This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How did things go so terribly right?

I mean really.  I was just cruisin' the neighborhood the other day thinkin' of this.
 I'm just another example of a corporate gypsy moving around the country until I became a single parent and settled here.  I just happened to be a helpless cycling junkie also.  I am fortunate enough to have landed in a metro area determined to accommodate cyclists.  
Just last week the League of Michigan Bicyclists presented awards to some local friends of mine.
It was Advocacy day in the state capital and three members of our club were honored for their work on the Bike Friendly Kalamazoo committee and Bike Camp.

Then this week, the  local traffic department held an open house to show off its latest toy.  They have installed a new system of monitoring city traffic, both visually and automatically.  That bank of screens changes on command to watch all the traffic flow being directed by the intersection lights.  The monitor (that thoughtful looking guy) can override the traffic signal sequence when he sees congestion occurring at any particular level.  Consequently, we have an on the scene traffic cop all over town.  But, Big Brother is not watching.  This million dollar pile of tech only stores data (traffic counts and times) for analysis.  Law enforcement has to come up with their own evidence.
 On the automatic level, there is another server attached to these monitors which is gathering and monitoring data about the traffic.   You can see each of the blue markers on the screen which identifies the lanes. 
 As a car approaches the intersection you can see it "captured" by the camera.  This not only records the traffic for statistical purpose, the server recognizes the vehicle (whether car or bicycle) and makes sure it only waits for a specified time before intervening and changing the signal. 
Of course any computer this expensive and articulate is still stupid enough to count anything that sets off its "blip" as a blip and doesn't decide if it's a car or a bike.
  For once any vehicle in the traffic lane is treated the same.  
But there is the catch, you cannot be riding a bike on a side path or sidewalk and be recognized.  
You must be in one of the lanes, which means at least on the right hand side.
Unfortunately a thunderstorm was going through, so I didn't get a chance to see any cyclists. 
No more loops or detectors in the ground like the one that impressed me in Boston. 
This is  what you get when two mayors and the traffic engineers are cyclists.
Take notes Rob Ford!

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