[Yak] Bicycle/auto collision studies
charles_e_voigtsberger at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 8 20:10:56 CST 2008
While I am the first to admit that studies done in Denmark and the U.K. or Germany are very interesting and MAY have some applicability to the U.S., I posit that the applicability of such studies done in countries other than the U.S. may have only limited applicability to conditions as they exist in the U.S. I must confess that I am not familiar with requirements to obtain a driver's license in Europe or the U.K., but I am some what familiar with the requirements to obtain a driver's license in Japan and they are far more stringent than in the U.S. I suspect the same applies in Europe. In addition, in some states, due to the large number of illegal residents who are unable to obtain a legal license, we have a great number of unlicensed drivers. I just finished reading a column written by a vernacular newspaper columnist wherein he confesses that he drove for over fifteen years in California without a license. This is recent fifteen years, not in the
1930's or some such time period where driving without a license was not so dangerous due to less traffic. He also admits that he recently failed his driver's license test two times, despite having assistance from the test giver. He was allowed to take the test two times on the same day, something that is forbidden by the rules of the CalDMV. He concluded his column with the comment that if he can't pass the next time he may well drive without a license again. He also admitted to four serious accidents and numerous minor accidents, too numerous to recount during his driving career.
Recently a 20-year old driver in Ventura, who had had, by independent witnesses, two beers, accelerated rapidly away from a stop light while attempting to make a phone call on his cell phone. ran another stop light and killed a bicyclist and fled the scene. After he turned himself in and plead guilty he was sentenced to 6 months in jail (served in the evenings and on weekends.) Was his car impounded? NO. His driving was restricted to going to and from his job and for medical emergencies. And, of course, he was allowed to drive to and from the work release program. I would like to say that this is an isolated and aggravated situation, but alas, I cannot. It is the usual situation where a motorist kills someone while driving in the U.S. Compare that to a northern European country that fines drivers based on their ability to pay, where someone who committed a driving infraction not amounting to vehicular manslaughter paid a fine amounting to well over
The point of all this drivel? Driving conditions in foreign countries are far different from what exists in the U.S. Even driving conditions in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. To state that certain dicta were obtained from a study in some country other than the U.S. I feel is to compare apples to orangutans. I feel too many traffic engineers and others want to take the results of some study and apply it locally without making the effort to find out the total parameters of the study and their applicability to the local situation.
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