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Going the Speed Limit: Public Service or Public Menace?

Two organizations call on drivers to do something radical: Drive the speed limit. In one case, the effort is designed to make streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. In the other case, the idea is to make rile drivers, alerting them to a political issue.

So in one case, driving at the legal speed limit is presented as an act of kindness and in the other as a protest campaign.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association announced yesterday its Neighborhood Pace Car program, in which D.C. residents are asked to sign up to get a sticker placed on their car that announces to all that they will be driving at or below the speed limit, even when that feels ridiculously slow. The idea is to spread courtesy and safety by example. Astonishingly, the association argues that having a fleet of cars driving through city streets at the speed limit will actually reduce road rage. Here's their explanation:

Does the Pace Car provoke road rage? No. Many people who sign up for the Pace Car Program have already been acting as unofficial Pace Cars. They report that incidents of road rage decrease when they badge their cars as Pace Cars. The Pace Car sticker credentials your car, explaining to following motorists that there is a reason for your courtesy and safe driving speed.

The folks at SaveAmericaFund.org, on the other hand, thought that a "slow roll" by truckers on the Beltway would be just the right provocation to win them a load of publicity for their cause, which is tougher government action against illegal immigrants and a halt to plans to allow Mexican truckers to drive their loads into the United States.

How an action that could annoy the heck out of tens of thousands of commuters was expected to win sympathy for the truckers' cause is not quite clear to me, but I guess the theory is that any attention is good.

What's fascinating is that the same tactic is presumed to create wildly different responses in the driving public: A sense of happiness and peace in the case of the bicyclist group, but paralyzing exasperation in the case of the truckers.

My bet is that both tactics--each smacking more of vigilantism than of good citizenship, even if the act involved is wholly legal--will be extremely unpopular with most drivers.

As it turns out, the truckers' slowdown was largely foiled by police, who pulled over some truckers and warned them they'd be ticketed if their papers and loads were not in order.

But putting aside your views on bicyclists or illegal immigration, would you react any differently to a pace car setting a slow example in neighborhood streets or a fleet of truckers intentionally slowing traffic on the Beltway?

By Marc Fisher |  April 26, 2007; 7:25 AM ET
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Comments

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Honestly, not really. While I do admit that there are some places where people are going 50 on neighborhood streets, there are also some places that the speed limit is simply unreasonable -- and yes, I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, as someone will go "Oh won't you please think of the children playing along the highway!". Neighborhood streets, in my opinion, are also different than bigger roads with no residences directly off of them.

Does a four-to-six-lane highway with relatively moderate traffic, very few curves (much less sharp ones) and no houses directly off of it really need to have traffic going 35 mph or less? No one does (people tend to go about 45, and this I believe to be reasonable) unless there's a speed trap there.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 8:07 AM

idea sounds great as long as they are in the 'slow lane'

Posted by: NALL92 | April 26, 2007 8:21 AM

Interesting topic.

I am curious enough to come back later and see how many people cry out loud for their civil rights. I am sure they will have their excuses and reasoning, but the fact remains - they will be argueing that they have the right to break the law.

Please include US Constitutional references where we can read up on that right and become as enlightened as you are.

Posted by: SoMD | April 26, 2007 8:29 AM

SoMD,

I can't imagine anyone with a 3-digit IQ suggesting that civil rights are implicated here. But since you brought it up -- and I very much wish to be as enlightened as you are -- can you provide a reference in the Constitution detailing the right to impede traffic?

Posted by: dsbaf | April 26, 2007 8:41 AM

dsbaf,

Not-so-randomly pulling people over to make sure their papers are in order?

You could get rid of most of DC's drug and gun problems that way.

Just for suspicious-looking people of course.

Posted by: athea | April 26, 2007 8:50 AM

On one-lane residental streets, I see nothing wrong with the "Pace Cars". On multi-lane streets, it's just plain wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:16 AM

How timely. I was bicyling to work this morning and got stuck behind a group of cars who were going below the speed limit. I thought about passing them, but the last car in the line of 4 kept weaving back and forth, as if he was going to try to get around the rest on the right (there wasn't quite enough room to do so). I'm glad I hung back and didn't decide to speed up around them (as I could have, since there was plenty of space for a bicycle, just not a car). Given how nuts people go if they're in the least bit inconvenienced and not able to drive a gazillion miles over the speed limit to get to where they want to go at their own speed and every one else be damned, well, I'll be interested in seeing how the neighborhood thing from WABA works.

Posted by: Moose | April 26, 2007 9:51 AM

Are the neighborhood pace cars planning to team up to block multi-lane streets? If not, it really doesn't bother me. They make their point/example without really hindering anybody (and if they are in small one-lane-each-way streets, people probably should be observing the sped limit for safety).

The beltway is a different beast and not a place for protest.

Posted by: Jerry | April 26, 2007 9:51 AM

dsbaf:

It's called obeying the law.

Posted by: SoMD | April 26, 2007 10:00 AM

I think that the distinction really is between highways and residential areas - I have a friend who insists on driving the speed limit on the Beltway (she's very law-abiding, though not completely practical) and it's absolutely terrifying to ride in her little car with her.....looking in the side mirrors, I can see people roaring up and then slamming on their brakes right on her tail. At least she doesn't drive in the passing lane.

On the other hand, I live right off of East West Highway in Silver Spring - while I probably would never bike on that road (way too scary), I notice that cars are often going so fast that they often don't bother to stop for pedestrians, even when pedestrians are in a marked cross walk and clearly have the legal right of way. A couple of weeks ago I saw a woman crossing the E-W highway in a clearly marked cross walk (it's one w/out a light, so pedestrians always have the right of way) during morning rush hour....she made it half way across the road, but none of the cars going eastbound would stop to let her go the rest of the way across!!!!! I was watching the situation and literally praying (I couldn't think of anything else to do - I didn't have my cell phone on me to call the cops, and they wouldn't have made it there in time anyways. Those drivers ALL deserved a huge fine and points)....I face a similar situation trying to walk across the one lane crosswalk that bridges the soft right turn lane on my daily commute - I have the legal right of way, but many cars don't stop....and even when they do, often the car behind them is too close and going too fast and barely makes the stop (even though it's clearly marked as a pedestrian crossing and there's literally hundreds of people who walk to work/metro using that crosswalk, so daily commuters should expect pedestrians to be in that crosswalk)....I haven't seen an accident yet, but far too many close calls.

The difference is between residential areas and highways - even multi-lane roads (such as east west highway) are in residential areas and drivers should be going at a speed where they are fully in control of their cars and able to safely deal with legal pedestrians (jaywalkers are another story) and bicyclists. Sadly, my experience is that far too many drivers don't meet that basic safety standard.

Posted by: silver spring pedestrian | April 26, 2007 10:03 AM

My chain gets yanked a lot more when people disobey the traffic laws. The other day I was driving to work and came to a 4way stop (was going to turn left). I stopped completely, and a car coming in the opposite direction rolled through around corner (right turn, so in the same direction I was heading). I beeped, and at the next 4way stop the guy did come to a complete stop (no competing traffic though). However, when we came to the next stop, he rolled through the intersection to get ahead of a guy turning onto the street, who also beeped at him. How much time did this guy save by doing this? Couldn't have been much.

Another day I was stopped at the entrance to my townhouse complex, waiting to turn left onto the main road. A car on the main road stopped, apparently waiting for traffic to pass so that she could turn left into our complex. When the traffic passed, she continued to wait. Finally she went, and stopped at my window to tell me that she was stopping so that I could go first, since I got to the intersection first. But this wasn't a 4way stop, and it is difficult to know the mind of someone in another vehicle. Please people--just obey the traffic laws as they are written. They are there to provide an equitable solution for who is to go first in a given situation. They are not hard to learn or remember.

Oh, I generally go the speed limit, and on rare occasions under the speed limit. But I agree with an earlier poster that there are some roads that you have to wonder why the speed limit is so low.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:09 AM

we need a sticker to say, "look at me, I obey the law." Seriously, I don't think it would hurt. More people should obey the law, after all- that is what it is for! As far as the truckers- more power to them. I hate seeing their careers, not to mention international security threatened! The proposal will allow Mexican trucks access to the US in as little as 15 seconds. You can not do an inspection in that little time. So much for increasing national security! It will be a short matter of time before illegals, terrorists, drugs, or WMDs are smuggled through because of this!

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2007 10:31 AM

I hate slow drivers because they frustrate me. I hate truckers because they are terrible drivers. I hate bikers because they always get in my way and are always so freaking self righteous about riding their bikes and their right to the road.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:48 AM

The only reason I go the speed limit is because the streets on my way to the train station have a ton of potholes and I've gotten plenty of flat tires because of them.

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2007 10:49 AM

I've often wondered what life would be like if people would just obey the driving laws. At the very least, we'd be able to make speed bumps go away. For some reason folks haven't figured out that we wouldn't need them if people didn't speed.

And yes, I obey the speed limits. I even use my signals!

Posted by: rockville | April 26, 2007 11:29 AM

I dont speed in residential areas period or in school zones. And folks on bicycles need to remember they are subject to the same traffic laws as those of use who drive cars. Nothing worse than getting stuck behind a bunch of TDF wannabees on Compton Rd in CLifton on a hill. Sorry you need to get to the right if you cant maintain the speed limit. And no you can not pretend like you are Lance or you will end with a bad case of road rash and busted up skinny tire bike. And my favorites are the messengers down town who ride on the sidewalks. Wander if Bo is out of GWU Hospital let. Punk was riding on the sidewalk and wanted me to get out of way. Sorry you bike slipped on the ice cream Bo. Is your leg still in traction!

Posted by: vaherder | April 26, 2007 12:14 PM

That guy at 10:49 was a different Chris. I too use my turn signal and am amazed at the number of people who don't!

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2007 12:14 PM

Tuesday I was driving down the road and saw I woman in a marked cross walk. A Montgomery County police officer in a marked cruiser did NOT stop for her. I was too far back to get a car number but I wish I had.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 12:52 PM

I'm much more concerned about following the speed limit on urban/residential roads than I am about highway speeds. 55 feels slow on the highway, but drivers topping 40 on pedestrian routes is extremely dangerous.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | April 26, 2007 12:56 PM

If the people driving "Pace Cars" want to try that BS in the left lane of the Beltway at any time of the day or night, they are welcome to do so. I wouldn't try it without a Hummer escort, body armor, and no other identifying marks (plates, etc.) on my car since I'm pretty sure someone would try to run me off the road or hunt me down.

I don't have a problem with driving slowly in residential neighborhoods and I always slow down whenever I see children playing or pets because you never know what they will do and I don't want that burden on me. But on larger streets, highways, or freeways that's not going to fly.

And I would have more sympathy for bicyclists if I ever came across a single one who obeyed the rules of the road. I've yet to ever see one come to a complete stop at a stop sign, not cross a street against a red light if no traffic is coming, or commit some other form of traffic violation. I know, I know, I should yield to them and I do, but if they're going to ask me to share the road with them then they should at least pay some lip service to the rules, which many of them appear to be unaware of or just don't care about obeying.

Posted by: Bob | April 26, 2007 12:59 PM

Let me get this straigt: we have a group advocating to get people to follow the law. I'm baffled, because people should follow the law in the first place. It really doesn't matter if the posted speed limit feel ridiculously slow; it's posted because that is considered to be the safest speed during dry and well-lighted conditions.
However, Marc and anyone else, if you thinks the speed limit feels too slow, then go right ahead and drive faster. Just know that I don't take kindly to being tailgated and I certainly wouldn't be forgiving if someone bumped into my car because they were too asinine to drive the posted speed limit.
Oh, and those who break the laws applying to the road are no better than those who rob, kill and steal.

Posted by: wtf | April 26, 2007 1:26 PM

As a motorist who thinks pace cars are stupid, and as a bicyclst who refuses to honor the stop signs that appear every block on suburban streets, I'm pleased that today's topic has raised such indignation. You folks go on with your indignation. I'll go on passing pace cars and running stop signs.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 1:30 PM

I usually go just slightly above the speed limit--10% or 5 mph whichever is less--but during daylight hours in school zones I go exactly 25 mph. I get a surprising number of tailgaters in both instances.

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2007 2:05 PM

Bob, I'm a cyclist who stops at stop signs and red lights. I even signal when I'm turning. We're not all like Mister Methane.

Posted by: arlington | April 26, 2007 2:09 PM

Mister Methane--

I hope you ride your bike through my neighborhood, and try to pass me. I'll take great pleasure in opening my car door right into you and your bike, and watch you wail like a little girl as you & your cutsey tight pants go smush into the pavement.

It's jerk cyclists like you who give us law-abiding riders a bad name.

Pace cars in neighborhoods is a fine idea. Pace cars on 25 or 35 mph city streets and/or the Beltway is beyond stupid.

Let the police use their sound judgment in enforcing speed limits. There's a good reason people very, very rarely get pulled over for driving 64 on a 55 mph highway -- the police know who's driving safely and who isn't.

Some of these do-gooders need to get a life.

Posted by: dsbaf | April 26, 2007 2:34 PM

Regarding the Pace Car idea being promoted by WABA, I think this is a great idea, not only for residential areas within the city, but in the 'burbs as well.

As someone who lived on a busy corner in the 'burbs, where cars would disregard both the speed limit and the stop sign, I'd love for enforcement to be greater than it was. Since it wasn't, I took it upon myself to force them to whenever I drove through residential areas. Yes, I came to a full (and complete) stop at every stop sign and stayed at or below the posted speed limit. Sorry, just giving the people who actually live on the street some piece of mind. I would love it if all drivers would do the same in residential areas. Too many of them think that just because there's little traffic, it's their right to go 40+.

As for your response to the poster in today's chat concerned about the number of cyclists in the street (and almost getting hit by one):

[Start Marc's Response]

I know some folks--I am not repeat not among them--who throw open their car doors in the path of oncoming bike messengers. This, aside from being unbelievably dangerous and hostile, is a good way to get yourself beaten up or worse.

[End Marc's Response]

Those folks you know deserve to be taken out back and given what for with the business end of a U lock. This type of behavior does nothing but illustrate the ignorance and cowardice of the person in a 2500+ pound vehicle.

May they get what they deserve next time they try this kind of stunt. :-|

Posted by: SamFelis | April 26, 2007 2:37 PM

"I'll go on passing pace cars and running stop signs."

People who run stop signs often get hit. Trust me, for all your bluster, you and your bike are no match for a 4000-lb vehicle, even at 25 mph.

And don't even try to intimidate with threats of a lawsuit or jail. People have insurance and no onestays in jail forever. Regardless, you could still be injured, crippled, maimed, or worse.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 2:38 PM

dsbaf writes: I'll take great pleasure in opening my car door right into you and your bike, and watch you wail like a little girl as you & your cutsey tight pants go smush into the pavement.

It's jerk cyclists like you who give us law-abiding riders a bad name.

Let's see: purposely opening a car door to smash someone into the pavement....I think that the Commonwealth Attorney would characterize that as aggravated assault, which is a felony. So much fo you being law-abiding.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 2:39 PM

dsbaf,

Good post. LOL and spot-on!

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 2:40 PM

CEEAF writes:
People who run stop signs often get hit. Trust me, for all your bluster, you and your bike are no match for a 4000-lb vehicle, even at 25 mph.

And don't even try to intimidate with threats of a lawsuit or jail. People have insurance and no onestays in jail forever. Regardless, you could still be injured, crippled, maimed, or worse.


The stop signs I blow through are those where there is no traffic coming in either direction, and on a residential street where the stop signs go on forever, block by block by block. Someone would have to be parked by the curb, lying in wait, ready to floor the gas pedal, to hit me at one of those intersections.

But, I guess you're willing to back up your righteousness with thinly-implied violence.

Oooohhh, I is skeered.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 2:43 PM

CEEAF,

Let me know when you have an original thought.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 2:45 PM

By the way, dsbaf, know what I do to pace cars when I drive on neighborhood streets?

Pass `em! Zoom-Zoom! Try opening your door into that!

Posted by: Misther Methane | April 26, 2007 2:46 PM

I take great pleasure in knowing that I have so easily raised dsbaf`s and CEEAF`s blood pressure. Not that I would ever dream of opening a car door into you, or anything like that.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 2:49 PM

Anonymous wrote: I hate slow drivers because they frustrate me. I hate truckers because they are terrible drivers. I hate bikers because they always get in my way and are always so freaking self righteous about riding their bikes and their right to the road.

--------------------------

Please forgive me if I'm incorrect (I'm a slow truck driver who rides a bike on the weekends), as all I have to go by is your post, but you sure are self-centered, aren't you?

Let me guess, your name is Apollo and you drive a chariot across the sky. Am I right? Am I right?

Posted by: SamFelis | April 26, 2007 2:54 PM

I'll say it again for you, sparky... read it slowly, so you'll catch every word.

Ride like that through my neighborhood, where young children regularly play, and the speed limit is 25 -- and do it when I'm there... and you'll carry your bike home in pieces.

Have a nice day, champ.

Posted by: dsbaf | April 26, 2007 2:54 PM

NALL92 wrote: idea sounds great as long as they are in the 'slow lane'

Funny, but the last time I looked, the speed limit was the same for all lanes.

Posted by: eo mcmars | April 26, 2007 3:16 PM

dsbaf writes:

>I'll say it again for you, sparky... read it slowly, so you'll catch every word.

O.......K......I......will....read.....this...very...slowly....

>Ride like that through my neighborhood, where young children regularly play, and the speed limit is 25 -- and do it when I'm there... and you'll carry your bike home in pieces.


dsbaf, You have obviously never ridden a bike that di not have training wheels. It's close to impossible to exceed 25 mph on a bike through suburban side streets. And I always slow down for rug rats like yours, because I know from experience that they will purposely run into my path...no doubt you trained them to do that. However, I can ride faster than you can run.

Now here is something for you to read word...by...word.....

I do not pass pace cars when I am on a bike. I pass them when I am DRIVING. What do you propose doing that would force me to carry my car home in pieces?

Now if you have a gun and are planning to do a Cho number on me, that is another matter. Perhaps someone should report you to the police as a threat to public safety.

>Have a nice day, champ.

You too, chump.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 3:17 PM

I wouldnt do anything bad to bikers. But I would not be helpful if they got smooshed, or doored or T-bones at an intersection.

Really when it comes to speed, just go with the flow of traffic. That is what promotes the greatest progress; trying to go faster or slower than the flow creates problems, for you and everybody else. Just be the traffic.

Posted by: Stick | April 26, 2007 3:39 PM

Note to bicyclist get a indoor trainer and stay indoors. You all look so cute in your spandex I just cant resist running up your ass with my Humvee! Squish, squish oh, oh aaaah! Time to light up a cig. And spray paint another dead road moron on the side of the hummer!

Posted by: Fred | April 26, 2007 3:47 PM

Mister Methane said -- Now if you have a gun and are planning to do a Cho number on me, that is another matter. --

Dude, seriously, what is wrong with you?

Posted by: Only sane one here | April 26, 2007 3:52 PM

Years ago, I was driving on the PA Turnpike near Harrisburg--two state police officers, riding side-by-side, were deliberately going 55. Behind them was about four miles of traffic. They did this for about twenty miles, before pulling off together at an exit. What a mess! I would love to drive the speed limit if everyone else would slow down and do the same. Otherwise, it gets dangerous.

Posted by: Tim O | April 26, 2007 4:05 PM

Marc, thanks for stirring up the inbreds.

Posted by: Speeding Mortoist | April 26, 2007 4:07 PM

"Years ago, I was driving on the PA Turnpike near Harrisburg--two state police officers, riding side-by-side, were deliberately going 55."

State police do this on I-95 in Virginia all the time.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 4:16 PM

"I take great pleasure in knowing that I have so easily raised dsbaf`s and CEEAF`s blood pressure. Not that I would ever dream of opening a car door into you, or anything like that."

You haven't raised MY blood pressure, baby boy, so don't flatter yourself.

The fact you have a need to brag about what you THINK you did shows not only how inadequate you are, but how stupid as well.

I'll close by saying, pray to whichever God you serve that you don't encounter someone who needs to prove his manhood with a car as badly as you obviously need to with your bike, because you won't win.

Have a happy landing.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 4:21 PM

"CEEAF, Let me know when you have an original thought."

Methane, you've been sniffing those fumes long enough to fry your brain.

Your posts are a clear indicator of your immaturity. From your own words and by looking at your attitude, I'LL BET YOU'RE NOT EVEN OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE.

Now, haven't you got some homework, or a paper route, or a video game, or a visit from some guy about to be nailed on "To Catch a Predator" to concern yourself with more than with grown folks' business?

In any event, keep quiet when grown folks are talking. I'm sure you've heard that before.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 4:32 PM

CEEAF, if your professional estimates are as accurate as the assumptions you have made here, I hope that you have some other source of income besides your job.

I find it amusing that people would threaten my person and property because they do not like the way I cycle or drive. I find it amusing that Puritanism is alive and well in 2007.

I am pleased to see that I have wasted your time and energy. Then again, given your state of mind, there seems to be nothing but waste. I would ask if you have something better to do with your time, but it is obvious that you do not.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 5:20 PM

Hey Fred Bicycle Smoosher, are you the guy I rode around while your H2 was gridlocked on 123 the other day? I just love that tobocco juice racing stripe down the side of the driver's door. Good thing your loogie accuracy sucks.

Posted by: Mister Methane | April 26, 2007 5:25 PM

Mister Methane,

Exactly who is the one who REALLY has their blood pressure up?

As for "wasting time", YOU sure are spending a LOT of time and a LOT of words letting everyone know how much they piss you off.

As for my job, it pays enough for me to live in a neighborhood where the kind of people who call themselves "Methane" can't get past the front gate unless they have an appointment to do some work at somebody's house.

Your being a wise-arse is working really well - on YOU. You're making more of a fool out yourself every time you post.

The last word is yours. I have better things to do than argue with other people's children.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 6:31 PM

Mister Methane is probably the one with the rainbow-colored streamers hanging from the handlebar grips.

Posted by: ID'd | April 26, 2007 7:33 PM

Back to the topic.

Although speeding in DC is a problem, the pace cars are a dumb idea and those who want to run them need to get a life. The speed limits on thoroughfares and freeways are too low, period. We all know why that is - REVENUE! It's got nothing to do with safety.

And as long as DC has speed cameras, I'll use a radar detector.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 26, 2007 8:10 PM

I wish the pace car program all the success in the world. I have great hopes for it. In the remote chance that it doesn't work, I'd suggest putting speed and light cameras on each and every block. I imagine they'd pay for themselves in short order.

Posted by: Mark | April 26, 2007 8:12 PM

Mister Methane/Roadie Scum

No I have an H1 converted to run on biodiesel made from the bodies of leg shaving, liberal skinny tire riding roadie scum like yourself who have brown racing stripes running their lycra bike shorts.
823 rwhp! 7mpg and ton of CO2 emitted weekly!Come on fat tires and single speeds rule! Bikes and mountains go together.Have no problems with bikes if they follow the rules of the road. However if a bike messenger challenges me on the side walk he is going to lose and face months in rehab. And the law is in my favor pukes!
And Methane didnt you wipe out on that doggy land mine and end up with road rash over 60% of your body. And your girlfriend is even more disappointed in your length and girth since several layers were scraped off 30 sec Boy!

Posted by: Fred | April 27, 2007 6:53 AM

Congress could alleviate their fears from voter backlash if they would simply uphold the current immigration reform laws legislated in 1986. And although the wall may slow the advancing invasion down a bit, only severe penalties upon employers hiring illegals will have any impact upon the constant degradation of middle-income America's standard of living - higher housing costs, more traffic congestion, more greenhouse gases, deterioration of public schools, skyrocketing health costs, increasing insurance premiums, increased gang activity, a larger tax subsidized prison population, increased tax subsidies for low-income workers, etc.

Why does the federal government believe they could sucessfully manage a new set of laws, when they failed so miserabley enforcing laws already in place.

And this Mexican trucking pilot program is just another way for our government to circumvent the will of the people and ignore their Oaths of Office.

Posted by: Labas | April 27, 2007 9:26 AM

CEAFF wrote: The speed limits on thoroughfares and freeways are too low, period. We all know why that is - REVENUE! It's got nothing to do with safety.
*******
if speed limits are too low, perhaps CEAFF could explain why we still have in excess of 40,000 traffic fatalities each year in this country, the majority, according to traffic safety experts, resulting from excessive speed. Almost sounds like the NRA give-everyone-a-gun argument: let everyone drive as fast as they want and we will all be safer. yeah, right.

Posted by: eo mcmars | April 27, 2007 9:59 AM

TIME OUT!
1) Bear in mind that Mr. Fisher is an "ENTERTAINER" - not a journalist or deep thinker - needs to provoke with irrelevancies to get attention. Pulled the beltway canard right out of his ....hat. (I'm surprised he didn't bring in the Iraq war or abortion to his performance)

2) For those knee-jerkers out there, the program is DC NEIGHBORHOOD Pace Car. (Maybe some of these folks concerned with beltway Pace Cars have I-495 as their home street address.

3) Yes, many steets are designed to encourage speeding - way too wide. So bad design justifies killing peds and cyclists??

4 )Because of traffic lights and stop signs the average speed in an urban area is about 13mph (try timing it yourself). So floor it if you need to get your rocks off, but that Pace car you passed a while back will see you at the next light. (Your local brake repair shop loves you)

5) Rant if you must, but I'll be doing 25 and you will just have to get over it.

PL

Posted by: One Less Car | April 27, 2007 10:22 AM

I'd guess there's 3 too many idiots spending too much time here.

Posted by: Brendan | April 27, 2007 10:37 AM

"if speed limits are too low, perhaps "CEAFF could explain why we still have in excess of 40,000 traffic fatalities each year in this country, the majority, according to traffic safety experts, resulting from excessive speed. Almost sounds like the NRA give-everyone-a-gun argument: let everyone drive as fast as they want and we will all be safer. yeah, right."

eo mcmars,

Your response to my comments are a more than just a bit far-fetched. They're a panic response. Overkill.

I never called for eliminating speed limits. I suggested they be made more reasonable, particularly in DC, which is what we're discussing here.

When I see speed cameras set up in residential areas and at school zones, I'll buy the argument that they are implemented to promote safety. Until then, as far as I'm concerned, that argument is a lie.

Posted by: CEEAF | April 27, 2007 11:43 AM

"Let's see: purposely opening a car door to smash someone into the pavement....I think that the Commonwealth Attorney would characterize that as aggravated assault, which is a felony. So much fo you being law-abiding."

Er...no, actually. If you're breaking the law by speeding or running a stop sign, no cop would write up a driver who happened to be opening their door. And there's no way you could prove it was deliberate. So...you'd be in the hospital, with no insurance in all likelihood, trying to retain a lawyer for your hopeless lawsuit. It's not worth it and I find it difficult to believe, for all your bluster, you'd actually try this game of Chicken. You must know you'd lose in a showdown against a car.

I'm neither a biker nor a driver (I live in NYC) so I have no horse in this. But biking is a good thing for the environment--PROVIDED they respect the laws. Most of them are cool and non-aggressive, although the messengers break the laws here *constantly.* Karma is usually pretty immediate though--there was an article in New York magazine about non-insured New Yorkers and one of them was a bike messenger who'd been injured running a red light.

And what's with the petty insults? It cheapens the discussion.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 11:49 AM

CEAFF, not sure what your definition of panic response is, but if you propose raising speed limits in spite of the documented carnage on our roadways, then perhaps we should all panic. Apparently, 40,000+ traffic fatalities per year is just the price we pay for going as fast as we want. And given the number of pedestrians run down on residential streets, then it's grossly irresponsible, in my opinion, to be suggesting that speed limits be raised.

Posted by: eo mcmars | April 27, 2007 1:41 PM

CEEAF Wrote: "When I see speed cameras set up in residential areas and at school zones, I'll buy the argument that they are implemented to promote safety. Until then, as far as I'm concerned, that argument is a lie."

CEEAF: Much of DC, including such defacto commuter routs as 16th St, Mass Ave, Connecticut Ave, etc have vast stretches that are zoned residential. People live and raise their families there. From my perspective as someone who's owned and driven actual race cars, someone who's owned and lived in houses in several wards of the city, and as someone who's lost multiple family members to careless drivers, cars really have no business driving above the posted residential speed limit.

And need I say that you, as someone who claims to live in outer PG County, really have no meaningful say in how DC's speed laws? Do yourself a favor and obey them when and if you grace us with your presence. After all, the MPD officer who piloted the speed cameras that now exist around the city was just promoted to Commander.

Posted by: Mark | April 27, 2007 1:57 PM

Feel the love!

Posted by: JoeinSilSpr | April 27, 2007 2:45 PM

Mark wrote: "CEEAF: Much of DC, including such defacto commuter routs as 16th St, Mass Ave, Connecticut Ave, etc have vast stretches that are zoned residential. People live and raise their families there. From my perspective as someone who's owned and driven actual race cars, someone who's owned and lived in houses in several wards of the city, and as someone who's lost multiple family members to careless drivers, cars really have no business driving above the posted residential speed limit."

Mark, The "de facto" commuter routes along with the speeders, congestion, and pollution are the consequences of DC's forcing traffic that belongs on a freeway to use the city streets.

That's the most visible and lasting result of DC unilateral decision that ALL of the region's highway traffic belonged in the suburbs. Thank Marion Barry, Sammie Abbott, and their mob of vocal DC freeway opponents for that.

And before you pull out the old "freeways divide neighborhoods and ruin cities" card, consider the divided neighborhoods and brownfields along the Red and Orange Lines in NE DC.

I'm sorry you've lost loved ones to bad drivers - so have I. But I ask you: considering the speeding, etc, on the streets, the effect of the congestion and its attendant pollution on the quality of life, plus the lives lost, do you think the DC freeway opponents "won"?

Posted by: CEEAF | April 27, 2007 8:07 PM

Why in a democracy do we insist on laws that so few obey? I don't understand our speed limit laws. Most people find them ridiculous in a lot of places. Yet, the laws stick.

Further, when the speed limit is correct for safety reasons (neighborhoods, etc.), it's bad design if the driver feels he should be going faster. Design streets so drivers feel comfortable going the safe speed.

Posted by: What? | April 28, 2007 9:12 AM

CEEAF:

The neighborhoods you would have given to freeways (20036, 20009, etc) now have historic districts, and the highest residential property values in all of DC. They're not going anywhere. Therefor, finding fault with decisions made 50 years ago does very little for life today. Development and residential patterns are set.

Today what is needed is for drivers to behave on their commuting routs through neighborhoods as they would want others to to behave in their neighborhoods.

Such is rightly termed "common consideration".


Posted by: Mark | April 29, 2007 3:27 PM

Like 99% of the drivers who approach a slow moving bike from behind on Beach Drive, I just wait until the road is visibly clear up ahead and then pass it, giving the bike plenty of leeway. We all have to live together. And yes, I'm one of those horrible people who drives 35 on Beach Drive, but I also ride a bike.

And when I ride a bike, I also run stop signs when there's no cross traffic. Big whoops. But I also don't try to play chicken with cars who want to pass me, because I'm not suicidal.

Pace cars are just the latest version of what was once called Nestering, named after an old geezer named Nester who used to brag in letters to the editor about how he deliberately drove 55 on the left lane of the Beltway. Like the pace car people, he seemed to find some sort of civic virtue in annoying those of us who were simply trying to keep up with the ordinary pace of Beltway traffic.

If I ever encounter a pace car, I'll treat it just as I would a bicycle. I'll wait for the road ahead to be clear, make sure that there are no pedestrians present, and then just pass it, double line or not. I guess that their next step is to take down license numbers and go for citizens' arrests or something. These people should really get a life.

Posted by: Andy | May 1, 2007 8:33 AM

I consider the attitudes that speeders, red light runners, etc. have to be the same as those of thieves, i.e., if you don't secure your property, why shouldn't I be able to take it?

I fault our "law enforcement". When was the last time you saw a patrol vehicle going the speed limit? How about some leadership by example? How many car accident injuries and fatalities do they have to see before they start enforcing the law?

Posted by: Dudley Doright | May 1, 2007 9:34 AM

We are a nation of cheaters, every aspect. Its embarrassing. From taxes to speed limits to environmental laws, you name it! Get everything for yourselves leave nothing for others, its capitalism at its worst. You've got to have balance. Its a limit people, show some respect and get some too. The police cannot, will not, aren't allowed to, unable to do their job. Whatever the reason, its not working for the benefit of all. Reason, respect, justice, more of that please, less anarchy. You have a right to disagree with not disregard the limit.

Posted by: HCM | May 1, 2007 10:36 AM

I simply love my high insurance rates, burning as much gas as possible, and putting my fellow citizens at risk too much to ever consider slowing down.

Posted by: Loyal Bushie | May 1, 2007 10:44 AM

I'M IN A BIG HURRY TO GET HOME AND WATCH AMERICAN IDOL GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD YOU ARE ALL SCUM!

Posted by: Henry | May 1, 2007 11:48 AM

American exceptionalism is never more blatantly on display than on the highway. Let the other guy control his speed--MY speed is perfectly justifiable. MY time is precious. MY car deserves to speed. I am more special than other drivers on the road and I should never receive a ticket for speeding, because it*s ME who is speeding, not some lowlife. MY speed isn*t a problem. Everyone ELSE is the problem. THAT*S THE AMERICAN WAY, ISN*T IT?

Posted by: VL | May 6, 2007 12:38 PM

And besides, if I can*t speed, my testosterone levels drop.

Posted by: BigSSuv | May 6, 2007 12:42 PM

hello all

Posted by: bobby lobby | May 10, 2007 12:54 AM

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