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Old 12-27-06, 12:37 AM   #1
deputyjones
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LESS regulation = safer roads

Great article about how the Dutch get it. Meaning, safer roads come from road systems that are well designed not just regulated to heck.

LESS regulation = safer roads caution: it is a video article and probably not dial-up friendly
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Old 12-27-06, 08:23 AM   #2
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Let's remember that the Dutch culture is very different from American culture. What works there might not work here because of the differences in courtesy and the way personal responsibility is handled.

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Old 12-27-06, 08:34 AM   #3
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I don't buy this belief that X culture is more polite, patient and whatever else so it won't work in the US where our culture is rude, impatient and whatever else. We are all just people and could adapt to any changes were there any political will to make them.

But I'm not so certain, either, that a lack of road regulations makes them safer. I suppose it is a continuum and you have to find the middle place where there are just enough rules to make it safe but not so much engineering to make the system too streamlined.
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Old 12-27-06, 09:32 AM   #4
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I dont know if their culture is more polite, but they drive a TON less there than we do here. I lived there for a while, and they were much more polite on the road. But, its because they didnt drive in their day to day lives usually so when they did they werent all hopped up, aggravated, and in a big hurry.

Personally, I have found US culture much more polite in general, we just get crazy when we get on the road.
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Old 12-27-06, 10:36 AM   #5
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Kind of like this?

I feel regulations are a lot like patching a tire as opposed to a properly designed new tire/road system.
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Old 12-27-06, 11:07 AM   #6
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That's really really light Indian traffic. Thanks for sharing, Asudef! I just returned from India. I'm very jetlagged still.
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Old 12-27-06, 12:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asudef
Kind of like this?

I feel regulations are a lot like patching a tire as opposed to a properly designed new tire/road system.
Holy ****! With traffic like that & no traffic control I'd hate to ride in India.
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Old 12-27-06, 12:12 PM   #8
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people are way too selfish and rude here for any traffic system that works in the Netherlands to work here. no traffic rules would deteriorate into everyone-for-himself anarchy very quickly.
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Old 12-27-06, 12:31 PM   #9
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Actually less regulation might work well for cyclists in the US. Once all the cars pile into each other it would be a simple matter to just ride around the wreckage!
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Old 12-27-06, 12:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by o-dog
no traffic rules would deteriorate into everyone-for-himself anarchy very quickly.
And that would be different, how?

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Old 12-27-06, 12:42 PM   #11
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And that would be different, how?

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Old 12-27-06, 01:00 PM   #12
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I think it's worth a try in the US. Of course, most people will dismiss it because it's a new idea and "we've never done it that way before." I hope people at least consider it.
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Old 12-27-06, 01:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o-dog
people are way too selfish and rude here for any traffic system that works in the Netherlands to work here. no traffic rules would deteriorate into everyone-for-himself anarchy very quickly.
not so fast. here in manhattan, one of the most crowded places in the country, there are heavy streams of traffic mixed with huge crowds of people, bicycles, busses, etc.

what seems like anarchy is actually a carefully coordinated effort among all participants. drivers have to slow down in order to allow peds to cross the street (jay walking is a way of life here). eye contact and hand motions easily allow you to navigate the streets - regardless of traffic volume. accidents happen, but i would argue much less common than in other places.

our system of traffic rules is a result of our litigious society. everyone is afraid of getting sued so things tend to be over regulated for protection. if a city had no traffic rules and a kid got mowed down, the city could be exposed to massive lawsuits.
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Old 12-27-06, 03:07 PM   #14
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What works in Manhattan, with its very slow, congested traffic, or even in many European cities, will not work on a 55mph prime arterial in the American suburbs. Low speeds reduce traffic conditions to a human scale at which eye contact, (polite) gestures, etc. can function reliably. Of course, we would also have to get rid of severe window tinting (not a bad idea, in my book, but I don't live in Phoenix).
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Old 12-27-06, 05:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I don't buy this belief that X culture is more polite, patient and whatever else so it won't work in the US where our culture is rude, impatient and whatever else. We are all just people and could adapt to any changes were there any political will to make them.
You may be right in this particular circumstance, but it is true that cultures are very different worldwide and the way these cultures deal with issues can make a huge difference in public policy.

As an example, visit Sweden sometime if you get the chance. They have one of the most liberal welfare systems on the planet, yet it is not abused. (Except by immigrants of course) Why is that? Is it because of the culture or the welfare system design?

I've driven in many countries all over the world, and I can guarantee you that there are some cultures that are far more polite than others... behind the wheel or not. And I don't think it has to do with road regulations as it clearly happens in other areas as well.

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Old 12-28-06, 09:44 AM   #16
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I think it's just this feeling of anonymity people get when they get behind the wheel of their car that makes them feel like they don't have to follow any rules so long as they don't get caught. Some people are just very irritable and hostile so they do blatantly illegal things like speeding down the emergency lane to pass people during rush hr. Hell, even in a car I still find that these people are horrible drivers. They need to have designated common sense roads for people who are courteous and actually know how to drive.

I haven't ridden in a long time but I've seen how dangerous it can be to be cyclist in my area. I'm not scared though, can't wait to get my bike so I can go riding.
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Old 12-28-06, 12:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
What works in Manhattan, with its very slow, congested traffic, or even in many European cities, will not work on a 55mph prime arterial in the American suburbs. Low speeds reduce traffic conditions to a human scale at which eye contact, (polite) gestures, etc. can function reliably. Of course, we would also have to get rid of severe window tinting (not a bad idea, in my book, but I don't live in Phoenix).
As I understand it, one of the main purposes of this new concept is to slow down motor traffic and make streets more navigable for non-motor users. But of course it's simplistic to think that one method of traffic design will work in every situation. Long range, i want to see motor traffic drastically slowed to encourage non-motor alternatives and to discourage driving. Cars are a bad habit that we need to stop...soon!
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Old 12-28-06, 02:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asudef
Kind of like this?

I feel regulations are a lot like patching a tire as opposed to a properly designed new tire/road system.
I totally agree, and that is my point. The Dutch have less regulation because their road systems are designed well enough that there is no need for it.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asudef
Kind of like this?
I think that video is set to play at about 2x to 3x actual speed.

Look at the speed of the pedestrians. The cars aren't moving a lot faster.
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Old 12-29-06, 02:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
What works in Manhattan, with its very slow, congested traffic, or even in many European cities, will not work on a 55mph prime arterial in the American suburbs. Low speeds reduce traffic conditions to a human scale at which eye contact, (polite) gestures, etc. can function reliably.
Yesm I think a lot of downtowns would work well with the less-regulation/control more-negotiation approach. But the useful through roads in the suburbs are being designed for speed. It's pointless to argue for slowing traffic to increase safety when speed is the priority of both residents and traffic engineers. To make high speeds work reasonably safely, regulation and controls are often required.
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Old 12-29-06, 03:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
I think it's worth a try in the US. Of course, most people will dismiss it because it's a new idea and "we've never done it that way before."
I think the parking lot in front of Wal-Mart works a lot like that. Cars and pedestrians mixed everywhere, and nobody moving very fast. I think that it would be more pleasant without the frustration over finding parking.
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Old 12-29-06, 09:33 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
Great article about how the Dutch get it.
I think this is a different (but similar) article: European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs

---begin quotes---
European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs
By Matthias Schulz

Are streets without traffic signs conceivable? Seven cities and regions in Europe are giving it a try -- with good results.

European traffic planners ... want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren ...

The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga... Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen... There aren't even any lines painted on the streets...

"The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We're losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior," says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project's co-founders. "The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people's sense of personal responsibility dwindles."

... one of the insights of traffic psychology: Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously...

The plans derive inspiration and motivation from a large-scale experiment in the town of Drachten in the Netherlands, which has 45,000 inhabitants. There, cars have already been driving over red natural stone for years. Cyclists dutifully raise their arm when they want to make a turn, and drivers communicate by hand signs, nods and waving.

"More than half of our signs have already been scrapped," says traffic planner Koop Kerkstra. "Only two out of our original 18 traffic light crossings are left, and we've converted them to roundabouts." Now traffic is regulated by only two rules in Drachten: "Yield to the right" and "Get in someone's way and you'll be towed."

Strange as it may seem, the number of accidents has declined dramatically. Experts from Argentina and the United States have visited ...
---end quotes---
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Old 12-30-06, 01:51 PM   #23
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My initial reaction was it's not going to work here in the US but I just saw the set-up on Beyond Tomorrow on discovery channel about the Dutch and it's basically a round-about with peds having right of way. I've to admit the local round-about they set-up few years ago actually works really well.... not sure about how they implemented the ped/cycle traffic in that area though.
Supposedly safer too 8 major accidents over 4 years before and 0 major accidents over 4 years since the change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Rosar

---begin quotes---
European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs
By Matthias Schulz

Are streets without traffic signs conceivable? Seven cities and regions in Europe are giving it a try -- with good results.

European traffic planners ... want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren ...

The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga... Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen... There aren't even any lines painted on the streets...
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Old 12-30-06, 02:06 PM   #24
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Crazy traffic it may be, but in India far more people ride bicycles in the midst of it than they do here in the US. Of course, that is all many of them can afford, but they seemed more practical sometimes if you ask me. Whenever we were stuck in a traffic jam, they rode right around us.

This is the natural state of bicycles: to stay out of the way at the risk of being run over when traffic is moving fast, and to pass all the cars when traffic is moving slow. You may not like that reality, but it's pretty much the same everwhere I've been.
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Old 12-30-06, 11:16 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deputyjones
Great article about how the Dutch get it. Meaning, safer roads come from road systems that are well designed not just regulated to heck.
Nothing scares me more than "well designed" roads. I find it easier to ride in older east coast cities than newer west coast cities. Especially on roads that were set before WWI. The reason is because many just paved over colonial roads. And those roads were originally cow paths. So I prefer things designed by cows than by modern engineers and designers any day. Face it, it's only the cows that get it.
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