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Archive for the ‘highways’ Category

Well ok then

If you are a police driving instructor, you can do anything:

A police driving instructor who clocked 122mph in an unmarked patrol car on the way to a private meeting was cleared of 11 speeding offences today.

PC Paul Brown, 48, also jumped red lights and used the powerful BMW X5’s sirens and lights intermittently during the 17-mile round trip to discuss his son’s education at a college.

But in court today, the officer claimed he was practising his driving skills to ensure they were “up to scratch”.

Anne Walker, chairwoman of the bench at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, said there was no agreed policy or rules for how police instructors should do their own training and record it. “We cannot be sure that Mr Brown did not undertake these two journeys while carrying out his own CPD (Continued Professional Development),” she added.

But Harry O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said the dad, a Norfolk Police driving instructor since 2016 and an officer for 18 years, had not been authorised to use the car for his training while driving alone to and from the college. “PC Brown was late for a meeting and drove the way he did, not out of concern to keep his driving up to scratch and perform CPD, but because he was late.

101mph in a 30mph zone…

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Another mind boggling metric of our dangerous roadways: over 500 Americans are killed each year from cars crashing into buildings. There are over 3,600 serious injuries from such crashes. Federal road “safety” agencies don’t bother to measure the problem let alone propose solutions (which is probably just as well as they would have restaurant patrons wear helmets and bright colors).

So it is left up to private groups, such as the Storefront Safety Council, to highlight the issue and propose solutions.

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After months of construction, the new 2-block $10 million Shattuck “reconfiguration” project is now operating in downtown Berkeley. Whereas Shattuck used to split into a northbound and southbound leg, the road now makes the old southbound section two-way. The northbound leg is turned into a giant turn pocket:

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If you find the above diagram confusing, the red arrow indicates the old travel path for northbound traffic (Shattuck West used to be one-way). So $10 million was spent just to streamline northbound car traffic at the Shattuck/University intersection.

The reconfigured Shattuck is now more of a traffic sewer (even the left-turns were eliminated). For drivers, this is really great because they can blast through downtown. For bicyclists though, the new road is stressful. To fit 4 lanes in this section, the traffic lanes were narrowed. While narrow lanes can sometimes serve to calm traffic, in this case the result is impatient motorists passing bicyclists with mere inches to spare.

The Shattuck reconfiguration project is one piece of a package of projects to increase automobile access to the downtown, including a new $40 million parking garage (LEED Certified of course), and additional “back-in” parking spaces along Shattuck East. While other cities are creating cycletracks and even eliminating car traffic in their downtowns, Berkeley is moving in the opposite direction.

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Mayor Arreguin at the ribbon cutting for the new Center St. parking garage

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Shattuck construction

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Four car lanes, wider sidewalks — but no bike lanes or cycletracks

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City of Fremont will spend another $150,000 on radar speed feedback signs:

Veloso said the new signs — which flash car’s mph back to drivers and display a white strobe when speeding is detected — will be installed on “high-speed” arterial streets where the city has seen the highest numbers of “severe injury and fatal collisions.”

A staff report indicates some of those streets will include Niles Boulevard, near where a woman was killed in a hit-and-run in late November, as well as other spots on Fremont Boulevard, Paseo Padre Parkway, where a couple of signs are already posted, and Thornton Avenue, among others.

Since the city began implementing its Vision Zero plan in 2016, staff says major crashes through November 2019 are down 46 percent on roads with speed limits above 40 mph compared to 2013 to 2015 numbers. However, the numbers of fatalities from collisions are mixed, hitting a low of four deaths each in 2016 and 2018 to a high of 10 in 2017 and seven in 2019.

The problem in Fremont is that the posted speed limit on major arterials is 35 mph and higher. So even if all drivers were to comply with the speed limit, the road would still be too dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Fremont Blvd near the Warm Springs BART station, where a cyclist was killed. Posted speed limit is 45 mph.

 

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This is my car. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My car is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my car is useless. Without my car, I am useless. I must drive my car true. I must drive faster than my enemy who is trying to pass me. I must pass him before he passes me. I will …

My car and I know that what counts in driving is not the gas we burn, the noise of our exhaust, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the speed that counts. We will speed …

My car is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its accelerator and its wheels. I will keep my car clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will …

Before God, I swear this creed. My car and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of the highway. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no traffic, but peace. Amen.

 

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You look ridiculous

You look ridiculous, and I’m not just talking about the vests:

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Another pedestrian-safety tweet from the dingbats at CA-OTS. The message is: when a pedestrian gets hit, they probably had it coming.

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Tesla is the safest car ever

Testing out the new parking lot summon feature:

(Note: the “driver” had to emergency stop the car with his phone)

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drivetime-4

Now you can play Jeopardy while you drive (i.e. Jeopardize the lives of other road users):

Yes, playing games in the car is for real, and it might not be as distracting as it sounds, according to startup Drivetime. Drivetime has raised $4 million to provide voice-based games for drivers. The company is convinced that not only is this safe, it helps drivers by keeping them alert for longer times.

More than half of Americans are expected to have smart speakers by the end of the year, but the trend has yet to catch fire in the car. Drivetime’s Vuori sees this as the final frontier still untouched by interactive entertainment.

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NBC correspondent Marianna Sotomayor has been following the Beto Presidential campaign — literally. Here she is blasting down the highway while blabbing into a cell phone camera. She barely has her eyes on the road, making this a textbook example of distracted driving:

According to the NHTSA and the NTSB, distracted driving is a leading cause of highway collisions. Distracted drivers have severely degraded reaction times, similar to that of drunk drivers. How did NBC News editors (and lawyers) sign off on this?

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