'What We Really Need to Make Roads Safer for Everyone'

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/upshot/car-seats-road-safety-us-sweden.html Some busybody know-it-all pediatrician sounds off…

Interesting, but I’ve never aspired to be more like the Swedes, never had a desire to drive a Volvo or a Saab, and the research / studies presented seem to be confusing, inconclusive, inaccurate or flawed, at best.

We safely raised 2 children transporting them in good old American vehicles (large GM & Chrysler), in good old American car seats (Our Dodge Caravan came from the factory with integrated 4 pt. child seats in the center of the vehicle… I chose it).

:us: America, what a country! :us:
CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:


And this damned program won’t let me post the one word “yawn”. It keeps saying “post is unclear. Is this a complete sentence?” but won’t allow the word to post.
I’m getting sick of this software.

This ONE statement in the article tells me it’s very flawed.

"Roads rely more on roundabouts, less on intersections."

Roundabouts only work in light traffic areas. NOT high volume traffic. There was a roundabout (traffic circle) in Chelmsford MA over Rt-3 at the junction of Rt-110 and Rt-4 that was converted to 4 intersections. On average that roundabout was averaging well over 200 accidents a year. When the removed the roundabout and added traffic lights at 4 corners, the accident rate dropped to under 4/year.

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Roundabouts and rotaries seem to be the latest fad amongst traffic engineers. IMHO they create problems in areas where there were none.

There was a period years back when creating forks at perpendicular intersections, creating a curved added access road so those going right wouldn’t get tied up at the intersection, was the fad. They made a bunch of them in NH. They created nothing but problems. The past recent years they’ve been tearing them all out.

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Yeah, I’m definitely not sold on the roundabouts everywhere policy. Especially since we tend to make them pretty small so we don’t have to use as much land, and then it’s instructive to sit at one and watch semis and people pulling campers try to navigate it.

I’m also not convinced that Sweden is so safe because of all the goofy restrictions - sorry, .02 BAC isn’t anywhere close to impaired, and sub-20mph speed limits in the entirety of a city would be silly. I suspect it’s more that, as with many European countries, Swedes take driving seriously. They learn how to do it properly through vastly superior driver education, which includes an expectation that the student understand emergency and low-traction handling. They pay attention when they’re doing it. They don’t text or check Facebook or put on makeup behind the wheel.

If Americans would do those things we’d drastically reduce accidents without building any new roads or lowering speed limits to fast-jogging-pace.

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The article’s writer should stick to pediatrics. He has as much knowledge of traffic engineering as a dentist has of bridge design.

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Unfortunately that’s not true.

In fact - Pelham has actually added 2 within 100 yds of each other and Goffstown has added two. In both cases it made traveling through that area much easier…HOWEVER…these are low volume traffic roads. And traffic really won’t increase much in decades to come.

When you think of roundabout problems - rt 2 in Concord MA is a nightmare. You take your life in you hands going through that one during rush hour.

Roundabouts don’t work in the US mostly because there aren’t that many and people don’t know what to do with them. I lived near a small city with a big roundabout in the town square. Locals didn’t have any issue but visitors sure did.

I’ve experienced roundabouts in Germany, and France - not Sweden - and find them to be OK for keeping traffic moving in limited traffic areas. In downtown Paris or Frankfurt, they might as well just be lighted intersections - as many of them are anyway. They don’t help at all.

You mean there is a fellow citizen interested in saving the lives of children, and you don’t like where he is focusing his attention? How terrible.


I’m definitely not a fan of multi-lane roundabouts, but I’d much rather yield at a single-lane roundabout than have to come to a full and complete stop at an empty four-way intersection with four stop signs and negotiate the right-of-way with people who don’t know the rules.*


It’s not that he’s interested in saving the lives of children that annoys me, personally. It’s that he’s not interested in acquiring the expertise necessary to do it properly that’s an irritant.

It’s kind of like when Bill Gates decided he wanted to help out with education, so he started funding public charter schools. Well, great thought and everything, but charter schools are less-regulated, tend to have poor educational results, and siphon resources away from regular public schools. So, while his heart was definitely in the right place, his chosen solution was bad. And that makes sense. Bill Gates knows all about running a software company. He doesn’t really know how to run an education system.

Same thing here. This guy has unimpeachable goals, but he doesn’t understand the root causes of the problem he’s trying to address. No doubt he is similarly annoyed by homeopathic “doctors” who truly want to cure their patients, but through their total ignorance of the subject matter, are applying entirely useless methods to do so.

I’d prefer the opposite. At least everyone (usually) stops for the stop sign. In a roundabout, people don’t go when it’s clear, they don’t signal their intent which means you have to yield until they actually turn off, they view the roundabout as a street chicane and try to negotiate it as fast as possible, they pull out in front of you when you have the right of way because they assume you’re going to turn off, etc. It’s kind of a mess.

Actually Bill didn’t make that decision in a vacuum. He actually brought in a team of people in education before he made one move. And that was step one. More to come.

It doesn’t matter how many people he brought in, if the outcome is wrong. :wink:

@Mustangman mentioned a town square from his past and that reminds me of several small rural towns with a town square that was at the intersection of two state highways. One in particular was the the route for loaded log trucks entering and exiting at a 90* turn and the empty trucks returning to make a counterclockwise 270* turn soon afterwards and everyone just took it for granted for years. Eventually the town grew and a truck bypass was built but local traffic still continues to deal with making the circle without problems. It does seem that the size of the roundabouts is critical to them being easily maneuvered. Those town squares are likely in excess of 2 acres of grass island.

Who says the outcome is wrong? In fact I think his approach was very good.

He’s not going to be able to fix the screwed up education system in many states. So his next best solution is to get underprivileged kids a chance at a better education. I’ve seen this model work at the private high-school I attended and my kids attended. Many kids were give scholarships who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Most (well over 95%) went on to college (many on academic scholarships).

The difference between private schools and charter schools is that private schools don’t suck money away from public schools. Charter schools do, and so you end up with a degraded public school system, while state supervision of the charter school, even in the best states, is lax enough to allow low academic achievement to go unfixed.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t good charter schools out there, but even the best charter school is sucking up money that formerly went to the public school system.

I’d be fine if Gates wanted to write checks for scholarships to private schools for underprivileged kids, but that’s not what he’s doing. He’s just facilitating a system in which underprivileged kids, often minorities, get shoved into a charter school and get a bad education while the kids who stay in the public school they left behind get a degraded education due to lack of funds.

That may or may NOT be true. Depends on how the states/cities distribute the money.

I meant the little rectangular isles, not rotaries.

I’ve never been a big fan of roundabouts and rotaries and living in a rural northern area I seldom had to deal with them. There aren’t many of them here in Bradenton, FL, but surprisingly the only 2 I know of around here are only a couple miles from me. They are in quite a rural setting outside the city limits and the traffic using them is pretty light. I frequent that area because my sister-in-law and brother-in-law live on the other side of them.

I don’t find those particular road features objectionable in car or on bicycle. I ride there on my bicycle and I believe they would be bad news on a bike in heavier traffic.

That said, I see people commenting that the circular traffic patterns cause more confusion and accidents than the old standard intersections. However I remember reading that their main advantage in creating safer conditions is elimination of dreaded T-Bone crashes, often resulting in severe injuries or death as people blow through intersections at high rates of speed 90 degrees to other traffic. So, I’m not sure, but could it be that the number of collisions on circulars is the same or greater, but serious injuries and deaths from collisions are lower?

CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses: :palm_tree: