Category: indiana

Due Care for pedestrians: Honk your horn!

In yesterday’s discussion about dooring laws, Richard W points out IC 9-21-8-37 from Indiana, which says in part:

A person who drives a vehicle shall … exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or a person propelling a human powered vehicle, giving an audible signal when necessary.

Holy Noise Pollution, Batman! If you’re exercising due care, how often should somebody need to honk at a pedestrian?

A quick Internet shows me that several other states also have this law on the books, including Nebraska, Utah, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Wyoming, the District of Columbia and more. Was this in the Uniform Vehicle Code? Does it date from the era of the horse and buggy when an audible signal was the toot of a squeeze bulb horn or a vocal utterance to give way.

Richard does suggest that this provision can be used to ticket the perpetrator in a dooring collision in those states without a dooring law.

Today in history: An improved method of extracting gasoline from petroleum

William Merriam Burton patent for cracking gasoline from petroleum

On this day in 1913, the US Patent Office awarded patent number 1,049,667 to chemist William Merriam Burton. Burton and his team developed his improved method of extracting gasoline from crude oil at the Standard Oil Refinery in Whiting, Indiana.

In his patent application, Dr. Burton writes, “The great and growing demand during the past ten years for gasolene [sic] has induced a large increase in the supply by improvements in the method of distilling from crude petroleum the naphthas. This leaves the illuminating oils … and the lubricating oils and waxes and, as residue, fuel oil and gas oil.

“The increasing demand for gasolene has induced attempts to obtain it from this residue.”

In 1912, Standard Oil of Indiana opened its first gasoline station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Henry Ford’s Model T was just beginning to take off in popularity, and Burton’s production forecasts predicted his supply could not possibly meet the new demand. He assembled a team of chemists and engineers to develop a process using steam to “crack” petroleum — that is, breaking the heavy hydrocarbon molecules down to lighter molecules such as the components of gasoline.

Burton’s work was a great improvement over the then extant Shukhov process, and doubled the yield of gasoline from crude. Although catalytic cracking superseded Burton’s steam cracking after World War 2, Patent 1,049,667 today is seen as among the more important developments in petroleum engineering. Five years after this patent was awarded, Burton became president of a post-breakup Standard Oil of Indiana.

In 1984, Burton was inducted into the US Department of Commerce’s National Inventors Hall of Fame. In their biography of William Burton, British Petroleum notes that “Burton may be gone, but his vision still fuels the American economy.”

3 foot law for Indiana?

Indiana Senator John Broden (D – South Bend) plans to introduce SB 101, which changes the definition of “bicycle” in Indiana’s vehicle code, adds a requirement for a minimum 3 foot passing clearance, and allows drivers passing cyclist to pass in a no passing zone when it’s safe to do so.

More about this at attorney Doug Masson’s blog. Thank you to David Pulliam for the tip.

How an Indiana town got a bicycle map

Richmond Indiana bike map

Cycling advocates in Richmond, Indiana wanted a bike map to help promote the use of bicycles around their city. The city didn’t have the funds to develop and print a bike map, so Mark Stosberg and other cyclists started an advocacy group, identified cycling routes, presented the maps idea to the city staff, looked at other good bike maps for ideas, designed the map, figured out printing costs, and did fundraising.

It’s a really cool story that Mark has written up as a How To Guide to creating a local bike map.