The Wisdom of the Crowd - extracts from Letters to the Editor and forums such as Fark and Reddit


Stick Shift

(Jeremy Clarkson article "'Why,' I wailed inwardly, 'would anyone ever buy a car with a manual gearbox these days?' It's like saying, 'I don't need a television with a remote control. I'm perfectly capable of walking over to it and changing the channel myself.'" He went as far to say that those who favour a manual transmission, "are the sort who choose not to have a washing machine because they prefer to clean their clothes in the local river."

Of course Jeremy Clarkson prefer automatics. It's hard to manually shift gears AND punch your assistant producer in the face at the same time!

I'm getting the impression that there aren't a lot of people in this thread that regularly experience stop and go traffic as part of a commute/normal traffic snarls in their area. I loved my manual car when i lived in the relative boonies and stop and go traffic was only the result of major accidents, and lasted a very short distance. once i moved to a congested city and was seeing it semi often while commuting, i dumped that thing right quick. its awful in traffic with a manual.

Anyway I get it...the control? Like if you removed the actuators from all your windows, tied strings routed through a pulley system to your wiper blades, put a hand crank on each wheel, that sort of thing? Wouldn't it just be easier to go Jules and walk the earth? Yea I'll stick with automatic everything thanks.

I need free hands to gesture at my fellow motorists.

Best reason I've seen.

I've come to accept the fact that I'm at best an average driver, and that I'm not going to get better (and am eventually going to start to get worse). Therefore, anything the car can do to let me concentrate on the key task of Not Hitting Things is a plus.

I think this is also the best reason to get a self-driving car.

When we all have self-driving cars, your fellow motorists won't be a pain in the ass anymore.

The thing is, with a self-drive car you don't want others to see what you're doing inside (and you'll be too busy doing other things to worry about other drivers .....)

Self-Drive Cars (SDCs)

1. What to expect
2. Will they be accepted?
3. Will they be abused?
4. When will it happen?
5. But some people love driving
6. But they will be nudged aside
7. I want my own car
8. Sometimes you need a human driver
9. Liability
10. What about hackers?
11. I don't want to be tracked everywhere
12. Implications for the future
13. What will you have?
14. I Feel Lucky


An important point was missed when discussing cycling safety in London and the Netherlands (30 November, p 14). As more people cycle, there is an increased likelihood that those who drive cars are also cyclists.

In the Netherlands there is a small core of drivers who never ride a bike, and a small number of adult cyclists who don't drive; but most do both. This improves driver awareness and makes it more likely that cyclists have some idea what a car driver can and cannot see.

There is one worrying statistic for Dutch cyclists: the number of over 60s killed or injured while cycling has increased sharply in the past two years.

This seems to be largely down to the increased use of battery-assisted bikes, which can dramatically increase the speeds that are possible. Between July 2011 and June 2012, 13 per cent of cyclists needing treatment in hospital had been riding these bikes; the average age of the casualties was 66.

Anger towards cyclists is often perfectly rational: They fail to warn you of their approach. (Is a £2.00 bell too much to add to a £1,000 bike?) Most I encounter clearly have no idea of the Highway Code or believe it is their right to jump lights, ride on pavements and hurtle though country lanes round blind corners. The Government needs to insist that cyclists pass a test, are insured, and have an annual check on the condition of their bikes, with fines for having no bell or no lights. The worm will turn; cyclists have been putting pedestrians in danger for years, on the road, on the footpath and they consider themselves above the law. Because the law takes no interest in making them obey it. One pedestrian finally loses it and Mr Plod suddenly gets animated. Of course many cyclists behave badly. But that doesn't change the balance of power. A bicycle is a fragile, vulnerable thing. It can't stop as fast as a motor vehicle and it doesn't stand a chance in a conflict with them. It's odd that it is taking so long for people to adapt to the coming change in the way that we get around. These arguments seem to go in circles, without resolution, with both sides citing the actions of a few to justify their antipathy. Maybe it's time to recognize that cycles are as inappropriate as horses on modern busy streets.

Cyclists vs Drivers (Fark thread)

Actually, as we go over every traffic thread, the single biggest factor in your probability of being involved in a crash with another vehicle is your deviation from the average speed on the roadway, regardless of what that speed is. It's called the Solomon Curve. It's well-studied and has been known since the 60s. If everyone is doing 75 in a 65, and you're doing 60, you're risking a crash. If everyone is doing 65 in a 65, and you're doing 80, you're risking a crash. If you're not driving with traffic, you're either blocking it or trying to outrun it, and both of those things are dangerous regardless of the absolute speeds involved.

If everybody on the road is driving well over the speed limit, then either the speed limit isn't set appropriately and should be studied, or the road should be modified to slow people down if the dangers inherent in the speeds being traveled are non-obvious (as in many urban "highways" where the lanes are wide and encourage higher speeds, but also include pedestrian crossings, turns, etc. that put people at risk).

I'd like to be sympathetic to the human being that was crushed asunder the wheels of a moving car and left to bleed out by the side of the road, but this one time I was driving and there was this guy on a bike and HE RAN A STOP SIGN! I don't see why I should care about the well-being of this man in light of the travesty I once witnessed.

Almost spring here. Gotta get the bike ready. And clean the glock.

65% of all fatalities in London are caused by trucks and buses cutting across the paths of cyclists.

Or looked at another way, 65% of cycling fatalities are when cyclists undertake trucks and buses on the inside near junctions illegally like fecking idiots.

Cyclists do not take mandated tests to receive a license to operate a bicycle on public roads. Cyclists do not have to pay mandatory liability insurance in order to operate a bicycle on public roads. Cyclists do not register their bicycle and receive a license plate. Cyclists are not required to have their bicycle pass any inspection to deem the bike road worthy, or safe. Why should motorists share the road with them again?

Cyclists are like black people. They're collectively responsible for the behavior of each other as individuals.

As a daily sidewalk-user who has come very close on a couple of occasions to getting wiped out by bikes speeding around blind corners.. I find it hard to churn up much sympathy. OK, fine, that's a lie, I can understand not wanting to be out there with the oblivious idiots piloting their hurtling thousand-pound death machines but still.. if you absolutely have to use the sidewalk, slow the bleep down!

Maybe folks like you should give up bikes in favor of something safer, like a large hamster ball.

Regardless of how much you may love riding generally, commuting by bike will always suck. Take the most tedious part of your day and throw in heavy cardio and complete exposure to the weather and by the third week you'll just beg for one of those SUVs to swerve off the road and mow you down.

I hated cyclists as much as the drivers did. They made it unsafe for the rest of us using bikes. They give bike commuters a bad name, and when they encounter other people on bikes they are condescending pricks. "Oh, your bike only cost you $800 huh? Mine was over $5,000, and the pedals alone cost me $800 apiece." Jerk. Like I care about your bike fetish. I'm just trying to get to work without getting splattered, and your dick attitude is not making the traffic any friendlier.

You know who like to ride bicycles? Commie Chinese, that's who.

I've grown to heartily dislike most cyclists. Allow me to list the reasons:

1. The fashion brigade. I don't know why anyone would spend $400 on team kit for a team they don't actually belong to. I always feel they look like those guys who wear BDUs who aren't in the military.
2. The "trainers." These are the people who take the sport way too seriously. As the great Sheldon Brown said, if you aren't being paid to do it you aren't training, so get over yourself and enjoy the ride.
3. And speaking of training, get over the pace line business. If I wanted to spend several hours looking at someone's ass, I'd go to a porn movie.

Urban antipathy toward cyclists is nothing to the rage of mt bikers

They get pissed when someone's holding them up

And hikers get pissed when the bikers come round a blind corner at speed

If cyclists want to travel fast on wheels, there are millions of miles of roads where they can do that. Why do they need to make wilderness areas wheel-accessible too?

/On the trail around Walden Pond, joggers are pissed off at anyone just walking and looking at the scenery. Get a treadmill and jog at home!