Cycling Accidents and Courts Reactions

Cycling accidents, like any other unfortunate event of this nature, are always a very sad occurance.  However, what makes them even more problematic, has been the attitude of the public and courts to them.  At the same time our society is striving for ways to reduce the green house effect and reduce our carbon footprint as a way to improve the environment, we have a strange attitude in a dominant chunk of the population still at odds with even the laws — there are too many instances where a bicycle rider ends up being hit (in some cases being killed) and the driver involved is found not guilty of anything

The tide, though, seems to be turning.  In a recent rulling by a court in Philadelphia a bicycle rider involved in a very serious accident won a significant rulling

In 2011, Ashley McKean was involved a horrific bike crash at Broad and Brandywine streets. McKean, a Temple student, was riding her bicycle when she was doored by a Honda Accord and then struck from behind and then run over by a van. According to a lawsuit she filed, she suffered multiple hip, pelvis and leg fractures, some of which caused permanent damage.

A jury rendered a verdict in that lawsuit very recently, and McKean won a $2.4 million judgment against those involved in the crash.

This case and associated rulling will hopefully increase awareness among drivers (many drivers do not even know the laws pertinent to bicycles sharing the road with other vehicles), and even drive some caution among driver who are consistently inconsidered of bicycle riders on the roads.   

What I mean by this is the behaviour by some ignorant drivers who continue to both drive aggresively around bikes and even engage in verbal attacks on bikers – and I say this from personal experience.  Once I had a car (an old clunker) slow down near me (while I was biking) with a passenger in the car yelling "…buy yourself a car.." – a sad statement I thought given that my bike probably was worth more than the vehicle the occupants yelling at me were in… But that shows you the state of mind many have…

At any rate, I am very glad of this latest award in Philadelphia – hopefully it will set precedent and help drive safety for bicycle riders across the nation.  

While this needs to happen, all of us bicyclists, need to continue following the laws and observe defensive practices.  Make sure you have your protective gear – e.g. helmet, bright lights etc. when you are on the bike.

For more on the rulling referenced in this posting plus some additinal links can be found here

More iPhone Apps for Biking

I am a big advocate of using your gadgets to the fullest.  As you can tell from this blog, biking apps for iPhone, are a big focus for me as a way to track my exercise as well as learn more about my biking style.

Side note: if you have an Android based smart phone – you can leverage many same or similar applications in that framework

With that in mind, today I wanted to review yet another good application, namely, Argus – Pedometer, Calory, Nutrition, Activity Tracker by Azumio.  This application converts your iPhone in a relatively sophisticated computer to track your biking as well as other activities and combine those with estimated calory tracking.   It is a good aggregator of multiple bio-related tracking points to help you analyze your habits and develop better ones.

Here are some screen shots – as you can see the application in this case is aggregating my walking statistics with a bike ride I took on the same given day:

Argus iPhone application Argus iPhone Argus iPhone Argus iPhone

As you can see the user interface on the main dashboard is very neat – I like a lot how the application aggregates information which then it can display (upon selection) into separate user panes.  

Here is also a snapshot of the application's main features: 

– Daily Steps and active Calorie counter 

– GPS mapping of Running, Cycling and Driving 

– Creates Food diary of all your meals with food photo snapping 

– Set daily goals for Steps, Sleep time and Hydration 

– Observe trends over time with all variables to track wellness 

– Uses Instant Fitness for your home workouts 

– Uses Sleep Time to monitor your sleep cycles 

– Uses Instant Heart Rate to monitor your heart beats 

– Built in support of third party wearable devices and health app

Finally, I will continue to review applications. In the mean time – here is a link to other postings on the topic

Biking Applications – Part 1

Biking Applications – Part 2

Biking Applications – Part 3

Biking Applications – Part 4

Summary Views

Bikes in Antwerp – Even at the Weekend Market

Antwerp is a city where bicycles are normal part of everyday commute as well as weekend outings.  Bike lanes are visibile everywhere in the city and so are stations for borrowing bikes — here is one just as an example of the convenience they offer (i.e. swipe your membership card, and off you go on two wheels)

Antwerp bike station   Bikes in Antwerp You can see on one of the main streets in the city there are tons of bikes parked – presumably the owners are in the near by caffees, restaurants, and shops.

But the more interesting thing I observed was on a Sunday morning. I stepped out of the hotel for a run through one of the near by parks.  Then at some point during the run I veered to some of the side streets and eventually ended up near the city stadium and in the middle of a hude street market.  There were tons of stalls selling cheese, clothing, live animals and birds, ….and of course! bicycles…. Take a look below:

Cheese at the market in Antwerp   Selling bikes at Antwerp's market

And mind you — there were a very large number (as you can tell from the photo above) of bikes available for sale.  You can also check out the earlier postings

Beer Bike in Antwerp

Well folks, biking is a great form of exercise as well as a good way to see and experience nature.  When you are on a mountain bike on a trail in a park or in general in the woods, chances are you will see wild life — all sort of birds and potentially larger creatures.

Now, let's change the scene and think of what type of activities one can associate with biking…?  OK, time is up…Did you think of one?  I bet you did not think of a "Party Bike"…!

The nice people of Antwerp have thought of that.  On a recent visit I saw this strange contraption – which looked like a mobile taco stand…But when I looked closer I determined that the vehicle was actually a giant bike – powered by multiple people sitting on seats as if at a bar.   Please take a look:

Antwerp Beer Bike

So, next time you are planning a trip to Antwerp and would like to mix drinking and fitness – do think of this interesting concept.  I certainly plan to do…!

Biking in Antwerp

Antwerp is a beautiful city with a lot of historical sites, scenic places and of course things to explore.  The city historic district is not that big — in a recent visit a colleague of mine and I explored it on foot.  Spent several hours on foot and despite the interesting places you woudl observe, you would still want to do that via a bike.  

Antwerp has the infrastructure which is very much in favor of bikes – there are bike lanes everywhere…So this is very nice, but for us the tourists…how do we get a bike ???  

So we checked in the hotel – stayed in the Leopold hotel across a nice park — they advised us to go and check for bike rentals at the main train station.  We walked there – and to our surprise, in the tourist information office at the station we were told that the only place we can rent the bikes would be at a location near the river after crossing the historic old town.

Well, needless to say – someone took us for a "ride" – either the hotel or the tourist information office at the train station were incorrect in their guidance to us.  Checking on the Web – later on – I would say the issue is with the tourist information office at the Central Train Station.  Per info on the web you can rent a bike at:

Centraal Station Antwerpen
Fietsingang onder het Astridplein
+32 (0)3 203 06 73
Open: daily: Easter, July and August, everyday from 9h-19h
Weekdays during the rest of the year
Prices:+- 13 euro/day, 19 euro/2days, 24 euro/3 days, 6 euro/3 hours, .

So, keep that in mind in the future.  I will post pictures of the places in Antwerp later this weekend.  In the mean time – here are some photos so you can get an idea how important bicycles are in Antwerp

Antwerp_VeloStation  BicycleOnMeirStreet-shopping