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Comment Re:I'm a cyclist too, and you're victim-blaming (Score 2) 947

It's an example of how 95% of cyclists in my city and many others ride.

ANECDOTES ARE NOT EVIDENCE. You used it to support your claim that all cyclists are law-breaking, reckless, and cause their own injuries.

Cyclists are not reckless compared to anyone else using the road, and their behavior is substantially less reckless given that when they commit the same traffic infractions, they only endanger themselves. NYC counts cyclist-on-ped injuries and they account for less than 1% of total pedestrian injuries; the other 99% are motor vehicles.

Further, your claim that this reckless behavior equates to causes of injuries and deaths, is also bullshit. There are numerous studies and reviews that disprove this myth.

Again: just like women who blame rape victims for getting raped (she was drunk, she was dressed inappropriately, she shouldn't have been on that street, she shouldn't have been alone, etc) you're constructing a myth to convince yourself that you're better, and won't get injured or killed because you're better. You're doing it again, sanctimoniously talking about sport/recreational riders now (what does their clothing have to do with it?) Some day, a driver is going to do something illegal, you're not going to be able to avoid it despite how amazingly awesome a perfect bike rider you are in your non-spandex shorts. Then you'll get to witness first-hand the victim-blaming crap I've experienced.

Here's some real facts and studies:

Australian helmet cam study:

London study:

UK-wide study:

Toronto study which found cyclists at fault in TEN PERCENT of crashes:

Comment Re:Ad marking (Score 2) 185

Time to resurrect the blinky tag?

Maybe time to resurrect the pink/tan background Google used to put on ads. Over time, the ad background became lighter and lighter. At one time, Google was under a Federal Trade Commission ruling requiring them to clearly distinguish ads from content. Google seems to have escaped from that.

It's getting harder to tell content from ads. Google Shopping is an interesting case. Everything on Google Shopping is a paid ad now. Google Shopping used to be a price search engine, but in 2012, it became strictly pay to play. For a while after the transition, our Ad Limiter was trimming down Google Shopping pages to one entry, because the links there are ad links. That was overkill - you got a nearly blank page with one result. So we backed off on that. Google Shopping also has explicit ads on top of the search results, which are ads too. Google is overdoing it there.

Ad recognition is an interesting problem. We do it by looking at where links go. Then we analyze the page layout in the add-on to find the boundaries of the ad. This is quite different from most screen-scrapers, which rely on specific named CSS tags. So we don't have to update our add-on very often, and it recognizes most new kinds of ads automatically.

AdBlock Plus has a big file of regular expressions for recognizing ads, which are frantically updated as sites change their HTML and CSS. Advertisers can pay to not have your ad blocked by AdBlock Plus. That's the problem with an add-on that's high-maintenance. Somebody has to pay for the maintenance.

Comment Re:statistically, cyclists don't hit pedestrians (Score 1) 947

Perhaps I should have clarified - in my town, cyclists over the age of 18 are considered motor vehicle operators and thus, legally ineligible to travel on the sidewalks. Therefore, any incident of a cyclist hitting a pedestrian on a sidewalk in this city is automatically ruled to be the cyclists fault.

That doesn't change the nature of your claim that cyclists hitting pedestrians - anywhere - is a significant problem.

Call your local police department and ask them for how many pedestrians were hit by motor vehicles this year. Then ask how many cyclists hit pedestrians.

It's liable to be a 99%/1% ratio, or thereabouts.

Separately: there's nothing like criminalizing a behavior people do because they feel safer. The reason people ride on sidewalks is because they're terrified to ride in the road. And why is that, exactly, hmm?

Comment research contradicts Forester and you (Score 3, Interesting) 947

I have an older version, but effectively the injury/death rate is mostly effected by poor decisions by the cyclist, not the car.

First off, "the car" doesn't do anything. The driver does. You're attributing behavior to an inanimate object, something I see people do constantly.

Second: several decades of research proves your claim wrong. Most collisions are due to the driver doing something illegal, sometimes simply failing to yield because they think they have right-of-way over someone on a bicycle.

Australian helmet cam study:

London study:

UK-wide study:

Toronto study which found cyclists at fault in TEN PERCENT of crashes:

The list goes on. Keep in mind that studies which are based off police reports that aren't carefully analyzed are typically faulty because police very often incorrectly side with motorists, don't interview cyclists, witness statements are wrong, etc. It's common to review a report, see obvious signs that the motorist did something illegal, and police do not cite them, and often cite the cyclist.

This guy was hit and two witnesses and the driver claimed he ran a red light; police tried to give him a ticket for running the light. He knew he hadn't. He found video from a traffic camera showing very clearly that he was cut off by the driver - what we call a "left cross":

It should make you stop and think to consider that many cyclists ride with helmet cameras. There's a reason - drivers lie, police don't believe us (or very often we're incapacitated or otherwise unable to defend ourselves), and witnesses are discriminatory towards cyclists or simply don't understand traffic laws or think they saw what they didn't.

Comment base infrastructure off behavior? OK (Score 1) 947

It's caused a lot of tension between drivers and cyclists because there's a sense amongst drivers (and pedestrians too, for that matter) that we're spending millions of tax dollars catering to a group who a) don't follow the rules of the road and b) feel that the rules don't apply to them.

If we applied that logic, we'd stop building roads entirely.

In my city, I routinely see people driving down the road with their headlights off in the middle of the night. Cops don't care.

Crosswalks? I stop at crosswalks on my bike for peds; drivers frequently blow by me, even when I intentionally swing further out into the lane to help the ped cross.

Despite an anti-texting law, drivers are constantly staring at their phones, and it's quite common to see a light change, and they just sit there, staring at their phone. I've watched driver sit through an entire green light cycle if there wasn't someone behind them.

Our red lights can't be taken at face value because there's a good chance for up to several seconds after the other direction has had a red light, some asshole will fly through the light above the 30mph speed limit; you have to look both ways before entering an intersection with a green light these days. Sometimes people just drive through lights that have been red because they don't see any other traffic.

That represents substantially more of a threat to public safety than someone on a bike going through a red light, where they by and large only place themselves at risk (and thus have a vested interest in crossing safely.)

The only reason you think cyclist-red-light-running is such a problem is because you're used to drivers doing it constantly, cyclists are a minority, and you're a driver.

Comment Ad marking (Score 2) 185

Please add a feature to let me change the background of all AD's on google so they are obvious to older people.

Now that's an interesting idea. We dim out lower-rated search results slightly, but it's so subtle visually that few people notice. We certainly could do something to make it easier to identify ads.

Comment Re:Ad limiting (Score 1) 185

Best ads...who is "we"? Is there a community voting mechanism or is "we" strictly within your company walls? If it's the former, you've got a good chance at succeeding.

We know that "community voting" doesn't work. It's so heavily spammed it's useless.

What we do is find info about the company from public records, business databases, etc. If we can't find the real-world business behind the web site, we downrate it. It's a filter for "bottom-feeders", businesses hiding behind a web site and an email address.

Comment I'm a cyclist too, and you're victim-blaming (Score 4, Interesting) 947

As a cyclist, I'd like to weigh in that it's the cyclists' fault.

As a cyclist, I'd like to weigh in that you're full of it, and engaging in thinking/logic that's a cousin to the basic logic employed by racists. You cite some guy riding extremely dangerously as an example of how everyone rides. You rely on an anecdote, which is not evidence. And then you state that this behavior is what causes all/most injuries, which is victim-blaming.

Turns out, there's plenty of studies on this subject, from all across the world, using various methods. They typically find between 66% and 90% of collisions are the fault of motorists, and the cyclist was doing nothing wrong or improper when they were hit. The top causes of injuries in most cities are doorings (which in many places is automatically the door-openers fault, even if it's not specifically codified into law, as virtually all jurisdictions make opening a door into the path of "traffic" illegal), right hooks (driver passes you and then immediately slows/turns, cutting you off and blocking your path), and left-crosses (left turn in front of you, illegally failing to yield to oncoming traffic.) None are the cyclist's fault.

The reason you're engaging in this victim-blaming is for a psychological self-defense mechanism. See, it's scary when a cyclist gets hit or killed, especially if they weren't doing anything wrong. That means it could happen to you. In order to protect yourself from that danger mentally, you see yourself as superior. "I ride safely." "I follow all the laws." "I have really bright lights." "I'm not riding a cheap bike, mine's better and well-maintained." Tada! You now ride proudly and feeling "safe."

Well, guess what? I follow the law. I have years of experience riding in the city. I know all the protect-yourself techniques. I have great lights. I ride a really nice bike with great disc brakes and it's well maintained. I've still been hit.

or slammed their brakes on and caused a lot of (probably harmless, but expensive) rear-end collisions. I would fully support the cop who arrests your fucking ass for that

The officer would ticket the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the other for failing to follow at a safe distance. Nice try.

Comment statistically, cyclists don't hit pedestrians (Score 3, Informative) 947

but what about one that runs over a pedestrian because he was riding on the sidewalk?

If you bothered to google this: cyclists are involved in collisions with .6% of pedestrian injuries in NYC that warrant a trip to the doctor, ER, or a police report.

The other 99.4% are motor vehicle drivers.

The statistics do not account for whether the cyclist or pedestrian is at fault. Quite a few pedestrians rely on hearing to tell if a vehicle is coming - I have people step right into the road in front of me all the time, and it's particularly annoying since I'm more likely to be injured trying to avoid them and hitting something or crashing, or glancing off them and then crashing. They're likely to only get a bruised rib, whereas I'll probably get a broken arm.

Comment Re:Hydrogen is indeed quite dangerous... (Score 1) 479

If solar energy were dirt cheap but batteries were still for shit, then yeah, using H2 as a storage medium wouldn't be so bad. However, both PVCs and batteries are getting better all the time. The latest lithium-air batteries actually have the same energy density as gasoline. H2's density is still better of course, but has a host of storage problems that make even a lesser storage system more appealing.

Comment Ad limiting (Score 2) 185

I'm the author of Ad Limiter, which blocks most ads in search results from Google and Bing. By default, it lets just one ad display, the best one based on our site legitimacy ratings.

So this is something else to identify, rate and block.

(I'm surprised that Google is getting into banners. Targeted search ads are much more valuable than banners. Banner ad click-through rates are so low as to barely be measurable.)

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