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Old 03-30-2012, 07:40 AM   #166
LittleRedToyota
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Originally Posted by windmill View Post
their main intent is to make traffic flow orderly, predictable and efficient.
no, it isn't. if that were the case, speed limits on interstates would be much higher than they are for one thing. on other roads where *everyone* drives 10 or 15 over the limit and there are not accidents as a result, the state/city would respond by raising the speed limit rather than by setting up a sting operation every couple years and busting a bunch of people who are not doing anything other than what they do, and everyone else does, every day.

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When everybody drives/rides by their own rules it turns into mayhem.
actually, it doesn't...at least not necessarily. it actually can be safer.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...448747,00.html

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IMO, it's the difference between doing what is reasonable, opposed to doing whatever you can get away with.
agreed 100%. and when you make people responsible for their own safety, instead of allowing them to rely on a bunch of arbitrary rules to supposedly make them safe, they tend to act reasonably instead of trying to get away with whatever they can get away with. after all, rules are made to be broken in the eyes of many...yet very few want to die or get seriously injured.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:47 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by LittleRedToyota View Post
no, it isn't. if that were the case, speed limits on interstates would be much higher than they are for one thing. on other roads where *everyone* drives 10 or 15 over the limit and there are not accidents as a result, the state/city would respond by raising the speed limit rather than by setting up a sting operation every couple years and busting a bunch of people who are not doing anything other than what they do, and everyone else does, every day.
Traffic control is a proven legitimate science, and refusing to recognize that is nothing but ignorance or denial.
Even when there is no applicable traffic laws, the universally recognized "rules of the road" still determine driver conduct.

The reason we are stuck with low speed limits is because of our driving and enforcement culture. In Europe limits are higher, enforcement is strict, and fines are high. Here limits are lower, enforcement is lax, and fines are low. Most departments wont ticket for less than 10 over.
Another thing to consider is while highway engineers initially determine speed limits and other restrictions biased on the actual physical makeup of the road, locals citizens and officials can petition municipalities to modify laws for reasons not related to safety.

How and why enforcement officials and municipalities choose to use traffic laws to collect monetary fines is an entirely different issue.

Folks need to remember they are responsible for the safety of both themselves and those they are sharing the road with. Good roadcraft is awareness, not self awareness.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #168
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Nothing to do with the culture. Problem is Driving Ed in USA. I traveled many countries in Western and Eastern Europe and Middle east. Many different cultures live there, but It is well known rule that you drive in the right and pass on the left. Everyone knows it, and everyone does it. Peiod.
I disagree, reading the last 3 pages; I found most of the comments to stem from cultural values, especially criteria of awareness of self and others. If it is taught by the instructor that it is important to drive on the right and pass on the left, and is reminded throughout the course, and later again in practice. As opposed to an instructor mentioning it as an afterthought and not insisting on it in during practice, it is directly reflective of what is considered to be acceptable or not in a given society, and likely unconsciously followed by the instructor. So will be the content of the curriculum for the course.

Also I tend to be cautious of statements in a conversation that includes words such as always, everyone, never... Whats a Peiod BTW ?

I agree on several of the comments made re. Drivers ed. In BC, drivers ed is not compulsory, meaning that unless you are taught to drive by some who is a "good" driver (whatever that means), you will drive like an .
Generations of poor drivers perpetuate bad habits. It's great for insurance companies especially when they are state sponsored (like in BC incidentally). It's interesting because if you look at traffic on a busy street you can observe systematically drivers after drivers making very similar "mistakes" or taking the same types of decisions.


I remember when first riding in Italy, even on a highways with little traffic, me doing maybe 175-190 km/hr in the right lane, being passed on the left, and have drivers fairly quickly reverting to the right lane regardless of having another vehicle behind them or not. It took me a while to get used to it, at the beginning I almost felt I was being cut off, enough so that until I did get use to it, I would drop my speed to increase the distance between us when they moved back to the right lane.

Now is that type of behavior more or less safe than having an idiot blocking the left lane at 49 Miles/hr on a busy three lane highway, and forcing others to zigzag around? You tell me.

This is actually turning out to be an interesting thread, despite the fact that the topic is
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:11 AM   #169
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Traffic control is a proven legitimate science, and refusing to recognize that is nothing but ignorance or denial.
not saying it isn't.

i'm just saying that those who make traffic laws don't pay much attention to the science...or real world empirical evidence. of course, that's often true of laws in general.

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How and why enforcement officials and municipalities choose to use traffic laws to collect monetary fines is an entirely different issue.
yeah, that was my point...except it's not just the enforcement of the laws, it is the specific laws--as written by legislators--as well.

"rules of the road" is something else. but those are not traffic laws and those are not enforced.

i thought you were saying that, in the real world, real traffic laws are based on making traffic flow more efficient. but, in reality, that is not the case. they are based on ignorance, authoritarianism*, politics, and revenue generation.

(*i was at a town council meeting when i was a teenager in the small town i grew up in--part of my dad giving me a good political education--where the authoritarian issue was made very clear. there was a section of road coming into town where the speed limit was 35mph. everyone drove 55 on it...because even 55 was far below an actual safe speed on the road. some old guy came to the meeting to complain about people going 55 when the speed limit was 35. why? who knows? he didn't have an actual reason...some people are just like that.

he asked the council what they were going to do about it. half the town council wanted to lower the speed limit to 25. why? because, how dare people defy their authority and speed!!! town council would teach them to respect their authority by make the speed limit even more ridiculously low!

fortunately, slightly more than half the council realized lowering the speed limit to 25 was idiotic and it did not pass. but only one council member even asked the question "is there actually a problem? are there accidents on that road?"...the answer from the police chief was a begrudging "not really". the obvious right thing to do would be to raise the speed limit to 55 there, but that was never even considered.

in many cases, that's how speed limits are determined. has nothing to do with efficient traffic flow or even safety.)

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Folks need to remember they are responsible for the safety of both themselves and those they are sharing the road with. Good roadcraft is awareness, not self awareness.
absolutely. but our traffic laws often actually promote non-awareness. as the der spiegel article i linked demonstrates, getting rid of many of the laws actually causes people to be more aware.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:50 PM   #170
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Drivers ed. In BC, drivers ed is not compulsory, meaning that unless you are taught to drive by some who is a "good" driver (whatever that means), you will drive like an


Very true. Are there states/ provinces where it is mandatory that you have to be trained by a 'qualified' instructor?
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:37 PM   #171
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Since 2009 in Quebec I think. They were compulsory until 1997, then the law was changed, and it recently reverted.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by LittleRedToyota View Post
not saying it isn't.

i'm just saying that those who make traffic laws don't pay much attention to the science...or real world empirical evidence. of course, that's often true of laws in general.

yeah, that was my point...except it's not just the enforcement of the laws, it is the specific laws--as written by legislators--as well.

"rules of the road" is something else. but those are not traffic laws and those are not enforced.

i thought you were saying that, in the real world, real traffic laws are based on making traffic flow more efficient. but, in reality, that is not the case. they are based on ignorance, authoritarianism*, politics, and revenue generation.

absolutely. but our traffic laws often actually promote non-awareness. as the der spiegel article i linked demonstrates, getting rid of many of the laws actually causes people to be more aware.
I actually agree with you......in theory, but in our current driving and legal culture??????

For fewer more progressive laws to work, standards for getting and maintaining a license would need to raised substantially. Also for the laws that remain, they would be more absolute with substantial penalties for violations.
IMO, there needs to be major changes before we allow the average motorist to make more decisions for themselves.

Keep in mind, for having the better driving environment they have in Europe, they pay dearly. Not only is it much harder to have and keep a license, they also have very strict requirements in how vehicles must be maintained, insurance is much more costly, and fines and penlites are substantial.
It's not all puppies and rainbows there either, they still have bad drivers and ass hats on the road.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:32 AM   #173
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I read somewhere that given the lack of rules preventing it, *most* people drive at a reasonable and prudent speed based on conditions.

IOW if the road they're on 'feels safe' at 55mph regardless of what's posted, that's what they'll drive. Case in point is the de facto speed limit on Rt 28 between here and Rt 17. Marked at 45mph but pretty much everyone drives 55mph on it.

I also read somewhere that speed limits are set at the 85th percentile.
I'd have to go do some more digging, but it makes sense.

M
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:26 AM   #174
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I actually agree with you......in theory, but in our current driving and legal culture??????

Keep in mind, for having the better driving environment they have in Europe, they pay dearly. Not only is it much harder to have and keep a license, they also have very strict requirements in how vehicles must be maintained, insurance is much more costly, and fines and penlites are substantial.
It's not all puppies and rainbows there either, they still have bad drivers and ass hats on the road.
Valid point, also smaller distances, more accessible and efficient public transportation provide less incentive to drive. Multiple car ownership is the exception, not the norm as on our side of the pond. The greener grass thing, l guess...

From a motorcyclist perspective, what you notice more in Europe is the fact that cars and motos share the road more respectfully IMHO. I suppose that many factors can be attributed to this; a lot more 2 wheelers on the road, smaller cars, less large trucks in urban area, and different ways of managing traffic (less stop signs, more roundabouts, different light patterns day/night, various speed limits base on time of day/type of vehicle, and road condition), etc, etc. I think all these factors paired with the fact that drivers are brought up in this type of environment makes or forces them to be more road conscious, at the very least more responsible for deciding on what to do next, driving conditions are a lot less homogeneous than they are here.

On the other hand in big cities like Rome, Paris, Madrid... you rarely see a vehicle that does not have a small dent or scratches.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:47 AM   #175
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It's the right lane blockers that screw up my commute. Everyone drives in the fast lane here (CA) the slow lane is the new fast lane.

One factor is the mpg indicator in many new cars these days. They make people drive slow to save money.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:49 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
I read somewhere that given the lack of rules preventing it, *most* people drive at a reasonable and prudent speed based on conditions.

IOW if the road they're on 'feels safe' at 55mph regardless of what's posted, that's what they'll drive. Case in point is the de facto speed limit on Rt 28 between here and Rt 17. Marked at 45mph but pretty much everyone drives 55mph on it.

I also read somewhere that speed limits are set at the 85th percentile.
I'd have to go do some more digging, but it makes sense.

M
That is all correct, traffic laws are supposed to be about protecting the rest of the world from the 15% who can't or won't make good decisions on their own.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:54 AM   #177
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It's the right lane blockers that screw up my commute. Everyone drives in the fast lane here (CA) the slow lane is the new fast lane.
+100

Doesn't seem to matter if it's on City streets or the highway lately....Right lane is now the passing lane
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:37 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
I read somewhere that given the lack of rules preventing it, *most* people drive at a reasonable and prudent speed based on conditions.

IOW if the road they're on 'feels safe' at 55mph regardless of what's posted, that's what they'll drive. Case in point is the de facto speed limit on Rt 28 between here and Rt 17. Marked at 45mph but pretty much everyone drives 55mph on it.

I also read somewhere that speed limits are set at the 85th percentile.
I'd have to go do some more digging, but it makes sense.

M
About 15 years ago I drove from Maine to California. Some of the Eastern highways had 55 MPH speed limits but as I headed west speed limits went up to 65 then 70 and eventually 75. On the 55 MPH roads most traffic was going 65-70. Out west on the 75 MPH roads most traffic was going 70-75. A 20 MPH difference in speed limits yet only about a 5 MPH difference in speeds.

Near my home are two roads that are quite similar. One is 45 MPH and the other is 55 MPH. What's the difference? One is a county road and the other a state road. Guess which road always has speed traps on it?

Speed limits on very similar roads often have speed limits that vary by up to 30 MPH

I don't see how anyone can drive for long in the US before seeing that many speed limits are set randomly with no actual intelligence or common sense involved.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:14 AM   #179
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It's the right lane blockers that screw up my commute. Everyone drives in the fast lane here (CA) the slow lane is the new fast lane. ...
Dunno know about commuting but on two trips to CA last year (Feb & Dec) the right lanes were blocked by 18-wheelers, and the occasional car/truck pulling a trailer, doing 55, and there were plenty of CHP cruisers hiding under overpasses, waiting.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:54 AM   #180
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I don't see how anyone can drive for long in the US before seeing that many speed limits are set randomly with no actual intelligence or common sense involved.
That's because outside influences can be brought to bear that have nothing to do with safety.
Locals worried about their unsupervised kids, old folks who don't like the noise, retailers who want folks to have easier access to their business, locals who want to make "their" road undesirable as a through route, municipalities trying to encourage use of public transit, and if there is a statistical history of incidents.
And never forget the major, self serving influence that the insurance industry has.

The priorities of locals will be different than someone just passing through, or using the road for recreation. It's easy to forget that for the vast majority of folks, driving is nothing more than a necessary chore to get from A to B.

IMO, A traffic cop is like any other road hazard, and enforcement so lax, if a rider doesn't have the roadcraft and skill to do their own thing without avoiding trouble, they have no right to complain, and should stick to the rules.
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