Monday, May 28, 2007

What is the difference between theory and practice?

In theory, nothing.

(Paraphrased from C.Rous)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

HOV math

A friend of mine who rides a motorcycle complained about the two person limit claiming single occupant motorcycles are high occupancy and should be allowed.

My counter examples:

  • Small cars, like the SMART, are not much longer. Some sports cars like the Morgan and Lotus Super 7 are also not much longer. Should they be allowed with one person?
  • Throughput is probably the real reason. The designers would have figured traffic flow based on the space needed to safely move two people. Since at 100km/h this is around 30m/s then any vehicle is going to use about 60m of roadway. Unless you're driving two bikes side by side, you are a HOV Hog.

HOV Hogs

Ontario recently implemented HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on its major highways to help increase commuter throughput. These lanes have been widely acclaimed a success. HOVs are essentially a single lane controlled access lane for vehicles with two or more occupants that operates on an honour system. Like all good things, they are abused. There are two or three main types of HOV hogs.

Cheats (Brazen). Single occupant vehicles. These are routinely pulled over by the provincial police when they go through controlled access tunnels. Even with my limited use of them I almost always see a couple of these hogs pulled over inside the tunnel out of sight. Penalties include fines and (I've heard) demerit points on your licenses.

Cheats (Cowardly). People using dummies. Mannequins, baby dolls, blow-up dolls. Similar fate.

Cheats (Feigned Ignorance). People regularly darting across the heavy do-not-cross bars as if they are just using the passing lane. Similar demise, just harder to catch.

Autobahn wannabees. Those who think the HOVs are speed limit free. Waaay over the limit. Frequently a danger because there is no safe place for them to go. Dealt with in the usual way. May require other drivers to be more defensive.

Roadblocks. People within their rights but a danger nonetheless. Like the minivan this morning with four people running at 90km/h! Blissfully unaware of the cars backing up behind them. Many impatient and crowding the people caught behind this tortoise. Worse, the main lanes were running openly and faster. Cars were looking at going around. Thankfully none did.

Please folks, if you don't need to use the lanes, don't use them just because you can. Keep up with traffic, leave space, and allow it to flow. Don't race.