LA’s New Bicycle Law is a Bad Idea

I’ve grumbled plenty about bicycle riders in the past. That’s why the news that LA has passed new bicycle laws without regulating bicyclists as well is a very bad idea.

The ordinance, which backers described as the toughest of its kind in the nation, makes it a crime for drivers to threaten cyclists verbally or physically, and allows victims of harassment to sue in civil court without waiting for the city to press criminal charges.

This takes into no consideration the sometimes dangerous riding habits of bicyclists, nor their sometimes verbal abuse or threatening habits. In fact, it encourages this behavior because any sort of defense by a driver, whether guilty or not, is now instantly cause for a lawsuit. Critical (M)ass must be creaming their spandex pants.

It is my opinion that bicyclists should obey the rule and law of the road, just as drivers must. Drivers have to stop at stop signs and red lights; so must bicycles. Vehicles are not allowed to weave out of control through traffic; bicycles should have the same restriction. Drunk drivers are rightfully punished by law; so should bicycle riders. Drivers must have a valid drivers license, issued after passing written and practical tests; so should bicycle riders.

I agree that vehicle drivers need to be more aware of bicycle riders. I believe there should be more bike lanes in cities. I think there should even be bicycle-only arterial roads through cities. It is my opinion that these things could actually help everyone, drivers and riders.

However, this new law in LA doesn’t help anyone. Enforced niceness isn’t nice at all. Bike riders may think it helps them and their cause, but I can see it making drivers nothing but more aggravated and hostile. Don’t make the situation worse. LA already has a reputation for hostile drivers shooting each other on the highways when someone cuts them off. Get rid of this ill-thought law and put something in place that might actually work.

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SF Secret Public Spaces

Did you know San Francisco has a number of privately held public spaces? These spaces are on private land or buildings yet are open to the public. They are so badly labelled that most locals don’t even know they exist. You can read about them here and get the map from the link or by downloading it here. I think I want to visit some of these places…

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National Debt is a Cancer

Dear Mr. President and members of Congress,

Our national debt is a cancer.

If a person had cancer then any doctor would recommend treating it immediately. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatments are not comfortable. They are painful. Yet they must be done. Cutting our national debt, even stopping it from growing, will be painful. Mr. John McCain thinks Americans voted Republicans into office to prevent tax increases. You are wrong, Mr. McCain. You were voted in to create solutions. Now quit fucking around with the future of America and DO THE HARD WORK. DO THE PAINFUL BUT NECESSARY THINGS. Get off your asses and do the right thing.

Our national debt is a disgrace and it will herald problems you can’t even imagine. The debate has turned into negative polemic and no one is putting forth realistic solutions. While the Republicans are rightly saying spending must be curtailed (though only against things they don’t like which is wrong) they are also against any sort of tax increases.

Spending decreases and tax increases must go hand in hand. Cuts must be made across the board, including sacred doves like the military. Consider a simple 20% cut across all levels and in all government sectors. That would reduce our $3.82 trillion spending to right around $3 trillion. Meanwhile increase revenue through taxes and other means by 20% and the $2.17 trillion in government income goes up to $2.6 trillion. Those base numbers are from here.

A $400 billion deficit is much more manageable than the estimated $1.48 trillion. It could be reduced further if the upper echelons of government took a voluntary pay cut, such as to the national individual average (maybe that will motivate you to improve American’s lives a bit). It could be reduced even further by canceling waste, selling hard assets (heck, selling a dozen F-16s at $10 million a pop to our allies would cover a huge portion of it!) and create legislation to stop your pork spending.

If I were diagnosed with cancer I wouldn’t sit around and hope the cancer just went away. I wouldn’t slap a bandage on it. I would go after it, aggressively. I would hate my doctor if only because I hate surgery and all the rest, but I would do it to save my life; in the end I would appreciate that doctor, more than I would be able to express in words. I want to live so I can see my daughter grow up, to help her through life and teach her the values that matter.

America is that patient, and America has been diagnosed with the cancer of national debt. Now be good doctors and do the right thing.

Thank you,

4 Comments | Catergorized: grrr  political  thoughts


Motorcycle Kid

The Future with Little Monkey?
The Future?
As time gets closer to our child being born I can’t help what sort of person she’ll be. What will her interests be? Will she be interested in science, music, writing, culture or working-her-ass-off? Maybe none of the above or all? I don’t know and I guess I’ll just have to be patient and find out at about the pace she finds out herself. I do hope she picks up at least some of the interests Rosa and I have like language and travel, and for some perverse reason I hope she really like motorcycles.

It’s funny because I only started riding myself about four years ago, and even though in that time I’ve hardly been able to do any proper distance traveling, I’ve loved it. I look forward every morning, rain or shine, to riding in to work and riding home. On the few times I get to ride out somewhere else, somewhere new, I’m like a kid inside. I would love that the Little Monkey get to know that feeling, too. Of course she might discover it in another way, like horses (which I hear is very popular with girls), but I hope its motorcycles.

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Toronto Pictures

Rosa and Doug at Niagara Falls
Toronto and Niagara Pictures!
I realize I haven’t written any more about Toronto and the trip but I will. We’re back in San Francisco now and it’s been non-stop this whole time. I did post some pictures, though, and you can find them here or by clicking on the picture. Once I have more than 20 minutes I will also do a single entry summarizing the rest of the trip. Hope everyone is well!

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Quick Travel Update

Just a quick note… I’ve got a lot to write about Toronto since last entry, but right now Rosa and I are up in Niagra-on-the-Lake and settling into some time on our own. I’ll write when I can!

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Second Day Toronto

So I meant to post this yesterday but didn’t have time. I wrote quite a bit, and walked even further. Having spent more time in Toronto I’ve seen some of the initial observations proven wrong. For example, police don’t hang out at all construction sites, just the ones downtown (that I’ve seen). Also, the layout of Toronto is reminding me of Barcelona, and I wonder if anyone else has seen this, too. Anyways, yesterday’s writing is below the jump!
Read the rest of this entry…

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To Late for Updates

It’s too late in the day for me to post about the massive walk I did today; look for it on the morrow!

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Follow Up Notes from Yesterday

Following yesterday’s post about my first walking day through Toronto… There are a few points I missed, forgot or misunderstood. Incidentally, for those interested, I have limited internet access and cell phone usage (roaming international fees apply) so I’m only publicly available at limited times…

People in Toronto are extremely friendly. It’s almost a stereotype that Canadians are friendlier than Americans, and my experience here bears that out. For example, yesterday morning our Second Cup server, Rosita, gave us a free muffin. Maybe because she and Rosa had the same name. Last night before bed Rosa and I had something to drink in the Library Bar downstairs in the hotel and our server gave us a box of biscotti after Rosa said she loved them. People are also just friendlier, saying hello and bothering to give you the time of day. It’s nice. I kind of wonder if it’s because this area is also part of the North American MidWest as my memories of being in Ohio and Michigan are similar (though possibly not as accurate since it’s been a long, long time since I spent time there).

I think what bothered me about the University area yesterday was simply the lack of people. It is summer so most of the students would be away on break. I’m going to assume that’s what it was.

Rosa and I had dinner at the Elephant and Castle and sat outside at 9PM and it was still warm and daylight. It’s something we don’t get to experience much in San Francisco and of all things this is one that helps it feel like we’re in another place entirely.

There were a ton of people on the street asking me to sign petitions. In San Francisco I avoid them by putting on a Scottish/Irish accent and telling them I can’t vote or am simply not from the area. I did the same yesterday and realized when I finally saw Rosa at 6:30PM that I’d spoken more “Scottish” than “American” all day long. Kind of scary since the longer I hold an accent the harder it is for me to drop it. I don’t think Rosa minds, though. Also of note was the number of people handing out samples of various product. Clearly Toronto is considered a prime market for testing new products. As they say in New York City: if I can make it here I’ll make it anywhere… I find it an interesting sign and indicator of success in a local economy.

Finally, I realized I was a few streets off of the main “drag” strip of the gay district, so there’s probably actually an area still much more like the Castro than I suspected. I’m not sure if we’ll be heading back up that way, though, so I’m not too worried about missing it.

I’m about to leave for the St. Lawrence and Distillery Districts after some quick errands. I’ll write more later today or tomorrow!

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Toronto Trip

Rosa and I are in Toronto. While she attends the ISSCR I am tooling around the city making new discoveries. Here are my notes after arriving last night.

We just got to the hotel (the Fairmont). The airport was clean, efficient and orderly, and the customs people were all friendly. The drive in was smooth, much different than American taxi drivers where sometimes you fear for your life. The roads were extremely well maintained which helped the ride in. I was impressed that we weren’t bombarded by billboards and neon. The city seems clean, too.

What’s not to like about Canada so far?

Today I woke up with Rosa and walked her to the conference after getting some coffee in the PATH at Second Cup. Then I started walking. I like to spend my first day in a new city on long walks to get a feel for different areas and scale. Read the rest of this entry…

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