31 May 2017

Why We Need The Idaho Stop--And The Paris Accord

When I saw this image in my Google browser, I thought it had something to do with Donald Trump's intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord Obama, along with the leaders of 194 nations, signed two years ago.

The smoke is thick enough.  As I write, DT hasn't officially pulled away from the agreement, and some of his advisers--including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson--are going to make appeals in the hope of changing his mind.  I can almost picture him, or someone else, using that image as part of his "pitch".

Alas, it is the opening frame of a video shown on an Arizona television news program, and posted to the AZ Central website.  The story is terrible:  A commercial truck collided with a bicycle.  Now, that description is strange:  I normally think of a collision as occurring between two people or things that are more or less equal in their ability to withstand the crash.  That hardly brings to mind, at least for me, a truck hitting a bicycle.

According to the news report, two cyclists were involved, "but only one was struck by the vehicle, according to Gilbert police."

With reports like that, El Presidente has absolutely no reason to trouble himself with "fake news".  Too many stories one reads or hears in the "news" media are so incomplete, so lacking in facts or context, or simply so ineptly or deviously expressed, that the "fake news" seems reliable, or at least predictable, for no other reason that you can dismiss it outright.  Stories like the one I've just mentioned have to be filled in, teased out or in some other way worked through in order to make sense of them, let alone make an evaluation.

Oh--the woman hit by the truck was pronounced dead at the hospital and the other cyclist, also a woman, "required no medical attention."

OK, I  don't want to seem like I'm nitpicking, but I want to know how two cyclists were involved if one bicycle was struck.  

I will give the reporter(s) credit for this, though:  The report mentions that both cyclists  and the truck were traveling east on Ray Road in Gilbert, Arizona,  when the truck driver made a right turn onto Val Vista Drive.

I wouldn't be surprised if the cyclists stopped for a red light and proceeded when the signal turned green.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, that is the easiest way to get struck by a motor vehicle, especially a truck or bus.  The "Idaho stop" is much safer:  When a cyclist proceeds against a red light through an intersection where there is no cross-traffic, he or she is much safer than he or she would be by following the signals, as the law requires in most places. 

 Going through an intersection when no cross-traffic is present allows the cyclist to get out ahead of traffic moving in the same direction--which makes it more likely that bus or truck driver behind you will see you.  

However the truck came to collide with the cyclist, the image at the beginning of this post is not good news--whether or not The Orange One quits the Paris climate accord.

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