Wednesday, February 29

Last Post of the Old Era

I'm going to go in a little different direction. If you happen to be my loyal reader, don't despair. I don't think this blog is actually going to GO AWAY in the near future. However, a little clarity has entered my life and I'll unveil it soon. For the moment, I'll dispense a little wisdom in the way I've been accustomed to do.

Dear, Departed Eugene Sloane
Today, I want to rant a little about the pure ignorance of traffic engineers where people that ride bikes are concerned. I'll start with a blast to the past. Specifically, Eugene Sloane's classic book on bicycling. In it, amongst other things, he ranted against drain grates that trapped cyclists. My own edition (actually, my wonderful wife's book) was published back in 1969. For those of you that are math challenged, 1969 was the year we first put man on the Moon, and it was also FORTY THREE YEARS AGO.

Well, some dips, er, traffic engineers haven't learned much in the last NEARLY HALF CENTURY.

You see, within a block of a "Safe Routes to School" project (supposedly to make things safer for kids), exists THIS TRAP.

What do you think would happen to a kid riding to school who hugged the curb. Yeah, me too. Fortunately, I ride WELL left of such dangers. It just strikes me how little progress we've made in impacting road design and drainage in the last half century...

Wowza, a Bike Rack Right in the Road! It's Been a LONG Time Since I Saw Such Egregious IGNORANCE

I Got a Little Nervous About Leaving the Bike Just Standing There. I Really DIDN'T Want My Expensive Wheel to Get Bent.
28c Tires Fit Into the Grate WITH ROOM TO SPARE

If You Needed a MODERN (Post 1969) Reason NOT to Hug the Curb, Look at THIS DRAIN Grate. It Could RUIN Your Whole Day - IF You're Lucky.
City of Hurst
Public Works
1505 Precinct Line Road
Hurst, Texas 76054
(817) 788-7076


Pondero said...

That terrifying grate sent chills down my spine. I know the Hurst City Engineer and plan to talk with him soon about another matter, and might bring this up.

Looking forward to what's next for the blog.

Chandra said...

They looked nasty when you showed me the pics on your camera. The bigger pictures bring the hidden danger to light.

Thanks for this PSA.

Paz :)

Khal said...

Parallel grates. Its sad we still do that shit.

limom said...

That's pretty bad.
They should at least paint the thing yellow or something.

Steve A said...

Pondero, the actual construction was done by some contractor, but I was still amazed to see such practices nowadays. It is possible nobody told the City Enginer that they decided to build a bike trap.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Steve, when I see crap like this grate, I hope that the Voice of the Texas Sasquatch will never be silenced. But a little clarity sometimes can be a good thing, too.

Trevor said...



RANTWICK said...

Crazy, man, crazy. I'm gonna build me some car tire catchers and leave 'em by that there bike catcher and see if anyone catches on.

Well, not really. I haven't seen anything that bad here in Canada, and I ain't flying to Texas with my 400 lb. car catchers.

MamaVee said...


I like that the bike on the book looks like it could be a bike on any hip new pretty bike blog now....

Interested to see the new direction!

Chuck Davis said...

Do we know when at grate was installed

Steve A said...

Chuck, the grate is less than a month old. Conveniently, a Hurst city councilman is my boss and will receive a link to this post. He is relentless in looking out for his city and is not inclined to allow a low bid contractor to get it sued due to something that was generally recognized 50 years ago.

Steve A said...

Added note: Drain grates of any kind are unusual around North Texas. The common practice is a simple hole in the curb which no cyclist would ever fall into, but which WOULD suck in cats and other small animals in a rainstorm. I have seen cats duck into such drains voluntarily when no water was pouring into them. I do NOT think it is fair to conclude from this comment that Hurst values stray cats more than its school children. I DO wonder what the contractor was thinking.

Invisible Man said...

I have been pondering writing a post on my own blog ( about whether the people who designed some bike "facilities" were actually at all familiar with bicycles or had ever ridden one. The cycle superhighways in London are, for example, marked in smooth paint. The result is that, as soon as it rains, every cyclist has to ride outside the markings because the marked cycle superhighway becomes too dangerous for bikes.
It would, as the saying goes, be funny if it weren't serious.

Steve A said...

Invisible, feel free to use my photos if they help you illustrate the point. I have fallen on slick paint myself.

Invisible Man said...

Steve A,

Thank you. I may take you up on that soon (although I'm currently working on a different post, on whether it's a rational decision to cycle).

All the best,


Post a Comment

No Need for Non-Robot proof here!