Rides 9/17: Epidemic

Obviously this is a bike commuting blog, but it's mostly a blog about the latest technological gadgets and this means it would be irresponsible to fail to address the implications on the transportation landscape of the widespread adoption of smartwatches. Will smartwatches lessen the likelihood of distracted driving? Probably not, though maybe instead of holding their phones, drivers will instead flip their watches to the inside of their wrist, thereby being able to take their eyes of the road without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. That is, of course, until they have to touch the watch for some reason and then both hands might come off the wheel, whereas with a phone, many people can currently type one handed. In conclusion, it's hard for me to see the addition of another screen lessening the likelihood of distracted driving. Though, since recently I saw a lady driving while reading the newspaper, I suppose this is hardly a digital-only problem.

How will smartwatches impact bicycling? I don't know. Something something Strava? Maybe a watch that buzzes to alert you of when to turn would be useful. I guess not having to bring your phone with you would be a potential benefit. Think of the weight savings!

Along the Mall in the morning and then up Wisconsin to Calvert and down Tunlaw to New Mexico. At Calvert and Wisconsin, there were some Bowser supporters waiving signs. Unlike the Catania folks from a few weeks ago, they did not offer me some banal support for my hill climbing. What can we extrapolate from that regarding the candidate's position on bicycles? Um, nothing? FUN FACT: I once met CM Bowser at a Bike to Work Day. I found the interaction to be painfully awkward, but, in general, I find all my interactions with people to be painfully awkward, so I'm not going to hang that on her. Anyway, there's a mayoral debate tonight. I hope the candidates are asked some tough questions about transportation, such as what color Lincoln Navigator they plan to park in bike lanes. You know, really grill them.

I rode through the city on the way home and took the usual route down Massachusetts to 21st to L Street to 15th. Not much to report except that I was honked at (which is relatively rare) and that's funny because I wrote in this week's Gear Prudence about drivers "helpfully" honking. This wasn't so much helping as telling me to move over. I moved over. This happened in the stretch of parking lot/road on Pennsylvania between 3rd Street and Peace Circle, which is maybe the block of DC I hate most of all. Is it a street? Is it a parking lot? Is it a restricted parking lot? Why does everyone need to back into spots on the diagonal? Have you seen people try to do this? They're really not great at it. There are a bunch of streets around the Capitol that are, even more the usual streets, parking lots that people are allowed to drive through. I think it's awful, both in terms of usability and aesthetics, but when it comes to the latter, we're supposed to pretend that thin overhead streetcar wires are offensive to our sensibilities but that late 90s Toyota Corollas might as well be chiseled by Daniel Chester French and purposefully integrated into the landscape of the District by Frederick Law Olmstead. It's a very strange double standard. Anyway, #waroncars.

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