Thursday, 26 August 2010

I got run over by a car... and I blame it on design

So, as I'm sure most of you who are my fb friends know, I got in a car vs. bike accident on Sunday (me being bike). Definitely not fun. So how do I blame design, well... this is not the first accident I've been in, its the second, and the first one was at the very same intersection. So first of all I blame the weird signs that no driver seems to notice at every intersection on the bike path:
The next thing I blame, is the damn tourists - this time for real, not because they are clogging the sidewalks, but because I screamed at one for cutting me off this week when they were trying to park (have you heard of a signal light?), and then because it was another car from Ontario that was the one that was the cause of this accident.

So let me tell you the whole thing. I had a weird morning, and decided to forgo my initial plans to take a bixi up to the market, and then over to work from the north. I needed to stop downtown to get some supplies for work (both our double needles broke the day before during my Serger class), so I went downtown at around noon. It was raining, but more sprinkling than raining, so I didn't worry too much about the rain, I usually only stop biking when its so bad my glasses get too wet to see properly. So I decided to take the bike path (aka the death trap), because I was too lazy to go up the hill to Sherbrooke, and Sherbrooke had been filled with Ontario drivers all weekend (parent's weekend at McGill I think). So I continued as per normal, and went straight, and I was running a bit behind schedule, so I was bootin' it. I had about 3 green lights in a row, so I had a bit of speed, and I was coming up to my 4th, when the driver turned left in front of me. I slammed on my brakes, but the less than 5m wasn't enough to stop, and I ended up hitting the back of the guy's car and falling on the pavement, and hiting my head on something in the process (which I only knew because I have a nice big dent in my helmet - Thank You Helmet!!!). The guy was beside himself upset. Initially I was alright (shock and adrenaline is my guess), and we traded contact information, and I went off, made a couple of hysterical phone calls, and went to work, and taught the weirdest workshop (sorry everyone, but I hope your zipper skills are good, and if you need any help ask again, and I will certainly help!). I started to feel it at around 8pm, just tenseness... and I woke up with some severe nausea and dizziness, so spent the wee hours of the morning in the ER, and was deemed alright, and have spent the majority of the days since in bed, still rather sore...

So how could have design fixed this - better bike lanes for certain. Left turns only on a signal light would work too, and I would be dreaming, but a whole street without cars, but a safe haven for bikes in this city.

For now, I will refrain from biking until I feel better. And then I'll continue to ride across the city on Sherbrooke (a 2-way street), at least cars are paying attention there.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Book Report Time!

I know, where the heck did I go? Well, lets just say there have been quite a few changes since June, and I'm back to the reading of the books... design books/sustainability books/theory in general books... YAY!

So I read "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald A. Norman last week... good book overall, I really loved the section on design frustrations, and how we blame ourselves in situations where bad design is more often to blame. The funny part, was I was in a car accident while reading that section (I wasn't driving and reading I SWEAR!!!) - how fitting. The crash was truly an accident(a small fender bender in the parking lot - we were pulling out and he zoomed in right next to us), and the other guy's car got SOOOOOO much more damage than ours (bad design both in the car and the parking lot)...

Its a slightly older book (originally published under the title of "Psychology of Everyday Things" in 1988 - its interesting to see how many things have changed in the world of design, and makes me wonder if a great deal of change in regards to user centered design, and interface design can be attributed to this book.

Overall - I would say if you like design theory - read it, if you don't - don't bother... But as far as design theory goes - AWESOME... I wish I had read it 10 years ago.