Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The sad state of unenforced traffic laws

Eastbound Arques at Wolfe has two "no turn on red" signs posted. Yesterday, again I saw another car come to the intersection and make a nice turn on red. There does not seem to be anything inherently unsafe about the intersection. However, this seems to be a common problem in the traffic scheme in Sunnyvale. Many rules and regulations are put in place, but not enforced.
Stop signs also are interesting. Approaching a busy street, the side street has a stop sign. However, cars will often either stop because the traffic forces them to, or they will do a rolling stop and move because things are clear. Why is it signed for the worse case?
And look at speed limits. The older driver seems to endure endless honking as they obey the law and drive slightly under the speed limit.
Why not set traffic regulations at the level that they are expected and then enforce them. (Would a city mandate that a building could not exceed 70 feet high, and then be happy when the average new building adhering to this regulation was only 75 feet?) The culture of excessive unenforced regulation also makes enforcement more difficult. If everybody is doing it, why is only the problem causer punished?

Landis - victim of firing squad?

Stumbled across this article on Landis from an Alaskan columnist.

One of the rare ones that actually looks in to the details of the Floyd Landis Tour de France episode:
"Landis' epitestosterone-to-testosterone ratio was above the arbitrary standard set by the cycling federation and the ratio of Carbon-12 (6 protons/6 neutrons) to Carbon-13 (6 protons/7 neutrons) atoms in his urine sample indicated he might have used plant-derived testosterone, versus the animal derivative produced by the human body."
Out of the many articles I've read, that is one of the rare one that actually looks at a few details of the test.
One other factor that seems to be missing from the press reports is "What Advantage did he obtain from it?" From the limited information available, it appears that a slightly elevated level would only be beneficial over a long time - and his test did not show anything in the tests before or after. So, in theory any elevation did not provide him a benefit, thus providing no harm to the sport. And since it was so short lived, it would not have provided any harm to him. Thus, since it provided no advantage and no harm, why is it problematic?
Also, the test for 'synthetics' is only administered if the ratio is above the "4:1" limit. Thus there is limited control. Would it have shown synthetic even when the ratio is low? And this test was just for ratios. How did the actual amounts compare to a previous test? Was one suddenly much lower? Or was there a difference in how substances were metabolized?
It seems amazing how the media is quick to send somebody to the executioner based on miniscule evidence or proof of wrong doing. (But should we expected any different after the initial disqualifications at the start of the race.)
Seems like a good reason to keep using my bike for transport rather than sport.