Friday, July 14, 2017

New York passing laws

In some ways, I'm glad I don't live in New York anymore. I would be breaking the law every time I got on a bicycle. NY is one of those states that *require* cyclists to ride on the road edge.

Sorry, NY, your law is wrong. Cyclists should have explicit permission, and be expected, to use the entire driving lane by default. PA has the right idea, explicitly giving motorists the right to cross a yellow center line to pass a bike, if visibly safe to -- same as crossing a center line to drive around a fallen tree. If you can see to pass safely, go ahead and pass. If you can't, you wait until you can.

But NY expects cyclists in the lead to yield to motor traffic behind them. That's just wrong. And generations of motorists and cyclists alike passively accept this. I do not. I'm in front, you're behind me, I don't care if there's a 40 mph difference in our travel speeds. The fallen tree sure doesn't care.

Cyclists *may* release following traffic to pass them with a "straddle pass", by moving to road edge and allowing cars to pass more easily by moving partway into the opposing lane. That technique is called "control and release", and is very effective for maintaining a balance of traffic flow AND cyclist safety. But still, the cyclist gets to decide, not the motorist. The cyclist can see whether the road edge is safe; the motorist cannot. It is neither fair nor safe to require cyclists to ride unsafely, such as between a road-edge hazard and a car passing too closely.

I don't know how you get state law changed. But if I end up in NY for any length of time, you can darned well bet I will be advocating for the law to change, and riding the way I feel most safe.

Friday, March 31, 2017

My proposal for functioning Bus Rapid Transit in 2017

I presented this in front of the Port Authority Board of Directors at their 31 March 2017 meeting.

I am glad to see that PAAC, the City, and others have finally published a formal proposal for some sort of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. That BRT is on the table at all is because the PAAC Board killed the last light rail extension to Oakland proposal in 1996, and that itself was over a decade since the previous failed attempt to build it. Half a human lifetime is a long time to wait for a transit improvement.

Unfortunately I hold little hope for the plan as written. There is so much infrastructure to construct, and so many political and engineering hoops to jump through, it may well be another decade before a single rider can board. We can do better and we can do it soon.

In short, instead of dithering over lane configurations, propulsion modes, station designs, forced transfers, and a thousand other details, you could have a functioning plan in place in a matter of months. Implement at least part of the Connect '09 plan to run "R" routes in conjunction with the existing 61- and 71-series routes. Use existing equipment, routing, and stops. Do not eliminate any existing routes, though modifying headways would be necessary.

For example, for the 71A, which runs 15-minute service much of the day, run the R-equivalent trip alternating with the regular 71A trip. The routing would be identical for both, but inbound after Centre and Negley, the R would stop limited times until the edge of downtown -- Aiken, Craig, Bellefield, Atwood, Robinson, Kirkpatrick, and Stevenson, then every stop after Diamond Street. Outbound, after turning onto Forbes, stop only at Stevenson, Kirkpatrick, Robinson, Atwood, Bellefield, Craig/Centre, and Aiken, before resuming local service at Negley. Timing, run a regular 71A at :00 and :30, run an R at :15 and :45.

Everyone will still have a one-seat ride to downtown. Everyone who still needs the every-stop service will still have it. The riding public gets the rapid service they've waited decades for, and they have it within a year. While I'm sure there will be a learning curve, it should be minimal. Just like the fine folks of Bridgeville and McCandless can distinguish between 31/G31 and 12/O12, respectively, I'm sure the residents along the chosen R corridors will learn quickly enough.

Meanwhile, plans can still continue for installing traffic signal hold-green technology, modifying travel lanes, constructing pre-pay stations, special rolling stock, etc. None of that is on the critical path to a fast bus, and none of what I am proposing needs the approval of anyone outside this room.

Implement this for one 61 and one 71 route in 2017, and commit to running them for one full year. I think you'll find it will work well, and if it doesn't, you can call it quits without having built or rearranged a thing.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My testimony on the Mon-Fayette before the Southwest PA Commission

Good afternoon, commissioners, and thank you for the opportunity to speak. My distrust of the PA Turnpike Commission dates to my great-grandparents' generation, who sold part of the family farm in 1937 to build the original Irwin-to-Carlisle segment of the Turnpike.

To this day, the road is an over-the-back-fence neighbor at my New Stanton house. (I was out there yesterday. It's now my daughter's house.) My Aunt Sarah, who was 29 when that deal went down, and I, lived together in the New Stanton house in 1987 when the Greensburg Bypass was under debate, and she noted then how similar the arguments were for building that extension, to building the original road 50 years earlier. Meanwhile, even in the 1980s and later into the 1990s and 2000s, I saw first-hand those same arguments for building each piece of the Mon-Fayette project. And now it's 2017, and here they are again.

The original road essentially killed the family farm as a viable business. That farm used to supply half of Greensburg with eggs and some milk. So much for economic development. If the Greensburg Bypass was to bring development to the New Stanton area, it didn't happen. They were still building Volkswagens out there when Toll 66 was approved. That fizzled, and Sony didn't last much longer. The site is still in use, but it would be foolhardy to suggest that building a huge road a mile away has helped it all that much.

So just remember, as its proponents ballyhoo all these economic benefits, that we've heard it all before, and it doesn't wash. If you're going to spend two billion dollars (that you don't have), spend it on stuff we know will work: Fixing local roads, improving public transit, and making it safer to walk across and along the streets in these old, industrial towns.

We do not need the Mon-Fayette project. Please vote NO on adding it to the TIP.

Friday, March 10, 2017

My comments to the PA Turnpike Commission about the Mon-Fayette Expressway

Today was the deadline for public comments on the proposed Monroeville extension of PA43, the Mon-Fayette/SOuthern Beltway project (MFSoB, for short). Here is what I sent them.

I oppose construction of this road. The desired connectivity of West Virginia to Monroeville is already available in limited access form via PA43-Interstate 70-existing Interstate 76 Turnpike, and the slightly shorter US119 path is only local access for a few miles. To get to Pittsburgh itself, I-79 to I-376 works well enough not to spend $2+ billion for a new parallel.

The long depressed river towns of Clairton, Glassport, Duquesne, and McKeesport, will not benefit from the road in any meaningful way, any more than Trafford benefits from being four miles from the existing PA Turnpike interchange at US22. There already are plenty of other roads in and out of these towns. Fix those first.

The reasoning for building this road dates to at least 40 years ago. I have lived here 35 of that, long enough to see how little difference the construction of Toll 66 made to the New Stanton area, where I own a house and land since the mid-1980s. That road never did live up to its hype, and the traffic it was expected to carry (25-30K/day) simply has not materialized (~15K/day), while 20K+/day still use US119 through Youngwood. Why should we believe that the same arguments used in 1987 to justify building that road will work 30 years later when they did not work then? Do you really believe that argument is worth spending two billion?

I dispute your financial strategy. While it is true that no federal or state funds will be used, funding still comes from two general state taxes, one on motor fuel, the Oil Company Franchise Tax (OCFT), and one on a public service, the Motor License Fund (MLF), ultimately borne by the average motoring public who will rarely if ever use this road, and most will rarely use any other part of the Turnpike system at all. If your financial justification is the OCFT and MLF, and if their main purpose is to fund the Turnpike, then eliminating both this project and the OCFT and MLF will actually benefit the average PA motorist by lowering fuel and licensing costs statewide.

The road itself would serve no useful purpose that cannot be obtained faster and cheaper through other means. If you want to move lots of industrial materials to and from these river towns, that's what railroads, pipelines and the rivers are for. If you want to improve commuter travel, the old PATrain and transit in general will accomplish that. If you want to improve accessibility inside these business districts, do like Carnegie, Millvale, and Bellevue just did with pedestrian improvements, bicycle facilities, improved stream flow, and traffic flow treatments. If you want better roads between the Mon Valley and downtown, then fix those existing roads! Those will cost far less than two billion dollars, be realized much sooner than 2036, and will actually work.

Then there is future maintenance. I-279 in the North Hills, another road that took decades to build, is now old enough at 27 years to need major reconstruction. The PTC is already in the news for not being able to make ends meet. Do the tolls on Toll 60 and Toll 66 even pay for plowing and salt in the winter and grass mowing in the summer, let alone future bridge replacements? If it does get built, are we then only 20-some years from closing it anyway for lack of funds to keep it fixed?

Enough. Other cities are tearing down expressways. Why are we even thinking about building yet another? No, we don't need it. Stop thinking that we do.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A solution to rotten transit service, but do we want it?

While Uber, Google, and others are working on autonomous vehicles, others are working on a specific use for autonomous vehicles, namely, to provide some minimal transit service to areas difficult to serve with full-size buses.

In this story from a transit industry magazine, tiny electric vehicles shuttle people to a nearby bus stop. I can see these being very helpful in areas where it's hard to thread a 35-foot bus around tight, inner-city streets. I can also see these as helpful for getting people from deep inside a suburban subdivision out to a bus stop on a trunk line.

Pennsylvania state law already allows for similar vehicles. See Title 75, Chapter 35, Subchapter F, Sections 3591-3596 (link). These little transit vehicles theoretically could be stored on-site, in storage sheds in or adjacent to the neighborhood served. Then, whether on-demand or by fixed schedule, these could come either to your door or a nearby corner, and shuttle you to the nearest bus stop. They would not get you downtown, and they likely would not get you from one suburb to the next; they are not taxis. But if your house is a mile or two off the main drag, they can get you down the street in a few minutes instead of having to walk it.

If you really wanted to go all out, equip each storage shed with a Tesla Wall, so it can be recharging its battery when not in use. Of course, run a utility line to it anyway, so it can recharge when weather is bad, or the neighborhood kids throw a blanket over the solar panels. Just like kids 100 years ago strung clotheslines under the trolley electric lines to knock the car out of service. But barring routine vandalism, they could get some of their go juice off-grid.

Next complaint: Labor unions. They're stealing our jobs! Well, yeah, they might be. OTOH, those jobs don't exist already. You already don't have service back into suburban cul-de-sac neighborhoods, so I don't see these as a big threat. On a larger scale, every bus driver job in the world might well be automated out of existence in 25 years, so go ahead, be the Luddite and oppose every use right now, no matter how much good it might do, how many additional people might be brought into the system, how many cars might be taken off the road, how many driver jobs are preserved by dint of these stabilizing ridership on outer parts of a route. I cannot and will not fight that argument. Been there, done that, and it's pointless. I'm speaking to the glass-half-full people, and those who can see the way forward.

I see jobs in this idea. Someone has to design a system that makes best use of them. Someone has to construct storage facilities. Someone has to service them. There needs to be a method to handle on-road situations where they become inoperable while containing passengers. These are solvable problems, but they do mean employment where no employment exists now.

Anyway, an idea worth looking into.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The 2016 Shitlist

This post is about the drivers who did me dirt in 2016. The boorish SOBs who shoved me off the road, passed me within inches, threatened me verbally or worse, and plenty more who blasted a horn in my ear. For a lot of these, I have video. For a lot of these, I have plate numbers. I went to the police with a couple. For a whole lot of these, as soon as it happened, I pulled over and tweeted the plate, if I did not already have it on video.

Everyone should do this. Call out plate numbers. It's good practice for when you have to.

I went through my Twitter feed, my Facebook posts, and my YouTube playlist I titled "Motorists Behaving Badly".

I should explain what a fucking horn is. A fucking horn is where someone comes up behind or alongside me and lays on the horn, to startle or alarm or force me to move over. Beyond being boorish, it's unsafe, not a whole lot different from coming up behind someone and popping a paper bag behind their head. On a bike, it's unnerving, causing possible loss of control. I will tell you nicely once, if you do this: Please stop.
* * *

2016 Shitlist


1 Jan
JNC-3661 grey Dodge, first #fuckinghorn of the year. Andersen St under railroad tracks. Where the hell did you expect me to go?

3 Jan
JYP-2140 #fuckinghorn while *I was driving the car*. I was going 25 in a 25 zone! Pulled over so I could get the plate, & him off my tail.

20 Jan
JFT-5505, high speed thread-the-needle pass, Perry Hwy just before Lindley Lane.
Reported to Ross Twp police, who followed up on this. No charges pressed.
Same incident I posted last Wednesday, but this time with the plate number: "JOHN FRANK THOMAS FIVE FIVE OH FIVE" Now, to talk to the Ross Police.
How I almost died this morning. Hey JFT-5505, would you cut off a car that closely?


3 Feb
JZG-0283, #fuckinghorn, Perry Hwy northbound at Washington Blvd
Classic case of a fucking horn. Pulls right alongside me and honks. The two cars at 0:11 and 0:25 figured out how to pass slower traffic without using a horn.

4 Feb
As I sat at a red light in West View on motorcycle this morning, someone pulled up behind me and snapped my photo. Say what? Ten seconds earlier he was laying on the horn. Best I can figure is that I wasn't doing fully 25, and had let a space grow in front of me, but I could see I was going to be fourth in line approaching a red light.

8 Feb
Post-script to the day: At one point today I was driving 28 mph in a 35 zone, and a car comes up behind me and lays on the horn. All I could think of was, what an entitled ass. How would he know if I'm carrying something delicate? Or maybe having engine trouble? Or looking for an address? At a different point today, traffic was at a standstill for 20 seconds while a family of turkeys made their way across the road. Sorry, pal, you don't get to go fast because of a number on a sign.

14 Feb
How dare I drive 35 mph over a posted-35 bridge? HONNNK! (McKees Rocks Bridge, westbound, around 10:30 this morning). Later, how dare I start to change lanes after signaling and the signal blinking two full times? No, I have to wait for the Lexus going 20 mph faster to get past me first.

(Browns Hill Rd heading away from the bridge about 1:30.) The damned nerve of some people.


6 Mar
FRR-2803, dark green Jeep-like. Fucking horn & super close pass. Give this fucking idiot a ticket. Perry Hwy past Cemetery Ln.

8 Mar
East Street close pass, JPD-0473
Front and rear view of earlier stupdity: Two cars pass me after following me down Concord to the right onto East St. The first one is fine, gives me a full lane pass. The second one decides to pass me within two feet.
Front video:
Rear video:

19 Mar
When I'm doing 22 in a 25, there is no reason to ride my butt because you want to do 35+. When I'm doing 32 in a 35, there is no reason to ride my butt because you want to do 45. Both happened to me today -- the 22 on a bike, the 32 driving a car.


6 Apr
...sequence starts...
I get 10.1 miles of my 10.4-mile bike trip home, and _then_ get a horn in my ear, or as I call them, a fucking horn, to startle or bully.
I don't know what it is about that last half mile of Perry Highway, but if I'm gonna get honked at, it's usu w/in sight of my house.
...sequence ends...

12 Apr
EGP-2255 small dark red car, very close in-lane pass. Perry Hwy near Thompson Dr.
What's maddening about that one was, at next light, 0.1mi later, he rolled down his window to argue. So that was deliberate.

21 Apr
Judge Manning has decided at least one case this week that pissed me off, and a few more that have me scratching my head. First, the guy driving his Mustang 85 mph while high and drunk, killing a girl standing in her own front yard, gets to walk. I think there were more, but that's just this week. (An earlier version of this post said he decided against a cyclist who was obeying the law. The decision happened as described, but it was a lower magistrate, not Manning, I have been informed.)

25 Apr
GJH-9608 blue econobox, #fuckinghorn, again almost eyesight from the house. PerryHwy at Lee.


3 May
Someone passed me on posted-35 East Street, crossing the double yellow to do so. Which would be fine if I was going 14 on a bicycle, but I was going 35 on a motorcycle at the time.

4 May
...This next one was City Councilwoman Darlene Harris
GPJ-8259 grey Jeep, white female, 50. Overweight, smoking. #Fuckinghorn, yells at me to stay in the bike lane. There WAS no bike lane.
This was in the 15 mph part of East St; I was doing 23.
When we start requiring drivers to acknowledge that cyclists have a legal right to the road, this bullshit will stop.
Also, my front camera was on. I might have a good view of her face when I caught up w/her (of course) at the next traffic light.
Meanwhile, I had just biked 7mi of McKnight Rd & most of East St wo any trouble at all. Just her, right there, where I'm 133% of speed limit
I checked my camera. No, didn't get pic of Jeep driver, but do have decent audio. Will process & post when I get home.
Front video:
...end sequence

4 May
This is a public service announcement: When driving your car, turn off the motherfiretrucking phone. Last night, two good friends got mowed down by a texting driver, who stopped _not_ because he hit the cyclists, but because he also plowed into a parked car. No, the cyclists are not all right.
And, yes, I am emotionally a wreck.

5 May
I chose not to wear my front camera today, traveling by motorcycle. Mistake. I missed being able to video a car drift left over the center line *three times* in a half mile. Clearly texting. Around noon, Perry Hwy by the park & ride.

6 May
Walking westward from the bus tonight, on my road at the height of rush hour, I get to the blind curve. 12 cars in a row were on or over the paint line into where I would have to walk. This is the same curve where, when biking (going east), I get flat up against the yellow line, going uphill at about 6 mph for upward of 20 seconds. Without a bike there, they're coming around that curve at 35-40 mph. And that's also why I don't squeeze onto the shoulder on the bike, because they'd be flying around there and not see me until they were on top of me. On foot, I can see them and jump into the grass.

12 May
The only unpleasant part of the trip home was getting honked at by the Shaler Shop'n Save, as usual.

25 May
The next $175 I can lay my hands on, I am getting a new rear camera. This morning, I'm on West Commons alongside Allegheny Center, turning onto South Commons, then onto Sandusky. I'm sailing along at 20+ mph (posted 25), and I'm just enough in front of this black car that I got to the Sandusky light first. I also have a car in front of me. The three of us get the green, we all turn onto Sandusky, and poor baby sounds the horn because he has to follow a bicycle up to the light at Lacock, where the car in front of me waits for pedestrians before turning right. Meanwhile, I can slither by and actually get a little space up to the next light at General Robinson, but four seconds later, same black car right on my butt. I had a red for a short bit and now he's less than a car hood length off my back, tailing me past the Warhol Museum up to the bridge. Then of course goes screaming by me on the bridge (two lanes southbound). I caught up with him, of course, as he got stuck behind a van on Sixth Ave at Wood Street. The van wasn't going anywhere for a few seconds, so I slid in between him and the van, sideways, and screamed at him, "Really?" Then got back in the lane and followed the van up Sixth. The impatient idiot turned onto Wood.

26 May
Rolling coal, Babcock Blvd by Ross-Shaler line
If you know your vehicle can do this, and obscure your plate so nobody can report you when you do, you suck.


4 Jun
The power was off for over an hour this morning, so I walked up to Perry Hwy and rolled video for 15 minutes. Hardly anybody follows the rules.

9 Jun
JYJ-3133 white Jeep, first wouldn't give me 4ft. Then of course I caught him. Didn't wanna know what the law actually said.
His wife was impressed I could quote the law, chpt & verse.
Also worth noting the male driver of JYJ-3133 threatened to run me over at the next light.
And a shout-out to the driver of JYJ-3133, in a white Jeep in Millvale yesterday, who said he'd run me down if he caught up with me at the next light, because I dared to take the lane -- just yards after a sign that clearly says "[bicycle symbol] MAY USE FULL LANE". He beeped at me after seeing me in traffic two more times in the next 15 minutes, so I know he knows me on sight now.

17 Jun
HVD-1645, red Caddy SUV that then turned onto Edwood, why was it necessary to blow a horn in my ear while I was walking on t'other side?


9 Jul
JGL-?045 "?" was a 5,6,8,9 not sure. Silver 4-door sedan. First laid on the horn bc I was going too slow. Then passes me *& the bus* ...
...on a curve, at a traffic light. Somehow no oncoming traffic. This is on downhill 19 in WView btwn McD's & WVwParkDr.
Further note that I was in the car at the time! Not on a bike! Passes a car going 20 then a stopped bus & tries to cut in front of the bus.

12 Jul
KCM-2589 red Jeep-like thing, unnecessarily close pass, both right wheels on my side of the lane line when I'm clearly taking the lane.
This occurred on Perry Hwy, Ross Twp, in front of Pines Plaza, less than one mile from my house.

16 Jul
Adding JPY-1934 to my shitlist. I'm on the motorcycle, on a 2-lane road (Ferguson Rd in Hampton, between Mt Royal and Duncan), going 35 in a 35 zone. This car comes up behind me somewhere around Post Rd and tailgates me all the way down to Duncan. No more than a car length back for over a half mile. I pull away from the stop sign at Duncan, the driver pulls away right after, and again comes up right behind me, but this time also puts on the high beams and lays on the horn, and continues to follow me, barely a car length back. We get up to the corner at Peebles, and I get in the left turn lane to make the left, and he goes screaming past me going straight. OK, fine, there's nobody to tangle with so I abort the left and follow him down to Babcock. He tops out at about 51 mph, never going less than 45. The damn nerve! I've seen the high beam thing on a superhighway, but on a suburban two-laner where there's no passing? Fuck you, pal.

18 Jul
JXF-7341, silver car, passes me on the right in parking lane as I am getting to the right to make a right turn. Brighton by Calif/NCharles.
I am on the motorcycle, going 25 in a 25 zone.

21 Jul
HNC-9261 #fuckinghorn McKnight Rd. Had 250 yards to pass me, lays on horn, passes, makes immed R turn. On front video. Did not engage.

23 Jul
@PGHtransit KBZ-7491 gold/tan SUV turns L dir in front of moving bus, Sandusky/GenRobinson. Props to driver for avoiding crash!


8 Aug
GXY-9750 white Prius, #fuckinghorn, verbal abuse, Perry at Highland, WView

9 Aug
JXT-0440 white car, #fuckinghorn McKnight Rd. At that moment I was going 27 mph, pretty fast for the curb lane on a 40 road.

19 Aug
HVH-7696 white SUV, ignorance, honks instead of passing, then full bore pass. Perry Hwy nb, WView.


2 Sep
Stupid drivers on McKnight. I'm slowing for the red light ahead. Car on right passes me and changes lanes left because of the bus. Car on left had been directly behind me, passes and changes lanes right, nearly sideswiping the other car. They didn't touch, but it was close. The one on the left was most at fault, choosing to get back in the center lane when the left lane he got into was wide open. He just wanted to move in front of me.

7 Sep
JXF-8177 black SUV, tonight's #fuckinghorn awardee, Perry Hwy 1/2 mi from my house.

21 Sep
Last night's ride home was almost uneventful. I forgot about the nine-inch pass by a Pittsburgh motorcycle cop at the corner of Grant St and the Busway. It was actually two cops. One was in a marked car in the left lane, but his buddy on two wheels rode alongside and passed me in my lane, while I was taking the lane. So he managed to squeeze between me in the center of my lane, and the police car on his left. No lights, no siren, not responding to a call, not in any particular hurry, AFAICT.


9 Oct
YZL-2589 grey pickup, passes me on R in intersection of Perrysville & Ivory, has to climb median to do so, and #fuckinghorn, too.

14 Oct
I got another "fucking horn" on Perrymont this morning, as I took the lane approaching the top of a blind grade. Wasn't the car directly behind me, but the second in line. We all get up to the very long light at McKnight, I put down the kickstand, set the bike sideways in the middle of the road, and stormed back to have a word with the blithering idiot. She didn't put down her window, but I gave her an earful nevertheless. "Do you know WHY I have to take the lane here? So YOU won't try to do something senseless like trying to pass on a blind grade! And then decide to take ME out when you find a car staring you in the face! Next time, hold your horn, and be patient!" I did not swear. And the guy I had to walk past, twice, thanked me and told me that he knew the rules and gave me the space I needed. I thanked him in return. And as I got back to the bike, the light turned green.

18 Oct
I am hit from behind and thrown to the pavement after being tailgated over 200 yards. 7800 Perry Hwy, about a half mile from my house. Car stops; does not run me over. Police and ambulance respond. I am transported to Allegheny General Hospital. Treated and released. This has been resolved legally. Police filed no charges against the driver. Case is closed.

20 Oct
HTZ-3306, silver grey GM SUV, yells at me on Grant St to get in the bike lane. There is no bike lane on Grant St.

25 Oct
JSS-0222 black Subaru? Grant Ave, Millvale, punishment pass and verbal abuse; then made L turn 100 yards later anyway. I did not engage.

30 Oct
Tfw you're driving a car 31 in a 25 zone, and someone comes up behind you and leans on the horn because you're holding them up.


11 Nov
PA plate "PUGDOGS" #fuckinghorn, Perry Hwy soutbound just before Lindley Lane

13 Nov
JBJ-5271 white Caddy, close pass & close pull back in, Perry Hwy 100' b4 my turn onto Perrymont. Literally can see my house from here.

22 Nov
Perrymont unsafe pass
Front video:
Rear video:
Sure, pass me at the very top of a blind grade. With an oncoming car you could not possibly see. (It happens at about :55 in the front video. Rear camera, in first link, shows the guy never even thought about slowing as he approached.)

25 Nov
Perry Hwy past HOV, close pass
Rear video:
46 seconds on Perry Highway. If you see that the two cars immediately ahead of you are changing lanes to avoid something, maybe you should think about getting over, too. The driver of the Jeep waited until the very last second to start to pull around me.

29 Nov
Car passes me on right on inside of a blind curve. When did this become OK?
Front video:
Rear video:
Pretty sure passing someone on the right on the inside of a curve is illegal. Pushing me into the opposite lane is just bonus points. Film at 11.


16 Dec
Once more, I took evasive measures not to be killed. On foot this time, walking Perrymont, on that same curve where the car passed me on the right, this car comes out of that same curve and does not straighten out. Aims directly for me on the shoulder. I jump into the snow, he straightens out and continues up the road.

21 Dec
JYJ-6028, white ?Toyota, someone tell this fuckhead what 75-3301c1 means. #fuckinghorn, verbal abuse, tried to force me into line of parked cars.
Perry Hwy in Perrysville, barely 1.5 miles from my house. I'm wearing orange vest, taking lane bc there's nowhere else TO be. Wish I could have gotten today's idiot on video. Blared on the horn repeatedly, then pulls alongside me to chew me out for not riding on the shoulder. Good trick, with 15 parked cars along the curb. PA plate JYJ-6028. White male, 35-40ish. As usual, only 1.5 miles from home. Perry Hwy in Perrysville, between the 7-11 and the fire station.

21 Dec
EFT-8510, do I know you? Long horn, directed at me, but going the other dir on an empty 4-lane road. (Perry just S of HOV Lane entrance.)

28 Dec
KBZ-3566. Arrest this asshole and take away his license. I had to bail so as not to get hit at speed. No attempt at all to pass me. Video!
KBZ-3566 is going to get a call from the authorities. This is me, bailing, because the car you see at left made no attempt to change lanes to pass me. The left lane was empty. It's a four-lane road. Broad daylight. I'm wearing a blaze orange vest with a blinking light on my bright yellow helmet.

28 Dec
KCG-8367 inches away pass starting from light. Video.

* * *

Take note how many of these are on
  1. Perry Highway between Pines Plaza and my house, a distance of about a half mile.
  2. Then another set within the next mile, down to the hamlet of Perrysville.
  3. A third clump is along Perrymont Road, within 0.9 mile of my house.
  4. Along Babcock Blvd in Shaler, near the Shop'n Save

Both in quantity and quality, most of the trouble I face is within a mile or so of my house. I don't face nearly as much grief inside city limits. * * *

I have been keeping track like this for years. I only dug back through 2016 because it's a lot of work to assemble this list in this format. What I really want to do is see if there are any repeat offenders. What else I want is to know if anybody else in metro Pittsburgh has had bad encounters with any of these. If anything truly bad happens, this could be very useful in showing that there is past history, particularly if there is intentionality involved.

Expect no apologies for language or tone. If my life is being threatened, I will use whatever language is appropriate at that moment. If you feel you are in some way offended, YOU owe ME the apology for valuing some absurd decency standard more than my life and safety. And you can bet I will call you on it. I don't care who the hell you are, or how long I've known you. Grow the fuck up, and understand that language has a purpose, and some words are there to convey feelings, and being mortally threatened tends to bring out various words. If you're offended, YOU need to change, not me.

Friday, January 13, 2017

My input to PennDOT on self-driving car policy document

Yesterday, 12 January 2017, was the deadline to submit input to PennDOT on their proposed policy document for guidelines for R&D concerning self-driving cars, a.k.a. Highly Automated Vehicles (HAVs). A good many of us in the transportation community only found out about this on the last day, so had zero time to do much analysis and still attend to our day jobs.

Nevertheless, I took a few minutes to scan through the 96-page document, study who put it together, and employ a search tool to look for text strings like "bicycl", "horse", "motorc", and "wheelchair". They mention motorcades, but not motorcycles, I noticed. The developing board kindly included General Motors, but everyone there saw the world through a windshield. That was all I needed to know. So in a mere 10 minutes, I composed the following:

As preface, I am an ordinary citizen who commutes about 10 miles each way to an office job in downtown Pittsburgh from a single-family residence in the suburbs. I regularly make this trip by bicycle, and have many times encountered one of the Uber vehicles in traffic, often directly behind me.

In short, I have had no trouble at all with the Uber vehicles in Pittsburgh. I wish I could say the same for human operated cars.

My concern with the policy document is that bicycles get only a single mention, in the introductory paragraph. Nor is there any representation on the developing board of anyone from the at-risk communities: motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, horseback, motorized wheelchairs, among others. I was hoping for a more direct inclusion of those communities in the development of a policy document.

With regard to bicycles, Pittsburgh has a well defined cycling community, both at the representational level in Bike-Pgh, and various members who communicate with one another both in social media and in real life, and whose input could be helpful to anyone analyzing HAVs. Some mechanism to reach out to either or both for their input would be worth a mention. Ditto for other well populated areas of the state. If you did have this, and used that information, it would be a bragging point after all the work is done and these get official recognition. Not having it is opening yourselves to future criticism.

I have no serious objections to the rest of the document. I just want to make sure you are including all road users in your policy development, not just cars.