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December 3 Weekly Open Thread -- Wide Open

Hey folks,

12 3 12 WOTThere's no real topic today except that this is the place to discuss anything even remotely automotive-related. Other than Suzuki leaving America and Mitsubishi probably not far behind, it's a slow week in car news.

So let's use some grey matter and come up with some clever discussion. Like, have you seen any good Santa Claus parade floats lately?

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

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Well, I came back from two months away and my (garaged) Mustang II started right up. Ran a little rough until the computer got things sorted out, but it seems to be fine. Having a newer engine undoubtedly helped.

Otherwise, I am back getting used to US traffic after some time in Egypt; I've kind of had to curb my urge to honk my horn and just pass people whenever I please. Wish I could say the road surfaces were a vast improvement, but they're at most in parity these days. But hey, at least my neighborhood has a bunch of fancy new signs telling bicyclists where the library is located!

Big news: Ford has renamed Lincoln. It's now "Lincoln Motor Company." The cars haven't changed a lick.

Anthony, I somehow doubt bicycle infrastructure, seeing its something like 3% of total costs in road fees, had any impact on your road condition. As a matter of fact, that teeny investment has much more return than the thousands it would cost to replace that road for strictly auto use. More bikes means less cars which means less road wear. It will save much more in costs over time. Win after win after win (not too mention a healthier populous). Be happy you live in a better community than many folks in the USA do! :)

Oh, the money they're spending on this isn't inconsequential. Not just signs, but 'pedestrian islands' in the middle of the street for blocks and blocks all in the name of a cycling 'greenway'. . .and we're not the only street getting these "improvements". Not an insignificant cost at all. This despite massive numbers of potholes and various other pavement impediments such as the depressed sections around a couple of manholes nearby that have gone unaddressed for years. The very, very few cyclists -- who pay absolutely nothing for their use of the roads -- are getting the benefits while the cars have their suspensions wracked on a daily basis.

Anthony... Cyclists do not pay taxes? Since when? Just to add: 90% of Cyclists actually own cars, hopefully having a enough quality infrastructure to not be overtly dependent on them, as they also pay the same fees someone who drives a great deal more does. Maybe they do not drive 10,000 miles per yr or more, and only -3000 miles since they can mostly get by on a bike...but that means less wear and tear, healthier air, healthier neighbors, and more interaction with the community.

They pay that same registration and license and smog fee... regardless of the nominal time spent driving their cars. Sounds like a sweet deal for everyone!

From what I recall, they are also not creating the damages that also cost money to correct due to automobile use, they are not spending money on gas, allowing them more spending opportunity on local business instead of Texas oil or over seas. More $ in the local economy, not being sent to another state, or country.

The cost to maintain those islands is fairly nominal, I also believe many are permeable to help treat storm water which is critical with cars leaking fluids, dropping brake dust, etc on roads and into the streams? Multi purpose.

The Greenways slow down traffic for human traffic to confidently move about safely (bike, pedestrian, strollers, etc). It is mostly, sadly, the more affluent areas that receive those benefits though.

The main issue here is... unlike most developed Western Civilizations, our country has extremely low gas fees and taxes, we even PAY gas companies subsidies and provide tax breaks/regardless of their record profits (regardless, general funds pay most road fees and everyone pays for those, driving or not...not too mention the other costs as a result of auto use). In those developed civilized countries, they pay much more to protect citizens from automobiles with said facilities, and far more. It is a more thought out and worldly design philosophy.
This is turn also creates solutions and options outside of car use because the infrastructure created makes it feasible. Drivers are being accountable, oil companies are not receiving as much special treatment, and more livability comes to action.

I agree on the potholes.. and in your town, that is being addressed more and I have read that it will continue to improve in that area. Isn't there even a ph# to call to have potholes filled?

I, too, believe that bicyclists should be taxed plus be insured if they are going to ride on the roads.

We live on a scenic bike path, and the weekends are a nightmare here for the motorists. The bicyclists as a whole run the STOP signs, illegally block the lanes by riding two or more abreast, will not allow cars to pass (They want to race them for some reason), and are rude to anybody who gets in their way. Their pack mentality forces cars to yield (Tennessee state law says that bikes are supposed to yield to cars), and new laws are being written so that if a bicyclist is in an accident with a car, the driver is at fault regardless of the situation.

Just because somebody owns a car does not give them other rights. If you own one car, does that give you the right to drive a second one for free? No, so that does not give somebody the right to take any other vehicle/device onto the highway.

I say let the bicyclists pay for their own lanes and have their own road space, then they'll have no argument from the rest of us.

Since this part of the 'net is an ode to the industry that this country is synonomous with, I will salute two sedans that were plush and neat in their day: the Packard Patrician and the AMC Ambassador.
About the current concerns over gas prices. About forty years ago, the Middle East countries that were unhappy with our support of Israel placed an embargo on their shipments of crude oil to the US. Instantly, DC had a lot of answers to the problem, none of which materialized. Typically. And, remember, DC supposedly works for us. Now we have the potential of a lot of petroleum available, via the propposed pipeline, but the EPA (government cretins), the eco-weenies, and other factions of the administration are not helping matters much. We could be energy self-sufficient.
Then, giving credit where it is due, we have a government program that worked, the interstate highway system, which has been a huge help for many parts of the economy.
For bicyclists, many of us live too far from the destinations we want, so we have to drive.
For another mode of transportation, there is the motorcycle. there are a lot of them around, they are easy on the roads, and they are fun.

They do. They pay taxes and do not destruct the roads with a 2500+lb vehicle.

Let's add that in the USA we have inept roads. Nothing is built to serve all modes well enough. Very few complete streets. Especially in places like Tennessee, unfortunately. Glad to hear there is some momentum to improve matters though.

There is not one single solitary country, city, municipality that requires cyclists to pay some kid of insurance policy or taxes specific to riding a bike. Just like there should not be one for people walking on a sidewalk built, there should not be one for someone riding a bike.

I am taking about countries where over 30% of the communities ride a bike daily to work and other activities. No special fees. It is something to encourage, not complicate further to discourage. We save money on health care, people are happier and more productive that get that low impact exercise. The parking is not another added cost as well. There is less cars driving, allowing less gridlock. It goes on and on.

Let's add that Colorado tried a license fee. It failed miserably. For one, it will not pay for ANY road improvements because that fee needs to pay for the staffing needed to run the programs. It would run at a constant loss.

I also do not want to complicate something as simple as say, a kid riding their bike to school. I mean, they should do that.. not be required some kind of fees to ride a bike. It is beyond silly.

Bicycles are carbon neutral, healthy, and decrease obesity. They improve people's lives all around.

If the issues you have at hand are road rules based then argue there should be more outreach/education/police, etc.

But at the same time, if cyclists could have their own lanes like other civilized countries often have whenever possible... it would get a lot more people on bikes and make the USA much nicer to live in, no doubt. We have road rules based in inadequacy, but we need to share the road, it is the way it has been done for a long time.

It might help with our over dependance, and folks driving just to get a container of milk within 2 miles. I will pay for special lanes, not these jokes of a white stripe on the side of the road for a few pennies out of a dollar spent on car focused infrastructure.

However, like I said... NO one pays fees to ride a bike. Even in places like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, etc. Places where people have 98% less chance of getting in an accident with a car than we do, with real world infrastructure. I don't see that anywhere, maybe little tid bits in a few progressive cities in the USA.

Car drivers pay a portion for other modes because cars make it necessary due the the dangers they impose on others, in order for more vulnerable people to get from A to B safely. But most of those fees are not auto related, in that I might drive 450 miles a year... but I pay the same portion of taxes as someone driving 10,000 miles a year. Guess what? I am OKAY with that too. I bike more, a good thing, putting less stress on the roads.

People that do not drive also pay those fees for parking lots, streets, roads etc. It is just the way it works.

It is the right thing to do and is also incredibly inexpensive too boot in the grander scheme.'re missing the point that many bicyclists are complete jerks who think they own the road as a reward for being "green".

I live in the country and the road in front of my home is a popular cycling route.

Bloody gangs of smug yuppies....usually not riding single file, and forcing autos to get out of their way. If they don't like the way you drive, they've been known to yell insults.

Yes, they should pay road taxes (even if it's only $20)...and be forced to obey the rules of the road.

John B, I agree 100%. For example, there's a 3-way stop near me. We motorists have to stop there by law (as do the bicyclists), but they rarely if ever do. And when we pull into the intersection, the bikers who are running the STOP signs yell at us and give us the finger like WE'RE in the wrong... they ran the sign, they are the jerks, but if we hit them, it's our fault somehow. I've seen 40 and more in a pack ignoring the STOP signs as if they weren't there at all.

If the bikers obeyed the laws, and from my observations about 90% of them don't, then we could share the roads in peace. But it's the abrasive, lawless attitudes of the bikers that cause the hard feelings, not us motorists.

How is twenty dollars going to impact someone not making a complete stop of following road rules? That's called policing the area of concern.

I'm trying to move this conversation toward realism and succinct in regards to what we are talking about, fees are not confusion over taking the lane or stopping at a 4 way.

Additionally people who ride bikes are often motorists. How about someone riding a bike? Labels and pointing fingers is not a means of finding solutions.

The solution is for bicyclists to obey the laws.

@ Bill T.: Your panacea pipeline is to be used to ship oil to Texas where it will be refined AND EXPORTED. The USA is again a net EXPORTER of POL, but is the price of gas any cheaper as a result? The answer is a big NO. Moreover, companies are already maneuvering to start exporting fracked natural gas, and capping the existing wells so the price does NOT fall. Instead of calling people who are actually concerned about our future cretins and weenies, maybe you should just learn some facts.

You're missing my point: Twenty dollars (or at least SOMETHING) should be their contribution for the upkeep of the roads.
It's called contributing...or even paying their fair share.

John, do you honestly think am annual twenty dollar fee will have an intact? For what? People who create the license and send noticed to the few people who sign up? It certainly will cust more than the cost of road keep to run the program by huge amounts.

The people riding a bike are already contributing by not polluting, not putting stress on roads etc. there should not be a fee for having virtually no negative impact.

I'm an avid cycists and I love cars, especially weird old cars. Thats why I frequent this blog. I wish other car lovers understood the negative impacts cars made. I am not just talking about pollution, because in all honesty there are other things the human race does that is worse for the environment. What I'm talking about is sprawl.

The city I live in, New Orleans, is far from perfect, the streets are terrible there is crime, corruption, and pollution. But it was mostly constructed before the rise of the automobile (1950s) so the streets are walkable, everything is closer together I bike everywhere sometimes I joke that I don't really need to own a telephone that I can just leave my house and I will run into my friends. This I think is how all cities should be constructed, for people not cars. In my idea world there would be no sprawl cities would be fairly dense but in a short drive, bicycle ride, or train ride would take you to a beautiful pristine environment or a farm. Instead we have endless strip malls and suburban subdivisions that all resemble one another in endless repetition across the country.

Comparing cars and bikes is absurd. A car is a potential weapon, while It is possible to kill someone with a bicycle it is not easy and the results would be potentially comical. A bicycle takes very little energy to create and can be maintained by a drunken hipster with little mechanical skill and an ironic mustache. But It multiplies the speed and distance a human is able to travel by three.

With that said there are many other cyclists that would thumb their nose up at me. I'm talking about those guys that wear all the gear and ride bikes that cost thousands of dollars. Cyclists like that call people like me "freddies" because I wear my street clothes when I cycle. Long story short some people are just assholes, sometimes they ride bicycle, sometimes they drive cars and yes I wish we could tax people based on how much of an asshole they were but politicians write all the laws and they'd never wanna tax themselves. Having separate roads/dedicated lanes for bicycles is a great idea it means you can go faster in your car without hitting a cyclists and the cyclists don't have to worry about getting killed so much.

anyway sorry for my rant but I think it had to be said. I have never owned a car, though I have driven many times, I plan once I can make some money with my business to buy either a chevy covair (I found out about this site while searching for chevy covairs) or maybe a subaru.

The bicycle paved the road. Is carbon neutral. It takes fat off the body. Creates community. Costs little to provide necessary infrastructure, thousands less than the automobile requires. When people ride a bike they are helping us all.. even those that drive a car. Less pollution, less traffic, less parking taken up, they are less likely to suffer the consequences from a seditary lifestyle, are proven more productive and less likely to be ill from work.. the list goes on.

All we need is to create more complete streets like other developed civilized countries have been doing. We have thrown the baby out with the bath water coming Autopia.

No ones saying we can't drive, we just need to be more mindful in our planning and development.

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