When I initially saw the title, I was expecting it to be a mistake and actually say "Why UPS Trucks Don't Turn Right". I guess the problem is less severe in the rest of the world.
This is why I have a bell on my bicycle, and ring it any time I have a shadow of an excuse. (I recommend spending a few dollars extra and getting a nice bell that you like the sound of.)
This is a situation where bikes don't necessarily have right-of-way under the law. If there's a bike lane, then yes - and in that case there really should be traffic markings to make it clear to motorists that the right turn lane is on the other side of the lane.
But if not, then bikes are using the same lane as every other vehicle on the road. So when cyclists pass waiting cars on the right at a stoplight, it's just as dangerous and illegal as if a motorcyclist or scooter rider were to do it.
In all cases, motorists needs to be aware of the more vulnerable road users and cyclists should take more precautions when sharing the road with 2+ ton vehicles.
From a cycling commuter for the past 5 years, 37km one way, in the Tokyo Japan area.
* On further thought, maybe that choice of word is inappropriate.
Heck, I'd appreciate having a version for pedestrian use, too, sometimes.
TO CLARIFY - the situation i am most referring to is a cross street, where the car is perpendicular to your path and would be coming from your left as a cyclist.
1. A bicyclist does not need to stay to the right of the road when approaching a place where right turns are allowed (i.e. can leave the bike lane).
2. Vehicles are required to merge into the bike lane before making a right turn, otherwise it's consider making a turn without being in the rightmost lane.
Not to say I've ever seen a single car in the bay area correctly merge to the bike lane before turning. Any case where a bicyclist is hit by a car making a right turn should be considered "failure to complete a passing maneuver."
If you're just worried about cars, it's fairly safe to make the right turn lane from that non-rightmost lane, since the other car is blocking any other car from approaching there. However, bikes (and sometimes motorcyclists, but rarely are they that suicidal) are going to come up, so it's still prudent to both get into the far-right lane and check on the right. That's the most common "cars turning right from non-rightmost lane" situation I've seen, though.
My biggest question about California road rules: what kind of vehicle is a homeless guy with a shopping car full of cans/etc.? Is he a pedestrian (similar to a pedestrian pushing a stroller), or is he a vehicle like a bicycle? What if he's in a lane of traffic, going down the road at 1-2mph (which is reasonable, since he would take up the entire sidewalk otherwise).
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But one of the first things you learn is not only to be pedantic about signalling when turning but that you need to claim space because otherwise you are asking for an accident and if you are involved in one as a car driver, it doesn't matter whose fault it is: the motorcyclist/bicyclist loses on the physics and the car driver loses in front of the police (that's one way btw that police corruption protects the poor here).
The space-claiming is key. You do not want to be passed on the left while making a left-hand turn (they drive here the same side as in the UK). That has happened to me a couple of times and it is a major reason I do not listen to the radio while I am driving (with motorcylces that way at least I can hear them). Fortunately I haven't hit anyone yet (knocking on wood).
When I paid several thousands of Euros for mandatory driving school in Germany I was very annoyed about the high price tag, but seeing on a daily basis how safety and efficiency of traffic is compromised when no system to educate drivers is not in place, I am glad I had a chance to go through it.
In fact, in 2013 there were 14 cyclist deaths in London. 6 of those were in a two-week period in November. That was shocking enough that there was political attention and increased police enforcement around intersections. I'm sure also increased media coverage.
9 of those deaths were from lorries, as you said. I'm sure the majority are also at intersections, as you said, since that's where most cyclists get hit by motor vehicles.
Cars in the middle, bikes on the red lines. When cars go right, bikers are sometimes overlooked (mostly by not looking at all).
This is what this normally looks like (theres no collision here because as a cyclist you constantly monitor other lanes and slow down until its clear the idiots have noticed you, or just switch into the full lane):
(London, so right-turn is the left-turn equivalent)
Actually, after working with them for a bit, I am a lot more sympathetic to posties who just leave stuff at the door.
Since I've never encountered a day where I'm expecting two packages to be delivered by my driver and I'll somehow be around to receive one but not the other, I've never seen much reason to go with the non-free option.
You can also sign for the package online or provide the driver with "leave with..." instructions.
In my experience, only freight companies call ahead.
Whilst missed deliveries are costly they obviously don't feel that is justification enough to develop a better solution.
Disclaimer: I'm the founder of Routific
Quote: "A small army of agents spent days planning details of the trip. The supervisor drove the car with Hoover and Tolson. Hoover insisted on riding in the back seat, on the right side. He’d once been injured in a car wreck while sitting in the left rear seat, and he refused to sit there again. Also, the accident occurred during a left turn, and Hoover no longer allowed his drivers to make left turns. This complicated the route to Austin in those days before interstate highways."
I can see the free-right policy also being a major factor in this as well but I don't see it mentioned.
Another piece of trivia about free right: In all of New York the free right is allowed as long as no "No turn on red" is posted. In New York City, however, the free right is prohibited unless a "right turn on red" sign is posted.
In Germany the NYC-style free right exists, with a small sign showing a green arrow on black background indicates that free right is allowed.
I'm running a routing optimization service (http://fleetnavi.com if you are curious, but it's only in Bulgarian for now, although Chrome translate works really well on the site). The routes a mapping service like google maps will give you are not that great really, in many cases the data needed to do a perfect route are just not available. We aren't using the stats from routes in the past yet, but it's a next step that would clearly be beneficial.
Apart from that, sounds like a good engineering/optimization result.
PS: But there is a solution to that problem, as I see the other posts around .... just bring the trucks with uneven wear to the UK after a while ...
I think it was meant as a double entendre too - referring to one's moral compass.
I could get to my parents w/o a left turn. So I don't think it is impossible to avoid left turns in a European city but I think it is much, much harder to do so.
It's a big selling point for systems sold to trucking and public transportation companies.
Note: This says nothing of my political views, it was only a joke.
> As of 2012, the right turn rule combined with other improvements -- for the wow factor, UPS doesn't separate them out -- saved around 10 million gallons of gas and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking 5,300 cars of the road for a year.
Anywhere else and it's probably faster to just make the left turn.
I suspect what it needs are 'hints' from human users familiar with the areas.
(Assuming you're concerned with time, which I assume is at least often the case. For convenience and other 'softer' amenities, hints make much more sense.)
Although I guess in San Francisco most left turns on busy intersections are prohibited, so maybe they already solved this.
Then if you make traffic in the alternative direction go over or under then there would be no stopping ever.
So, no, they do turn left. More title mythology.
It really bugs me because this something to show folks the value of math and analysis. What types of problem solving go on that can really be improved by application of maps and big data. Heck, even the linked article doesn't have a map explaining why this is important.
It's imprecise but accurate. "UPS routing algorithms have an extremely strong weighting against left turns outside of residential non-through streets" is well within the errors bars of "UPS trucks don't turn left" when using a tool like conversational English.
In fact the less data the article gives the more it should prefer "UPS trucks don't turn left" you shouldn't report falsely precise digits.
But really, who cares? What is the obsession with the titles?
The front page consists of them, so they're pretty crucial to HN.
It seems like there is a thread in too many stories where the headline is parsed in the most uncharitable manner.
And I doubt this is a global rule.