Cars don’t play

Oh, good. More people playing when they should be driving.

Oh, good. More people playing when they should be driving.

I took my gradually fading cold out for a walk yesterday afternoon, and boy, was it ever a beautiful day. Didn’t need to see that pudgy jogger airing out his man-boobs, but occasionally a fella must take the bitter with the sweet.

We’re looking at another blast of springtime today — 72! — before the rain, snow and wind play a return engagement on Tuesday. So I plan to get out again while the getting out remains good.

Friend of the the DogS(h)ite Weaksides will not be so fortunate, alas. In comments, he advises that he’s enduring in-patient therapy after getting blitzed from behind by a car, and his condition may keep him out of his own damn’ home for a while. So shoot him some good wishes in comments if you have a moment.

Meanwhile, feel free to wax wroth about Apple’s latest brainstorm, CarPlay, a setup intended to make it easier for motorists to jabber on the phone, check their email and not incidentally run us over. Released today as part of iOS 7.1 and soon to be a column coming to a bicycle-industry magazine near you.

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36 Responses to “Cars don’t play”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    JFC….what’s next, crosshairs on the dashboard?

    • John in GJ Says:

      while a monotone automated voice repeats, “stay on target….stay on target….”

      Folks, this is called driving to the grocery store. It’s not fucking Star Wars.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The sad thing is, Apple is working to enhance driver distraction precisely when it should be ramping up efforts to extend driver extraction.

      Telecommuting has saved me uncounted hours behind the wheel since 1991, and it could do the same for many, many others, if we weren’t so focused on turning our autos into extensions of our living rooms, rec rooms and/or offices.

      Meanwhile, Apple is working up a new “Mothership Connection” HQ in which, according to CNET, “The car would visually be banished, and tarmac would be replaced by greenery, and car parks by jogging and bicycle trails.”

      Guess they don’t want any distracted drivers in their neighborhood either.

    • Steve O Says:

      Had a buddy back in Germany who taped white strips on his dashboard, which created crosshairs on his windshield in a heads up display style effect. Then he’d buzz around at 40 kph over the speed limit, and if someone slower him down, he’d put them in his sights and yell out lines from Top Gun. “I’m too close for missiles, switching to guns.”

  2. John in GJ Says:

    Weaksides, you got hit from behind? Holy shit! Remember when we only needed to worry about drunks being so stupid? And you could predict that not too many of them were out driving around at 3pm. 3 in the morning, yea, but not 3pm. Now we have to deal with SUV driving soccer moms and dads yakking it up on their hands-free phones (making it all the harder to tell that they’re not paying attention to the road) as they pick up their little snots at the elementary school for the three block drive home. We’ve apparently reached the point where it’s the driving that’s the distraction from all the more important things like, sending and receiving texts.

    So Weaksides, get soon as fast as you can but don’t rush it. You want to get all well before you head back into the distracted world. For entertainment while you heal you can always hire a lawyer to take care of the shit who hit ya, then enjoy his big grin and dollar signs in his eyes.

  3. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Ford started it, others following suit with Apple and Honda being the latest entry into this madness. I see distracted drivers every day. I have seen the weaving, sitting through stoplights, red light runs, and damn near running me over (twice) repeatedly.

    Arizona is really cracking down. The legislature just reluctantly passed a new law that new drivers, teens with less than six months experience, can be ticketed for texting while driving. Wonder how a cop decides who to stop? What a joke. Bet the damn cell phone lobby wrote the bill just like the Center for Arizona Policy lobbyists wrote SB1062 with help from the Governor’s staff (article in today’s Arizona Star.)

    If I was king for a day, any cell phone use while driving would be the same offense as DUI. Cops should be able to access cell phone data only to see if the driver was texting or talking at the time of the stop or accident. Talking gets a DUI charge; texting gets an extreme DUI charge. There is no question that cell phone use impairs driving. It has been tested over and over again by the government, insurance companies, and even the damn Mythbusters show. Now we have touch screens in the damn dashboard. What’s next, heads up displays so you can check social media while driving?

    If the lady who hit Weaksides was on the cell phone at the time of the accident in my world, she would currently be taking the bus while waiting for her court date.

    • John in GJ Says:

      Texting and driving is already illegal in Colorado, but at least where I am it doesn’t seem to be enforced though. Seeing texting drivers, especially teenagers near a high school, is commonplace. Texting and driving is seen as no more serious a violation than passing a cyclist closer than three feet (which is the law here).

      Not just driving, but being able to do whatever you want while driving, is seen as a right and the new normal. Just when we made drunk driving a bit of a taboo along came cell phones. Oh well.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yeah, look around you at any stoplight. A solid plurality of drivers will be glancing furtively down at their laps, and not because they suspect they’ve left their flies unzipped. Tap tappity tap tap, tap tap.

        Makes a guy want to carry a few bottle rockets and a Zippo in a jersey pocket. “Hey, YouTube this, Thumbelina!”

      • Steve O Says:

        Isn’t it crazy that everyone sees texters, just like we see red light runners, but speeders are the only ones who get tickets. It’s not public safety, it’s revenue generation.

      • Steve O Says:

        Wish I had my brother’s old Plymouth Satellite. Damn thing had these worthless windshield washers that didn’t spray, they shot a jet at a few thousand psi and gps. So he stuck a safety pin in the nozzle and changed the angle so it would shoot over the roof. Someone tailgating or otherwise annoying him, he’d blast them. Filled the tank with pure ammonia so they’d get a wake up call. Could really get into traffic vigilante mode with something like that.

    • khal spencer Says:

      It has always been possible to cite texting motorists for Careless Driving in New Mexico, i.e., failing to exercise due care while driving. Problem is, no one cites anyone unless a crash happens and then…well…maybe. As John in GJ says, doing whatever you want while driving is the new normal.

    • Steve O Says:

      Not defending the car makers, but they are in a damned if they do/don’t situation. Folks are going to do stupid shit in their two ton idiot-guided missiles. Helping to make it safer to be stupid only makes stupidity that much easier. Classic putting out fire with gasoline situation.

      Having said that, the same guys who thought we wanted an orange LED speedometer projected on the windshield have been in charge of this driver interface ergonomics thingy. I rented a Ford Edge not too long ago. Intuitive is not what I’d call that Sync system.

      I love driving back roads, middle of nowhere, off the beaten path type places. But I’d be more than willing to give up some freedom for something like Google Drive that pushed everyone from A to B along the optimum route at the most efficient speed.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Do we know why the motorist hit Weaksides from behind? The assumption is distraction, which seems a good one.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      No idea, K. I’m not sure Weaksides knows the particulars. Sounds like he got his bell rung pretty good. If I recall correctly, it was the old “I didn’t see him” defense. Feeble.

  5. bromasi Says:

    Get well Weaksides.

  6. TominAlbany Says:

    So, here’s the real part of the deal. Apple is just waiting until they’ve got folks so hooked they can get what they really want. Apple will make ‘cars.’ You’ll by them in Varieties. “I’ll take a Northern Spy in Blue please.” You’ll sit down and the car, using all of the latest Apple innovations, will transport you from Point A to Point 2 without you having to look any further than your Apple iGlasses. At least, then, maybe, the inherent risk of riding your bike on a road will go down. Well, that is, until Apple invents iGlasses for bicycle riders that will force them to then buy the Apple iBike with electric ‘assist’ for, you know, when you’re sitting on the bikeseat.

    It’s a conspiracy, I say!!!

    Get well Weaksides. Good thing the car didn’t hit your strongsides or it’d be the one on the mend!

  7. Larry T. Says:

    Get well soon Weaksides. Did they catch/cite/arrest the bastard who hit you? We revisited the scene where the wife got “boated” a decade ago and sure enough, some other jerks blasted past, screaming, “share the road!” at US! These bozos think that sign with the bike on it and SHARE THE ROAD lettering is not for them,…it’s telling the damn cyclists to stay outta their way! It’s no wonder this crap happens when you combine a-holes and cars that require reading the instruction manual to do anything more than than steer, stop or go. The Toyota we rented last week had a radio so complex the wife couldn’t figure it out..and she was the passenger. Heaven help someone driving the damn thing who simply wanted to tune in NPR.

    • khal spencer Says:

      The Share the Road sign is increasingly disfavored in the Transportation Community because as Larry says, no one really knows what the fuck it means. Cyclists think it means “give me five feet” and motorists think it means “I’ll give you five of these”. The current trend is towards use of R4-11, “Bicyclists May Use Full Lane”. Of course, my take on that is the sign should say “Bicyclists May Use Full Lane and are Carrying a Glock 23 Gen4”.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Or perhaps, “Cyclists may use full lane and MAY be wearing explosive vests. Pass with care.” My favorite was the sign I saw in SoCal last year…”Slow bicycles keep right”. What SoCal cyclist is going to think that applies to him/her? Just like the “Slower traffic keep right” signs…on multi-lane highways where the morons swerve over to the extreme right lane to pass..something that’ll get you a ticket pronto in Italy. I’ll be at NAHBS and have some photos and other blathering on the CycleItalia blog soon afterwards. Hoping to hoist a beer or three with POG… if he shows up.

      • John in GJ Says:

        Wait, they actually hand out traffic tickets in Italy? That’s not the stereotype.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      I have been thinking about getting a jersey with “Rider Spits To The Left” printed in large letters on the back. Good for drivers and the occasional rider who doesn’t say “on your left” as they breeze by. Sorry man, didn’t mean to deposit that goober on your thigh. I didn’t know you were there.

  8. Ira Says:

    Hope you heal real fast Weaksides. Man, I wish they’d stop making shit for cars that distracts the driver. Not much wonder the next generation are predicted to have a shorter lifespan than us. It’s hardly safe to go out of the damn house.

  9. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Yea Dog! Where is the Mothers Against Distracted Driving group when we need them? Screw it, I’m starting a new group, DAMM, drunks against mad mothers.

    Changing subjects for a second, Patrick, are you going to make the NAHBS?

  10. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I would prefer a Ruger Vaquero in .45 Long Colt. Stainless of course with faux ivory grips.

  11. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Folks, I have every intention of attending the NAHBS in Charlotte. The details, alas, are up to United Airlines. Last time we tried this, it didn’t go so well.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Hope you make it this time. I am jealous. Try not to work all the time. Steal an hour or two for personal drooling time. Leave the credit card in hotel safe.

    • John in GJ Says:

      I bought a frame once from a builder who routinely takes home ribbons or medals or whatever they give away at the NAHBS. Sure was a pretty frame, too bad it looked a hell of a lot better than it rode. If you decide not to take Pat O’Brien’s advice about leaving the credit card behind, then at least be sure to take it for a nice, long test ride.

  12. JoeyDurango Says:

    I’ve taken to leaving one of my fork-mounted water bottles at least half-full all the time. There’s a certain intersection on my way to the shop that, for whatever reason, makes people want to disregard my street’s right-of-way and pull out with only the most cursory glance side to side (if that). I’m getting pretty good at grabbing, aiming, chucking, hitting… then picking my bottle up as quickly as possible once the texter stops to find out what the hell that was and continuing on my merry way. Alas, wouldn’t work on a higher-speed roadway.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m tellin’ ya’, bottle rockets are just the thing. Light one up, snap off its stick, and chuck the little devil in through an open window, watch it buzz around the cockpit like an angry suicide-bomber hornet and clap when it goes BOOM! Amaze your friends! And have plenty of them on hand just in case the driver is packing something bigger than a bottle rocket.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Hee, hee. Reminds me back-in-the-day when a tour bus driver hauling the pilgrims up to Assisi swung a lot closer than I liked around a switchback curve. I gave him a middle-finger salute, but planned my revenge for later, once we’d gotten up top. I remembered the road down the other side went under a low arch, one no tour bus could fit under…so when I spotted my “friend” with his driver’s side window wide open, I couldn’t resist pulling the valve wide open on my bottle and directing a nice stream of water into his face and lap. The client riding with me said something like, “Are you nuts? That guy’s going to kill us both now!” but I pointed to the arch and said “Andiamo!”
        And Weaksides, once it’s been proved to be the motorist’ fault (and let’s hope that is the case) I hope you make the guy’s insurance company pony up enough to keep you in Italian bikes with Campagnolo Record on ’em for the rest of your cycling life….and then some!

  13. Weaksides Says:

    Wow….thanks everyone for the well wishes, etc.- particularly our benevolent host.

    As for the other driver, it was a male just 2 years younger than me and he has passed along his sympathy through the insurance adjuster that called me last week. I’ve mostly tried to stay away from the particulars of the incident. I haven’t even spoken with the highway patrolman yet since he was apparently on vacation last week.

    The only thing I’ll say about the incident currently is my own perception of the event. One minute I was rolling along looking for my next left turn; and the next I was in an ambulance answering questions and waiting for the helicopter to take me away. Finally, I was riding after dark with a flashing tail light and a few reflective bits in places, as well as a head lamp; so please take all that into consideration. Being this is still a pending case and the internet being the internet, I’d rather not speculate much until I know more myself.

    Thanks again all for the well wishes though. Therapy is going well and going home is now looking more possible; so there is that.

  14. John O Says:

    O’Grady, I had my shirt on. I can’t help it if my man boobs are that manly.

    Glad to hear rehab is going well, Weaksides.

    And then there was the Thursday ride where we were stopped waiting for a light. An elderly driver and his wife can pretty damn close to us even though we were stopped. WE made a comment tghru an open passenger side window and the response was, “Margret get me the gun out of the glove box. Then someone in our grip replied ‘yes get the gun out so I can blow a hole in your fat ass’
    And the light changed to green.

  15. Joe Says:

    “Didn’t need to see that pudgy jogger airing out his man-boobs…” For the record, this fat bastard was nowhere near Bibleburg this week.

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