Illegally Yielding to Cyclists

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You might be asking yourself how yielding to a cyclist could be illegal much less a bad thing to do but it is most definitely both. I am out riding on the roads on my road bike every weekend and at least several times a month the following scenario happens to me...

I am signaling to turn left onto a residential street and there is a car approaching me in the oncoming lane of traffic to my left. They see me signaling to turn left so they stop in the middle of traffic to allow me turn left in front of them while they wait.

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Diagram showing me turning left when an oncoming car is stopped and attempting to yield to me (base image from hackerspace.kinja.com and then annotated by me)

Legally I have to yield right of way to the car but they are trying to do what they think is a kind gesture. Unfortunately I can't take advantage of this gesture of kindness. I have to nod my head no, stop in the middle of the road and wait for the car to proceed in confusion. Here is why this is such a dangerous situation for me...

As a cyclist my best defense on the road is to be as predictable as possible. That means following traffic laws...all of them. In the situation I just described above I have to yield to oncoming traffic when I turn left. When a car decides to yield to me (instead of me yielding to it) it does several things that put me in danger.

1) It confuses any cars that may be behind me in traffic. Remember, this is a very large and heavy vehicle that is traveling behind me. I don't want the driver of that car to be confused about what I am doing. I have already been signaling that I am preparing to turn left. So the car behind me is expecting me to yield to oncoming traffic (which means slowing down and sometimes coming to a complete stop) and to turn left. What if the car behind me is also turning left? Will they also try to turn in front of the same car? Maybe they will ride very close to me to try and squeeze through with me? These are all very non-standard activities which put me at risk.

2) The car that has stopped in the middle of the road to yield to me at the intersection has now confused any cars behind them. Most cars that see a car in front of them slowing down or stopping at a residential intersection assume the car is going to turn (regardless of whether the car has a turn signal on or not since it is common for people to not use them). Or even worse, they assume the driver of the car is lost or confused. Either way, the car approaching behind the car that is attempting to yield to me is now more likely to simply go around this stopped car instead of stopping behind it. If I were in the process of turning left when they went around the stopped car they would hit me before they even saw I was there.

3) Liability. If I turn left in front of an oncoming car in this situation I am now at fault for anything that happens anywhere in the vicinity. I have failed to yield to oncoming traffic and am therefore responsible for any accidents that may occur because of the situation.

So if you have done the act of kindness I describe above for a cyclist on the road first let me thank you for the kind gesture. Cyclists really do appreciate it when cars go out of their way to try and make things safe for them. But in this situation I simply can't take advantage of the act of kindness. I wish I could stop in the middle of road and explain to every driver that does this why this is such a dangerous situation for me, but stopping in the middle of the road to chat is also dangerous. So I am writing the blog post instead. So if you see me out on the road there is one thing you can do that will help keep me safe...treat me like any other vehicle on the road. It is what other cars are used to seeing and it causes the least amount of confusion (making my actions on the road as predictable as possible).

Tom Bihn Saved Me Twice In The Same Trip

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I just returned from my trip back to my home State of Kansas. The purpose of that trip...a 500-mile bicycle ride across the State in an event known as Biking Across Kansas (BAK). During this trip my Tom Bihn gear saved me twice. The first time was while boarding my flight from Florida to Kansas. I had my iPad Pro under my arm so I could lift up my carry on bag into the overhead compartment and the iPad slipped out and hit the floor of the plane. It must have hit with considerable force because multiple people on the plane let out a gasp as it hit the floor. Lucky for me my iPad Pro was protected by a Tom Bihn padded sleeve. My iPad was completely unharmed.

Fast forward almost a week. We were going to bed in our tent on the last night of BAK and there is a storm approaching. As many people do, my son, my Dad and I were camping in a tent that night. Given the magnitude of the storm we decided to retreat from the tent into our truck. We grabbed everything we could hold and made a run for the truck. Several hours later after torrential rain, lightning and 70 mph winds...the storm finally broke. My Dad and I waded (yes, it rained that hard) from the truck to our tents only to discover that they had both been blown over. So we were sleeping in the truck for the few hours that remained of the night. When we awoke at dawn we went back to the tent remains to scavenge what what left and under the heap of tent was my Tom Bihn Tri-Star face down in 3 inches of water. Despite soaking in water all night my work iPhone and all of my clothes remained completely dry. I did have to throw out my power cables and adapters that were in the front pouch of the bag but everything else in the bag came through untouched. Thanks to Tom Bihn I didn't have to explain to my employer why a Kansas storm destroyed my iPhone and I was able to make the 3 1/2 hour drive back to Wichita, Kansas in clean dry clothes. Sometime you get what you pay for with a product and Tom Bihn's bags is certainly an example of that. I wrote a review of the Tri-Star on GeekDad.com last year and have been a very happy customer ever since.

My Apple Watch Back Has Fallen Off...Again

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Last week I rode in a 500 mile bike ride across the state of Kansas called Biking Across Kansas (BAK). During one of the last days of the ride I had stopped for lunch and decided to charge my Apple Watch while I ate. But as soon as I stuck the Apple Watch to the magnetic charger the back immediately popped off. This wasn't the first time this has happened to me. In fact, the watch that Apple just sent me as a warranty replacement is now my 4th Apple Watch. So this is the 3rd time that my back has come off of my Apple Watch and Apple has had to replace the watch. The first 2 times the watch as still under the Apple Care protection plan I had purchased for it. This 3rd time it was not, but Apple still replaced the watch for me at no charge.

I have no earthly idea why this is happening. I don't swim or shower with the watch. The only thing I do with the watch that could be considered out of the ordinary is that I cycle with it outdoors on a regular basis. But the watch is designed to be worn during physical activity so that really shouldn't be causing the back to come off the watch.

So this time I decided to go ahead and buy a Series 2 Apple Watch. My thought was that since the Series 2 is much more waterproof than than my original Series 0 watch. Here's hoping...

But, since Apple has replaced my original Series 0 stainless steel 42 mm Apple Watch yet again, I now have a brand new Apple refurbished Apple Watch that I no longer need. So I am selling it for $300 (and that includes shipping). The Apple Watch itself is still wrapped in the plastic protective covering that Apple packaged it in when they sent me the replacement a few days ago. It comes with the original white sports band and original box. It also comes with a brand new Apple Watch charging cable/brick/puck. This is the charging cable that came with new Series 2 Apple Watch and I don't need it. So this is a close as you can get to a new stainless steel Apple Watch. If you are interested in buying it from me, contact me through my contact page on this site and I will be in touch.

UPDATE Apple has an internal service memo that extends the original Apple Watch warranty out to 3 years to cover this isssue and this issue only. See my latest post for more details.

App Specific iCloud Passwords

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Starting June 15th 2017 Apple will make the use of app specific passwords for iCloud mandatory. What is an app specific password? An app specific password is a unique password that can be generated from within iCloud so you can then use that password to login to iCloud from a 3rd party (non-Apple) app. The most common use for these app specific passwords is 3rd party email apps and 3rd party calendar apps. These are apps that are not created by Apple but require access to your iCloud account in order to present you your email and/or calendar. It used to be that you could just enter your regular iCloud password into these 3rd party apps and you would be able to gain access to your iCloud data. But starting June 15th Apple is implementing additional security protocols that will no longer allow you to use your regular iCloud password unless you are using it with a native Apple app. The Mac Observer has a short article explaining the details and David Sparks made a video for the folks at Fantastical 2 showing us all how to do this:

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