Sunday, January 27, 2008


Driver who killed teenager sues parents over damage to his car
By Harold Heckle
The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 01/25/2008 05:24:00 PM MST

Posted: 5:23 PM- MADRID, Spain -- A
speeding motorist who killed a teenage cyclist is suing the boy's parents over damage to his luxury car, the government says.

Enaitz Iriondo, 17, died instantly in August 2004 when businessman Tomas Delgado's Audi A8 crashed into him at 100 mph near Haro in northern Spain, an Interior Ministry traffic report said. The speed limit was 55 mph.

Iriondo was not wearing reflective clothing or a helmet, the ministry report said. As the sun had set when he crossed the path of Delgado's car from a side road, a regional court found both parties at fault and closed the case, the report said.

Get this. The driver is going 45 miles over the speed limit, and the cyclist is not wearing gear he isn't legally required to wear (based on US vehicle code, which I've heard is similar to what's required in most European countries). Yet they are both considered at fault.

"Chutzpah" is headline used by the person who sent me this article, and that's pretty appropriate term.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Water-filtering bike

"The Aquaduct is a pedal powered vehicle that stores, filters and transports water; aimed for use in the developing world. It consists of a storage tank, filter, peristaltic pump, clean tank and clutch."

It's an interesting idea and worth a look if you like engineering designs of this sort. I think it would be better if it were two-piece (bicycle separate from tank/filter apparatus), but then I didn't design it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter Bike to Work Day

I didn't make it this year. I was working from home while the chimney guys did some tuckpointing on my chimney. But Dave B. did as usual. Here's his report:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bicycle Licence Plates?

The League of Illinois Bicyclists seems like a fine organization doing good work, and I'm happy to be a member, but I don't have to agree with everything they do.

Annually, they flog their commemorative license plate, which costs $28 and can be used for one month instead of a regular plate. A bicycle license plate on your car always seemed to me like a commemorative handgun for a pacifist, and I've always passed.

But wait!

This year, they are trying for a permanent plate:

"This year we are working a getting a permanent SHARE THE ROAD license
plate for Illinois and are surveying our plate holders. We must get a
minimum of 850 firm commitments for this to happen."

There only need to be 850? No wonder Illinois has so many difference license plates. The Illinois Secretary of State's office lists the following plates:

* Amateur Radio
* America Remembers

So, who can quickly tell me what we are remembering here?

* Antique Vehicle
* B-Truck
* Charitable Vehicle
* Collegiate [21 different plates for various colleges]
* Education
* Environmental
* Farm Truck & Trailer
* Firefighter Memorial
* Hearing Impaired
* Illinois Hospice

* Illinois Michigan Canal
* Illinois Pan Hellenic Series [Four of these, honoring those fraternities who have had the most drunk driving arrests over the years.]
* Mammogram
* Master Mason
* Mileage Tax Truck
* Military [18 different plates]
* Motorcycle [3 plates]
* Organ Donor [only one! I was expecting one plate for each organ, but no...]

* Park District Youth
* Passenger
* Peoria Wildlife
* Persons With Disabilities
* Pet Friendly

* Police Memorial
* Prevent Violence
* Recreational Trailers
* Recreational Vehicles
* Route 66
* Sporting Series [There are 6 of these: duck, turkey, rival gang member, bass, pheasant, duck]
* Trailers
* Trucks over 8000 lbs.

How can such a confusing array of license plates possibly serve one of the main purposes of license plates, which is to allow people to easily identify the car? The answer is, that this confusing array just causes confusion. With such a small minimum order, it's hard to imagine the state ends up making much net income from these. But they make a lot of political interests happy. Do cyclists have to stoop so low?