Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
UK to become more car dependent than USA?

By RaveWar in News
Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 02:10:31 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The current (Labour) government of the UK on election promised a new transport policy. The aims were to end road building and reduce congestion by cutting car travel whilst increasing the use of public transport. It failed. Yesterday the Secretary for State announced a huge spending spree on trunk roads widening. Those post election dreams of sustainable development have been merrily tossed out of the car window.


ADVERTISEMENT
Sponsor: rusty
This space intentionally left blank
...because it's waiting for your ad. So why are you still reading this? Come on, get going. Read the story, and then get an ad. Alright stop it. I'm not going to say anything else. Now you're just being silly. STOP LOOKING AT ME! I'm done!
comments (24)
active | buy ad
ADVERTISEMENT
So what are the consequences? Road traffic multiplies to fill any available road that could be conceived on our small island: many of these new roads will be swamped soon after opening. They will almost certainly open up greenfield land for development pressure that will be hard to resist. And the efforts to entice more people on public transport will be set back as long as motoring is willingly catered for.

There are deep social issues to car dependency. It isolates those with no access to cars: children, elderly, and anyone in between who cannot afford or handle a car of their own. It reduces the choice of those who can drive to use other modes of transport. And the roads themselves divide communities and reduce the perceived safety of residents.

Transport 2000 is a pressure group which fights for a more environmentally sound future. Predictably, their reaction is less than glowing. But did the government have any choice? Road tolls for city centres and motorways may be the best way of putting the price on driving at a level that reflects the real cost of driving in congested areas. But the option of charging road use may have been scuppered by events occurring two summers ago.

The fuel tax protests in 2000 was the start of the governments loss of faith in traffic reducing measures. The event consisted of a handful of lorry drivers and farmers blockading fuel distribution depots with their vehicles - an action that caused great concern at the time. The deliberate attempt to cripple the operation of the country (there were genuine fears of lives being put in danger as emergency services ground to a halt) went beyond the realms of mere protest, strike or walk out and was in fact a thinly veiled terror campaign; it was fortunate that nobody was killed. However it resulted in the fuel tax being reduced in the next budget.

Can traffic be reduced by local or government measures? It seems to an outsider like me that the United States, despite the efforts of its government, is overtaking Britain in public transport take up. Even Los Angeles has got its rail based transport system back again. There are local transport initiatives in the UK including rail, and London leads the way in introducing congestion charging (tolls to drive into the city centre) because its Mayor is a maverick prepared to take tough decisions. The most concerning thing in the debate is the schism between the motorists desire to improve the environment and their willingness to do their bit and leave their motorcar at home - when driving is so cheap compared to public transport, would you?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o announced
o Transport 2000
o fuel tax protests in 2000
o Also by RaveWar


Display: Sort:
UK to become more car dependent than USA? | 75 comments (73 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
They are only taking cities into account... (4.50 / 6) (#2)
by gordonjcp on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:08:03 AM EST

Now, I live in a city, but I (mostly) use public transport. Unless I'm going to work on a Sunday (when the Underground doesn't start until 10am) or I've got something heavy to use, I rarely use my car to get into Glasgow City Centre.

However, my girlfriend stays a bit further out, and there's only one bus every half-an-hour or so. So it's quicker and easier to use the car. Some of my friends stay quite a long way outside Glasgow, and the buses are *very* infrequent. Now, on top of that, I go to visit my mother about twice a month, in the far north-west of Scotland, where public transport is very uncertain and it takes 11 hours by bus. I can drive there in four hours.

The big problem is this - in rural areas, cars are essential. There is no, or nearly no, public transport, and frequently it's highly impractical to use. Forcing people out of cars and onto public transport works in cities, where you have a high population density, and people only want to travel short distances. However, in rural areas, it just doesn't scale.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


Sorry (2.66 / 3) (#3)
by hulver on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:10:37 AM EST

The article says "UK" but it is really just talking about England. Please keep your Scotish problems up north where they belong.

Thanks :)

--
HuSi!
[ Parent ]

bus frequency (none / 0) (#5)
by RaveWar on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:33:13 AM EST

Something that may be assumed is that busses would be more frequent if there was less car traffic: a frequent service would become viable, and with less traffic in the way they should be able to get about faster.

BTW, a bus every half hour does not seem an unreasonable frequency, certainly good enough for commuting to work. An infrequent bus service is, like, four a day or thereabouts.

I agree people need cars in rural areas. That is the beauty of road charging: you should only get stung for driving right into the city centre (maybe only at peak times) or intercity travel on motorway.
We don't need freedom. We don't need love.
We want Superpower, Ultraviolence.
[ Parent ]

It's not the frequency of buses that's the problem (none / 0) (#10)
by gordonjcp on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:46:07 AM EST

The problem is that many people want to get a week's worth of shopping in one go, and this may also include large or bulky items.
All very well in cities, where there's a corner shop or similar every few hundred yards. Where I come from, going to the 24-hour petrol station is a 60-mile round trip...

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Internet shopping (none / 0) (#13)
by squigly on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:04:10 AM EST

Most supermarkets will deliver for a fee (of about £5).  Perhaps the local authorities could subsidise this for longer journeys.

[ Parent ]
Still no good. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by gordonjcp on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:26:21 AM EST

Try and buy 250kg of horse feed in a supermarket. Plus, it's not really cost-effective to do deliveries unless it's multidrop, and multidrop is only cost-effective where the drops are fairly close together. It works in cities, but not out in the sticks.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Horse feed? (4.50 / 2) (#55)
by DullTrev on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 04:35:39 AM EST

Why, use the horse to get it!


--
DullTrev - used to be interesting. Honest.
[ Parent ]
he would... (none / 0) (#74)
by /dev/trash on Fri Jan 03, 2003 at 09:50:04 PM EST

But I'm sure they've been banned from the streets as well.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Bus lanes. (none / 0) (#16)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:19:09 AM EST

Where I am on main roads there are special bus lanes which seem to work well.

But I don't necessarily see a connection between increased car traffic and decreased public transport. What is needed is more buses, not necessarily less cars.

When you are talking about bus frequency, you've also got to talk about the load. On a busy route in my city even a bus every 5 minutes can sometimes barely manage the load (at peak hours) and you can wait for up to an hour whilst full buses go past.

[ Parent ]

Road widening bad for environment, doubtful (3.66 / 9) (#4)
by onyxruby on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:28:00 AM EST

The obvious result of road widening is to allow more traffic to pass. By allowing more traffic to pass you increase the average speed of traffic in a given section of road. By increasing road width adequately, you eliminate stop and go traffic. By eliminating stop and go traffic, or reducing it, you are improving the environment in several ways:

First, you are increasing the mileage of the vehicles in the given section of roadway. By increasing speed to a higher consistent speed, you are increasing the fuel efficiency of all cars along that stretch of road. Anyone doubting this need only look at the freeway vs city fuel mileage (available free in the US for any car) and you will quickly see that a car's freeway rating is usually 1/3rd to 1/2 better than a car's city rating. (I think one of the new honda hybrids is actually an exception). Multiply this by the tens of thousands of cars that major city freeway arteries carry each day and you are talking about significant fuel saving in the hundreds of thousands of gallons per day, per stretch of road.

Second, Engine efficiency. An engine always operates more efficiently at freeway speeds than side street speeds. This is reflected not just in mileage, but in the pollutants that your car releases through the tailpipe. Even if you have an electric car, your still going to operate it more efficiently at freeway speed, than stop and go rush hour. Acceleration is absolutely terrible for pollution purposes. Simply put, traffic moving at a consistent highway rate of speed puts out less pollution into the air than traffic in stop and go conditions. Multiply this by major city artery traffic and it adds up. If memory serves, communities with traffic circles on sidestreets can have trouble growing certain flowers inside the traffic circle because the excess pollution caused by people accelerating to make up for lost time kills the flowers.

Third, Maintenance costs. Vehicles stuck in stop and go traffic endure much harsher driving conditions than vehicles traveling at freeway speeds. To take an example of where this comes into play, check your local auto want ads. Those vehicles that have had predominantly highway miles always advertise the fact. They've had an easier life than other vehicles. Now, take into consideration how much extra maintenance is needed for however many tens of thousands of vehicles for a given stretch of road over a given stretch of time, and your talking about some pretty expensive bills. The money for those bills is going to feed auto repair and parts businesses. All those businesses, and all those parts are environmentally resource intensive. From waste motor oil, to brake pads and on, it all adds up to a considerable tax on the environment.

That deals with the environmental issues, you must also consider the safety issues. Traffic able to move at a consistent rate of speed is far less likely to produce auto accidents than traffic that is moving in stop and go conditions.

All of which leaves aside the evils of social engineering trying to tell people how to live and go about their lives. Frankly, it sounds like what happened is not only good for the environment of UK, it's also good for the people.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

You're missing something (4.30 / 10) (#6)
by Pikachu with an Axe in his Head on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:42:46 AM EST

As stated in the article, traffic quickly expands to fill the available road space, for all road sizes that people actually build. Perhaps if roads were as wide as the cities they connected this would not be true, but short of that, all road-building seems to do is encourage people to spread out their dwellings and bunch up their commutes: there's a constant maximum commute frustration people are willing to deal with, and within that constraint they want to live far away from each other and leave work at the same time as everyone else.

Since road-widening serves only these purposes (and not the generally useful purpose of making traffic better), it's clear that only the people who actually want sprawl should pay for it. IOW, get the government out of road expansion and let private companies build toll roads. TANSTAAFL.



[ Parent ]
More roads=more traffic (4.55 / 9) (#7)
by RaveWar on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 06:44:14 AM EST

By allowing more traffic to move about, pollution goes up, not down, even if the new road does not get just as congested as the old one was. Less pollution per mile, but more miles travelled at best means no net increase in pollution.

Environmental improvement representing "the evils of social engineering trying to tell people how to live and go about their lives?" Maintaining current oil supplies for cars appears to require the middle east to be "socially engineered" continuously - how can that be more just than what I suggest!
We don't need freedom. We don't need love.
We want Superpower, Ultraviolence.
[ Parent ]

More population=more traffic (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by Fon2d2 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 04:19:05 PM EST

Widening the road does help reduce pollution, until new developments rise up. But that has more to do with city planning, and not with improving the infrastructure that's already in place.

[ Parent ]
Social issues (4.85 / 7) (#8)
by Quila on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:07:21 AM EST

There are deep social issues to car dependency. It isolates those with no access to cars: children, elderly, and anyone in between who cannot afford or handle a car of their own.

There are deep social issues to public transportation dependency. It isolates those with no access to public transportation, anyone who lives too far out beyond the covered routes. Even in Germany with great public transportation, I was constantly taking hitchhikers up to my town. It was only about a 6 minute drive off of the main bus and streetcar route (up a mountain though), but at best busses were every hour or so, and on weekends and holidays they were almost non-existant.

I personally like the Park & Ride idea. You drive in from wherever you are out in the middle of nowhere, park your car in a parking lot at the edge of a city, and take a regularly scheduled bus (like every 10-15 minutes) into town.

Transport 2000 long ago crossed the line from advocating public transportation to simply hating cars. IIRC, they were behind proposed laws to make cars responsible in all car/bicycle accidents, even if the car driver was obeying the law and the bicycle rider was acting with gross negligence and disregard for safety. Funny thing, in a TV interview about it, the bicycle proponent was stating his reasons for the law while a bicycle illegally crossed the street on a crosswalk behind him.

Responsibility for accidents (none / 0) (#9)
by squigly on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:27:29 AM EST

I'm not totally sure whether we've been given accurate information about the proposals to make the driver liable for all accidents.

Would this just be an insurance thing?  If so, I can see some benefits.  The cyclist is not going to be insured.  If he cycles into me, he will damage my car.  My insurance isn't going to cover this.  If it was my fault, it would.  I'll have to claim from the cyclist, but he may not have any money.  

Or is it simply a move to harmonise EU rules based on a perception in some countries that a bike is a pedestrian rather than a vehicle?  I mean I can see some reason that the driver should be liable if it was a pedestrians fault.  People have an implicit right to walk places.  The fact that they excercise this right in a reckless manner still means that a driver has a responsibility to look out for these people.  

[ Parent ]

Germany (none / 0) (#20)
by Quila on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:50:34 AM EST

IIRC, they said they were modeling it after Germany, but in Germany a bicycle has all rights and responsibilities of a vehicle on the road.  For that matter, so does a horse-drawn carriage.

I've seen a some exceptions, such as in tight downtown one-way streets in Heidelberg, bicycles can go the wrong way.

Time to require cyclist insurance?  In fact, personal liability insurance is already very common in Germany.

[ Parent ]

I do not understand. (2.00 / 3) (#14)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:13:28 AM EST

There are deep social issues to public transportation dependency. It isolates those with no access to public transportation,

These statements contradict each other. It's not an either/or choice. Increasing government spending on public transport does not in any way stop people from buying cars.  The only thing increase public transport can do is increase people's access to public transport.

IRC, they were behind proposed laws to make cars responsible in all car/bicycle accidents, even if the car driver was obeying the law and the bicycle rider was acting with gross negligence and disregard for safety.

You are trying to portray both sides of the argument as equal. This is far from the case. If a cyclist rides negligently at worst he can kill himself. If a motorist drives negligently he can easily kill entire families. So obviously penalties and the balance of proof should be against car drivers.

With more power comes more responsibility, and greater scrutiny. If a fist-fighter punched a gunman who shot him in return, the gunman would still be responsible for his actions.

[ Parent ]

Transport 2000 (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by Quila on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:47:02 AM EST

They want to eliminate cars, leaving walking, cycling and public transportation as the only means of getting around.  My comment hilighted their extremist idiocy.  We need a balanced solution.

You are trying to portray both sides of the argument as equal.

So, if I stupidly cut in front of a semi and get flattened, should it be the semi's fault?

They are equal.  Either you are violating the law and are at fault, fault is mixed, or your are not at fault.  Why should a driver, driving fully within the law and as safely as possible, be responsible for an accident 100% caused by an irresponsible cyclist?  Responsibility to drive/cycle safely is every individual's, and everyone on the road should be willing to take the consequences of irresponsibility.

If anything, I would think punishing bikers more severely would save more lives.  Then they might think twice about running a red light or jumping off a curb into traffic.

[ Parent ]

Wrong. (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:01:33 AM EST


They want to eliminate cars, leaving walking, cycling and public transportation as the only means of getting around.

Transport 2000 is the independent national body concerned with sustainable transport. It looks for answers to transport problems and aims to reduce the environmental and social impact of transport by encouraging less use of cars and more use of public transport, walking and cycling.

Where does it say they want to "eliminate" the use of cars? All they want is to change the balance more towards public transport, walking and cycling.

And I'm sure if I wanted to I could find some motorist extremists who believed everyone should drive.

They are equal.  Either you are violating the law and are at fault, fault is mixed, or your are not at fault.  Why should a driver, driving fully within the law and as safely as possible, be responsible for an accident 100% caused by an irresponsible cyclist?  Responsibility to drive/cycle safely is every individual's, and everyone on the road should be willing to take the consequences of irresponsibility.

True, but very few accidents are 100% the fault of either side. And an irresponsible cyclist has a lot to lose (his life) in a car-bike incident compared with a motorist. Any penalty against cyclists pales in comparison to being seriously injured or dying which is a serious possibility.

And generally, it is mortorists who have relatively little penalties for their life threatening behaviour. People who cause death with cars are not treated the same by society or the justice as murderers, when both cause similar amounts of damage. A car is just as dangerous as a gun in the wrong hands, yet we seem to think it does not require the same amount of responsibility to operate.

[ Parent ]

They've already made up their minds (none / 0) (#43)
by Quila on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 04:36:09 AM EST

Where does it say they want to "eliminate" the use of cars? All they want is to change the balance more towards public transport, walking and cycling.

They've already decided cars are a problem, not more efficient cars, not better roads, etc., cars, period.  Read their literature and lobbying as a whole, and their ideal world is free of cars.

I would say they are just on the other side of the line from intelligent activism to nutcase idealism.  I have a lot of British friends who tell me their follies quite often.

And an irresponsible cyclist has a lot to lose (his life) in a car-bike incident compared with a motorist

You keep bringing that up.  Who cares?  I can do something stupid/illegal that has few consequences, or I can do something stupid/illegal that kills me.  There is no difference, except that I was even more the idiot in the latter case.

You're right that fault is usually mixed, but it is definitely 100% the car's fault with this idea.  I drive every day, and I often see egregious behavior from cyclists, not so often from cars.  They jump from "I'm on the road" to "I'm a pedestrian on a crosswalk" (illegal) to avoid a red light, they constantly run red lights, they'll jump off a curb into traffic, the won't signal when turning (especially left), etc.

This is not the majority of course.  Just the idiots we don't need to be protecting.

These are all actions that are the cyclist's fault if he gets hit.  If he gets killed, I have only compassion for the driver who will probably be traumatized, not for the idiot who engaged in suicide through recklessness.

The biggest dangers from cars here are illegally parked cars that force bikes into vulnerable positions, and cars not looking at the right-of-way bike path before turning right.  There are bike paths all over the city, which is a good thing, but could be done better.

And generally, it is mortorists who have relatively little penalties for their life threatening behaviour.

Kill a pedestrian on a crosswalk in Germany and you won't be out for a long time.

A car is just as dangerous as a gun in the wrong hands, yet we seem to think it does not require the same amount of responsibility to operate

You're right, it's all about personal responsibility.  With a car or gun it's responsibility to you and others.  With a bicycle it's mostly responsibility to yourself, although a bike jumping out can easily cause a car to swerve and hit a pedestrian (but I guess that would be the car's fault).

In any case, it's about responsibility.  Let's not use vulnerability levels to shift responsibility to where it doesn't belong.

[ Parent ]

Cyclist/car offences- perception and enforcement (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by mr nutter on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 04:36:31 AM EST

> You're right that fault is usually mixed, but it > is definitely 100% the car's fault with this
> idea.  I drive every day, and I often see
> egregious behavior from cyclists, not so often
> from cars.  

Could this be a difference of perception perhaps? As a cyclist I tend to spot evil car behaviour far more often than sinful cycling. Obviously there's a lot more cars around to look at but it would be interesting to design an experiment to test this.

> They jump from "I'm on the road" to "I'm a  
> pedestrian on a crosswalk" (illegal)

Then they should be nicked! I agree enforcement of  cycling offences is pretty poor and it does my head in to see cyclists doing things like running red lights without punishment. Dismounting and walking across on the pavement is fine and totally legal in the UK, as long as you don't ride across the stop-line after the lights have changed.

The fact remains that you can do far more damage with a tonne of speeding metal than a 100 kilos of cyclist and bike and offence penalties should be set accordingly. For example a cyclist running a red should get a fine and warning from the police for a first offence, should they be alive to need it. A motorist doing the same should have their licence heavily endorsed.


[ Parent ]

The experiment would be interesting (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Quila on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 05:40:03 AM EST

However, since I drive a very small, low car I try to be very aware of what's going on since I've had too many instances of near hits (and two hits) because people weren't looking.

In my normal drive to work there aren't many bicycles, maybe I'll see two or three a day and be close to several hundred cars.  I'll see on the average one or two really stupid, dangerous moves a week from a car (45-minute commute).

When I'm in an area where there are as many bicycles as cars, such as downtown, I'll see more stupid things in that short time than I normally see in a week -- almost all done by bicyclists.

Seriously, too many of them have the "I'm invincible" attitude.  I believe it's made worse by the "Whatever I do, it'll probably be the car's fault" attitude.  There's nothing like knowing you can do something illegal and having someone else busted for it.

I agree on proportional fines for infractions as is the current situation in Germany.  I believe non-accident cyclist fines max out at about 40 Euros, or was it DM?  Unfortunately, they are rarely fined.  The cyclist I almost hit because she ran a red light (right in front of a Polizei) only got a slight, informal warning.  Luckily, if I'd hit her, I'd have the Polizei right there to confirm her fault; otherwise, I'd have that anti-car presumption in her favor.

I don't agree to proportional fault-finding in the case of an accident.  Fault should be determined according to actual fault, not the method of transportation.

And this is from a person who used to bicycle everywhere until circumstances changed.

[ Parent ]

Experiments (none / 0) (#63)
by mr nutter on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 12:06:25 PM EST

I've had too many instances of near hits (and two hits) because people weren't looking.

I deliberately don't drive because I'm very inattentive behind the wheel (driving is so boring) and indeed nearly mowed down a pedestrian on a zebra crossing during a driving lesson! Thank goodness for dual controls. After that little eye-opener I decided that driving was not for me and bicycles or motorbikes with the possibility of death consequent on inattention would help concentrate my mind.

From the numbers it doesn't seem to be a difference in perception then. I generally ride in an area with very few, generally cautious cyclists (aside from lighting) and shocking drivers. When I go to visit my parents on the other side of the country I do tend to notice greater courtesy on the part of the motorists and worse standards of cycling. I guess trying to obtain figures for both motorists and cyclists spotted doing dangerous/illegal things from the traffic police, even if they didn't get their collar felt for the offence, then comparing it to levels and perception of cycling by Joe Public in a given area would be the easiest way of doing starting such an experiment. Still, I'm not a sociologist...

I don't agree to proportional fault-finding in the case of an accident. Fault should be determined according to actual fault, not the method of transportation.

Agreed insofar as that is possible, eyewitnesses being notoriously unreliable and all.

And this is from a person who used to bicycle everywhere until circumstances changed.

I do so now. Mmm, rainy, dark and cold tonight... :(



[ Parent ]
Scary. (none / 0) (#71)
by Quila on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 03:37:35 AM EST

I decided that driving was not for me and bicycles or motorbikes with the possibility of death consequent on inattention would help concentrate my mind.

Scary.  I do find I'm a lot more attentive in the Lotus and in our Ford Escort.  Just knowing the car requires a lot more attention to drive properly, and knowing practically everyone else is bigger than you, helps keep you focused.

Cyclists and motorists are different everywhere.  I was shocked at how bad driving was in Indiana, and pleasantly surprised at driving in Texas.  In Germany, bikes and cars generally live well together -- with a bit of tension and some interesting games -- but generally better than in the U.S.

I do so now. Mmm, rainy, dark and cold tonight... :(

Sorry for you.  I can't because of distances, and I can't afford to move close to where I work.

[ Parent ]

Backend collisions (none / 0) (#52)
by mr nutter on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 01:01:46 PM EST

Rear end accidents are the fault (at least here in the UK) of the vehicle crashing into the back unless it can be proven that the vehicle in front was acting insanely, for example by undertaking then slapping the hand brake on to avoid warning the following driver with brake lights.

A car-cyclist RTA will almost certainly result in worse consequences for the cyclist, ignoring purely hypothetical multiple pile-up scenarios caused by a cyclist riding blindfold in the wrong lane of a dual carriageway or whatever. Even if I didn't get the blame for doing such a thing I wouldn't want to anyway since I would be likely to die horribly. Nasty question: would you want loony cyclists like this to get off their bikes and into cars?

Having said that I'm fully in favour of enforcing vehicle lighting regulations properly for bikes.

[ Parent ]

Even more in Germany (none / 0) (#54)
by Quila on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 04:30:30 AM EST

Rear end accidents are the fault (at least here in the UK) of the vehicle crashing into the back unless it can be proven that the vehicle in front was acting insanely,

The driver in back also has a very big presumption of fault in Germany.  I've seen one instance where one car was driving slowly and erratically in the city, and another car went to overtake (two lanes in that direction), at which point the slow car darted in the passing lane without turn signals and got hit.  The Polizei automatically assumed guilt of the faster car despite my testimony.  However, I'm sure the faster driver would win had he taken it to court (it was an American, who rarely know they can do this).

Even if I didn't get the blame for doing such a thing I wouldn't want to anyway since I would be likely to die horribly.

If only the others were like you.  I just want the idiots punished for their behavior no matter what they're driving.

Having said that I'm fully in favour of enforcing vehicle lighting regulations properly for bikes.

They're not required to have lights at night in England?  They are in Germany, but there's not much of a fine for not having them, not much disincentive for people who don't care about their own lives.

[ Parent ]

Lighting (none / 0) (#57)
by mr nutter on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 04:42:17 AM EST

They're not required to have lights at night in England? They are in Germany, but there's not much of a fine for not having them, not much disincentive for people who don't care about their own lives.

We are supposed to have lights but a not inconsiderable number of idiots cyclists don't. Speaking for myself, I like resembling a Christmas tree!

Thankfully the police do seem to be taking an interest in cyclists without lights here; I've been pulled over a couple of times when the batteries in my lights have died without me noticing. I usually carry spare batteries for this reason.



[ Parent ]
Dangerous cyclists (none / 0) (#35)
by gidds on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 03:15:01 PM EST

If a cyclist rides negligently at worst he can kill himself.

Wishful thinking, I'm afraid.  If he (or she) causes cars &c to swerve and crash, he can indirectly kill loads of people.  Of course, it would take extremely bad riding, but you did ask for the worst case.

And what about pedestrians?  I was walking home from work in the dark, crossing at a pedestrian crossing.  The traffic lights had turned red, cars were stationary on both sides.  I was nearly across when a cyclist whistled past, along the edge of the road, about two inches from me!  No way to see him past the cars, no time to step out of his way, two inches closer and I'd probably have been injured.

Of course, I'm sure that particular cyclist wasn't representative of all cyclist (or at least, I hope he wasn't!), but there do seem to be an awful lot of cyclists these days who consider lights optional...

And I'm not saying that car drivers are any better, or that cycling isn't a Good ThingTM in principle.  I just wish fewer cyclists would sabotage their own argument.  Car drivers aren't always to blame.

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Cars swerving to avoid cyclists (none / 0) (#51)
by mr nutter on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 12:53:40 PM EST

I would find it very odd if many motorists bothered to try and avoid a cyclist to the extent that they crashed :) Indeed, lots of motorists round here have problems with indicators, giving way to cyclists on roundabouts and various other minor issues such as overtaking me on blind bends, seeing a car coming the other and then pulling in regardless.

The criticism of the OP's argument could be applied to pedestrians of the pavement lemming variety, cute baby rabbits hopping onto the road and indeed other motorists. In each case it's the cars swerving out of control that's the major concern for Joe Innocent Bystander.

David

[ Parent ]

I'm very glad they're giving up... (3.42 / 7) (#11)
by TheophileEscargot on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 07:59:26 AM EST

...their preposterous "war on cars".

What the anti-car nutcases don't seem to understand is that the war on cars actually has far worse social consequences.

As transport becomes harder, it becomes harder for companies to relocate away from hotspots like central London. It becomes harder to commute to work too. These factors drive up rents in the hotspots and near them This means people have to live further away.

Thus you get a country divided into pockets of deprivation and pockets of wealth, and everyone has to commute even greater distances to get from one to the other.

And don't even get me started on cyclists...
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

War on congestion in cities, not cars. (2.33 / 3) (#17)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:25:48 AM EST

"Anti-car nutcases" as you so intelligently put it do not want an end to cars everywhere, just to decrease the traffic within congested urban centers.

Using tolls or other means to dissuade people from driving into city centers would encourage people to use their (still perfectly functioning) cars to drive to other, less developed, areas.

Which would have the exact opposite to what you describe. The rural regions which have no traffic restrictions would become more appealing to commuters and businesses. Development would become more evenly distributed about the country.


[ Parent ]

Ever heard of business parks? (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by TheophileEscargot on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:52:30 AM EST

The rural regions which have no traffic restrictions would become more appealing to commuters and businesses. Development would become more evenly distributed about the country.
This is exactly what's happening. Business parks and industrial parks are concreting over the countryside. Meanwhile, the inner cities are full of derelict buildings. The result? You can't get to a job unless you have a car.

Thanks to you and your fellow nutcases, people are more dependent on cars than ever. They just pay vastly more for them, which excludes the poor from the job market.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

Me and my fellow nutcases? (3.50 / 2) (#24)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:09:35 AM EST

So first you say this

As transport becomes harder, it becomes harder for companies to relocate away from hotspots like central London. It becomes harder to commute to work too. These factors drive up rents in the hotspots and near them This means people have to live further away.

Thus you get a country divided into pockets of deprivation and pockets of wealth, and everyone has to commute even greater distances to get from one to the other.

and then you say this

This is exactly what's happening. Business parks and industrial parks are concreting over the countryside. Meanwhile, the inner cities are full of derelict buildings. The result? You can't get to a job unless you have a car.

Thanks to you and your fellow nutcases, people are more dependent on cars than ever. They just pay vastly more for them, which excludes the poor from the job market.

So more reducing car travel is bad because


  • All the businesses are stuck in the city center and people are forced to drive to the city centers.

  • All the businesses move out across the country and people are forced to drive across the country.

Directly contradicting yourself in subsequent posts is usually the modus operandi of trolls. I don't think you are a troll, just brain-addled. Do get well.

[ Parent ]
Wow, you're even dumber than I thought (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by TheophileEscargot on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 09:21:57 AM EST

A. In the city centre, the Tube and the short distances make transport possible without a car. High rents, lots of business and expensive homes.

B. In the business parks well outside cities, say South of Manchester and West of London, an uncluttered road network makes transport possible. Same applies, to a slightly lesser extent.

Elsewhere, things are fucked.

To live in A, you need to be rich. To live in B, you need a car. If you're neither, you're fucked.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

Thank you for pointing out the obvious (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:08:33 AM EST

But if you bothered to read anything about public transport advocacy you will find that it is about
ncreasing public transport to city centers, not stopping people from using cars in regional areas.

So more people would be able to work in the city, as public transport is a far more efficient way to get lots of people into a small area.  

People in regional areas would still be able to use their cars as before, so your argument on this point is just wrong.

But you wouldn't bother to do any research because you seem to think calling people "nutcases" and "dumb" somehow proves your point. Sometimes I wonder why I waste my time arguing with people who have the debating skills of 15-year olds...

[ Parent ]

"Contradictory" to "obvious" i (none / 0) (#31)
by TheophileEscargot on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:50:21 AM EST

Massive car and petrol taxes don't affect "regional areas" eh? p> All these amount to in practive is massively regressive taxation, aimed at subsidizing an elite at the expense of the working class.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]
A quick lesson in economics (none / 0) (#40)
by Trevor OLeary on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:45:41 PM EST

A regressive tax is a tax which taxes (in absolute terms) the poor more than the rich.

Genuinely poor people cannot afford to own and run a car in the first place.

Increased taxation on cars are unarguably progressive.

And who say increased car and petrol taxation is the only option? Increased tolls in city areas are also advocated.

aimed at subsidizing an elite at the expense of the working class

What the hell are you talking about? The elite who use public transport?

"Contradictory" to "obvious" in a single bound
#1 + #2 contradicted themselves, #3 was a statement of the obvious

HTH

[ Parent ]

A quick lesson in Real Life (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by TheophileEscargot on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 04:59:45 AM EST

A few years ago now, I had a summer job working in a factory, in an industrial park south of Manchester. paid 3.20 per hour (this was just before the minimum wage). Most of the employees worked there permanently, and most of them had cars.

Doubtless to you that's not "genuinely poor". Hey, if they're short they can always borrow from Daddy, right? Works for you.

But the point is, they were forced to have cars in order to work, whatever the cost and impact on their lives. There's no way a public transport system can efficiently cover the whole of business-park land.

Doubtless to smug little shitheads like you this is irrelevant. Better to raise taxes further and stop them having jobs altogether, than to use the Evil Automobile.

Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone in power ever believed the crazed gobbledook of you and your fellow nutters: though it provided a convenient excuse for raising taxes and cutting spending. Fortunately policy is now returning to sensible solutions.

Maybe you should replace the building-more-roads-causes-more-traffic mantra with a building-more-hospitals-causes-more-illness version? The correlations are equally good, and you could probably persuade the government to shut down some hospitals: that would save some money too...

Now back to economics: regressive taxation is where the poor pay a lower rate, not a lower absolute value. Road tax is a classic regressive tax.

Oh, and I can't believe you're still pretending it's a "contradiction" to distinguish between the wealthy Central Business District (downtown), and the deprived inner city areas of a city. You are truly pathetic.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

Out of town business parks. (none / 0) (#68)
by it certainly is on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 12:29:49 PM EST

I can't speak for south of Manchester, but for West of London (i.e. Reading), all the business parks have regular bus services. I assume by "business park" you mean "office park for workers" and not "out of town retail opportunity".

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Terror Campaign? (5.00 / 8) (#15)
by desdemona2 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:19:02 AM EST

I take issue with you calling the Fuel Protests a 'thinly veiled terror campaign' - the fuel shortages were caused by hoarding and panic buying. What it illustrated was how delicate the distribution chain is - and how easily manipulated we all were by others (friends and media). In the end, it did us all a great favour by demonstrating to the Government, just like in the much more violent Poll Tax riots at the end of the 80s, that we consent to be governed. The Fuel Protests shocked the Government because they were mostly non-violent, and yet still very effective.

From the UK (4.60 / 5) (#22)
by bigbtommy on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 08:56:18 AM EST

Of course people are moving to cars. Primarily because of advertising, and also because public transport is shit.

I use it every day, and although my bus is pretty good, a lot of people I know have great troubles with buses and trains. We have a rail system here in the UK where trains are frequently late, where a single leaf dropping causes major network outages, and the rolling stock wouldn't look out of place in the Flintstones.

The government has caused public transport to be awful by not regulating the operators strongly enough...

No wonder people are getting more and more cars, if the alternatives are so high-priced and badly run, then people will!
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up

Inexpensive Progress (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by jabber on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:04:22 AM EST

Encase your legs in nylons,
Bestride your hills with pylons
O age without a soul;
Away with gentle willows
And all the elmy billows
That through your valleys roll

Let's say good-bye to hedges
And roads with grassy edges
And winding country lanes;
Let all things travel faster
Where motor-car is master
Till only Speed remains.

Destroy the ancient inn-signs
But strew the road with tin signs
`Keep Left', `M4', `Keep Out!'
Command, instruction, warning,
Repetitive adorning
The rockeried roundabout;

For every raw obscenity
Must have its small `amenity'
It's patch of shaven green
And hoardings look a wonder
In banks of floribunda
With floodlights in between.

Leave no old village standing
Which could provide a landing
For aeroplanes to roar,
But spare such cheap defacements
As huts with shattered casements
Unlived-in since the war.

Let no provincial High Street
Which might be your or my street
Look as it used to do,
But let the chain stores place here
Their miles of black glass facia
And traffic thunder through.

And if there is some scenery
Some unpretentious greenery,
Surviving anywhere,
It does not need protecting
For soon we'll be erecting
A Power Station there.

When all our roads are lighted
By concrete monsters sited
Like gallows overhead,
Bathed in the yellow vomit
Each monster bellows from it,
We'll know that we are dead.

-- Sir John Betjeman

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

You know... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by Fon2d2 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 04:09:08 PM EST

I have a new color name. It's called Sodium Vapor Orange and it's the color of the sky over my house at night.

[ Parent ]
I have the same thing (none / 0) (#70)
by Rk on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 07:52:24 PM EST

The airport in the valley below has floodlighting for the terminals, and there are thousands of lights alongside the runways and taxiways. Then there is the freeway running beside the airport, and the town beside it, which now has just under twenty thousand residents. Before the airport was built, it has less than a thousand who were almost exclusively farmers.

The airport is called Zurich-Kloten, but pretty much every other town next to an airport has a similiar history. I was in Zurich earlier. The sky has an orange tinge there as well. I can see what "Darksky" is complaining about, but you wouldn't see much anyway, because it's overcast...

On the positive side, you don't need streetlights as much, thanks to all that reflected light. Though people still manage to drive like suicidal maniacs, in the fog no less.

[ Parent ]

Good stuff (3.25 / 4) (#28)
by RareHeintz on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:27:39 AM EST

There are deep social issues to car dependency. It isolates those with no access to cars: children, elderly, and anyone in between who cannot afford or handle a car of their own.
As a USian who doesn't get out of the country as much as he'd like, this was an interesting passage to read. That battle has already been fought and lost over here, and such an argument wouldn't even occur to most Americans.

But come to think of it, we demonize our children, ignore our elderly (except to throw them the Medicare bone during election season, since they do most of the voting), and aren't exactly amazing at extending opportunity to the poor. So maybe it's less about transportation, on this side of the pond.

OK,
- B
--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Dear Lord (none / 0) (#32)
by RyoCokey on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:59:10 AM EST

He just used American and USian in the same sentence. I feel the fabric of reality unraveling...



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." - [ Parent ]
Ha! (none / 0) (#33)
by RareHeintz on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 01:09:39 PM EST

MUAhahahahaha! My plan worked!

  1. Unravel the fabric of reality
  2. ???
  3. World domination!
OK,
- B
--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]
Britain is car dependent? (4.25 / 4) (#29)
by Talez on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:31:20 AM EST

Been to Perth, Western Australia lately?

Our city is like a mini Los Angeles.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

Is it not ... (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by Herring on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 10:47:03 AM EST

... another example of the Tragedy of the Commons? Roads are seen as being a common resource. People use them because they can. In most cases, the alternatives are possible, but not as convenient.

Without wishing to sound like some sort of free-market nutter, you could bring the resource under control by having it privately owned with charges and limited access (only 100,000 cars allowed on the M25 at one time etc.). This would piss people off but then sitting in traffic jams pisses people off. We have offices on (roughly) diametrically opposite sides of the M25. The current company (maximum) record for getting from one office to the other is 6.25 hours. That's an average speed of about 12mph. I'm sure the company would pay some money to book a place on a free-running M235 where you can do the journey in 50 minutes.


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
private vs public may not help (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by waxmop on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 10:38:32 AM EST

i liked your post, but i don't think privatization is necessary or ideal.

this is an externality and tax incidence problem; the consumers of the roads don't pay for all the costs incurred, and people that don't even use the roads still get dinged. i'm a non-driving city-dweller, but my taxes go to subsidize suburban highway construction, which i am very unlikely to use. furthermore, car commuters don't have to consider the cost of building bigger highways when they decide to move further and further away from their jobs.

a very simplistic answer would be to get rid of the tax-funded system, and switch all roads to toll roads. then, car commuters would be connected to the cost of maintenance and expansion, and walkers like me won't get taxed for something we don't use.

i think that would address what you're getting at with privatization.

privatization would either lead to a monopoly or a bunch of different firms all competing. if a monopoly occurs, then the consumers get screwed unless the government regulates it, and at that point, we might as well have public ownership.

if we have competition between different firms, we'll have problems where each road network will try to exclude and replace the others, rather than work together cooperatively.


--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]
gas prices (3.25 / 4) (#34)
by dirvish on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 01:40:06 PM EST

Aren't gas prices really high in the UK? High gas prices should help prevent UKians from becoming too car dependant.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
That's the theory (none / 0) (#45)
by squigly on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 06:45:07 AM EST

In practice, it's like taxing food to prevent people from eating.  

Unless there's a decent alternative, people will just be forced to pay the extra money.  

[ Parent ]

Gas Prices (none / 0) (#46)
by cavemankiwi on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 08:03:24 AM EST

Yes they are, and so is car insurance. This is why in New Zealand I used to drive a 2.0L Celica and in England (NorthWest) I now drive a 1.1L Saxo. So that doesn't stop people driving.

[ Parent ]
yeahp! (none / 0) (#75)
by theburtman on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 05:53:44 AM EST

and insurance, I pay 750 a year for minimum legal cover, thats with 3 years no claims bonus and a licence for 4 years, i drive a 1.3 3 door hatch back, it cost me 30 a week to fill the tank up, and its still preferable to the public transport hell i'm in at the moment cos my clutch when pop.
--
Cant spell wont spell, Dsylexi and Lazy
Deal
[ Parent ]
Welcome to the Western World (none / 0) (#38)
by Fon2d2 on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 04:24:38 PM EST

The automobile is our crutch.

Cars aren't cheap to run. (5.00 / 5) (#39)
by rodgerd on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 05:00:08 PM EST

Consider the finding that British motorists massively underestimate the cost of running a car; I'm sure they aren't alone.  Most people see the headline costs (petrol) at most, and fail to notice rego, warrant of fitness, insurance, and other similar costs.

Fact is, a car costs a fortune to run even without the hidden subsidies lavished on car owners in the form of roading infrastructure (tax spending plus use of legislative fiat to force people to hand over their property for building roads).  Part of the problem is that the costs are ignored, and a lot of the decisions around vehicles are made irrationally; for example, a survey by a paper in Wellington found a proportion of communters who would never use mass transit, no matter how good (comfortable, fast, timely, etc) it was.  Characterisations of users of public transport as losers are common, as well as the notion that it's a divine right to drive whereever, whenever one feels as fast as one likes, and it is the responsibility of society to front up for the costs of doing so.

Bad pricing system (none / 0) (#60)
by hughk on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 09:36:51 AM EST

Unlesss you have a special insurance, car insurance is a fixed price regardless of the miles driven. Effectively this becomes a fixed cost. The British annual inspection for older cars, the 'MOT' comes yearly as does the road tax. The cost of depreciation after a car is a couple of years old doesn't go up so much depending upon the mileage, more the age. The variable costs are just fuel and mileage based servicing.

This means if I have a car at my disposal, I will tend to use it (particularly in the UK where public transport is expensive and a disaster). The car depreciates even while garaged and the insurance and MOT are already paid. If I don't have a car at my disposal, then I should save up for one quickly because of the public transport issue.

One solution (apart from better/cheaper public transport) is to relate the car tax and insurance to mileage. Improvement of public transport should be a no-brainer, together with cross-subsidy from other road users. When somebody uses public transport rather than using a car, then it reduces overall road traffic and improves the lot of other road users.

[ Parent ]

One thing Britain can to avoid car-dependence (4.00 / 6) (#41)
by Apuleius on Wed Dec 11, 2002 at 11:01:14 PM EST

Clean up the damn cities. One of the major factors that caused American suburbanization and consequently the dependence on the automobile was the crime surge in the cities all around the US starting in the 60's and continuing until the late 80's. Now Britain's urban crime rate is worse than America's, and there are Brits who are moving to the burbs because they feel they have to, not because they want to. If the cities were cleaned up this would not be happening, at least not to as much an extent. I mean, does anyone really want to live in Taunton?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
I think you have your cause and effect wrong (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by Xia on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 09:48:57 AM EST

The move to suburbia was already happening before the 1960s. I grabbed a textbook on urban geography off the shelf to double-check my facts, and it very clearly states that suburban development began in the 1920s and then really picked up pace after WWII. It attributes this to the rise of automobile ownership, actually. Urban decay and rising crime rates came later, probably as a side effect of the 'suburban flight' that had been going on for decades.

[ Parent ]
Circular causality. (none / 0) (#66)
by Apuleius on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 03:55:31 PM EST

A causes B which then causes more of A which causes more of B and so on and so forth.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Maybe to some extent, but... (none / 0) (#69)
by Xia on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 02:03:19 PM EST

... I think that the twenty-plus years of exodus before there was that kind of crime problem suggests that the actual decay wasn't a huge driving force, until the end. And then you have to explain gentrification. There seems to be an optimal level of decay and of suburban crowding that encourages developers to move back into the inner city areas. I live in the Seattle area, and the urban planners talk about a phenomenon where families move out of the city into the suburbs shortly after they have their first child, but then a lot of single 20- and 30-somethings are coming into the city, so the flow of people is somewhat more complex.

[ Parent ]
"perceived safety of residents" (none / 0) (#42)
by shellac on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 12:24:00 AM EST

Speaking of safety issues, Mary Hansen, the lead singer of Stereolab, was killed today, apparently by a truck.

May she rest in peace.

something clicks (none / 0) (#48)
by betel on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 10:18:03 AM EST

...suspect that happened outside my work (there can't be that many fatal cycle/lorry accidents happening on the same day even in London).

That bit of road is quite dodgy - I've almost become a cropper several times whilst crossing it. (90 degree corner from the main road, wide and straight, some idiots seem to think it's a great place to find out how fast their bonus will go)

[ Parent ]

The problem with public transport... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by katie on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 08:19:20 AM EST

I was punched into unconscious at Bank station in London for the reason of "being in someone's way". He didn't want money, to rape me or anything else. I was left with concussion because he was pissed off about something and could, quite freely punch the nearest person. The transport police said "ah yes. We've taken to calling it 'Tube Rage'"

They have a NAME for it. It happens often enough they have a name for it. Somehow, I don't like the underground much anymore. I have one collection of letters from victim support, I'd rather not make a habit of getting them.

Now this is on the UNDERGROUND. Where there are CCTV cameras on all the platforms, there are lots of staff about... and you lot want me to start using the trains in the midlands? Where the stations are empty enough I could lie dead on a platform for a day before anyone found me?

You're going to have to make public transport a lot safer first. And convince me of it, not just say it is.


re: The problem with public transport... (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by DanMilburn on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 12:04:45 PM EST

They have a NAME for it. It happens often enough they have a name for it.
Uh huh. Following, no doubt, the term 'road rage', which has been around for quite some years now. You gonna stop using a car because of that? Sorry to hear what happened to you, by the way, but I'm not sure it was particularly related to public transport..

You're going to have to make public transport a lot safer first. And convince me of it, not just say it is.
Well, I'm not sure about assault, but if you want statistics for how much less likely you are to die using public transport, here's some. [UK National Statistics Online]

[ Parent ]
Putz (none / 0) (#53)
by trhurler on Thu Dec 12, 2002 at 04:07:29 PM EST

First of all, what happened to her clearly would not have happened had she had a car. Road rage incidents are almost(but not quite,) always caused by two people both doing stupid things. It sounds like she did nothing particularly stupid at all.

Second, the stats regarding public transport(including air) safety are bullshit. They're predicated on per-mile fatalities, which is not a measure of the risk to any given traveller, but rather the risk to everyone as a group. The truth is, mass transit incidents happen to large groups and are on average much more lethal than automobile accidents, so the useful measure is not fatalities per mile, but accidents per passenger-trip. Viewed that way, while you may travel a lot farther on an airplane than in your car or while you may rack up a lot more distance over time on a subway than in your car, you are also more likely to end up dead in that subway or that airplane.

Third, fatalities are not the only safety issue out there. Being assaulted is certainly a safety issue, whether you like it or not. "At least you're not dead" is not much consolation to someone who has just been beaten unconscious for no good reason.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Maybe.. (none / 0) (#58)
by transport on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 05:04:27 AM EST

The truth is, mass transit incidents happen to large groups and are on average much more lethal than automobile accidents, so the useful measure is not fatalities per mile, but accidents per passenger-trip.
I don't agree: Say I have the choice between taking the car or train to work. To simplify (and to make the choice realistic), let's say the distance is the same. From a safety point of view, my choice is whether an accident is most likely to happen during that number of miles of train/bus travel or during the same number of car travel miles.
If anything, the number I'm really looking for is accidents per mile and person (accident/(mile*person)), since this would take into account that - as you correctly state - if an accident happens to one guy on a bus, it happens to all guys on that bus, whereas an accident happening to a guy in a car with a little luck only happens to himself.

Come to think of it, maybe that was what you ment...

But of course it's bull to include air travel - that is not part of the problem, which is whether we commute by train/bus or the car. Anyone using helicopter do not live on this planet.
If one must compare safety for air and ground, why not use a time in stead of a distance scale? By the way, why is plane fuel not taxed as petrol?

[ Parent ]
Two things (none / 0) (#64)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 12:14:50 PM EST

First, plane fuel is not taxed as everything else because the fuel taxes were passed under the guise of "road maintainence."

Second, yes, that was more or less what I meant, but you missed one subtlety: in a bus, plane, or train wreck, my odds of dying are a lot higher than they are in a car wreck, provided that I wear safety belts, have modern safety equipment(airbags, etc,) and so on. Basically, any collision under 80mph other than head-on is survivable in a modern automobile, provided the driver doesn't act like a total dumbass("hey, I'll drive into that concrete barrier instead of hitting this other car!") So, my odds of dying are not the same as my odds of being in an accident, and that counts.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Even so, (none / 0) (#67)
by it certainly is on Sat Dec 14, 2002 at 12:22:15 PM EST

you are still far, far more likely to die in a car than you are in a train or plane.

Let's say you're driving at 65MPH on a dual carriageway, overtaking a lorry, when it's suddenly blown over by a huge crosswind. Yes, this has happened before. How well did your seatbelt and airbag do? It's under 80mph, so you won't be crushed to death, right?

Furthermore, you've hit upon the key factor why driving is incredibly dangerous: you said "provided the driver doesn't act like a total dumbass". Where there are strict regulations and training for airplane pilots and train drivers, basically any fucking loony, in any mental state, at any time, may drive a car. A driver might just have broken up with his partner, might be sloshed or tripping out on something, might not have slept for three days.

The media sensationalise the occasional (it seems to be yearly) train/plane crash, but the daily "5 people dead in car crash" makes it no further than page 2 of the local newspaper. People die every single day on roads. And even if you don't die, being confined to a wheelchair for life with brain damage sucks.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Come again? (none / 0) (#72)
by transport on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 09:16:54 AM EST

any collision under 80mph other than head-on is survivable in a modern automobile

May I ask (1) how you arived at this figure? (2) Have I misunderstood you correctly?

Re (1): This is somewhat contrary to my perception. If you check out www.euroncap.com, you will se them performing crash tests at speeds up to 40 mph. I did not find any relation between "Good protection" and possible fatality, mind you - it seems as if they focus more on various forms of injury than on mere survival.

While I agree that the passive safety equipment in modern cars is on a different planet than that in any mass transportation device I can think of, I would like to draw attention to the fact that a professional driver, all other things equal, would have a better chance of avoiding a given accident than the rest of us.



[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#73)
by trhurler on Mon Dec 16, 2002 at 12:37:11 PM EST

The 80mph figure is some cop's analysis of US traffic accident data, but I don't remember where I read it. Basically, he was trying to keep people from speeding, so he pointed out that much below 80mph, if you're paying attention and react well to your environment(he offered suggestions in this vein,) then you survive almost all of the time and will generally make a full or nearly full recovery, whereas above 80mph, in a unibody car, you are almost certain to be killed or turned into a drooling pile of bedsores.

And yes, a professional driver has a better chance than you do - but you can greatly increase your own odds by taking a couple of classes in emergency vehicle handling and so on. They're fun, and you learn things that literally make a huge difference when you need them, if you need them.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
If you are traveling from A to B (none / 0) (#65)
by the on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 02:03:32 PM EST

Then what matters is accident rate per trip. But that's a function of accident rate per mile unless it turns out that were you to use mass transit your journey length would be significantly different.

I presume fatality rate is fairly correlated with accident rate though it'd be good to know more.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

London congestion charging (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by Builder on Fri Dec 13, 2002 at 11:37:06 AM EST

London is bringing in congestion charging next year because of the massive amount of congestion on the roads we are told. Thy why pray tell if you drive a car powered by an LPG engine (Liquid Petroleum Gas) are you exempt? It takes up the same amount of space. It causes the same blockage. Hmmm... Mayor Ken is mixing his causes here methinks. I've been in London for 3.5 years. I recently moved from using public transport almost exclusively to not using it at all. Buses that are supposed to arrive every 10 minutes but only show up once an hour on a good day (Route 55 and Route 100). Tubes that stack people in worse than cattle waggons, etc. To get from our house to the nearest decent mall (Bluewater) takes just on 1.5 hours on public transport. It takes 25 minutes by car, and we've then got a way of getting our shopping home. If public transport worked, we would have kept using it. It doesn't work though. I've saved over 30 hours of my life, almost one working week, since moving to self powered transport.
--
Be nice to your daemons
UK to become more car dependent than USA? | 75 comments (73 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!