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Old 09-01-02, 06:45 PM   #1
Pete Clark
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Law Enforcement

As a driver and cyclist, one theme seems to cycle through my mind often--tame the traffic.

This is a job for, "LAW ENFORCEMENT!"

"Look, it's a bird...no, it's a plane...uh, what in the heck is it???" Where are traffic enforcers? Do they exist?

What is the point of "speed limits?" A reminder of how fast to go so you don't hold up brain-impaired individuals that don't understand average speed?

I better quit. I'm already becoming inappropriate.
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Old 09-01-02, 06:54 PM   #2
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Haven't you ever heard the expression, "There's always a cop around when you don't need one?" They can't be everywhere at all times, but if it is a problem spot you can bet it will become a fishing hole if it hasn't already.
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Old 09-02-02, 07:23 AM   #3
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The potential for revenue development isn't sufficiently exploited; I keep wondering why, as strapped as the state of Oregon is, they haven't lowered all speed limits by 5mph and tripled their traffic fines. That could certainly bring a few bucks in.
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Old 09-02-02, 03:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Feldman
... I keep wondering why, as strapped as the state of Oregon is, they haven't lowered all speed limits by 5mph ...
I do not know about Oregon, but California speed limits must be set by the 85th percentile rule, meaning that the FASTEST 15 percent of motorists set the pace, for enforcement purposes. This law, intended to outlaw speed traps, is pedestrian-and-bicycle-hostile and should be repealed, particularly in residential areas.
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Old 09-02-02, 03:47 PM   #5
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Wow, John, that really sucks; it lets the dumbest and most dangerous drivers essentially make the speed limit!
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Old 09-02-02, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by John E

I do not know about Oregon, but California speed limits must be set by the 85th percentile rule, meaning that the FASTEST 15 percent of motorists set the pace, for enforcement purposes. This law, intended to outlaw speed traps, is pedestrian-and-bicycle-hostile and should be repealed, particularly in residential areas.
I don't know about other places in California but where I lived (lower bay area), it was one of the most hostile places to ride. There are way too many people down there who spend half their time watching The Fast and the Furious (okay so that movie wasn't around when I lived there but you get the idea) and the other half emulating it. As such, I didn't do much riding while living in California which luckily was only a year. Unfortunately, I'm starting to see a rather disturbing and familiar trend developing in my neck of the woods too.
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Old 09-02-02, 07:53 PM   #7
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I just returned from a family get-to-gether at our ol' homestead (built in ~1920, so it does qualify for that designation) in Bend, Oregon. This may be the last time we can do it, as it is being sold by my Aunt to get her the money for an apartment without stairs. She's getting up there, and has a hard time with the place. So we held a Labor Day family reunion there this weekend.

I brought my bicycle along, and this morning took a ride out Century Drive toward the mountains. It's a long loop, and I only went up about 7 miles before turning back. I was there to visit with family, not ride a long route, but what I saw may have some bearing to this thread.

Drivers going out Century Drive will have to contend with three intersection circles, with islands of plants in their middle. There is no way around them, and paths have been provided for bicyclists to use to stay away from the traffic. But drivers must slow to approximately 15 mph to navigate these intersection circles. Traffic from up and down the hill also comes in here, and can merge with the inflowing and outgoing traffic. I drove it just over a week ago, and it was somewhat disconcerting for someone used to traveling this section at about 55 mph, to be slowed down to 15 mph by these circles. But they are effective, and do positively slow drivers down.

I rode through these both ways, on paths and the road. On the paths, going uphill, I found them okay, but a bit problematical as they merged at 90 degree angles to the merging traffic from the roads. But going downhill (coming back), I had to slow the bicycle down from the 25 mph I had been doing to the designated speed limit, and go at the speed of the traffic in the middle of the lane, which worked out very well.

It helps that this is now a resort area, and seems much more tolerant of bicycles than in other areas. But I thought you may like to see an alternative to Cops enforcing traffic laws. This, in safety terms, is an "engineering control," whereas the enforcement of traffice laws would be considered an "administrative control." Engineering controls are always more effective than administrative controls for safety, and this case shows their value for bicycling.

John

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Old 09-02-02, 08:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
...I thought you may like to see an alternative to Cops enforcing traffic laws. This, in safety terms, is an "engineering control," whereas the enforcement of traffice laws would be considered an "administrative control." Engineering controls are always more effective than administrative controls for safety, and this case shows their value for bicycling.

John
YES, YES, YES.

Ever try to argue with a speed bump?

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Old 09-02-02, 08:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark

Ever try to argue with a speed bump?
Just an off-the-cuff thought: We have speed bumps but why not speed dips? I know i some places those occur "naturally" in the form of potholls but would some strategically placed ones discourage speeding too?
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Old 09-03-02, 08:50 AM   #10
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Or just the refusal to repair roads--there's a street through a pretty affluent part of our town that hasn't seen a pothole repair in our fifteen years here; my wife insists is because the residents don't want to see it turn into a cruising and street racing strip.
I have to recommend a passive-aggressive strategy--refuse to report or intervene with anything that looks like a car breakin or theft attempt. It may be time to realize that, for the social and environmental damage it causes, the automobile is a piece of property that the state ought not to protect.
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Old 09-03-02, 01:16 PM   #11
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Originally posted by khuon


Just an off-the-cuff thought: We have speed bumps but why not speed dips? I know i some places those occur "naturally" in the form of potholls but would some strategically placed ones discourage speeding too?
It is much easier to pile asphalt on top of an already established road than to dig a dip into the road bed. Besides, it might mess up the front bumper of a car that went into one too fast.

BR
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Old 09-03-02, 03:33 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Brian Ratliff


....it might mess up the front bumper of a car that went into one too fast.

BR
And this is bad how??
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Old 09-03-02, 03:38 PM   #13
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And this is bad how??
I think Brian was insinuating the opposite.
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Old 09-03-02, 07:07 PM   #14
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Although large-radius, high-speed rotaries can be terrifying or deadly for cyclists and pedestrians, modern traffic circles, whose tight-radius curves restrict speeds to 15mph or so, are probably safer than conventional intersections. The City of Encinitas will probably install a series of three or four circles on one of its heavily-used two-lane roads -- I shall report back in a year or so, after they are in.
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Old 09-03-02, 08:14 PM   #15
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And this is bad how??
Lawsuits
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Old 09-04-02, 03:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
It helps that this is now a resort area, and seems much more tolerant of bicycles than in other areas. But I thought you may like to see an alternative to Cops enforcing traffic laws. This, in safety terms, is an "engineering control," whereas the enforcement of traffice laws would be considered an "administrative control." Engineering controls are always more effective than administrative controls for safety, and this case shows their value for bicycling.
Engineering controls are great in theory. However, it didn't work when they tried it around here. People just kept driving like lunatics and crashing into them. As a consequence, most of the 'engineering controls' around here have been removed 'in the interests of safety' (whose exactly?). Now if we had a combination of engineering and administrative controls...
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Old 09-05-02, 02:51 PM   #17
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I always liked the idea of leaving roads in bad shape to discourage driving, but have discovered that a road that is little bumpy to a car is bone jarring to a cyclist without at least front shocks. I hate being on roads so bad I can't even take a hand off my bars to signal a turn. We also have roads that have potholes that could easily flip a cyclist over their handle bars at even low speeds--these same holes are hardly perceptable to cars so aren't fixed.

My city is also officially against traffic slowing devices, "excess" stop signs, and bike lanes. As result people can fly along even on back roads at 45mph for 15 blocks without having to so much as pay attention. Children getting hit crossing the road is a yearly occurence here, but apparently no cause for alarm as it is merely "the price of progress".

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Old 09-05-02, 05:09 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Oxymoron
My city is also officially against traffic slowing devices, "excess" stop signs, and bike lanes. As result people can fly along even on back roads at 45mph for 15 blocks without having to so much as pay attention. Children getting hit crossing the road is a yearly occurence here, but apparently no cause for alarm as it is merely "the price of progress".
Clay
As an Iowa City resident, I would have to agree with Oxymoron on this one. I recently contacted the city transportation engineer to inquire about the uncontrolled intersections and excessive speeding in my neighborhood. The engineer responded by saying that due to the low traffic count (I would beg to differ) the federal government doesn't require stop signs within a neighborhood. He also added that the city does not use stop signs as a speed control measure. He said I could contact the police department and they would increase patrols in my area. Have you ever seen two cars criss-cross in front of each other at 30 mph? I have seen such near misses several times at the intersection in front of my house. My thought is this, if there is even a single uncontrolled intersection in town, as a road user I must act as if every intersection is in fact uncontrolled. How is one supposed to know which intersections are uncontrolled until he/she have already passed through it?
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Old 09-05-02, 05:17 PM   #19
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How is one supposed to know which intersections are uncontrolled until he/she have already passed through it?
I tend not to assume any intersection is controlled. I expect I'd be just as hurt or dead if hit by a vehicle when I had the right-of-way as I would if I didn't.
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Old 09-05-02, 11:24 PM   #20
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It seems that the Iowa City folks have opened themselves up to a bit of liability from the next family who suffers the loss of a child because of the city's stance. I cannot see how they could justify such a stance after-the-fact, and so I cannot see why they should take such a stance before-the-fact. But it's just my thoughts...

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Old 09-06-02, 09:54 AM   #21
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Bah, there are hardly any controlled intersections in the residential backstreets of Capitol Hill (in Seattle). What's worse is that half the streets are going up and down steep grades, yet the idiot drivers continue to go 30mph through the intersections despite the fact that they have no chance in hell of seeing if anything is coming.
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Old 09-06-02, 10:05 AM   #22
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Bah, there are hardly any controlled intersections in the residential backstreets of Capitol Hill (in Seattle). What's worse is that half the streets are going up and down steep grades, yet the idiot drivers continue to go 30mph through the intersections despite the fact that they have no chance in hell of seeing if anything is coming.
It's not just Cap Hill. There are intersections like that all over... even on the eastside. I nearly got plastered rolling out from my house. I'm at the end of a stub... the only house on that stub and as a matter of fact the only house addressed on my street. The intersection closest to me is uncontrolled. People usually come down the street and turn either left or right... they never bother to think that someone lives straight ahead so they just plow on through a turn without looking for traffic going straight. The thing is, at the end of the stub section of street my house sits off is a trailhead. Many people use that it. I am just waiting for the day I have to be interviewed as a witness to some kid getting run over while trying to return home on his bike because a teenager in his riced out Civic or some soccermom barely in control of her Suburban squeals around the corner without paying attention.
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Old 09-06-02, 04:39 PM   #23
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As an Iowa City resident, I would have to agree with Oxymoron on this one.
Jeez, it's as if you know me like a brother!
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