(To really get the message across, I think it needs spikes at the bottom, and spinning blades.)

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8 Responses:

  1. lex lapax says:

    what's uh, the alternative (discounting bike only roads)?

    • Pedestrianisation. Though to an outsider it can seem the US habitually takes the opposite approach.

    • Eric says:

      Here's a list of things that would improve this situation:

      * Change away from measuring the vehicular throughput of road lanes as the key optimization, and instead measure people throughput of streets. The current standards give the same weight to a single occupancy car as to a loaded bus, and largely ignore people and bicycles.
      * Design urban/commercial/residential roads for slower travel. For many decades, the engineers designing our roads have added safety features (wider lanes, gentler curves for turns) under the fundamentally incorrect assumption that drivers would go at the same speed as before those features were added. Drivers base their speed more on the road conditions than the posted speed limit, so adding those safety features has encouraged faster travel and a net reduction in safety.
      * Make walkability the highest priority in street design. At the very least, make Complete streets the standard.
      * Eliminate right on red (at least in urban, commercial and residential areas).
      * Presumptive liability. Change the laws so that a driver is presumed 100% at fault when they hit a person or significantly smaller vehicle (bicycle, motorcycle). Currently if the driver of a vehicle hits and kills somebody, there are really no repercussions unless they hit and run or there's clear evidence that it was intentional. Presumptive liability would change the discussion from "they came out of nowhere!" to "why were you going 35 in an area with pedestrians?"

      What would these things look like, physically? The travel lanes would be narrower. The sidewalk would be wider. There might be a bike lane or "sharrows" that aren't in a door zone. If there's on-street parking, there'd be a bulb-out at the intersection (less distance. The crosswalk signalling wouldn't make you wait as long.

      Or in terms of that picture: the walking area would be wider, the chasm would be narrower, the planks would be slightly less precarious, the corners would narrow the chasm even more, and the chasm would only be deep enough to break a leg.

  2. Lowering the speed limit from 25MPH to 20MPH would halve the fatality rate.

    Well, we'd also need to enforce speed limits. Probably just enforcing the current speed limits would also work.

    • Eric says:

      Almost nobody ever really pays any attention to the posted speed limit. They observe the road and go at the (perceived) safe speed. Don't just change the signs, design the roads for slower travel. Start with narrowing the travel lanes, which has the nice side-effect of giving room for wider sidewalks.

      • One reason I'm really looking forward to auto-drive cars taking over is that they will obey the speed limit. And actually stop at stop signs. And not cut the corner when turning left because there's no other cars around oops there's a bicyclist.

        • I'm looking forward to them because they will cut the accident rate at least 90%. But to get along in a world with human drivers who always break some of the laws (in some regions at least), they may need to break the law to function.

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