Monday, November 21, 2011

but first, a word from our sponsors!!

I earn my keep as a network engineer.  I am not a LAN engineer (your work/home machine's connection to other devices in it's immediate vicinity...and I'm sorry to say that I'm a snob about this) instead I work on a large WAN that is international in scope and pushes more traffic than I am allowed to disclose.  The specialized machines that make routing decisions are called (duh) routers. 

Stay with me, do not allow your eyes to glaze over, I'm getting to the bicycle part. 

Take your average decent workhorse selected-by-engineers-not-management router with a kernel based on FreeBSD and you come away with a Juniper 960.  Configure it with IS-IS and BGP routing protocols and land a few OC-192 on it and give it a home on the global internet.  Isn't that pretty?

This router has a RIB, a Routing Information base.  This is a table that lists routes to destinations and contains some topology information.  It does not contain routes that are so incredibly bogus (literally) that they have been discarded immediately.   This router also has a FIB, a Forwarding Information Base.  The routing protocol process installs active routes from the RIB into the FIB where the information can be used to forward the route out of the best (fastest) interface. 

Translated for bicycling purposes we have:

1.  The RIB.  These are the rules that are law.  What everyone agrees we should do for instance obey posted speed limits, come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign.
2.  The FIB.  These are the rules that actually get followed, what everyone actually does and includes but is not limited to driving 10 or more mph over the posted speed limit, slowing down at a stop sign and if no one else is approaching continuing right on through, taking a right on red even if the posted sign says "no right on red" and resolutely not sharing the road despite a metric butt-ton of those infuriating "share the road" signs.
3.  The bogons.  These are the routes with an as-path that shows a loop.  These behaviors are so bad, we all agree they are worth a ticket for instance driving at 300mph through a school zone.  Interestingly enough, by it's very nature the bicycle just isn't capable of many of these behaviors and the ones we are capable of (bicycling drunk) don't cause trouble for anyone but ourselves.

Have you figured out where I am going with all of this darling non-readers?

People driving cars have a RIB installed and a FIB.  They actually follow the FIB (which means they slow down for stop signs but do not necessarily stop and they drive at whatever the fuck speed they feel like) but they are extremely comfortable with turning around and demanding that bicycles follow the RIB (at a stop sign you rock back on your tires, signal before you turn...) and they tell us that they will not "respect" us until we start obeying these rules that they themselves do not pay any attention to.

Possible solutions: 

1.  Let's make the rules of the FIB match the rules of the RIB.  That would mean an immediate automatic adjustment of all speed limits going up 5-10mph.  At which point the automobiles would all accelerate accordingly.  So I guess we can't do that.

2.  How about the bicycles get their own set of rules?  Charming but time-consuming and unlikely.  I'll put it out there on the wish-list however.

3.  Cars stop expecting bicycles to follow rules that they don't bother with?  A very good start.  Yes.  How about it.

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