Dave Moulton

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Monday
Oct152018

Watch out for the Left Cross

I first posted this video here in September 2010, soon after the incident happened. I post it again because this is one of the most common causes of serious injury and death to both cyclists and motorcyclists. The more people made aware of this, the better.

University of Iowa football player Josh Koeppel miraculously escaped serious injury when the driver of a pickup truck made a left turn in front of him at an intersection.

Koepple’s motorcycle slammed into the front of the truck, and he was thrown into the air, landing on his side in the roadway. It appears in the video that he never made bodily contact with the truck which was fortunate.

The driver of the white pickup truck does not even slow as he makes the left turn, and will no doubt plead that he didn’t even see the motorcycle and rider.

While not excusing this act of gross negligence, it is probably true the driver didn’t see the approaching motorcycle. Watch the video a second time and you will notice a black car, followed by a light colored car waiting to turn left in the opposite direction.

Josh Koeppel was probably hidden from view behind these vehicles as he and the white truck approached the intersection, giving the driver the impression the road was clear, which is why he doesn’t even slow.

Once he starts the turn he is now looking in the direction he is traveling, no longer looking for oncoming traffic.

It behooves the cyclist or motorcyclist to look for vehicles in the center lane making a left turn. (A right turn in the UK.) Assume the driver has NOT seen you, rather than assume he has.  

 

Click here to watch a larger version on YouTube. 

I wrote about this very scenario previously 

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Monday
Oct082018

Statistics

37.8 % of all statistics are made up on the spot by the 26.9% of statisticians who are in the ball park when they should be back at the office gathering facts to back up their statistics.

I can vouch for the validity of those figures because I just made them up. Whether or not you find that funny will depend on your falling into the 49.3% of people who are skeptical over statistics.

The thing that makes something funny is when a statement contains a modicum of truth, and the point here is that some of us are skeptical of certain statistics. Whether we buy into them depends on our opinions to begin with.

Here is one I see all the time:

 “Wearing a bike helmet is estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent.” 

I’m not sure where this one started, but it has been around for thirty years or more and I’m assuming that originally it had some other statistics and solid data to back up that figure.

It has been repeated over, and over again so many times, that it is now stated as fact without reference to the original study. When you analyze the 85% all it does is reinforce a person’s view that bike helmets are a good idea, only if that person held that view to begin with.

Without the original study and the data to back it up, 85% is as meaningless a number as the ones I made up at the start of this piece. Like many statistics, the number is big enough that it sounds good, but not too big. This makes it believable if you don't give it too much thought. I think this has given this particular statistic its longevity.

I don’t even know any more if wearing a helmet is supposed to reduce injury by 85% or does it reduce death by 85%? People have accidents with and without helmets, some are injured and some die, but can anyone prove to me that it is even close to 85% survivor and 15% casualty rate.

Debates about helmet use can become as passionate as any religious or political debates. One argument is that helmets make cycling appear more dangerous than it really is. Around 800 cyclists are killed each year on US streets and highways. (A little over 2 per day.) A small number compared to the 100 or more people who die each day in automobiles. (These are statistics that a simple Google search will confirm.)

Of course far more people drive cars than ride bikes, but even so in a country with a population well over 300 million, slightly more than two cycling deaths a day is not what I would label a dangerous activity. Unfortunately, the general population does not see it this way.

Jurors in civil cases often have a bias against cyclists. They view cycling on the public highways as a highly dangerous practice, and when people are perceived to engage in dangerous activities, juries tend to place some of the blame on the participant. This has a direct effect on the amount of compensation they award.

By voluntarily wearing a helmet you at least appear to a jury or an insurance adjuster to be someone who takes responsibility for their safety. They cannot award you less with the argument that you didn’t wear a helmet, therefore you contributed to your own injuries.

Unfortunately the 85% helmet statistic gives legislators fuel to press for mandatory helmet use for cyclists. While many more people die each year from a simple trip or slip and fall than from cycling related accidents.

During the bike-boom years of the 1970s, helmet manufacturers in the US saw an opportunity, and American cyclists being equipment conscious, accepted the helmet. It was however, decades later before the rest of the world followed suit. Even today the helmet is only accepted by cycling enthusiasts, not the general public.

Far more pedestrians and car drivers die each day from head injuries, yet no one suggests they should wear head protection. Maybe upon waking each morning we should place a helmet on our head before we even put slippers on our feet, not removing it until we return to bed that evening. Viewed in this light it makes the whole issue somewhat ludicrous.

Making helmets mandatory only re-enforces the general public’s view that cycling is dangerous. I still maintain that wearing a helmet should be a personal choice, making them mandatory stops some from taking up cycling in the first place.

Most start riding a bike without a helmet, a few will become serious and eventually buy a better bike and all the equipment that goes with it, which will probably include a helmet.

To sum up I wear a helmet because it offers some protection. I don’t believe it is even close to 85%, but wearing one can’t hurt. I may hit a pot hole and fall on my head, in which case my helmet may save me from serious injury. But a crash involving a motor vehicle? The best way to avoid injury there is to ride defensively and circumvent the collision altogether.

 

First posted in 2014. Accident figures have been updated to reflect today’s trends.

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Monday
Oct012018

Raphael Geminiani

Raphael Geminiani was born in France on July 12, 1925.

His parents were Italian immigrants who had moved to France in 1920 to escape Fascism.

Although he never won a Grand Tour, he stood on the podium of all three Grand Tour events, a total of six times.

He was second to Hugo Koblet in the 1951 Tour de France, and also won the King of the Mountains title that year.

Geminiani was also 3rd in the 1958 Tour de France behind Charly Gaul of Luxembourg and Vito Favero of Italy.

He won the Mountains Jersey in the Giro d’Italia in 1952 and 1957.

In addition, Geminiani was 3rd in the 1955 Vuelta a Espana behind Jean Dotto of France and Antonio Jimenez of Spain.

He raced in an era of other great riders such as Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, and Jean Robic.

Above: At the finish of the 1951 Tour de France in Paris. Raphael Geminiani (Left.) 2nd. Place, and King of the Mountains. With the winner Swiss rider Hugo Koblet (Right.)

Raphael Geminiani grew up with a cycling background, his father owned a bike shop, and coached the young Raphael when he started racing in 1943. This was during the German occupation of France in WWII, when cycle races were still held.

Geminiani began his cycle racing career as an amateur at the same time as the other great French rider Louison Bobet. The two were sometimes on the same team, but more often than not were great rivals. Pictured together above with Bobet on the left.  

(Above.) Raphael Geminiani narrowly outsprints Italian Gino Bartali to win the 21st stage of the 1952 Tour de France. Alltogether he won seven stages of the TDF between 1949 and 1955 and wore the yellow leader's jersey for four days.

When Geminiani retired as a professional cyclist in 1960 he became a successful directeur sportif, notably of Jacques Anquetil and the St-Raphaël team. Anquetil was the first to win the Tour de France five times.

Raphael Geminiani also co-sponsored the St. Raphael Team, and marketed a line of Geminiani brand of bicycles that were built by the French Mercier bicycle manufacturer.

Above: Raphael Geminiani with Jacques Anquetil on the right.

In 1953 Geminiani rode for Fausto Coppi on his Bianchi Team, the two were lifelong friends. In late 1959 Raphael was part of a group that went on a hunting trip to Africa.

He shared a room with Fausto Coppi and the two contracted malaria. Geminiani returned to France and although seriously ill, he was correctly diagnosed, treated, and made a full recovery.

Fausto Coppi however, was miss-diagnosed by his Italian doctors and as a result died. He was only forty years old.

Raphael Geminiani was a hero of my teen years when I started racing in the 1950s. He turned 93 this year is one of the few living connections to the legends of that great era of cycling. He once stated, “There is not a day goes by that I do not think of Fausto Coppi.”

 

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Monday
Sep242018

What Model Fuso?

Some Fuso owners, or would be owners, are not sure what model they are looking at. So I created this Infomercial with photos and the relevant info. It will be perminantly on my Registry linked to the Fuso page.

Click on the image to view this larger version.

 

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Monday
Sep172018

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence came ashore in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday 14th of September. It was a Category 1 Storm, and could have been worse, but with 90 mph winds along with the storm surge and heavy rain causing widespread flooding. There was loss of life, people’s homes and businesses were destroyed. It was a catastrophic event.

I live in South Carolina, 100 miles south of Wilmington, and 20 miles inland from the coast. I was never in physical danger, or even inconvenienced by the forces of nature. I was however, inconvenienced by the forces of human nature.

Compared to the suffering of my neighbors to the north, my inconveniences are trivial, and I only mention them because I think it is interesting to make a study of the way people act in a crisis, or even the perceived threat of a crisis.

About ten days ago I started to see lines at my local gas stations and some even running out of gas, this is my early warning that a major storm is on its way.

People at the supermarket have cartloads of bottled water, and are buying as many as ten loaves of bread. The shelves empty and stores close their doors. So I pull up the weather channel online and sure enough Hurricane Florence is headed towards the East Coast.

However, the storm was still ten days away, way out in the Atlantic and is heading for Wilmington, North Carolina. As already mentioned that is a hundred miles north of where I live in South Carolina. These storm tracking maps are pretty accurate, so I wondered why people in my area are panicking.

Then the Governor of South Carolina came on TV to issue a mandatory evacuation order for the entire coast of South Carolina. The State of Virginia on the other side of North Carolina issued a similar order. People are advised to evacuate, and freeway east-bound lanes are opened up to west-bound traffic, so the entire freeway can move people inland.

But apart from that, no help or advice is given. So you have two million people and upwards, moving inland at the same time. There are not enough hotel beds for that many people, and gas stations on the way do not have enough gas for that many vehicles. Many end up stranded by the roadside, out of gas, without toilet facilities, or food and water. Everyone I have spoken to who have evacuated in the past say, “Never again, it is a nightmare.”

Some poor and elderly people do not have a reliable vehicle or the financial means to evacuate. Such a trip can cost as much as $4,000, with hotel rooms, restaurant food and gas. Then there is at least two weeks lost wages, because everyone evacuates a week before the storm, then it takes a week to get home because the freeways ae no longer opened both sides to incoming traffic as they were on the way out.

Last Monday my doctor’s office called to cancel an appointment I had the next day, because of the storm. “For goodness sake,” I said. “The storm is not due until Friday.” All local Walmart stores also closed their doors on Monday, as did several major drug stores. Banks closed on Wednesday, and the Post Office closed and mail delivery ceased. UPS and FedEx suspended deliveries too. The weather, by the way, was warm and sunny the whole week before the storm.

Days before the storm was due to reach land, the news and weather channel kept up their, “You’re all gonna die” mantra. “It’s a Category 3, it could become a 4.” Never saying, “It’s a 3 but could weaken to a 2.” Which is what it eventually did, and was a Cat, 1 by the time it hit shore.

I heard one twenty something weather caster say, “This could be the worst storm of a lifetime.” I thought, “Did she really say that? Was that scripted, or did she just make that up?”

Then on Thursday, one day before the storm was due to hit, the forecast changed slightly and showed the storm track would dip slightly into the northern part of South Carolina. The Governor of South Carolina came on TV again and said, “It’s coming your way, it’s time to get out of Dodge.” (Yes, he really said, “Get out of Dodge.")

It was like, all those who had not previously panicked, now had permission to panic, and there was a second wave of evacuations. Although I am not a weather expert, I do know that once a hurricane hits land, it loses strength, and a Cat 1 will become a Tropical Storm. That means heavy rain and winds of no more than 65 mph. And that is not life threatening. In fact I’ve ridden bike races in worse weather.

As it happened, on Saturday the storm passed north and came nowhere near where I live. There was a light drizzle of rain all day and a slight breeze blowing. By Sunday as I write this, the sun is shining again.

Do I feel duped by those who would have had me evacuate? No. The Governor of SC is just a politician covering his ass. And as for the media, they always make a situation dire. It is what gets more viewers and sells more advertising.

The weather maps said the storm would hit Wilmington a week before it hit. These maps once again proved accurate, so why throw three states into panic and disruption? It is up to the individual to try to keep a realistic and positive outlook, and then make an informed decision.

Sadly, people have a “Follow the herd” mentality, and cling to their fears like some bizarre security blanket.

 

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