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faffi

Can you make road traffic safer?

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faffi
We may not like to hear it, but lower speeds and more education together with better roads and improved vehicle technology actually do influence road safety.
 
In Norway, average cost to obtain a driver's license is about USD 3000-3500. If you want to also ride a motorcycle, you can double the cost. Should you also want to become a bus or truck driver, you can add another 5-8000 dollar. Yes, it is costly. Yes, it may seem unfair. But when you put that cost and time spent learning the theoretical and practical aspects of controlling a vehicle - pluss pass exams for both - and the number of lives saved, things may look a bit better.
 
In 2015, 117 people were killed on Norwegian roads. Only two times since they first recorded numbers for road deatch back in 1939 have there been lower numbers; 116 in '39 and 94 in '47. The highest number was 560 killed in 1970.
 
For this to really begin to make sense, you need to look at the number of registered vehicles. I do not have numbers for the earliest years, but in 1950 we had 144,718 of them on our roads. By 1970, this had increased to 1,116,528. Today, there are more than 3,8 million registered vehicles, that are driven 61 billion kilometers annually. Back in 1960, the number was just 5 billion km from 525,000 vehicles. 310 got killed that year.
 
So while the travelled distance has gone up 12 times, the number of killed have dropped to almost a third, making it about 32 times safer to travel on our roads that it was a good half century ago. That is a pretty impressive gain in safety in my book.
 
 
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robbo10
There seem to be so many factors involved in such statistics I'm not sure it's that easy to draw conclusions although you would hope that education does make a difference. Certainly in UK, the roads are much worse than in 1956 when I started. New technology has improved the safety of cars enormously, and bikes, but it has brought us mobile phoning and laptopping while driving. The development of make-up even has them applying it while driving. And there was surely less drink and drugs in motoring in 1939. What factor negates these idiots if there is an improvement in stats? In those early days there was such a thing (no longer) as 'motoring' - driving just for the sake/enjoyment of it. This was going from A to B without a deadline and in my experience it was not in haste; so was it poor training or poor brakes, steering and suspension that led to accidents? For even better statistics, driverlessness is now staring us in the face.... This piece is becoming a ramble now so I'll sign off. BTW in this country, bikers are the last people to go 'motoring'.?
 

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norcal616
As long as a human is the technology between the foot controls and hand controls, accidents will happen on a regular basis unless every automobile,motorcycle, semi-truck, ambulance, fire truck, taxi, box truck, heavy equipment all go driverless overnight literally to achieve a near 0 death rate...
 
when I started driving 16yrs ago cellphones just hit the market with the Nextel 2 way and I noticed a huge decline of road manners which each new generation...nobody has an patience to drive nowadays, now a 1 sec gap in traffic is enough for the avg 18 yr to make a left turn across 3 lanes of traffic from a private driveway with traffic going at 55mph , when 16yrs ago a good 4 sec gap in taffic was considered at min polite...
 
***make every cell phone unworkable above speeds of 15mph*** who cares if your a passenger, we survived for years with a cellphone or Ipod...
 
we got far better safety today with the use of seat belts, airbags, safety glass and structure than 50-60 yrs ago...
 
I do like how EU for example has tiered licenses compared to the US... which in my view offers more mature thinking drivers...

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farble
I remember reading a long time ago that the US government made a decision to not support driver skill training but to mandate safety features like seat belts. It scares me to be riding on a busy multi-lane urban highway with concrete walls and think how much skill it really takes for all these drivers to not crash, and how most of them are probably not paying much attention to driving at all. I think I would feel safer surrounded by self-driving cars.

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alexlj92
I remember reading a long time ago that the US government made a decision to not support driver skill training but to mandate safety features like seat belts. It scares me to be riding on a busy multi-lane urban highway with concrete walls and think how much skill it really takes for all these drivers to not crash, and how most of them are probably not paying much attention to driving at all. I think I would feel safer surrounded by self-driving cars.
As long as the self driving cars can recognize a motorcycle. I dont think any out there with self driving features currently are consistently able to do it, which in my opinion makes them more dangerous as they create the incentive for the driver to pay even less attention to the road.

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faffi
I found some information about this just now; in 1973, there were 0.6 accidents per 1 million km, in 2002 this had dropped to 0.25. I haven't been able to find more recent numbers, but there were more than twice as many killed in 2002 as in the later years.
 
The safety of modern cars have a lot to do with the reduction in how many get killed.
 
In 20% of the fatal accidents, the driver was intoxicated.
On average, 40% of the fatalities comes in the form of head-on collisions. Some of these are undoubtedly suicides, but no figures exist.
Roughly 35% is solo accidents where the vehicle leave the road.
About 35% are directly influenced by the speed being too high for the conditions.
A similar figure is given for a vehicle in some sort of disrepair being a contributing factor.
10% of the fatalities are pedestrians.
 
With alcohol locks fitted to all cars, physical dividers between directions as well as Armcos on the side of the roads plus safer crossing for pedestrians, the number of deaths could be more than halved. Add speed limiters in all vehicles, and you can halve that again. Add automatic stop for sleepy drivers, and there are not a lot fatal accidents left.
 

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alexlj92
If no one drove we could reduce the deaths to zero. Some things just aren't practical or realistic. Although no one may want to hear it, cost benefit analysis comes into effect. How much tax payer money or extra on a car are you willing to spend to reduce deaths as a total of the driving population or your chances of death by a fraction of a percent?
 
if these measures had no cost it would be a simple answer, but adding dividers and guardrails on every road in the country as well as a plethora of required technology to every automobile manufactured and retroactively to old autos is not realistic and many may say not worth the cost in their opinion.
 
The problem is not whether there is an available solution in this case, but whether the cost is worth the improvement. Many would immediately say yes as you are dealing with lives, but many would also change their minds once they saw the increase in car prices and maintenance coupled with the increased taxes to pay for the road safety measures.

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faffi
We can be sure of one thing; us driving our cars and bikes will be taken over by robots in the not too distant future. That will eliminate the majority of accidents. In the meantime, assisting technology and cars withstanding bigger bangs will do their bit to reduce the number of fatalities.
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gregjet
Interesting how people in small and/or densly countries think human-inputless cars are gonna take over, In Australia that is exceedingly unlikely except in the cities. Too much of the country is not only sparsely uninhabited but the roads are marginal or not where they are supposed to be ( on a map). Even gettingf mobile coverage is difficult for the vast majority of the country ( though most city dwellers don't know it).
In this country if you don't have a licence you don't go anywhere. Little public transport and little service to those places with service. Huge distances. I recently moved from North Queensland south to more populated country. There is was 350km north to the next big town, 400 south to the next big town and 1000km west to the next "biggish" town. The chances of death by driverless car is greatly incrased by things like floods ( at least yearly), cyclones, cattle or roos on the road etc. Same reason electric cars are unlikely anytime soon for most of Australia. Fuel/electric possibly.
Big cost licences, DON'T increase safety anyway any more than big fines do. All that means is that the less rich of the population can't move or go to work. No evidence that high cost equals safety. It does increase the chance of corruption though.
Now that does not mean that driver/rider education isn't important. It is THE most important thing in keeping the road toll down. It should not cost an arm and a leg to do it though. In a country of volunteers ( eg lifesavers, rural firebrigades, SES) , there is no reason why people with training and skills would not be willing to give their time to assist riders needing training. What we need is a mechanism for training the trainers and facilitating the training ( training areas etc). I for one would be happy to do this sort of thing.
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farble
Speaking of rider training, in the US there is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Take a course from them and get a discount on your mandatory insurance. Teaching useful tips like watch the wheels of cars that might pull out in front of you from side streets. You can see motion of the car by the rotating wheels quicker than by looking for the car moving forward.
 
The idea that level of alertness should be required of car drivers was suppressed in the US. The car will take car of you.
 
We are lucky as motorcycle riders. We enjoy that our transportation requires a high level of awareness. It would be good to promote more driver/rider skill, which means more awareness.  Everyone could have more fun on the road.
 
On the other hand, we have driver-less cars coming.
 
 

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faffi
I should have mentioned that the high cost is a result of a lengthy training process, where you must drive on an "ice" course where they use oil and water to mimic ice. You must drive at night. You must follow a significant number of theory classes. You must have a certain amount of driver lessons with teacher. You can, if you are really good, get away with about 1500 buck, but the majority needs more lessons to prove they have the skill required to mix it in daily traffic.
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gregjet
What's "ice". I thought it was a serious drug problem????LOL.
But we really should include riding in water on the road in our training. Lot of single vehicle accidents hitting water on the road a few inches deep.
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faffi
Car safety improvements no doubt have helped reduce the number of fatalities as well over the years.
 

 

 

 

 
 
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ralph
As a outsider UK based I cant get my head round how in the US you seem to be able
to just jump on any bike you chose and ride off into the sunset, not even knowing
the basics changing gear seems to be a total mystery to many, on the other hand
in the UK they seem to be trying to make it so difficult and expensive to ride
a bike that only the very keen even bother, go to any bike meet and they are
mostly older men, I would not like to force our system on anyone.
training and practice are the answer but don't let the buggers take your freedom
away.
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r1limited
I cannot speak on behalf of other countries, but I doubt "HIGHLY DOUBT" there is any correlation on the price of a license and traffic deaths, unless you are saying people don't drive because they cannot afford it! well with that I say BULL, as human nature is no matter where you live the human condition will say, F that cost I am driving anyway. How many people drive with out insurance globally? How many people basing this only on the cognitive skills needed to actually drive a care or ride a bike should NOT be permitted to do either? Believe me, in coaching, I have witnessed and advised to sell the motorcycle because they are a danger to themselves and others. What I am saying is there are those special kind of stupid people who should never be behind a wheel or in control of handle bars. That may be mean but it is the truth. But we all love Freedom and Liberty Right? I mean there is this little thing called cause and effect damn laws of contradiction :)
 
I Digress
 
Someone mentioned MSF, because they are accredited and it is mandatory don't mean a hill of beans. I had fundamental problems with MSF, they have to pass if one is wanting a MC endorsement. I was going through rider coach and in MSF I observed coaches ignoring basics, passing students who had ZERO ability even after 4 and 5 attempts. Witnessed a father daughter who bought two HDs just so they could ride to the Hollister rally like 3/4s of the other posers, these two were going to get hurt never owned a bike or rode one. I saw another person after 5 attempts and still dropped a bike they passed the guy just to get him his license. When bureaucrats get involved ITS FUBAR IMO.
 
An long time friend who owned a dealership at the time, we had a long talk on selling bikes to snot nosed jimmey after saving his paper route money and he convinced his mom and dad a 600 was a good idea and save. Since there is no law in America on tiered licensing (Which I am a proponent for) then the moral and ethical judgment of the shop and sales team comes into play. My friend was cognizant of selling to inexperienced riders and I know for fact this shop tried to sway people otherwise. I flipped a buel blast recently, rider just got their endorsement, both rider and father came to look at the bike, the rider was having a lot of difficulty well lets say they could not get the bike rolling. After several attempts and watching the frustration of the rider and the fear on the dads face I took the keys back. I explained to this person, maybe a R3 or a 250 Ninja would be a perfect fit for them, not to get frustrated as the bike will find them. I sold that bike a week later to a person who rode off with a huge smile on there face and moved up 250cc.
 
Moral of the story, the cost of license is no deterrent to stupidity

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