Friday, November 27, 2015

Long Term Test: 1984 Shogun 600

Second update
I feel bad that my poor Shogun has largely been neglected the last few months. It serves mostly around town riding I simply haven't needed to go farther than walking distance lately. In fact, the biggest role it has played lately is serving as the tester for the new bike rack for the Focus EV (review coming soon). Of course, the fact that it sits by the door to my apartment means that I cannot help but gaze upon it every time I pass and it honestly is a pretty bike to just look at. From the slender frame to the complicated head badge, the perfectly true wheels to the still gleaming Shimano Golden Arrow group set, the bike is a stunner in its own right even if it is a bit worn in. Certainly, it appeals to the bike enthusiast in the know, as a colleague took note of it the very last time I rode it to a meeting.

So rather than babbling on, this month, I am going to just present some of my favorite photos of the bike so that we can all admire it together.

On a side note, this post marks the 400th post we have published here on East-West Brothers Garage. We are thankful for everyone who has supported us with their views and have shared our content with others.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Long Term Test: 2012 Orbea Orca Bronze

Second update
Current mileage: 365.6 

I launch away from the stop sign, sprinting hard to race up the short hill. Standing on the pedals, every stroke translating into more speed as I try to beat the cars to the light at the top. The road levels off just before the red light comes into view and I squeeze the brakes gently to bring the bike to a stop. Looking back, I can't help but smile as the first car only just pops into view after I catch my breath.

The Orca continues to prove itself a perfect complement to where I am in my evolution as a rider. It is far and away the lightest bike I have ever ridden, coming in at a scant 18.6 lbs, and that translates into fantastic acceleration. The smoother shifting of the Ultegra components means quicker transitions in cadence and allows me to manage my energy consumption much better as I no longer cringe at the thought of shifting and dealing with the jolt and stutter that I used to get from the components on my old K2. Handling feels fantastic as the bike turns in much more willingly than I ever remember the K2 being and with less weight to move around, I am able to toss it around at will and be confident that I am in complete control. Best of all, despite being stiffer all around, the bike actually delivers a more compliant ride than the aluminum frame it replaced. The layup of the carbon in the seat stays and the use of a carbon seat post seems to damp the ride much better than the aluminum K2.

Of course, one clear thing to keep in mind is that this is a significantly more expensive bike than the one it replaced. It was nearly four times the cost in price paid and over four times the MSRP. It is not hard to see where the extra expense went as the bike is just all around a better ride. While I have not gone out riding nearly as much as I had hoped I would this year, every ride on it proves to me that it was worth every single penny.

As the miles rack up, I expect the bike to reveal ever more of its character to me and to become ever more enjoyable to ride.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Innovation: Honda Power Exporter

In our modern society, electricity is an almost absolute necessity. Or lives have become incredibly dependent upon our electronics and when something happens to the local electrical grid, as happened earlier this year in my town, the loss of electricity can prove particularly inconvenient, especially for someone who works remotely from home. Thinking back, it could have been great to have the power stored in the high voltage battery of my Ford Focus Electric. Honda has come up with a solution for that very problem. The Power Exporter is able to convert the DC power stored in the high voltage battery of an EV and turn it into usable AC power for household electronics.

Using the increasingly more ubiquitous Chademo charging port, the system is able to supply up to 9kWh of power a day, more than enough to keep most basic necessities running in most homes. For my purposes, where my average daily usage is more like 5kWh per day, the battery of my Focus Electric can supply almost a full work week's worth of power. If I reduce a few less necessary items, I could probably go a full week assuming the battery on the car was fully charged. Even on a partial charge, the car would have gotten me through a few days, which would have worked out perfectly for the few days we were without power. Unfortunately, the Focus Electric does not support Chademo.

Still, the idea is a good one and would have been a great alternative to the noisy generators that many of my neighbors had. With the likelihood that electric vehicles will become increasingly prevalent in the future, systems such as these might offer an increased incentive to consider joining the electric revolution.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Editorial: How Hard is it For a Brand to Change Its Image?

Once a company establishes an image with consumers, it tends to stick. Car manufacturers all have different images associated with them. For example, Toyota has been known for building reasonably priced, reliable, but boring vehicles. Volvo is known as a lead innovator in automotive safety technologies. Subaru is often regarded as the manufacturer for enthusiasts. However, not all manufacturers have had the good fortune of having a positive image attached to their name. How difficult is it for a manufacturer to shed their image?

Image courtesy of Logopedia
This question comes to mind because of a certain vehicle I encountered on the way to work one morning. That vehicle was the Cadillac CTS V-Sport, which is one step down from the full on CTS-V. Even though it is not powered by a rip-roaring supercharged V8, it is certainly no slouch. With a twin turbo V6 under its hood pumping 420 horsepower to its rear wheels, it is definitely not slow. This particular CTS V-Sport had a certain flair though. On its hindquarters was a D3 badge. For those unfamiliar with the name, D3 is a noted Cadillac tuner, known specifically for working on Cadillac's "V" line of cars. If the badge was any indication, it meant that this CTS V-Sport must have had some work done to it. As I pulled up next to it, I expected to maybe find a man in their 30s, possibly 40s, face adorned with aviator sunglasses. Instead, I found a man who was at least in his 60s, hunched over the steering wheel, looking like he was struggling to drive the car. The first thought that came to my mind was, "is all that effort Cadillac is putting into re-branding itself not working?"

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Test Drive: 2016 Scion iM 6MT

Image courtesy of Scion
What do I think of James Franco as an actor? Well, he is certainly eclectic. The man is not a terrible actor, as long as he applies himself to whatever role he is in. I think his off screen antics are what make people question his ability and talent as an actor. Nonetheless, his IMDB page still shows him getting plenty of work. About two weeks ago, while watching TV, a Scion ad for their new iA sedan and iM hatchback appeared and it stared none other than, James Franco. Normally, when an actor resorts to shooting these sorts of TV commercials, they are either at the end of the career and desperate to get work, or are just bored. It is hard to tell what the case is with Mr. Franco, but needless to say, it was this TV commercial that oddly piqued my interest in the Scion iM.

Fast forward about two weeks later, I found myself at my local Scion dealer, looking to test drive the six-speed manual equipped iM hatchback. Of the two new Scion vehicles, the iM had more power and, to me at least, looks better than the iA. From certainly angles, it actually looks pretty cool, and gives off the vibe that it could potentially be a pretty quick vehicle. The cool looking exterior did leave me wondering which Toyota the iM is built off of, since pretty much all of Toyota's current offerings are about as exciting as a pair of plain white socks. A brief wikipedia search led me to the Toyota Auris, which is essentially just a hatchback version of the Toyota Corolla that we do not get here in the US. In the brief description of the iM, the wikipedia article states that the Scion iM is essentially a five-door Auris hatchback with a body kit, lowered suspension, and some pretty neat looking 17 in wheels.. Those three changes are what make the iM look way better than any Corolla could ever dream of.

The interior of the car is good...surprisingly good. If the car came with leather seats, I probably could have been fooled into thinking this was a car for Scion's sister company, Lexus. In fact, there are certain touches in the iM, such as the leather stitched parts of the dash and the "not as flimsy" plastic, that make me believe this interior is actually superior to the last Lexus my brother and I drove, the IS250. Of course, this is truly one of those instances where seeing (and feeling) is believing, as my pictures of the interior probably do not do this car justice. I am also very glad Scion decided to go with an easier to learn, touchscreen infotainment system rather than Lexus' weird stationary mouse deal. While the infotainment system is not built in-house (it's actually a unit from Pioneer), it is far easier to use and navigate than pretty much any in-house programmed and designed touchscreen infotainment system I have ever used. Maybe this is what car manufacturers need to start doing: sourcing their infotainment systems to companies that build car audio systems for a living.

I do wish the iM drove as well as it looks. Just by looking at the car, it seemed like it had so much potential. It is not that the car drives horribly, but it is not all that exciting either. Simply put, if you want some cool looking A to B transportation, the iM does not disappoint. For an enthusiast like me though, it is lacking. The first thing that needs to be fixed is the engine. The 1.8 liter, dual overhead cam inline-four in the iM makes 137 horsepower and 126 lb./ft. of torque. For starters, Honda's 1.8 liter, single overhead cam inline-four makes more power and torque (143 horsepower/ 129 lb./ft.), which is sad because the Honda engine is actually older than the Toyota engine. Frankly, I would have been more than willing to sacrifice the fuel economy for Toyota to use the older 2ZZ-GE, 1.8 liter engine found in the now defunct Celica GT-S. Second, 137 horsepower lugging around nearly 3000 pounds of car is not good. As a result, acceleration is sluggish. During my test drive, I was silently cursing at the car to go faster. It is not Prius bad, but it is pretty close.

While I am glad this car comes with a six-speed manual, it is not actually a very good manual. The throws are long, the gates feel vague, the clutch pedal is ridiculously light, and clutch engagement feels very vague as well. If there is one positive thing I can say about the transmission, it is that once you do get the lever into the gate, it does provide a good "thunk," and does not feel plasticky like some of the other manual transmissions I have had the displeasure of experiencing. It does make me wonder if the transmission was built in-house, or if it was sourced out to Aisin (which Toyota apparently owns a large share of). Seeing as how the excellent transmission in the FR-S/BRZ twins was built by Aisin, it leads me to believe that the one in the iM was not built by Aisin. My last gripe with the transmission has less to do with the transmission itself, but more with pedal placement. The brake and gas pedals are placed further apart than I expected, making it difficult to heel-toe downshift. This problem, combined with the shifter's long throws means I was "granny" shifting when I needed to downshift.

Steering, handling, and braking can be considered the brighter points of the driving experience in the iM. The steering has a nice weight to it, but like a large majority of cars with electric steering these days, offers pretty much zero feedback through the steering wheel. The brakes in this car certainly are not bad. They do a good job of bringing the near 3000 pound hatchback to a halt fairly reasonably, with a firm and progressive feeling pedal. Handling seems to be this car's brightest point, being one of the few bargain cars on the market today that still has a double wishbone suspension set up (though just for the rear apparently). Even though the car is lowered from the factory, Scion managed to strike a good balance between comfort and handling. At no point did the car exhibit any excessive body roll, nor did I feel nervous or uneasy attempting to take a corner quicker than the average person. I have to admit that the car's sluggish acceleration probably had something to do with the ease of handling. Some better tires would definitely make this car handle even better, but MPGs are more important than G-Forces for most manufacturers these days. Driving the car over some of the more uneven and pothole filled roads near the dealer, I was very surprised at how well the car soaked up the bumps and rattles normally associated with driving on terrible roads.

My expectations going into this test drive we not exactly high, but I can say that the iM did exceed my expectations. Scion's new "no frills" pricing structure also makes this car quite the bargain. At around $19k (for the manual equipped car), you get a vehicle that has quite a few bells and whistles that all come standard on the vehicle, such as the touchscreen infotainment system, and automatic dual zone climate control. There are no additional trim levels, and the only two options available are choice of transmission (the other transmission is a CVT), and navigation. Basically, what is listed on the window sticker is what you get, and that certainly is not a bad thing. If a comfortable, A to B cruiser with great handling potential is what you are looking for, this could very well be your next car. For me, the engine and transmission alone make this car a "no buy" situation. It is a darn shame because I do like the way the car looks and handles. Maybe if a TRD version comes out in the future, I may go look at it again...or if I got really bored I could find a used one a drop a Honda K20 engine into it.

Oh, and by the time most of you read this, Scion will have put out a new iM commercial featuring Jaleel White driving around with a wax Steve Urkel (Jaleel's character from the 90s sitcom Family Matters) in the passenger seat. It is quite amusing, though a bit creepy too since the wax figure looks a bit unsettling.

*A special thanks to DCH Toyota in Torrance for allowing me to spend time with their bright green Scion iM!  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Editorial: I Don't Get Dual to Single Exhaust Conversions

Image courtesy of FT86 Club user FreedE
Let me start by saying it is not that I do not understand why people do them. There are certain cars out there that come from the factory with a dual outlet exhaust system, but does not really benefit from it aside from looks. There is also the fact that most single outlet exhaust systems will weigh much less than dual outlet systems. What I do not understand is why people do the dual to single conversion, and then just leave the unused exhaust cutout on the bumper.

Image courtesy of S2KI user alexisthemovie

Take my S2000 for example. There are a ton of single outlet aftermarket exhaust systems for the S2000. Even though it looks much better, the S2000 really does not benefit from having a dual outlet exhaust system. Taking a closer look at the S2000's full exhaust system, you will notice that the exhaust headers feed into a single pipe. Besides the fact that most inline engines would never benefit from the exhaust header feeding into more than one pipe, the car was not designed for more than one pipe anyway. In this sense, doing the dual to single conversion makes sense. It also helps that many of the single outlet systems designed for the S2000 are much lighter than their dual outlet counterparts. However, look at the above picture and take a good look at the bumper. How unsightly is it to see a giant, unused gap in the bumper? It just does not look right. If the average Joe saw that, they would wonder why you removed a chunk of your exhaust system and left a big gap in the bumper for no reason. Another car this happens to a lot is the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. Look at the first picture of that white FR-S. Again with the unsightly and unused exhaust cutout. The bumpers were designed like that because they were designed for dual outlet exhaust systems, folks!

Image courtesy of S2KI user dut
Thankfully, there are companies that make aftermarket bumpers that have the unused exhaust cutout removed. Ultimately, this makes the car look much cleaner without the big gaping hole in the bumper. Just take a look at this black S2000. It almost looks as if it came out of the factory looking like that! There are also companies that just make caps that go over the unused cutout. Frankly, slapping a cap over the unused cutout looks really tacky. It is the same with car manufacturers that are too lazy to make two separate bumpers for cars that are available with both single and dual exhaust outlets, and just slap a cap over the unused outlet on their single outlet cars. If you are going to go the single exhaust outlet route, at least do it right and clean up the look so that it looks clean and sleek, not tacked on and cheap.

Image courtesy of DSG Performance
Ultimately though, I believe that cars that come from the factory with a dual exhaust look best with a dual exhaust system. Whether you stick with the factory exhaust or want to enhance the sound and power output of your car with an aftermarket system, if it comes with a dual exhaust, I think you should stick with it. Yes, it may weigh more and yes, the car may not actually benefit from maintaining a dual outlet setup, but ultimately the weigh difference is usually not much and it just looks better. Besides, when the vehicle was originally designed, the designer probably designed it with a dual exhaust because in the first place. Why go undo what the designer spent months, or even years to create?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Long Term Test: 2014 Acura MDX FWD Tech Post #4

Update #4
Current mileage: 12,857

Since our last update, I have not spent as much time with the MDX as some of our other long-term vehicles, but what time I have spent continues to be enjoyable. Despite my aversion for all things SUV, there is no arguing that the MDX is an incredibly capable and comfortable family hauler alternative with as much or as little seating or cargo space as one could possibly need. Of course, one of my favorite features of the MDX has nothing to do with comfort, but everything to do with style and safety.

Our 2014 MDX, along with all of Acura's current line-up, comes with the brilliantly implemented, if awkwardly named, JewelEye LED headlamps. The MDX's five-lamp arrangement is the more prevalent setup in the line-up as opposed to the ten-lamp arrangement that is unique to the RLX. On the MDX, the five individual LED elements are each wrapped in a separate housing with its own focusing lens that is then wrapped up within the larger headlight cluster. During the day, smaller upper elements light up all five elements and serve as a daytime running lamp (DRL). As the sun sets, the low-beams come on and light up the outer three lamp elements. The two inner lamp elements serve as the car's high beams.

Looking at the LEDs, you feel like they are quite small and must not be able to provide all that much light, which was a real concern for me when I first saw the MDX in photos. However, after using the LED headlamps in nighttime driving, I am fully convinced that LEDs are, without a doubt, the right way to go in the future. Similar to xenon high intensity discharge headlamps, LEDs provide a whiter, more natural light. What separates HIDs from LEDs, however, is how that light is dispersed. HIDs are limited by the shape of their reflectors, which is used to disperse the light from the HID bulb and must have a notched pattern cut-off at the top to prevent blinding oncoming traffic. With LEDs, because you have more control of the individual lighting elements, it is possible to tune and overlap the light output of each element to cast just the right amount of light to give you the best balance between distance and side coverage. On the MDX, I feel like the LEDs light up the sides of the road much better than the HIDs of previous generation models and all without sacrificing the visibility down the road. As an added bonus, the LEDs have a much subtler cut-off that feels more natural than the often harsh cut-off necessary with HIDs.

Needless to say, if I am cruising around in the dark of night, I feel like the LED headlamps on our long-term MDX or RLX are at the top of my list of options if given the choice. Plus, it does not hurt that they look pretty cool when they are all lit up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

National Teen Driver Safety Week

Image courtesy of
This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Even in this day and age of greatly improved safety devices in cars, crashes are still the top killer of people 15 to 20 years of age. Progress has slowly been made as states update their licensing requirements (to varying degrees of effectiveness), but there are still tremendous gaps in many states and there is always more that can be done to help improve the situation. A few stories shared on Jalopnik about driver's education experiences really show just how far we still have to go. Take this story, for example:

"In Virginia the driving section was done through a private company which charged hundreds of dollars for (mandated by law) five sessions and a test at the end. The owner of the school picked me up on day one and we drove around for a half hour then took me home. He handed me a signed paper and said, “It’s been nice getting to know you over the past five days, good luck to you.”

I crashed my car a week later."

Such stories are probably more common than we think. Young drivers who fail to receive adequate training to handle some of the more unexpected and challenging situations are certainly contributors towards the crash statistics so Michelin, in the spirit of improving driver education, has asked more experienced drivers to share their safety tips with those less experienced. Finding a way to share our collective wisdom to improve the safety of all on the road is a great start towards making a difference in the education process, but it is no substitute for significantly more stringent driver education standards. If you have wisdom to share, simply tag it with #SharingSafety. You can also check out our own Driving 101 collection of posts for some of our tips.

The longer term implications of better teen drivers now is better adult drivers in the future. That is a worthy investment, if there ever was one.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Editorial: Just because we choose not to drive a car does not make us any less human

I had planned on running an editorial on a different topic, but reading some of the commentary on several recent incidents involving cars and two-wheeled vehicles along with nearly getting run over by cars while crossing the street last week has me more than a little upset at the callous attitude so many drivers exhibit. The most recent incident, shown in the video below, records one of the most unnervingly unsympathetic and completely sociopathic people I have ever seen. Shortly after swerving to cause a motorcycle carrying a passenger to crash, this driver has the gall to stand there and declare, "I don't care" when he is questioned about what he just did. Such disregard for human life is not just a little scary, it is downright run-for-the-hills alarming. Then, to make matters worse, the comments from other people start to pile on and, protected by the anonymity of the Internet, we get to really see what people think of those of us who choose not to get around everywhere surrounded by the metal crash structure of a car.

My own experience this past week has not been significantly better. On one occasion, while crossing at a signal controlled intersection, within the boundaries of the clearly marked crosswalk with a clearly visible walk signal, my dog and I were nearly run down by a livery driver who thought it was entirely appropriate to enter the crosswalk as soon as I had cleared the space he wanted to occupy, barely missing us by inches. Naturally, such a close encounter is going to startle a pedestrian and I immediately spun around to confront the driver of the large black SUV, who threw his hands in the air in exasperation as if he were confounded by why I was upset. Setting aside the fact that he was in clear violation of the law, which requires that drivers refrain from entering a crosswalk until pedestrians have cleared it completely, his lack of any semblance of guilt for the maneuver, compounded by his clear lack of giving a shit for my safety, sent me into a rage, causing an expletive laden diatribe to pour forth from my mouth. The SUV screeched off and I was left upon the side of the road seething in an adrenaline fueled state of anger.

Stories like this are all too common among the cycling community as well. There are countless stories of drivers intentionally making efforts to intimidate riders who are following their legal right to use entire traffic lanes. Some drivers go so far as to knock the rider over, force them off the road, or otherwise cause them bodily harm. When such incidents are reported in the media, the commentary that follows usually devolves into a cesspool of shameless victim blaming with many people voicing the sentiment that the cyclists "got what they deserved" for taking up the whole lane.

I believe this mentality towards anyone not ensconced in the confines of a car seems stem from a few key areas: ignorance, unfairness, and lack of education.

The ignorance comes in many flavors. It could be ignorance of the laws. It could be ignorance of the experience of others. It could just be plain and simple ignorance because of lack of exposure. Whatever, the cause, ignorance can be a tremendously dangerous fuel for dangerous and destructive behaviors. One of the greatest areas of ignorance for many Americans is simply an ignorance of perspective through the eyes of another road user. Most Americans will never ride a motorcycle during their lifetime and most stopped riding bicycles when they became old enough to drive. Since our culture is so dominated by driving, most Americans hardly spend time as pedestrians anymore, aside from the walk from the car door across the parking lot to enter the fast food join where their dinner awaits. Not understanding how the world view is different through the eyes of a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist leads to a lack of understanding of what is perceived as dangerous. Driving in a car, passing a pedestrian or cyclist with less than a foot of space may seem totally safe to a driver, but is a shockingly close call to someone without any kind of physical protection.

One of the most common arguments against the idea of letting motorcyclists lane split is that it is "unfair" for drivers to have to sit in traffic while motorcyclists get to zoom ahead. A common myth levied against cyclists using traffic lanes is how "unfair" it is that cyclists are allowed on the roads but do not have to pay registration and taxes to help pay for those roads. Both of these try to appeal to a sense of "fairness" that taps into the absurdly selfish belief that road use is somehow a zero sum game. If someone else is getting some kind of advantage, then it must be taking away from you in some way. We have turned road use into a kind of sick reality TV competition where the winner gets a crap prize accompanied by their 15 minutes of Internet fame. This attitude is also what leads to some of the more epic road rage incidents as one entitled person takes out their frustration on another in some misguided belief that this will somehow result in them being happier, but only ends up with them in jail.

As for the lack of education, it is a topic that I often revisit. Our driver education system is so pathetic as to be laughable. Not only do we fail to instill in drivers the rules of how to safely operate two ton weapons on the road, we fail to do any semblance of follow-up to make sure that they remain safe in their operation. Just as we license doctors and require them to re-qualify for their license every few years, drivers should be required to update their qualifications from time to time to ensure that they understand how rules have changed or evolved. On top of that, our driver education testing is atrociously inconsistent and lacking in interactions with other road users that it should be no surprise that most drivers simply have no idea what the laws are that pertain to motorcyclists, cyclists, or pedestrians. Testing criteria should be standardized and much more comprehensive and the standards much more stringent to ensure that the pilot of a two-ton box of metal is fully able to comprehend how serious the task of driving really is. Triggers for automatic failure should include reaching for a phone, hitting anything of any kind, and any moving violation that would normally result in a traffic citation. Of course, these standards are going to be the most difficult to change as legislation to alter driving requirements is often met with opposition that rivals the wrath of Zeus himself. There are certainly many advanced driver education options throughout the country and bless the hearts of those who invest the time and money to take those for their own, and everyone's, sake.

At the end of the day, regardless of how utterly ridiculous the current situation might be, what really needs to happen is that everyone needs to learn a bit of respect for everyone else. Just because someone has made the decision to not drive a car does not make them any less of a person. Do not judge them for their choice and instead, focus on your own.

Choose to be respectful of the rights of all road users.
Choose to educate yourself about the rules of the road and follow them as best as you can.
Choose to leave a little earlier so that you are not in a rush and cause chaos along the way.
Choose to allow a greater margin for error anytime you are behind the wheel.

Most importantly, choose to be aware of your surroundings and realize that your actions have an impact on your environment and take responsibility when you make a mistake. There is no faster way to diffuse a situation than to be genuinely apologetic, own your mistake, and communicate that to the other party.

As for the driver above, who exhibits such an abhorrent disregard for human life, I hope that he is punished to the fullest extent of the law for his actions. At a very minimum, I hope such a driver has his driving privileges revoked for the remainder of his life.

Friday, October 16, 2015

News: Salt Lake City has launched the first protected intersection in the US

The development of cycling infrastructure is a constant struggle to balance the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. Many municipalities continue to turn to third party design firms for new ideas on how to strike the appropriate balance, and one such firm has adapted a concept that is increasingly popular in Europe and put in place a working example in downtown Salt Lake City. Alta Design + Planning, which specializes in active transit planning drew inspiration from similar intersections in the Netherlands and worked with SLC city planners to get it implemented at a heavily trafficked intersection of two cycle tracks.

Image courtesy of Alta Planning + Design
By adding some small concrete islands in strategic locations, the new protected intersection provides clearly demarcated paths for cars, bikes, and pedestrians, extending the separation and protection offered by the cycle tracks. Additionally, by using the concrete traffic islands, a space is created to shelter bikes that need to make a left turn, making it so that cyclists no longer need to maneuver across several car lanes in order to get over to the left turn lane. This makes the entire process of a left turn much less disruptive to the overall flow of traffic and helps to reduce the potential of crashes resulting from right of way violations. As an avid cyclist, I would welcome this kind of intersection anywhere there are protected cycle tracks. The good news is that several other cities are evaluating similar intersections or in various stages of implementation.