Author Topic: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?  (Read 14823 times)

Disclaimer - I own to cars and regularly drive for work.
I live in SE London, in a residential area. Nominal 20mph speed limit, but regularly in the past see cars tearing up my street at high speeds.

These days many more people includign family groups cycle up my road, which hugs the Thames.
I see the few cars ont he road driving quite slowly, even when no cyclists about. Not walking pace but around that 20mph mark.
My theory is that Lonodn is so congested that when you DO find an empty stretch of road you get moving as fast as you can to 'catch up'.
If there are clear roads there is no pressure to drive fast, paradoxically.

Also I find car drivers a lot more courteous towards cyclists.

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2020, 08:48:30 am »
Yes and no.

I have found most drivers more courteous during lockdown, but some who are taking advantage of the quiet roads to go as fast as possible. However most of my riding recently has been on obscure Cotswold lanes, so a bit different from SE London.

Partly I think it is that there are a lot more cyclists and walkers around, so they have to go a bit more carefully. As a cyclist I am being more cautious on the lanes, since I know there is likely to be a group of walkers around the next bend and it is difficult to stop quickly on the sort of gravelly potholed surfaces we have here. On the other hand I have had a few unpleasantly close passes. However all the bad driving seems to be on the more major roads, presumably where they think they can get away with it.

As an illustration, something almost unprecedented happened to me a couple of days age. Whilst going up a steep hil I met a 4x4 coming down, and he immediately reversed back to find a passing place. Admittedly I wasn't going to stop on such a steep hill, and his car was so wide there was no way to get past where we met, but even so that was remarkable behaviour. Let's just hope it continues.

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2020, 08:56:20 am »
London Borough of Merton have just extended the 20mph zone to all the roads in our immediate area. Great news.
Rust never sleeps

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2020, 09:01:12 am »
My experience is exactly the same as Rod's. Mind you he lives up the road from me.  :D


Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2020, 09:28:49 am »
I think more courteous overall, but the badly behaved ones carry on behaving badly and don't have the controlling mechanism of other slower cars about.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2020, 09:35:58 am »
A lot of driving is to very simple rules. It's a mental impossibility to think of everything about driving all the time. The reason why we have to learn to drive with a real car an not a book is so that a lot of actions are done with the subconscious without thinking about them.

When I reach for the gear lever, I remember where I left it, but it's a completely different mental process to remembering the wife's birthday. I don't ease off the brake as I come to a halt to stop jerking because it's on a checklist, it just sort of happens, because I've done it a lot of times. I'm writing this without looking at the keys of the laptop, for similar reasons.

Driving in London is usually so rarely in free traffic conditions that the speed limits, traffic lights, lanes and priorities rarely actually matter. Just following the car in front works nearly all the time.

The result is that many drivers will be in really unfamiliar territory on empty roads, so it is no surprise that some don't know how to drive in those conditions. You see the same in snow and fog. It's good that many slow down because they aren't sure.
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Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2020, 10:00:20 am »
Not round here. :(

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2020, 10:01:46 am »
No it has not. Speeding is happening more, and just as worryingly, at higher speeds. It is a disgrace. The only solution is to ban cars.

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Ban cars.

bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2020, 10:05:19 am »
The boy racers of Tower Hamlets still seem to have their foot down most of the time so there are a few unpleasant experiences on the roads here (not that I have been out much at all). However on the plus side I witnessed some exemplary overtaking yesterday with a driver moving fully to the opposite lane and giving me plenty of "pull out to give distance to pedestrian" space.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2020, 10:05:34 am »
It's a mixed bag here on the London borders. There's a good number of more courteous drivers probably because astonishingly it's become relatively common to find entire families cycling on roads where previously that would have been a no-no.

But there's a minority of their opposite, people putting their foot to the floor and using the lack of traffic to go as quickly as they dare.

There's no reason any car capable of going faster than 70mph should be on any road.
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Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2020, 10:09:49 am »
It's a mixed bag here on the London borders. There's a good number of more courteous drivers probably because astonishingly it's become relatively common to find entire families cycling on roads where previously that would have been a no-no.

But there's a minority of their opposite, people putting their foot to the floor and using the lack of traffic to go as quickly as they dare.

There's no reason any car capable of going faster than 70mph should be on any road.
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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2020, 10:17:25 am »
I don't see any reason to regard the sale of a BMW as different to the sale of a machine gun. The whole idea of motoring "culture" is built on violence and toxic masculinity. That 'I have a big noisy car, get out of my way as I tear around making lots of noise or I will kill you'. It is repulsive.
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Ban cars.

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2020, 10:19:20 am »
You can kill somebody with any car. It doesn't have to be a BMW.

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2020, 10:20:31 am »
Regarding Ian's point about entire families being on the road I agree.

IT is great to see family groups goign alon beside the Thames and in the street where I live.
I venture to say this props up the Dutch model of cycling - cycling will increase if people feel safe and are given good facilities.
Also 'home zones ' - I live on a long street, but it is mostly residential. Family groups should be able to cycle safely,
and yes cars shoudl be there also - but slowly.

Expecting people to cycle on the road 'protected' by bits of paint is a non-starter.

It won't last. As soon as car usage is up again parents wont be leading their brood out on adventures on the road.





Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2020, 10:22:17 am »
I think people will get back to their old ways very quickly, unless there are new limiting factors.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2020, 10:30:42 am »
One ride that Jan and I had on the tandem had, in its first 300 yards, more dangerous and alarming moments as a result of the aggression of drivers than we've had for years.

I think that the volume of traffic has been less, but that most people are driving faster.
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2020, 10:54:18 am »
I don't see any reason to regard the sale of a BMW as different to the sale of a machine gun. The whole idea of motoring "culture" is built on violence and toxic masculinity. That 'I have a big noisy car, get out of my way as I tear around making lots of noise or I will kill you'. It is repulsive.

Holy Hyperbole, Bantam.

Machine guns get you from A-B? Carry shopping and tools and stuff?
Here's a car this is masculine?
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2020, 11:30:22 am »
Slightly faster but significantly more patient from what I've seen. There was a glut of boy racers taking advantage of the empty roads in the first few weeks, but now they seem to have either bored of it, lost their licences or perhaps most likely given up as the traffic gets nearer to 'normal' levels. You can already taste the diesel.

It does show what a difference traffic volumes make to journey speeds (as distinct from moving speeds). For the first couple of weeks, the buses here were running a normal service. They had to wait for ten minutes or so at every third or fourth stop in order to simulate the delays that are normally caused by traffic queues, parking (the act of parking as distinct from where cars park) and, of course, boarding dwells.
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Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2020, 11:58:08 am »
There's no reason any car capable of going faster than 70mph should be on any road.

Owning a gun or even a knife does not mean you have to kill somebody, and owning a car capable of going extremely fast does not mean you have to drive that fast on the road. Chum of mine owns an old Nissan 280Z. He spends silly money to drive it on race tracks at insane speeds maybe 3 or 4 times a year. The rest of the time, he is a perfectly nice guy who drives sensibly like anyone else. What's the problem with that?

A

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2020, 12:10:24 pm »
Then fine, if people want to own racing cars, they can go to a track and race away. I don't want them on public roads. The maximum speed limit in the UK is 70mph, so why should cars be able to go faster?
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2020, 12:13:20 pm »
I have found most drivers more courteous during lockdown, but some who are taking advantage of the quiet roads to go as fast as possible.

Pretty much this.  Notable increase in courtesy towards cyclists from some drivers (eg. on single-track roads, keeping distance from pedestrians and so on) but in general they're doing what they can get away with, which means higher speeds.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2020, 12:16:12 pm »
There's no reason any car capable of going faster than 70mph should be on any road.

Owning a gun or even a knife does not mean you have to kill somebody, and owning a car capable of going extremely fast does not mean you have to drive that fast on the road. Chum of mine owns an old Nissan 280Z. He spends silly money to drive it on race tracks at insane speeds maybe 3 or 4 times a year. The rest of the time, he is a perfectly nice guy who drives sensibly like anyone else. What's the problem with that?

I've observed that drivers of cars that show evidence of actual motorsport tend to be pretty sensible on the roads.  I assume it's about not having anything to prove, perhaps combined with above-average driving skills.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2020, 12:20:43 pm »
Then fine, if people want to own racing cars, they can go to a track and race away. I don't want them on public roads. The maximum speed limit on the public highway in the UK is 70mph, so why should cars be able to go faster?
My italic added. Japanese domestic market cars tend to be limited to 112mph (no idea why that number) so it's possible to electronically limit cars to a given speed, and I think it would make sense to do so. It makes sense to build cars to be capable of going significantly faster, because if you want to do 70mph at 3,000rpm (for fuel economy and NVH reasons), but the car is capable of 6,000 rpm, your gearing would take you to 140mph. Hell, even my single gear EV is supposedly capable of 85. Also, fundamentally, the person doing 73 in a 20 zone is clearly more likely to KSI other people than the one doing 119 in a 60 zone. No speed limiter is going to be able to stop that without significant AI.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2020, 12:28:01 pm »
Then fine, if people want to own racing cars, they can go to a track and race away. I don't want them on public roads. The maximum speed limit on the public highway in the UK is 70mph, so why should cars be able to go faster?
My italic added. Japanese domestic market cars tend to be limited to 112mph (no idea why that number) so it's possible to electronically limit cars to a given speed, and I think it would make sense to do so. It makes sense to build cars to be capable of going significantly faster, because if you want to do 70mph at 3,000rpm (for fuel economy and NVH reasons), but the car is capable of 6,000 rpm, your gearing would take you to 140mph. Hell, even my single gear EV is supposedly capable of 85. Also, fundamentally, the person doing 73 in a 20 zone is clearly more likely to KSI other people than the one doing 119 in a 60 zone. No speed limiter is going to be able to stop that without significant AI.

To be fair, the EU is mandating Intelligent Speed Assistance on new cars.  Yes, the driver can override it, but that only works when the driver in front has done so too.  I expect it will become harder to override as the technology improves (my experience of driving a car so equipped is that it can occasionally be confused by signage on service roads and the like).  I think that's much more useful than a hard limit of top speed, as most of the danger comes from people doing 40 where they should be doing 20.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Lockdown - has it made driving slower and drivers more courteous?
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2020, 12:32:59 pm »
Then fine, if people want to own racing cars, they can go to a track and race away. I don't want them on public roads. The maximum speed limit on the public highway in the UK is 70mph, so why should cars be able to go faster?
My italic added. Japanese domestic market cars tend to be limited to 112mph (no idea why that number) so it's possible to electronically limit cars to a given speed, and I think it would make sense to do so. It makes sense to build cars to be capable of going significantly faster, because if you want to do 70mph at 3,000rpm (for fuel economy and NVH reasons), but the car is capable of 6,000 rpm, your gearing would take you to 140mph. Hell, even my single gear EV is supposedly capable of 85. Also, fundamentally, the person doing 73 in a 20 zone is clearly more likely to KSI other people than the one doing 119 in a 60 zone. No speed limiter is going to be able to stop that without significant AI.

To be fair, the EU is mandating Intelligent Speed Assistance on new cars.  Yes, the driver can override it, but that only works when the driver in front has done so too.  I expect it will become harder to override as the technology improves (my experience of driving a car so equipped is that it can occasionally be confused by signage on service roads and the like).  I think that's much more useful than a hard limit of top speed, as most of the danger comes from people doing 40 where they should be doing 20.
If the tech works, then that's great. Much like with the emergency brake assist, there is potential for big scary accidents if it gets confused (hypothetical eg sees black bag blowing around on motorway, does emergency stop, likewise 5mph service road). However, around town there is an argument it should be mandatory (maybe if there is no road with a limit > 20mph more within half a mile or something). Then all those people who PCP giant new SUVs can drive around being "held up" by their technology and "holding up" the rest of traffic. :)
If it's EU law though, our lot of useless idiots will probably turn it off on the grounds of FREEDOM.  ::-)