Monday, April 28, 2008

know and follow the rules of the road, for efficiency's sake

case in point,

I was driving in from Philomath Blvd. onto 35th and then Oetjen, and I had some oncoming traffic on 35th. They were going slow enough that I could make the turn onto Oetjen safely and not have to stop on 35th and block traffic. Because oncoming traffic was not speeding forward, I was more likely to safely make the turn without stopping. Clearly, stopping and starting is fuel inefficient, once you get that mass rolling, its most efficient not to have to stop and start every few seconds. That's why the timed stop lights and sensor pads are such a great thing. When everyone follows the rules of the road, everyone is more predictable and safe and efficient. and the price of gas and insurance goes down.

But undoubtedly there are ways to improve the rules, without compromising safety, to encourage people on the roads to anticipate their fellow travelers moves and minimize stops and starts. Signaling is very important. Let the people around you know what you're gonna do, is that really too much to ask?

Having said this as a driver, as a bicyclist, I have to say that bicycling as a mode of transport is qualitatively different than driving a motor vehicle and as such can be allowed some leeway in terms of riding on sidewalks and other rules of the road. Just as with drivers, there is no excuse for reckless behavior, however I know from miles of experience that I can safely ride on a sidewalk with a trailer amongst pedestrians and not be a risk to anybody.

speaking of sensor pads from the perspective of a bicyclist, sometimes they don't work for the bike which point I go over and press the pedestrian button.

And keeping the bigger perspective, when talking about efficiency and high gas prices, we really can't ignore the fact that many people still drive their gas guzzling SUVs and trucks SOLO sometimes in a reckless manner, and indeed don't really give a shit about high gas prices. These people are costing all of society by being wasteful and driving up gas prices and (sometimes) endangering their fellow citizens.
(we all know what happens when a Prius gets slammed by a Yukon XL.)

I'm sure speculation is a big part of the skyrocketing price of oil, but I also believe it to be supply driven, primarily, hence the speculation. Yeah yeah, peak oil, yadda yadda...we've all read up on this. We're at the peak of global oil production and the remaining half is the difficult half, the first half was sweet, duh. and now we have tar sands and oil shale. We have to pump water (spend energy) or some gas into the wells to force the remaining blobs out of the pump. Plus now China and India want their fair share and there isn't enough to go around.

Talk about a crossroads. But here we are everyone. What are we gonna do about it?

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