Monday, July 27, 2009

Small and Inconsequential

I was reading briefly on the subject of Idaho bike laws, under which cyclists are permitted to treat stop signs like yield signs. This makes intuitive sense given that a cyclist's not-stopping-at-all can often be roughly the same speed as an automobile's rolling-stop.

The following quote stood out:
The “momentum” argument is garbage. If the stop signs are located for good reasons (not always the case), then conservation of momentum should take a back seat to other considerations. If the stop signs were not located for good reasons, then cyclists and motorists should unite to get them removed.

Why wouldn't cyclists and motorists unite on this subject? Because a cyclist notices energy inefficiency at the moment it occurs: the cyclist has to pedal harder. The motorist doesn't notice the inefficiency until reaching the pump, and at that point it usually gets framed to oneself as a "gas is so expensive!" complaint, rather than a "cities are designed so inefficently!" complaint.

And, even recognizing that the stop-and-go of most day-to-day driving is the cause of much of the inefficiency is another couple of steps away from realizing that the quantity of automobiles contributes to that stop-and-go, and that your-car-in-particular is part of the quantity of automobiles.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I can certainly understand the desire not to have to stop completely at each sign. There's a point or two on the different routes I can cycle to school that are more than frustrating in this regard.

    BTW, I like your revised subtitle.