Keeping Your Powder Dry…

LOGAN SQUARE — A police officer and a cyclist were both injured in a crash at a Logan Boulevard intersection Friday morning, officials said.

A squad car with its lights and sirens activated was headed north along Sacramento Avenue when a second vehicle T-boned the police car at the intersection of Logan Boulevard about 7:30 a.m., Chicago Police said.

The impact of the collision forced the squad car to hit a 27-year-old man on a bike who was riding southbound on Sacramento, according to Officer Janel Sedevic, a Chicago police spokeswoman.

Both the male police officer and the cyclist were taken to Masonic Medical Center.

The police officer was in stable condition, according to Sedevic.

The condition of the bicyclist was unknown as of Friday morning, police said.

The 54-year-old man who was driving the vehicle that struck the squad car at the intersection refused medical treatment.

No further information was available as police continued to investigate the crash Friday morning.

A police officer and bicyclist were injured in a collision on Logan Boulevard Friday morning. File photo


TakeAways

The above appeared here:

Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, February 9

Sometimes it becomes clear why the ‘War on Cars‘ mentality persists in the Urban Cycling Community. It is as if the average cyclist is channeling the Great Combover. When the article above appeared there was a posting about it on a local forum. The poster was pre-loading the venomous fangs of those likely to visit the ‘Join the Conversation‘ page for this particular report. And of course what ensued was what you might have expected.

WES1-REPLY

Obviously the person replying is kinda shy about riding on busy urban streets. And he (at least in my mind) offers an observation that bikes really do belong on ‘side streets‘. And yes, whether they want to admit it or not, cyclists have a vested interest in ‘slowing traffic speeds‘ in an effort to get a drop in collisions. I would take this sort of reply as what might well be written by someone who really does not feel that riding along on streets as busy as those mentioned here is not wise.

Of course not everyone who watches what cyclists do is comfortable with their presence on these busy streets. And it merely adds further angst to see cyclists doing the same sorts of wrong-headed things that motorists do by ‘amber gambling‘, running red lights and blowing stop signs. But what seems strangely out of character for cyclists is their ensuing demand that cars slow down, and not run red lights or blow through stop signs.

This sort of wrong-headed preachiness is a bit like haranguing a crowd of Hippies who are stoned on put with a double-martini in your hand as you totter on your orange crate to deliver your invective.

Do as I say and not as I do has never been a good way to begin a conversation.

Missing A Great Opportunity

A similar sort of ‘Holier Than Thou‘ situation crept into view this morning, when I read this bit of drivel:

Poisonous cars: Air pollution kills millions of people a year. So why isn’t it condemned by doctors, just like bacon and sugar?

It was posted on a well-known West Coast blog. Yes, I agree that bacon and sugar are probably best avoided. In fact sugar is framed as a poisonous substance by some nutrition conscious doctors and nutritionists.

But in fairness to the producers of bacon and sugar, another well-known poison is alcohol.

But you and I know that within the walls of the Church of Urban Cycling nothing in the thirst-quenching world is more highly revered than alcohol. We even have bicycle clubs in the Chicagoland area where their motto is:

Beer is the answer!

But we keep trying to convince motorists that what they do is wrong while we ignore our own problems with alcohol. At least two cyclists in the Chicago-land area have fallen victim to either paralysis following a bit of alcohol binging or the loss (or near loss) of a foot. At least one of these folks was a physician.

Why Don’t We Clean House First?

We need to stop and take a look at ourselves. We actually have beer and wine parties to raise money for bicycle advocacy so we can stand before others to tell them that we believe in Vision Zero. That’s a bit like having the workers in a brothel walk into a high school party and complain to the kids there about the amount of necking going on.

What happens when accidents occur on our streets is never necessary. But short of having ‘walled off cycleways‘ you are always taking a chance when you ride a busy Chicago street. And motorist that makes a comment in which he states the obvious about the dangers involved is telling the truth. In fact every single time a cyclists starts blathering about how unsafe roads are, he or she is essentially making the same statement.

But no matter what you do for cycling infrastructure it can always be undone by a drunk driver or cyclist. All the PVC bollards in the world can never protect a cyclist from a drunk motorists as he passes through an intersection. And Goodness knows that if cyclists can get soused enough to find themselves riding a Divvy down LSD in the middle of the night, then all bets are off when it comes to even being able to provide infrastructure that can overcome a ‘pickled brain‘.

Holding monthly or weekly bicycle advocacy meetings in places that serve alcohol simply reinforces (in the minds of those who have ‘booze issues‘) that they are well within their rights to get soused and back on a bike to get home.

Forgot To Mention A Distinction

Bacon and sugar represent threats to one’s personal health. Why the writer had linked their ingestion with driving an automobile is beyond my powers of understanding. But alcohol is both a person health threat and a danger to society itself.

Many cyclists in the Urban Cycling Movement have a misguided belief that their behaviors on the streets of our cities is a merely a matter of personal safety. StreetsBlog even created a video in which the former ethicist for the New York Times (if memory serves) used this to  defend his actions in disobeying traffic rules.

But like the consumption of alcohol what you do when driving your bike is likely to affect someone else who is either trying to avoid hitting you or does not even so you. Their lives get turned upside down because you could not wait those extra few seconds for the light to change or the intersection to clear following a full stop at a stop sign.

Many folks are somehow confused about the problems drinking alcohol and using physically debilitating drugs cause. Both make our roads unsafe. And what is really troublesome is that despite barrier-protected bike lanes a drunk driver can shoot the gap between barriers and still manage to main or kill.

But what is often overlooked even when we reassess our thinking about such lanes is the damage a drunk cyclist can do to either himself or pedestrians or for that matter motorists. When inebriated the cyclist is often unaware of their physical impairment and their location on the street. This explains why the physician nearly lost a leg while driving his Divvy bicycle on LSD.

His problem like that of anyone who is impaired is that they do things that mean a fellow user of the roadway has to change their behavior. And in some cases that could happen when they least expect to have to. And that my friend causes accidents.

So let’s not use some (excuse the expression) ‘trumped up‘ notion that ingesting a slice of bacon or a piece of cake is anything like the routine spewing of carcinogens into the air by automobiles. It is not.

But what is true is that when we drink alcohol we are involving our fellow citizens (in much the same way as we do when driving polluting vehicles) in a collective danger. But what is more important we are doing so without anyone’s consent to have that danger foisted on them.