Before the Fast and the Furious…

Cool Story, Bro: Fresh outta high school, I played collegiate tennis at SRJC, studied computer science, chased girls in the original social media chat rooms & instant messages of AOL, a decade before Google went public. I rarely attended web design classes because I was in the lab already designing web sites and being paid. I began acquiring domains in 1999 and blogged my lifestyle in a new sub-culture called Import Racing. I traveled to Japan and Los Angeles to gain a further edge on the sub-culture. Generally, people had no idea what the Internet was, even Spam didn’t know what the Internet was. Pyra Labs sent me an official Blogger sweater when Google bought it in 2003. Pyra Labs was Google’s 3rd acquisition and has since purchased 173+ companies. My website traffic averaged 50,000 views a month (FYI: 4.0% of world population was online in 1999, versus 40.0% in 2014). In command of an Internet presence with a global audience, I was paid to blog, a feat illusive to 99.9% of bloggers to this day. Hollywood reacted with the film, The Fast and the Furious (2001 Cohen). We were just teenagers and were resistant to the idea of business, though my friends were hired as extras in the film. That same year, The Guardian UK published an article that my brother and me, the “Tai Bros,” were the inspiration for the film’s story. Six sequels later, Furious 7 (2015 Wan), joined Universal’s biggest franchise of all time with over $2.3B in earnings. Reference: http://zteamyossi.com

The Fast and the Furious poster 2001

Liu’s intentions are good, but her approach is misguided.

jenn chan ride wosPeople that choose to ride bikes, San Francisco, California. Photo by: Linda Poeng

Regarding: Carol Liu, 25th District D-Glendale California, proposing a law, Senate Bill 192, mandatory reflective clothing, helmets for adults that choose to bike. A bill that would make California the only state in the nation to require bike helmets for adults.

I am a believer in bike helmets and have used regularly since 1975. (Three of them have given up their lives in major crashes, saving me from major concussions and/or brain surgeries.) I am also a League Cycling Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists and an experienced urban and road cyclist who always urges my fellow cyclists to wear properly-fitted cycling helmets on every ride.

I do not support mandatory helmet laws, in large part for the reasons cited below by BJ Toepper: the biggest obstacles to safer cycling are the hazardous nature of car-centric roadways and consistently unsafe driver behavior. When combined with the dearth of universal bike safety education that includes bike-handling skills and collision avoidance training, it is no surprise that car-bike collisions cause most injuries and deaths among cyclists.

I expect better journalistic investigation and wiser editorials from a newspaper than the Contra Costa Times. Unfortunately, the CCT news piece endorses yet another paternalistic and marginal solution.

If genuine risk reduction is the goal of legislators like Senator Carol Liu, they should mandate the redesign of our streets and roads so they are as safe and accessible for all people that walk, ride, skate, wheelchair, and choose alternative methods of transportation. While this strategy would be politically risky, redesigning and reorienting our roadways for use by people instead of motor vehicles would create a safer environment, thus saving lives as is the intent of the bill.

In the absence of prioritizing impactful transportation and roadway designs, Liu’s bill is simply one more manifestation of a patronizing “blame the victim” approach to bike safety that does nothing to reduce the real causes of car-bike collisions. The real causes of injury and death to cyclists are: 1) unsafe roadways that leave no room for cyclists, and 2) motorists who are absolved of responsibility when they ignore, harass, or “don’t see” cyclists. People that cycle remain a politically “invisible” minority on the road–even when we wear yards of reflective gear and use extra-bright lights, as I do.

No matter how many helmets I wear or how many lights and reflectors I use, the roadways I help pay for with my taxes are not safe for people. The solution then is to prevent the cause of injuries and deaths to cyclists by prioritizing the updating of vehicle codes, car-centric cultural norms, and the designs of streets.

– Jon Spangler, February 21, 2015.

#localheroes Crockett-Martinez Race

WoS

…In May 1973, age sixteen, Tom Ritchey entered the prestigious Crockett–Martinez race, even though it was for over-eighteens only. One by one, he destroyed the field, including two members of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team. He was subsequently disqualified for being underage, but the legend of the “Senior Slayer” was gaining momentum. “If Tom rode with the juniors, it wasn’t even a bike race,” said Shawn Farrell, a contemporary who became the technical director of USA Cycling. “He was the greatest natural talent we’d seen in the United States at that point.” Cycling legend Gary Fisher, six years older than Tom, recalled Tom with barely suppressed awe. “He was a hot junior — oh, my God, he was good. He was just this punk kid who was totally unbeatable.”

A key figure in Tom’s development was Jobst Brandt, an engineer from Hewlett-Packard…

The Crockett–Martinez race course is pictured below. WoS! #localheroes

Crocket Martinez Road Race