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US Wants Drivers To Test Wireless Auto Safety Tech

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  • I can't see how any of this is likely to improve things for bicyclists, but I sure would like a transponder to carry in my pocket that warns distracted drivers that I'm in the vicinity.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you want to improve things for cyclists maybe you guys could obey the traffic laws for once instead of biking through stop signs and red lights?

      • Re:Bicycles (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ichijo (607641) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @02:58PM (#36752620) Homepage Journal

        If you want to improve things for cyclists maybe you guys could obey the traffic laws for once instead of biking through stop signs and red lights?

        When a bicyclist obeys the law, unfortunately nobody ever remembers it. How often do you remember a motorist who obeys the law?

        • by Idbar (1034346)
          Well you're not supposed to be rewarded or remembered for doing the things you're supposed to do. Even more emphatically when is the law.

          When there are many exceptions that it becomes the rule, it means that the people is not following the regulations as they should, they are not properly enforced or ignorance is taking over.
        • by syousef (465911)

          If you want to improve things for cyclists maybe you guys could obey the traffic laws for once instead of biking through stop signs and red lights?

          When a bicyclist obeys the law, unfortunately nobody ever remembers it. How often do you remember a motorist who obeys the law?

          I notice when people drive like maniacs. There are a lot more cars than bikes, yet motor and pedal bikes make up a third to a half (my estimate) of the bad behaviour I see. They duck and weave out of traffic, use the shoulder of the road and move between stopped cars regularly. It is exceedingly rare to see a bike stopped in traffic, despite this being the law.

      • If you want to improve things for cyclists maybe you guys could obey the traffic laws for once instead of biking through stop signs and red lights?

        That's a red herring. I obey traffic laws, and I know plenty of other cyclists who do so as well. Distracted drivers, however -- just like drunks -- make no distinction between scofflaws and law-abiding people.

        • That's a red herring.

          How so? On a daily basis I see multiple bikers violating traffic laws that would cost me 100s of dollars.

          I obey traffic laws, and I know plenty of other cyclists who do so as well.

          Yes, because you and the other cyclists you know clearly make up the entirety of all cyclists in the entire world. Oh wait...

          Distracted drivers, however -- just like drunks -- make no distinction between scofflaws and law-abiding people.

          Yeah, as opposed to the bikers who drive around with headphones on and are just as unaware of their surroundings as a distracted driver?

          • by Kenja (541830)
            I see multiple drivers violating trafic laws every day. Therefore all drivers always violate trafic laws? Or is it only not a red hearing when you apply the same logic to bikers?
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I never bicycle, but a distract biker is only a danger to himself vs a distracted driver who is a danger to everyone on the road.

            • A distracted biker can be a danger to drivers around them, if the driver has to swerve or slam on his brakes to avoid killing the biker. Or are you saying we shouldn't risk other cars at the expense of one distracted biker?

              I don't mean to take one side of the argument or another, but this is a point that I didn't see made. Yes, bikers violate traffic laws. Yes, so do drivers. Not all bikers are bad, not all drivers are bad. The danger possible with a car is potentially greater than a bike, but not always
            • by 0123456 (636235)

              I never bicycle, but a distract biker is only a danger to himself vs a distracted driver who is a danger to everyone on the road.

              Yeah, right.

              Back in the real world, the number of pedestrians killed per passenger mile by cyclists in the UK is about the same as the number killed by motorists; I've no idea about US statistics. Just because a cyclist isn't likely to kill someone in a car, that doesn't mean they're not going to kill a pedestrian.

              I have fond memories of the cyclist who, just before I left the UK, barely missed me as I stepped out of a store in a 'pedestrianised' area where they were blasting along at 20mph or so with a kid

            • Absolutely not. A biker has the capacity to cause an accident, which is a danger to EVERYONE involved. Yeah, the guy in the car is going to be a lot better off than the guy on the bike, but it doesn't mean the guy in the car is going to suffer no injuries whatsoever.

              Also, a distracted cyclists forces a driver to make a choice: hit and kill the cyclist or hit and injure people in an adjacent car but spare the guy on the bike. It's obviously far better to rear-end a slow moving car in the next lane than sl
        • by hedwards (940851)

          It's not entirely unreasonable. I've noticed that cyclists seem to regularly ignore the laws when convenient. I'm not sure who gave them the idea that they can ride in the street just because they want to. But, they're only provisionally allowed to if they're going to follow the normal traffic laws. Which means that if they can't keep up with traffic that they can't be in the street.

          It's just too much of a hazard to drivers to be stuck behind a cyclist that's going well under the speed limit. Worse is tryin

          • by w_dragon (1802458)
            Don't know about your laws, but where I am it's perfectly legal for a bike to be on the street, other than major highways. You are no speed minimums here, so they're just another vehicle. In fact there's a campaign now for bikes to ride in the center of the lane to force cars to actually change lanes to pass because of the number of cyclists killed by drivers who don't know where there car is and try to pass without changing lanes.
            • by 0123456 (636235)

              In fact there's a campaign now for bikes to ride in the center of the lane to force cars to actually change lanes to pass because of the number of cyclists killed by drivers who don't know where there car is and try to pass without changing lanes.

              I'm sure that will really work well in rush hour and really, really make drivers love cyclists.

              • by w_dragon (1802458)
                In rush hour what city are you in that traffic moves quickly enough that a bike couldn't keep up? For enough room to be safe you need to be partly into the next lane to pass a bike anyway (unless you have bike lanes or really wide lanes), so why not force you to actually change lanes so you aren't just drifting into a lane that someone else is using?
            • by hedwards (940851)

              They can drive in the streets here only if they adhere to the same regulations that apply to cars. And they can drive on the sidewalks only if they obey the same regulations that apply to pedestrian traffic.

              So, no they're not allowed to be on the street if they aren't going to keep up with traffic. And they're especially not allowed to do it if they're going up hill at a speed similar to a pedestrian. Obstructing traffic is a no no.

          • by Anguirel (58085)

            It's not entirely unreasonable. I've noticed that cyclists seem to regularly ignore the laws when convenient. I'm not sure who gave them the idea that they can ride in the street just because they want to. But, they're only provisionally allowed to if they're going to follow the normal traffic laws. Which means that if they can't keep up with traffic that they can't be in the street.

            It's just too much of a hazard to drivers to be stuck behind a cyclist that's going well under the speed limit. Worse is trying to get around them safely.

            The speed limit is an upper bound, not a lower bound. All vehicles on the road are permitted to travel under that limit, unless there is also a posted minimum. It's no different than a person driving an old Model T in the street, or someone with a Horse-Drawn Carriage. Public Roadways are for public use.

            If you're so upset about their presence, here's a great idea that will make everyone happy: lobby your local city council to add bike lanes and commute bike trails so they can get out of your way. It wou

            • by hedwards (940851)

              That's not true, if you wish to drive significantly below the speed limit then you're required to have traffic control devices. I remember seeing a convoy of vintage vehicles being driven on the highway a few years ago and they had a pilot truck and one following because of the hazard.

              The only times you're allowed to drive significantly under the speed limit are when conditions don't allow for driving the limit or there aren't any other cars.

              • by Anguirel (58085)

                There's a difference between prudence (voluntarily having a pilot and following vehicle with flashing lights), and legal requirement. To my knowledge, only Arizona has a state-wide statute on minimum speeds, which is the same as maximum speed: "reasonable & prudent". I'm unaware of any that actually require additional reflective strips or the like (for, say, Amish carts), but most people will apply them on their own. I certainly always have my own flashing lights and reflectors on my bicycle when I'm

      • Well, that varies by cyclist, as you can imagine. Some cyclists obey the law, just as some drivers do. I can't control what other cyclists do, just like you can't control what other motorists do.

        There's a lot of confusion between both cyclists and motorists about how to treat cyclists. Laws vary a lot by state (and city). And a lot of people (on both sides) just don't seem to understand that bicycles are vehicles and should obey the laws of vehicles on the road. And be on the road, not the sidewalk (by

        • I very rarely find a good middle ground with cars. Either they're too scared to go past me even when I'm stopped on the side of the road with one foot on the curb, or they want to blow past me straight away, no matter what else is happening around them.

          From my observations, most bicyclists obey the law about as much as most car drivers: which is not very much.

      • Yeah - the last town I lived in (small college type) rather seriously enforced all of the pedestrian and cyclist laws. You could bike in the center of your lane (like a cyclist is supposed to do) and cars behind would respect your space, speed, and not try to pass. You'd even be ticketed for trying the sidewalk (and definitely for stop sign/light violations & etc...).

        Pedestrians could cross at a cross walk completely blind and be perfectly safe (even at jogging speeds - you have the right away after a

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Around here if you're not keeping up with traffic you're not allowed on the street. And with good reason, impeding the flow of traffic is dangerous for everybody involved. It's even worse when it's a cyclist as they require even more attention from drivers when they're doing that.

          • by Ichijo (607641)

            Around here if you're not keeping up with traffic you're not allowed on the street.

            Then you must not live in an area with farm vehicles.

            • There's generally a special exception for farm and construction vehicles just about everywhere in the country. When in the street they're required to have an orange reflective triangle on the back of the vehicle.
          • Never had trouble with that. In fact one of my favorite things to do back in the old town was to pass cars in the left lane. I kept hoping I could manage either a speeding ticket or at least an official warning - wanted to frame it on the wall (maybe even talk up the cited speed).

            Even a mountain bike should be able to push 30 to 35 on a flat, road bikes can do far better. Country highways are different, but in town riders should have no trouble keeping up with city speeds unless there's terrain issues (I

      • Bicycles should not be on the same road with trucks. Neither should motorcycles. It is insane. Frankly, even cars is a little insane--drive a tractor trailer for a while, you'll see. But there's just no sense in smaller vehicles sharing the same road. We really should have a fundamentally different transportation design.

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          Once we get 5 (trucks, cars, motorcycles, bikes, pedestrians) sets of dedicated roads leading to all locations, fine. Problem is that is impossible, and we are currently serve less than 50% of locations with 2 sets (vehicles and pedestrians) in any but the most dense cities.

        • by Pope (17780)
          Motorbikes are perfectly safe on highways with big rigs, the rider just has to give a wider berth when passing to not get caught in the dirty air. My 31 year old 400cc Honda keeps up fine on the highways up to 120km/h, it's right in the power band. But as with cars, it's the unsafe morons who make it hell for everyone around them.
          • They are perfectly safe assuming there are no problems--the problem is that the margin for error is so small, and that if there is an accident there is hardly any protection for the driver or passenger. I know someone who suffered major injuries from a relatively slow speed injury between a car and motorcycle, when he was stopped at a red light. It was not his fault--but a car would have made all the difference.

      • by yodleboy (982200)
        while we're on anecdotes... i've been hit by cars 5 times while cycling. 3 of them were drivers rolling through stop signs, even though I had gotten there first, stopped, and then gone on. 1 was an impatient lady that didn't seem to realize her light was still red and gunned it into the intersection. the last was a bozo that decided to back up at a light. into me... and let's see what about the thrown objects? firecrackers, cans, bottles. And the people that would rather clip you than dare to put a t
        • "Sure, but I think the difference is I am very aware of my surroundings"

          I hear this argument all too often. "I'm a cyclist and I hate drivers for breaking the law, but it's OK for me to break the law because I'm a better cyclist than they are a driver". Your argument rests solely on your flawed belief that you're better than everyone else.

          "The consequences for me NOT seeing a car are just too severe"
          You imply that the consequences for a driver failing to see another car are negligible. Do you seriously b
      • Motorists obeying traffic laws would be a great start. Not even the cops here actually stop at stop signs. Turn signal use is infrequent, as is stopping for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Everyone talks on their cell phone while driving too, which is illegal here.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I know what will. required prison time and $100,000 in fines for killing a bicyclist with a car. THAT will make people aware of bicyclists.

      But then I also want it to cover motorcycles and pedestrians as well.

      • So the person who ran over the cyclist is now in prison and can't tell people to watch out for bicycles. When he gets out he'll be a poor felon, why should anyone listen to what he has to say?
      • A bit excessive, don't you think? All of that on top of, say, a manslaughter charge is a little rough for an accident.
      • Yeah, because until now the worst thing about killing people has been cleaning the blood off of the car.
        You think people do this on purpose?

        • Yes, I do.

          Accidents are accidents, I wont hold one against you, as long as you make up for your mistake.

          Murdering someone because you are not paying attention to your surrounding while your operating a 2 ton reinforced steel cage on shared roadway is not an accident. Unintentional maybe, but if you can't keep your car from running over peds and bikes, get yourself a scooter.

          • by Vancorps (746090)

            No offence, but you clearly haven't thought your cunning plan all the way through.

            First off, there are many conditions that can cause an accident, not paying attention is one of them but is certainly not the only one. Where I grew up black ice in the winter was a huge issue and is beyond your control because you can't see it all the time and when it comes to a car and a biker even 15 mph is enough to seriously injure or kill someone. I've even had birds dive bomb right into my windshield making me swerve u

          • by operagost (62405)
            Please look up the dictionary definition of "accident" and stop redefining words based on your own beliefs.
        • by ngg (193578)

          You think people do this on purpose?

          Why, yes, I do.
          http://californiabicycleracing.blogspot.com/2008/07/this-is-what-doctor-christopher.html [blogspot.com] (warning, NSFW).

          And the verdict:
          http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/01/cyclist-sentenced.html [latimes.com]

          • OK, followup question: do you think any "Tough-on-drivers"-law (as Lumpy suggested) would have helped here?

            • by ngg (193578)
              I think that a better place to start would be strict enforcement of existing laws: Drivers in the LA area have been noticeably more well-behaved (especially near Malibu, where this attack took place) since this widely-publicized trial--The realization of possibility of loosing one's freedom has a tendency to focus the mind. Treating extremely aggressive driving as assault (look up the legal definition of assault), and better cooperation from law enforcement officers would be a good place to start. If that
      • I know what will. required prison time and $100,000 in fines for killing a bicyclist with a car. THAT will make people aware of bicyclists.

        Fine, as long as bicyclists get fined 1000x what a car does for running through red lights, stop signs and violating other traffic laws.

        • OK, but to make this fair we will have to remove all A/C and weather-proofing from the automobiles.

          Or you stop with bullshit about making shit fair. A bicyclist running a stop light, (which technically he can't even trigger because he doesn't give off a large enough magnetic field to trigger the light,) isn't likely to kill someone, even if he causes an accident. A car doing the same will. The laws are designed to reflect this.

          • by Pope (17780)

            A bicyclist running a stop light, (which technically he can't even trigger because he doesn't give off a large enough magnetic field to trigger the light,) isn't likely to kill someone, even if he causes an accident. .

            Granted, 100% of my cycling these days is within city limits, but I’ve yet to come across an actual stop light that didn’t have a pedestrian crossing button as well. Roll over, push the walk button, light changes sooner, go across.

          • Where I live (and I suspect most places) there are laws that allow the cyclist to treat a red light as a stop sign for exactly this reason. The key phrase here is "STOP SIGN". As in, you still have to stop, look both ways, etc. before proceeding through.

            Most cyclists argue "I can ride through without stopping because I can't trigger the sensor", which is ridiculous.
      • The problem with this is that not everyone who hops on a bicycle cares about traffic laws. I consider myself a semi-avid cyclist and I ride with traffic quite regularly. I usually don't run into too many issues besides the occasional person honking at me or shouting something, but I follow every traffic law and make sure to give right of way when required. On the other hand I see a lot of bicycles doing stupid things like riding on the wrong side of the road, not stopping for red lights, darting into traffi
      • I can say I'm aware of bicyclists in my area they travel in packs 3 or 4 abreast and generally impede traffic. They do not stop at stop signs and generally think they own the road. I'm not talking about residential streets where you expect children riding bikes or even kicks playing street hockey etc but through roads with 50 mph speed limits.

        Why do you expect to be better under the law? You choose to drive a flimsy unsafe vehicle. If there is an accident it's an accident you pay for the damage you caus

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by liquidweaver (1988660)
      I think it says a lot when you get a bunch of anti-cyclist comments posting AC. It's kind of like biking responsibly in real life. You obey traffic signals, ride as far over to the right in the lane as possible allowing cars to safely pass, signaling at turns, etc. Yet still, in a week of commuting, you still get 2-3 anonymous assholes who fly by a foot to your left, screaming at you to get off their road. Strangely, it seems like this happens mostly during traffic when cars are averaging ~20mph anyways and
      • Yet still, in a week of commuting, you still get 2-3 anonymous assholes who fly by a foot to your left, screaming at you to get off their road.

        I seem to get an anonymous asshole like that about once every month or so -- and yes, it's always some driver whom I haven't impeded for more than 30 seconds, if at all. If I were driving, he'd be fuming for a lot longer than that because I drive the speed limit and my car takes up the entire lane, not 2-3 feet of it.

        I hope you'll try cycle commuting again. Check to see if there's a local bike club that can offer suggestions about routing. And always, always write down tag numbers of harassing motorists an

        • Yeah - it was very disheartening. Maybe I will. I have heard it makes a major difference geographically, too. I live in St. Louis, so I can only speak for here. Once a month would be a lot more tolerable.
      • Perfect response.

      • by Uzuri (906298)

        Frankly I have problems with those people when I'm driving a truck at speed.

        They're just assholes. It has little to do with what you're actually driving, riding, flying, or walking on.

        • Yeah, but when you are in a truck it's a lit easier not to die when several thousand pounds flies by :)
          • by Uzuri (906298)

            True :)

            Except when they cut in and your options are let them hit you or drive off a 20 ft. embankment into a creek XD But yeah, in general, VERY true.

      • by Uzuri (906298)

        Gah, I meant problems with people passing 30 seconds after getting behind me at insane speeds, not bicyclists. That was ambiguous. Sorry.

    • by Tyr07 (2300912)
      Well ultimately it's a step in the right direction. As cars become more automated and the technology is expanded, newer technology will be produced that will increase safety for everyone, including those who cycle. We need to remember that we both play equal parts in accidents, cyclists and drivers a like. Many cyclists run red lights, never give right away to cars that have it, etc. These cause accidents. I get the impression that some cyclists are quite arrogant and think cars should yield to them. Let'
    • It can alert other drivers, it can alert you when there is a car approaching you from behind, heck it can inform you that you should pull over for a bit as you are really holding up traffic. But really lets fix one problem at a time. First lets get Car Safety up, then we can go back on to bike safety... However most of that means just giving a bikers lane

      • by HiThere (15173)

        Bike lanes are really a very poor answer. They are too narrow, if you take a fall, you fall right in the middle of traffic, and people open car doors right in front of you. (They don't make the roads any wider just by putting in those lanes. Some times they take out a lane of parking, but that has other bad effects.)

        What's really needed is separate grade. How to do it, though, is not clear. But at minimum the bike lane should be closer to the edge than the lane of parked cars.

        Remember, lots of the peop

  • Does this include police checkpoints? For some reason, I doubt it... But I thought I'd ask anyway

  • Looks like we are one step closer to flying cars. We won't get flying cars until cars can fly themselves.
  • ...to the cop when they get pulled over for texting while driving?

  • Make driving a bigger pain in the ass [nytimes.com] than it already is..

    And the sidebar within the Slashdot linked article on the Seven advanced car technologies the government wants now does not say anything about driverless vehicles. That's what the priority should be. I mean. if reducing the risk of accidents is what you're after...

    • does not say anything about driverless vehicles. That's what the priority should be

      After driverless, we'll discover that cars that can link-up with each-other physically are even more efficient.

      Next, we'll realize that specialized tracks can provide power to the vehicles enabling long trips without refueling.

      Finally, we'll be able to use trains again.

  • I have one big fear with this kind of thing. If the cars do start driving themselves and taking directions from the other vehicles and lights around them, how do they design it so that it is not hackable. We have had many articles talking about industrial controls systems that are getting viruses and make things vulnerable, what about a car.

    How do they secure someone from hacking into a vehicle, or from just injecting false inputs by broadcasting them, and causing accidents? Have they considered that? A

    • SHHHH!!!

      You'll spoil all the fun!

      Everyone knows that, although not impossible to create, there's no such thing as a 100% secure system because the cost to create one is too high, especially in the consumer sector -- their lust for the "nouveau" and the competitive time-sensitive markets virtually ensure that us hackers can Crack Everything Forever!

      --That is, until we have AI that can write & test software for us we won't be able to fully trust the system security (... wait, what?!)

  • I respond aggressively. I have a fun, fast car. I drive it just like that. No accidents and never pulled over, in almost 10 years.
    I never ride passenger, unless I am exhausted, because I find driving to be enjoyable, and I don't trust other drivers (including my own friends).

    Automated cars are slowly, but surely going to be taking the fun out of driving. Not very dissimilar, the "green" movement is doing the same, with lower HP cars, and tiny gas sipping engines.

    And don't even get me started on the "aut

    • by Vancorps (746090)

      As a fellow driver of a fun and fast car I can say that private track and road courses will always be available. I have way more fun on the private courses here in AZ. It's also nice because you don't have to worry about cops thinking that you're going too fast.

      It will be a long time before cars driving themselves will become the status quo, you've got nothing to worry about.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      I respond aggressively. I have a fun, fast car. I drive it just like that. No accidents and never pulled over, in almost 10 years.

      I never ride passenger, unless I am exhausted, because I find driving to be enjoyable, and I don't trust other drivers (including my own friends).

      Automated cars are slowly, but surely going to be taking the fun out of driving. Not very dissimilar, the "green" movement is doing the same, with lower HP cars, and tiny gas sipping engines.

      THIS

      I could not agree more!!

    • Automated cars will give me 2 more hours a day to do productive things (1 hour each way on what feels like the straightest road in the world.) Ultimately, I would love it if these 2 hours mean I finish my work earlier and can enjoy more of my life with friends & family.

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