In the Bay Area recently there has been a surge of road accidents involving cyclists and not just the much publicized ones like the recent tragedy in which a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy fell asleep at the wheel of his patrol car and veered across the divide and into a group of cyclists, killing two, on Steven's Canyon Road in Cupertino. Besides this and several other recently publicized fatal bike accidents there have also been a ton of unreported crashes in the Bay Area (which has a high density of bike fanatics) that often send cyclists tumbling from their bikes and to the hospital for stitches, or worse.
Coincidentally, this morning just as I was reading a newspaper article about bike crashes in the Bay, I looked up to witness (on College Avenue in Oakland) a cyclist taking a spill on his bike. The cause of the accident was perhaps the most common one in urban areas. He suddenly swerved, losing his balance and knocking himself off his own bike, in an attempt to avoid a car door being carelessly flung open by its driver Luckily the cyclist was wearing a helmet and (seemed) to be okay. Although I think he was still in a state of shock as he told the small crowd suddenly gathered around him, "I'm fine, I'm fine," as he remounted his bike and shakily cycled off down College. A lot of times you don't realize you are hurt until later after the adrenalin rush subsides.
Parked cars flinging open their doors, along with cars driving too fast or recklessly near cyclists, seem to be the most common causes of accidents for bikers. And it leads me to believe that for true safety for cyclists the only real solution is to completely separate the routes traveled by autos and by bikes: have exclusively bike-only paths and restrict cars to their own routes. But in the meantime - as bikes and cars are forced to share roadways - here are some safety tips for cyclists that, although they should be common sense, need reiterating:
The prisoners were subjected to experiments, apparently of great concern to those who conducted them. The outcome was a disappointment for some - death for others - and for others yet, madness. One day they came to select a new guinea pig from among the prisoners. He was the man whose story we are telling. He was frightened. He had heard about the Head Experimenter. He was prepared to meet Dr. Frankenstein, or the Mad Scientist. Instead, he met a reasonable man who explained calmly that the human race was doomed. Space was off-limits. The only hope for survival lay in Time. A loophole in Time, and then maybe it would be possible to reach food, medicine, sources of energy. This was the aim of the experiments: to send emissaries into Time, to summon the Past and Future to the aid of the Present. But the human mind balked at the idea. To wake up in another age meant to be born again as an adult. The shock would be too great. Having only sent lifeless or insentient bodies through different zones of Time, the inventors where now concentrating on men given to very strong mental images. If they were able to conceive or dream another time, perhaps they would be able to live in it. The camp police spied even on dreams. This man was selected from among a thousand for his obsession with an image from the past. -- Narrator, La Jetée
I hate temporal mechanics! -- Miles O'Brien, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Thanks to YouTube, I finally got around to watching La Jetée by Chris Marker. Perhaps most surprising after all the ink that's been spilled analyzing this experimental work is how much it resembles the old science fiction stories of EC's Weird Science. These stories -- like the majority of those from EC -- featured some twist ending that followed along like fate from whatever course of action the protagonist chose in the beginning.
Props to San Francisco Amoeba Music electronic music buyer and sometime Amoeblogger MikeBee (left), aka Mike Battaglia, who pens the Technophilia blog. He got a really nice one page write up in this week's SF Weekly in their special Listen Up issue dedicated to "local aficionados who help San Francisco navigate a brave new world."
Under the heading "Making a Buzz: DJ MikeBee keeps electronic connoisseurs on their toes," the article, penned by Toph One, gives much love to MikeBee, calling him "a true vanguard in the SF music community" and labeling him a "Renaissance man" for his long list of accomplishments that include being a club & radio (KUSF) DJ, journalist, and label co-owner. To read the article in full either pick up the current SF Weekly and flip open to Page 15 of the Listen Up supplement or read it online at sfweekly.com.
Monday, March 17th (aka Saint Patrick's Day) looks like it is going to be a good day at Amoeba Music for free music when Neon Neon (the group formed by Boom Bip and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals) play a free instore at the Hollywood Amoeba Music (6PM showtime), while up north Peru Negro have an instore performance at the San Francisco Amoeba Music at 7PM. Speaking of free things from Amoeba Music: coming soon will the new issue of Music We Like, the booklet and online list of the music that folks who work at Amoeba are feeling (Top Five lists etc.). Meantime, check out the last Music We Like online.