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Building Safer Streets Act to fix MUTCD

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Building Safer Streets Act to fix MUTCD

Old 11-16-23, 03:36 PM
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Building Safer Streets Act to fix MUTCD

I really really hope it passes. I want safe intersections, artistic crosswalks, and at least a few 9' lanes in my town.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2023/11/...ad-user-safety
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Old 11-16-23, 06:31 PM
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If all goes well, the 11th Edition of the MUTCD should be published by the end of 2023, culminating a whole lot of of hard work and evaluation that started back in 2009. Many agencies and practitioners are very much looking forward to it finally being available. That being said, there will likely be a revision to incorporate PROWAG going into rulemaking sometime in 2024.

Last edited by RCMoeur; 11-19-23 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 11-17-23, 05:22 AM
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What is the point? America’s entire approach to road safety is backwards. A vehicle or a road is only as safe as the drivers who use them. I spent a number of years in law enforcement cleaning up wrecks, a good number of which were fatal. In almost no case was a vehicle or road at fault in these collisions, they were almost always caused by negligent drivers.

Years ago I moved to Japan, where the approach to safety is more serious. In the early postwar years. Japan’s roads were mayhem. Narrow, busy, and used by a mix pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and trucks. The result was carnage. Japan understood what I mentioned in my first paragraph, and that in order to make the roads safer, drivers had to be made safer. And Japan, knowing it couldn’t do much to widen or improve the road system, created a system to make safer drivers.

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Japan was get a drivers license. It was not a simple or inexpensive process. It took several weeks of classes and behind-the-wheel instruction, during which safety was repeatedly stressed. Over and over the consequences of unsafe driving were drilled into me. The written test, containing some 200 questions, focused mainly on safety, as did the driving test. In the end, the total cost to get my license was nearly $3000.

The reason the tests are so hard is because traffic laws are harsh. Japan does not believe in the concept of “accidents.” According to Japanese law, a vehicle collision is always the result of negligence. Any negligence resulting in injury becomes criminal negligence, any negligence resulting in death will incur a mandatory prison sentence. I said in another post that if a pedestrian or cyclist is killed by a motor vehicle operator, the operator will go to jail, regardless of the circumstances, And that last point is true, if a cyclist runs a red light, and you hit him and kill him, you will go to jail, period. When you drive a vehicle in Japan, you are told repeatedly that you “must expect the unexpected.” Anyone who drives on a road or highway assumes a high level of responsibility. Even if you are stopped at a red light, and you are rear-ended by another vehicle, you are considered partially at fault. It sounds crazy, but it causes drivers to pay much more attention.

Because of Japan’s licensing system, and the laws which govern road use, Japan’s roads are remarkably safe. And they are safe despite the fact they are narrower and often busier than roads anywhere in America. If you look around Tokyo, you’ll see lots of narrow roads with no shoulders, and almost no dedicated bike lanes. You’ll see markings on the road for bicycles, which began appearing 3 or 4 years ago, but cars are permitted to drive or park on them. Despite what appears to be a road system unfriendly to cyclists, more than a million people commute by bicycle every day in relative safety.
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Old 11-17-23, 01:04 PM
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"You’ll see markings on the road for bicycles, which began appearing 3 or 4 years ago, but cars are permitted to drive or park on them."

Yikes...cars can drive or park on a bicycle in Tokyo?

Damn those dangling participles....or whatever the grammatical error was......

Yes there roads are narrow/narrower but their vehicles are narrower and smaller also. I always loved seeing the small CATS and Backhoes etc that they used to work on the roads as well. The Japanese were delighted to hear that my favorite touring bicycle was a FUJI.
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Old 11-17-23, 03:24 PM
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Yes there roads are narrow/narrower but their vehicles are narrower and smaller also.
Unlike Japan and much of europe we expect and except bad things to happen. This mentality has happened over time and gotten worse due to the fact that it cost time and most importantly money to make people behave.
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Old 11-17-23, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick
Unlike Japan and much of europe we expect and except bad things to happen. This mentality has happened over time and gotten worse due to the fact that it cost time and most importantly money to make people behave.
In Japan the money comes from the licensing, fuel tax, and highway tolls, and the time is seen rather as an investment than a cost. When you take a country like America in which 40,000 people are killed on the roads every year, millions are injured, and billions of dollars lost, you might think road safety is a problem worthy of attention. Unfortunately, the opposite has been occurring. In many states laws have been relaxed against driving unlicensed and/or uninsured, and habitual traffic offenders are no longer arrested as they once were when caught driving. This is a recipe for more death and injury which no amount road improvement can allay.
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Old 11-17-23, 07:32 PM
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In Japan the money comes from the licensing, fuel tax, and highway tolls, and the time is seen rather as an investment than a cost. When you take a country like America in which 40,000 people are killed on the roads every year, millions are injured, and billions of dollars lost, you might think road safety is a problem worthy of attention. Unfortunately, the opposite has been occurring. In many states laws have been relaxed against driving unlicensed and/or uninsured, and habitual traffic offenders are no longer arrested as they once were when caught driving. This is a recipe for more death and injury which no amount road improvement can allay.
Of course intelligence instead of malice and greed. Our laws and policies are designed to beep the machine rolling no matter what the cost. And they have become so complacent that changing for the better is blocked by policy and when people bring up there objections they just through these bad laws and policies in everyone's faces.
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Old 11-17-23, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina
I really really hope it passes. I want safe intersections, artistic crosswalks, and at least a few 9' lanes in my town.
They just did a few crosswalks in my town. I like the idea:

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/ne...r/71582951007/
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Old 11-17-23, 09:39 PM
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Cool!

Originally Posted by jon c.
They just did a few crosswalks in my town. I like the idea:

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/ne...r/71582951007/
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Old 11-17-23, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
What is the point? America’s entire approach to road safety is backwards. A vehicle or a road is only as safe as the drivers who use them. I spent a number of years in law enforcement cleaning up wrecks, a good number of which were fatal. In almost no case was a vehicle or road at fault in these collisions, they were almost always caused by negligent drivers.

Years ago I moved to Japan, where the approach to safety is more serious. In the early postwar years. Japan’s roads were mayhem. Narrow, busy, and used by a mix pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and trucks. The result was carnage. Japan understood what I mentioned in my first paragraph, and that in order to make the roads safer, drivers had to be made safer. And Japan, knowing it couldn’t do much to widen or improve the road system, created a system to make safer drivers.

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Japan was get a drivers license. It was not a simple or inexpensive process. It took several weeks of classes and behind-the-wheel instruction, during which safety was repeatedly stressed. Over and over the consequences of unsafe driving were drilled into me. The written test, containing some 200 questions, focused mainly on safety, as did the driving test. In the end, the total cost to get my license was nearly $3000.

The reason the tests are so hard is because traffic laws are harsh. Japan does not believe in the concept of “accidents.” According to Japanese law, a vehicle collision is always the result of negligence. Any negligence resulting in injury becomes criminal negligence, any negligence resulting in death will incur a mandatory prison sentence. I said in another post that if a pedestrian or cyclist is killed by a motor vehicle operator, the operator will go to jail, regardless of the circumstances, And that last point is true, if a cyclist runs a red light, and you hit him and kill him, you will go to jail, period. When you drive a vehicle in Japan, you are told repeatedly that you “must expect the unexpected.” Anyone who drives on a road or highway assumes a high level of responsibility. Even if you are stopped at a red light, and you are rear-ended by another vehicle, you are considered partially at fault. It sounds crazy, but it causes drivers to pay much more attention.

Because of Japan’s licensing system, and the laws which govern road use, Japan’s roads are remarkably safe. And they are safe despite the fact they are narrower and often busier than roads anywhere in America. If you look around Tokyo, you’ll see lots of narrow roads with no shoulders, and almost no dedicated bike lanes. You’ll see markings on the road for bicycles, which began appearing 3 or 4 years ago, but cars are permitted to drive or park on them. Despite what appears to be a road system unfriendly to cyclists, more than a million people commute by bicycle every day in relative safety.
There is no comparison between the senses of social responsibility, duty and pride of the Japanese and Americans.
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Old 11-22-23, 05:11 PM
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Yes
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Old 12-15-23, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
What is the point? America’s entire approach to road safety is backwards. A vehicle or a road is only as safe as the drivers who use them. I spent a number of years in law enforcement cleaning up wrecks, a good number of which were fatal. In almost no case was a vehicle or road at fault in these collisions, they were almost always caused by negligent drivers.

Years ago I moved to Japan, where the approach to safety is more serious. In the early postwar years. Japan’s roads were mayhem. Narrow, busy, and used by a mix pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and trucks. The result was carnage. Japan understood what I mentioned in my first paragraph, and that in order to make the roads safer, drivers had to be made safer. And Japan, knowing it couldn’t do much to widen or improve the road system, created a system to make safer drivers.

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Japan was get a drivers license. It was not a simple or inexpensive process. It took several weeks of classes and behind-the-wheel instruction, during which safety was repeatedly stressed. Over and over the consequences of unsafe driving were drilled into me. The written test, containing some 200 questions, focused mainly on safety, as did the driving test. In the end, the total cost to get my license was nearly $3000.

The reason the tests are so hard is because traffic laws are harsh. Japan does not believe in the concept of “accidents.” According to Japanese law, a vehicle collision is always the result of negligence. Any negligence resulting in injury becomes criminal negligence, any negligence resulting in death will incur a mandatory prison sentence. I said in another post that if a pedestrian or cyclist is killed by a motor vehicle operator, the operator will go to jail, regardless of the circumstances, And that last point is true, if a cyclist runs a red light, and you hit him and kill him, you will go to jail, period. When you drive a vehicle in Japan, you are told repeatedly that you “must expect the unexpected.” Anyone who drives on a road or highway assumes a high level of responsibility. Even if you are stopped at a red light, and you are rear-ended by another vehicle, you are considered partially at fault. It sounds crazy, but it causes drivers to pay much more attention.

Because of Japan’s licensing system, and the laws which govern road use, Japan’s roads are remarkably safe. And they are safe despite the fact they are narrower and often busier than roads anywhere in America. If you look around Tokyo, you’ll see lots of narrow roads with no shoulders, and almost no dedicated bike lanes. You’ll see markings on the road for bicycles, which began appearing 3 or 4 years ago, but cars are permitted to drive or park on them. Despite what appears to be a road system unfriendly to cyclists, more than a million people commute by bicycle every day in relative safety.
An example of Japan's enforcement of driving laws. They don't fool around.

https://news.yahoo.com/navy-officer-...l&uh_test=0_00


Navy officer jailed in Japan over deadly crash headed back to the US

In the spring of 2021, after a period of land-based assignments, Alkonis, a Southern California native, was preparing for a deployment as a department head on the USS Benfold, a missile destroyer.

With the assignment looming, he set out for an excursion of Mount Fuji for hiking and sightseeing with his wife and children. They had climbed pat of the mountain and were back in the car, heading to lunch and ice cream near in a town near the base of Mount Fuji, when, his family says, he suddenly lost consciousness after suffering acute mountain sickness.

He was so out of it, they say, that neither his daughter’s screams to wake up nor the impact of the collision roused him. His car veered into parked cars and pedestrians in a parking lot, striking the woman and her son-in-law. They both died later.

After the crash near Fujinomiya, Alkonis was arrested by Japanese authorities and was held for 26 days in solitary confinement at a police detention facility, was interrogated multiple times a day and was not given medical treatment or an evaluation, according to a statement of facts provided by a family spokesman.

That statement said that when American authorities arrived to take Alkonis into custody and return him to a U.S. base, he already was held by the Japanese.

He was indicted on a charge of a negligent driving, resulting in death, and was sentenced that October to three years in prison.
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Old 12-15-23, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
There is no comparison between the senses of social responsibility, duty and pride of the Japanese and Americans.
Yet a few of our A&S colleagues insist on repeatedly making just such comparisons as some sort of specious bicycling advocacy and/or bicycling safety lesson.
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Old 12-15-23, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike
An example of Japan's enforcement of driving laws. They don't fool around.

https://news.yahoo.com/navy-officer-...l&uh_test=0_00

This officer was treated very leniently by Japaneses standards. Had he not been an American serviceman, he would have spent much more time in jail. He had been facing a 7 year sentence, had he been Japanese, that’s what he would have gotten.
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Old 12-15-23, 07:07 PM
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Clearly this is not the sort of society most Americans wish to live in.
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Old 12-16-23, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
This officer was treated very leniently by Japaneses standards. Had he not been an American serviceman, he would have spent much more time in jail. He had been facing a 7 year sentence, had he been Japanese, that’s what he would have gotten.
Yeah, that was my sense of the situation.
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