January 15, 2009

Metro Vancouver driving lesson #83

A stop light that isn't working doesn't mean that it is green. I know that this might be hard to comprehend, but it actually means it is a four-way stop, and get this, bicycles count too.

Posted by bforsyth at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2008

Cycling in Vancouver

I've been commuting by bike to work for the past year and a bit now and have decided that I should write down all of the stupid things drivers or other cyclists do to get the anger out of my system and not think about these incidents all day.

I've been lucky to not have any serious incidents with cars yet. The most serious one was where a car swerved around a left turning car and came right into the bike lane I was in on Homer and nearly sandwiched me into a parked car. I actually had to hit on this car with my hand and they didn't even stop, lucky for them I didn't catch up with them afterwards.

I think that I've managed to avoid any serious incidents by being hyper aware of what is going on around me and not being too aggressive (most of the time). There are a number of things I see drivers do on a regular basis that you should be aware of if you cycle often in Vancouver.

The most annoying habit I see almost every day is people drifting through stop signs and not looking both ways while doing so. This happens most frequently on the Adanac bike route typically on Union St. between Gore and Vernon. The problem with people drifting through stop signs when turning left is that they tend to always do so such that I'm in their blind spot caused by the passenger side A-Pillar. I've almost not seen a cyclist myself because of this blind spot and am extra careful at stop signs to make sure I haven't missed anything.

People drifting through stop signs while turning right are usually just assholes that think they are superior to bicycles. I was cycling along Union with a friend once and a young woman in a Neon obviously saw us and knew she couldn't beat us but turned anyways and just waved. We pulled up along side her and asked what the deal was and she just said that she was sorry. Sorry for being a moronic driver that shouldn't have a license I suppose. Unfortunately I forgot to memorize her license plate number or get a cell phone picture.

This morning a guy turned right out of the parkade on Expo just before Smithe and cut off a guy on a bike ahead of me who chewed the driver out a bit. I saw it all happen and the driver was completely at fault, didn't even slow down before turning onto Expo, yet he felt the verbal abuse from the cyclist wasn't warranted and honked and gesticulated at the cyclist so I had to contribute a little bird to the situation.

Other annoying driver habits I've noticed:

  • Thinking that the bike lane makes a good temporary parking spot. It doesn't
  • Never doing a right shoulder check before moving to the right
  • Treating bicycles differently than cars at 4 way (or even 2 way) intersections.
  • Assuming that cyclists shouldn't be on the road unless there is a bike lane (While on a fitness ride on Cornwall recently I had a young woman in a BMW X3, again forgot to memorize the license plate, inform me in a somewhat sarcastic tone if I knew that there was bike lane by the water.)

    Not that cyclists are blame free. Here are some bad cyclist habits:

  • Blowing through stop signs and assuming cars will stop for you. (put a front brake on your fixie hipsters)
  • Erratic driving
  • Riding on the sidewalk
  • Going through crosswalks while riding (a good way to get hit)
  • Getting angry at drivers when the cyclist is at fault

    I expect there will be more ranting in the near future as I don't expect drivers will get substantially more intelligent on average anytime soon.

    Posted by bforsyth at 09:18 AM | Comments (2)
  • April 19, 2007

    Apple Interface Consistency

    I was using iTunes today and something bothered me so much that I had to write about it somewhere. Apple is well known for their human interface guidelines (HIG) and one of the key elements of these guidelines is consistency. Everyone knows that cmd-c is for copy, cmd-v for paste etc. Well recently Apple has been slowly starting to ignore its own guidlines, especially in iTunes. It looks different than everything else, has its own controls etc.

    The thing that bothered me today was what cmd-f does in iTunes compared to pretty much every other application on OS X. To me cmd-f means "Find" and I'm pretty sure pre-cover flow iTunes it meant find in iTunes too. However, now that we have this shiny cover flow thing everyone obviously wants to see it in fullscreen mode so obviously cmd-f should put you into fullscreen mode. Now find has ben relegated to cmd-opt-f. Personally I think it should be the other way around. Oh well, Steve knows best. I had better go find some koolaid to drink.

    Posted by bforsyth at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

    June 23, 2005

    Wreck Beach Whiners

    The amount of complaining from the Wreck beach hippies about the residence towers being built by UBC is starting to piss me off. Their main argument seems to me to be that the towers will ruin the all natural skyline from the beach. The latest Georgia Straight has an article on Wreck beach with the following caption under the headline picture, "With the city's skyline out of sight, Wreck evokes the land as it was before Europeans arrived." Sure, that is if you can ignore the tugs pulling huge piles of woodchips and log booms out of the Fraser river or any of the other abundant and obvious signs of modern inhabitation.

    One of the controversial towers is already up and I couldn't see it from my sunbathing position at the high-tide line. I don't think that particular tower is the one that will be closest to the beach, but I can't imagine that whatever does end up poking over the treetops will be nearly as ugly or intrusive as the power boats that pull up to the beach in the summer or the helijet passing over head.

    Posted by bforsyth at 01:23 PM | Comments (4)

    May 02, 2005

    UBC Architectural Contest Results

    UBC has chosen team A to develop university blvd (is it just me or is signal-to-noise ratio of architectural descriptions just as low as dotcom B2B technobabble?). I personally think that this is a mistake and it will end up looking quite ugly. I can see it looking nice and flashy for a few months after they finish it but after that it is going to go to crap. UBC's Facilities Infrastructure Management Plan website has an interesting 'clock'. The clock tracks the current financial cost of 'Accumulated Deferred Maintenance', the cost of putting off maintenance of the buildings on campus. As I write this the clock is at $373,978,167 and is growing by $99,060.75 a day. What priority is maintenance on the new University Blvd. going to be when there are so many other buildings that need work more urgently?

    Another interesting fact is that only approximately 1,500 people voted in the community poll. This is a ridiculously small number considering that students, staff, faculty and alumni could vote and that this decision will have a major impact on University life. According to 2002/2003 numbers there were 1,883 faculty, 4,695 staff, 32,376 undergrads, 7,045 graduate students and over 210,000 living alumni. That is a total of approximately 46,000 possibly voters that are on the campus on a regular basis and over 250,000 possible voters. And only 1500 actually voted.

    The one upside to this is that I think the new buildings will provide some increddible buildering opportunities.

    Posted by bforsyth at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

    April 27, 2005

    Vancouver Sun Article on Universities letting more students in

    I quickly skimmed through an article in today's Vancouver Sun entitled "Ivory Tower Opens its Doors", which appeared to be about how the big Universities in BC are dropping their admission requirements and letting more students in. The article didn't seem to say that there probably isn't any more room for these students than there were before. However, since the current Liberal government lifted the tuition freeze more and more of a University's income comes from students, so fiscally they need to bring in more students if they want more money. Not that this means they will add more resources to handle this influx of students. In fact it seems that UBC is more interested in building private housing and retail spaces than improving the infrastructure of the academic core of the institution. I could rant on about this for much longer but this is enough for now.

    Posted by bforsyth at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

    April 05, 2005

    UBC Architectural Contest

    If you are a UBC student, alumni or staff member I encourage you to vote in the University Boulevard Architectural Competition. Once you log in you will be able to view the three finalists. You can see them here without having to log in.

    I was on campus today and checked out the presentations in the Belkin art gallery. Team A's entry looks nice but it does too much and I have questions about the long term maintainability of the covered area and the stream between East Mall and Main Mall.

    I voted for Team C because it is the only one that doesn't treat the underground bus loop as a dungeon and it felt like the least offensive entry. The buildings are a bit boxy but they don't seem like they are as invasive as the other teams' buildings.

    Posted by bforsyth at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)

    April 03, 2005


    Just over a year ago Sarah and I wrote from Cordoba, Argentina about what we had been up to in Buenos Aires. One of the things we wrote about was a guy that we met in our hostel that was walking from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. Well today we were showing a friend our trip pictures and we got to talking about this guy and I finally managed to find his website, http://www.ianwalk.com. He is still taking his time and is just about in Peru (as of his last update) after 2 years on the road.

    Posted by bforsyth at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

    March 18, 2005

    New NIN Video

    The Hand That Feeds

    More rock and less techno than the most recent NIN stuff. I like it.

    Posted by bforsyth at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

    February 21, 2005