Murder machines

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

Murder machines

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:50 am

An interesting look back at the attitudes to road collisions and deaths one hundred years ago compared with today.

This is why we have a system of registration and TAC/compulsory third party insurance. Nothing at all to do with "paying for roads" - the eternal furphy.

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Other editorials accused drivers of being afflicted with “motor madness” or “motor rabies,” which implied an addiction to speed at the expense of human life.

We do seem to have a lot of this disease about in Australia :x
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by BNA » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:48 pm

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Re: Murder machines

Postby trailgumby » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:48 pm

Very interesting article IP. Thanks for posting.

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Re: Murder machines

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:04 pm

Fantastic article. Too much infrastructure and attitude is about the car rather than the person. Sums up my feeling as a pedestrian and as a cyclist trying to negotiate some of our busier commercial areas.
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The people who really get it today, in 2014, know that the battle isn’t to change rules or put in signs or paint things on the pavement,” Norton continues. “The real battle is for people’s minds, and this mental model of what a street is for. There’s a wonderful slogan used by some bicyclists that says, ‘We are traffic.’ It reveals the fact that at some point, we decided that somebody on a bike or on foot is not traffic, but an obstruction to traffic. And if you look around, you’ll see a hundred other ways in which that message gets across. That’s the main obstacle for people who imagine alternatives—and it’s very much something in the mind.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:27 pm

It tends to be an Anglo thing. In many parts of Europe pedestrians still very much have priority on the streets

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Not always
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But often
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Re: Murder machines

Postby rkelsen » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:46 pm

il padrone wrote:It tends to be an Anglo thing. In many parts of Europe pedestrians still very much have priority on the streets

That's largely due to their cities pre-dating the car by centuries (or, in some cases, millenia).

Modern town planning is all about coveniences for cars.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:07 pm

It tends to be an Anglo thing. In many parts of Europe pedestrians still very much have priority on the streets

Mm... I'd split that hair, as per rkelsen's comment and perhaps say "New World thing" - Cities that have only sprung up within the last few hundred or so years.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:12 pm

rkelsen wrote:
il padrone wrote:It tends to be an Anglo thing. In many parts of Europe pedestrians still very much have priority on the streets

That's largely due to their cities pre-dating the car by centuries (or, in some cases, millenia).

Modern town planning is all about coveniences for cars.

While this is largely true, and many European cities are able to function well for cyclists and pedestrians largely due to their old medieval structure, this is also because of active policies to encourage this, particularly in the last 20 years. Back in the '80s Paris was notorious as a terrible place to cycle, traffic was awful and fast. Today they have the Velibs and a regular public Ciclovia event I believe.

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Even in the Netherlands, land of the bike, their cities were being held hostage by car traffic on the streets in the 60s and 70s. It was only through public campaigns for change that change happened and the cars were kept out of congested town centres.

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/20 ... treet.html
http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/20 ... umber.html
http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/ ... -planning/




HappyHumber wrote:perhaps say "New World thing"

I still maintain there is an Anglo, common law, individual freedom issue going on. There still remains a gulf in driver attitudes, street design, and safety for cyclists on the cities and roads of Britain, when compared with the cities and streets of Europe. Despite the age of their cities, cyclists remain the outsiders in the UK. Riding in London has only become more popular since the introduction of the congestion tax, and they still have some serious road safety problems.
Last edited by il padrone on Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby yugyug » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:16 am

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If you substitute "jay-walker" with "cyclist" in the 1923 cartoon on the left, you have our current predicament.

The most noteworthy thing I took from that article is that laws were changed to favour big business, not help the community. Nothing's changed.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby yugyug » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:52 am

The article mentions how in the US the The Level of Service (LOS) metric used to assess the efficiency of roads is based on motor vehicle delays. Does anyone know what the equivalent LOS used by Australian organisations like the RMS is?
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Re: Murder machines

Postby myforwik » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:14 pm

What i don't like is the refusal to do anything about it.

If two thousand people per year were dieing in other activities they would be regulated to the extreme.

Consider the amount of safety laws on businesses and the work place. Usually the only deaths at workplaces these days are from cowboy companies - or from motor vehicles.

And when we look at motor vehicles, all standards of risks, hazard, safety, that we must meet for machinery are completely ignored.

If I went and made a mechanical machine that moved at 100km/hr and had no safety system stopping its operator from colliding with things - I would be prosecuted into oblivion for violation of health and safety acts and not meeting machine safety standards. However, for some ridiculous reason, we exempt cars. A car doesn't have to have anything even remotely useful for helping protect pedestrians or cyclists. It isnt ever something that even gets considered. Only the occupants ever enter the picture.

We also have a ridiculous amount of tolerance for violation of road safety acts. I cant remember he last time i drived without seeing tonnes of cars breaking almost every rule under the sun.

Generally in safety, it is is the possible consequences of an incident that matter - not the luck tat a driver got away with.

When some idiot mounts the curb while texting, he should be treated like he hit a pedestrain, it was dump luck he didnt. Yet we treat it as utterly insignificant and maybe give a $300 fine.

The absurdity is that people who end up killing cyclists are unlucky to - hundreds do the same dangerous thing but luck out every day.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby rkelsen » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:09 pm

The driverless car will change all of that. The technology can't arrive quickly enough, IMO.

Remove the (angry/drunk/stoned/texting) human from the equation, and things will change drastically.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby Xplora » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:22 pm

rkelsen wrote:The driverless car will change all of that. The technology can't arrive quickly enough, IMO.

Remove the (angry/drunk/stoned/texting) human from the equation, and things will change drastically.

Makes you wonder if this will be the death of the car as the primary transport mode with it?

A computer will not be allowed to prioritise vehicle speed over life. Pet or human. Humans can't be said to be so robust in their programming.

As a result, people might start looking at alternatives when they discover that their car won't let them go faster because they started their journey too late, and they might as well ride a bike which gives them freedom and an equal speed to the car which will not overtake dangerously.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby ball bearing » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:28 pm

Xplora wrote:
A computer will not be allowed to prioritise vehicle speed over life. Pet or human. Humans can't be said to be so robust in their programming.


I don't think I would trust my computer to command a vehicle - damned thing shuts down whenever it feels like it.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby rkelsen » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:41 pm

Xplora wrote:Makes you wonder if this will be the death of the car as the primary transport mode with it?

No, I don't think so. People are lazy.
ball bearing wrote:I don't think I would trust my computer to command a vehicle - damned thing shuts down whenever it feels like it.

Right, but when was the last time your car's engine management system failed?
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Re: Murder machines

Postby ball bearing » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:50 pm

rkelsen wrote:
ball bearing wrote:I don't think I would trust my computer to command a vehicle - damned thing shuts down whenever it feels like it.

Right, but when was the last time your car's engine management system failed?

I like your idea about taking the incapacitated human out of the equation, but there are so many complications and variables involved in piloting a vehicle that a much more sophisticated device and sensor/control system than comprises an engine management chip would be necessary.

What we need is a revolution of humanness to overthrow the numbness that has become so commonplace.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby InTheWoods » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:08 pm

Thanks for post that, very interesting.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby Xplora » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:34 pm

ball bearing, Google's car hasn't had any accidents since testing began, except one - where it was in manual mode and a person was driving it.

Sadly, driving a car is NOT complicated. You go when you have space, you stop when you don't, you slow for potential hazards, and you make decisions about when to do the above. A computer can do all of these things, the crucial issue is ensuring the software is comprehensive and stable. A computer is FAR better at dealing with the situations we face. That's why ABS exists. EFI. Traction control. Drive by wire. Every single electronic intervention on a modern car is there because people are not capable of doing the job better. Mercedes has had auto braking tech (demo'd on Top Gear) for years. Steering isn't that much harder. You call for revolution but history proves that humanity itself is the issue, not a social period or culture.

Hence my claim about the death of the car. A taxi is essentially the same as driverless control... people dislike them because of a lack of control, not the cost. Once you start to remove the control of the vehicle, a large number of people will not want to use them, especially when they circle the block aimlessly to find a parking spot. Why sit in your driverless car at 25kmh when you could ride a bike and actually be guaranteed that controlling your lane would be respected? Even in the case of illegal road use, a computer controlled car won't drive over the top of another person if it can brake in time.

There is ample justification for using a car. Sometimes. If cyclists could use their bikes without fear the roads would be very very very different.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby ball bearing » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:01 pm

Xplora wrote:ball bearing, Google's car hasn't had any accidents since testing began, except one - where it was in manual mode and a person was driving it.

I have read that and I assumed that Google had spent a zillion dollars on their driver-less car. Perhaps the technology will eventually filter down and become commonplace. It'll take a few decades before that happens.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby Xplora » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:09 pm

Sure, they are testing and investing. No question. But decades is seriously underrating the pace of technology. The internet is only 20 years old as a consumer level product, and really made enormous leaps within its first 5. BNA uses forum tech hasn't changed much in 15 years. Boards, threads, usernames. Driverless is already on the roads... Mercedes can brake without assistance. Driverless parking! Cruise control is positively ancient, that's driverless accelerator control. Taking away a driver's ability to control their accelerator physically has already happened - Honda uses sensors now instead of cables? We can just incrementally take away driver power.

The key is people realising that this means they aren't driving anymore. Just because you hold the steering wheel doesn't mean you are actually controlling anything. Taking sensor input, and hitting the brakes for a perceived risk, that can happen now in a Merc. Auto turning to avoid the accident?

The machines are already in control :mrgreen:
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Re: Murder machines

Postby wellington_street » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:11 pm

yugyug wrote:The article mentions how in the US the The Level of Service (LOS) metric used to assess the efficiency of roads is based on motor vehicle delays. Does anyone know what the equivalent LOS used by Australian organisations like the RMS is?


It is identical. Pedestrian or cyclist LOS is very rarely considered, usually only when it is a 'cycling project'.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby queequeg » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:17 pm

wellington_street wrote:
yugyug wrote:The article mentions how in the US the The Level of Service (LOS) metric used to assess the efficiency of roads is based on motor vehicle delays. Does anyone know what the equivalent LOS used by Australian organisations like the RMS is?


It is identical. Pedestrian or cyclist LOS is very rarely considered, usually only when it is a 'cycling project'.


I once timed the lights to cross Pennant Hills Rd on the official M2 detour route. It was an 8 minute wait for a green light, and you got about 10 seconds of green after that 8 minutes. The 8 minute wait was about 12% of my total trip time to work every day, so I quickly found another route that avoided those lights.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby wellington_street » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:21 pm

8 minutes is just insane. It's not unusual for MRWA to run 3 minute cycles, ditto for RMS, but I have never come across an 8 minute cycle.
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Re: Murder machines

Postby zero » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:44 pm

queequeg wrote:
wellington_street wrote:
yugyug wrote:The article mentions how in the US the The Level of Service (LOS) metric used to assess the efficiency of roads is based on motor vehicle delays. Does anyone know what the equivalent LOS used by Australian organisations like the RMS is?


It is identical. Pedestrian or cyclist LOS is very rarely considered, usually only when it is a 'cycling project'.


I once timed the lights to cross Pennant Hills Rd on the official M2 detour route. It was an 8 minute wait for a green light, and you got about 10 seconds of green after that 8 minutes. The 8 minute wait was about 12% of my total trip time to work every day, so I quickly found another route that avoided those lights.


Which cross street intersection was that ?
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Re: Murder machines

Postby queequeg » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:02 pm

No cross street, it is the pedestrian crossing directly in
front of the Roselea Community Centre, between Murray Farm Rd & North Rocks rd.
I nearly died of old age waiting for the lights to change.

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Re: Murder machines

Postby Xplora » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:29 pm

It's there to service the schools, so it might have shorter sequences during the school opening and closing periods... but 8 minutes is really asking you to do the wrong thing. Quee, I'd be turning left and climbing onto the pedestrian islands for a U turn. Even peak hour that's going to be less than 8 mintues...
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