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Comment: Re:Probably True (Score 2) 134

by Obfuscant (#49754821) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

Provincial inmates are released to the community they came from, while Federal inmates are paroled to a different community.

That seems like common sense. You and your pals take up a life of crime. You get released back into the same neighborhood where all your pals still live/are released to. It's likely you'll fall into the same bad company. Get put into a community where your pals aren't ready to help you re-offend and you're less likely to re-offend.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49754779) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Even at a red light, the car might want to go right on red, and assumes you're not going to just run through the light, so they pass you.

At a red light, a car turning right on red has the right of way over a bicycle desiring to go straight through on red. It isn't an issue of passing the bike, it's one of turning in front of him. Changing the law so that the red light becomes just a 'yield' for the bike but a stop for the car is a recipe for accidents. And the biker will lose.

I've already talked about the confusion created by existing laws in this regard. Let's not try to make it worse, ok?

I can't believe how many times I've done that to catch a car that thinks "Oh he's going so slow, I'll just sneak ahead of him and turn real quick."

That's an excellent argument against making stop signs and/or red lights into "yield" for bicyclists. That will create the same "I'll just sneak ahead" situation for a bicycle crossing an intersection without stopping.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49751433) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Someone else replied already and explained this, though that seems to have attracted a troll of some sort.

And the explanation was dealt with by countering facts. It is an invalid rationalization that "because I am a safe biker all bikers are just like me and therefore the laws of the road that apply to other vehicles should not apply to us."

Basically, the idea is that people on bikes have better awareness of road conditions

That is an assertion born out neither by observation nor by logic, and "road conditions" are not the only consideration. The road can be clean and dry, but if there's an 18 wheeler already in the intersection those road conditions are pretty irrelevant. A bike rider who is huffing and puffing trying to keep up his speed comes to an intersection with a stop sign. He's too busy trying to catch his breath to be fully aware of the conditions or traffic, and he'll be a prime candidate for confirmation bias and selective judgement. "Oh, I can make it between cross-traffic because the other option is to actually stop at the stop sign, and if I do that I'll lose all my current momentum...."

I see it every (work)day. Bike riders who are so amazingly aware of "road conditions" that they happily ride right through a group of pedestrians crossing that road. They can't seem to identify multiple human-sized objects in the roadway that the law says they must stop for and they would have hit had the peds not moved out of the way, but they can identify other "conditions" that they should stop for? I think that stretches credulity a great deal.

Moreover, it can actually be more dangerous for a bike rider to come to a complete stop.

For the most part, that is not true. The bike rider who ignores the law is acting in a manner that other vehicle operators don't expect. He's playing chicken with the cars that are obeying the laws and who know the rules of right of way.

You can come up will all kinds of hypothetical maybes that create all kinds of hypothetical results, but simple observation of what happens on a regular basis is sufficient to show that special rules for people who follow no rules already is not a good solution, and allowing everyone to act in the same dangerous and hazardous way will only make the problem worse. Creating a situation where two vehicle operators approaching the same intersection on the same road at the same time and the traffic control for one of them says "you must stop" while the traffic control for the other says "go for it" is a recipe for confusion and accidents.

Here's an example from Oregon traffic law of something like this that is already an issue. A driver turning right across a bike lane where the bike rider is going straight must yield to the bike rider. I think that's a reasonable law. However, I have found myself so many times waiting for the bike rider to proceed and he's waiting for me to turn. What's especially fun is when I look at the biker, he looks at me, and we both realize that we are waiting for each other. Then we both go. The other really fun result is that he waves me on and then he goes himself.

Your example of insufficient sight lines making oncoming traffic impossible to see is a problem of the intersection design and set-back rules, not of the stop sign at that intersection. If that issue cannot be solved by improving the view, then perhaps making the other street stop and removing the offending stop sign from the limited view street is the right solution. Telling bike riders that they don't have to stop isn't. If they can't see the oncoming traffic when they stop, then they won't see it when they don't stop, either. "Let's hope they don't get hit by something as they speed across the intersection" isn't a good answer, ever.

Next, it's safer on bike riders to take back roads than it is major arteries.

Stop signs occur in both places, and claiming that most riders find it safer to take back roads (which already have fewer stop signs) so it is ok to let them ignore main road stop signs is just ridiculous.

The neighborhood collector has a lot of stop signs, but if they can treat those as yields then they can take it also without stopping much and be safer due to less overall traffic and slower car speeds.

Collectors are not "back roads". Collectors are called that because they collect traffic on the way to the main roads. That means there is ... traffic. And stop signs are there for everyone's safety, not just the cars.

Finally, not every biker is in tip-top shape. Letting them bike without having to restart from a complete stop as often makes it easier on the biker,

This is the "it is more convenient for me if I don't have to obey the law" argument.

For people who don't give a damn about biker safety, but hate sitting in traffic, this benefit is for you.

Why yes, because forcing traffic to come to a screeching halt because a bike rider has blown through a stop sign and forced other drivers to slam on their brakes to keep from hitting him has absolutely nothing to do with "biker safety", it's all about not wanting to sit in traffic. Here's a clue: when traffic stops because a bike rider treats a stop sign as a yield and ignores other traffic that already has the right of way, it's the fault of the biker, not the fault of other cars. When a car driver has to stop unexpectedly, it creates a hazard to those behind him.

Increasing the number of bike riders who blow through stop signs and telling them they are special and don't have to obey the rules of the road everyone else does while sharing that road, isn't how you increase bicycle safety, it's how you create many more opportunities for bicyclists to get hit by cars, for them to hit pedestrians who are just pesky annoyances to the special people on those bikes.

There is no reason to change the laws, and every reason to start enforcing them, and it has everything to do with the safety of everyone involved.

By the way, labeling those who disagree with you in an argument "trolls" when you cannot make a convincing or accurate argument is pretty insulting. It's a sign of a desire not to have an honest discussion.

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49747751) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Actually, the problem as you describe is that bicyclists are treating the signs as though they don't exist.

There is no way to differentiate since the end results are the same. The biker who knows he can make a right hand turn from the adjoining street onto the through street is either ignoring the stop or seeing it as a yield and proceeding without stopping. Yield does not mean "stop", it means "yield the right of way if necessary".

*sigh* That's still nothing compared to being, you know, dead. I'm not much of a physical threat to you.

You keep ignoring the fact that vehicle law is not created just to protect the automobile driver from death by bike accident. It's there to protect YOU, too. And the pedestrians who you are a serious threat to.

... How?

Oh, please. You can't imagine how a bicyclist who runs down a pedestrian could do significant physical harm to them? A twenty MPH piece of steel/carbon fiber/whatever with an attached human mass would just what, bounce off a pedestrian?

I avoid them just like I avoid cars.

You don't get it. What you personally do or don't do is irrelevant. You cannot write laws based on how one person acts, you need to deal with aggregate (that means "as a whole" or "as a group") behavior. You don't get near pedestrians, so obviously any laws that protect pedestrians are not necessary, right?

On the generic tact, I'd think we'd see a lot more injury reports if cyclists were indeed a significant danger to pedestrians.

Or bike/ped accidents have gotten to the newsworthyness of "the sun came up this morning." And more peds don't bother reporting them because by the time the cops could get there the biker is long gone. I've had bikers almost run me over in a crosswalk -- a MARKED crosswalk at a four-way stop intersection, so there is no excuse at all -- and I know that by the time I pull my phone out of my pocket, dial 911, and explain the problem to the dispatcher that bike rider will be one among thousands somewhere in a two mile radius, probably already parking his bike outside the class building.

Well, you'll actually need to prove that the law is effective then, I guess.

You question the fact that when vehicle laws are obeyed the people involved are safer? You don't believe that a bike that stops at a stop sign is both safer to himself and to others? I see this kind of stuff every day. It's common here. I don't know where you live where you don't have pedestrians or crosswalks at stop signs, but that pretty much leaves you without much data to provide concerning the issues.

Having the cops enforce being not stupid for a bit might be more effective than trying to keep pushing 'stop means stop!

You must be kidding. Cops aren't supposed to enforce the actual laws, they're supposed to decide what is stupid and write tickets for that? Wow.

I've already told you I'm not going into the intersection if I'm at risk of you running me over.

And I've told you that there are uncounted numbers of them in this city that will do exactly that, and that what you personally do is irrelevant when writing traffic law. I don't intend on killing anyone today, should there be no laws against murder? You don't intend on entering an intersection even when you have the right of way if there's any risk of being run over, so let's do away with stop signs that, when obeyed, solve the problem.

I'm sorry that you only remember the idiots, but I can't do anything about them.

You can stop arguing that the existing laws shouldn't apply to them. That's a start. I remember the idiots because they are both so common and do memorably stupid things.

Like I said, I'd love it if stop signs didn't apply to me in a car, either. I don't intend on running anyone over, and I don't intend on hitting someone else. Let's get rid of all stop signs, ok?

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49746461) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Well, first I'm never 'high speed',

And I think I prefaced my comments with "if only you were the only biker on the road". Creating special laws for all bicyclists based on your personal behavior is not correct. Looking at aggregate behavior is. If a very large number of bicyclists already treat stop signs as yields, and do so in a way that endangers themselves and others, then it is not a correct course of action to actually make stop signs be yields for bicyclists.

You have pedestrian crossings at stop signs? Strange.

Of course you have pedestrian crossings at stop signs. Stop signs are at intersections. Intersections are where ped crossings are. What is strange about that?

And here's an Oregon specific: EVERY intersection has a pedestrian crossing, they just aren't all marked. The markings are irrelevant, the law says vehicles must stop before entering the crossing if there is a pedestrian in it. That's the basic law, but there are specifics that deal with three lanes or more, or islands.

and sometimes it's safer for me to walk my bike across,

I'm not talking about pedestrians, I'm talking about bike riders who simply slide over into the crosswalk while still riding their bikes. You walk your bike, then good for you, you are a pedestrian at that point, and your use of the crosswalk is appropriate. I got no problem having to stop for a pedestrian.

Making me stop first only forces you to stop longer.

At the intersection I described, I would not have to stop AT ALL if you stopped like you are legally required to do. I would not have to stop longer, and I don't know why you think I would have to.

And you're engaging on a rant,

If I am ranting, then you are too. I'm describing standard behavior for bike riders I see every day. If that's a rant, they've brought it on themselves and I can't help that.

Well, there's a reason I mentioned 'idiots'. I know they're out there.

And I pretty much made it clear I wasn't talking about you when I said "if only you were the only ...". That means I'm talking about other people.

I was just saying how I worth things to keep myself safe* while minimizing the hassle for everyone.

Actually, you were arguing that all bicyclists should get special treatment under vehicle law by making stop signs into yields for you, based on your personal manner of riding. Turning stops into yields does NOT minimize the hassle for everyone, as I've already explained.

Remember how I mentioned 'opening'. That means that you aren't about to go through the intersection, because if you are, that means I'm slowing down a touch to go behind you.

Neither example I gave had anything to do with an "opening". The first was a bike making a right turn onto the street I'm on without bothering to stop at the stop sign. There is no need for an "opening" -- he's turning right into the bike lane. The PROBLEM was that he neglected to signal so I don't know if he's actually turning until he does it, and his speed combined with potential road debris means his turn could become a slide into my path. The second was a bike who moved over into the crosswalk pretending to become a pedestrian. Peds don't have to wait for an "opening" to step into a crosswalk and force traffic to stop. In fact, if they do NOT move into the crosswalk the traffic isn't required to stop and they may never get an "opening" to cross. I.e., entering the crosswalk is how an "opening" is created, not vice versa.

*Let's face it, I'm not much of a threat to anybody in a car.

That's a lie. If I ran over you because you blew the stop sign and failed to make the turn you could have easily made at a slower speed, it would go on my driving record, it would impact my insurance rates, and the trial would cost me a lot of money and time. I might even feel a bit of remorse over the accident, but that depends on how many bikers who want special privileges I've talked to recently.

Second, the traffic laws aren't there just so you aren't a danger to drivers. Pedestrians are involved, and you are a significant danger to them.

And I'll remind you, I'm treating your comment as a generic one including all bikers because changing traffic laws would effect all bikers and not just you. If you want to argue for a change, you need to admit and accept that your personal habits are irrelevant, just as my personal driving habits are when talking about changed to motor vehicle laws.

Comment: Re:Government Intrusion (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49740947) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

"You have been selected by random to have your odometer reading verified "

"I drove those miles on private logging roads and while spending the summer in Arizona. Prove otherwise."

Coming up with ways of making an invasive and privacy-destroying law easier to enforce isn't the usual kind of comment I see on /.

Comment: Re: This is backward! (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49740821) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

I imagine Oregon is looking forward to picking up the additional business.

Unless those foreigners live in a state where a GPS tracker determines their gas tax and their state collects on behalf of Oregon (unlikely), they will be paying the gas tax.

This new GPS system won't spring into life fully formed overnight. It will take a decade or more for a significant number of cars to be properly "equipped" for government monitoring, and during that time there will be a gas tax for those who aren't yet. You can't let all those people stop paying a tax just because their car didn't come with an embedded GPS.

The plan from a decade ago included dumping the GPS data at the gas station when you bought gas and the tax was added to that transaction. It's trivial at that point for the sale to be "dumped GPS data, pays per-mile tax" or "didn't dump GPS data, pays exorbitant gas tax". Our neighbors won't be getting a better deal on gas by coming here.

Comment: Re:compromise (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49740787) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

There are no value judgements, simply put, already commericially plated vehicles. that is all.

"However we can raise taxes on people who recreationally drive heavy vehicles they don't neccerially need. Not an outright ban, but if you want to drive your giant SUV when you could have used a much smaller car,"

This statement has nothing to do with commercially-plated vehicles. It talks only about the subjective "neccerially need". Who are the police who determine when you should have "used a much smaller car" versus when an SUV is required? Is every SUV owner supposed to own two cars just so they can drive the small car for small things and the SUV for "huge" things?

And I hate to point out another fallacy in your arguments. "If you can afford an SUV" is nonsense. My "SUV" cost less than many "much smaller cars".

Comment: Re:Signals, zoning, and subsidizing transit (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49740749) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

When I'm bicycling, it's important to realize that my maximum speed is much lower, so I'm approaching the stop at a lower speed, giving me more time to assess the intersection

Oh, if only you were the only vehicle on the road.

I see bikers treat stop signs as yields every day. I live in a college town where the students just don't think obeying traffic laws is an important thing to do. As a driver, I just LOVE it when I'm traveling on the through-street and a high-speed biker comes to the stop sign on an intersecting road. Stop? Of course not. Blow through the stop sign at full speed, get halfway into the intersection, and then lay the bike over to the right and turn onto the street I'm on.

Why is that a problem? Well, as a defensive driver I cannot assume that this joker is going to turn (he didn't bother to signal one, but that is just another pesky traffic law he's ignoring). He's headed for a direct collision with me, so I have to slam on the brakes just in case. That usually isn't enough to stop before I'd hit him if he doesn't turn, though, so if he manages to hit a stone in the road and his turn becomes a slide -- he's dead. And I'll have been the one to run him over.

And then there's the ones who are actually crossing the street I'm on, and instead of stopping at the stop sign until the through-traffic clears, they jog over into the crosswalk and pretend they are pedestrians -- forcing everyone on the through street to slam on the brakes to stop for them.

Sharing the road means both sides have to share. You have to do things you don't want to do for the safety of everyone, just like I have to.

If the intersection is busy, well, then I stop,

Oh, if only you were the only bicyclist on the road. I've seen too many bikers who ignore everything else at an intersection and blow through the stop. They ignore cars, and they especially ignore pedestrians in crosswalks. If every ped who had to jump out of the way of a biker breaking the law paid me a nickel, I'd be a 1%er.

Plus, well, not making me stop all the time encourages me to bicycle more,

Making me stop all the time is inconvenient for me, too. It wastes gas, so it's bad for the environment. Letting you play chicken with traffic by blowing through a stop sign to make a hard right turn raises my blood pressure, which is bad for my health, and it is potentially deadly for you.

If not having to obey the traffic laws is what compels you to ride a bicycle, then you really don't have the right attitude about bike riding. Expecting special treatment as a vehicle sharing the public streets because that would make your life more pleasant is, well, kind of selfish.

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49739523) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
There is no need for an "odometer version". Cars already have odometers. And an odometer version may be in testing, but it will never survive the desire to put higher taxes on people who drive where and when the government doesn't want them to. The use of taxation for social engineering and not just provision of mandatory services is too great in the modern politician and government worker.

Comment: Re:Why does this need GPS? (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49738803) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

No, because that's not all you're tracking. You're tracking the miles traveled *in Oregon*.

Since an explicit goal of this system is to charge higher taxes for congested roads at congested times, it's not just the miles in Oregon that have to be tracked, it is WHICH roads and WHAT times. That demands a GPS and recorded data.

I know an engineer who was working on this kind of system for Oregon a decade ago, and she admitted the data needed to be collected by could not imagine that the government might abuse it.

Comment: Re:Numbers (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49738623) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

It doesn't have to be that way. There could simply be an annual check of your odometer when you get your annual emissions check,

What is an "annual emissions check?"

Yes, if you are going to tax someone on what roads they drive on and when ('congestion fee'), you need to know what roads they drive on and when. An odometer doesn't provide that information.

but really, we could have per mile taxation without big brother intrusions if we as a society would stand up and demand it.

Why would we as a society stand up and demand more taxes?

Comment: Re:Government Intrusion (Score 1) 823

by Obfuscant (#49738523) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Why even go high tech? Every year I have to renew my license tags on my birthday. Just report the odometer reading then and pay the appropriate taxes at that time.

Oregon tags (mine) renew every two years, by mail.

It would not take more than 5 minutes for an employee to check an odometer.

It would take much longer than 5 minutes for an employee of DMV to come to my house, break into my garage, and read my odometer.

An odometer cannot report that none (or most) of my miles were on I5 in downtown Portland at 9AM (or 2AM) so it cannot be used to charge a higher tax for use during congested times and places.

If it's working, the diagnostics say it's fine. If it's not working, the diagnostics say it's fine. - A proposed addition to rules for realtime programming