Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
"Today, the IL State Senate passed Senate Bill 935. This bill allows local governments in the Chicago and St. Louis areas to use red light cameras to improve road safety.
The bill, once passed by the House and signed by the Governor, will require two independent verifications of a violation before a citation is issued. It will also give motorists the right to review video evidence and contest violations via a secure web-based portal."
A lot of folks won't like this, but I view it as a victory for the most vulnerable users of city streets, bicycles and pedestrians. Knowing that the the eye in the sky is watching, hopefully motorists will approach intersections, were accidents tend to happen, with added caution.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Why carbon in the first place? For one, there's what engineers call the "black aluminum" analogy: A sheet of carbon composite would be just as stiff and strong as an identical sheet of aluminum, but a third lighter. Then there's "tunability." While metal frame shapes are by nature isotropic (they exhibit the same properties of strength and stiff ness on any axis), carbon fiber composites are anisotropic (those properties exist only along the axis of the fiber direction). So a skilled composites engineer can "tune" the way a tube responds to diff erent loads simply by orienting the carbon fibers in various directions. There are, of course, drawbacks. First, you need said skilled composites engineer. You cannot randomly orient fibers and expect a good result. The art lies not in merely alternating the ply orientation, but also the direction and number of plies—the layup schedule. Second, because manufacturing is incredibly labor-intensive, with almost everything done by hand, it must be obsessively controlled for quality.
Once the plies are ready, they are shipped to the layup room. There, workers assemble a layup kit and follow the layup schedule to precisely assemble whatever part they're working on. A single frame built at C-Tech may have as many as 500 individual plies of carbon, of varying modulus, sizes, locations and fiber orientations. Because of this complexity and the level of human involvement, the layup room is both the nexus for quality control and where most of the headaches lie.
"You can do everything right and have a great engineer and design and materials, and if the layup guy had a bender the night before and forgets a part of the frame, it's toast," says Tomac general manager Joel Smith, who moves his entire family to Taichung, Taiwan, for three months during the prime manufacturing timeframe to ensure quality at Tomac's partner factory, A-Pro.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The bill has been sent to the Illinois House where it is expected to pass.
Will the passage of this law make cycling on Illinois roads safer? Probably not. But it adds an arrow in the quiver of civil practice attorneys and criminal law enforcement officers when going after drivers who injure bicyclists. Bravo.
"Police are looking for the driver of a pickup who killed a cyclist in McHenry County and then fled the scene. Authorities are looking for the driver of the truck, described as a dark-colored, full-size, newer-model pickup, possibly a Chevrolet, with a single exhaust pipe. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's crash investigation office at 815-338-2144 or Crime Stoppers at 800-762-7867."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
[We will ] be posting the latest news, planning resources, and opportunities for funding and training related to travel by foot and bicycle. Soles and Spokes will have a regional focus, but will keep you up to date on state, national, and international developments and news, too. The blog will cover all topics related to non-motorized transportation, including design and operations, education and encouragement programs, safety, policy guidance, funding programs, and the relation of biking and walking to personal health and to healthy communities.Check it out.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The second big story, is the "sea change" proclaimed by the U.S. Department of Transportation with regard to transportation planning. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced "the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized." Yesterday, at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C., he announced, "We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities." Very nice indeed! Can this really mean that the days of hearing, "Hey asshole, get on the sidewalk!" are soon to end? Perhaps it is morning on the streets of America.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
We have heard of a few instances regarding the issues that have been described with the T2. Our quality testing team has been unable to replicate this scenario in our lab or on our road tests. As always, this testing is carried out with correctly assembled and installed products. Thule is committed to making products which have the highest safety and quality. Even though we were unable to duplicate the problem, as a precaution, we started installing a bolt on the underside of the T2 last year. This bolt helps to keep the T2 trays on the rack even if the tray bolts were not secured correctly during the installation.
The Thule T2 uses a similar 4-bolt design as a bicycle stem. As with a stem, each of the four bolts needs to be tightened down evenly with a tool that can provide adequate torque. Although we have not yet inspected this rack first hand, the tool used in the video appears to be a common multi-tool which is good to use for emergencies, but doesn’t provide enough leverage to fully tighten the lock-tight coated bolts on a T2.
We have been in contact with this user to learn more about his experience with this rack. Repeated efforts by Thule to obtain a police report, make contact with witnesses or potentially injured individuals, gather any insurance claims or obtain the name of the trucking company that hit his bike have not been successful. Finally, our quality department has not received his T2 which is a must have for our internal analysis. Until we receive this information and rack we cannot determine what happened.
As with all Thule products, the T2 comes with a lifetime warranty and we stand behind the product 100%. If anyone has an issue with any of our products, they can call our customer service 800-238-2388. As soon as we do receive the rack in question back and figure out the cause for the failure we will let you and your readers know.
Thanks to Attorney Mimy Bailey of Stritmatter Kessler Whelan & Coluccio in Seattle for making me aware of this video.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
In our client's case, he was approaching a T-intersection created by Montrose and a driveway at Homer Park when he was struck by a motorist turning left into the park from the opposite side of Montrose. Section 9-16-020(e) of Chicago's municipal code gives the bicyclist the right-of-way over a left turning vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Yet, the putative defendant has been incredulous at the notion that she is responsible. She apparently told a witness at the scene that she never saw our client. She stated to the bicyclist in a subsequent voice mail message, "I'm sorry, but I don't believe I'm at fault... Best advice I can give you is 'be more careful'." Evidently, she is of the opinion that since she never saw our client on his bicycle -- she looked but did not see -- she should not be held responsible for the damage she caused. Nonsense.
Long ago, Illinois courts recognized the impotence of claiming to have looked but not seen. In 1965, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, stated,
"It is well settled that one may not look with an unseeing eye and be absolved of the charge of negligence by asserting that he maintained a continuous lookout, yet failed to see that which he clearly should have seen."Payne v. Kingsley, 59 Ill.App.2d 245 (2nd Dist. 1965)
Often in my experience the reason offered by the motorist for having not seen the bicyclist is no justification. Traffic was blocking my vision. The sun was in my eyes. My van's support beam obscured my vision. Lame, and of no legal consequence. Folks, when you are operating a motor vehicle you must be able to see where you are going. You must be able to visualize all potential areas from which bikes, cars, pedestrians, motorcycles, etc. may emerge. If you cannot, then you may not proceed.