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Re: Pedestrians aren't the only ones who matter.

Posted by Stephen Bauman on Mon Jan 2 11:45:34 2017, in response to Re: Pedestrians aren't the only ones who matter., posted by BrooklynBus on Mon Jan 2 11:08:16 2017.

With cars and roads safer than ever, motorized travel is safer than it has ever been. Remember in the 1960s when every holiday weekend, the media would publicize the number of national highway deaths? You don't hear that anymore because holiday deaths are way down.

The number of collisions has actually risen. The reduction in deaths is due to the use of restraints such as seat belts, shoulder harnesses, air bags and crumple zones.

One type of death that has not fallen, is that to pedestrians. The relation between impact speed and the severity of injury to pedestrians was presented in a paper to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the 1970's. This relation has been corroborated in many papers since then.

The authors of the original article hoped that the automobile manufacturers would redesign the car to reduce injury severity as they had for the automobile occupants. The automobile industry has refused to take such action. This leaves the only alternative for reducing pedestrian killed and severe injury (KSI) total to be reducing impact speed.

The fatalities and injuries that do occur are made by an infinitesimal number of drivers who are in many cases breaking the law. To punish every driver for the actions of a few is just wrong.

Let's consider how speed limits are set. The preferred method is to take the 85th percentile of automobile speeds. This means 15% are by definition disobeying "the law". Are these law breakers punished? Does the percentage of speeding tickets approach 15% of drivers? Even 0.1%?

One reason for the failure of such enforcement is the fear of backlash because everyone breaks "the law". One popular defense is that speed limits are set artificially low to make money on unsuspecting drivers, etc., etc.

The only effective way to reduce speed is to design the roadway so that that 85th percentile speed reduces the pedestrian KSI count. If this speed is to be increased, then design automobiles so that pedestrians have a decent survival chance at the increased speed.

You obviously do not drive or you would not talk the way you do. Try to see it from both sides.

I've owned and driven a car in NYC for more than 50 years. I've been conscience of their danger to others for the entire time. I retrofitted my first cars with seat belts and shoulder harnesses before their installation was mandatory. I'm also conscience of the danger to myself.


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