In Denmark, a lot of high speed roads (excluding motorways, of course) out in the country have separate dual-way bicycle lanes near it but not attached to it. (Example: https://i.imgur.com/dS6jqXS.jpg)
That way, the cyclists can cross the side roads on their own accord, where they are more visible and have their own junction with the side road. Additional, one can set up a traffic light that only turns red for the cars when a cyclist is crossing (i.e. activated by a button).
Furthermore, one might consider signage that warns drivers about cyclists in the junction: https://i.imgur.com/CX6SJdW.jpg
Also, a way to reduce speed of the motorists without putting in stop signs would be to add chicanes just before the junction, so they are forced to slow down.
Plus, as I've mentioned before (see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15977162), I also think it is because UK drivers don't really have enough training with how to deal with bicycles and the fact that they are also participants on the road.
Also, this particular junction is terribly designed for cars and will result in collisions.
No, if anything, UK roads are specifically not designed to handle bicycle traffic. I wonder what makes you think so?
Saying that they are designed for bike traffic, when they are continuously rebuilt to the needs of motorised vehicles, is a bit like complaining that it is problematic marching a centuria down the middle of the A59 out of York, given that is what the Romans designed it for.
And we do have a solution to this problem, it is that of creating dedicated bike routes, like the Bristol to Bath cycle path, or where they have to run alongside roads with cars doing 60mph and above, keeping them separated by more than just paint.
In fact, that may be what happened to IX Hispania: they were having so much fun, they just kept going.
Thank you, this observation has brightened up an otherwise mundane Wednesday.
There are certainly cyclists who do nothing to help the reputation for the rest but car drivers fail to realise how vulnerable cyclists and motorcyclists are.
It's a shame I'm getting downvoted, but the current state of affairs is that in cities like London bicycles, cars and trucks will be sharing the road for the near-mid future.
I'd rather not have trucks or cars in the city, and ideally cyclists would have their own road separate from cars and pedestrians, but I think that's a pipe dream.
Until then what else can do we? At least if we require tests for cyclists, like we do for cars, buses and trucks, it might help reduce the number of cyclists doing risky things that perhaps they aren't even aware of?
Sure there are still reckless drivers, but at least they have a license that can be revoked and points that can be fined. How do we ban reckless cyclists from the road?
Thought experiment: if you didn't have any motorised vehicles on the road, would you still want cyclists to have a licence?
In a general case though, requiring cyclists to have a licence would reduce the number of cyclists, probably significantly. This would correspondingly increase the number of motorists.
This dual effect would have a number of negative impacts. More motorists lead to more congestion, more CO2 emitted and poorer air quality. Poorer air quality leads to health problems, up to and including deaths. CO2 causes climate change, and greater congestion has an economic impact. Fewer people cycling mean fewer people getting exercise, leading to more health problems, up to and including deaths.
I'm confident these problems would overshadow the small improvements in cyclist safety you might gain with a cycling licence requirement. There are better ways to improve cycling safety.
Of course! In a world where there were only cyclists there would still need to be a set of rules that all cyclists are required to follow. Those might include how to behave at intersections, how and when you should overtake other cyclists, and so on. To be allowed to cycle, each cyclist should have demonstrated that they understand and follow these rules by taking some kind of test.
> In a general case though, requiring cyclists to have a licence would reduce the number of cyclists, probably significantly. This would correspondingly increase the number of motorists.
I don't think so. I expect the government to continue to penalize use of motor vehicles in cities such as London. The bicycle will remain the cheaper mode of transport.
What about walking? People can run into other people, knock them down stairs, it's a risk...
I think that most observers find the idea that bike use is a public hazard, and must be restricted to be obviously ludicrous.
Here in the Bay Area, it's a rare bicyclist that actually follows the rules. Talking to other bicyclists, I've found a large number of them are simply ignorant to the fact that the rules apply to them as well; or they have adopted some bizarre version of the rules or a sense of entitlement.
I could talk anecdotes for hours, but one particularly egregious example is a bicyclist who showed up to a 4-way stop after I was already moving through the intersection, cut through my path, and gave me the finger, all without even slowing down, much less stopping.
Requiring bicyclists to pass at least a basic test would go a long way towards clearing things up or at least changing the "bicyclists don't have to follow the rules" culture that exists here, making the roads safer for themselves, walkers/runners, and drivers alike.
So I do the illegal. I turn right on the quiet side street and immediately u-turn to the stop sign, to wait to cross both sides. It's not a dangerous maneuver for me or anyone else, although it would be dangerous for a car to do so.
See the problem?
edit: A car waiting to turn left is in considerably less danger. It's much easier for traffic coming from behind to see, so it's less likely to be hit. And if it is hit, the driver is protected by the car itself. At worst, the car gets totaled. But a bicycle hit at 40mph? The cyclist is likely going to be killed. It's not just silly to follow the car law - it's hazardous.
I think one the purposes of traffic law is to make the behavior of all participants predictable. My only issue with cyclists is I feel I can never predict what they're going to do.
There's usually laws about how far you can see, how far you have to be from an intersection etc.
"My only issue with cyclists is I feel I can never predict what they're going to do."
This is not entirely the fault of the cyclists, it's the fault of the law givers
The laws are not written in such a way that it appears safe to people using bikes to follow all the rules, so everyone is compelled to come up with their own rules. The build of roads is the same; a small detour for a person in a car can become quite substantial for a person on a bike.
At the moment the laws get written and the roads get design assuming almost everyone is going to use a car, and then they say "well, is it physically possible to follow it on a bike?" - if they consider bikes at all.
If governments wanted people to ride bikes predictably, they must consider them when crafting the laws. It's probably quite okay for people riding bikes to act differently than people driving cars: just like people walking around behave differently. It will then take some time to spread the word and regain the trust of cyclists. But it's a more helpful solution than saying "they must follow rules and infrastructure designed for cars in the same way as cars, except that they must not delay me: that way they will be predictable and safe".
Law enforcement can already ticket a bicyclist, license or no license. Bicyclists already know when they're breaking the law.
I disbelieve your proposed solution would actually solve any problems.
Then let's advocate for getting rid of licensing since it has a cost and no benefit. I don't think you really mean that, do you? I've got plenty of ideas for a better licensing system for driving.
> Forcing them to need a license will just create more illegal bicyclists.
Illegal drivers face consequences that licensed drivers do not face. The same would be true for illegal bicyclists. I fail to see this as a bad thing.
> Bicyclists already know when they're breaking the law.
They don't know. They might know if they did it in a car they would be breaking the law. They also believe themselves to be incapable of creating a dangerous situation. (Quick anecdote: I was on a jury for a civil case where a bicyclist admitted on the stand he ran into a car that, by all evidence and even his own testimony, was stopped. The bicyclist had also run a stop sign. He felt the driver was at fault for the accident.)
Being a bicyclist myself, I assumed everyone knew as well. Back home, all my cycling friends knew and followed the rules. When I started cycling with people here, I found out they really don't know that the rules apply to them, they think the rules are different in some way, or they just have some really bizarre notions. AFAICT, it's baked into the culture. I mean, people don't know basic stuff like that you can get a DUI on a bike or that you can't ride on the sidewalk...
A bicycle-specific license (or maybe an endorsement on a DL) could focus on bicycle-specific issues, with basic questions like "I have to stop for a stop sign on a bicycle. T/F" and more 'complex' stuff like how bicycle lanes work at intersections with people making right turns. Drivers and cyclists alike seem to have no clue that the driver should enter the bicycle lane (after yielding to bicycles in the lane) for his turn and that the bicyclist should not try to pass him on the right.
Drivers routinely kill other drivers or pedestrians through carelessness. Few if any cyclists ever kill someone else. If anything we need more rigorous tests for drivers, not for cyclists.
1. Pedestrians move at much slower speeds than bicycles. If two pedestrians walk into each at 5mph the damage is much lower than if two cyclists collide at 30mph.
2. Since pedestrians move much slower than bicycles they can manoeuvre much faster. The stopping distance for a walking pedestrian is less than 1m, the stopping distance for a bycicle travelling at 30mph is much greater.
3. If two pedestrians walk into each other the chance of collateral damage is quite low. It's quite easy to walk around two people that just walked into each other.
If two cyclists collide, there is a good chance that cyclists on each side of them will get caught up in the collision, crash and injure themselves too. A good example of this are the crashes seen on Tour de France.
Of course, if people started running as a mode of transport it would become increasingly dangerous, and you'd have to start separating the walkers from the runners as the damage from a potential collision would be much greater.
Basing rules for cyclists on the Tour de France is like basing rules for automobiles on F1 or Nascar. Normal commuters just don't reach anything close to Tour de France speeds. Most would be lucky to even maintain a third of that speed without the help of a hill.
Most commuters will be going about 10 mph. Even getting hit with a car at that speed will only cause an injury at all about 25% of the time, a serious injury about 15% of the time and is almost never fatal. A bicycle will barely do anything at that speed.
By all means add special rules for using bicycles at unusually high speeds, but don't act like normal commuters are going to be going that speed.
For as long as cyclists have to cycle on the roads as we know them a cyclist should be required to demonstrate that they understand the signs and rules of the road. That could be by presenting their official drivers license, or, should they not have one, be required to take a theory test. I think that would be a sensible first step.
You could then imagine a practical test for hazard perception, efficient use of gearing and safe filtering through queues of traffic.
Naturally, people don't walk on the road, and pavements don't have the same kind of mandatory control flow unless they intersect with the road, and most children are taught how to cross the road from a young age.
I would get into a ton of shit should I visit anywhere that had jaywalking laws, though in the places they exist and are enforced, they presumably get by without a dedicated licensing and testing regime.
One thing to consider is how much effect licensing has on car safety anyway. Mexico city has no test requirement at all, you just pay for permission to drive rather than sitting any test, while Peru has more road deaths per capita, despite needing a practical test, written test and medical certificate before you get behind the wheel.
Did you know that in Sweden, the legal maximum speed of a electric bike is 15mph? Anything faster and it is classified as a moped and you need a driving license. Did you also know that the average speed of a bike in a city in the Netherlands is around 9mph? In context, a common running speed is 8mph.
So here is the stage. Two bikes are traveling more than 300% faster than the average speed and about 200% the legal limit of a electric bike, and they collide. My question would not be if that situation is safer if two pedestrians walk into each other, but rather why two bikes is traveling that fast in the first place.
Most cyclists are licensed drivers, and a test for cycling licensing would, at worst, probably be no more difficult than that for driving. The impact on the number of cyclists would be minimal.
A bicycle can injure or kill a pedestrian or cause a motor vehicle accident. What is the justification for licensing motor vehicle driving but not bicycling when done on public roads? I cannot think of anyone who fails a motor vehicle licensing test that I consider competent to not cause others harm while operating a bicycle on public roads. I would much rather suffer the 'dangers' of increased carpooling or public transit use.
No. Why do you think this is relevant? It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of your argument.
Off the top of my head, walking is more risky per mile for the traveller than cycling while driving is safer per mile, but increases your risk of obesity and DVT and is more dangerous for everyone else in terms of pollution and accidents.
Statistics show that in the large majority of cases of accidents between cycles and motor vehicles, the driver of the motor vehicle is at fault. Requiring a license for cycles will do just about nothing to fix this. Just yesterday I was nearly run over by a car turning left into the oncoming cycle lane and by another one who thought that the pedestrians traffic light applies to bicycles. My knowledge that I was correct in both cases did not help the least bit.
So maybe yearly retraining for drivers of motor vehicles would be a better move.
As a regular cyclist, I would say that requiring a license from cyclists would certainly do something to fix this: make cyclists more aware of it.
Over here, about 2/3 of collisions between motor vehicle and bicycle are fault of the motor vehicle driver. But that leaves 1/3 where cyclist errors or breaches of traffic code are reason, which is also significant.
And then there are actually quite many cyclist accidents that do not involve a motor vehicle.
You are assuming that this 1/3rd is due to lack of knowledge - I question that assertion. And still, regular retraining of motor vehicle drivers would still be a better investment. They choose to move a ton of steel around in a manner that's potentially dangerous to others and they cause twice as many accidents, despite having a license requirement.
> And then there are actually quite many cyclist accidents that do not involve a motor vehicle.
Those tend to be less severe. Last years stats for Berlin: All cyclists killed were killed in an accident with a motor vehicle. Most common causes: dooring, right turn accidents, mostly trucks, one cyclist running a red light.
Here, a motor vehicle was involved in 62 % of all bicyclist deaths over the period 2011-2015 (116 cases). Motor vehicle was not the guilty party in all of those (but in roughly 2/3 of them). So, motor vehicle driver was at fault in about 40 % of cyclist deaths.
Without any breakdown of who was at fault in the other accidents your stats still indicate that in comparison between bikes and motor vehicles, motor vehicle drivers are still twice as likely to be at fault. Retrain them before you retrain cyclists.
I don't necessarily say that requiring a license from cyclists is what I want. However, I do think that some training and education of cyclists would certainly help. I also see some cyclists who have clear attitude problems. So retraining - or perhaps re-orienting - everyone would help.
Why can't we retrain both? Do we have to pick one or the other?
So make better use of the time and money: create safe infrastructure or - as a better investment train those that already have a license requirement and that insist on moving around tons of steel. Maybe increase the number of hours in school that deal with safe conduct in traffic. Or - gasp - fine the people blocking cycle lanes and otherwise endangering cyclist hard.
Improve cycling by all means, but use something that is effective: better infrastructure, education, enforcement. The Berlin police introduced a police squad on cycles a few years ago in one district and that has proven to be a very effective method: For one, they enforce road rules for people on bicyclist, but the major effect is that they remove cars from infrastructure dedicated to bicycles which in turn actually enables cyclists to use that infrastructure and makes people less likely to ride on the sidewalk, for example.
Calling for education of cyclists has a strong smell of victim blaming. Oh, sorry, he's dead. If he'd been better educated, he might have known that he was in the right.
That said, demanding a license for cyclists I agree is completely unreasonable.
Licensing cyclists seems like a feel good idea to make things "fair". The fact is, things can never be fair between to such disparate classes of vehicles. Can someone explain how a world with licensed cyclists would be fundamentally different than today?
I could, as someone who doesn't have a driving license, or has never learned to drive, go out on the road with my bicycle and more or less ride whenever and wherever I like.
I don't know what any of the road signs mean and I have no experience or training in hazard perception and collision avoidance. The law doesn't require me to. If I tried to do the same thing in a car I'd be arrested.
In a typical city scenario, a car has KE of 1/2 (2000 kg) (50 kph)^2 ~= 2e5 Joules. A bicyclist has 1/2 (100 kg) (30 kph)^2 ~= 3.5e3 Joules. Almost 100x less capable of inflicting damage on a typical pedestrian. Add onto this that bikes are way more maneuverable, less collision surface area, are totally exposed to the same forces exerted on the pedestrian with which they may collide... your comparison with cars is intellectually dishonest because you are comparing a human on top of a 10-20kg machine with a human inside a 2000kg metal box with an incredible array of safety features for the driver and hardly any for pedestrians outside.
So, I'd say a typical city scenario is <20 kph, more than halving the estimate.
Sure. Realistically, how much danger do people doing this represent to society? There are plenty of dangerous things that people could do, but the heavy machinery of law should be reserved for actual problems rather than hypothetical ones.
> If I tried to do the same thing in a car I'd be arrested.
And quite rightly, because if you weren't there's a good chance you'd kill people. Car drivers kill a lot of people, they're something like the 4th biggest cause of death in the UK IIRC.
Realistically, every 5 year old knows what the colors on a traffic light mean and what a stop sign tells you.
For example, how to navigate a busy multi-lane roundabout safely as a cyclist, such as Old Street roundabout in London, which looks like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Old_Stre..., or this roundabout in Bristol, UK: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/B2NMCH/aerial-view-looking-down-on-...
Well, would you argue that requiring a license for motor vehicles is unnecessary? The benefits should be similar and identifiable.
I very much doubt that you would be arrested if you tried to drive a car without a license. Anecdotally, I've never had my driving license checked by a traffic officer. The large number of undocumented residents who are presumptively driving without a valid license is another point.
Without a valid driving license you will not be able to get insurance, unless you stole an insured vehicle from your parents or off the street.
Patrol cars in the UK and Europe have cameras that read number plates and check a database against all insured vehicles. If the car is not insured you will get pulled over, upon which you will be asked to present your driving license.
Rule 73 of the Highway Code:
> Pay particular attention to long vehicles which need a lot of room to manoeuvre at corners. Be aware that drivers may not see you. They may have to move over to the right before turning left. Wait until they have completed the manoeuvre because the rear wheels come very close to the kerb while turning. Do not be tempted to ride in the space between them and the kerb.
Cyclists running up the inside mostly happens because waiting in a queue of traffic at a light or junction is very dangerous for a cyclist; stopping and starting are inherently dangerous and made much more so when you're starting in the middle of a queue that's anxious to start moving. In many cases road design endorses this - you'll see junctions with a cycle lane on the left running up to the light, and cyclists are expected to pass on the left even when a vehicle in line is turning left.
The solution that I've seen work best is a marked cycle-only box immediately before the junction - that provides cyclists a place to wait for the light, but it also makes for a clear dividing line between the section where cyclists are expected to pass the queue on the left versus the entry into the junction where that would be unsafe. Unfortunately cars often occupy those boxes and are seemingly not penalised for doing so. More of those boxes and more enforcement of those that exist would help, IMO, as would giving cyclists a dedicated light phase (as is done at e.g. some of the junctions on CS2) to let them clear the junction before motorists enter.
In terms of Bank specifically, it's an outlier: it's an extremely complex junction (7 roads) that simply has too much traffic demand for the space available. The junction has now been restricted to buses, cycles and pedestrians only during the daytime, and there's talk of removing the buses as well. That's appropriate: it's both safer and more efficient in terms of person throughput than allowing cars to use the very limited space there.
waiting in a queue of traffic at a light or junction
is very dangerous for a cyclist
I'm curious as to what you think the danger is in that situation?
"Running red lights" with no further context seems to describe something extremely dangerous, but many specific classes of running red lights are completely safe.
So I find that it's usually safer to filter to the front at intersections. Even in the absence of a bike box I can squeeze into the crosswalk and get ahead of the lead car, allowing me to go safely through.
This is all dependent on the traffic/intersection though, things vary depending on the circumstances.
The Highways Code specifically mentions that motorcycles do this also Rule 88  and tells drivers that that they should be aware of other road users including cyclists doing this too  Rule 21.
Not true. Horse drawn vehicles and horse riders don't.
Invalid carriages also need no license.
I'm sure other examples can be found.
Quite possibly one of the reasons for this is that they share a lot of the infra with cyclists here.
I don't think cyclists should need licenses to co-habit the roads with other vehicles. However, I think road safety education should be mandatory, perhaps in schools? When I attended (ordinary state) primary school we were all put through the RoSPA Cycling Proficiency Test at around ages 8-10. This was back in ~1977/78 so I'm showing my age :)
As I remember it the course was good fun. You got to use your own bike - I had a Raleigh Chopper :) - and the instructor set up different road layouts in the school playground to negotiate - he even had traffic lights and road signs. We were then lead out on the actual road where the instructor shepherded us through various real life challenges. We were even taught to perform "life saver" looks over our shoulders before carrying out any manoeuvres. At the end of the course we sat a test and were given wee metal triangular RoSPA badges.
I'm not sure if this is still a thing in schools now (I don't have any kids of my own), but I think it should be. Even basic education such as this prepared me to be a better driver, biker (i.e. life saver looks) and pedestrian.
I'm also pretty sure that most of those accidents could be avoided by having better cycling infrastructures.
Speed and impulse. Speed is a factor in the risk of collision (since our brain has limited real-time processing chops), and then when a collision happens, impulse is indeed an important consideration, together with another factor: protection level.
In a world with just those three factors, eg no traffic rules or speed limits, a car makes lots of accidents (because it's fast) and when they happen, a lot of energy and thus destruction are involved (because they're heavy), and also, while the car driver is protected by his/her big heavy steel box, the collision counterpart - a cyclist - might not be.
This asymmetry trinity is exactly why we should have (and have, to some extent) road rules and license regulations to level the playing field so that the outcome of the equation moves a bit in favour of the slow, light, and less well collision-insulated.
So if one endeavours to go inside a heavy (dangerous to others) steel box (that nicely protects you) that goes fast (you will have less time to react, and moreover, you "steal" other drivers attention because they constantly have to be on the lookout for "is there something fast coming? is there something fast coming?") - then yes, the onus is on this car driver to be responsible and submit to road rules, licensing, and heavy fines.
Then there's other non-collision factors that make current man-driven combustion engine cars look very silly indeed: they are noisy, pollute, take up a lot of space even when not moving (which is most of the time) and require expensive infrastructure. That leads us to ask ourselves - who on earth designed this system? And in the question belies the answer: no one did - there were coaches, we put a petrol engine in it, and went from there without any vision.
With today's technology and insight, given a blank slate (there are no roads, no cities, no nothing - just a can full of people that need to work and live and travel, to be poured out on the green fields where we will build our infra) , NO ONE would design a transportation system this silly.
I would like to see a road bicycle test, though. But it would be for potential motorists, not cyclists. I think if you want to operate a motorvehicle on the road you must be able to demonstrate an ability to operate a bicycle on the road.
The difficulty in riding a bike in a city doesn't come from having to control the vehicle. Danger doesn't come from the ability to maim someone with a bike. It comes from hugely complex set of rules, dynamic nature of traffic, high speed high pressure decision making necessary, sensory overload and fatigue, self control, competition on the road etc.
That's what you need to take into account to navigate safely.
Certainly when I was kid, bike and traffic safety was taught in school from 1st grade.
You could push the cost onto cyclists that want the license of course.
In the US the "exam" that most drivers have taken is so stupidly easy that it doesn't really mean much that they earned their license. This is less true for the young people that have had to do more work to get a license, but they aren't the majority of drivers yet.
It's the same reason why you need a dog license but not a cat license in many areas of the US. The cat people will freak out when you suggest a $10 license and nobody else gives a shit.
As for how good an idea it is to have a licensing system for people travelling without lethal weapons, papers please! It's a fantastic idea. You probably also should have a chip in you so the government can track you and see if you've travelled to a part of town you don't have a licence to be in. After all, we've got to cut down on crime.
The other aspect is that you still have pedestrians, who may have little or no knowledge of road safety, so you still have to train drivers to be extremely careful regardless.
Outside of cities, there are lots of roads without pavements (not just in super-rural areas). Walking on them is normal, and people know how (e.g. always walk on the right, facing oncoming traffic).
And I very much hope it stays that way. Cars should not rule our public spaces.
Not quite, however you may be ticketed, if you happen to do it in front of a grumpy officer. I have only heard of it happening to a friend of a friend and the fine was under 40 euros.
I've lived in the countryside for 14 years. I don't walk on the roads where I live. The roads are narrow and there is no place to walk as the side of the roads are raised embankments built from tree roots. Looks like this: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/C41G6T/country-lane-with-trees-form...
The place to walk in that situation is on the road. As someone who has decades of experience as a pedestrian, that road looks eminently walkable.
Living somewhere that you can't even walk around sounds like some kind of prison. How do you get around? It sounds like you are unable to get around without burning fossil fuels. How does that make you feel?
it isn't uncommon near some bike parks where I am for groups to block intersections which only serves to aggravate drivers. The are required in many areas to pass through intersections like all other vehicles, alternating with those waiting on the cross roads.
the bikes should be tagged to indicate they have the proper reflectors and lighting. there are still too many riding without reflective clothing let alone any type of lighting in low light conditions. I ride, I hate the idiots that ruin the sport
Nothing raises your appreciation of the difficulties faced by a group more than belonging to that group in a real and physical manner on a daily basis.
Not that I think it would be implementable: Humans are remarkably good at rejecting constraints.
Also I got to know the rules of the road much better than before and could adjust by behaviour to follow the law. I didn't go over red lights before, but there are a bunch of other things where cyclists don't tend to follow the rules of the road and IMHO it creates a much less stressful environment for everyone if they just did so.
This is a very important difference and that’s the main reason I yearn for self-driving cars. Current vehicles are horrible to see where you are driving and drivers are in denial about it. At least, when you have engineers trying to represent a scene, they gut reaction is “No way I am dealing with such a slim view, I”m putting the camera where it can see what’s happening.”
It's always worse when large vans are parked up and down the road so visibility is obscured.
As my father said, "They think they are terminators, that if a car crashes into them, the car will break and they will be OK". And that's what I almost always see on the road.
We have a lot of cycling lanes, thank god for that, but sometimes they are not in a good state so all those people tend to share the roadway with other cars. I almost driven into 1 because he was riding a bicycle on a forest road where you can drive 90km/h in a turn.
I do realise how vulnerable cyclists are, I've driven my whole youth to school with one. As a cyclist, I always look when crossing the road, or just around me, to realise where I am and where other people are and do not trust other cars. But most people ignore logic and common sense and just cycle on a roadway.
I still think it's a good idea to have some education on how to use the road. I mean, if a car crashes into a cyclist, the car will have a minor dent, but you can break a lot of things or even die. It's so easy to think before driving on a road because the cycling lane is in bad state.
PS: I also understand that there are bad chauffeurs on the road too, but from my experience, far less than bad cyclists...
It might just as well be some other obstacle: slow moving vehicle, car stuck on the road, end of a traffic jam. People really really need to learn that you need to be able to come to a dead stop within the distance that you can see.
I suppose it depends on the country, but usually roads mandate minimum speeds (tipically half the max speed) in order to avoid issues like this. Anything lower than the minimum speed should be treated like a static obstacle, so maximum speed should always take into account unexpected hazards.
Given that cyclists cannot tipically maintain the minimum speed required in any country road, they cannot share the road with faster vehicles. It's either curbs or segregated roads. Anything else is plain craziness.
(Yes, there are plenty of other countries, but those seem to be the two most discussed here)
" I also understand that there are bad chauffeurs on the road too, but from my experience, far less than bad cyclists..."
Your comment, which to be fair is not unusual, is essentially concern trolling. This impression is reinforced by your retailing of your measureless anecdote about how cyclists are worse than car drivers for being "bad".
Essentially, cycling is safe enough. Cyclists are not worse than any other road users. However compared to other road users they are not contributing to CO2 and are substantially less likely to kill other road users or suffer health problems stemming from low exercise levels.
This chart suggests that it's the latter (substantially a road tax more than a carbon tax): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fuel-duty#rates
In my experience I also have much better visibility at junctions on the main road instead of on bicycle lanes that are closer to walls and hedges and have 3 or 4 meters less of buffer between me and incoming cars from the right. I'm also less visible to them. It means to slow down at every side junction and over 100 km it would make a huge difference in time and wear.
As a matter of fact I tend to stay on the road all the time. A consequence is that in the last years I started going over dirt roads along channels and rivers. It's very quiet and more relaxing than being close to the noise of cars.
More anecdata: I take the bike when I can, and I have had motorists run into me a few times.
Every single time has been on dedicated bike roads.
Don't get me wrong -- I have had many, many more near misses on regular roads, but regular roads are built in ways which make it easy to convert impending collisions into near misses. Bike roads tend to not have those margins.
Before dedicated bike roads can be considered a solution, they must be built in ways which make me feel safer when I choose them.
On Albert St and Swanston St in (East) Melbourne, the separated lane stops at intersections so that cars can use the bike lane to turn left. People riding bikes are supposed to give way to people driving cars and then filter around the stopped cars into the bike box ahead of the cars. I never really feel safe using the Albert St lane for this and other reasons. Fortunately I have other options.
I'd propose an even-simpler alteration, which would require zero engineering & road closures: block some of the right sight lines from Dibden to Beaulieu when approaching with a sightscreen, trees, or billboards. Drivers approaching would notice the impaired visibility and switch to a more defensive technique or be more aware of a potential collision.
Yes, there are many many of these in southern Jutland. However I can count on one hand how many cyclists I've seen using them. And I've spent months down there.
I cycle every day and am pro-bike, but they seem wasteful of both the countryside and money.
I would be opposed to building similar in the UK since more strips of asphalt throughout the countryside is the last thing we need.
My experiences cycling on fast country roads have been hairy at times, but we also need to recognise that there are problem spots and tackle these rather than copy/paste concepts blindly.
Yes, they are focusing on feasible mitigation, not abstract theorizing (to be fair, about half of this comment does discuss the same sort of feasible mitigations as are dismissed in the first paragraph.)
Second, low-traffic roads may normally be safe enough for cyclists (traffic amount was never stated). The same issue can apply to remote roads of all sizes. Granted, it would be nice to have a bike road next to every high speed road, but for traffic in the range of 20cars/h I've seen that exactly once in my lifetime.
Bez's proposed solutions have the benefit of being politically palatable, and aligning actual driver behavior with public safety.
The media has made a big deal about how tragic it is for the cyclists - which it is, but much less about how tragic it is for the driver. Remember, it's not like drivers want to hit cyclists or other soft traffic participants.
That's why I propose a separate bike road, even if it is quite an expensive undertaking. But it will make all the road users feel safe. Or -- at least -- safer.
As someone who regularly drives, bikes, walks and uses public transport in Copenhagen, it is blatantly obvious that people just don't know how to handle right turns involving both cars and bicycles correctly. Car drivers will leave space open on their right (between the car and the curb), instead of putting the car as close to the curb as possible (which is taught in driver's ed). Bicyclists will pile into this space, and when the light turns green, it becomes almost impossible for the driver to turn right, because of the bikes already there, as well as the additional bikes coming from behind, completely ignoring the right blinker on the car.
The mitigation of this problem is two-fold. Firstly, the drivers should not leave open space on their right, when turning right. Secondly, cyclists need to grow a sense of self-preservation and not dive into that space, even if it's open. Large vehicles need to have some distance from the curb in order to complete the turn, but that should not be seen as an invitation to cyclists.
Isn't that how it should be ? I'm not in DK, but in LV traffic laws in such a situation they should ignore the blinker, the driver must wait and turn right only after everyone going straight e.g. those bicycles and also pedestrians crossing the road he's turning to; since the vehicle turning must yield to everyone else.
For some reason, we seem to have a lot of car/bike/ped conflicts.
E.g. this shot in google maps - https://firstname.lastname@example.org,24.1189538,3a,75y,240... ; it's green for cars, but red for the bike lane on the right side.
And 26.6 "...Ved svingning til højre må den kørende ikke være til ulempe for cyklister og knallertkørere, der kører lige ud. ..." saying that vehicles turning right must yield to cyclists going straight?
Of course, bicyclists will just jump the curb, ride on the sidewalk or overtake on the left, because everyone wants to be in front.
Which is precisely why right-turning drivers should leave no gap between the car and the curb, to claim their space, as it were.
And yes, obviously you check your mirrors and do a good shoulder check, that goes without saying.
But you ALSO pull to the curb after checking mirrors+over your shoulder, to claim the lane while preparing for your turn. You pull in either in front of or behind the cyclists, because the dangerous situations happen when you're side by side.
If there's a bike lane, you obviously don't pull across that, this only applies for streets without bike lanes.
About your mitigation strategy: that would solve the problem but unfortunately the cyclist won't stop behind the car. The cyclist would turn left to overtake the stopped car. I don't like to do that because it puts me in the middle of the road or to the right of another car. It also requires some space to maneuver and a car could be arriving from behind me and close the gap.
Usually stopped cars don't hit cyclists (but watch out for doors). I look at the traffic light and refrain from overtaking the car (both on the left and on the right) if it's about to turn green.
That way, there will be no cyclists blocking the car from turning safely, and the driver will only have to yield to pedestrians in the crossing. To put it bluntly, it's because they're idiots.
It's the same in London, a city with notoriously poor cycling infrastructure and narrow streets due to long history. Ok, it's the "left turn" mirror image version due to driving on the left not right side of the road, but otherwise the same.
(Also the stupid unsafe cycling advice of staying to the left. Take the lane and take the correct lane, please.)
All bike lanes get green, and get to sort themselves out, but crucially all car lanes get red.
Making a couple of second allowance to protect the lives of other road users seems reasonable to me.
That said I don't live in an area with high cycle use - in the small UK city I'm in you're more likely to be stopping to avoid a drunk or a teenage boy doing wheelies.
>and runs into me //
Cleverly worded, but if you use your mirrors properly ... what's that phrase "hell is other road-users"?
I don't ever follow that rule when cycling, it does seem dangerous, but it is the rule, regardless of whether you disagree. You should always check blind spots when turning left, and you should have been coached to do this when learning to drive.
The uniform vehicle code (which is the basis of many state road rules in the US) states the following:
>> Any person operating a bicycle... shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations
>> When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including [...] substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
A cyclist riding as close to the edge of a given lane as practicable will leave roughly 2 feet between the edge of the bicycle's handlebar and the edge of the lane. The cyclist is about 2 feet wide. In a lot of states in the US, there is a requirement that a least 3 feet of space is left between the cyclist and the overtaking vehicle.
2 + 2 + 3 = 7 feet. A passenger vehicle in the US is about 6 feet wide. A commercial vehicle (e.g., truck/lorry or bus) is about 8.5 feet wide. The typical lane width ranges from 10 to 12 feet. For a 10 foot wide lane, a cyclist taking up 7 feet of space only leaves 3 feet of space for a 6 to 8.5 foot wide vehicle (5 feet for 12 foot wide lanes). That means that the two vehicles cannot safely travel side-by-side within the lane.
So, according to the UVC, there isn't a requirement to keep toward the edge of the lane in most cases.
I haven't checked to see whether the UK highway code has a similar exception to the "stay to the left part of the lane" rule.
The other problem with keeping towards the edge of the lane as opposed to riding near the middle is that the cyclist is less visible to overtaking, cross, and oncoming traffic because they're hidden by other motor vehicles or not in the field of view of a lot of drivers.
Here's the (brief) rules for roundabouts:
Most cycling proficiency courses here in the UK will tell cyclists to ride more centrally when in a narrow lane, which is good advice. A cyclist is also legally allowed to do that.
It gets a bit fuzzy though when there's a cycle lane provided.
A lot of times, the cycle lane is really too narrow to safely ride in. It really ought to be a minimum of 4 feet wide (allowing a 1 foot space on each side of the cyclist if they're centered in the lane. Some that I've seen aren't even as wide as the handlebars on the bike.
Where I live, a cyclist isn't required to use the cycle lane even if one is present. Do you know whether the same applies in the UK?
The highway code is a bit more nuanced than you on this topic: http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/road-junctions.html
it is safer for the vehicle driver to not make that assumption, it is safer for the cyclist not to be in that position as you point out; and primarily, it is safer if the road layout does not put these different vehicles in the same space.
Also the way the UK's bike lanes are set up encourage cyclists to get in front of other traffic at traficlight controlled junctions - normalises undertaking.
The intersection is designed so right turning cars can make the turn at about 15-25mph when they have the green. The same green that the cyclists have. Cyclists must wait at a position that puts them slightly behind the right turning driver and the design simply doesn't allow a cyclist to inch forward enough to change that. If you were designing an intersection that will get cyclists killed, this is how you would do it.
My approach is to stop at the green light and hit the pedestrian "beg button" and wait for the walk signal on the next light cycle (a minimum 2 minute wait). This is still no guarantee that drivers will actually yield to me, but at least it gives me a chance to be seen. Even waiting, and having the walk signal and right of way, drivers get irrationally angry at having to wait a few seconds for me to cross. A few don't wait and swing wide right in front of my path. Fun Times.
No excuse of "bad design" can work for blowing across a crossroaded "Give Way" at 37mph. That's reckless in any situation.
I'm talking about this place:
The 'Give Way' sign is idiotic, put a Stop sign on the other, flatter road, or make it a 4-way stop. The drivers causing accidents were blowing through the intersection, and shame on the wording of the law that they were able to weasel out of harsher punishment.
Altering the roadway geometry, either as proposed, or more drastically with a roundabout, is a brute-force solution on this country road when other societal measures don't suffice, but it seems that there's plenty of room to enact other changes before you dig up the road.
 https://email@example.com,-1.4511249,3a,75y,26...  https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-1.452595,3a,75y,269...
You may be unaware, but 4-way stop signs are very uncommon outside of the US. In fact, in the UK they have always been formally prohibited by the Department for Transport in 2002.
As a European driver, I discovered the existence of 4-way stop signs when I moved to the US, and I have always found them dangerous in a counter intuitive way: drivers are so used to 4-way stop intersections, that they may adopt the habit of (1) doing rolling stops and (2) assuming an intersection with a stop sign is almost always a 4-way stop. Both of these 2 habits are dangerous... At least that's my personal experience. I prefer the consistency of my home country where every stop is a 2-way stop, therefore I'm never surprised by non-stopping traffic at an intersection.
What's special about a 4-way stop here? And a rolling stop is good enough to prevent a high-speed collision anyway.
> assuming an intersection with a stop sign is almost always a 4-way stop
Around here there is a good mix and I don't think that happens.
> I prefer the consistency of my home country where every stop is a 2-way stop
Well I personally hate going through 2-way-stop intersections that are over 25mph.
I think we can agree that 4mph is not high speed.
But I'm with you: Stop means stop
Further my habit of actually stopping has gotten me rear ended and tossed into an intersection. Doing things unexpected can be very hazardous.
It's a shame that following signs is unexpected. Somehow, it's not acceptable to run a red light because "no-one is around anyway", but it's fine to do rolling stops?
I ride several blocks to work sometimes and I take local streets which all have 4 ways stop signs.
9 out of 10 cars yield and refuse to go. I get the pedestrian treatment.
The prevalence of rolling stops is much reduced in countries where all intersections are 2-way stops.
It might be my imagination, but I seem to recall nearly all, if not all, 4-ways marked as such with a small rectangular placard below the stop sign in Virginia. I've seen them sometimes in California, but not even at the majority (not really any more common than the opposite sign "Cross traffic does not stop").
This is the key problem. Whether an intersection is a 4-way or 2-way stop sign changes the right-of-way of any person with a stop sign. (If it's 2-way, I must yield, but if it's 4-way and I've reached the intersection first, I have the right-of-way.) It is crazy that in the US, a person at a stop sign can't distinguish these two situations for certainly without looking to see if the other direction has a stop sign.
(Similar complaints can be made about flashing-red and flashing-yellow intersections.)
1) Yield to traffic inside the junction,
2) Yield to traffic approaching from your right.
In a four-way yield junction, you have to
2) Yield to traffic approaching from your right,
3) ??????? to traffic approaching from the left.
It breeds confusion and has no advantage over a regular intersection. Unless, of course, you count confusion as an advantage. Which you do if you drive the vehicle with the largest inertia around.
2-way stops do not:
Consider the case where the first car to arrive is turning left, but cannot do so due to traffic on the main road. Then a car arrives from the opposite direction going straight. Who is supposed to go first? In some states it's the car that reached the stop sign first, in others it's the car going straight.
Do you have a cite/link about this? I've heard people say different things, but I've never seen evidence that the left-turning vehicle has legal right-of-way in any state.
Most states' language is similar to California's 21801 which is must yield to vehicles "approaching frome the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard"
Not USA, but Ontario, CA actually does have this rule in 136.2
Michigan found a 3rd option: If there are two cars going straight from one direction and one car waiting to turn left from the opposite, then it goes Straight, Left, Straight. This is regardless of the order that they arrive
I also find it absurd that this situation is not covered in every single States' driver's manual. After googling this, it's clearly contentious, and has been for years. If there ever was a situation that needed clarification it's this one.
I think it was New York's manual that had the section and had a list of questions "you should be able to answer" before proceeding (without answers provided). One of the questions was this situation, but I could not figure out the answer from reading the chapter!
Utah law only talks about who must yield. I use to believe that a person going strait had the right of way. Some of the confusion may come from the wording from different ways of entering the roadway. In Utah it says the following.
41-6a-903 Yield right-of-way -- Vehicle turning left -- Entering or crossing highway other
than from another roadway -- Merging lanes.
(1) The operator of a vehicle:
(a) intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the
opposite direction which is so close to the turning vehicle as to constitute an immediate
This doesn't actually apply to a stop sign because it says "other than a roadway". It also talks about "opposite direction" and not cross traffic.
The other part of the law that actually seems to apply is the following.
41-6a-902 Right-of-way -- Stop or yield signals -- Yield -- Collisions at intersections or
junctions of roadways -- Evidence.
(b) After having stopped at a stop sign, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any
vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an
In general it works fairly well even in areas notorious for bad driving (although sometimes people steal a turn, I've never seen someone blow right through one, even late at night).
Roundabouts are different. It's a one-way street that goes in a counter-clockwise circle, so naturally you if you are joining (effectively taking a right turn onto it) you must yield to traffic already on the roadway (that would be traffic coming from your left) as you would when turning right onto any street. Once you are on it, you now have right of way.
4-way stops are more deterministic, whereas traffic can get "starved" trying to enter a roundabout. However, you always must stop at a 4-way (even if it's a rolling stop), whereas you can blast through a roundabout if there's no-one to yield to.
If you're not considering intersection throughput, then that may be true, but 4-way stops are one of the worst forms of intersection control when there's even a moderate amount of traffic.
> Roundabouts are different.
Of course, but what I was implying when I made my post is that a 4-way stop sign controlled intersection right-of-way rule is unusual compared to most traffic situations where one has to yield the right of way. At a yield sign, one typically yields to traffic coming from the driver's left. When entering a highway, one yields to traffic on their left. When making a right turn on red, one yields to traffic on their left after coming to a full stop.
Only when coming to a 4-way stop are the right-of-way rules reversed it seems.
> whereas traffic can get "starved" trying to enter a roundabout.
One thing that's done in the UK is to add traffic lights at the entrances to busy roundabouts. When traffic gets heavy, the activate the traffic lights to regulate traffic flow to prevent the starvation scenario that you mention. To me, that's the best of both worlds where one isn't legally required to stop even when there's no traffic approaching.
When I lived in the US I always found it unnecessary that everybody has to stop. In Germany we always have a "main" road and a "secondary" road, and those on the main road don't have to stop. That priority pattern is kept from major roads to tiny roads. Then there's the "right before left" rule when the roads are equal - creating a priority without signs and without "everybody has to stop" rule.
This makes sense to me, and I don't see how other systems would be anything but worse. A signal would have a short cycle and only delay people during large parts of the day, a two-way stop would cause problems in one direction, it seems excessive to tear out a bunch of road to put concrete in, etc.
It is of course very natural that the roads in the US are built to completely different standards than Germany, given how incredibly different the layout of US cities are from German ones, broadly speaking.
St Peter Strasse / Von der Tann Strasse in Rorhbach in Heidelberg.
Sorry for causing a stir with my bad memory, I remembered that from my French point of view that would cause a deadlock.
Most importantly, you would avoid at almost any cost to cross two rural roads in a flat 4 way crossing. This is exactly where there is ample space to make a roundabout.
There are no rules for solving this conflict. Because you cannot have two roads that have priority over each other.
The Dutch equivalent of a 4 way stop is a raised intersection. Basically an intersection that is one big speed bump. Traffic is forced to slow down but otherwise normal priority rules apply.
In a 4 way the same priority rules apply thatwould have applied if there were no stop signs. Obviously the signs have to make clear to everyone that it is a 4 way stop, so that you don't have 4 cars all thinkning they are in a 2 way stop. This is usually done with an additional sign under the STOP sign. After that it just works like any no-stop intersection, you yield to e.g. the car to the right (Sweden) or the first car to arrive (US) etc.
The same can be seen in any intersection with red lights, as soon as the red lights don't work. You just crawl into the intersection, trying to take turns. It works.
If there's no working traffic lights and no stop signs, a different set of rules come into play.
The normal solution (used e.g. in Sweden) is to simply add a supplemental sign saying "multi-way stop" under the stop sign. https://d3h4jqp4au0mzy.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/201...
Or it's a multi-way-stop (which is rare) in which case all roads have the supplemental sign. None of the roads have priority and all drivers can do to resolve deadlocks is be careful. All the supplemental sign does is inform drivers that OTHER drivers will also stop. It just removes the ambiguity we talked about above - where a driver at a stop sign might otherwise think he can't drive until the intersection is completely clear.
Ge- oder Verbot
1. Wer ein Fahrzeug führt, muss anhalten und Vorfahrt gewähren.
Edit: That came across as if I was simply trying to dispute your statement, but I am genuinely curious to see an example of this in Germany.
A great example is a 4 way stop at my former high school. Twice a day, everyone came and left causing a bit of a traffic jam. A two way stop would leave people in one direction waiting indefinitely, whereas a 4 way kept things chugging along rather nicely in both directions.
As a european 4 way stops seem really inefficient to me. If the intersection isn't that busy a 2 way stop (or no stop at all) favouring the more frequently used road is the obvious choice.
If it's a busy 4 way stop however, can you really keep track of when other cars arrived at the stop? And if it's busy enough that you have to yield to the car to your right, chances are that everyone has a car to their right - so vague negotiation between drivers is required. Nobody wins in that scenario.
Also, roundabouts are the superior 4 way stops.
Figuring out who goes next is not remotely as difficult as you have made it out to be. Where I used to live, I would go through two four-way stops twice each day during peak traffic. There are generally two scenarios when you approach the intersection. In light traffic, you get to the intersection and nobody else is waiting to cross, or it is obvious who got there first. In moderate traffic, you will queue up behind one or possibly two cars. Once you get to the front of the queue, you wait for the cars on your left and right that are already at the front of the queue, and then you go. This is simple because each direction of traffic alternates, and it is reasonably fast because the queues are very short.
The real worst case scenario is that during light traffic four cars approach simultaneously, but not only is this extremely rare, but it is not really even a problem when it happens.
In my personal experience I have had far, far more problems in US cities on two-way stops when I am bicycling and a driver incorrectly yields when they have right of way.
I suspect that most Americans feel the same way about roundabouts that, say, Germans feel about 4-way stops. But please remember that roundabouts require more land and much more capital investment. The tradeoffs in the US are different.
Sounds like a high frequency traffic light, but less explicit.
Well, admittedly my experience with 4 way stops is nonexistent (never saw one in europe) and it may simply be a case of not being used to them, but I consider give-way intersections, 2 way stops, roundabouts and finally traffic lights as superior solutions - pretty much in that order and depending on how busy the intersection is. The goal should be to reduce breaking and full stops.
Except on the “compact real estate” axis. A plain intersection is always going to be smaller.
(Cattlemen Rd in Sarasota)
For the first year or two perhaps, but I wonder if the long term pay-offs might be worth it.
Motorists still tend to blow through roundabouts at speed if they can't see anything coming. From personal experience you can easily navigate a roundabout at 35+ mph.
If a roundabout is small enough, you can't. I have seen many small roundabouts throughout Europe that you cannot navigate without swerving faster than 20-30 km/h (which is assumed safe speed for pedestrian).
The space it requires is not much bigger than the traffic light. That town replaced many of its intersections with roundabouts even in central and older parts of the city.
(You might say they went a little overboard with it, looking at the southern limits near that hospital.)
Stop signs and some speed bumps would soon slow them.
The suggestion that anything important should be screaming and blinking (otherwise the poor driver couldn't have noticed) is patently ridiculous. There's quite a lot of other, less conspicuous things that a driver needs to be aware of (such as pedestrians or potholes).
Determining the best option for a given case is more an at than a matter of simple preferences.
I've also had the same problem turning onto a crossroad without coming to a complete stop at the stop sign first.
I believe the only real solution is driver training.
Obviously you want to having bicycles or pedestrians in your roundabout so adding a bike/pedestrian path next to the roads has to be part of the plan if you want to do it right.
I strongly prefer those setups because they are much more fuel efficient.
However, I don't think any of that would work in the UD because it would require real driving classes and tests. I had to drive around for close to 20 hours with a professional driving teacher on to of dozens of hours of theoretical classes. All that end in a 30min+ examination with a examiner in the back of the car putting me through as many challenging situations as possible.
In the western U.S. (and eastern suburbs) the 4-way stops are largely vestigial; I'd agree that most of them could go away without any loss of safety. Many of the newer neighborhoods are signed that way anyway, though - I just drove through one this morning with 2-way yields.
My driver's ed class was IIRC 36 hours of instruction and 12 hours in the car, with a professional driving teacher. It had an hour long examination putting me through as many challenging situations as possible at the end.
And on average a person needs 38 hours in the car with a professional teacher before they pass the exam, most people don't pass on the first try.
And don't get me started on driver ed in PA, USA: in my case, it consisted of a video, signing an drivers' permit application - and voila, go out there and drive (under supervision). I was shocked, shocked.
Try 50+ years. Driverless cars aren't happening anytime soon, and certainly not to a level where you literally don't need a licence to drive one.
Some of the signs are only relevant to pedestrians and cyclists, or motorists looking for a place to park, so it's not that bad.
- pedestrian/cyclists signs can be made on the pavement instead
- which lane goes where is repeated 3 times - if it's so that you know them when you join the road, 2 can be moved to the side roads instead
- one of the right of way signs can go
- no parking can be replaced with a chain / bolards
- the end of pedestrian/cyclist path is useless since it's reopened after the crossing
Poland puts the repeated signs after each and every tiny side road. Many countries don't do that. Instead they rely on more informative big signs over the intersections that can be visible from further away.
In the end, stop signs end up being treated like yield signs. The only time they're properly treated like stop signs is when it's not possible to see cross traffic before you approach the intersection.
This definitely varies based on where in the US you are. In California almost no one comes to a complete stop. (That's probably why rolling through a stop sign is called a "California Roll"). But in many other parts of the country people do, even if there are no cars around.
In New England & NYC, a 4-way stop is usually used for urban neighborhoods where single-lane, low-traffic streets meet. Roundabouts and slip lanes are space-prohibitive in these situations (they'd have to go through privately-owned lots), traffic lights are overkill given the light traffic, and visibility is insufficient for a safe 2-way stop or yield.
In CA and other western states, these same neighborhoods are usually suburban houses with lawns, and even the apartment buildings have setbacks from the street. A yield would work fine, but either for habit or consistency, it's signed as a 4-way stop. Drivers feel like they have good visibility and it should be a yield, though, and so they roll through it.
It probably depends on where in CA. Have been living in Bay Area, mid-Peninsula, for 18 years and i've so far seen most people (and myself included) do complete stops. And just recently saw police stopped and cited a cyclist for the "California Roll" in Los Altos.
From TFA there already is a give-way sign - drivers who should be yielding think they have good visibility, blast through the intersection at full speed, and kill somebody. The article suggests this could be due to the CBRD phenomenon.
Even if people treated the stop sign as a rolling stop sign, slowing down seems like it would help, at least WRT drivers not seeing people due to CBRD.
Of course there are fancier (more expensive) engineering solutions too.
I personally know maybe one other person, who knows that the location of the stop sign defines a line perpendicular to your lane and you're supposed to stop completely before this imaginary line. Almost no one knows this is the law. And sure as fuck no one actually does it.
I'd love to have a light saber for the sole purpose of cutting off everyone's goddamn front end of their car right along this imaginary line. Oh, your front seat is in the imaginary line? So sad...
I am inclined not to believe this. I have been told by a traffic cop before that if there is no marked stop line or crosswalk, there is no legally defined point where the stop must happen: it's just a "use reasonable judgment" kind of thing.
That was in NC. The following is apparently a quote from a statute in Washington State that contradicts your statement:
“every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering a marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.”
Can you point to a statute somewhere supporting your claim?
And stopping right before the stop sign is what I was taught in driver's ed, not by my grandma.
One of the joys of driving in the U.S. is every state has it's own driving laws and while they're substantially the same, they are by far not identical (see lane splitting in California vs everywhere else, and turning right on red).
Also you'll find some states will define the intersection as including sidewalks, which is why you'll usually find the stop sign placed right before the sidewalk, not after it.
And traffic circles? Fuck that's super confusing! Americans would rather get into accidents at a four way stop than be confused in a traffic circle. That's why traffic circles are so uncommon.
The greatest number of accidents I’ve seen have been at stop lights rather than stop signs, weirdly. Driver apprehension and cautiousness at four-way stops may actually prevent more incidents than other systems.
I think the idea is that you should yield and only go when it is clear. But because of the length of the ramp, I think they are legally required to have a merge sign there. Invariably people fail to yield, and, since it is uphill, 'merge' into 45 mph traffic at 20 mph. And by merge I mean they just drive on and expect people to stay out of their way.
I have way more problems with people turning on red at the worst possible moment (despite lots of previous safe opportunities) than I do with yield signs though. But I don't doubt the GP's experience either. Drivers are very different in different states and regions of the U.S.
It seems the cyclists are blowing through the intersection as well. To me the problem is simply that it's an uncontrolled intersection where nobody is required to stop. Why blame the driver so much?
Same is true for bicyclists. Slow. The. Fuck. Down. At. Intersections.
This is critical in the context of the author claiming that drivers should be expected to recognize the risk in this situation. Pilots are required to undergo significantly more training and expected to be much more methodical about operating their vehicles than drivers. In spite of all that, they're not very good at watching for this kind of scenario either.
Instead, a combination of air traffic control, transponder-based traffic warning systems and the fact that air traffic is vastly more sparse than road traffic make collisions between aircraft rare events. If a particular intersection design causes collisions, the primary fault should be considered to be with the intersection rather than the drivers.
Several bad accidents happened here before this was implemented, none since 2009 when it was. Note that there are distinct paths for bicycles next to the roads, but that's standard.
There are no signs, no rules, but the roads can't be taken in a straight line anymore and it's certainly suggested that the junction is a pedestrian area. Drivers get confused which grabs their attention and makes them slow down.
Wow. I thought there must be at least one sign saying "shared space". But apparently not :o
> no rules
So cops can't ticket you if you cause an accident? I guess the rules are just the basic driving rules. Give way to people coming from your right, and anyone who goes straight has some advantage. But since this is basically an unmarked roundabout (drivers are supposed to keep to the right), that rules probably doesn't apply.
In the Netherlands if a motorized vehicle is in an accident with a weaker traffic participant (pedestrian or bicyclists) they are automatically liable anyway, that doesn't change. So you're left with give way to the right and don't hit each other, yes.
While software engineering is an immature discipline in many ways, blameless postmortems seem like a counterexample -- they're a well-known best practice in software that don't seem as common in some other fields.
Other times drivers are purposely driving with a priority on agressivenss over safety.
If we ever get to a state of zero traffic fatalities then maybe blameless post-mortems would make sense. But there's too much blatantly bad behavior occuring.
It would be as if a pilot crashed buzzing the control tower. Clearly a human operator was being reckless and deserves punishment.
But going back to the a-pillar, Volvo did have a concept design with a see through a-pillar. I'm not sure why it never made it to market. I'm guessing it didn't pass their safety requirements?
It also indicates, however, that the industry is putting real development effort into solving the problem, whether through clever optics like Toyota's efforts, or cameras and screens like Jaguar's concept.
In New Zealand, with rural grid roads, they usually have 2 way stops (or give-way/yields) which will alternate, so you get priority at one intersection, then stop/give way at the next, and so on.
Obviously, human error is a problem too, as the article states.
You should't be driving at 37 mph though an intersection with a yield sign in any case, which I guess is the whole point of the article and the suggestion to turn the intersection into two T-intersections.
I recall a scene in the movie Sin City where two cars crash and the camera was moving in CBDR to the perpendicular car as it zoomed into the impact site. I thought it was a cool shot.
Also I’ve almost hit pedestrians several times when they were obscured by my A pillar. Sometimes I wonder if I would have actually hit them if anyone would have believed I didn’t see them, now I know the proper term to describe the cause of such an accident.
It was experimented since the late 1940s and early variants of the US Navy's radar-guided Sparrow employed it from 1953 as did the USAF's Hughes Falcon c. 1955. In fact Hughes engineers provided input on the technique to the China Lake Sidewinder team!
So I find A-pillar design very aggravating -- though not as aggravating as drivers who roll up to and through stop signs at a constant speed approximately equal to my running speed.
He avoided death by diving into a ditch, if I recall. I think the story was told by Arthur C. Clarke.
I'd later encounter the concept in sailing training.
1. Allusion: Tom Lehrer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjDEsGZLbio
> Sometimes I wonder if I would have actually hit them if anyone would have believed I didn’t see them
That said, it is as much my responsibility (or any road user, or pedestrian) not to put myself into a dangerous position as much as it is for you to do your best to keep an eye out.
I used to own an old Datsun truck from the 1980s and the A-pillar blindspot was tiny because it had small, vertical A-pillars. A-pillars are a lot thicker and a lot more angled in newer cars.
This study  (from 2001) here goes into some details about A-pillar blindspots and how newer cars have worse visibility. I'm sure in the 17 years since the study was performed, cars have only gotten worse.
Manufacturers are more likely to be liable if you roll your car and the roof caves in, killing you.
Manufacturers are less likely to be found liable if you couldn't see through your A-pillar and hit a cyclist, as apparently proven by the article.
It's very hard to point the finger at the driver for their roof caving in, there's nothing the driver can do to stop that from happening. But there's plenty a driver could do to avoid trouble from blindspots.
I've learned my lesson. Now I do a little lean to look around the mirror at intersections.
Knowing what it is now, and how it can happen in driving, gives me one more tool I can use to be a slightly less horribly dangerous driver on public roads.
If you get to a junction and move your head right and left
to look for oncoming traffic, you need to understand that
you cannot guarantee that you have seen approaching traffic.
It is entirely possible for our eyes to ‘jump over’ an
oncoming vehicle during one of the saccades. The smaller
(and specifically, the narrower) the vehicle, the greater
the chance that it could fall within a saccade. You are not
being inattentive, you are physically incapable of seeing
anything during a saccade. Remember the ‘Think Bike!’
adverts, where a driver pulls out into the path of a
motorcycle? I am convinced that it is the phenomena of
saccades and fixations that is most likely to lead to this
sort of accident.
Interestingly, I've seen parallels at work, when doing retrospectives: "this didn't go well mostly due to human error (slacking, forgetting, etc.), so the lesson for next time is to just do that better."
Instead, I'd prefer us to be looking for a way to prevent human error to cause problems in the future. But I guess the reason for us often not doing that is probably because it's too much effort compared to the perceived benefit - and that's probably true most of the time.
I think by far, the most common was the 'right hook', where the driver passes on the left, and makes a right turn in to a driveway.
After that were various intentional murder attempts, such as the taxi driver that honked at me, drove around me, and then tried to brake check me.
In my mind, better traffic engineering is the best solution, but that seems unlikely, at least in the US. I’d imagine that the article’s suggested changes would cost more to build, even for new construction. To compound the issue, I get the feeling that most drivers would prefer it if cyclists weren’t allowed to ride on public roads.
Traffic engineering combined with a different legal standard that places greater liability on the driver for exercising due caution would go a long way towards fixing this, and hopefully doing something about the mass carnage on the world's roadways.
OP was focused on the A pillar and some other effects, while this excellent video goes a little further into some perception psychology about camouflage and how we perceive moving objects across backgrounds. You can ignore the motorcycle stuff but the explanation is enlightening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqQBubilSXU
"A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Surviving on the Roads" explains the same thing, and more. Plus, it gives practical tips on how to mitigate these problems.
I mean, they could improve the intersection by making it a full stop, but educating bicyclists not to ride out in front of somebody who will hit you if they don't slow down seems like a good step too.
You can't know you haven't made eye contact if you don't know they are there.
What you are saying is just a round about way to tell bicyclists to always yield for cars. It also has no support if you look at statistics, around here the overwheliming majority of accidents between drivers and bicylists are caused by car/bus/van/truck drivers (70%-85% depending on the situation).
Your comment does bring up something interesting. These days, due to sharply sloped front windows (aerodynamic efficiency) and smoked glass rear windows (where allowed) it is almost impossible to even see a driver of an approaching car, much less make eye contact with them. A unintended consequence of what might seem to be two unrelated things.
I'm just suggesting better education is probably a useful avenue to improve the situation.
Another interesting issue is that it is hard to do effective cyclist/pedestrian education in a hardcore car culture. In such an environment it is not really possible to include information about common driver errors such as right and left hooks. I remember the particuarly unhelpful things I learned in school. It came down to looking both ways before crossing the street and riding in a straight line. That is pretty wrongheaded in an environment where 80% of the collisions are caused by driver error.
You may assume that most bicyclists do not want to get killed; of course bicyclists will slow down if they see a car on a collision course, even if they have priority; your suggestion borders on the insulting.
Perhaps they are not 'wild', I'm just not used to seeing horses near a roadway, without a fence between us. Is this a common thing in England?
If you go camping there, you should expect ponies to wander in to your campsite, especially if you leave food out. I've had one poking its head in to our tent before.
They basically have total right of way, and they know it.
The longer I use the road in any function (cycling, driving, walking, etc), the more I am convinced that the vast majority of people are not competent drivers. So if one is interpreting the guidelines as whether an average person could have made the mistake, then they will surely come to an incorrect conclusion, as the average person is absolutely terrible at driving.
I'm reasonable good at controlling my car and I'm fairly aware of what is going on around me. I never drive distracted or drunk, and I follow all of the rules of the road. However, I don't consider myself a particularly good driver. I am lucky thus far that none of the mistakes I've made have resulted in harm to anyone. My skill in handling the car and my general attentiveness have prevented accidents (or perhaps even deaths), but there have been plenty of times where I've had near misses due to human error.
I've often wondered whether other people are fundamentally more competent drivers; whether they had a trait that I lacked. The more rides I take with other people, the more I am convinced that most people are fundamentally terrible drivers. Human nature and human perception are not suited for driving. It is nearly impossible to be a competent driver, regardless of how much care you take. Some of the worst drivers I know are the most careful. They diligently check every mirror and every blind spot before making a move, yet do so at such a slow pace that all the information they gathered when they checked each of the prior locations is irrelevant. Their caution can only go so far, as they eventually need to move to reach their destination, and at a certain point their hesitance is a danger to others, as massive differentials in speed one of the biggest hazards in driving.
Humans are just astoundingly incompetent drivers on all levels. Most people I know can't even adjust their mirrors so they can be used without moving their head substantially. How can a person be a competent driver if they have deprived themselves of easy access to what is happening next to their vehicle or behind it.
According to the World Health Organization, traffic deaths are the 10th leading cause of death in the world. There is no more likely 'accidental' cause of death than a car accident; each of the nine causes of death more common than car accidents are diseases. In 2013, 1.4 million people died from road traffic accidents, and 54 million people were injured.
I love driving. I love the open road, and the freedom that comes with it, but the truth of the matter is that people are terrible at driving. The sooner we have an alternative to people driving cars, the better.
You are almost right. ALL people are incompetent drivers.
Driving is a task of 99% boring routine habit punctuated by 1% of moments requiring extreme engagement. Humans are not engineered for these kinds of swings.
But computers are. And that's why the takeover of self-driving cars will be not just inevitable but also swift.
If anyone is in this situation routinely (that means for every hour they drive, 36 seconds is an extreme situation), it means the driving regularly does not meet the conditions of the situation they are in.
For example if someone feels like they are almost always hitting "impulsive" pedestrians, it means they need to drive slower through areas with lots of pedestrians. Likewise if they're frequently taking evasive moves around people driving haphazardly, it means they weren't paying attention to which automobiles appear likely to do something dumb.
Normally, that just means I change lanes or reduce my speed.
The problem is that if I MISS that event, now I'm having to swerve or slam my brakes when the consequences of that event become immediate.
And humans are TERRIBLE when multiple events happen simultaneously.
I came to this conclusion a few weeks after I had gotten my drivers license. I was meeting onto a Autobahn exit. I had a big truck in front. I check the mirror. All fine. Look over my shoulder to check blind spot and my girlfriend who was the passenger starts screaming because the truck in front had jammed on its breaks. I immediate slowed down and all was well. However it was a reasonably close call. Even now, many years later I'm unsure what I should have done differently. I need to look over the shoulder, I couldn't have kept meaningful, more space between me and the truck because I needed to adjust speed to the lane I wanted to merge into. I'm convinced it's a situation that can't be reliably handled 100% of the time given human limitations. Yet most people I talk to think that you just need to get gud.
I once had a bicyclist coming down a curvy mountain road. There was something about their riding that seemed uncomfortable, so I started slowing down. The biker then wiped out and crossed over the yellow line, stopping a few feet from my truck. If I hadn't been proactively scanning and thinking about everything that could go wrong they probably wouldn't have been able to get up, and say "thanks for not running me over."
I don't write this to judge you, or brag about myself. I've made plenty of mistakes myself. This is more a general lesson for people: synthesize all inputs received while driving and take proactive steps to mitigate potential risks.
If there is a merge lane, you'll have time to change lanes after you've merged.
If there is no merge lane, it's more likely that the vehicle ahead will suddenly stop, and therefore even more important to keep full attention on it.
Drivers often try simultaneously to monitor the vehicle ahead of them, and plan their merge. As you found, it's impossible for a human to do both safely; we can't look in wildly divergent directions at once. So, a person has to prioritize in that situation and the priority has to be 1) the vehicle ahead of you, which might stop, then 2) plan and execute your merge.
When this kind of thing happens, its in my experience much more often for the latter reason. The driver keeps looking over their shoulder for one, two seconds or more, in order to figure out the flow of traffic in the other lane, while ignoring their lane. By accident, of course, but its worth keeping in mind.
These approaches together it will help driver to much better asses other objects speed and direction of movement and generally it improve one situation awareness.
This is something you can do about it if you dont want to wait for all crossroads to be rebuilt ;-)
It has happened about 6 times so now whenever I drive in areas with pedestrians I move my head right in the middle of the car so that my view is no longer obstructed.
just put a good bump there, or a couple.
Traffic on Hwy 164 does not stop, Hwy 39 does stop. However Hwy 39 has yield lanes that can be used to enter 164 via a right turn, and only slowing down, and not coming to a complete stop.
A few years ago there was a lot of gas drilling in the area, and the trucks working the drilling sites would use the yield lanes - to turn left!
This made me pretty mad, until I thought about it for a while. In a big truck you would not be able to see traffic from both directions, so they used the yield lane to 'square up' to traffic.
When you design your User Experience, consider the human. Humans slip up, momentarily forgetting to do the right thing.
If your design becomes dangerous due to a slip, it is the worst kind of design. You see this kind of design on older industrial equipment - for instance presses without safeguards. Managers back then would make the same comment you regularly see on articles like this: 'All you have to do is pay attention, and it's safe.'
This is, frankly, stupid. If all it takes for a system to become unsafe is a momentary lapse in judgement, then the system is unsafe.
Manufacturers learned this via lawsuits (both for in-plant and user injuries) and now there are strict safety standards.
In the case of this unsafe intersection, responsibility is diffuse - it is split between driver, cyclist, local government, and the original contractor.
In a controlled environment like a hospital or manufacturing plant, you can measure near-misses as proxies for dangerous events. At a rural intersection, who would measure near-misses? An individual cyclist may have a near-miss and comment on it to her friends; would any drivers ever hear about it? Would the government ever hear about it? Would anyone care?
To improve your perception in situations like this, you can add two tools -
1. Always take your foot off the gas and cover the brake when going through intersections. This naturally slows you down a bit, and if there is an issue you are in position to stop.
2. Owl bob your head from time to time. It sounds stupid, but it moves you out of your blind spots, and also clears saccadic masking - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccadic_masking
Arguably, the cyclist had right of way and did everything expected of them in the situation. Also, the original contractor was following the specifications given to them by local government. Therefore responsibility can really only be placed with two parties; primarily with local government as they should be designing fault-tolerant intersections, and secondarily with the driver approaching from the east.
Haha I zoomed the map view out a bit: you're not kidding! That's a lot of drill sites!
I'm not blaming the cyclists here, but the reality is that when you are cycling it doesn't matter whose fault it is if a car hits you. You're still dead.
While I don't discount that there may be freak scenarios, as a motorcyclist I agree. If I don't see a car, a pedestrian, a bird, a kangaroo, a log on the road, I go to hospital. It's as much my responsibility to ensure my own safety as anyone else's.
I think we both can agree that the discussion has clearly digressed into unconstructive pedantry territory.
Would the remark still be equally valid given left-lane driving layout (as opposed to right-lane in the US)? Both left turn merging onto north/south road and right turn merging back onto east/west road strike me as lower risk given attention is focused on a single lane at any given time, as opposed to negotiating both north and south lanes simultaneously in existing intersection.
Also, the area appears to be in a rural location without nearby power distribution infrastructure to tap into; probably not as simple--or cost effective--at first glance.
All the solutions like, 'let's find a way to force cars to slow down' are just going to make auto drivers have even more resentment toward cyclists.
HN's collective choice in what to promote / demote is exceptionally fickle and happenstance.
Rather like success in the SV start-up world.
In both cases, backing a winner is generally more rewarding than doubling down on an attempt which, through no fault of its own, has failed.
HN also periodically give a second chance to submissions deemed high quality. So you've got that option as well.