Attacking problems from the wrong end.
Just stumbled across this in my morning blog-reading.
Looks like we have to start making noise from those darned silent hybrid cars. You wouldn’t want to spend the same funding on better driver education/testing instead, would you.
To be fair, they do underline the fact that it helps those with impaired sight the most, but that almost seems to be baiting the issue to better serve what they are doing. A comprehensive look into ‘incidents’ between hybrid cars and peds may find one or two other issues besides noise…
When I ride, I’m very aware of the sounds coming from behind me and I do not like being surprised. I thinkt it s avalid issue, a least for the first few years of more silent cars.
The first few times I rode the Jail Trail, I had a helluva time. I listen for cars and the sound of cars coming up behind me at 70+ mph was disconcerting. Now, before I get on the trail, I take a deep breath and shut off some of my aural awareness.
There was a girl killed by a train east of here recently – she had earbuds on and probably did not hear the train. I’m always astonished that people deliberately cut off their primary danger alert system so they can use music as though it were wallpaper.
It’s not like these cars are floating across the road and don’t already make noise. Pretty soon all cars will beep like the annoying airport shuttles.
They are attempting to pass a bill that would require new vehicles or maybe just SUVs with a rear camera. What ever happened to looking before you backup?
At what point do we stop making excuses for shitty drivers?
I don’t think this is just a “driver” problem. What happened to looking both ways before we cross the street? Obviously, this does not include the blind pedestrian scenario, but the blind citizens in my neighborhood seem to be the only ones that know the pedestrian rules of the road so I don’t think it applies.
I think adding sound to electric cars is a good idea, as long as cartoon studios are in charge of the sounds and not the car manufacturers. Elec cars should all make the twittering noise of the Jetsons space car, SUVs should make the slappa-slappa noise of Fred Flintstone’s car.
This all stems back to one incident in 2008 where a boy in Minnesota rode his bike in front of a prius because “he didn’t hear it coming” according to his mother.
Then a California startup saw dollar signs and developed a system of speakers that “intelligently” project synthetic engine noise from four corners of a hybrid. Oh boy.
I remember watching the local news in Sacramento back in 2008, and they had a Prius rolling down the road emitting a constant beep beep beep beep. That almost got me to pack up and move down to some desert town in Baja.
True. I got caught up in the second bill requiring backup cameras.
heh – rsprake, at your backup camera requirement mention my mind flashed to the next iteration of “distracted” drivers starting the car and gleefully shouting out the window “LOOK OUT” with eyes maliciously squinted shut, radio blaring (dashboard television on too), slamming on the gas totally irrespective of the gear/direction.
Where is this infamous “personal responsibility” lobby that corporations like to use to avoid culpability, why doesn’t it work for drivers?
And that article made me think it’s only a matter of time before fixies will have an automatic beeping sound, or even geared bikes will be determined too quiet for the ipod deafened set and we’ll all be required to blare “warning, I am a cyclist potentially travelling in your direction, warning” from speakers permanently imbedded somewhere unpleasant.
People should have known these cars were going to be trouble:
“The Locomotive Act 1865 (Red Flag Act)(Britain)
The Locomotive Act 1865 (Red Flag Act):
Set speed limits of 4 mph (6 km/h) in the country and 2 mph (3 km/h) in towns.
Stipulated that self-propelled vehicles should be accompanied by a crew of three: the driver, a stoker and a man with a red flag walking 60 yards (55 m) ahead of each vehicle. The man with a red flag or lantern enforced a walking pace, and warned horse riders and horse drawn traffic of the approach of a self propelled machine.”
^edmonds, that is awesome. Where did you dig that up? Love it.
I agree that sound is an important awareness and alarm mechanism for many users of the road. Except cars, which are incredibly isolated from all other noises.
What’s to prevent this bill from going further in a future form to include cyclists? (If I maintained my bike better, it wouldn’t make a darned bit of noise. If I maintained myself better, you wouldn’t hear me huffing and puffing as I approach. I guess I am doing a pretty good job making myself audible.)
The noises better be convincing though. If you are basing your navigation purely on sound, some new digital noise is not a good solution.
Imagine being required to slow down in this era.
Instead of reduced speed limits in urban neighborhoods we will have a loud announcement from vehicles, “WARNING, ELECTRIC CAR APPROACHING, WARNING, PLEASE CLEAR THE WAY.”
rsprake, think you can get an LRAD option on your next prius?
a blind pedestrian expects that cars will not follow the rules and so depends on car noises to make safe decisions. so lets see what’s more like to come out of congress: higher new driver testing standards along with a $1000 application fee? retesting every other year for experienced drivers? strict enforcement of traffic laws with triple the current fee structure? no way in hell. speakers it is.
The front end of an existing 40-foot diesel transit bus under acceleration from a standstill is amazingly silent. Same bus, rolling, not under acceleration, even quieter. Make it a hybrid bus, quieter still.
It doesn’t matter what noise the vehicle makes or doesn’t make. The point is, pedestrians need to get their heads out of their butts as much as do certain drivers.
Short version: Darwin was right.
Stu, Have to totally agree. We have a society that has “bred” stupidity back into the species. The gene pool has become extremely shallow and has passed the point of redemmption (from my cynical viewpoint).
Maybe they could make everybody attach ice-cream truck bells to their vehicles.
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