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Let's talk speed limts.

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Let's talk speed limts.

Old 02-09-08, 11:36 AM
  #1  
MrCjolsen
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Let's talk speed limts.

They seem to have no rhyme or reason.

A narrow two lane road with no shoulder 55+

A nice wide boulevard with super wide bike lanes and a speed limit much lower.

And why are not all residential areas 20mph or less?

"school zones" only directly in front of the school rather than on the kids' routes to and from school.

In my opinion, they should start with a state law that says that the only place you can drive a car faster than 40mph is a divided highway or freeway, and go from there.

Finally, when I was in the military, the speed limit on every Air Force base I visited was 25mph unless otherwise posted. And it was strictly enforced. What was most interesting was that with 10,000 people changing shifts every 8 hours, I seldom saw anything resembling a traffic jam. Nor did the lower speed limit seem to cause any problems. No one even complained about it.

Is there any research that lower speed limits leads to less traffic congestion?
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Old 02-09-08, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
Finally, when I was in the military, the speed limit on every Air Force base I visited was 25mph unless otherwise posted. And it was strictly enforced. What was most interesting was that with 10,000 people changing shifts every 8 hours, I seldom saw anything resembling a traffic jam. Nor did the lower speed limit seem to cause any problems. No one even complained about it.
That's probably because military people are taught to obey without question, no matter what. If that goes for a wartime situation, I can't imagine anyone complaining over a speed limit for the short distances inside a base area.
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Old 02-09-08, 11:51 AM
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Thats a great prospect for bringing some sanity about ( standard mph factors).

But, what you mentioned about enforcement is what is missing here. People are
conditioned to know that any violation statistically has a very low chance of
repercussion and combined with an overall disrespect of courtesy and common
sense, you have what we suffer now.

In a few places near where I lived in PA, speed limits were purposely skewn for
revenue generation. Any local knew there was a huge chance of rules being
enforced in those areas and drove accordingly. This type of intimidation on a
broader scale would be most useful in reconditioning this societys 'Me' oriented drivers.
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Old 02-09-08, 12:34 PM
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When a roadway is being built/reconstructed it is designed to accommodate the 85th percentile figure of what the motoring public actually drives, not the speed limit. The 85th is usually significantly higher than the posted speeds. This is done for "safety" reasons. The posted speeds are often arbitrarily assigned based on a location. For instance around here, within a city, 30 mph is the usually the max allowed speed regardless of whether the road is a neighborhood street or a wider arterial.
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Old 02-09-08, 01:08 PM
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I'm all for significantly reduced speed limits, like 15, 25, on MOST roads, 35 through some uninhabited areas, and 55 for the freeways. With extremely harsh penalties and very aggressive enforcement.
Too many people die in car "accidents"
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Old 02-09-08, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
That's probably because military people are taught to obey without question, no matter what. If that goes for a wartime situation, I can't imagine anyone complaining over a speed limit for the short distances inside a base area.
But we also loved to drive fast.

Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
I'm all for significantly reduced speed limits, like 15, 25, on MOST roads, 35 through some uninhabited areas, and 55 for the freeways. With extremely harsh penalties and very aggressive enforcement.
Too many people die in car "accidents"
I say drive as fast as you want on the freeway.

Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post

In a few places near where I lived in PA, speed limits were purposely skewn for
revenue generation. Any local knew there was a huge chance of rules being
enforced in those areas and drove accordingly. This type of intimidation on a
broader scale would be most useful in reconditioning this societys 'Me' oriented drivers.
How about designating certain roads such that any money generated from tickets goes right back into the budget of the local police department. I'll bet it would get enforced then.
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Old 02-09-08, 01:43 PM
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^^^^^Maybe, if drivers actually recieved some real training before being licensed. It needs to be like a pilots license; very expensive, exclusive, and graduated.
You wouldn't let a 1st year pilot fly an f22 right? But a first year driver can buy and drive a suburban, corvette, or God help him a 1000 cc sportbike.
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Old 02-09-08, 02:06 PM
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I'll take these two examples:

Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
They seem to have no rhyme or reason.

A narrow two lane road with no shoulder 55+

A nice wide boulevard with super wide bike lanes and a speed limit much lower.
That narrow two lane road with no shoulder, I'm sure, has a long distance between driveway entrances (if there are any) and, similarly, no stop signs or stoplights for long distances.

The boulevard normally has more driveways opening onto it, along with stop signs, cross streets of equal importance, stoplights, and obstacles like trees & bushes, parked cars, etc.

It's about reaction times and sight lines. If you can see for a quarter mile between potential danger zones (driveways & intersections), you'll have enough time to take action while driving at 55 mph -- OR even if you're the one waiting to enter that 55 mph highway. On the boulevard, though, there are many more potential hazards that you'll encounter over that same distance; you also can't see as far if you're leaving your driveway or entering from a cross street.

That's why a two-lane rural highway can safely have a higher speed limit than a boulevard.
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Old 02-09-08, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
I say drive as fast as you want on the freeway.
I'd be all about it, but we need to change our driving culture enough so that it's as safe as the unrestricted Autobahn I briefly experienced in Germany.

I've never seen comparable awareness & courtesy here in DC. I enjoyed the ten hours I drove there (even foot-to-the-floor in a diesel Ford van at a blistering 95 mph.. LOL), and hated my first drive back on a DC "free"way. We really suck at driving here.
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Old 02-09-08, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
Finally, when I was in the military, the speed limit on every Air Force base I visited was 25mph unless otherwise posted. And it was strictly enforced. What was most interesting was that with 10,000 people changing shifts every 8 hours, I seldom saw anything resembling a traffic jam. Nor did the lower speed limit seem to cause any problems. No one even complained about it.
Now that you mention it...
I was stationed at Fort Campbell, which is the size of a town, with a population of 30k.
And the same thing... 25mph everywhere except for a few main arteries that had the whopping speed of 35mph.

No problems. No traffic jams.
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Old 02-09-08, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
Is there any research that lower speed limits leads to less traffic congestion?
Less idiocy and lower traffic density leads to less traffic congestion. Proper civic planning helps, too.
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Old 02-09-08, 03:09 PM
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Speed limits have very little effect on the actual speed that cars will drive. Most people drive at speed at which they feel "comfortable", they don't look at the speedo that much. So what really determines the average speed is the street design.

Take two streets going through the same neighborhood. One is a divided boulevard with two lanes in each direction, the other is a narrow, two lane street with one lane going in each direction.

Both can have posted speed limits of 30 mph, but on the divided boulevard, the average speed will be somewhere near 50 mph because a divided road feels "safe" and is also reminiscent of a freeway, where you can go fast. On the narrow street, the average speed can be below 30 mph, because to many, it just doesn't feel safe to go any faster in a narrow lane with traffic coming at them.

So one solution to keeping the speed at a certain level is to design roads that will naturally be driven at that speed. Enforcement will never happen, unless you live in Mayberry, RFD.
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Old 02-09-08, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
Now that you mention it...
I was stationed at Fort Campbell, which is the size of a town, with a population of 30k.
And the same thing... 25mph everywhere except for a few main arteries that had the whopping speed of 35mph.

No problems. No traffic jams.
I think Ft. Campbell was even bigger than Travis AFB, where I was.

Just a note for those who haven't experienced the modern military. Virtually everyone in my squadron drove to work, in their own car, even if they lived in the barracks and 20 other guys were going to work at the same time.

And if, at some point during the day, if we needed to go someplace like the aircrew training center or the firing range, we all drove our own cars.

And all we did when we were off duty was drove our cars around. In two years, I put 50,000 miles on my car while living less than a mile from where I worked.
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Old 02-09-08, 04:17 PM
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I wouldn't bring this up around most motorists, they might cut your head off (after all, there can be only one)!

In Des Moines there seems to be a pattern:
Residential zoning: 25mph
Residential zoning, arterial: 30mph
Commercial zoning, arterial: 35mph
Unused area: 40-45mph (depending on the road)

What makes no sense is that one in town interstate is 65 and the other is 55. Since everyone does 65 on both, it's not a big deal. Five years ago, before they redid the slower freeway the speed made sense: If you did 70 you'd have a hard time controlling your vehicle due to all the patches (bouncy bouncy).

Now I'm in Lincoln, NE. And the limits go up 5-10mph everywhere! The city has no freeway though, and you can cross the town (the long way) in about 20 minutes. Honestly, sharing the road with cars doing 40mph isn't that scary. It's the heaviness of the traffic that bugs me: Not being able to go a mile without causing a traffic jam behind me.
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Old 02-09-08, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
Less idiocy and lower traffic density leads to less traffic congestion. Proper civic planning helps, too.
Plagues help as well. (I'm kidding)
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Old 02-09-08, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
How about designating certain roads such that any money generated from tickets goes right back into the budget of the local police department. I'll bet it would get enforced then.
Donut fund?
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Old 02-09-08, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
Donut fund?
Heh...

Well, if people found out which roads were designated like that, they'd make sure that the cops couldn't afford any donuts at all.
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Old 02-10-08, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
........So one solution to keeping the speed at a certain level is to design roads that will naturally be driven at that speed. Enforcement will never happen, unless you live in Mayberry, RFD.


Road design doesn't seem to factor in to the equation to a lot of our town residents, to the point that Andy and Sam had to enlist the help from our state's highway patrol to beef up traffic enforcement. It reached a point that I felt more comfortable riding on a major aterial than a number of residential back streets.
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Old 02-10-08, 03:21 AM
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How about this idea.

Timed traffic signals. In downtown Sacramento, they work very well.
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Old 02-10-08, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
And why are not all residential areas 20mph or less?
What I really love.

Rich upper-crust old person's gated neighborhood: Wide streets and comparatively inactive, their speed limit: 15mph.
Low cost housing on narrow twisting roads with kids running around: 35mph.

Funny that I'm WAY less likely to injure someone in the former.
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Old 02-10-08, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
Less idiocy and lower traffic density leads to less traffic congestion. Proper civic planning helps, too.
More a lack of understanding of how to best drive in traffic due to the fact that no one teaches them. There is so much inefficient technique in driver acceleration and deceleration rates combined with an inability to plan merging or other simple tasks that are more than 5 seconds away. Sure, some common sense and basic physics helps but I wouldn't call it idiocy.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:10 AM
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. . . seems to be a lot of old (mentally, at least) fuddy-duddies posting in this forum. Makes me wonder what your bike riding style must be . . . never over 10 mph or so . . . never know when you might have a blow-out and hit the ground.

Residentially, in my neck of the woods, speed alone rarely factors in as the main cause of accidents. Usually, it boils down to inattentiveness, failure to obey/yield, failure to control, especially in inclimate weather.

There have been a couple instances of out right street racing at insane speeds that resulted in serious accidents, but, obviously, speed limits with or without aggressive enforcement will not stop those types from their senseless crimes.

There have been a couple of accidents involving children struck as they darted onto the street from between parked cars. In the cases I recall, the drivers were observed and ultimately found to be operating within the posted speed limit (25 mph or less) and determined not to be at fault.

I ride many a mile on my bike, and, I, for one, would not welcome the draconian speed restrictions suggested in this thread. If you live on a military base, then, your career may not hinge upon getting from here to there - you just get there in the time allotted, period. Follow orders whether they make sense or not, and you are ok.

When I drive my car, I actually need to get somewhere, and that destination is usually part of a number of stops in a day that typically exceeds 10 - 12 hours. I don't want someone dictating to me that I can only drive 20 mph in the city.

As for school zones, they are designated for slow speeds due to the density of children being picked up, dropped off, arriving on foot, etc.

If you expanded the zone to include their entire route to and from school, that would, obviously encompass the entire neighborhood - not practical, IMO.

While I would love the freedom to drive at any speed on the freeway, I understand that the traffic density on many of our interstates precludes that possibility. I am happy to cue up behind traffic moving at reasonable speeds, and I detest those types that, pointing to the "slower traffic move right" rule, feel they have the right to blink their lights at me to move over even if I am overtaking another vehicle and already moving five mph above the posted speed.

. . . hope y'all do a lot of climbing when you ride, 'cause it sounds to me as though you don't typically ride your bikes fast enough to get much exercise, otherwise . . . there must be some reason why you are so opposed to forward motion . . . I just don't quite understand.

Caruso
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Old 02-10-08, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
Now that you mention it...
I was stationed at Fort Campbell, which is the size of a town, with a population of 30k.
And the same thing... 25mph everywhere except for a few main arteries that had the whopping speed of 35mph.

No problems. No traffic jams.
Living/driving on a military reservation is no problem at all as long as you like complying with every rule that some smart guy dreamed up for a PowerPoint Presentation for someone at a higher HQ. Think mandatory helmet rule for all ages for all non motorized activities on wheels, confiscation by the police (i.e. all the stealing is done legally by the MP's) of all unlocked bikes, as well as jack booted enforcement of arbitrarily low speed limits.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post

. . . hope y'all do a lot of climbing when you ride, 'cause it sounds to me as though you don't typically ride your bikes fast enough to get much exercise, otherwise . . . there must be some reason why you are so opposed to forward motion . . . I just don't quite understand.

Caruso
If it needs to be explained, you probably wouldnt get it.
Im a 'fuddy-duddie' who holds 2o-28mph for 10 miles twice a
day. I dont oppose forward motion, I oppose the cretins
who dont know how to use the responsibility that goes with it which
is a huge majority of drivers I have encountered.
I oppose laws in general, but they are only written when groups
of people en masse violate the most basic tenets of common sense
regarding whatever situation they are being applied to.
Todays drivers are mostly stupid and need laws to remind them of that.
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Old 02-10-08, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
If it needs to be explained, you probably wouldnt get it.
Im a 'fuddy-duddie' who holds 2o-28mph for 10 miles twice a
day. I dont oppose forward motion, I oppose the cretins
who dont know how to use the responsibility that goes with it which
is a huge majority of drivers I have encountered.
I oppose laws in general, but they are only written when groups
of people en masse violate the most basic tenets of common sense
regarding whatever situation they are being applied to.
Todays drivers are mostly stupid and need laws to remind them of that.
I assume that, since you seem to be a sensible fellow, you don't care what speed the motorists do as long as they give you the proper distances/clearances and right of way when passing, turning and pulling out from side roads.

Fixating on reducing vehicle speed limits, without regard to the real cause of cyclists' risk from motorists (i.e. driver inattention to actual conditions), is another feel good-accomplish nothing significant advocacy campaign.
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