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driving: fun vs not & other rants

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  • mdh6214@garnet.fsu.edu
    Like many Americans, I consider driving to be fun. To an extent. I periodically enter my car in autocross racing, in which contestants are timed individually
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 1, 2001
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      Like many Americans, I consider driving to be fun. To an extent.

      I periodically enter my car in "autocross" racing, in which
      contestants are timed individually on a course set with orange cones
      on an abandoned airport parking lot--doing cone slaloms, hairpin
      turns, threshhold braking, and such--similar to the training course
      that police use.

      Also fun is driving, say, 55-65 mph on a 2- or 4-lane country highway,
      with the car in top gear and windows down, heading to, say, a remote
      beach that hardly anyone goes to (ie, a beach for which mass transit
      from the city would be hard to set up due to the small amounts of
      traffic). I'm on the road alone, save the occasional car coming the
      other way. I have a 1988 Honda Civic with no air conditioning, no
      power steering, and a manual transmission. Although I take a lot of
      insults for having "that POS", I actually enjoy it more than I do a
      "feature-equipped" car--I get an actual feel of the driving. My car
      gets 40 miles per gallon in such driving conditions, and existing,
      not-yet popular technologies in nat gas/hybrid (and budding
      zero-emission electric or fuel cells) will only make this better as
      model years progress.

      A type of driving i do NOT find fun and would rather do without is
      that with which we're the most familiar: city driving. Stop. Go.
      Yield. Let these people cross in front of me. Mind the cyclist. Stop.
      Go. 10 mph--does wonders on gas mileage and the clutch.

      It is these types of conditions that actually put the "features" in a
      car. Power steering, automatic transmission, and air conditioning are
      included in cars these days because people spend so much time driving
      in stop-and-go traffic that a "basic" car would be a pain. While I've
      gotten used to it, I'll have to admit that a manual steering rack,
      5-speed, and no air are no fun in the city--but neither are the
      "features"--it just makes it slightly more pleasant.

      I guess this is a nice way of saying: leave the car to the country,
      and leave the city to mass transit. Pick the most effective solution
      for everything. ZEVs don't mean a thing if it still takes you two
      hours to get home from work and you still can't let your kids
      skateboard in the street--a ZEV hits just as hard as a gas car.

      I'm not against cars--I'm against their inappropriate use. Any input
      welcome.

      --matt

      On a separate note, there's a construction project going on between my
      office and apartment (10-15 minute walk) for which I have mixed
      feelings. Right now, it's a dirt mess, but, when it's done, there will
      be a paved path (not sidewalk--actual carfree path) leading straight
      from my office to my apartment--some parts cement, some parts asphalt.
      The only problems with it are:

      - It involves a very nice pedestrian tunnel--running under a 7-lane
      bridge approach. I guess that defeats the whole purpose. Now, if it
      was a STREETCAR

      - Vehicular traffic *will* find a way to use these paths and tunnels.
      The university eventually ends up putting concrete posts in place, but
      they are (I am not kidding) removed. In some locations, they have had
      to resort to concrete-filled steel pipes, cemented into the pavement.

      - After putting these posts in place, motorcyclists *will* use the
      walkways. I have too many times come close to being hit by a
      motorcycle as i walk under a tunnel--I have even seen students fit
      cars through pedestrian tunnels. The university has several motorcycle
      parking areas beyond restricted-road gates--motorcycles are allowed to
      go between gates and posts to get to them. They run under the
      assumption that motorcycle parking is about 1/6 as space-intensive as
      auto parking, and they therefore should get priority. Unfortunately,
      most motorcycles have had their mufflers removed (and Florida has no
      muffler laws), so the noise is several times worse than a car and
      ear-splitting from close range. Students also take their motorcycles
      beyond this legal space and onto walkways, where they ride very fast
      and the campus police seem to do very little (I've seen one
      motorcyclist pulled over--ever.) The police also seem to do nothing
      about impounding motorcycles that students park directly outside
      buildings against handrails, blocking entrances and wheelchair ramps.
      Due to fuel efficiency and space, I personally consider a motorcycle
      (I'd actually perfer mopeds) better than a car *IF* they are driven at
      safe speeds, kept off pedestrian areas, are licensed and have
      appropriate muffling equipment in place. This is hardly ever the
      case--I see mopeds with no license plates all the time. Unfortunately,
      because we need to continue to allow bicycles in these areas, we can't
      keep motorcycles out--but a fleet of motorcycle cops doing patrols
      (with stiff fines and possible arrest/impoundment) would be able to
      put an end to this practice.

      my rant is done. any comments welcome
    • 3L
      ... ... You have a good opinion, and I agree. Cities are meant for walking, skating, for human life, not stress caused by cars. Both drivers and non drivers
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 1, 2001
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        >
        > Like many Americans, I consider driving to be fun. To an extent.
        ...

        You have a good opinion, and I agree.
        Cities are meant for walking, skating, for human life, not stress
        caused by cars. Both drivers and non drivers find cars in cities are a pain
        (I also hear it from people in both situations here).
        Since I almost always go in a city, and in suburbs (not often in real
        country areas), it may seem I'm totally against cars. I'm against the misuse
        of them and their excessive promotion, even in cities where we can live
        carfree. Those tiring car ads even take space in the metro, that's just too
        ridiculous.

        Give me a country road, where people walk, cycle, horse-ride on peacefully,
        and set a car highway in a separated area alongside, and I'll have nothing
        against cars. If we can walk from any A to any B in the province or country
        without any risk at any point in our journey, then I'll have nothing against
        the use or the promotion of cars.

        And you're right driving is fun (Got a couple of racing games here) on a
        race track, or on a road set up for car racing or car driving practicing
        during a special event. Driving must be seen as a priviledge, not a right to
        sow stressful situations and disorder along your way.

        Louis-Luc
      • Roy Preston
        ... My main man, Louis-Luc! Roy
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 2, 2001
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          >Driving must be seen as a priviledge, not a right

          My main man, Louis-Luc!

          Roy
        • Ronald Dawson
          ... I guess one could also consider a Suzuki Swift, as a glorified Go-Cart. ... No offence but, what you wrote kind of reminds me of Audi ad. Though riding in
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 2, 2001
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            Matt wrote:
            >Like many Americans, I consider driving to be fun. To an extent.
            >
            >I periodically enter my car in "autocross" racing, in which
            >contestants are timed individually on a course set with orange cones
            >on an abandoned airport parking lot--doing cone slaloms, hairpin
            >turns, threshhold braking, and such--similar to the training course
            >that police use.

            I guess one could also consider a Suzuki Swift, as a glorified Go-Cart.

            >Also fun is driving, say, 55-65 mph on a 2- or 4-lane country highway,
            >with the car in top gear and windows down, heading to, say, a remote
            >beach that hardly anyone goes to (ie, a beach for which mass transit
            >from the city would be hard to set up due to the small amounts of
            >traffic). I'm on the road alone, save the occasional car coming the
            >other way.

            No offence but, what you wrote kind of reminds me of Audi ad.

            Though riding in a pickup truck, with your family, on a 2-lane road through
            the prairies and badlands of Alberta (Calgary to Drumheller) is also an
            interesting experience.
            A great place to check out in Drumheller. http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/

            >I have a 1988 Honda Civic with no air conditioning, no
            >power steering, and a manual transmission. Although I take a lot of
            >insults for having "that POS", I actually enjoy it more than I do a
            >"feature-equipped" car--I get an actual feel of the driving. My car
            >gets 40 miles per gallon in such driving conditions, and existing,
            >not-yet popular technologies in nat gas/hybrid (and budding
            >zero-emission electric or fuel cells) will only make this better as
            >model years progress.

            In other words, no flying by wire for you?

            >A type of driving i do NOT find fun and would rather do without is
            >that with which we're the most familiar: city driving. Stop. Go.
            >Yield. Let these people cross in front of me. Mind the cyclist. Stop.
            >Go. 10 mph--does wonders on gas mileage and the clutch.
            >
            >It is these types of conditions that actually put the "features" in a
            >car. Power steering, automatic transmission, and air conditioning are
            >included in cars these days because people spend so much time driving
            >in stop-and-go traffic that a "basic" car would be a pain. While I've
            >gotten used to it, I'll have to admit that a manual steering rack,
            >5-speed, and no air are no fun in the city--but neither are the
            >"features"--it just makes it slightly more pleasant.

            Only dealing with the symptoms?

            >I guess this is a nice way of saying: leave the car to the country,
            >and leave the city to mass transit. Pick the most effective solution
            >for everything. ZEVs don't mean a thing if it still takes you two
            >hours to get home from work and you still can't let your kids
            >skateboard in the street--a ZEV hits just as hard as a gas car.

            The more things change, the more they stay the same?

            >I'm not against cars--I'm against their inappropriate use. Any input
            >welcome.

            I say the same in regards to the use of alcohol. Dawson
          • mdh6214@garnet.fsu.edu
            Actually, that s an excellent comparision. Some people want nothing to do with alcohol, and some peopke want to exercise the RESPONSIBLE use of alcohol for
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 3, 2001
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              Actually, that's an excellent comparision. Some people want nothing
              to
              do with alcohol, and some peopke want to exercise the RESPONSIBLE use
              of alcohol for personal enjoyment. So can we compare road-ragers to
              alcoholics? Someone who doesn't know how to handle (a car | alcohol)
              and causes problems with it?

              I've also heard cars compared to guns: if you are trained, mentally
              stable, and restrict its use to rural areas, there will be very few
              problem exhibited with it. What happens is that licensing is too lax,
              and everyone feels like they HAVE to have one, and a lot of people
              have
              them without really knowing how to properly and safely use them.

              The state of (crime | mass transit) in many cities is so deplorable
              that people feel compelled to have one because of a lack of reasons
              to
              not have them (police | mass transit).

              > >I'm not against cars--I'm against their inappropriate use. Any
              input
              > >welcome.
              >
              > I say the same in regards to the use of alcohol. Dawson
            • 3L
              ... Cars may also be compared to cigarettes. Most non-smokers mind about their health and life quality if they are constantly exposed to smoke from smokers in
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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                > > >I'm not against cars--I'm against their inappropriate use. Any
                > input
                > > >welcome.
                > >
                > > I say the same in regards to the use of alcohol. Dawson
                >
                Cars may also be compared to cigarettes. Most non-smokers mind about their
                health and life quality if they are constantly exposed to smoke from smokers
                in public. Same with cars. except they can potentially kill or hurt much
                more quickly and much more severely than ten years of living with a smoker
                in the same home. Again this weekend, a cyclist has been hit by a fuckin'
                (pardon this word in public) drunk drive, and that jerky escaped. Imagine
                this driver at the same place at the commands of a bicycle or on foot. I'm
                sure he would swerve all over the road, zigzag or hit poles (take extreme
                drunk), but if he happens to hit a cyclist, or even a child, both parties
                would just stand up with at most light injuries and continue each other's
                way.

                Governments made a good job to regulate the usage of tobacco in public, even
                in some cities it is not allowed to smoke in some outdoor streets! Still
                smokers can continue to smoke at home, or in smoking rooms, in places just
                for them, where they feel they don't disturb the public. Why can't we ask
                the same to regulate something much more harmful to the life quality? When
                governments are going to understand some people just want to live in some
                carfree place where one can move around without the hassle of any car
                traffic in any of his casual displacement. I know it's possible eliminate
                cars from significant areas to enhance life quality, and keep other places
                as is so other people can continue to use cars.

                This week-end is the Grand Prix of Canada on Notre-Dame Island. A great
                number of people will watch car racing at ligntning speeds. This is great,
                racers have their road to show what they can do, and we carfree people need
                our peaceful road to get to see them.

                Louis-Luc
              • Ronald Dawson
                ... Quite so, drunk driving is another related problem. Dawson
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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                  Matt wrote:
                  >Actually, that's an excellent comparision. Some people want nothing
                  >to
                  >do with alcohol, and some people want to exercise the RESPONSIBLE use
                  >of alcohol for personal enjoyment. So can we compare road-ragers to
                  >alcoholics? Someone who doesn't know how to handle (a car | alcohol)
                  >and causes problems with it?

                  Quite so, drunk driving is another related problem. Dawson
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