Anyway after biking a bit more in Brooklyn in winter at night I finally get why front lights are recommended on bikes here...

Bc you can’t see shit and the street is fucked!! How can the US have such a widespread and powerful car culture and yet their roads are shit is incomprehensible

Idly wondering if there’s something that would bring the US to actually do some public infrastructure work. Apparently week-long blackouts aren’t it. Years-long water poisonings aren’t it either. Maybe when cars can’t be driven anymore? Or maybe they’ll just get off-road cars?

Front light on handlebar for visibility and midrange forward lighting.

Front light on fork near hub for what the handlebar light will miss.

Light on helmet, because sometimes straight blinding a driver by looking at them is the only thing that gets their attention.

@bill nah I’m fine with a back light on my seatstay and i know how to drive safely in the streets but I just can’t fucking see the large holes in the road because there’s too little public lighting and the roads are in such a bad state

Just not used to that coming from Paris yknow. We have smaller streets but at least the road is without holes (and they’re fixed in a day or two) and they’re lit properly.

You're making me miss Paris, and I've never even been there.

I used to ride to and from work every night for a few years. Potholes, debris in the road, mobs of angry skunks, etc. Kept adding lights until I didn't nearly kill myself every time I missed something.

@wxcafe you have only two choices: good roads with fast cars where it isn't safe to bike or bad roads with slower cars where it's possibly safe to bike.

@wxcafe have barely been in brooklyn, but manhattan seemed fine.

buffalo is quite lit up, but wow our streets are horrible.
@wxcafe years ago in texas i made my own bicycle light not so that cars would see me, but so that i could actually see. it used a 5Ah 12v SLA battery that i stuck industrial velcro to and a platform which mounted on a bottle cage mount.
@wxcafe the roads were fine, but all the neighborhoods were pitch black

@rabcyr what’s up with that ugh
I’ve only been once in Paris in a street where I couldn’t see properly on my bike... and it was a paved residential street in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never had this problem even in the outskirts of small cities...

@wxcafe american suburbs seem to love to be invisible at night.

i thought i camped in the woods outside rochester one night but in the morning i discovered i was actually in suburbs, and a walking path was like 30-40 meters from me. i could see a street with nice houses in the distance.
@wxcafe these are dense suburbs tho. i could be sneaking around and the people there wouldn't even see me.

@wxcafe it'll take a threat to private profit that can't be pushed into the hands of the public to deal with for that to happen.

@wxcafe I feel like PG&E is flirting with getting privatized. But I may be underestimating how much political power they have in the state

@wxcafe it's just my opinion. If I were Newsom and the California Dems, I would be getting the ball rolling on this now. But California, despite it's rep, has pretty conservative leadership

@wxcafe yeah, correct. I've just been thinking about it a lot bc I've been following the story for work. I write about utilities

@interneteh oh okay yeah your comment left me perplexed lol

but yeah utilities being publicly owned would make it a lot better... except it's pretty much an impossibility in the US with the current political climate (and to be honest even before that, the USA are not really pro-public ownership...)

@wxcafe @interneteh a bunch of small towns around here have municipal everything ( for historical reasons ) including at this point stuff like ISPs and things.

uh. but most of the US actively made that illegal. :\

@gdkar @interneteh lol at the radio show we were at earlier with @amphetamine someone went "oh the frequency we own would be work something like 10 mil if it were for sale, it's incredibly rare for a nonprofit radio station to have a frequency like that" or something and I was like... what do you mean... wait do you own frequencies in the US? you can sell them? what the fuck??

in france they're owned by the state and they lease them to commercial stations...

@gdkar @interneteh @amphetamine and nonprofits generally get them for free... and there's publicly-owned diffusion equipment that's leased with the frequency so you don't need to have your own stuff all round the country...

@gdkar @interneteh @amphetamine the US is so weird with private ownership of basic shared ressources honestly. Every time I see something is done by a private company here I'm like what the fuck??

@gdkar @interneteh @amphetamine this is quite litterally the worst possible way to do this like... now instead of one garbage truck you have 7 that compete to get the trash? and who the fuck pays them? how, why? just fucking run it collectively, or if you really must have capitalism at least have only one company run the thing and be paid by the municipality idk? ugh

@wxcafe @gdkar @amphetamine preaching to the choir. But there is a historical reason why it's this way.

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@wxcafe @gdkar @interneteh @amphetamine in my city, the City contracts out some garbage collection to a private company, and does the rest with in-house vehicles and staff. IIRC there are some types of buildings/businesses that aren't covered by the City - malls, office towers maybe? - and they use private companies

(Residential collection used to be all City but Council's right wing successfully got it contracted out.)

@wxcafe @gdkar @interneteh @amphetamine the city also contracts out some paratransit (basically, accessible cabs disabled people can book), some daycare I think, snow clearing (this caused some problems when there was a late snowstorm after the seasonal contract had ended and there weren't enough vehicles)

it's part of privatizing, "small government" ideology

ostensibly this is cheaper but arguably either a) not really, or b) for bad reasons (e.g. private sector pays workers less).

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@wxcafe @gdkar @amphetamine it was a big part of the Reagan-Thatcher neoliberal thing. Privatize everything you could, starve the rest until it collapses.

@wxcafe there are a lot of publicly owned utilities. Just not ones that are that big. When deregulation hit, people were promised this kind of stuff wouldn't happen. Instead companies just got larger and more inept

@interneteh yeah it's happening in europe too now, the neolibs are defunding public services and then arguing they don't work too well and we should privatize them... and it seems to be working unfortunately :/

@wxcafe it becomes hard to argue why should we put more money into a failing system. But it's been made to fail by starving it of resources little by little.


@wxcafe Our public officials are almost all conservative/centrist garbage, the cops are militarized, and companies know we're too complacent to revolt in any meaningful way. So you're right, the rich will get generators and off-road vehicles and install air-conditioning systems while poorer senior citizens get heat stroke. Nothing will change unless ordinary people get mad enough to do something drastic, which I don't see happening any time soon.

@wxcafe @mood yeah that’s the big push to lifted hatchbacks with AWD (“SUVs” or “crossovers,”) in the US

@bonzoesc @mood that and the fact that driving is dangerous and if the other person has an SUV and you don't, well...

so you'd better have one. escalation of arms basically. The War on Cars has a pretty good episode about this

@wxcafe mass strikes and protests shutting down cities for weeks at a time would probably do it


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