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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Does Riding A Bike Make You Smarter?

I came across this article from the Independent that discuss the way biking can effect our brains.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/the-cycle-path-to-happiness-8422706.html

It struck me as interesting because I realized this is exactly how I felt on my bike.  When riding, even in a group, my thoughts tend to roam around.  I come up with ideas, I solve work problems, or finish legal briefs in my head.  I also have moments where there are no thoughts -- just as the writer discusses miles going by without any recollection of where you have just been riding.  It is freedom. Bliss.

Not only that, but after most rides I feel invigorated.  I want to do more with my day. I want to eat and be healthier.  I feel motivated.  Overall, I feel good.  I don't know if cycling has made me smarter, I would like to think I am already smart.  However, to me it is clear that I am more motivated after rides, whether for exercise or a commute, to do more with my day.

I have noticed the opposite is true when I ride the trainer.  Maybe it is because I am not outdoors riding.  Maybe it is because I am watching t.v. shows or movies, and thus I am not alone with my thoughts.  Do I still fell healthier after a trainer ride- yes.  Do I feel more motivated? Not more than if I would have ridden outside.

But the overall point seems to be that cycling does effect my mind and those effects have been beneficial.  My guess is many people have this same chemical reaction.  After all, even after a torturous, soul sucking ride, I still get up the next day, hop back on the bike, and do it all over again.

So do yourself a favor and ride a bike. Maybe it will make you just a little bit smarter, and that is not a bad thing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Doctors and Social Media...

Ok, I am busy- work, cycling, friends, family, errands, and of course, prepping for the arrival of my twin children- the first two for me and my wife.

So, I don't always get to react to news concurrently with when it occurs.

I did save an article from the October 23, 2012 Journal Sentinel, which was a reprint of a NY Times article by Jan Hoffman entitled "Take 2 of these and tweet me in the morning."  Fascinating article about doctors who tweet adolescent patients, respond to patients blogs, and the doctors also tweet and blog themselves, which these adolescent patients "follow."  These doctors believe it is a great way to capture adolescents- those who infrequently visit the doctor in order to prevent illness.  Adolescents are usually reactionary when it comes to medicine- that is, they only seek out a doctor when something is wrong.

The article states that doctors who use social media, and texting, are better able to help adolescents and keep adolescents involved with their own healthcare. Considering that people, including teenagers, live and die by their phones, I thought this was a very creative way to encourage teens to be healthy and to visit doctors regularly to be proactive in their healthcare.  Questions about drugs, alcohol, sexuality can be answered discretely through a text or link to a website, without a parent wondering why their child had to see the doctor today.

However, being a lawyer, it did raise some questions.  If you are tweeting and blogging advice, or commenting on a teens blog with advice, are you breaking doctor-patient privilege.  Such advice would no longer be "private" and I think there is a good argument that privilege has been lost.

For texting to patients, while the article says doctors ask parents permission, whose to say the parents don't actually end up reading the texts anyway?  In fact, constant texts from a doctor is probably bound to lead to a heightened curiosity among the parents as to what is going on between the doctor and teen- is something really wrong with my kid?  Is there something more I should be worried about?  Will the parent discover something that the teenager wanted to keep private with a doctor- anxiety, STD, pregnancy?

Third, what does this say about the parental role in general?  If a teenager is turning more to a doctor for advice, whether the questions are all medical or not, is the doctor usurping the traditional role of a parent - that is a parent should be a role model, guide, leader and someone a child can turn to for advice on all the questions that come with being in this gigantic universe. Moreover, if doctors are providing more and more advice, are they putting themselves in a situation where they are more likely to be sued for medical malpractice is something goes wrong?

Which brings me to the last point.  If a doctor is posting advice via Twitter, Facebook, or on a blog, the doctor has to have an understanding that even though the advice may be directed to a specific patient or the general public, individual patients may wrongly rely upon such advice and act to that patient's detriment.  Each human being is different, and where one drug or some other prescription may benefit one specific person based on a doctor's diagnosis, that does not mean such action may benefit another individual.  However, a patient following a doctor on Twitter or a blog may see the doctor's suggestion, take that advice, and end up having serious problems.

So, while doctors using social media is definitely an interesting way of reaching out to an elusive group, who at times can miss upwards of 10-15 years of consistent, necessary, proactive healthcare, the converse needs to be entertained- that is, are doctors, in participating in this medium, unnecessarily exposing themselves to the potential for legal action should something happen to a person.

Though, I guess the same question could be raised about lawyers who blog.  Though I make it clear I am not giving legal advice, I do discuss laws from time to time.  Is that discussion actually advice?  Am I presenting myself to the possibility that I could be sued for malpractice?  The short answer- most likely not based upon ABA guidelines and Professional Ethics guidelines.  But this is the law, and there are always exceptions.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Commit the Crime, You Should do the Time...

I had a chance to talk to Dave Schlabowske today in response to yet another fatality in which a cyclist was killed by a negligent driver after falling asleep at the wheel, crossing the center line and striking and the cyclist.

Dave posted a blog about it here: http://bfw.org/2012/10/26/our-laws-do-not-protect-us-when-we-ride/

It is important that Wisconsin adopt a Vulnerable User law to fill the gap between negligence and criminal conduct so that car operators are held accountable for their actions if they strike and seriously injure or kill a cyclist.  The high burden of proof for a criminal case prohibits the district attorney from bringing charges on many car vs. bike cases.  Thus, the driver may pay small citation fees and/or have to defend against a civil suit.  This needs to change, so that driver's begin to change their actions on the road.

Please read Dave's blog posted above.  And ride and drive safely.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Black Box For Cyclists, And A Safety Line...

This is cool.

The ICEdot helmet sensor is now available.  ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency."  A couple years ago, I was told to put ICE contact(s) in my phone, so that way on a ride (or on a walk or drive for that matter), if something happened, emergency personnel did not have to guess who to call -- they just called the ICE contact.

Now, I do wear a Road I.D. bracelet, but this ICEdot censor is amazing.  It is the "black box" for cyclists.  On a smartphone, you enable Bluetooth and open the app.  You set the level of impact at which you would like the ICEdot sensor to activate.  Obviously, you don't want it to go off on little bumps to the noggin, or if you left the app on and you are simply setting your helmet on a table.

If you fall and hit your head with enough force to activate the censor, a notification goes off on your phone.  You can set the amount of time you have to cancel the notification before it is sent to your ICE contacts.  That way, if the fall wasn't bad or setting off the censor was just an accident, you can cancel the ICE warning.

However, if you are injured and unable to cancel the warning, your ICE contacts will receive a text message which informs the contacts of your location AND the severity of the impact.  Yes, this is amazing.  The censor can detect if a rider begins to fall and if so, the SEVERITY of the fall.

This could be hugely beneficial if a rider has been struck by a car (or another rider, etc.).  Based upon the severity, an expert could deduce how fast the car was going prior to impact, and could thus show whether the car was in excess of the speed limit and driving in a reckless manner.

It will also be able to show the force of a rider's head striking an object (such as the ground) and would be recorded to provide medical personnel and expert witnesses with hard facts about how severe the impact was and how that corresponds to the injuries the rider sustained.  And it would not just show how hard a rider's head hit something, but the g-force information could also be used to show the impact on other parts of a rider's body that have been injured.  Essentially, how hard was the impact and thus how hard was the force which caused the impact.  This would dramatically help bolster an injured rider's claim for damages.

Of course, a defense counselor will most likely find some paid "expert" who will use this information to show how a rider's injuries are not as bad as the cyclist or his treators say.  But, that is what defense "experts" get paid (really big bucks) to say.

My uncle though, made a very good point.  This is an expensive item and requires use of a smartphone.  What if the smartphone is also wrecked in the crash?  It would seem to me that then, no ICE contact will receive notification and no data will be collected.  If you are on a solo ride, that does you no good. Solution: carry phone in hard shell casing?  I mean, its not like you are racing others up Alpe d'Huez and need to be super light.  Maybe, and maybe it is not worth the expense.  But, as a someone out for a solo ride, you might want to take the chance that your smartphone will survive the impact.

Despite that, I think this is extremely fascinating and could be hugely beneficial to cyclists injured by others.

And most importantly, for that solo rider, notification to an ICE contact could be the difference between life and death (assuming your phone survives the impact).


Check it out here: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/09/interbike/icedot-introduces-helmet-sensor-that-notifies-contacts-after-a-crash_240058

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Bicycle By Any Other Name?

My uncle sent me a link to the following: http://www.gizmag.com/fliz-bike-walking-cycling/23882/

This contraption is called a Fliz bike, seen here:




Since I recently had ACL surgery, and I like bikes, my uncle thought I could use this to rehab my knee. (I think he was kidding).  The idea is you walk, then run, and gain speed.  When you have enough speed, you put your feet on treads located on the back wheel and glide.  When you need to pick up speed, you start running again.  So you are essentially traveling faster than if you were just walking or running because you have two wheels to assist you.  (Just like how Fred Flintstone got his car going).

It is certainly interesting.  But ... is this a bike?  Would it be subject to the same laws other cyclists have to obey?  Or are you a pedestrian, and thus subject to a whole different set of rules?

Well, first place to start is the legal definition of a "bicycle".  A "bicycle" means every vehicle propelled by feet acting upon pedals and having wheels any 2 of which are not less than 14 inches in diameter.

Ok. Big thing here, as highlighted, is that the feet have to acting upon pedals to be a bicycle.  Obviously, with the Fliz we are missing feet acting upon pedals since feet propel the Fliz by touching the ground, not pedals.

So this thing is not a bike, at least according to Wisconsin law.  So, is the operator a pedestrian? A "pedestrian" means any person afoot or any person in a wheelchair, either manually or mechanically propelled, or other low-powered, mechanically propelled vehicle designed specifically for use by a physically disabled person, but does not include any person using an electric personal assistive mobility device.

I think pedestrian is probably closer to what the operator of a Fliz bike is, at least given the two legal definitions in Wisconsin Statutes. An operator of this gadget is afoot, except when gliding.  When gliding, the feet are on treads on the back wheel.

The key distinction is the simple fact that when using the Fliz bike, you are not propelled by pushing pedals, you are propelled by your own feet upon the ground.

Why does this matter?  Because pedestrians have different rights and obligations than a cyclist.  Pedestrians, when walking in the street, must walk against traffic.  Cyclist must ride with traffic.  Pedestrians must cross in a crosswalk.  A pedestrian does not have to signal when turning.  There are many examples and I just wanted to throw out a few. I am sure my reader(s) are intelligent enough to see the differences and think of others.

So, if you purchase the Fliz, you may be tempted to act as if you are out on a bike.  But you need to remember that you are actually a pedestrian, and need to act as such.  Kind of like if you were using a Razor scooter, or going for a walk.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And You Call It Frivolous....

This article is a must read for everyone, but especially for those of you who think medical malpractice claims are frivolous.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/08/28/medical-errors-harm-huge-number-of-patients

Every job has a purpose.  Part of mine is to help those injured and/or killed through preventable medical errors.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Do You Want To Take The Chance?

I was checking out Tom Held's blurb about cycling cameras (viewed here: http://theactivepursuit.com/bicyclists-turn-to-video-enforcement/ ) which had a nice video about a cyclist who uses one and reports vehicle operators that violate traffic laws.

Three things struck me.

 First, a Brookfield police officer's idiotic stance that a vehicle did not violate the 3 foot rule (which it indeed did, on camera) and that instead of citing the driver, the officer wanted to cite the cyclist for obstructing traffic (which he was not) and being in a lane of traffic (which the cyclist can be). Also great, when asked for a comment, Brookfield police department asked the reporter to talk to another police department with more experience.  Way to go Brookfield!

Second, when discussing riding in winter (where on video a plow sprays snow at the cyclist), a Milwaukee police officer commented "do you really want to take the chance?" Nice! I love how terribly the officer misses the point and in fact blames the cyclist for getting sprayed by a plow.

Instead of discussing how a bike has a right to be on the road, no matter what the conditions, time of day, etc., the officer (who himself is riding a bike) basically says that if that plow had injured the cyclist, it would be the cyclist's fault because what dumbass rides in winter.  No mention of the fact that a cyclist can ride in winter, that the cyclist was as far to the right of the rode as safety allowed, and that the plow not only violated the 3 foot law, but the plow should have waited to pass the cyclist or stopped plowing while passing the cyclist.

The officer's comment of "do you want to take the chance" pretty much sums up what plenty of motorists think of bikers- cyclists are not wanted on the roads.  It is a comment that completely shifts blame for any incident away from the motor vehicle operator and to the cyclist.  It is a bias.  It is close minded.  And it is exactly the prejudice that many cyclists have to put up with.

Lastly, at the end of the clip, the reporter indicates officers have been sent to Madison for cycling rights training.  When asked if any of the officers present were familiar with cyclists rights, not a single hand was raised.

No wonder motor vehicle operators are infrequently ticketed for violating cyclists rights, including bringing charges when a motorist is killed or seriously injured by a car operator.

ALEC...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/24/1103641/-ALEC-the-Koch-Led-CABAL-The-Amicus-Project-Fed-Court-Interference

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strava Suit...

First off, I like using Strava.  I think it is fun, good way to keep track of rides, and fosters some healthy competition.  Do I chase KOM's?  Sometimes.  I really just like how I can keep track of my rides, especially when I go out on unfamiliar routes.  I can always look up where I went and how to get back there.

That said, today I read about a family suing Strava for the death of their son when he was speeding down a hill to reclaim his KOM: http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/06/news/family-sues-strava-over-descending-death_224889 .

I know what you are thinking: James, you are a personal injury lawyer, you would probably sue too.  Well, maybe, if the facts were good.  Obviously, for the Strava suit I don't know all of the facts.  But what I do know is the cyclist was speeding (in excess of the speed limit, which, as a vehicle cyclists are bound by speed limits) down a hill.

The lawsuit alleges that Strava negligently caused the death by encouraging the cyclist to speed.  Truth be told, Strava, to some extent, does encourage this behavior.  You become KOM and two days later someone (ahem, Denny Yunk) steals your KOM on that same portion of road.  Strava then sends you an email notifying you that said person stole your KOM and by how much time.  Now, none of the KOM's I am after are on descents, but I have headed out on my bike to speed uphill in an attempt to get my KOM back.  So, it is arguable that Strava encourages such behavior.

However, here is my problem with the case.  It is going to very hard to show that Strava was more negligent than the cyclist himself.  If the cyclist is the more negligent party, then the cyclist recovers nothing.  In this case, the cyclist was willingly speeding down a hill.  He chose to do that.  He chose to get in a vehicle and disobey the traffic laws.

Strava may have some fault, but the question is "is Strava more at fault for the cyclist's death?"  That will be hard to prove to a court when trying to defend this case form being thrown out, and, assuming it gets past that point, it will be a hard point to prove to a jury- very hard.

The most interesting thing about this lawsuit, to me, is the use of Strava itself.  Users of Strava, and other ride recorders, are basically using a "black box" when they ride.  It logs speed, distance and can show you how fast you were going at specific distance or time in the ride.  And then it stores it online.  If there is an incident, and later a lawsuit, attorneys will be able to view how fast the cyclist was going at the time, where exactly the cyclist was when hit and/or caused an collision.  The data collected becomes the "truth" of what happened.  It can be used for or against an individual. And if you delete the data and/or ride, you could possibly have destroyed evidence and could face sanctions from a court- much like removing things from Facebook.

In all, it will be interesting to see what happens with this case.  Will Strava settle to show a good face?  Will Strava defend and move to dismiss the case to prevent future lawsuits or to show this case has no merits in law?  Or, will a judge see that this is all a matter of fact, which is for a jury to decide?

It is an interesting lawsuit, that I do not think is frivolous, but it will be very hard to overcome the fact that the cyclist chose to speed down a hill, and that the cyclist might just be the most negligent party in this case.

Travelling...

Aiken & Scoptur jerseys are popping up all over! Here is A&S rider Chris D. riding in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Looking good Chris! Safe riding.  Those hills in the back look menacing.



Take your A&S jersey somewhere?  Send me a picture and I'll post it for others to see.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tort Reform and Truth...

It has been a rallying cry for years and years and years now (always from republican legislators and groups like ALEC)... We Need Tort Reform! Personal injury lawyers are what is wrong with society. Only with caps on lawsuits against doctors can medicine work.  Only with laws prohibiting consumers from suing corrupt lenders and car dealers can our economy grow. Only with laws severely limiting lawsuits against corporations for wrongdoing or by those who are injured on the job can Wisconsin (ahem... Walker) and our economy grow.

As a personal injury lawyer, I obviously hear this often -- along with the usual "oh, so you are an ambulance chaser."  And as a personal injury lawyer, I am in a prime position to fight back against these lies and negative stereotypes.

But, the fight is hard and an uphill battle.  Corporations like ALEC have for numerous years pushed the anti-personal injury lawyer campaign.  And with the amounts of money ALEC, and corporations like it, amass, the have a huge head start in their campaign.  And it has been effective.  The second part of this battle is that there are personal injury lawyers who advertise about making lots of money when someone is injured.  These two factors work against other personal injury lawyers.  Both make me angry and sad.

The public has been brainwashed into thinking that all personal injury lawyers are greedy and don't care about their clients.  The public has been brainwashed into thinking insurance costs more because of personal injury lawyers.  The public has been brainwashed into thinking that the reason our economy sucks is because of personal injury lawyers.

Quite frankly, I've had enough.  Personal injury lawyers are the butt of jokes and scapegoats.  Our group is easy to pick on by ALEC and other groups because they cite to "frivolous" cases.  Although, they don't really cite, they distort the case or cases and they distort them for so long that soon the public believes the case happened as ALEC said it did.  In other words, people begin to believe the "truth", or what corporations and republicans want you to believe the truth is.

An easy example is the McDonald's case.  Ask someone today, and he or she will tell you that a lady spilled a coffee on herself, was not really injured, and got 5 million dollars.  What people forget is how badly the woman was injured from hot coffee and the degree of burns she received.  What people forget is that McDonald's knew that serving their coffee at the temperature they did would burn the flesh off of people.  What people forget is how ruthlessly McDonald's handled this case and tried to deal with the plaintiff.  If you knew the whole story, you would understand how non-frivolous this case was.  Oh, and the plaintiff did not get anything close to 5 million dollars.

But look at this email I received about medical malpractice cases in Wisconsin:


"People injured by medical negligence in Wisconsin have a difficult time recovering compensation for their injuries.  Data recently published show how difficult it has become.


The National Practitioner Data Bank recently tracked the number of payments made per year as a result of doctor negligence in Wisconsin.  Here are the numbers:

2001   115
2002   103
2003   120
2004     85
2005     89
2006     81
2007     77
2008     71
2009     75
2010     38
2011     54


The number of payments in 2011 was a 53% reduction from the number of payments in 2001.

The number of payments in 2010 was a 68% reduction from the number of payments in 2003.


 What do we compare these numbers to?  The authors of an article published in Health Affairs in April 2011 found that there are 1.5 million injuries caused each year as a result of medical errors.  Based on Wisconsin’s population, the state represents 1.9 percent of that amount, which equates to 28,500 people injured or killed each year by medical negligence.  Compare that number to the number of payments actually made and it becomes obvious how difficult it is to recover compensation for injuries caused by medical negligence.


 Confirmatory data come from the Wisconsin Medical Mediation Panels filings.  A person injured by medical negligence must first go through a medical mediation session before pursuing a case in court.  The updated numbers show the following numbers of requests:


1987     410
1988    353
1989    339
1990    348
1991    338
1992    313
1993    276
1994    292
1995    324
1996    243
1997    240
1998    305
1999    309
2000    280
2001    249
2002    264
2003    247
2004    240
2005    223
2006    235
2007    183
2008    147
2009    181
2010    169
2011    139
               
Do you notice a trend?  The last five years have been, by far, the lowest number of requests for mediation since the system began in 1987.


Wisconsin citizens must be told about the success the medical liability insurance companies have had in discouraging medical negligence cases from being filed.  Only when jurors understand the truth will injured people have a fighting chance of winning their cases in court."


So what does this data show?  It shows that ALEC and similar groups are winning at keeping legitimate cases out of Wisconsin courts.  By pushing the tort reform agenda, increasing costs for access to patient medical records, increasing costs for mediation, requiring a mediation, increasing costs for experts and deposition testimony and constantly lowering damage caps in medical malpractice actions, legitimate claims are pushed out of the courts.

That means, unless you have catastrophic injuries, it is going to be hard to find a lawyer that can help you.  As a personal injury lawyer, this is incredibly disheartening.  I am a personal injury lawyer because I want to help those who are injured through no fault of their own.  These are people who are hit by a drunk driver, operated on by an incompetent doctor, or even a good doctor that makes a terrible mistake during surgery.  These are people who are riding their bikes on a street and an angry or inattentive motorist strikes them from behind, causing injury.

What is most frustrating is that voters, and even citizens that don't vote, continue to buy in to propaganda against personal injury lawyers and laws that were designed and/or enacted to protect individuals and their legal rights.  Example: they vote for Walker because he promises jobs. 

What those voters don't realize or don't care about is that the creation of jobs comes at every citizens expense.  Laws protecting unions, consumer rights, and the rights you have do something when you are injured by a product, another person, medical malpractice and defective streets and roads have been repealed and/or severely limited.  These laws protect only corporations and the rich.  They do nothing but hamper or prohibit a plaintiff's lawyer from helping out someone who was injured or screwed over by a landlord or car dealer.  (These same people also don't realize there are other ways to create jobs without severely repealing or tightening laws intended to help citizens.)

So, what to do?  Rebel.  Speak up.  Act up.  Stop voting for corporations over people.  Start voting for politicians that actually care about individuals rights and protecting individuals from greedy corporations and predatory corporations and individuals.  Educate others on what really is going on.  Educate yourself on the fact that lawsuits don't increase your insurance rates, they don't increase the cost of medical care and treatment, and educate yourself on the fact that personal injury lawyers exist to help.  

At our core, at my core, is the desire to help those less fortunate, those that have been injured and need help seeking recourse.  Every person, every human being, should want to help every other person so that we can survive and prosper as a state, nation and world.  While recent changes to the law extremely hinder my ability to help, that doesn't mean I will stop fighting.  But I need help from others so that we can change the current tort reform climate and be able to fight back and get those with legitimate claims in to court to seek the justice they so desperately need and deserve.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Great Perspective...


An attorney that I am proud to work with recently penned this letter (pictured below), which is making its way around the capitol.  I think, from the legal perspective anyway, that this letter succinctly and poignantly sums up how Governor Walker is decimating legal protections for the citizens of Wisconsin.  Attorney Vince Megna works on behalf of consumers, and Walker has gutted consumer protections.  Walker has done that as well in the area I mainly practice in- personal injury.  

Walker is able to pass these laws always with the premise that it will increase jobs for Wisconsin (which apparently has not worked according to the latest figures).  But at what cost?  As citizens of this state, we need to understand, really understand, the real purpose of a bill or law being presented and ultimately passed.  After reading this letter, when you hear that a new bill/law will increase jobs (or whatever other catchy slogan is used), I hope you will think- at what cost?  Why is this bill really being introduced and who will it really effect?







Friday, April 27, 2012

Taking a lane...

We know that cyclists are supposed to ride as close as practicable to the right hand edge or curb.  However, many times that is not practicable- parked cars, turning cars, objects, dangerous road conditions, etc.  When it is not practicable, a cyclist can move over to safer road and continue riding.

This language piqued my interest recently: "Substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle ... and a motor vehicle to travel safely side by side within a lane.  [An exception to riding as close to the right edge or curb]- When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions, including ... substandard width lanes.

Intriguing, correct?  This statute (§ 346.80) permits a cyclist to take the lane (even if there is only 1 lane for that direction of traffic) when the lane is too narrow to fit a cyclist and car side by side.

When is it too narrow? Well, a car needs to provide 3 feet of room when passing, or driving next to, a cyclist.  So, too narrow would be a car and cyclist cannot fit in a lane with the requisite 3 feet of room between the cyclist and car.  If the car and cyclist cannot fit in the lane together, with the 3 feet, then the cyclist can take the lane until it is reasonably safe for the cyclist to resume riding as close to the edge or curb as possible.

Now, the riding two abreast without impeding traffic still applies, but when you are riding on the crappy, horribly maintained Honey Creek Parkway (or any other shitty street in Milwaukee, of which there are plenty)- go ahead and take that lane!  Move over to avoid those enormous potholes and do so with confidence.  (Move over safely, obviously- look behind for cars/ other cyclists).  Be confident that you are abiding by the law, even when cars honk at you and yell at you to move to the right.

The moral of the story, too narrow of a lane is an unsafe condition which allows a cyclist to TAKE THAT LANE!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Networking...

I have most definitely not posted anything in quite some time.  I was busy, then vacation, and now back to being very busy.

That said, I did take time off from work, before my vacation, to attend the monthly networking ride hosted by Jason Kayzar.  The website is: http://networkingrides.wordpress.com/

If you can get to Attitude Sports in Pewaukee (and get off work as the ride leaves at 2pm) it is a blast to attend.  You meet lots of great people who work in all different sectors.  Never know when that will come in handy.  Plus, you get a great group ride (35 miles or so) on nice roads with one competitive hill at the end.  I highly suggest you check it out and come join us any month you can.

Here I am, third on the left, drafting instead of doing real work in the group.  And if you look closely at Chris, the guy in the Alterra jersey, you can see he is rocking the elusive Aiken & Scoptur cycling cap.  It is nicely keeping the sun off of his neck.


And since I am on the topic of networking, I would encourage anyone who reads (glimpses) this blog to email me suggestions for topics or questions you might have about riding, the law or riding and the law.

See you on the road!

Friday, March 9, 2012

An Ode To An Inattentive Driver...

                                             I had a flashing yellow
                                                   You had a red
                                             I proceeded with caution
                                                   You went instead
                                              Luckily I had
                                                    The reflexes of a cat
                                              Otherwise I'd be lying
                                                    Unconscious on my broken back




Monday, March 5, 2012

A picture...

Just a reminder to never forget those who have departed before us.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seriously Injured...

... and it doesn't matter, suck it up and deal with it.  Yup, that is what Republicans, in what was once the great state of Wisconsin, are telling their constituents once again.

As I blogged about earlier, there was a bill floating around to provide immunity to municipalities where people are injured or killed due to negligent maintenance of a roadway/highway.  Well, that has passed.

Yipee! Now if I am out running, cycling, walking and even operating a motor vehicle, and am injured because a town neglected or refused to maintain its roadways, I can just suck it up and wait for my wounds to heal, if they are not permanent.  And if I am killed, well, then it won't really matter (you know, except to my wife, dog, parents, siblings, friends, etc.)  But hey, the town won't have to worry about possibly paying me, or any other citizen, no more than $50,000 for injuries anymore.  Whew! I am sure glad Republicans did away with accountability- Thanks for looking out for us citizens legislators!

(Read about all these bills here: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/crime_and_courts/blog/crime-and-courts-bill-would-absolve-ski-area-operators-from/article_a213348a-4b71-11e1-96f7-0019bb2963f4.html)

But wait.  What's that?  There is still more accountability to get rid of in this state?  Republican legislators to the rescue!

They have introduced the "Skier Safety Act" (the irony in the name is incredible).  Instead of ski resorts having to maintain their premises and ensure safety for all patrons, the Act shifts the safety of the ski hill to the skier.  Amazing! I am riding a poorly maintained ski lift and it breaks, ejecting me from the lift and causing injury.  Well, that is my fault.  I should have inspected the lift first, ensured its safety, or fixed any problems, and then proceeded up the lift.  My bad, but I totally understand how this Act promotes "Skier Safety".

Oh, and finally lets free schools of liability when they fail to maintain their premises'. The, what is probably called "School User Safety Act", provides immunity to school districts when someone in a group that arranged to use the school grounds (think weeknight basketball league, Cub Scout meetings, etc.) is injured or killed because of the school and/or its employees failed to maintain the premises and provide a safe environment for all those in the school.

And the Act, just to make sure everything is specifically laid out to show how this Act improves safety, specifically states that schools do not have to keep school grounds safe for an outside group's recreational activities, do not have to inspect the facilities being used and do not have to warn about unsafe conditions.  Yeah! Every single thing that law of Wisconsin required the school to do to ensure your safety is about to be erased.

This is accountability at its finest.  I could not be prouder to be a citizen in a state where legislators continually do away with safety and accountability all so when re-election comes around they can proudly say they saved some corporations and towns money.  They will just leave out the part about at whose expense the savings was.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm Feeling Vulnerable...

Hello loyal reader (possibly readers?).  I have not posted in a little bit.  But I have a confession... I have been cheating on you dear reader with another site. (I hear your jaw drop.)

However, it was for a great purpose and a great organization- The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.  So, this being the internet and all, I can link my post to this post and... voila, you can now read my most recent blog entry.

http://bfw.org/2012/01/25/member-guest-post-im-feeling-vulnerable/

And please do read.  It is a, dare I say, most excellent piece on why Wisconsin needs a "vulnerable user" law to protect cyclists, pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers and others in the "vulnerable user" category.  This is a law that would bridge the gap between a mere civil forfeiture and criminal conduct when a operator of a motor vehicle acts carelessly and seriously injures or kills a "vulnerable user".  It is critically needed legislation, and the Bike Fed is working on such legislation to propose at a later date.

So, read my post, search and learn more about "vulnerable user" laws in other states, join the Bike Fed if you have not already, and advocate for the rights of all vulnerable users in Wisconsin.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Insurance...

Back in May 2011, I did a post about insurance in case you are injured in an accident while riding your bike.  I also discussed how the governor rolled back great advances in insurance protection and coverage to 1982 style laws- thus providing most people with measly insurance coverage.  Such minimum insurance coverage will most likely not cover all of your medical expenses should you be injured while riding your bicycle.  This would also apply while driving your car, since both are vehicles.

Since the weather here in SE Wisconsin has been unseasonably warm, and you are most likely still riding around town (or, if you have resorted to indoor riding for the winter, you will be riding around town again soon) it might be worth your while to review what type of insurance coverage you have and how much coverage you have so that you can be better insured should you be involved in an injury causing accident, either while riding your bike or operating your car.

Here is a link (after clicking on the link, click on "Understanding Auto Insurance") to a great pamphlet that explains everything you need to know.  I strongly encourage you to check it out and make sure that you are prepared and that you are adequately covered through your insurance company.

https://www.wisjustice.org/temp/ts_C312D2DE-BDB9-50CE-F04F284366C48A4BC312D2EE-BDB9-50CE-F2CAB7B031CB1514/New%20Understanding%20Insurance%20final.pdf

Ride safe and enjoy the unseasonably warm temps- unless you like to ski of course.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Anticipation...

It is Friday.  Good things are coming, like the end of the work week.  Also, I took my bike in to be cleaned, tuned, and fixed while I am unable to ride due to injury.  (See prior post).  However, that is about to change slightly-hopefully.

On Monday I get to remove my sling, though I will be prohibited from using my injured shoulder/arm for anything other than very incredibly light physical therapy for about the next month.  But, I am eager to use the trainer and be active again.  (Never ever did I think I would use "trainer" and "eager" in the same sentence).  I am hoping to ride the trainer, though I may have to fashion some device to hold me up so that I put little to no pressure on my left arm/shoulder.  I may look like this...

                                (Photo courtesy of www.stevencozza.com)

Notice the injured left shoulder (though Cozza broke his collarbone) and the rope/belt buckle device around his chest, which is attached to a pole behind and above his head.  Also notice the handlebars have been turned upwards so that he does not have lean forward very much in order to rest his hands on the bars.

If I am unable to fashion some device, I may have to go to a gym and ride a recumbent.  In which case, embarrassingly, I will look like this...

                                 (Photo courtesy of www.iamtedking.com)

At any rate, I will not be heading outside on my bike anytime soon to see views like this:
                                (Photo courtesy of me: View from atop Holy Hill)

So, we will see how it goes, but regardless, I am itching to do something other than sitting on a couch or going for mediocre walks with my dog.