Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The design of this Wednesday incorporates a cutout to relieve pressure on the perineum.

Stop signs:

Fuck 'em.

I muttered this to myself this morning as I rolled right past one yet again.  See, here's what happens when you come to a full stop at a stop sign at a four-way intersection on a bicycle:


First, you arrive at the stop sign and dutifully stop, placing a foot on the ground just to prove a point.  The intersection is clear and you have the right of way, so you turn briefly to flash a quick "thumbs up" and then continue on your way.

But wait!  Here comes Asshole #1!  This asshole is nowhere near the stop sign yet, but he or she sees the only traffic entering the intersection is a cyclist, and you don't count because: 1) Your diminutive vehicle poses little physical threat to his SUV; and 2) It's pretty much legal to run you down anyway so fuck it.  Furthermore, there's an unwritten rule that states no motorist should ever have to wait for a bicyclist, and indeed in practice this supersedes the actual written rule that they have to obey stop signs.  So Asshole #1 runs the stop sign in order to beat you through the intersection.

And let's not forget about Asshole #2.  This asshole is behind you, and he sees that you've come to a complete stop.  This of course triggers that unwritten rule that says NEVER WAIT FOR A PERSON ON A BIKE.  If you're lucky he simply speeds past you and crashes into Asshole #1, but if you're unlucky you fall victim to the dreaded "right hook."

Plus, it's worth noting that when you "run" a stop sign on a bicycle you're generally still traveling well below the speed a typical motorist considers "stopping," which in New York City generally means placing sufficient pressure on the brake pedal to activate the brake lights.

Indeed, all of the above is the basis behind the "Idaho stop," whereby a cyclist may treat a red light as a stop sign, a stop sign as a yield sign, and a yield sign as a urinal because yield signs are stupid.

Of course, none of this is to say you shouldn't take stop signs seriously when you're riding a bicycle.  It's just that you can't always take them literally.  But you certainly can't ignore them, lest you wind up like poor Elmer:

(Via @dotism)

Going through the scanned images of It's Great To Be Alive!, two things quickly become obvious: a. kids from the 1950s were terrible bicycle riders and b. kids also did a lot of stupid, dangerous things.

Uh, sorry, no.  Kids in the 1950s weren't terrible bicycle riders, nor were they particularly stupid.  This is pamphlet is classic post-war propaganda designed to secure the public roadways for motordom and brainwash children to indenture themselves to the Automotive Industrial Complex as soon as they're old enough.  And it's why doing healthy stuff like riding bikes to school pretty much died along with Elmer.

I could find out little information about the history of It's Great To Be Alive! other than the fact that it was distributed by local police, but clearly someone at the time thought it would be a great idea to shock children into being safe by painting morbid scenarios of what could happen if you didn't exercise caution and common sense. This little booklet didn't mince words: there's maiming, crippling, and death sprinkled throughout its sometimes disturbing and unintentionally funny illustrations. So let's have a look...

Ah, yes, such a silly time.  I'm glad we've moved away from that and now produce more sensible PSAs:


But you have to give the Automotive Industrial Complex credit for doing such a thorough job, because now you can't even run a race on a public roadway without someone getting run over:


For some reason, Walters veered out of the designated race lane and into the lane designated for vehicle traffic. The right side of the pickup truck hit Walters' left side, causing her to fall off her bike and be struck by the truck.

Wow, the syntactical gymnastics we use to absolve drivers of any and all responsibility is truly dizzying, and that second sentence in particular is Olympic floor routine-caliber.

It would be great if people would drive more carefully when they see a bunch of orange cones and people on bikes, but I guess that would go against the unwritten rule.

Given all of this, it seems that more and more people are checking out of reality altogether and riding "virtually" instead:

(Via Joel)

Aaron Puzey says it started out of boredom. He'd been toiling away on his exercise bike for half an hour a day for years, and things were beginning to get tedious. "I'd been day dreaming for a while about the possibility of using VR to make it a bit more fun," Puzey told The Verge by email. "And now of course the technology has arrived to make it happen." His solution? Hooking a Galaxy Gear up to Google Street View and cycling the length of the UK — 1,500 kilometers from Land's End to John o' Groats — all from the comfort of his front room.

Here's a crazy idea: If you're bored on an exercise bike, maybe try going outside and riding a bicycle that actually takes you places.  But I guess why do that when you can do this instead:


One of the most interesting things, he says, has been navigating what is a highly constrained 3D world. "The single biggest problem with the Street View data is the high compression on the depth information," says Puzey, with Google storing a limited number of planes to represent complex scenes. "Some things, like buildings, fit very well to this model and look quite solid, but things like trees and hedges and anything lumpy often just looks a mess. I've also seen things like squashed bugs on the Google camera, bad colors in some scenes and strange black 'sink holes'. However, even with those problems it still feels like I'm there."

Yes, why ride outdoors when instead you can experience what it's like to have serious depth perception issues--not to mention nausea:

So much so, that nausea can be a problem, especially when he's navigating complex routes — like roundabouts — that have been squashed into only a few layers of depth. "The problem [is that I'm] telling the 'bike' in VR to face in the direction of the path it was moving along," says Puzey. "Then I had a breakthrough and realized if I make it face about 5 meters ahead of where I was it made an enormous improvement."

So basically it's like riding a bike after eating poison mushrooms or receiving a crushing blow to the head.

I wonder if he went to Butt Hole Road:


I'm glad to see they're wearing their helmets.

61 comments:

Ted K. said...

HUMAN RACE AT A CROSSROADS
161. But we have gotten ahead of our story. It is one thing to develop in the laboratory a series of psychological or biological techniques for manipulating human behavior and quite another to integrate these techniques into a functioning social system. The latter problem is the more difficult of the two. For example, while the techniques of educational psychology doubtless work quite well in the “lab schools” where they are developed, it is not necessarily easy to apply them effectively throughout our educational system. We all know what many of our schools are like. The teachers are too busy taking knives and guns away from the kids to subject them to the latest techniques for making them into computer nerds. Thus, in spite of all its technical advances relating to human behavior, the system to date has not been impressively successful in controlling human beings. The people whose behavior is fairly well under the control of the system are those of the type that might be called “bourgeois.” But there are growing numbers of people who in one way or another are rebels against the system: welfare leaches, youth gangs, cultists, satanists, nazis, radical environmentalists, militiamen, etc.

Bryan Bracy said...

Podiums for everyone...

Jasper said...

Early doors

N/A said...

Stop signs don't mean a thing if you're in an SUV. Double-down if you see some a-hole on a bike and hit the go-pedal, son.

McFly said...

Attack of the Double Assholes. Or as I like to call it.............


.....Date Night at the Ol' Taco Bell.

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix.

McFly said...

I'm staring at Ted K. the way Michael Phelps stared at that dude whose career he just destroyed.

bieks said...

Actual (non-virtual) reality? But then you'd have to deal with fresh air and a cooling breeze. Sounds awful.

JuanOffhue said...

Yeah, I blast through a stop sign (on a roundabout!) twice a day. It only makes sense.

JuanOffhue said...

Top 10, BTW.

Sean Lynch said...

"a typical motorist considers 'stopping,' which in New York City generally means placing sufficient pressure on the brake pedal to activate the brake lights."

STOP is an acronym:

Slight
Tap
On
Pedal

Anonymous said...

I recommend to my friends to always wearing protection when heading up butthole rd; or ave.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Turd-tenth! Scranus!

babble on said...

Bet you'd rather visit Butt Hole Lane than Blue Ball Lane, not far from there in Egham. After all, even an asshole is useful.

Grunt Peterson said...

I made the mistake of looking at the comments in the Denver Post after reading about the lady killed during the IronMan. People are fucking horrible and the worst of them lurk in comment sections of "newspaper" websites. Boulder Daily Camera disabled comments, which leaves about a dozen fuckwad scumbags looking for someplace else to spew their self-centered hate.
Everyday I'm reminded of Dan Rather's words: "Americans will put up with anything as long as it doesn't block traffic."
Should I drive to the gym to ride an exercise bike? My friend told me about a gym in San Diego with an escalator.

alex said...

my observation; most under 40 yo people (millenials?) are very engrossed in their little interweb appliance talking thing. like pavlov's dog they salivate when the little ding goes off, especially dangerous when pretending to drive their steel cages.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

While there are a minority of cyclists who blow through stop signs and red lights without slowing down at all, many drivers say they always see cyclists blowing through stop signs and red lights with total disregard, neither slowing down or looking. While a lot of this is due to stereotyping all cyclists, I think some of it is also due to the fact that bikes move much slower than cars and the fact that a bike has actually slowed down is often imperceptible to a driver sitting in a car.

Drivers heading towards you on the opposite side of the road will also decide they can slowly make a left turn right across your bow when you have the right of way, forcing you to slow down, which is really annoying. Then they give you that deer in the headlights look as they cross your path.

And in addition to not actually stopping at stop signs, drivers have also decided that right on red is for every red light, even the ones that have signs saying no right on red. I love it when they make a right on red where they can't and there is a cop car right behind them, have seen that a few times!

Captcha just asked me to select all images with pickup trucks!

Dotty Rabinowitz said...

I was born and bred on Butt Hole road. I'm a butt baby.

Paul Bowen said...

Yesterday: Cock Lane is a real place, it's still there and still has that name. Even better, even though it's near the Smithfield meat market, that isn't the reason for the name, it was a medieval red light district. The English are just filthy. Nearby places of interest include the spot where William Wallace was executed, the building off which Boondoggle Chumbawumba threw himself in that episode of Sherlock, my office, the underground car park that played the entrance to the MI6 disaster recovery centre in Skyfall and the only non-ecclesiastical building to survive the Great Fire in 1666.

HivemindX said...

Thank god wheelie kid was wearing a helmet, otherwise he would no doubt be dead now.

Grump said...

Snobby, yield signs are the worst of all.(or should I say wurst).
Yield signs let drivers know that since they have the larger vehicle, they ALWAYS have the right to "take the lane".

bad boy of the north said...

who is gonna be the one to try VR in manhattan?unless it's been done.maybe they can record by using a selfie stick while crossing the Brooklyn bridge.

Butt Hole Road accident victim said...

BUTT HURT

James said...

VR chumps : my crappy real 3D world is still better than your imaginary 3D world.

Very Slim Pickens said...

43 year old wins Olympic Gold in record time, nothing suspicious about that (and she's not even on the Russian Team).

Anonymous said...

Spartacus aka Fab Cancellara, wins Olympic Time Trial. Will the day come when his balls get burned when his Tesla Model Bike explodes in flames just after crossing the finish line.

POOR IDEA said...

I'm staring at McFly... and nothing is happening. Except my eyes are getting red and stinging. And I feel a little queasy.

N/A said...

Butt Hole Road is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I understand it's well-traveled.

N/A said...

The robot comment thingy wanted me to identify mountains but they simply looked like molehills, to me.

Red Ross said...

I have the total opposite experience with Stop Signs. Let's say it's a four way stop, with a driver coming with the right-of-way towards the stop sign. It's not my turn, so I dutifully stop, and then the car will just SIT THERE LIKE A DUMB SHIT. I guess they're just waiting for me to blow the stop sign. I stop, put my foot on the ground, and then I scream in my head, why do I bother.

Anonymous said...

and her name is Armstrong. She must be guilty!!!

leroy said...

Well this is odd.

My dog invited me to karaoke night to sing John Denver's "Country Road," but with the lyric changed to Butt Hole Road.

I'm suspicious, but what the hell. He says he'll have snacks.

The joke's on him tho'....

My singing sucks.

McFly said...

POOR IDEA,

Maybe your mom over-tightened the set screw in your Jugum Penis again. Tell her 7 N/m tops.

Comment deleted said...

I'm living in my own private Idaho, at least when it comes to cycling (safely) through stops.

wle said...

Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man's blood. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood.

BamaPhred said...

Once again, Snob nails the intersection dilemma. It's like the shootout scene at the end of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. The hands of fate are still figuring out if I'm the bad, or just the ugly.

jamal said...

Interesting how when a cyclist dies and the only witness is the driver, they seem to have always just veered out in front of the car.

Alien Observer said...

Silly humans.

82medici said...

Fortunately, this is nowhere near Butt Hole Rd:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Penile+Rd,+Louisville,+KY+40272/@38.1098764,-85.7928259,17zdata=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8869104c4a0155e3:0x56aff3b03260bc1a!8m2!3d38.110132!4d-85.7942385

(sorry, i can't do the hyperlink thingy. Just copy and paste.)

Butch Cassidy said...

But on the positive side of VR bike riding, you could cycle around with a VR Etta Place on your handle bars, without all of that actual effort. Or whatever else you wanted.

Frickus Rungus said...

I also like it when I'm trying to make a mid-block left turn on a busy four lane street and a car going in the opposite direction stops to let me through, even though they are likely to be rear-ended. and the other lane keeps flying by so I can't turn anyway...
It's the opposite of thoughtless aggression. It's thoughless thoughfulness. Wait, that can't be right...

ubercurmudgeon said...

The virtual reality cyclist's aversion to riding a real bicycle in the real world is easily explained: although he is now living in Scotland, he originally comes from Australia, famed for its hatred of cyclists.

Source: http://www.cnet.com/news/man-attempts-to-cycle-length-of-britain-in-street-view-vr/

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

another healthy boy is crippled for life.

1904 Cadardi said...

Snob, it's funny you should write about a 3-way with assholes #1 and #2 because I faced that exact scenario on my commute. Asshole #2 turned out to be a cop. He apparently approved of my Idaho stop because no ticket ensued, but I began wondering how I could explain my actions and it came down to "Do whatever you have to to not be in the way of cars whose drivers are only too eager/inattentive to run you over."

Also, Luke may not be able to pop another wheelie after having his legs crushed, but he should still be able to manual.

bieks said...

If I think anyone is watching, I stand on my pedals for a few revolutions to give that extra visual clue that I'm accelerating away from a stop sign, implying that I stopped. Might be a bigger fine in Australia to stand on your pedals than blowing a stop sign, so results may vary.

Red Beard said...

Those guys in the last picture should be wearing helments instead

wle said...

WHY DO THEY CALL IT A ''MANUAL''?

WTF WAS WRONG WITH ''WHEELIE''?

WTF IS MANUAL ABOUT A MANUAL?

wle ( <- wheelie )

PowerBar Farts said...

I've been to Dildo, Newfoundland. Had to go two hours out of my way to do it, too.

Steve Barner said...

The truck that hit Elmer was a Studebaker. One did need to yield to 1950s trucks, as their brakes were none too good, by today's standards.

Fred Frederickson said...

Weather forecast for the ride home: Temp- hotter than god's cock; Wind- in your face the whole damn way.

Steve Barner said...

Like the driver who pulls all the way into the other lane to pass you--right before a blind curve or the crest of a hill. Happens to me pretty much every day. I'm just waiting for the day some kid in a pickup comes speeding in the other direction. It won't be pretty.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

The guy in the Fiat 500 who crosses the double yellow line to pass you on your bike also stands at the urinal holding his 2 inch dick with both hands like it's a Louisville Slugger, he just has no concept of length, width or distance. (Just salon', I don't watch him or anything!)

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Sayin', f-ing spell check

David G said...

This is your moment, Aaron Puzey.

NourskSiklist said...

Thank you, sir. Please don't say you just made all of that up, since it was both educational and entertaining.

NourskSiklist said...

I didn't really want to give Fake Ted K. any attention, but his robotic posts about people being dumb,complacent, and easily manipulated by the corporate controlled media and the military industrial complex, have oddly resonated with your weblog entries of late. Probably just a coincidence. So, more tales of people being killed by drivers, but no criminality is suspected because the victim was on a bicycle at the time. I hear people saying black lives matter, but that it's too soon to say cyclists' lives matter. But what if a black person was gunned down while on a bike? Which prejudice would take precedent? We won't know until the unfortunate happens. By the way, is that bridge still for sale? You could make a fortune by selling tickets to the tourists, ya know.

Domo arigato, Mister Robotto

Overly Tired said...

That poor fellow seems to be able to engage in fairly lucid conversation after being run over and crushed by a truck.

JLRB said...

My take on Stop sign = stop pedaling, unless there is a cop nearby (actual stop) or assholes in the way or about to be in the way (slow or stop as appropriate)

Rotgutt said...

I drove through there about 20 minutes after the IM crash. She easily could have been trying to get around a cone knocked into the shoulder (I saw a few). Frankly, a open road with marshals and cones used only at intersections might have been safer. I've never seen that number of cones used in a Century, Fondo, or actual USCF race before outside of a start/finish area. This was a long section of pretty straight road with a shoulder and only a couple of side streets to worry about.

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