Archive for the ‘ falmunction ’ Category

No More Ms. Nicebike

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Ok, I really gave it a shot.

When I was hit by buses on my daily commute, I complained to the MBTA, the police, and our local “Bike Czar”.  ZERO ACTION

When I was repeatedly hit by cars while riding in the bike lane, adhering to the regulations of the road, I followed the same trail of bureaucracy and it led NOWHERE.

Remember this? I filled out quite a few of these complaint forms, and filled them with details of each violation and violator.  NO ACTION

I have repeatedly reported violations, to the point of  going on television (human interest, haha) to showcase the shortcomings of MBTA operators. Since then, the rampant negligence, hostility, and sometimes murderous intent of operators has remained unchanged. This tells me that though reports are being made, they have NO IMPACT on the daily lives of MBTA employees.

Now, the rumor is that Cambridge Police are stepping up cyclist-oriented ticketing. I’m sorry, what WHAT? If you, like me, ride these streets daily, you know that motorists make the monster share of traffic violations. Left on red, running through red, double parking, illegal u turns, harassment of other motorists, hit and runs – give me ten minutes and I can go out and grab at least ten examples on my phone camera. Between Brookline and Somerville, I’m hard pressed to see 5 cyclist run reds, but I have to witness motorists break the law at EVERY CYCLE OF LIGHTS AT EVERY INTERSECTION.

Again. WHAT THE FUCK, Cambridge Police?

If you want to protect cyclists, maybe you should TICKET MORE MOTORISTS.

Maybe this is community backlash brought on by the significant increase in T fares that seem to be on the horizon. Fellow cyclists, have you ever ridden by a 66 bus in October, the people inside sardined against the glass, and really taken a look at their faces? You can tell they’re seething with hate inside, choking on their projected image of the smug, healthy and happy cyclist cruising to work at their own pace every day. I can see how that kind of human wreckage could be feeling significant schadenfreude over this ticketing barrage.

We do not deserve it, and I for one will not fucking stand for it. I will not accept a ticket. Nor will I accept driver’s harassment, threats, taunts and assaults. I will defend myself in whatever manner I see fit, and do everything in my power to avoid street attention by our corrupt and misguided group of overlording institutions.

I gave it my best shot, I really did. Now I guess I’ll be dedicating this blog to the daily thrill of my rebellion. Stay tuned!




I see what you did there…

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

This is hilarious. At my favorite intersection, where I have almost been flattened on numerous occasions by MBTA buses running red lights, and where every day I watch conga lines of motorist blatantly ignore their signals, there is a new billboard.

Is this some kind of subliminal message to motorists? As if they need another reason to blow through this light.


Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Thanks to my 16-hole, Satan resistant apocalypse boots and my Gore-tex jacket I am only relatively skin-soaked today, despite the deluge. It’s just typical that we get this piss blast immediately after I’ve done my spring bike cleaning, isn’t it? Luckily (for Kranky), the first epic rainstorm of this month had already washed all the sand and grossness out into the dying ocean, and I have been able to make my way around town almost entirely splatter-free. I’m so glad I opted for fenders and a rack, rather than a sleek and speedy silhouette. I’m never daunted in my tasks, no matter the weather or the cargo… though I DO need to pick up a bunch of TP, asap, and I like to buy that in BULK. Unwieldy to say the least. I should probably wait for a sunny day, lest I end up with a cargo load of paper maché.

I’m still waiting for a response from the MBTA on the continued bad behavior, but I’m not going to hold my breath. If the BPD doesn’t care about the laws broken by the MBTA, and the general populace would prefer speed over safety, then what is one person going to be able to accomplish? I’m thinking, not so much. I hate to say it, but I really do believe that the MBTA will continue to remain unaccountable for it’s operator’s behavior until someone is struck and killed by a bus, specifically while on a bike. And god willing there are witnesses, because I highly doubt the driver would notice – they apparently didn’t notice when they struck me on two separate occasions. It’s a dark topic, but one that I must address before the fact; I truly hope I never find myself in the position to say, “I told  you so.”.

No News is Bad News

Friday, March 19th, 2010

After my interview with WBZ News and correspondence with John Houghton of the MBTA, I decided to lay low for a while and observe the outcome of this activity. It is with profound disappointment that I report absolutely no change in the illegal driving activity of the MBTA buses. In the last three weeks I have observed and reported numerous buses running red lights, buses offloading passengers in the middle of the street rather than a designated bus stop, and I have once again been hit by an MBTA bus that did not stop.

It has become apparent that nothing is changing, and that accountability is a thing of myth and legend when it comes to the MBTA.

What am I to do next?

I attempted to follow up on the reports I have made to the MBTA by calling and requesting information; citing the ‘pin number’ that was assigned to my complaint. What I received was a lecture about procedure, “your complaint is taken by the MBTA communications office and sent to the Administration/Garage, where it is reviewed and it is possible that the driver was held accountable”. That’s great, but that  doesn’t tell me anything about MY personal case. How can I hold the MBTA accountable, and specifically the DRIVER WHO HIT ME WITH A BUS, if the MBTA refuses to release information? I am still awaiting a call back from the supervisor of the complaint line; I requested the driver’s ID number, which they are legally bound to give you if you request it. We’ll see if they call back.

Death by Misadventure

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I know it may not come across, but the truth is that my greatest fear on the road is not the other people.  I understand human nature, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the next douchebag is going to act like a douchebag, much like the last douchebag. This is why I’m still alive (knock on titanium). What I fear the most is the great and unexpected Falmunction. The unpredictable structural discombobulation that can happen at any time but most often happens at the VERY WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT, and sends you spinning off into oblivion with no control and no way to save yourself.

This has happened to me a couple times in the past few months. Once while cresting the Harvard Ave. bridge – I was riding my chopper and the internal hub just… disintegrated. leaving me with no forward gears and no coaster brake. I had to Fred Flintstone myself to a stop to avoid coasting right into traffic on frantic Memorial Drive. The second time was just last week, when the gear cable on my Liesurenaught went kablooey right in the center of the intersection of Harvard and Cambridge (the site of another bicyclist’s death, ugh). Luckily I had learned from my last mistake, and my coaster brake and hand brake were in fine condition, so despite my lack of forward momentum I still had enough control to get myself to the curb.
When I read about the death of Tracy Milillo, particularly the statement,

Capt. Michael Gropman said the vehicle may have never made contact with Milillo’s bike.”

I was struck by how many times I’ve hit the bricks… or the curb or whatever, without ever having been threatened by a motor vehicle. Just yesterday, on my way into work I was welcomed into Allston by this little gift, which instantly deflated my tire and sent me wobbling into the right hand lane of traffic.

1 1/2" wood screw. Screw You.

1 1/2" wood screw. Screw You.

Good old Allston, always good for some road confetti.

How many times have people been chucked under the wheels of oncoming traffic because they installed new brake pads and forgot to loosen the calipers? How many cool kids on fixies with no brakes and no helmet (see: me last year and for 3 years prior) dropped a chain and then panicked, rolling right into oncoming traffic? And how would anyone know in the aftermath? How can you check a bike for ‘defects’ if it’s been rolled over by 2 tons of steel?

I used to foam at the mouth over drivers being let go without being charged after having been involved in cycling accidents, particularly when a cyclist is hurt.. but now I’m not so sure of myself. Particularly after my own recent experiences, which all happened, I might add, after I’d gotten my bike worked on by a local shop. Mishap due to pilot error is one thing – you can plan for that, you can mouse around and ride like Grandma taught you. But if your cable breaks, or your ball bearings go ‘KLONK!’ and seize up, or your brake pad shifts and rips out all your spokes… it’s the stuff of nightmares. Better wear your helmet.