Friday, July 31, 2015

To ticket or not to ticket

Ed Reiskin, London Breed, Noah Budnick

Sorting out the sense from the nonsense in the ticketing cyclists kerfuffle, I have to admit that a comment to Streetsblog last year by Upright Biker stated the issue succinctly:

Bicyclists should always yield to pedestrians. The problem is that some cyclists' interpretation of "yielding" is calculating how they can continue at speed and confidently swerve to avoid a collision. This of course makes pedestrians feel unsafe, which is why it should be a ticketed behavior. Now, ticketing failure to stop completely at an empty intersection? That's a ridiculous burden on both the bicyclist and the police (emphasis added).

Yes, well put. But if the city is really concerned about pedestrian safety on places like the Wiggle and the north path of the Panhandle, it should put city cops there to ticket cyclists who actually endanger pedestrians.

Ticketing cyclists for rolling through stop signs when there's no danger from motorists or to pedestrians may be legally correct, but you quickly get into Javert/Les Miserables territory if you insist on rigidly enforcing the letter of the law. 

On the other hand, it's hard to protect cyclists from themselves if they engage in risky behavior. Recall that the three cyclists who died on city streets last year did so because of their own negligent behavior. Ditto for 50% of the city's 2014 pedestrian fatalities.

Recall too that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" that don't involve other vehicles, and that those accidents can be just as serious as being hit by a motor vehicle.

In the beginning of his regime, Mayor Lee probably thought that supporting whatever the bike lobby wants to do to city streets was a safe political move, but the apparent growing unpopularity of the city's bike people is giving him second thoughts.

With their unerring sense of bad PR, cyclists jam up traffic on the Wiggle to only confirm for the rest of us that, yes, a lot of cyclists are buttholes.

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PBS Newshour gets "airy" new look

The NewsHour's new set design may have benefits not visible to viewers, but it does in fact look "light" and "airy" as the hed on this story---on the site of the designers who apparently did the work---tells us (‘PBS NewsHour’ gets airy new look). Why would a supposedly serious news program want a set that looks like a subdued version of the one on SportsCenter?

...the set makes heavy use of acrylic and aluminum for its mostly freestanding scenic elements. Those elements, which are specially coated to prevent reflections from lights and teleprompters, make heavy use of the PBS “face” logo overlaid and cropped in a variety of ways in blue, red and yellow. Around the anchor desk, a band of panels show subtle animated graphics. The entire set, meanwhile, is wrapped in a bright white cyclorama that contributes to the light, airy feel.

The most annoying touch of the new design: "a band of panels show subtle animated graphics." They are overlapping crawls that are "subtle" in the sense that they aren't meant to convey information; they are just slow-moving, blurry crawls.

“It was our goal to have the design reflect many of the values intrinsic to the Newshour’s journalism,” said Eric Siegel, who led the redesign efforts. The values encompassed words such as “transparent,” “open,” “bright,” “clean” and “uncluttered,” Siegel said in an email interview with NewscastStudio ("creative newscast inspiration").

But the not-so-subtle crawls are in reality just visual clutter that only a trendy set "designer" can appreciate.

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