20 April 2016

Speed Limits

| harvyk1
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I was driving along the parkway today when I got to the Glenloch interchange. Now I’ve just been driving along a section which is fine for 100km/h, when I went onto the GDE, which is now 80, had I gone right and gone down Parkes Way it’d be 90.

Considering that most other states and territories have 110km/h zones (the NT even has 130km/h zones), why is anything over 100km/h considered absolutely dangerous, even on duel carriage ways no where near houses, and can anyone honestly tell me that the random choices of speed limits is anything other than random speed traps designed for catching unwary drivers.

The other thing I noticed was that the Glenloch interchange, which is only single lanes for most of it all slows down to 80 around the interchange only, and yet had it been built in any other city it’d be at least 100, if not 110, and there’d be at least an additional lane (if not 3 or more) to deal with.

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hey cranky.. I love the term “nongs”.. it describes them perfectly!

Oh, I heard that, too. My hairdresser, Mavis, was telling me all about it while I was waiting for my nails to dry.

; )

or find a wonderful connection between Heinlein, speed zones and most importantly Canberra.

i understand from previously unwritten memoirs of heinlein by arthur c clarke’s nephew, john, that he once said the word ‘canberra’ while travelling above the speed limit in a lane he found poorly zoned as 40mph when he wanted it to be 50mph.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy8:53 am 23 Dec 08

… and below the speed limit.

Yes, but you have to book ’em if they’re doing less than 85 in the right hand lane ….

*maniacal laughter*

Do I have to think of everything, harvyk1?

That’ll never work, Canberra already has problems with people sitting in the right hand lane.

I have a good idea for speed zones.

In zones that have two lanes and are currently 80 kmh, the left lane should have a 70-85 kmh limit and the right lane should be 85-100 kmh. Let those who wish to drive slowly drive slowly and smell the roses, and those who are in a hurry, and taking Quikeze at the red lights, drive quickly.

Peace and beads and stuff to all.

As much as I like the book and the movie, how about we get back on topic or find a wonderful connection between Heinlein, speed zones and most importantly Canberra.

Pommy bastard6:01 pm 22 Dec 08

Skidbladnir said :

While we’re all horrendously offtopic, Heinleins’s two best books were Stranger and Starship Troopers.

“Glory Road” and “Time enough for love” for me…

Granny said :

Oh, I liked the movie Starship Troopers, though! Did he write that?

Two entirely seperate beasts.
The book was Heinlein’s opportunity to discuss politics, military tactics, technology, and have the odd screaming rant about how much better the world might be if World War 2 veterans ran everything, the movie works best if you think of it as a comedy called “Nazis Go To Space”.

Most of the book covers his training programs and experiences in the military, the psychic Doogie Howser (Carl) character gets killed off in an uneventful way early on, and his female ‘love interest’ (Dizzy Flores) is actually non-sexual guy friend in the book, and there is no love story between the Denise Richards character(Carmen Ibanez) and her male coworker, because there are no male pilots for the lightspeed ships.
And training has a drop-out rate of 90%, unlike the movie where only one person leaves and another guy accidentally dies.

No powered-exoskeleton armoured rocketsuits, no mention of the Mormons starting the war, no third species they declared war on, and apparently everybody still uses an M16 or a shotgun.

If you want a better book about interstellar wars with powered armour, written by a Vietnam War vet, which still has a message but doesn’t go for the whole racism + fascism + militarism = utopia angle, go read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.

That one has sex scenes, and has a whole “If you travel at light speed, you have to deal with Special Relativity, and while time might dilate for you, everybody else has been busy living their lives and you’re now 400 years old and don’t really fit in here anymore” angle.

astrojax said :

maybe it’s time to transform all roads to travelators…

I was making my way through Brisvegas Airport a few weeks back and passed a guy on an adjacent travellator who seemed genuinely surprised and inspired when he looked up and saw me WALKING on the travellator!! Hallelujah, what a revelation!!

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy4:52 pm 22 Dec 08

Thanks heaps poptop, sounds like the one…

Oh, I liked the movie Starship Troopers, though! Did he write that?

While we’re all horrendously offtopic, Heinleins’s two best books were Stranger and Starship Troopers.
But or the most part he was just overrated and if he wasn’t a published author you could probably just say “batshit crazy”.

But because he’s published and rich, he’s an “eccentric”.

I love Asimov, but Heinlein was just weird. It disturbed me that Gramps not only read these books, but owned them ….

All of Bob’s stories were anti-Union – He was Teh Great Libertarian and then he went quite mental withall those plots about having sex with your mother and/or fictional characters. ~sigh~

VY – that sounds more like The Caves of Steel by Asimov – The Detective and robot searched for a murderer to avert some sort of interplanetary incident. There were slidewalks and cities were in big steel domes.

Pommy bastard3:28 pm 22 Dec 08

poptop said :

That would be the Robert Heinlein story “The Roads Must Roll”?

.

One of his “anti-Union” novels if I remember correctly.

in the interests of safety, please don’t walk while using the travelators, and please, have a nice day…

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy2:07 pm 22 Dec 08

Yes, multiple speed lanes. Something about a police guy having to team up with a robot to find a missing professor, I think. It was a long time ago that I read it.

deye said :

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

I read a book once (some sci-fi novel) where the people went around everywhere on travelators. Anyone else read it? Anyone know what it’s called?

There is more than one of them. Was it the one with multiple speed lanes and went up to something like 100 mph ?

That would be the Robert Heinlein story “The Roads Must Roll”?

I think H.G. Wells had them first, and then practically every SF writer of note, but Heinlein is the one I always remember.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

I read a book once (some sci-fi novel) where the people went around everywhere on travelators. Anyone else read it? Anyone know what it’s called?

There is more than one of them. Was it the one with multiple speed lanes and went up to something like 100 mph ?

If that was the case then RA would have stories about people who stand on the right when not overtaking on travelators 🙂

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy11:52 am 22 Dec 08

I read a book once (some sci-fi novel) where the people went around everywhere on travelators. Anyone else read it? Anyone know what it’s called?

astrojax said :

maybe it’s time to transform all roads to travelators, like in airports, and solve this whole dilemma. that way, we’d all be able to calculate the exact time a journey would take and it would releive all road users of the onerous tasks of thinking and concentrating while using the road, thereby eliminating pretty well all collisions…

you know it makes sense!

Reported experiences on the Canberra Centre travelators says you’re wrong!

maybe it’s time to transform all roads to travelators, like in airports, and solve this whole dilemma. that way, we’d all be able to calculate the exact time a journey would take and it would releive all road users of the onerous tasks of thinking and concentrating while using the road, thereby eliminating pretty well all collisions…

you know it makes sense!

To teh contrary – Eastern Valley Way at teh bottom of Crisp Cct in Bruce was 60 for years – but drivers always went 70-ish along there – so they changed the speed limit accordingly to 70…

Also a trap was on Northbourne Ave, heading North from Anthill Intersection.
The 80kmh sign, signalling teh end of the 60kmh zone used to be about 150/200m from the intersection.

They then changed that so that the 80kmh zone then started closer to Yowani Greenkeepers house, sans signage to say changed traffic conditions.

It caught me out a few times in the beginning, but I got wise, without a ticket, but I wonder who was not as lucky as me.

Additionally, some people just drive along there at 80 anyway, sitting on peoples arse who are going the speed limit, all the while honking, swerving maniacally to get around them and raising their blood presure considerably. Fun to watch…..its only driving, it should not be stressful. I drove I95 on thanksgiving weekend in the States, The less cars, the more stressful for me, because I automatically stayed in the left lane and had to train myself to NOT keep left on intersections and traffic lights. With more cars, I could just follow suite and all was good.

The M5 in Sydney is a great example. I’ve driven along that piece of road which is normally a 110km/h zone heaps of times. I’ve done it at 110km/h when the conditions allowed, I (and everyone else) have done it at 40km/h when the traffic conditions forced us to go slow. People can usually see when a road clogs up and will usually slow down accordingly. The accidents which occur are usually caused by driver inattention, and in that case it doesn’t matter what speed the driver is doing, they are dangerous and shouldn’t be on the road at that point in time.

There is no need for variable traffic signs in most places because as the traffic picks up it naturally slows down.

(Ideally we would use variable speed limit signs on roads like Gungahlin Drive and William Hovel Drive, so the speed limit could be higher at light traffic times).

The motorways in England are set at 70mph but everyone does 80mph which is safe enough and the police don’t mind.

However, they have changeable speed limits for the conditions.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy9:58 am 22 Dec 08

Harvyk – I agree, I’ve seen it too. The Monaro Hwy heading north past Hume is a great example.

(Ideally we would use variable speed limit signs on roads like Gungahlin Drive and William Hovel Drive, so the speed limit could be higher at light traffic times).

It’s a cost-benefit analysis. Slower speeds both decrease the number of accidents due to increasing the time available to the driver to respond to unexpected events; and decrease the seriousness of the accidents that do occur, due to less kinetic energy being available. On lightly trafficed roads, all else being equal there are fewer accidents to begin with, so the benefit of reduced speed limits isn’t as high (and presumably doesn’t outweigh the cost of longer travel times).

No, I’ve seen it happen on roads which have had no rise in the amount of traffic using the road (eg in an out of suburbs which haven’t had any major development work which would alter the amount of traffic within them for over 10 years.

If you want an example, there is a piece of road just near the Gordon shops which was 80 km/h, and then one day became 60km/h, with no warning. The amount of traffic had not increased, furthermore the part of the road which is more likely to have a heavier traffic flow is still 80 km/h.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy9:32 am 22 Dec 08

If there’s no change to road structure in terms of entry/exit, roundabouts, traffic lights, etc, then so what if the traffic has increased a bit? Just because it’s more heavily trafficked doesn’t mean sensible and courteous drivers can’t continue at the same speed. If the road gets totally filled, the traffic naturally slows down anyway.

Perhaps what’s changed is the amount of traffic on the road?

I like when roads that you have been going 80kmh on for over a decade are now magically unsafe all of a sudden even though nothing has changed on the road and you have to go 60kmh now.

I’ll let you know, WMC!

; )

Pommy bastard10:19 am 21 Dec 08

To introduce an off topic notion; I was driving around the Belconnen area yesterday, and was once more reminded of what I see as a particularly Canberran phenomena; old people who drive in the gutters.

You see them in most suburbs, little old women who can barely see over the dashboard, driving at 45 k, no matter what the speed limit and who are only prevented from moving further to the left by the trees on the nature strip.

The one I followed yesterday was a particularly fine example, who actually mounted the kerb whilst turning left. Mind you she did have a hat on, so as to warn people she was a particularly lethal bad driver.

Woody Mann-Caruso10:01 am 21 Dec 08

I just think that there are speeds that feel natural for a road

Ah, Granny’s mystical sense of naturalness. I thought it was only good enough for deciding whether people should go to jail, but now I find it’s also good for calculating how fast everybody should drive. What next – daily water targets? “122ML just feels right.”

AstralPlane – your facts aren’t welcome here. If you can’t justify yourself using the words ‘conspiracy’ and ‘Stanhopeless’, please post somewhere else.

Thinking hot drivers … thinking Hugh Jackman in Australia … oh, sorry drovers. Never mind! As you were ….

; )

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy10:07 pm 20 Dec 08

This has been done to death already. We all know that:
1) Speed limits are set (and changed) to levels that are not always consistent with the road architecture.
2) Speed cameras raise revenue effectively for govco.
3) Many people have been fooled by the emotive advertising that all speeding kills, rather than trying to understand and improve driver skills and attitude.
4) No matter how much we whinge, Australia (and especially the ACT) is trending toward being a nanny state, so points 1-3 above are unlikely to be rectified in the near future.

Yeah, I shouldn’t have crapped on about P plates. Not real helpful, sorry about that.

I just think society mostly assumes that whatever people reckon is good for cars is what we should do. It seems to me that’s what lots of people want, but whenever you read something that is based on imperical data it doesn’t look like the smartest thing, whether you’re talking about health, energy use or cost or whatever. Even travel times in most cities.

I love the deliberate speed traps, whether they’re beautiful speed humps, skinny little curvy bits, roundabouts or plain old speed cameras. The more the merrier I say. Not to slow traffic down for the sake of slowing traffic down, but for the sake of a better town to live in.

Maybe you’re right and we should get the lowest common denominator off the road. But would you want to be the lowest common denominator in a town like Canberra? Because if you stay here one day you will be.

AstralPlane said :

Sure, maybe you’re a hot driver. Maybe you’re on you’re still on your P plates but you really are genuinely a great driver. But lots of other people are not hot drivers. So, in the interests of the greater good we keep the limits down. A few minutes extra travel time is the only downside you wear to prevent people from dying. Not such a big ask is it?

I don’t know if I’m a hot driver. I think I’m at least average or above average (but don’t most people think they are above average drivers?). I can also assure you that I’m not a P plater (it’s been nearly 10 years since I have had to place a P plate on my car), and I’ve never had an accident. Also did an advance driver training day, it was well worth it.

Now you make the comment that we should reduce the limits to suit the lowest common denominator. Why do we let the lowest common denominator even hold a license? Surely making it harder to get and keep a license is a better way of reducing the road toll rather than dumbing down driving so that “anyone can do it”

My gripe is more with what appears to be deliberate speed traps in the ACT, and their desire to slow traffic down for the sake of it.

I would love to see minimum speed limits ….

Don’t have a licence? Still figuring out how to operate the car whilst going at 40?

Book ’em, Danno!

Too high stoned to tell the wipers from the indicators, and crawling along at 50 while you works it all out?

Sic ’em, Rex!

Or something like that ….

Funnily enough – when driving on freeways in the USA – I noted that they had Maximum AND minimum speed limits.

Guess thats their way of saying “Cant hack the heat….get outta the kitchen”

I was booked once for doing 80 kmh in a 60 zone. The policeman said, “Slow down. Don’t be in such a hurry,” but the funny thing was that I hadn’t been in a hurry at all. I was feeling incredibly relaxed and happy. The 60 kmh limit was much too slow for the type of road. I’m not saying there aren’t good reasons for it being set to 60, but it takes such an effort of concentration, and constantly referring to the speedo and feels like you’re crawling along.

There are times when 60 feels too fast to me, like a narrow, unfamiliar suburban road.

But I think where people have to put so much attention onto doing the posted speed, then they have actually got it wrong, somehow, even just in the design.

I’m sure that if we went back to having people walk in front of cars waving red flags, we could reduce the road toll significantly, but would that really be a step forward? (Rhetorical question) I think not!

The right speed for the right road is important.

Granny, I’m not sure you’re right – I remember reporting of a study which found that the the natural speed thing you’re referring to comes from what people feel is natural from looking at the speedo. Mostly 80km is around about the top of the speedo at 12 o’clock. They changed the speedos so they only went up to 80km, with 50 at about the top and found people naturally drove slower.

Having said that, here’s another linky, this one has a nice graph and everything:
http://users.tpg.com.au/users/mpaine/speed.html

Studies there show that there is an optimum speed, just like your gut tells you. But they also show that speed kills. Half of all fatal accidents occur at an impact speed of less than 55km/h. Maybe we should just lower the speed limit on the parkway to 80km, or what about 50km whether there’s a bike lane or not?

Long discussion about people who stay in the right hand lane and drive slowly can be found here:
http://the-riotact.com/?p=7379

Pommy bastard said :

While I’m on the subject of roads, how come we have so many people in Canberra who think they have a god given right to drive for many many miles in the right hand lane?

I know I occasionally stay in the right hand lane (at the speed limit) when I am turning right further ahead. I sometimes do this fairly early as I seem to have problems in Canberra being ‘let in’ if I leave it to late!

Pommy bastard7:41 am 20 Dec 08

Glenloch interchange, don’t get me started, I have to use the place every day, it’s a nightmare. It has to be the most badly over-designed bit of road ever.

While I’m on the subject of roads, how come we have so many people in Canberra who think they have a god given right to drive for many many miles in the right hand lane?

Are they Americans or something?

Granny said :

I just think that there are speeds that feel natural for a road, and if the speed limit is set lower or higher than that then you have to really concentrate to go at the legal speed.

You never need worry about speeding up to do the speed limit. It is just that. The limit.

Unless you are driving at an incredibly lower speed than designated for the area, you aren’t likely to be fined. You are more likely just going to gain the ire of other motorists.

I just think that there are speeds that feel natural for a road, and if the speed limit is set lower or higher than that then you have to really concentrate to go at the legal speed.

Besides, setting an 80 speed limit on a road like the GDE means that enough people decide to do 60 to be really annoying.

I would love to see the reaction if they stuck a bike lane on the Parkway and told everyone they now had to do 80 kmh.

Better still, we could make the Federal Hwy 80 kmh all the way to Sydney. The law abiding people would be really ticked off, and there would still be accidents.

There is a whole lot more to it than whether you reckon you can drive safely at 110 through Glenloch.

For example, have a noodle round here: http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/

There you will find actual evidence about the relationship between speed and death/injury. Generally, the short of it is lower speeds result in many less accidents with a pretty low impact on travel time.

Sure, maybe you’re a hot driver. Maybe you’re on you’re still on your P plates but you really are genuinely a great driver. But lots of other people are not hot drivers. So, in the interests of the greater good we keep the limits down. A few minutes extra travel time is the only downside you wear to prevent people from dying. Not such a big ask is it?

Memories, I got to cause havoc in the old Glenoch by doing 90, the legal limit, everyone else was doing 80 or 100.

iamspam said :

A heavily trafficked urban road is different to open stretches on the Hume, where 110 is okay. Even in Sydney, most motorways drop down to 90km/h or less as you get closer in. And frankly, I wouldn’t want to be doing much more than that when there’s dense morning traffic.

Even in Sydney, most motorways are 110, until it starts to get into Sydney proper. By that stage the houses fenceline is made up of sound barrier, and lets face it, with exception to 3am those sections you can rarely do 80 let alone 110 thanks to the heavy traffic.

Canberra has good roads (ignoring GDE), which with exception to a couple of hours each day they are dead by any major cities standards, and yet they set the limits at very low speeds. (eg 80, where most other cities would have the limit at 110.)

Holden Caulfield9:09 pm 19 Dec 08

nexus6 said :

given the shite driving i continually see everywhere in canberra im happy to cap it at 100

Shite driving is shite driving, speed limits don’t really contribute to that.

Ok here’s your answer……

The GDE has various pieces of junk otherwise known as art to the ACT Govt. Now in order to appreciate this art you need to go 10kph slower than Parkes Way.

I’m sure if you ask the Govt to put art on Parkes way they will reduce the speed on that one too.

Cranky, you’re on the right track about the safest speed limits being around the 80th percentile – research shows that it’s actually the 85th perecntile that is the safest “for most roads”. There are some exceptions where, as pointed out above, there are particular circumstances. We seem to have moved well below that point, to somewhere around the 50% mark. Why?

This has coincided with the introduction of speed cameras, which produce little or no revenue unless speed limits are kept artifically low. This is real dumbing down, which reduces safety, for a variety of reasons. It also contributes to congestion, as vehicles are travelling slower than they should be.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

deye said :

heavily tracked ? maybe for an hour or two each day and then the amount of traffic regulates the speed.

Doesn’t matter if it is for 2 hours a day or all day, unless you have a variable speed limit systemm.

My gripe is the 80K limit on the Monaro south of the Mugga Lane intersection. The camera to the north of the Rose Cottage roundabout must be the most profitable in the Territory.

This is dual lane, with slip lanes to the roundabout. If the Monaro south of Canberra Ave
(and heading south) can be 100K with the slip lane up to Hindmarsh reduced to 80K (perfectly sensible), why is the 80K limit applied to a longer straight stretch in a lower traffic area on the same road. The speed limit does increase to 100K’s after the roundabout.

I have always believed that speed limits were indicated by the 80 percentile speed of traffic. The speed travelled by 80 percent of the traffic – adjusting for stupid high and low speeds by nongs.

Will we be made privy to the profitability of the various fixed speed cameras? It would be a valid indication of the accuracy of the speed limit set.

given the shite driving i continually see everywhere in canberra im happy to cap it at 100

heavily tracked ? maybe for an hour or two each day and then the amount of traffic regulates the speed.

A heavily trafficked urban road is different to open stretches on the Hume, where 110 is okay. Even in Sydney, most motorways drop down to 90km/h or less as you get closer in. And frankly, I wouldn’t want to be doing much more than that when there’s dense morning traffic.

…duel carriage…

Ooh, sounds exciting, and kinda dangerous, in an old-timey way. 😉

The short answer about the interchange is obvious, poor design and insufficient funds. But once you’re through there it seems odd that the GDE isn’t at least 90km/h like the other connecting roads, but most people tend to drive that speed anyway.

chewy, William Hovell Drive has a bike lane and it’s 90km/h.

As for speeds greater than 100km/h, I have a recollection of the ACT road rules defining a max speed of 100km/h. That’s why the highway out of town doesn’t go to 110 until past the border.

The new Glenloch Interchange is a dangerous place to be, especially coming from the south. Drivers try to change lanes too late at the turn off to Belconnen as well as the Gungahlin-City split. I have seen two accidents there since the new Interchange was opened and it is poorly designed.
As for the speed limits on the GDE proper (not wanting to start anything), but i think the bike lane and the merges are the reason it is only 80 and not 100.

oh and as for putting that traffic light in front of the jail, what a pain in the butt.

One of the sillier things about living here is the stupidity of some of the speed limits. My other favourite bubgear for speedlimits is the Mondaro highway, particularly the wide four lane divided road with no on/off ramps at the Northern end set to 80 that seems to only be that way so that the police can get some practice with the handheld radar guns halfway along. That should be at least 100, even 110 would be okay. Heck the single lane bit across the bridge at 80 is better quality than a lot of country roads that are 100.

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