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Old 01-04-08, 12:26 AM   #1
Bekologist
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if bikes and car numbers were reversed

Take a look at the dynamics of traffic if the percentages of bicyclists and motorists were reversed- what if 98 percent of traffic was bikes?

If 98 percent of traffic were bikes but motorized traffic still needed to use the same road network at speeds attainable by automobiles, what would be needed to accomodate these two disparate modes of travel?
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Old 01-04-08, 06:31 AM   #2
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This isn't what you want, your question is based on a bad premise; that the cars would still travel the same speed. If 98% of the traffic were bikes, then the speed limits would need be lowered to bike appropriate speeds(15-25). No other accomodations would be needed then.
If fact speed limits should be lowered now, even with 98% of the traffic being cars. 43,000 deaths a year are too many.
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Old 01-04-08, 06:49 AM   #3
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This isn't what you want, your question is based on a bad premise; that the cars would still travel the same speed. If 98% of the traffic were bikes, then the speed limits would need be lowered to bike appropriate speeds(15-25). No other accomodations would be needed then.
If fact speed limits should be lowered now, even with 98% of the traffic being cars. 43,000 deaths a year are too many.
that implies cyclists all ride the same speeds....they don't. This is why we have stories about "rubber-banding" and other annoying/potentially unsafe situations between cyclist and other cyclist.

I think we would just have a car lane and one or more bike lanes for the higher traffic roads, and shared turn facilities. Side roads would be as they are now, just with far mroe bikes.
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Old 01-04-08, 06:53 AM   #4
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As it stands now, 99% of bicyclists have a car.

So if it were reversed, 99% of motorists would have a bike.

What does that do to the equation?

Maybe most motorists would then understand the dynamics of the bicycle? For instance, not expect bicycles make a full stop, on account they would then know how difficult it is to balance on a bike that's not moving?
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Old 01-04-08, 07:28 AM   #5
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I think we would just have a car lane and one or more bike lanes for the higher traffic roads, and shared turn facilities. .
Then you'd have the same problems with car lanes that you have with bike lanes except reversed, i.e. "what is that car doing in the lane, get in the car lane!", cars turning across the lanes at high speeds, a sense of superiority by bikers over cars.
Segregation doesn't work. Speed doesn't kill, speed differential kills.
Nothing saying that you can't go 10 mph in the 15 mph zone, since the speed difference would only be 5 mph. Even children riding at 5 mph wouldn't be a problem in a 15 mph bike dominated lane.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:48 AM   #6
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I would expect the infrastructure to be very similar. Bike lanes could be (finally) eliminated and there would only be a need for standard width lanes.

A few benefits:
-Freeways could be smaller in total width
-Door zone bike lanes would be repainted as 'door zone do not drive zones'
-Every intersection would have signal control sensors that worked for bicycles in every lane!
-Many one way streets could be converted to two way (with appropriate changes to signal directions)
-Light cycle timings could be adjusted for ideal cyclists speed and volume flow.
-More cyclists would realize the need to stop at stop signs.
-There would be bike repair shops on nearly every corner, eliminating the need to carry much in the way of tools and spares when in an sub/urban area.
-Streamlined bents would become more popular (great on the freeways!)

Al
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Old 01-04-08, 08:52 AM   #7
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Free Air!! All gas stations serve decent food, and become mini fruit stands/restaurants. Along the highways, tune ups are done while you eat and digest. Massages and hot tubs become a commodity market. The world's first covered highway with constant tail wind generators will be built.

High tensile strength materials will be used in MIT labs to develop the 'next generation of bike' as research funds flow from gov't. Carbon nanotube chains enabling gear doubling will finally create the two chain drive system allowing for comfortable spinning speeds up to 80 miles/hr. What we consider science fiction would be common place in a bike dominated world. It's not just the vehicle but rather the mindset behind it that would drive society to a better place.

Nothing pisses me off more than seeing some asshat charging for air at a fuel station... the component that can make or break the efficiency and safety of any pneumatic tired vehicle. Car or bike, especially when charging 1.05/l for fuel. Otta be a crime.

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Old 01-04-08, 09:01 AM   #8
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no, no. the automobiles will need to travel at their design speed, not the speed of the bicyclists.

Is there a need for seperate facilities because of the speed differential? A need for engineering controls and special rules written into traffic law?

One needs to design the roads for effective use of both modes; I don't think motorists would stand for getting stuck behind bicyclists moving 5-15MPH
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Old 01-04-08, 10:07 AM   #9
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I would expect the infrastructure to be very similar. Bike lanes could be (finally) eliminated and there would only be a need for standard width lanes.

A few benefits:
-Freeways could be smaller in total width
-Door zone bike lanes would be repainted as 'door zone do not drive zones'
-Every intersection would have signal control sensors that worked for bicycles in every lane!
-Many one way streets could be converted to two way (with appropriate changes to signal directions)
-Light cycle timings could be adjusted for ideal cyclists speed and volume flow.
-More cyclists would realize the need to stop at stop signs.
-There would be bike repair shops on nearly every corner, eliminating the need to carry much in the way of tools and spares when in an sub/urban area.
-Streamlined bents would become more popular (great on the freeways!)

Al
Bicycle Freeways!

The biggest issue I have with the Foresterites is that their instance that the "current roads are good enough" is false... better roads for cyclists would make cycling even more efficient... Imagine going across town at full speed and never having to stop for a light or stop sign... that is what motorists experience today... why can't cyclists enjoy the same advantages that inertia offers (this BTW is really why so many cyclists run lights and stop signs... just to preserve momentum). I wanna see bike freeways!
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Old 01-04-08, 10:12 AM   #10
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Bicycle Freeways!

The biggest issue I have with the Foresterites is that their instance that the "current roads are good enough" is false... better roads for cyclists would make cycling even more efficient... Imagine going across town at full speed and never having to stop for a light or stop sign... that is what motorists experience today... why can't cyclists enjoy the same advantages that inertia offers (this BTW is really why so many cyclists run lights and stop signs... just to preserve momentum). I wanna see bike freeways!
My assumption is the existing freeway structure would simply be opened to bicycles. Perhaps the inner most lane (or HOV lane) would be for the 1% remaining motor vehicles (perhaps closer to 20% due to the main use of motor vehicles being for long distance travel) traveling over ~35mph with some new controls in place for how those vehicles merged out of them.

Also part of the freeway could be used to support train systems as well. There would still be plenty of width remaining to support the 1-20% of motor vehicles and bicycles.

Al
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Old 01-04-08, 10:15 AM   #11
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due to the lack of constant heavy traffic, freeways would last alot longer before needing work therefore being cheaper in the long run. Transport trucks at night only, sweeet!!!
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Old 01-04-08, 10:24 AM   #12
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no, no. the automobiles will need to travel at their design speed, not the speed of the bicyclists.

Is there a need for seperate facilities because of the speed differential? A need for engineering controls and special rules written into traffic law?

One needs to design the roads for effective use of both modes; I don't think motorists would stand for getting stuck behind bicyclists moving 5-15MPH

If 98 percent of road traffic were bicyclists, the speed limits would much lower, being more accomodating to the bicyclist majority. Vehicles would also be designed much more differently than today's, and they probably would not even be able to attain the freeway speeds of today. The speed difference would be far less, and the frustration level would be equally less when behind a slower moving cyclist. There would be much more stringent laws and penalties in operating motor vehicles, making motorist more liable for their actions when driving, and making motorists operate their vehicles in a more cautious manner.
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Old 01-04-08, 10:36 AM   #13
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As it stands now, 99% of bicyclists have a car.

So if it were reversed, 99% of motorists would have a bike.

What does that do to the equation?

Maybe most motorists would then understand the dynamics of the bicycle? For instance, not expect bicycles make a full stop, on account they would then know how difficult it is to balance on a bike that's not moving?
I don't think your guesstimate (man, I really hate that term, but it applies in this instance) is accurate at all. According to my research here in Toronto, about 80% of adult cyclists have a driver's license, but do not necessarily own (lease, have access to) a car. Many are high-school and university students who either cannot afford, do not want, have no need for or cannot house a car, and many others are simply car-free because, in the downtown area (approx population 500,000) a car is not necessary with fairly liveable cycling routes and a comprehensive public transportation system.

In fact, looking at my own circumstance, most of my friends and acquaintences---and I am 45---who are all within 10 years on either side of my age, for the most part, do not have a car. I am talking about at least 70%. And, it's not like I associate only with radical environmentalists, strict car-free folks, poor people, starving students or left-wing, modern day hippies. My friends span the range from severe right-wing to severe left-wing.

I can't speak for the U.S., but considering we are not much different in our travelling habits, I can't see there being much of a difference.
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Old 01-04-08, 11:00 AM   #14
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Take a look at the dynamics of traffic if the percentages of bicyclists and motorists were reversed- what if 98 percent of traffic was bikes?

If 98 percent of traffic were bikes but motorized traffic still needed to use the same road network at speeds attainable by automobiles, what would be needed to accomodate these two disparate modes of travel?
Why ask what if? Just look to China of 10 years ago!
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Old 01-04-08, 12:47 PM   #15
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Take a look at the dynamics of traffic if the percentages of bicyclists and motorists were reversed- what if 98 percent of traffic was bikes?

If 98 percent of traffic were bikes but motorized traffic still needed to use the same road network at speeds attainable by automobiles, what would be needed to accomodate these two disparate modes of travel?

Imagine there's few motors
It's easy if you try
No hell around us
Above us only pie
Imagine all the people
Pedaling every day...

Imagine there's no honking
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no pollution too
Imagine all the people
Traveling in peace...

YooHoo-ooo-ooo-ooo

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will ride as one

Imagine no more bike lanes
I wonder if you can
No need for segregation
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the road...

YooHoo-ooo-ooo-ooo

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will spin as one
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Old 01-04-08, 01:27 PM   #16
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This is interesting. I think it is a case of an inverted pendulum. See, imagine a pendulum which can swing around a full 360 degree arc. There are two points of rest for this pendulum, one at top dead center, one at bottom dead center. Only one of these points of rest is stable: the bottom.

Now imagine that there is a continuum between top dead center (being mostly bicycle traffic) and bottom dead center (mostly car traffic). The roads start out as all bikes. Now, add a car. The car can go faster than the bike but cannot in reality because of the bicyclists clogging the roads. So the driver honks a lot and doesn't go very fast.

But the potential for going fast is there, so a few more (rich) people obtain cars. These people who have cars are a minority but they are a minority with power due to the fact that they have enough discretionary funds to buy a car in the first place. So, being as the they have the political clout and the need, they will ask for and recieve their own special lane (singular, for the moment) which they can use to proceed at a bit higher pace than the cyclists.

Now that cars are better accomodated, more people obtain them, and by dint of economies of scales, cars become cheaper. More lanes for cars are added on the roads. Then someone like Henry Ford comes along (the performance advantages of cars make the coming of such a person inevitable) and makes cars cheap and for the masses. You know the story from there. The pendulum swings down from the unstable resting point at top dead center and eventually settles at the stable resting point at bottom dead center, which is where we are today.

It is important to note that, since we have already passed through this progression here in the US and many "third world" countries are in the process of passing through this progression, that what I said above is basically true. For an answer to the OP's particular question, look at present day India or Cambodia or China. All these countries are converting from a mostly bicycle/walking standard to a car/motor scooter standard for travel. They all have "special" rights for cars which basically means that the drivers use the horn for warning and all others get out of their way. But this is transient and, unless there is purposeful planning to counter natural market forces, these countries will end up looking like the US in a couple decades time.

To keep a pendulum at the top dead center unstable resting point, energy is required to counter natural market forces which force the pendulum to the stable resting state. In Europe, this consists of a government preference for rail and mass transport. It is important to note that even this is eroding and more cars are on the road. Energy can be put into the creation of laws which ban cars from certain areas of cities, or by placing a penalty on buying gasoline or tires or other consumables which affect only motorists. The point is that energy has to inputed into the system to keep the pendulum at the unsteady resting point.

This essay is not to assume that the stable resting point is the best place to be for a society. It's just that in a market driven system, the stable resting point is the place where the system will stay unless constant energy is put into keeping the pendulum at the unstable resting point. A good example of this is lawlessness. The stable resting point in the pendulum between a peaceful society and a lawless society is on the side of lawlessness. Take a completely passive society and introduce one aggressive person with a gun and you will soon have a society where everyone is armed and threats to personal safety are a daily norm. So, what do peaceful societies do to keep their society peaceful? They employ police, create laws which give the police a monopoly over deadly force, and use the media to demonize those people who break the peace sustaining laws.

How would you do this to keep bicycles as the primary form of transportation? You could separate the traffic flows. You might put into place laws that constrain car owners financially should they choose to drive and/or constrain the performance of their car. If traffic is mixed, you cannot let the car owners have the advantage over bicycle riders, so you would temper their speed. You might have separate lanes for cars and force them to yield to cyclists at all times and in all instances and use the police to enforce this. You would probably put into place some extremely strict land use laws (in the absence of natural barriers) to keep cities small and give an advantage to bicycles. Basically, to maintain the pendulum between cars and bicycles in the unstable resting position, you would have to cripple the car, and make it disadvantagous to drive.

So, basically, you have two different versions of this answer. The first is if you are considering this a transient situation and letting the pendulum swing down towards the stable resting point of near 100% car ownership. The second is very different and is what would happen if the central government and society were constantly putting in energy to keep the pendulum at the unstable resting point of near 100% bicycle ownership. The former, there are plenty of real world examples from our past and other countries' presents. The latter has not been seen in this world yet, but is possible and arguably leads to a better society over all.
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Old 01-04-08, 01:50 PM   #17
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A couple more thoughts. Just like with an inverted pendulum, moving the pendulum from the stable resting point at bottom dead center to the top dead center is very difficult. It requires a lot of force to complete the transition. But, once it's there at the unstable resting point, it requires very little force to keep it there - it is a resting point, after all. This is why it would take some draconian force to swing the pendulum from near 100% car use back to near 100% bicycle use. But once it's there, and there are some countries where situations are unique and still have a large percentage to bicycle use, the force needed to enforce this situation is small. In places where bicycles are still used in large number, their use was or still is being gradually phased out and would be completely phased out already or in short time without the intervention of governments with bicycle friendly laws and priorities to right the pendulum. The fact that they are able to make some progress toward the unstable resting point without draconian measures is a result of catching the pendulum early on it's downswing. Much less force is needed to right the inverted pendulum if it isn't allowed to swing down very far.

Other inverted pendulum systems are similar. Balancing a stick on your finger only requires a small movements of the hand to keep it there. The amount the US spends on it's police force per capita is far exceeded by the amount that is spent on the army which is attempting to counter the lawlessness in Iraq and get the pendulum from the stable resting point of lawlessness back to the unstable resting point of peace. To give a couple examples.
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Old 01-04-08, 02:04 PM   #18
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This is interesting. I think it is a case of an inverted pendulum. See, imagine a pendulum which can swing around a full 360 degree arc. There are two points of rest for this pendulum, one at top dead center, one at bottom dead center. Only one of these points of rest is stable: the bottom.

Now imagine that there is a continuum between top dead center (being mostly bicycle traffic) and bottom dead center (mostly car traffic). The roads start out as all bikes. Now, add a car. The car can go faster than the bike but cannot in reality because of the bicyclists clogging the roads. So the driver honks a lot and doesn't go very fast.

But the potential for going fast is there, so a few more (rich) people obtain cars. These people who have cars are a minority but they are a minority with power due to the fact that they have enough discretionary funds to buy a car in the first place. So, being as the they have the political clout and the need, they will ask for and recieve their own special lane (singular, for the moment) which they can use to proceed at a bit higher pace than the cyclists.

Now that cars are better accomodated, more people obtain them, and by dint of economies of scales, cars become cheaper. More lanes for cars are added on the roads. Then someone like Henry Ford comes along (the performance advantages of cars make the coming of such a person inevitable) and makes cars cheap and for the masses. You know the story from there. The pendulum swings down from the unstable resting point at top dead center and eventually settles at the stable resting point at bottom dead center, which is where we are today.

It is important to note that, since we have already passed through this progression here in the US and many "third world" countries are in the process of passing through this progression, that what I said above is basically true. For an answer to the OP's particular question, look at present day India or Cambodia or China. All these countries are converting from a mostly bicycle/walking standard to a car/motor scooter standard for travel. They all have "special" rights for cars which basically means that the drivers use the horn for warning and all others get out of their way. But this is transient and, unless there is purposeful planning to counter natural market forces, these countries will end up looking like the US in a couple decades time.

To keep a pendulum at the top dead center unstable resting point, energy is required to counter natural market forces which force the pendulum to the stable resting state. In Europe, this consists of a government preference for rail and mass transport. It is important to note that even this is eroding and more cars are on the road. Energy can be put into the creation of laws which ban cars from certain areas of cities, or by placing a penalty on buying gasoline or tires or other consumables which affect only motorists. The point is that energy has to inputed into the system to keep the pendulum at the unsteady resting point.

This essay is not to assume that the stable resting point is the best place to be for a society. It's just that in a market driven system, the stable resting point is the place where the system will stay unless constant energy is put into keeping the pendulum at the unstable resting point. A good example of this is lawlessness. The stable resting point in the pendulum between a peaceful society and a lawless society is on the side of lawlessness. Take a completely passive society and introduce one aggressive person with a gun and you will soon have a society where everyone is armed and threats to personal safety are a daily norm. So, what do peaceful societies do to keep their society peaceful? They employ police, create laws which give the police a monopoly over deadly force, and use the media to demonize those people who break the peace sustaining laws.

How would you do this to keep bicycles as the primary form of transportation? You could separate the traffic flows. You might put into place laws that constrain car owners financially should they choose to drive and/or constrain the performance of their car. If traffic is mixed, you cannot let the car owners have the advantage over bicycle riders, so you would temper their speed. You might have separate lanes for cars and force them to yield to cyclists at all times and in all instances and use the police to enforce this. You would probably put into place some extremely strict land use laws (in the absence of natural barriers) to keep cities small and give an advantage to bicycles. Basically, to maintain the pendulum between cars and bicycles in the unstable resting position, you would have to cripple the car, and make it disadvantagous to drive.

So, basically, you have two different versions of this answer. The first is if you are considering this a transient situation and letting the pendulum swing down towards the stable resting point of near 100% car ownership. The second is very different and is what would happen if the central government and society were constantly putting in energy to keep the pendulum at the unstable resting point of near 100% bicycle ownership. The former, there are plenty of real world examples from our past and other countries' presents. The latter has not been seen in this world yet, but is possible and arguably leads to a better society over all.
Brian, humor me. Print this out, along with my comment, and hide it in a drawer, perhaps in your parents home. I predict you will find your fascist (*) nirvana concept amusing when you uncover it in 10-15 years.

(*) Not the Hitler kind of fascism, but the government-corporate socialistic partnership type of fascism.
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Old 01-04-08, 02:21 PM   #19
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Take a look at the dynamics of traffic if the percentages of bicyclists and motorists were reversed- what if 98 percent of traffic was bikes?

If 98 percent of traffic were bikes but motorized traffic still needed to use the same road network at speeds attainable by automobiles, what would be needed to accomodate these two disparate modes of travel?
...and if pigs could ride bikes would they wear helmets and would they be for or against bike lanes?
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Old 01-04-08, 02:38 PM   #20
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I know it contradicts your libertarian instincts, HH, that market forces aren't always the best for society, and you have that front and center in your mind because of Ron Paul's candidacy. But socialism and, yes, even some fascism, has always played a role in even the most of capitalistic of governments.

Now, do I think that there is enough political force to push the pendulum up to the top? Probably not. It would probably take some extreme dictorial rule to do so. But that's not to say that it couldn't be done and that's not to say that once it's there that we could keep it there and it might be a good thing for society overall. Same can be said for Iraq or anywhere else where lawlessness is the norm and there is a government trying to make the transition to a lawful society.
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Old 01-04-08, 03:42 PM   #21
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I meant this to stimulate thought on the engineering requirements of mixing bikes and cars, and not debate on the social and political forces that would push such a reversal of the existing system.

If cars made up only 2 percent of traffic but they still needed to operate at their acheivable speeds, a system of seperate lanes and special rules governing merges etc would be required.

To maintain vehicularity for both cars and bikes on roads with those use ratios, special use lanes, advanced traffic signals and rules would be required that work counter to 'the rules of the road' as we currently think of them.

Simple to accomodate, but nonetheless rules, new types of traffic signals, and seperate lanes would be needed.
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Old 01-04-08, 04:47 PM   #22
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If cars made up only 2 percent of traffic but they still needed to operate at their acheivable speeds, a system of seperate lanes and special rules governing merges etc would be required.
.
Again, flawed concept, cars right now do not operate at their achievable speeds, nor do they need to do so.
Example- In my state the fastest speed limit is 70 mph, but my wifes Honda s-2000 is well capable of 125 mph.
A car is perfectly capable of operating at 15 mph just fine.
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Old 01-04-08, 05:14 PM   #23
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Again, flawed concept, cars right now do not operate at their achievable speeds, nor do they need to do so.
Example- In my state the fastest speed limit is 70 mph, but my wifes Honda s-2000 is well capable of 125 mph.
A car is perfectly capable of operating at 15 mph just fine.
You know this has been one of the keys to arguments I have had with John Forester... Cyclists too need not operate at their achievable speeds...

Granted it is more fun to go fast, but in the same manner as motorists are limited by speed limits, so too might cyclists be limited on certain bikeways.

Of course this is a very small part of the over all argument. But indeed neither cyclists nor motorists should expect to "always operate at their achievable speeds."
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Old 01-04-08, 06:01 PM   #24
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I didn't know how to best describe high speed travel, maybe I inaccurately used 'acheivable'.

but if 2 percent of traffic needed to move at 60-80 MPH and 98 percent of traffic moved at 5-15MPH, you can better beleive there'd be seperate lanes and special rules and signal controls to accomodate turns across slwo speed traffic.
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Old 01-04-08, 06:17 PM   #25
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I know it contradicts your libertarian instincts, HH, that market forces aren't always the best for society, and you have that front and center in your mind because of Ron Paul's candidacy. But socialism and, yes, even some fascism, has always played a role in even the most of capitalistic of governments.

Now, do I think that there is enough political force to push the pendulum up to the top? Probably not. It would probably take some extreme dictorial rule to do so. But that's not to say that it couldn't be done and that's not to say that once it's there that we could keep it there and it might be a good thing for society overall. Same can be said for Iraq or anywhere else where lawlessness is the norm and there is a government trying to make the transition to a lawful society.
I never said "market forces are always the best for society"; that's not what this is about.

But Hayek showed in his tour de force, Road to Serfdom, that the idea you propose is folly. You cannot establish a stable state with the "central government and society constantly putting in energy to keep the pendulum at the unstable resting point". As Hayek shows in his book, and what is totally beyond the scope of a post here, is that once you start putting in energy like that, humans adjust their behavior to take advantage, to which the government must respond by putting in more energy and rules, to which human behavior is again adjusted, and thus requires even more energy and rules, and so on, until finally you have dictatorship and/or the economy collapses, and poverty becomes widespread. Thus, such approaches pave the "road to serfdom".

Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-04-08 at 07:36 PM.
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