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Comment Re:Is that even worthwhile? (Score 2) 64 64

If saving money on gas is important to you, wouldn't you be better off with a smaller can than a large car (or SUV or truck or whatever) that has a 24+ gallon tank?


which I had to drive to get to my surfing beach

Personally I can fit a 9'6" longboard in my Mazda3, but that precludes carrying anyone or much of anything else. Some folks head to the beach with a quiver.

Why wouldn't you just carry it on the roof rack like everyone seems to do here in their little civics and mini coopers?

I've seen a Mini Cooper on the way to the beach with 4 boards on top (and presumably 4 people to go with them).

Comment Is that even worthwhile? (Score 4, Insightful) 64 64

Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

If I have to spend even 5 minutes looking up gas prices and driving out of my way to go to a cheaper gas station, it's not worth saving 30 cents a gallon on gas. My local Costco regularly has 20 minute lines of drivers waiting to buy cheaper gas (though it's possible that one family member is shopping and the other is waiting for gas). If I see a line at my preferred gas station, I'll use the one down the street that I know is 15 cents more expensive.

Maybe my 11 gallon gas tank just isn't big enough for significant savings, but I really wonder whether these gas price apps are worth it.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 1) 104 104

This 20 cents will go far to pay the several million dollars the road system is projected to cost as per the article you didn't read.

The same could be said of the billions of dollars of road improvements that aren't paid out of fuel taxes. My city recently passed a $300M general obligation bond that will go largely toward road repairs and maintenance.

Comment Re:cykelslangen (Score 1) 104 104

It's the typical situation. Like trains that carry only a few people, perpetually empty buses, etc. all the results of special interests convincing government officials to spend money of stuff that no one needs.

Austin, TX spent millions repainting the streets for bike accommodate what turns out to be less than 100 regular users.

Are you sure Austin's bike lanes accomodate less than 100 regular users? This site seems to suggest that just one bikeway (The Lance Armstrong Bikeway at Waller Creek (bet they regret that name now!), supports around 1000 riders/day.

They spent tens of millions on a "commuter train" that carries only a few hundred people a day. They TRIED to pass a bond for a BILLION dollars for nine miles of rail in the downtown area. Millions and millions spent on stuff nobody rides. They purchased these extra long buses for a million or so each and they are perpetually empty except for the various "fests" they have periodically. And the worst thing? None of these things go to the airport, which is pretty much the only economically defensible use.

That's the problem with building a transit system where previously there was none -- you have to go big if you want anyone to use it. Building a single train line will gain few riders because except for people that live and work along the line, people need to go more than one place.

Transit to the airport is good for business travelers and others on a short trip with carryon luggage, but it's not so great for people with significant luggage -- it's not very convenient to haul luggage onto a bus or transit train and go to the airport where they have to unload it and then (often) walk a long distance to the terminal. I rarely take BART to the airport if I have luggage because there are no luggage racks on the train and it can be hard to hold on to luggage while standing and holding on to the bar. And since the business travelers don't pay their own expenses, they'll just take a cab or use a car service since it's faster and easier to get picked up at their office and dropped off at the front door to the terminal. (though high speed airport express trains can make it worthwhile for far-flung airports with significant traffic like London-Heathrow and Tokyo-Narita, but it takes pretty high population density to make a dedicated airport express train cost effective)

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 3) 104 104


Here in Portland a lot of roads downtown lost square footage thanks to wide swaths of green-painted areas which are bike-only, forcing cars to concentrate themselves into fewer lanes, wearing those portions of the road out faster, etc.

Sounds like all the more reason to get more of those wear-inducing cars off the roads and replace them with cyclists. The other side effect of narrowing roads is that it increases safety for everyone (cars, cyclists and pedestrians) since drivers naturally go slower on narrow roads. Make a city street as wide and straight as a freeway and drivers will drive as if it's a freeway.

Also, in many locales, bicycles do require a license anyway (mostly to assist in recovering stolen ones). Wouldn't take much to slap a tax on those bad boys, and without much overhead beyond what's already in place.

I'm fine with a bike tax that goes to dedicated cycling infrastructure, but don't tax a cyclist to pay for shared roads that they are already paying through their general taxes. My locality passed a general bond measure to pay for road repairs, so I'm paying for roads through my property taxes whether I drive or not.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 4, Interesting) 104 104

Since road wear scales with the 3rd or 4th power of axle weight, a 200 lb cyclist should pay about 1000'th of the road taxes as a driver with a 2000 lb car (or 1/5360'th as much as a 3500 pound car). So if you pay $1000/year in taxes for your 3500 lb Honda Accord, the cyclist would pay about 20 cents.

There are other costs to building and maintaining a road besides simple road wear. The biggest cost of a road is usually the land acquisition in order to build one. A bike lane takes up far more than 1/5360th of the land that a car lane uses. Probably closer to 1/3rd.

And there are other causes of road wear than the weight of vehicles traveling on it, such as water damage from rain puddles, freeze/thaw cycle, etc

You forgot to factor in the road shoulders and parking strips that are a part of most roads -- in many cases a bike lane takes 0% of the space a car needs to drive on the roadway. But since drivers rarely pay the acquisition costs of roads (especially roads that were in existence before cars came along), it seems a little unfair to suddenly charge cyclists for roads that were originally easily shared between bikes and horses.

And there are other causes of road wear than the weight of vehicles traveling on it, such as water damage from rain puddles, freeze/thaw cycle, etc

One of the dedicated bike paths I ride to work has been in existence for nearly 30 years without repaving or major maintenance (only tar sealing cracks). The busy road in front of my house has been resurfaced 2 times in the past 15 years and it's still pothole strewn, the city tries to fix them as they occur, but their 5 year plan includes grinding off the top surface and repaving. A cycling path is much cheaper to build, not only is it a lot narrower than even a single lane road, it typically uses only a few inches of fill under the surface compared to a road that requires 12 - 16" of subsurface prep and drainage before paving.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 4, Insightful) 104 104

Should they also pay for

1. Increased air pollution due to causing cars to driver slower and waste gas while some gay boy in colorful pants ride 20 mph below the speed limit?

With few exceptions, driving slower saves gas, so that gay boy should get a credit for gas saved.

2. Loss of productivity due to delaying drivers?

Again, with few exceptions, cyclists cause less traffic on the roads, speeding up the commute -- my commute is faster by bike than by car because I'm not stuck in traffic behind all of the other cars while cyclists zip by in the bike lane. If you find that there are so many cyclists on your commute that they are slowing you down, then you shoulid be advocating for bike lanes to reduce the cyclists on the road.

3. Extra paint and labor setting up the bike lanes for "special" people?

Given that road taxes (at least in the USA) only cover a fraction of road costs, cyclists are already paying. Most cyclists are also car owners, when I bike to work, my car sits at home, unused, and while that reduces my fuel taxes, I don't get a refund on the expensive VLF that I paid that purportedly goes to road costs.

4. Finally, pay for emotional damage caused by seeing people in spandex who should never ever be in spandex?

Your mental issues are your responsibility, but it's lycra, not spandex, and few commute cyclists around here wear specialty cyclist clothes unless they have a long bike commute.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 5, Insightful) 104 104

Now there will be no excuse not to require cyclists to get a license, registration, and payment of that registration yearly to pay for the roads they want. As a highly-taxed driver (gas and registration), I'm getting rather tired of cyclists requesting more and more road upgrades despite them not paying even a small share of the costs for those upgrades.

Obviously bicycles do far less damage to the roads, and the requirements are much lower. So we can forgo trying to replace the gas taxes, and just stick to registration costs.

Oh, you don't like that? Quit being a leech, TYVM.

As a highly taxed driver, you should be happy at anything that means fewer cyclists on "your" roads (even though much of the road costs are paid out of general taxes), and to have more people switch to cycling, which means fewer cars on the road.

Since road wear scales with the 3rd or 4th power of axle weight, a 200 lb cyclist should pay about 1000'th of the road taxes as a driver with a 2000 lb car (or 1/5360'th as much as a 3500 pound car). So if you pay $1000/year in taxes for your 3500 lb Honda Accord, the cyclist would pay about 20 cents.

Give me your address and I'll pay you the 20 cents directly since no government could collect a 20 cent fee without losing money.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 860 860

From the same page, the minimum liability requirements are:
$15,000 for injury/death to one person.
$30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
$5,000 for damage to property.

I have no idea if most people have way higher liability insurance than that. If they *don't*, then it seems like the bond "workaround" could be reasonable. I admit I'm not running out and doing it right now, but it is tempting. (I *think* I have the minimum required insurance on my cars, only one of which I actually drive regularly.)

If you rear-end someone's Tesla and total it, how comfortable are you paying $95K to replace his car out of your own pocket (or future wages)? Likewise, if he suffers any injury, you could be on the hook for lost wages, medical treatments (including expensive long-term physical therapy), etc. If he goes to the ER, you could exhaust your $15K medical liability coverage before the guy even checks out of the ER that day. And this doesn't even get into the pain and suffering and other indirect claims. Don't even count on support from your own insurance company, they may look at the claim and decide that it's easier to cut a $15K check than to pay a lawyer to try to reduce the damages.

You may think "Oh, well the other guy will almost certainly have medical insurance, that'll cover his injuries", but what few people seem to know is that insurance companies will sue the responsible party to reclaim what they paid out in claims from an accident.

Here's what Consumer Reports says about liability limits (who has no ulterior motive to get you to over-insure):

Your liability coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage that you cause in accidents. Don't get caught short by reducing your liability limits to the state minimums. Buying more coverage might seem like an odd way to save, but the benefit comes if you have a costly claim, which can put your personal assets at risk. Buy standard 100/300/100 coverage, which pays for bodily injury up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and property damage up to $100,000. If you have a high net worth, boost bodily injury to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.

If you're young and have no real assets, then a low-liability policy may be the way to go, if you have significant assets that you don't want to lose, think hard about your liability limits and what it really means if you're in an accident.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 860 860

At least in some states, if you had the money, you *could* do without insurance. For example, in CA, you can have one of the following:

* Motor vehicle liability insurance policy.
* Cash deposit of $35,000 with DMV.
* DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.
* Surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.


That's only feasible if you have so few assets that you have little to lose, or have so many assets that you can absorb a large liability claim. In today's litigation heavy environment, it's not hard to rack up a huge claim even for a relatively minor accident.

For those of us in the middle, it makes sense to have insurance so we don't lose our house or retirement savings after an accident.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 860 860

If you go by the 30-year price curve instead of the 10-year, then there is little fear of things crashing down. It smooths out the ~15 year cycles. If the paper appreciation is higher than the expected 30-year, just use the 30-year curve number in your head and then if things "crash" you can just say, "it only came down to the price I expected it to land at. I wasn't ready to sell during the bubble."

Sure, in the long term a home investment is practically guaranteed to appreciate, but the problem is that a housing crash (which is typically associated with an employment market crash) is also the time when it's advantageous to be able to relocate and not be tied to an expensive house that you can't sell. So you can get trapped between a hard place if the market crashes and you can't sell your house and can't find a job locally.

Comment Re:Cars don't have headlights in England? (Score 1) 289 289

Who should have been wearing reflective gear and walking on the side of the road that has oncoming traffic. Like the Highway Code says should be done.

I've had a few idiots who decide to dash across the road from a darkened doorway in front of me like a fucking panicked rabbit just as I'm driving along the street. You saw me coming, with my headlights on and everything, right? But it is somehow my fault if I hit you.

The highway code requires pedestrians to wear reflective gear? Do you have a reference for that? All I can find online is a "recommendation", but no requirement.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 860 860

How many groceries can you carry?

How often do you go grocery shopping?

I can carry 2 full grocery bags in my bike rack. If I need more than that, I can use the trailer and carry up to 100 lbs of groceries. Though I don't go to the grocery store much anymore, Google Shopping Express and Safeway home delivery take care of most of my needs, though I do stop at the specialty produce market once or twice a week to pick up fresh produce.

Comment Re:quickly to be followed by self-driving cars (Score 1) 860 860

People are sick and tired of car payments and insurance payments.

Those of us with paid off cars and the corresponding low low insurance rates would tend to disagree.

Nobody forced you to buy a new car, you could have bought an old one.

Or buy one, finance it for a few years, then hold on to it. I've had my car for 12 years, I only made payments for 3 of those years. Insurance is harder to get away from, but after you pay off the car you can drop collision and comprehensive insurance and only pay for liability. Though my car is old enough that collision+comprehensive is much less than the liability insurance.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982