Austin Cycling News

Cycling in Austin

Safety is no accident

By • Aug 2nd, 2008 • Category: Info

This is not a cycling post, but a lot of us are drivers, and also this is the sort of thing that could make the roads safer for everyone.

You are supposed to drive in a way that allows you to stop for your visibility in all conditions. If you cannot do this you are driving unsafely, and that is why the law will not care that some “slow driver caused an accident”

If you drive the way you are supposed to, a slow driver, a stopped driver, bicycle, pedestrian, or a dead animal in the road cannot cause you to have a collision, this is why it is SAFER.

When you come around a blind corner? You are supposed to drive SLOWER than the speed limit. The same for over a hill, or in a fog, or in the rain, or ANY reduced visibility situation. Driving any other way is unsafe because you are setting yourself up for an eventual collision. You can call it an accident when it happens, but really it was your lack of prevention. You may kill someone because of this lack of prevention.

There is no minimum speed on most roads and when there is one it is required to be posted.

You are not legally required to go the speed limit, you are legally required to stay at or below it.

It does not matter how fast a race car driver could drive the road, you should always drive well below your abilities so that you have time to cope with the unexpected.

If everyone else on the road is speeding, we have a serious problem, and I am looking at a lack of enforcement as the cause. You would be surprised how much just 10-20 phone calls from safe drivers would do to get some police out there handing out tickets and slowing it back down to the speed limit.

If everyone on the road is speeding, call the police dept (not 911, here we have 311, but check your local numbers) They will get someone out and get some money in the bank for the local PD. If only one person does it will not help, but if nobody does it that will not help either.

I think the officers should enforce tailgating laws more as well.

I always ride a safe and reasonable speed in the center lane of a 6 lane freeway, and the right lane of a highway, and in the city I do not care which lane I am in, because slower traffic is not obligated to keep right in a 35mph zone.

I always keep a following distance of at least 1 car length per 10 mph. That is about 6 car lengths at 60mph, I slow down appropriately to keep this distance.

If someone tailgates me, that increases my stopping distance, so I must slow down to increase my following distance. I do not use my brakes, I just let up on the gas or the cruise control. I feel fairly safe once my following distance is about 2-3 extra car-lengths (if the car is particularly large, I may do more, again I now have to drive so that I and the car behind me can both stop for anything unexpected in the roadway).

To the people that think slow drivers caused them to have an accident, if you drove the safe way, you would never rear end a car, or hit a pedestrian or a cyclist. (Unless they happen to just leap out in front of you in some suicide attempt).

Off of the highway, I am prepared to stop even when going through a green light. You never know when someone will run a red light. I cannot guarantee my safety, but I can improve my odds of surviving someone running a red.

The goal in driving is to get there safely, not quickly. Driving is neither fun or exciting, if it is you are endangering others.

If you want to drive a vehicle in an exhilarating way, go to the race track, they are everywhere. Keep it away from my family as we use the roads to try to get there alive.

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4 Responses »

  1. Thanks for dropping by Cyclelicious Adriel. When I lived in Colorado we had an incident where a guy ran directly into a traffic circle because he claimed the sun was in his eyes. The result: The city removed the traffic circle. I was on the city transportation advisory board at the time and argued that it should have remained — what if it was a child crossing the street there instead of a traffic circle?

  2. That is insane. But it does not surprise me as much as it should. It is exactly the same answer as the bicycle “solution”

    Bicycles aren’t protected enough against these reckless drivers, so get some paint on the road to make them safe from the drivers.

    I guess I should qualify that some bike lanes I do like, such as 8′ wide shoulders on highways. Those are real nice.

  3. [...] Just like the incident on 290 we have the sun in the eyes of a driver and the driver refuses to slow down for conditions. This is ILLEGAL. DO NOT DRIVE WITH THE SUN IN YOUR EYES, YOU WILL KILL SOMEONE. This is why riding [...]


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