Instead of noisier cars, how about producing people who pay attention to their surroundings instead of walking around like zombies?
There is no way in the world that you can protect morons from themselves. Heaven knows our government has tried, but it doesn't work and will never work.
We have lighted, bell-ringing RR crossings with arms that come down to block the morons from getting onto the tracks, so naturally the morons wiggle through the down arms and get hit by a train going 75 mph. Their family sues the RR for allowing the trains to jump off the tracks and chasing said moron down the road.
We have stupid-proof cars that turn their own lights off, won't let you lock the door with the key in the ignition, and sound alarms when you're low on gas. People used to take care of these things themselves or suffer the consequences.
There are mountain cyclists who peddle madly along trails in wilderness areas... wearing headsets to mask sounds... and are found a few days later partially eaten by a bear or cougar. As far as I'm concerned, they're dumb, deaf, unaware meals-on-wheels, one more way of cleaning up the shallow end of the gene pool.
We have street joggers wearing headsets to deafen them against the sounds of approaching traffic.
Our courts are jammed up with cases of people suing other people for their own shortcomings of intelligence.
maybe I am a sicko. but I think its kinda funny. though its not really. think about how much time and energy is put into dealing with goofy 'problems' that could be used for something productive? how many new technologies are put to the wayside because they are afraid they aren't idiot proof enough? all these great minds are worried about quiet cars. uhm. if you are in a street or parking lot.....use your eyes.
you know what bugs me, my son used to be able to walk 5 miles to town or ride his bike, he rode into tennis practice when he was very young, all by himself..he knew it was safe to stop at any house along the route for help if he had a flat or needed something..now people are afraid that someone is going to come into their home and grab their kids and sell them or hurt them.
what is up with this generation of people? I totally agree with the stupidity factor. There seems to be a huge lack of commen sense..maybe God ran short when he was handing out brains?
Bloom where you are planted.
I remember reading something that suggested that a little speaker be mounted near the front of the car that makes a sound like the vehicles in "The Jetsons". Maybe some folks can turn it on so that at speeds under 30 mph the car just always makes that sound. Maybe a little button could be mounted on the steering wheel that you can press the button and it makes the sound as long as you hold the button in. So if you see somebody not seeing you, they might then notice you. Not as loud as a horn.
If people are too stupid to live, they're just too stupid to live. If they simply can't pay attention long enough to keep themselves alive, they're going to suffer the consequences.
I know a woman who has been in a wheelchair since she was driving drunk when she was 18. I'm sorry, but tough. I'll save my sympathy for the people who are the victims of TRUE accidents, not for people who are just too lazy to pay attention.
hadn't thought of it that way yet but you are right. I don't want to hit people. even if they are stupid or careless or distracted. running over someone would kinda ruin my day and I suppose I have had my fair share of stupid careless and distracted moments. so far luck has been on my side. knock on wood.
[size=10pt]new nintendo game to be released[/size]
"electric car named sue" the latest nintendo game to be released on friday is causing quite a stir. points are accumulated by running down pedestrians, but only those caught in an act of stupidity, requiring the player to develop the skills to make split second decisions about the classification of pedestrians as either "idiots" or "survivors". hitting someone in a MENSA t-shirt results in in loss of all your points unless that someone is caught in an act of stupidity by which a hit an run results in instant doubling of points as people of supposed supreme intelligence are held to a higher standard. polititions are identified by their expensive tax payer funded suits and shiny white teeth, the hit and run of these characters results in points irregardless of their 'idiot/survivor" classification.
I missed out on this thread. In a way, my post relates to ronbre's. About 9 years ago, a friend of ours had an accident on his motorcycle. He wasn't drunk, nor speeding, or doing anything reckless. It was just an accident. He is an excellent motorcyclist, been riding forever. The road curved unexpectedly, it wasn't the road he though it was. If there hadn't been chunks of concrete street curbing laying out in a field, he wouldn't have been seriously hurt. Unfortunately, he was thrown from his (onto bike & broke his collarbone and shoulder blade. He was in a somewhat rural area (it was around 8 PM) he said it was the 4th or 5th house he'd walked to before someone would call for help. He said some people "acted" like they weren't home, but he could hear someone inside. Some told him to go away. He even said, just call 911, I'll sit outside. He's a clean cut person, not a stereotypical scary biker & was obviously in pain. Finally someone helped. It's very sad that kids can't ride their bikes (or walk down country roads) safely in their neighborhoods, and people won't open their door to help someone who is hurt.
Sue, I understand the angst over idiot pedestrians - my pet peeve are teenagers that walk out without looking and then they walk. as. slowly. as. they. can. It must be uncool to be polite and get out of the way.
That said, I'm with Paul that I would rather not hit a pedestrian. I've always said they would dent the car! (Okay, my turn, I know: )
Here's a further slide sideways for this thread (sorry Paul!): did you see any episodes of Weeds? The one where the gang leader decides the Prius is perfect for drive-by shootings because they can't hear you coming is priceless! I'm not into weed per se, but the humor in that series was great.
It's a sorry thing that our 'civilization' has reached the point where it's every person for themselves. At least ten years ago, there was a videotaped social experiment where they placed a young boy with a quarter by a pay phone on the sidewalk that was too tall for him to dial. He kept asking passing pedestrians (while holding up his quarter to show he wasn't begging for money), and asking if they could just dial a number for him. It was truly unbelievable how many people walked by. Only one woman stopped and helped him.
Two quotations come to mind:
Konrad Lorenz: "I have found the missing link between the higher ape and civilized man; it is we."
Cornelia Otis Skinner: "It is disturbing to discover in oneself these curious revelations of the validity of the Darwinian theory. If it is true that we have sprung from the ape, there are occasions when my own spring appears not to have been very far."
I gotta say, there's definite upsides to this whole idea of quiet cars. I was in a hybrid that my aunt leased down in Berkely, and being utterly silent at stoplights was pretty much miraculous. Just us, our conversation, and a little background music.
Contrast trying to play a new tape of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" in my other uncle's van, when between engine noise and road noise, we could only hear one note per measure: "Peep..Peep..Peep"
And what finally brought it home, was riding my bike home after I missed the last light-rail train out of Portland. My companion (an ex-NY bike messenger) insisted on seeing me home, a ride of about 15 miles one-way. We took a route that my dad used to use for commuting, because it had decent bike lanes. But at 3 am, we didn't need them; we rode side by side in the right hand lane, talking and laughing. There was no noise- because there were no cars. (And yes, we were well lit, and stuck with the bike lane when the road was only one lane for cars.)
As a former full-time cyclist, it's not just pedestrians who need to remain aware in traffic. Drivers need this awareness too: no matter if it's a hybrid, biodiesel, or gas-guzzler, you're driving a lethal weapon that outweighs your victims 4-to-one.
If you compute the speed of traffic and the speed a person hits the ground from a fall, going 25 mph is like falling off the roof of the garage. Being hit as a pedestrian (like Ernie was) by a car going 40 is something like being hit by a car falling from a 5-story building. The faster you go, remember that the impact goes up with the cube of the speed - so 10 or 20 mph faster can actually double your impact, and the damage caused.
If you're doing something in the car like talking on a cell phone or eating, it can be a good mental check. Think "Would I be casually doing this if I was standing on the roof of my garage, by the basketball hoop?" Or substitute the roofline of a multi-story building suitable for your speed.
Most people who are hit at 40 mph do not survive. Having Ernie in the car simplifies the mental arithmatic considerably: all I have to do is ask myself, "Are Ernie's knuckles turning white on the dashboard?" and I know it's time to focus on avoiding all the other nutballs in traffic, and not try to multi-task.
We also learned, in that experience, that if a car is truly out of control (not just coming around a blind corner), their chances of hitting a pedestrian are actually higher. The explanation offered is that a panicking inexperienced driver will often look to the nearest person for help, and if that person is a pedestrian... well, unfortunately, people unconsciously steer where they look. I don't imagine quieter cars would have that much impact on this effect; and their tires would probably squeal just as loud if they started fishtailing in traffic.
If we were going to require noisemakers, I'd like to see sets of whistles like they used to have on sailboats. They can be calibrated like pipes or bells, to give off different noises at different [apparent wind] speeds. They already do this for warning off deer, the sounds are inaudible to most people. If you tune them all, you could have sweet, mellow chords in the neighborhoods, and screaming supersonics on the freeway. Could become a whole new gearhead art form. And I could have them on my bike too. And drivers in quiet cars could actually hear them!
I wonder what will happen as driving gets more expensive? Will we see better driving skills emerge? More warning signs like crushed side-panels on the careless who can't afford repairs? Will drivers' attitudes become even more entitled, driving as an expression of privilege? Will carpools, multi-user 'taxis', and other shared transport options grow? (Professional drivers drive as if their job depended on being safe and alert; many commuters drive as if the whole 'traffic' thing was a personal inconvenience. Big-car drivers sometimes drive as if extra steel makes them safer, so the little guys better get out of the way. And I know more than one person who thinks DUIs are annoying, but everybody gets them. ops: Scary! What will attitudes be like on the road, as fuel prices keep rising?)
I've been enjoying the "mow down the idiots" angle, by the way
I agree that people need to be aware of their surroundings. I'd like to see people respecting the traffic laws a little better (pedestrians have right-of-way at unmarked intersections, but not against a light. Smart people look both ways regardless (car, bike, or foot). Respecting the speed limit - especially on busy roads where speeding is the norm - has a huge safety impact.) And wouldn't it be great if we had more personal responsibility, and social responsibility to provide the safety-net, instead of the "lawsuit lottery."
It could be that we also need more places for people to be not-in-traffic. Surroundings like a crowded bazaar with music and laughter and cheats, or couger-infested woods, or stormy seashore. A lovely, shady walk to work, and a place to hang your umbrella or hat. Places that repay constant attention with pleasure and richness and learning, instead of mere "not dead yet in the concrete jungle" survival.