      As a car driver and a pedestrian (not a cyclist), I’m not adamantly opposed to riding on the footpath, if it’s the safest option and done sensibly – that is, recognise that pedestrians have ‘right of way’ and pass them with due caution. Bikes or skateboarders or segways that pass within inches at full speed are asking for an umbrella shoved between their spokes. (Skateboards don’t have spokes, I know, the umbrella would have to go somewhere else).

      Same goes for ‘mobility scooters’.

      It’s all a matter of commonsense in my view.

      cr

  47. Jonathan Dore
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    I’ve been a pedestrian, driver and cyclist at various times. Of the three, I’d say that (in Britain) pedestrians are most lax about road use, but cause the least inconvenience or danger to other road users by being so; motorists adhere to the law most closely, but are most deadly on the occasions when they don’t; and cyclists are an unhappy combination of very sloppy observers of the law *and* a physical menace — to pedestrians and to other cyclists (the only time I’ve ever been knocked off my bike, it was by another cyclist colliding with me when not looking where he was going and crossing against the light). That should come as no surprise, since cyclists are the only people allowed, for some reason, to operate a wheeled vehicle on the road without having to pass any kind of test, show any familiarity with the Highway Code, or be insured. With the number of cyclists in cities increasing sharply over the last couple of decades, that laissez-faire approach has become unsustainable.

    • Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      My parents made us do the then ‘Cycling Proficiency Test’ before we were allowed on the road. There is a modern equivalent – as you say, it should be compulsory!

      • Jonathan Dore
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I did that too. For some reason it’s always been voluntary.

  48. Lauren Bartholomew
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Agree with your comments but would really like to see the Idaho Stop Law for cyclists to become the law of the land. Stop sign = yield sign; red light = stop sign. (Of course cyclists would have to be riding on the street!)

    https://www.google.com/search?q=idaho+stop+law&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Why isn’t it the law for cars too?

      Red light = stop, if nothing is coming you may proceed.

      Would save interminable waits late at night for *nothing* – which is to say, traffic lights phased with long periods showing greens to empty roads…

      (Of course, in practical terms, if you’ve stopped at a red light and checked that there is absolutely nobody in sight, who’s to know…)

      cr

  49. Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    In London – indeed ANYWHERE – cyclists over 14 on pavements! They should be shot…

  50. Robert Bate
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    And the type on labels is too small; and the rap music, and cars are ugly these days, and no one gives up a seat for a senior anymore, and music is too loud in restaurants, and no one listens anymore, and no one speaks clearly anymore, and I can’t stop eating, ……………….

  51. Dean Reimer
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    PCC has now discovered that nothing draws comments like a post about those darn cyclists!

    As a visually distinct group from motorists they are easy to identify as the “other” and lump together as a single monolithic group, even though they are people like everyone else. Like drivers and pedestrians, most are good, some are clueless, some are downright anti-social (I would argue that any cyclist riding on a sidewalk adjacent to pedestrians at more than a fast walking pace qualifies as anti-social).

    I’m surprised to see a rational thinker like Jerry fall into the trap of generalizing one bad experience with one bad cyclist into the collective “cyclists.” He is certainly learned when it comes to cognitive biases such as availability bias and confirmation bias, so should recognize that they are at play here. No doubt he has been in proximity to a great number of cyclists adhering to the rules of the road — they just escape his recall given the recency and intensity of this bad encounter.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      I have to agree – as a ‘cyclist-hating motorist’ (and pedestrian) – that the cyclists I hate are precisely those who behave badly and inconsiderately. And, that they’re a minority.

      They are, however, the ones I tend to remember first. For very ordinary psychological reasons.

      That said, I do try to give cyclists the ‘benefit of the doubt’ – and as much space as possible when I pass them, in case of wobbles.

      cr

  52. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I agree with beeves one and two of your list, but, IMHO, cyclists should be given a free pass to do whatever the hell they want as long as they don’t run over anyone…. but do it at their own risk. As a former cyclist who regularly commuted to work by bicycle, I can attest that the whole point of taking a bike is to avoid traffic jams. This involves riding on the sidewalk at times and sneaking along between cars and the right curb or between rows of cars stopped at a stop light. One can do these things safely and one has a huge incentive (avoiding death or injury) to do so.


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