I had an email from a friend on this NYTimes article, comparing the approved killing of cyclists to the approved killing via stand-your-ground laws and I thought, wow - that's a conflation of two hot-button issues.
Then I thought, hey - guess what? Let's really get into some cross-framework rhetoric.
No offense to anybody.
The last line about hiding in his basement kind of ticked me off... but yeah, good points therein.
Also, I learned that every time I click the same link, NYT counts that against me for my monthly limit. WTF?
Anywho, I'm really just commenting so that this thread has as many posts as the link has been shared in other threads. I guess everyone wants to share the link but no one really wants to talk about it? ::shrugs:: *bump*
Once upon a time, it was "All the news that's fit to print."
35 years ago, it started to migrate to "All the news that fits the print."
Now it's becoming "All the news that drives the paywall."
All snark aside, I do see this story as good, in that it focuses the attention specifically on what has become THE issue creating the logjam that, once broken, will allow cyclists to reclaim the streets.
I don't think the story is unfair or whatever it is that Stu thinks at all. I think it's honest and fair. As the article points out, the reason drivers get away with killing cyclists is that juries won't convict. They identify with the driver. That sounds about right to me, and I think it's a problem that's likely to persist so long as adult cycling is so rare.
It's very important to have highlighted how totally unaccountable drivers are in practice when they bully hurt, maim, or even kill cyclists. So kudos to the writer there.
Otherwise, eh. The proposed grand bargain ain't happening. Drivers get annoyed and jackasses among them act the way they do because we're comparatively slow, nothing more. Every ounce of aggressive driving I've seen was in a scenario where I was obeying the law, but where I was going at it uphill and aparently too slowly to suit someone's level of impatience and entitlement.
We deserve protection now, full stop.
I liked the article, and share the response toward retreating to the basement.
But, I say this from time to time, I think it's important for cyclists not to feel singled out - i.e. motor vehicles are out there killing any and everyone.
This weekend, all over the news, 2 beloved high school football players killed in a horrific automobile "accident", and 2 others injured. Video of crying family and friends, much sadness and wringing of hands. And we all move on. Absolutely no discussion of treating driving like the deadly activity it is, no increase in the rigor of driver training, no raising of the bar to obtain a drivers license. Just the cost of doing business. Mass societal insanity.
Hello bull, welcome to our fucking china shop.
@edmonds, good point.
I try to remember that most of the terrible driving I encounter is not directed at me as a cyclist, but just bad driving period. There are the occasional d-bags that are targeting us intentionally, but I think they make up a tiny percentage of the bad drivers.
As for the two teens that were killed: I feel real bad about this for sure, but I wonder if holding a big memorial service at the football stadium sends the right message. Maybe an honest effort to have mandatory drivers training in their name would be a better way to go.
The author of the article seems very articulate and is familiar with the principles of writing a balanced article.
BUT it isn't clear that he has ridden on the streets as an adult more than one (1) time. In any case, it IS clear he stopped riding after the first time he discovered there is technique to crossing rail and street car tracks.
(I just checked - the Bike commuting 101 guide DOES mention tracks, albeit briefly.)
I dislike someone mentioning that cyclists often faunt the law and not mentioning that drivers rarely follow, say, speed laws.
bike snob had a decidedly less nice take
on this article than everyone here so far.
Anybody who is "freaked out" by cycling--in San Francisco no less--should probably not be writing about it.
i tend to agree. while the article is ostensibly in favor of many of the same things i am, its main arguments are made with an ignorance of the problem, and it grants too many concessions.
Bike Snob hits it out of the park.
+1 Bike Snob!!!
I'll do whatever the hell I need to do in order to get a head start on these homicidal mutherfuckers, and that includes running the light if I deem it safer to do so;
I've been reading the studies referenced in the article (for some reason I can't post a link to them -- even when I post and then edit to add the link) and the situation, while bad, is not completely dire. Ex. the Arizona study reported on 25 accidents where the cyclist died; in all cases but one where the driver was most at fault, they received some sort of punishment. Yes, in about half those cases the punishment was a traffic ticket for something like illegally crossing a lane, but that would help the cyclist's family receive damages in a civil suit or from the insurance company.
OTOH, as the article observes, if you're not drunk and don't flee, you almost certainly will not face criminal charges for killing a cyclist (or a pedestrian, for that matter). You may well be found at fault, though.
Was a fun read... his stuff tends to be. The least fun part, but basically the point he builds toward and then just riffs on till the end is this
We deserve respect for being human, and it ends there. Yet we're supposed to be good little boy scouts and girl scouts--even when it's more dangerous for us to do so--to prove we're deserving of not being killed? That's just stupid and insulting.
So basically what I said "We deserve protection now, full stop." + I think a rather appropriate characterization of the author's proposed grand bargain.
I make distinctions among:
a) proceeding through a red light or stop sign without looking or changing speeds
b) proceeding through a red light or stop sign without changing speeds but ensuring that there is no traffic to interfere, in any direction
c) proceeding through a red light or stop sign after slowing down considerably, verifying that there is no traffic to interfere, in any direction
d) coming to a complete stop, making sure there is no traffic to interfere, in any direction, then proceeding through red light or stop sign
e) coming to a complete stop, at least one foot planted on the ground for several seconds at a red light, then after verifying there is no traffic to interfere, in any direction, proceeding through it
The law does not allow for any of these. People who complain about cyclists "running red lights and stop signs" make no distinction.
I do not do (a). I do (b), (c), (d) and (e), depending on situation.
jonawebb wrote:OTOH, as the article observes, if you’re not drunk and don’t flee, you almost certainly will not face criminal charges for killing a cyclist (or a pedestrian, for that matter).
Being sober should not be license to drive like a drunkard.
jonawebb wrote:I’ve been reading the studies referenced in the article (for some reason I can’t post a link to them — even when I post and then edit to add the link) and the situation, while bad, is not completely dire. Ex. the Arizona study reported on 25 accidents where the cyclist died; in all cases but one where the driver was most at fault, they received some sort of punishment. Yes, in about half those cases the punishment was a traffic ticket for something like illegally crossing a lane, but that would help the cyclist’s family receive damages in a civil suit or from the insurance company.
OTOH, as the article observes, if you’re not drunk and don’t flee, you almost certainly will not face criminal charges for killing a cyclist (or a pedestrian, for that matter). You may well be found at fault, though.
What were the five harshest penalties (criminal & civil) given to the motorists found at fault in that report?
The filter is really cracking down on anything that looks remotely like a URL. Annoying.
Try this: the report is at
azbikelaw dot org slash report slash 2009CyclistFatals dot pdf
The worst criminal charges were negligent homicide or manslaughter.
BTW, a limitation of the Arizona report is that it starts from the accident report. Since the cyclist was killed, unless there were other witnesses, there's no one to contradict the driver's version. So there were probably more cases where the motorist was at fault than reported.
I've been thinking about this, and I don't think it's quite right to claim that it's OK to kill cyclists. Cyclists aren't being protected, but, really, no one is. If a motorist kills another motorist, or a pedestrian, and doesn't flee, isn't drunk, and wasn't driving recklessly, he's likely to get off with no more than a ticket.
The problems with this for cyclists are: 1) Pedestrians aren't usually sharing the road with motorists; 2) Other motorists are protected by their cars; 3) Cyclists experience harassing behavior more than pedestrians.
So we don't want to ask for the same protection people get for being human (as BSNYC says); that's not enough. We want extra protection, because we're uniquely vulnerable, and are being harassed. And we deserve it, because cycling benefits the community in so many ways -- better use of existing infrastructure, health benefits, and so on.
I disagree, what I think we need as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, is for motor vehicle related death or injury to be treated with the seriousness with which it would have been treated were it caused without a motor vehicle.
Not that we'll get that either. Our infrastructure and culture need to change in major ways before driving is thought of as a choice. While it's not considered a choice nobody will really want to own up to the tragic consequences. But it's at least an argument I think we could get a little more traction on, than to advance the idea that we're special.
byogman wrote:motor vehicle related death or injury to be treated with the seriousness with which it would have been treated were it caused without a motor vehicle
Yes! How many people would be satisfied if I shot a gun in their direction but I aimed the bullet 4 feet from their head? Isnt that what the SUV driver is doing with their two ton bullet?
First of all, seriously? We are so very far away from motorists who kill someone being treated as criminals -- I would be amazed if we ever get there. People depend on their automobiles. Our cities and suburbs are laid out in ways that rely on them. It would take decades if not centuries for this to change. Are you willing to wait that long?
Second, we are already asking for, and receiving, special treatment, and it is benefiting us. The four foot rule, for example, No rule requires motorists to give other motorists, or pedestrians, four feet when passing. It's not necessary for the reasons I just said. We'd like a law that makes harassing a cyclist a crime, for the same reason. Are you now opposed to these special privileges?
jonawebb wrote:We are so very far away from motorists who kill someone being treated as criminals — I would be amazed if we ever get there.
I'm guessing that we'll have robocars in a few years.
Depending on whether or not they allow manual over-rides for things like speed limits, auto fatalities might drop to the hundreds per year or maybe even dozens.
I don't believe robocars would be acceptable if they were dangerous. I mean really dangerous - like 5% of the current danger of car driving or something- DANGEROUS.
@Mick, so you're willing to give up the four foot rule because we'll have robocars soon?
Change happens incrementally and not quickly. Even robo cars will start small and incrementally become a larger part of the vehicle miles picture. I'm not opposed to special laws benefitting us so much as that I see a low limit to how far the argument can be advanced and a far lower limit in terms of how seriously it will all be taken when expressed on those terms.
Conversely, a dead person is a dead person and a strong argument no matter your sympathies. And no that reckoning won't happen quickly in spite of the cold and terrifying logic of it, a century of auto-centric infrastructure and planning won't go away in years or even decades. But I'm hoping the robo-car will be our ally again here and speed the process somewhat. I.E. it's a choice to "drive" when you can leave it to the more cautious robo-car.
If robo-cars, why not robo-bikes?
Anyway, there's already cars that supposedly park themselves.
Robo stuff will likely first show up more on highways (already there are systems that tell you to stay in the lane or not get too close to the guy in front), where the driving is simpler. I don't see robo-cars doing too good on crowded city streets.
Besides, we already have efficient robo-cars that carry people in groups of up to maybe 40 at a time (well, with a human minder on board). I can see reducing the group sizes for some situations but it's hard to image that carrying just one person at a time in a robo-car would be all that efficient. If nothing else, think of how crowded our streets would end up. No fun.
jonawebb wrote:The filter is really cracking down on anything that looks remotely like a URL. Annoying.
Try this: the report is at
azbikelaw dot org slash report slash 2009CyclistFatals dot pdf
The worst criminal charges were negligent homicide or manslaughter.
BTW, a limitation of the Arizona report is that it starts from the accident report. Since the cyclist was killed, unless there were other witnesses, there’s no one to contradict the driver’s version. So there were probably more cases where the motorist was at fault than reported.
I'll check that out when I get a moment, thanks. BTW, here is a more recent example of "AZ justice": http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/23364601/2013/09/06/linsk-sentencing
Robo-car will be safer on the highway than in city streets just like any driver would be, there's just less going on. So automatic control is starting there. But that doesn't mean that you can't get to city driving.
We're already there in terms of the tech existing and performing well in demonstrations. It's just driving the cost down and tackling more small fraction of a fraction of a percent stuff that is necessary for this to happen. That, and acceptance, and a legal framework. Not small, but by no means unimaginable.
Now what would it mean negatively? Probably mainly getting starved out of intersections by more aggressive manual drivers, and encountering some changed road condition from the last time it was mapped and not knowing how to handle and shutting down until something with better sensors and/or a human can come by and map out what's really going on, so that could be the cause of some interesting delays if it cascades. Perhaps something more serious on rare occasion, it's hard to say what not being inside the problem.
But no aggression, hyper-awareness... these things are worth a lot. And how crowded would our streets be? What you have the opportunity for with robo-car is basically ubiquitous and CHEAP taxi service. So it could wind up out competing public transit (at least until that goes robo) and that would be more vehicles. However, the vehicles could, unlike the current dominant varieties, be sized to a single occupant, or if sized for more occupants, could run in patterns that actually put butts in seats. And service frequency would obviously be far greater where people cluster, so with a planned change to express type service between public transit hubs you could get a fairly nice hub/spoke pattern.
Also, you get to double down on high density goodness since you need fewer robo-cars than regular, they can be smaller, and since they can drive themselves back out of walking range when there isn't someone else to pick up.
Why not robo-bikes? Balance? Most people not on bikes want climate control?
jonawebb wrote:@Mick, so you’re willing to give up the four foot rule because we’ll have robocars soon?
? ? ?
Not sure where this is coming from.
I'm just saying that robcars seem more imminent than punitive measures for murderous drivers.
Automated vehicles could make things worse too. They'll be able to handle the easy parts like freeways long before they handle the hard parts. Avoiding other cars is fairly easy, since they're big and boxy and metal, but it's harder to recognize pedestrians or bikes.
But if it mostly works, and it means drivers can pay attention to something else instead, many drivers will do just that. Think of all that new leisure time, without the annoyance of occasional glances at the road. It's surely worth the price of an occasional ticket for killing somebody, right?
Even if better technology is slowly coming, once most people have robocars that can only reliably see other cars, there will be a lot of pressure to adapt more roads to the new cars by prohibiting anything the robocars can't handle. For safety, of course.
You know, as Yogi Berra said, "It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." Robocars could make things better, or worse, or they could take a lot longer to happen than we think. Let's concentrate on what's achievable in the present. I would say it's unlikely we're going to get the idea that motorists killing other people is criminal through people's heads any time soon. So, as an alternative, let's focus on things that protect us, like the four foot rule, a law making harassing cyclists illegal, better enforcement of existing laws, better infrastructure, and so on.
@Steven: automated vehicles are already considerably better at the tasks you mention than you might imagine. and there is no way they get rolled out without mastering those tasks, orders of magnitude better than humans do.
Steven wrote:Automated vehicles could make things worse too. They’ll be able to handle the easy parts like freeways long before they handle the hard parts. Avoiding other cars is fairly easy, since they’re big and boxy and metal, but it’s harder to recognize pedestrians or bikes.
Just wanted to point out that there is a lot of work in the autonomous driving community that focuses specifically on pedestrian and bicycle detection. Volvo, for example, recently announced
it as an upcoming safety feature with automatic braking.
Check out the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOn4729TcJ0
I still believe:
Robocars will never be allowed unless they are far more safe than human drivers.
There might be certain situations that are still hazardous and those might involve non-car transportation. But I'm guessing an acceptable robobocar would still be less hazardous then the safest of drivers (which is still pretty hazardous.)
Glad to hear of the progress being made. If it eventually shows up in all vehicles with automated driving, and works as well in practice as it does in that ad, it would be really good. (If it's only available with certain high-end car brands, not so good.)
(If it’s only available with certain high-end car brands, not so good.)
I think like any vehicle tech it will start in the newer vehicles and lux brands and gradually mostly trickle down and take a long, long time to work through the majority of the vehicle fleet.
So there'll be a long tail, but I still wouldn't underestimate the potential for short term impact. Drivers of newer vehicle and newer sport/lux vehicles especially (not Volvos, but other vehicles in those segments) seem to do a disproportionate amount of asshole-ish driving. I think it relates to feeling of entitlement.
I would not worry about robocars. I would worry about licenses and renewals of licenses for humans. That's a right-here-right-now that we can do something about, if we had the will to do so.
@Stu -- also: actually checking to see if people driving cars are licensed, and not drunk, would be nice.
If robotic automobiles are programmed not to hit pedestrians or cyclists, just imagine the first miscreant pedestrians and/or cyclists who figure that out, and oh the fun/trouble they will cause.
I imagine that "willfully obstructing an automated vehicle" will soon become a punishable offense. And every moment of every one of our lives will be on video.
One thing I like about American companies is how they never introduce new technology that might hurt people just to make a buck.
Here's an alternate scenario for the future of robocars. They get introduced and are touted as safer, more energy efficient, and, most of all, making it possible to use time spent driving to do something else. They are very popular, especially among wealthy professionals whose time is very valuable. And everybody thinks they are great. But after a while, it turns out they aren't really that much safer, probably because the companies making them really don't want to sacrifice safety for speed. The issue is unclear for a while, because no studies are done, and the industry isn't that forthcoming. Meanwhile, cyclists and pedestrians are learning to look out for them. After a while, it's obvious they are really a lot less safe than regular cars, and cyclists and pedestrians are protesting. But nobody really cares what they think, because the cars are so incredibly convenient. Everybody wants one. So, eventually, the roads become even more reserved for cars, and everybody else better watch out.
Does this seem at all familiar?
@jonawebb: it's a sad and familiar narrative, no doubt, but i don't think it could possibly be applicable to non-human driven vehicles in the current united states. we could go a year after the initial roll-out of automated vehicles and finally see the first casualty of the "robocar", and even if it is demonstrably, in almost any imaginable situation, safer than a human driver, that will be the national headline for that day. automated vehicles will, without a doubt, be held to a much stricter safety standard than human drivers. there is no question. sadly, that might be a result of the absurdly low standard to which humans are held, but that's the reality, and there won't be automated vehicles if they can't automatically avoid hitting people.
mr edmonds's concern, however, i had not thought of, and it is a very legitimate concern. kids are, almost universally (myself included when i was a kid) giant assholes who will do almost anything they can get away with (as a side note, this kind of makes sense in an evolutionary sense), and will certainly get the automated vehicles to automatically stop on a dime, spilling coffee and possibly inhabitants all over their interiors. sadly, curbing assholishness among adolescents is, unlike detecting humans via computer vision, an unsolved problem.
of Volvo's tech in action mentions that the car only stops before hitting the obstruction when it's driving below a certain speed. Otherwise it just has time to slow down. Depending on the numbers, that might indicate they don't brake as hard as possible. (In the video, it seems to brake fairly gently, but the car's not going that fast to begin with.)
So perhaps no coffee spill is likely, and the evil adolescent jumping out toward a robocar won't automatically cause it to get rear-ended by the slower-reacting human driver just behind it.
It would be interesting to see a video of the Volvo tech put through its paces by somebody who isn't trying to sell Volvos, to judge its current limitations. But I haven't seen one yet.
My point is there's a tradeoff between speed and safety. Companies will want to make the cars as fast as possible. They will only make them as safe as possible if they have to. Public pressure might do that automatically, but I suspect we'll have to advocate for our safety the same way we do with human drivers. Just having a technology that can solve a problem doesn't mean it's used to do that.
HV, if you need someone to come up with the most juvenile response to any given circumstance without actually being a juvenile, I might be your guy. ;)
I would also suppose that, at least the earliest versions of auto-cars, would have over-ride capabilities of the automated functions, and if their cars are constantly driving at appropriate speeds, stopping for pedestrians and what-not, the worst drivers will immediately over-ride the auto feature and drive like idiots anyway.
Just to be clear where I am coming from, I despise almost every automated feature of my wife's newish Mercedes, they drive me nuts (except for possibly timing, fuel mixture, that sort of stuff, it would be a pain to constantly have to adjust those manually). All these "niceties" are nothing but excuses to allow people to avoid learning to be better drivers.
Come to think of it, I would be willing to bet that the vehicle that the two Sharon high school students were recently killed in was a newer SUV equipped with all wheel drive, ABS anti-skid, air bags, etc, and the driver was still able crash it, and kill himself and two other people. These "safety features" are nothing more than red herrings, panaceae, sales points for frightened, lazy drivers. They are the "helmets" of the automobile world. if people are expecting some automated Robo cars to make the roads safer for everyone, they are just chasing better air bags. (pulls pin, runs).
The Dutch have already figured this out, and it doesn't involve the pursuit of technology. They put the onus of responsibility on the driver, set the requirements for obtaining a license high, and making the penalties for screwing up adequately severe.
The big difference is that there are no car manufacturers in the Netherlands, and a huge segment of their economy does not depend on it, so there is no one pushing sales over safety.
There's such a thing as compensatory negligence, no doubt. And it partially, though generally does not entirely, eat some of the gains you would've otherwise made on safety. Witness declining vehicle death rates as these features have made their way into the fleet. Yes, including airbags.
Moreover, the power of compensatory negligence is zero in the fully automated case and near zero in the case where automatic is the default and drivers have to step in to do the wrong thing.
This is a ways off, but more foreseeable to me than drivers really getting appreciably better. But perhaps, again, once driving "manually" (turn off the robo-pilot) is seen as a choice, maybe we can get more dutch like in terms of licensing and penalties.
Cars are already well on their way to being living rooms. We may as well embrace the fact that that's what most people want, remove the last barrier to that experience, remove the steering wheel and pedals to make room for bigger, ad serving, glowing rectangular screens.
edmonds59 wrote:I would be willing to bet that the vehicle that the two Sharon high school students were recently killed in was a newer SUV equipped with all wheel drive, ABS anti-skid, air bags, etc, and the driver was still able crash it, and kill himself and two other people.
Looked like a newer Mazda SUV of some sort. I feel advertisers of these SUV's, Pickups and to be honest all cars are stupidly showing people driving fast and being able to do anything they please since the vehicle they are advertising are so sure footed. They really shouldn't be allowed to do that, especially the SUV ones that show them handling like a race car. It is what it is I guess. If I was an attorney, I think I would go after the auto industry with these countless wrecks and shift some blame on these ads. Showing bloody teens and then the ads for the SUVs would be a pretty easy win.
self-driving cars won't be a sudden overnight thing. its a slow feature creep. we already have cars that park themselves, sense obstructions and stop when backing up, issue a warning and course correct if you start to drift, sense sudden stops several cars ahead and decelerate accordingly and so on. these features all start out on high end luxury models, but have been steadily making their way down the tiers all the way to econo boxes. you're going to see a lot of companies experimenting with self-driving concepts, but in the marketplace its going to go feature by feature because they know its the only way people will accept the loss of control.
The problems society faces are human in origin and nature, and we cannot give up and stop attempting to resolve the causes, and continue to resort to curing symptoms with technological means. This is how we have arrived at our current and rather dismal set of conditions.
I think there's no need to view addressing symptoms vs. addressing the disease as an either/or. You can try to do both and I'm in full support of that. But I would say, given the difficulty of this disease (we're a bunch of meat heads, literally), it's probably wisest not to expect a cure.
Our current dismal circumstances are, by most measures of well being and measured against history, pretty damn good. I think that's in spite of, not because of the current crop of humans.
I think there’s no need to view addressing symptoms vs. addressing the disease as an either/or. You can try to do both and I’m in full support of that. But I would say, given the difficulty of this disease (we’re a bunch of meat heads, literally), it’s probably wisest not to expect a cure.
Agreed, doing both is likely to be more effective. When treating symptoms, however, you have to be careful not to inadvertently encourage the spread of the disease; for example, demonstrably life-saving innovations such as seat belts and air bags allow society to accept more dangerous driving due to lessened consequences for motorists
[ETA:] I'm not forecasting anything specifically related to autonomous cars, BTW; merely pointing out that we should consider unintended consequences when trying to treat symptoms OR diseases.
you guys should check out this article by tom vanderbilt
about automated vehicles. it's a pretty good basis for this discussion.
I'm honestly kind of surprised that more people on this board aren't super excited for self-driving cars. Over and over again the thing that causes cyclist and pedestrian deaths is careless/inattentive/drunk driving. Computers don't get careless or inattentive or drunk, so once the tech is available for the car to adequately sense its surroundings, it can be a near-perfect driver. We may not be at the point yet, but it looks as if we're extremely close, and it's hard to imagine any other intervention (short of eliminating car travel, which simply isn't going to happen) that would do as much to eliminate auto-related fatalities.
@WillB, car companies don't have a great record when it comes to safety. It was like pulling teeth to get them to install safety belts, let alone airbags. And this was for something that would save their own customer's lives. Expecting them to implement features that might significantly slow down their newly introduced vehicles, in order to protect people who don't even buy their product, is optimistic, at best.
See the movie "Tucker" sometime, if you get a chance. This business of car companies not giving a f*ck is not new.
A lot of thoughts arise from the Wired article, not the least of which is that it's in Wired, where the solution to everything is apparently More! New! Stuff! But the most serious issue is this: “The average American commutes 52 minutes a day, with the purpose of getting from point A to point B, not with the purpose of winding through the mountains and enjoying The Sound of Music.”“The fact that you’re still driving is a bug,” Levandowski says, “not a feature.” The speaker (not Vanderbilt) accepts that a 52 minute commute is inevitable, so you might as well spend it isolated in a sealed metal box. I would rather not encourage technologies that increase human isolation, and put more effort into livable, walkable, bikeable, happy cities. Like I said, Dutch.
The average American commutes 52 minutes a day
Oh good! I try hard to put more time into my commuting. It's a fun and relaxing way to get from A to B. What's not to like?
What? Oh... nevermind.
jonawebb wrote:Expecting them to implement features that might significantly slow down their newly introduced vehicles, in order to protect people who don’t even buy their product, is optimistic, at best.
I don't think there's anything about self-driving cars that means they will have to be slower. If anything, once all cars become self-driving, traffic jams and congestion caused by sub-optimal human driving will be reduced.
Also, it's not just other people that safe self-driving cars will protect, it's the auto companies themselves, because they will, in effect, be the drivers, and be liable for bad things that happen. And there's a huge potential market for this product that will make it worthwhile for car companies to negotiate the hurdles, including the insanely strict safety regulations that will inevitably be required to allow these on the road at a large scale.
WillB wrote:I don’t think there’s anything about self-driving cars that means they will have to be slower.
No, what I meant was that safety features on self-driving cars will make them slower than they would be without the safety features. There's sort of a slider bar with 100% safety on one end (slow down whenever you are near a pedestrian, wait until you can give cyclists 8 feet) and 100% speed on the other (assume pedestrians are going to behave predictably, give cyclists 8 inches). Self-driving cars can be programmed either way, and car manufacturers will be highly motivated to push that slider bar towards speed. Public pressure will be needed to balance that and push it back towards the safety end.
As far as "insanely strict" regulations -- you mean the insanely strict regulations that keep companies from pumping unknown chemicals into the ground to extract natural gas, or the ones that keep companies from polluting our rivers and air? Or perhaps the ones that keep our food so safe and free of pathogens and contaminants? I could go on.
One thing I have not heard about robot cars is how do the car companies make money now that X% of cars are no longer smashed into themselves and destroyed each year. If these cars work as advertised, people will be holding onto their cars for longer periods of time because they wont be all dented up, so car companies sell less cars. Do they make money on software updates? Updates that might allow the car to move on Jon's safety-speed continuum perhaps?
And what happens to auto-body shops? And mechanics? Because a robo driven car will avoid all those activities that are hard on the mechanicals too - or maybe I just found the solution to cars lasting too long. Brew-ha-ha-ha!
@marko, there will be third parties who will provide program updates to make your car better at getting past those annoying cyclists (there already are people who will reprogram your car's computer to give it more power, etc.) And we'll replace cars every couple of years, the way we do with computers and cellphones., because of new features. You still running Android Upside-down cake?
I agree in principle that there's a sliding scale, speed vs. safety, but I disagree that there's an incentive to push the envelope toward speed, at least not in any way the compares with what human drivers do right now.
The trade-offs are VERY non linear. Depending on circumstance, you get somewhere between 95-98% of the speed of an aggressive driver driving quite responsibly. The main reason that 2-5% matters to people right now is not the actual time consumed, but the perception of it, which is vastly magnified by the fact that drivers are doing something they hate (driving in traffic). I remember when I was commuting by car on the parkway. I could hear my life ticking away every second of the stop and go on greentree hill.
Of course, their life ticks away regardless, but having glowing rectangles to look at eases the pain... hell, a lot of folks behave in such a way as to suggest looking at glowing rectangles is the main purpose OF their life. Conversely, if something happened and they felt they couldn't trust their car to chauffer them around safey while they were engrossed by glowing rectangles, there'd be hell to pay.
Vulnerabilities and Alliances
I really enjoyed this letter by David Berman in the NYT (in response to the original IsItOkay piece),
The problem is not a cultural predisposition against bicyclists; it is that nobody obeys traffic laws anymore, and that’s at least partly because nobody is enforcing them.
which leaves me with the notion that there's a natural coalition and overlap between the cycling community, the pedestrian community, the walking-to-the-bus community, and the non-carred
community (including senior citizens, Stu, Marcel, and Fauna). Which, all of a sudden, is an awful lot of voters.
And so, kudos to Scott for pitching the East Liberty Target demonstration on Friday, and perhaps I should start seeing these all as bicycle advocacy opportunities (and start attending with my bike)
@V, just don't get carried away
or you'll need new rides
Everyone should go protest the conditions in East Liberty, for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The whole area is being touted
as a huge success and it's set to spread around the city, but obviously the reality of the situation is a hell of a lot different for anyone not in a car.
Maybe this should be another thread, but I went to the rally, as did Dan Y from bike-pgh. There was a decent turnout but it's always good to see more people. There was a lot of (deliberate) jaywalking, but also a lot of drivers threatening (with their vehicles, and verbally) or failing to yield to people who were crossing the street legally. There was also an incident in the "ground zero" crosswalk (crossing Penn Ave. on the east side of the intersection, directly across from Target). I didn't see the whole thing so I apologize if I get the details wrong, but I turned around to the sound of a female demonstrator exchanging words with a male driver, who stopped his Mozart Apartments truck on the street and got out to confront her. Mr. "tough guy" only got back in his truck after one of the (bike) cops on the scene came over screamed at him multiple times to do so.
That's pretty infuriating. Thank goodness the police were there. Any idea if anyone thought to call Mozart and inform them of the performance of this "gentleman" driver?
salty wrote:Everyone should go protest the conditions in East Liberty, for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The whole area is being touted as a huge success and it’s set to spread around the city, but obviously the reality of the situation is a hell of a lot different for anyone not in a car.
There was also an incident in the “ground zero” crosswalk (crossing Penn Ave. on the east side of the intersection, directly across from Target). I didn’t see the whole thing so I apologize if I get the details wrong, but I turned around to the sound of a female demonstrator exchanging words with a male driver, who stopped his Mozart Apartments truck on the street and got out to confront her.
I never really thought about it, but you are right. East Liberty is really not bike or pedestrian friendly at all. It is sort of like a suburban shopping mall inside the city. Really a horrible place for everyone not in a car.
If you are talking about that crosswalk in front of Target coming from the Busway area to the front doors, that is a really bad crosswalk because moron pedestrians will go across there without looking at the sign that tells them when to go. The automobiles are sitting there waiting to take a left on Penn and have about 5 seconds of green arrow to do so, but there will be some idiot pedestrian that will walk across there so only one car gets to make it. The guy in the truck might have been correct, but I am not sure if that is what happened, but I do know it happens ALL the time.
You "never really thought about it", but you're sure "moron pedestrians" are the problem? I'm sure there is jaywalking that happens there, but that is far down the list of problems at that intersection. Here's #1 - cars making a right from Penn Circle South onto Penn have a green light at the same time the walk signal for Penn is on, and the cars either incorrectly assume they have the right of way or just don't care. The fact the corner is rounded off to a ridiculous degree means the cars don't even have to slow down as they approach the crosswalk. It is an absolutely horrid design.
Go stand by the intersection for 15 minutes to educate yourself before you call someone else a moron.
"because moron pedestrians
will go across there without looking
at the sign that tells them when to go. The automobiles are sitting there waiting to take a left on Penn and have about 5 seconds of green
arrow to do so, but there will be some idiot pedestrian
that will walk across there so only one car gets to make it. The guy in the truck might have been correct
, but I am not sure
if that is what happened, but I do know it happens ALL the time
In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, mean-spirited, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
OTOH, V., I have seen people walking across that intersection without paying attention to the Walk sign, as @gg said. Do they literally do it all the time? Certainly not! But it's a pretty crappy intersection for pedestrians to navigate, and gg's comment could have been read as condemning the intersection design as much as complaining about stupid pedestrians (which actually do exist).
Discord is as discord does, I say.
It's nasty and confusing driving around that area as well.
That area has a tragic history. It was transformed from a retail area for East Liberty, with normal on-street parking (but lots of congested traffic etc.), into a pedestrian mall, with traffic routed around the outside, with Urban Renewal funds, back in the 1960s. They put a huge fountain right in the middle. That redesign killed retail in the area and, I think, is considered a classic example of what not to do in urban planning. Then, several years ago, they opened it up again to traffic, moved the fountain behind the church, and opened the Home Depot. Since then, retail has been coming back, pushed along by Whole Foods and now Target. It's been improving pretty steadily so far as economic development goes, but nobody has every sat down and figured out how to get bike traffic through there.
salty wrote:Go stand by the intersection for 15 minutes to educate yourself before you call someone else a moron.
Not to support gg but if anyone spend there 30 minutes then (s)he could see that quite a few people walking like this will jump in into parked cars and drive away.
PS I've spent once around 40 minutes talking to police officer on a bicycle when I was late for some meeting and did not want to interrupt it.
The simplest thing they could do here is give pedestrians a full 15 seconds to get across all directions, stopping traffic in every direction. It wouldn't involve an ounce of concrete, could be done in a day with the right people, would cost next to nothing, would be accepted without question by most drivers, and would have an immediate benefit.
What do you want to call people who jaywalk on crosswalks? Just last Friday I was coming south on Penn Circle E from the ELBL and I had to ring my bell because people were obliviously wading in the intersection when I had a green
The intersection has problems, jaywalkers could be one of them
Pierce wrote:What do you.. call people who jaywalk on crosswalks?
Pierce, before I stray afield, I wonder if the direct answer to your question isn't "scofflaw" (assuming there is a legal way to cross).
Please forgive a sidebar, but I was so glad you raised this. I was wondering last week, why "JAY
walking" - for instance, who was Jay? Is this about John Jay
of NY? I forgot to look it up, and now you reminded me (sincerely)
According to recent research, the earliest use of the word jaywalker in print was in the Chicago Tribune in 1909. The term's dissemination was due in part to a deliberate effort by promoters of automobiles, such as local auto clubs and dealers, to redefine streets as places where pedestrians do not belong.
In towns in the American Midwest in the early 20th century, "jay" was a synonym for "rube," a pejorative term for a rural resident, assumed by many urbanites to be stupid, slightly unintelligent, or perhaps simply naïve. Such a person did not know to keep out of the way of other pedestrians and speeding automobiles.
As for myself, I may never use that word again.
Let me reframe the original question in a fit of hyperbole, just an exercise in rhetoric:
What do you call a human being who crosses the public street without regard for a mechanized system that prioritizes the speed and time of automobiles over the safety of the non-carred?
Why, you call them a human being
, of course.
What do you call somebody who rides a bike? A human! What do you call somebody who kills someone else because they're driving at a high rate of speed and crashes? A human! With those pesky labels out the way, no we can solve the problem with ease!
In my own example, I'm not entirely convinced the time of one is prioritized over the other. If I yield to people jaywalking, I'm likely to get stuck at the intersection, which would include the time when the ped would have a walk signal.
Jaywalking is actually too broad a term for my specific case, which is people jaywalking over signaled crosswalks. What do you call somebody who runs a red light with oncoming perpendicular traffic?
Stu - that was one of the suggestions made by Action United, and it would certainly help, although 15 seconds probably isn't long enough for everyone to get across the intersection given how outrageously wide it is.
Whining about pedestrians jaywalking is about as productive as motorists whining about cyclists running red lights. Make people wait for a ridiculous amount of time to cross the gargantuan intersection, put them in direct conflict with cars so it's unsafe even when the "walk" sign is on (which, BTW, is only on for the bare minimum amount of time - if it comes on at all, assuming you went to push some out-of-the-way button at the proper time), and then wonder why people cross illegally. Start by making it easier and safer for people to cross the street and there won't be as much "jaywalking" either. Give people a big middle finger, and good for them for giving one right back.
In my own example, I’m not entirely convinced the time of one is prioritized over the other. If I yield to people jaywalking, I’m likely to get stuck at the intersection, which would include the time when the ped would have a walk signal.
You can try and splice apart things by scenario to try and get to some sort of greatest good for the greatest number. More power to those with that attentiveness, energy and good will. It's a rare trio.
Give people a big middle finger, and good for them for giving one right back.
This, however, requires only one attribute, ill will, and with cause, and is thus perhaps a more reasonable thing to expect.
But most interactions are emotionless, steered by scripts written by social norms. And there's particular logic to trying to ingrain the most basic norm of all. Watch out for the vulnerable. That is, if our goal is safety.
There's a nice bonus after safety that you see most clearly in pockets of density. The means of travel that leave you most unprotected not coincidentally also mean you require the least space. So by making that safer and more convenient, encouraging travel with less or no adornment, you maximize available space for all and make it easier to get from A to B generally.
These two paragraphs are #1 and #2 justifications for cities to invest in transportation cycling. The same logic also prioritizes unwheeled pedestrians over us. I'm ok with that, even if some do cross right in front of me while I have the green and kill my momentum.
I've been reading Jeff Speck's "Walkable City", which I highly recommend - it's excellent (thanks to the ELDI walkability workshops for the reference). I just got to a chapter (and 2 pages in particular) where he makes a lot of the points I was trying to make, a lot more convincingly than I can. Pages 185-186 in particular talk about push-to-walk buttons, shortened pedestrian walk cycles, lengthened vehicle signal cycles, right on red (and right/left on green) and how it adds up to an environment that's hostile for pedestrians and encourages jaywalking. It's as if he were describing Penn Ave exactly (and other factors like lane and roadway width are discussed elsewhere). So, why is it allowed to happen?
BTW, he also cautions against the "Barnes Dance" (dedicated all-way ped crossing, named after the person that popularized them), because it also makes pedestrians wait longer. His explanation there makes perfect sense too - if you are walking from point A to point B, and they're not on the same road, you have to cross streets in two different directions. So, when you reach an intersection, you can choose which way to cross based on the signal and often you don't have to stop walking at all. If you have the Barnes Dance you are much more likely to have to wait. In fact that happens to me all the time crossing 5th and Negley - I can usually cross both streets with minimal or no stopping. He says there it can still make sense where pedestrian density is very high (so the Target intersection might be a candidate, or maybe at certain times of day).
Anyways, my basic gripe is how often I'm stuck staring at a "don't walk" sign for absolutely no reason other than whoever designed the intersection decided to prioritize (turning) vehicles over pedestrians.
BTW, if you too would like to read Walkable City
, Pitt and CMU each have a copy, and the local public libraries have several; this link may be instructive: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/778422668
See if you can pick up a copy of Vanderbilt's Traffic
while you're at it.
OK, so the in order to have license to run these vehicles google needs to get the state/municipality to admit publicly that speed limits are a sham?
I mean, they are in practice, but it's, um, interesting to be making something where safety is one of the bigger potential issues, both upside and downside, around that and what the implications would be if that were admitted.
I'd liked the happy face on the car better when it promised some traffic calming to come along with. Enough of these and they BECOME the prevailing speed. And if you're free to do whatever instead of man the steering wheel, how important are those couple of minutes?
Finally begs the question if it's not admitted, what if the self driving car is pulled over for speeding? Thought google had enough of a legal headache already with self driving cars!
I can understand go with the flow, I honestly drive that way, but for this case and generally as a model for the future, much more bad than good.
This survey (http://bikeleague.org/content/share-road-20
) may be of use to advocate against this. I'm not sure where at in CMU this meeting is happening, but it seems very interesting.
PaDOT uses the 85% rule to establish speed limits, in disregard of safety concerns. So yes, the tail does wag the dog.
I don't think they're as concerned about safety as their marketing suggests. While you can make an argument that following the traffic is safer, try running that past a police officer who pulls you over for speeding. They're speeding because they can get away with it, and because if they strictly followed speed limits it would make the cars slower and less appealing. They are not creating autonomous vehicles as a humanitarian gesture; they are doing it so they can sell them, which means they have to go as fast as other cars.
I guessing the first time Google get a multi-million dollar judgment against them, they might decide to obey the law.
That, and I imagine some clever little legal finesse could get them for conspiracy, which is felony (even if the crime being conspired to break is not).
Commit a felony where somone dies? In some states that is murder one.
I really think it's time we took PennDOT to task about the 85% rule. That's the wall we end up bashing our heads up against for everything we try to accomplish. It's been in place for so long, probably decades if not most of a century (1930s?), nobody remembers why it was implemented in the first place.
The thinking behind what led to the 85% rule needs rethought, and a different rule needs to come out of it.
What is PennDOT interpretation of 85% Rule? Is is the famous rule that 85% of project take 15% of resources and the rest 15% of the project take 85% of resources?
in depth, the idea is that the speed limit on a road should be determined by the speed of traffic that would pass on it, absent a speed limit sign. Take the 85%th percentile of those drivers' speeds, and bingo, that's your speed limit.
@Mick, your faith in the sensitivity of corporations to tort law is touching.
Hmmm...at the risk of asking a dumb question, do the autonomous vehicles that have been prototyped thus far have the ability to read speed limit signs? How are they expected to know how fast to go, other than based on surrounding traffic?
[I am not in any way justifying them NOT obeying speed limits...however, the question of how an autonomous vehicle is supposed to understand such things is troubling to me, given the wide variety of circumstances under which speed limits vary...temporary signs, construction flagmen, inability to see signs due to intervening traffic, etc.]
I continue to be surprised at the hostility of bike/ped advocates to autonomous cars. For all of the possible pitfalls (dealing with regulations to make sure they comply with speed limits, building in strong right of way protections, etc.), it would be hard for them to be worse than what we have now. Human drivers are wildly, catastrophically irresponsible and inattentive; why wouldn't we work to get rid of them as fast as possible?
@reddan I remember research from a long time ago on reading street signs, so that has probably gotten better. But I think they also know the speed limit on any given street from the map and GPS.
@WillB All I'm pointing out is the difference between "can be" and "will be." Sure, autonomous vehicles can be safer than human drivers, no question. But they will be safer only if we require them to be. The market won't push things in that direction; safety has never been a primary issue driving car sales in this country (how many years did auto makers resist the introduction of air bags?) Autonomous cars will be safer only if we, as a society, decide safety should be a bigger concern than it is now.
Safety hasn't been an issue for car becasue teh problems were individuals. We would never, ever accept the abismal safety record that is standard for cars for airplanes or trains.
Some gets killed by a robot programmed to exceed the lawful speed limit and you can bet Edgar Snyder would be salivating on Google's big pockets. (and good for him!)
Possibly even if the robot were not exceeding the speed limit at the time of the incident. "Evidence of willful disregard of the law is relevant to corporation's claim of being a reponsible entity and so has relevance to the case."
While corporations may not give a fig for the letter and the sprit of the law, they are very, VERY sensitive to it's enforcement.
@jonawebb: my question revolves more around transient changes to speed limits, like construction zones, parades/marches/bike races, and other such temporary events. I'm curious as to how such things are to be handled by autonomous systems? (Not concern trolling, just curious.)
@redan, it's a speed limit! so you never go above that speed. I don't see how that changes with construction zones, weather, etc. It is the maximum speed to be driven under ideal conditions. So a robot would still be allowed to notice that traffic is going slower than maximum and adjust speed downward accordingly. But the speed limit is, well, the limit.
@reddan, a little Internet searching suggests figuring out how to deal with changing conditions is an active research problem.
@Mick, well, see http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/04/products-liability-driverless-cars-villasenor
for example. Products liability law won't work to restrain the industry, and for the same reason it won't work to push it to make the cars as safe as we would like.
I think these are fine examples of the sorts of things (well except for obscured sight lines, but if it catches one frame that should be enough) that just need to be handle-able by any software allowed on the road.
I'd hope google is there already than all these details needing to be manually mapped before they can be used and thus risk being out of date.
I'd also hope some of the more truly tricky stuff gets sorted out (someone waves you ahead, difference between pedestrian eyes up and pedestrian eyes in cellphone, cyclist approaches a pothole).
And I think it will ultimately, and pretty well. The concern I have revolves more around what's going on legally, and philosophically.
It's true you can't build a system capable of interacting in the real world purely based on rules, you need a hierarchy of behaviors. But speeding by default doesn't belong in there. And given that it is right now, it kinda makes me wonder what else is in there, by default.
Roll through stops? Ignore a pedestrian in the crosswalk because they're not THAT far into the crosswalk? Go with the flow around a curve even though visibility and ability to react is greatly reduced? There are a lot of shades of grey prioritizing speed, some darker than others. In relatively unusual (there's no window during the light cycle where there isn't a pedestrian in the crosswalk) or emergency (about to be hit otherwise) situations you need to be able to relax some of these rules. But by default? Please no.
Self driving cars can, and probably will make us all safer. But how much safer? Enough safer that people driven cars can be curiosities with no place in the city and my kids (well, ok, probably long tech curve, grandkids) can ride down the road on their bicycles without any reason to fear? Because THAT is what we should be pushing for, not just a more attentive version of the status quo.
A couple of observations
1. I understood that automated vehicles will first appear on limited access roads. like the turnpike, with the goal of increasing throughput and safety. I can go for a system that manages tailgating and makes driving less susceptible to (say) drowsiness. I don't completely understand using such systems on legacy roads in crowded urban areas (DARPA challenges notwithstanding.)
2. Vehicle speeds in cities are out of control. Why we bother posting speed limits is beyond me. Either enforce the damn limits or reduce the limit to 20mph (like in some places) and "tolerate" moderate speeding.
"2. Vehicle speeds in cities are out of control. Why we bother posting speed limits is beyond me. Either enforce the damn limits or reduce the limit to 20mph (like in some places) and “tolerate” moderate speeding."
This is why think automated vehicles would be GREAT in cities, because it would be much easier to enforce speed limits without having to dedicated police resources to it, i.e. you just create a regulatory framework that the manufacturers adhere to.
As to the other questions about such vehicles in urban spaces, my impression is that the google car has already been doing this pretty effectively, and has not had any meaningful accidents. Though admittedly, I haven't read up on the details lately.
also to @jonawebb's point, I very much agree about the importance of building pedestrian/bike safety priority into the regulations. I'm actually optimistic because I think that's a lot easier than getting lots of individual drivers to behave themselves
Speed limits in cities are a great example of the conflict between "can be" and "will be" in autonomous vehicle design. Don't you think people who commute to work via the Glenwood bridge would be reluctant to buy an autonomous car if they knew it meant that they would cross the bridge at the posted speed limit (25 MPH) instead of going 50, 60, 70 MPH like everybody else?
BTW on the question of autonomous vehicles dealing with changing conditions, see ex. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/529466/urban-jungle-a-tough-challenge-for-googles-autonomous-cars/
for a recent review.
well that certainly pours a bit of cold water on my hopes for getting human drivers off of city streets in the next 30 years.
I know nothing about autonomous cars, but wouldn't it seem likely that they'll have an autonomous mode and like an override mode? A la that movie with Will Smith, when they want to say, speed over the Glenwood Bridge, they'd just take control and do it, and then let the car take over when they're bumper to bumper again
(I know the Google article says they're thinking of having just AI driven cars, but me thinks the industry would choose to have both)
I think it's more important to have less individual driving overall as opposed to getting everybody to switch over to auto-cars. If society prioritized other modes of transport, that too would have a positive effect and I think would work on slowing traffic down.
-- Speed can be controlled by governors, though these days we presumably want things to be "smarter", somehow.
-- In that Tech Review article: "research would now focus on making vehicles that are 100 percent autonomous—leaving no room for error". This makes me want to cry; also, worry even more about the state of higher education in this country.
Current speed limits are based on human reaction speeds. Automated cars will have different reaction speeds, maybe slower, maybe faster, but probably not the same. Shouldn't limits for them be based on what's safe for them, not what's safe if a human had been driving?
True, stopping distances may end up being different. All the same, as a biker I would prefer not being buzzed at 60mph, no matter how smart the car or how fast it can screech to a halt.
But now you have me thinking about all that research on empirical morality. You know, car is driving down the street. Suddenly a child runs out in front; there is no time to stop. What do you do? Run the kid over or swerve into the cyclist riding beside you? And what if you could access information about the individuals? Would you factor their expected social utility into your decision? What if the driver's utility is even lower? Do you explode?
Right, there is a whole lot more to setting the proper limit than reaction time and stopping distance when there are people in the vicinity. I don't think it is reasonable to set the limit higher than 25 (or better yet 20) on city streets, even if the cars are "perfect". Of course, we already have higher limits than that, with drivers who drive a lot faster than the limit with impunity... and kill people with impunity.
Limited access highways, who knows - maybe some day they'll be able to crank it up to 500mph or something.
I hope the "programmed in" speeding only applies to the latter. I exceed the posted limit on highways myself - I normally set the cruise control to 6-10 over. OTOH I try to strictly follow the speed limits in the city and I will be very disappointed if self-driving cars do not do the same.
I also think autonomous vehicles are our best hope at improved road safety - relying on human drivers sure as shit isn't working. I also hope it one day spells an end to private car ownership, although that may be more of a pipe dream... But it would be a gigantic change if we didn't have to waste so much space on car storage.
In case it is not obvious, I am not speaking for my employer at all.
A really interesting paper from the Rand Foundation on autonomous cars.
I found the discussion of insurance and liability starting on Page145 quite interesting. Specifically: in an autonomous car world, does liability for damage due to collision shift from the User to the Manufacturer?
thanks to @TheIguana for the link.
"Nothing about them speeding"
It did say later on in the article that this car won't break the speed limit.
The part of the piece that most interested me was the claim that a "highway pilot" function will be coming to production cars soon, which will basically allow drivers to completely check out during highway travel. The ability for the cars to navigate city streets is much farther off. The highway auto-pilot, though, is likely to save thousands and thousands of lives, so hopefully that comes sooner rather than later.
There was a CMU startup that commercialized a version of the highway auto-pilot some time ago. They detected drowsy or distracted driving and sounded an alarm. The system was an add-on for trucks. It looks like they were sold to another company. The lead researcher seems to be back at CMU.
man I haven't seen a Tripod URL since (seems like) 1963.
Van, that could be any of us. Sad stuff.
This seemed like the right thread: http://www.salon.com/2015/02/22/why_hitting_a_pedestrian_is_a_nearly_un_punishable_offense/
Nothing we haven't all contemplated, auto-centric design, the hugely disproportionate power of motor vehicles, and how to get people thinking of that power as a responsibility.
The thing that was most interesting to me was the reminder of the unease that most have (certainly that I had), when learning to drive a car. So is there a window of opportunity there, and if so what do we do with it?
I'm not sure, beyond freaking people out even more which doesn't seem great (at least relative to what I would have needed starting to learn to drive). But if the outcome is that they decide they don't want the responsibility and just bike then that's a good, I just don't see it happening all that often.
Dunno, just throwing this all out there for discussion.
Good article, but it ends with a "how?" unfortunately. I suppose it's good that the issue is at least being discussed.
I don't mind articles ending with, how? The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. If you can't admit one until you have THE FIX, you may never get there.
The biggest how in the long term, I ~think~, in this case, is making driving a car feel like a choice for joe public. There are social trends that are moving us in that direction. But very, very slowly.
Otherwise, bothering to enforce the law when there is video seems like a good interim goal. Even if the penalties are too small, something, really enforced, and turn up the penalties to something real when society is more ready. Requiring professional drivers to capture said video hopefully might be achievable in the long term.
And penalties, criminal and civil when there's real enforcement, the latter which would trickle back into insurance, which would get more expensive unless you had monitoring equipment in your vehicle. Maybe that's a way drivers could be kept more honest without it being big gub'mint. I'd also love to see an assumed fault rule when the driver is recorded as speeding hits a cyclist from behind or pushes the cyclist travelling in the same direction laterally off the road.
Let's also include getting whacked with a mirror in that assumed-fault definition. Four feet does not mean from fender to seatpost.
@byogman The biggest how in the long term, I ~think~, in this case, is making driving a car feel like a choice for joe public.
An the yin to that yang : Make Joe Public feel like driving illegally is not an option. That is, above the speed limit, with suspended license, without current registration, without inspection through red lights, while intoxicated, closer to a bike than 4 feet, or recklessly, should not be an option. Not even one of those things. Taking a bus should be.
I always feel free to yell, "You shouldn't be driving" to obnoxious drivers. My impression is that few of the problem drivers have all their ducks in line. I don't know why a particular bad driver shouldn't be driving - but they do.