Tag Archives: biking

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Signs don’t equal Safety – Don’t support the All Way Stop at Ellerslie & Tamworth

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

The lyrics of Signs by Five Man Electrical Band always pop into my head when someone starts talking signs for safety: be they  speed limit signs, stop signs, or shoes required signs.  I do not support signs, and the neighbourhood is currently petitioning to get some new stop signs installed down the street, to convert a two-way stop to an All-Way stop, so here is my argument against this instance.  As a “long haired freaky people“, it seems to be the minority view, but I think with a little bit of consideration and research, you may change your mind.

First off, we are not traffic engineers.  I don’t necessarily put faith in ‘experts’, but if you want to play the role of considering traffic flow, then consider traffic flow in the entire neighbourhood, not just at a single intersection.  Changing an intersection will have impacts many intersections away in a variety of ways.  What if your support for a change at this intersection, resulted in an accident nearby?  NIMBY is a slippery slope to go down.  All-way stops are put in place to assist with negotiating right of way, when the intersection has near-equal traffic in all directions.  This intersection as one of its four directions is a dead end, you can assume right off the bat that it will not have equal traffic in all directions.  Studies have also shown that drivers will increase their speed between intersections to make up for their ‘lost time’ of having stopped.  Whoops?

I don’t like pollution.  Asking the majority of motorists approaching this intersection to increase their emissions and noise produced are two forms of pollution I’d rather keep out of the neighbourhood, not to mention the increased fuel consumption compounding over the next few decades that the sign would be there.  Oil doesn’t grow on trees (anymore).  If this isn’t obvious, when you accelerate from a stop, you use a lot more fuel, your engine is louder doing so, and when you are idle at the stop, and when  you are accelerating there are many more emissions in the area.

Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.  Pedestrians and cyclists at the intersection could end up crossing in a more risky fashion, assuming the competition at the intersection will be stopping.   Shared Space in urban design pushes this edge considerably and I lean towards this when ever I discuss traffic signs and road conditions with people.

The attention this has gotten in the neighbourhood shouldn’t be ignored, but let’s not knee-jerk our support for the All-Way stop, but rather channel the concerns into  looking at the larger issue of how can we make our community a better one for people traveling with-in it, and through it, on a larger scale.

Please also consider how well you are perceiving the ‘danger’ here.  Risk Perception is a funny thing.

Some more traffic related links if you’d like:

ChrisNolan.ca

August 27, 2013

Whenever I hear people talking about changing roads around to make this better for cyclists I like to ask them if they have heard of “Shared Space” in urban design?  There are places in Europe who design their spaces where pedestrians, cars, and bikes all share the space.  No lanes, no signs, just respect for one another.  The Risk Compensation (see some work by Ian Walker studying how cars treat him when in different gear on his bike) that takes place when you impose further rules and restrictions is argued to not actually improve safety over all.  Something to consider, if you haven’t already, as a cyclist.

Be Kind to One Another.

Top of the DVP CN Tower in Clouds Ride for Heart

Six Year Old completes 25km Ride for Heart

Ride For HeartMy wife and six-year-old son today rode in the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Ride for Heart.  My wife’s father passed from a heart attack a long time ago.

Overall the organizing had more than 13,000 riders and raised over $5.5 million today.

Jen raised $235, and my son raised $130.  Thank you to our friends and family who supported them in this adventure (looks like the website is still taking pledges? hint hint)

My son had been looking forward to it for months and he exceeded our expectations in completing the trip in 2 hours 20 minutes (avg Speed 11km/h).  Route mapping done via the MotionX-GPS app.

Update for 2014: Here is their fundraising link for this year’s ride.