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Thread: Skyline Drive: First Time a Victim of Anti-Motorcycle Bias

  1. #106
    Jammess jammess's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Florence, OR.
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I ride with some retired Troopers here in MT and they tell me they still wrote many tickets when Reasonable and Prudent was the law of the land. For instance, a Trooper is on the interstate doing 85 MPH and gets passed by a BMW M Class car doing 100 MPH... no issue assuming the weather conditions are okay. Then the Trooper gets passed by a family of five in a ten year old Dodge Caravan doing 100 MPH. The Caravan is getting pulled and the driver is getting a ticket. Differences: childeren involved, age and capabilities of the vehicle and tires. According to my friends the tickets almost always survived a trial. R&P inspired some to perform and act silly in front of LEOs because they thought the law was a license to do whatever they wanted, and that turned out not to be reasonable or prudent.

    Montana is still a great place to ride. You still run 80 on the interstates and 70-75 on most rural two lane roads which is fast enough for me these days. And there are many great places to ride.
    I have many fond memories of life under the Big Sky. I lived and worked in Yellowstone NP in the 70's for about 5 years when the day time speed in MT was reasonable and kind of prudent but fell to 55 mph at night. Anyway, I was motoring over the Bozeman pass (Bozeman to Livingston) on my new '79 Suzuki GS1000E at 100+mph right past a MHP that had stopped a semi. Next thing I know here comes flashing blue lights moving mighty fast so I pull over. The cop motions me to approach his vehicle and get in on the passenger side. They used to do that in MT to see how you walk, follow instructions, and/or smell funny. Anyway, he gives me a ticket for 5 dollars for wasting natural resources (fuel) and collects the 5 bucks on the spot. Problem was I only had a 20 and he couldn't make change. So, we agreed to meet the following week in the park whereas I would pay him the five which I did. Was humorous when he pulled me over as he chewed me out because I obviously had no respect for law enforcement because I blew by him without slowing down then he went through a half a tank of the tax payer's gas just getting up to speed to catch me. All and all great fun and I made a friend on the MHP.
    Oh, he thought he really had me because I had a MT registration but an Oregon drivers license. Since I lived on a federal reservation I was OK.
    Jammess

  2. #107
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRider View Post
    Paul, as a person who has ridden across the US and a lot of Canada many times, which would you prefer: 1. lower speed limits that are sporadically enforced and hence often violated with the expectation you won't be pulled over if you are no more than 10 mph or higher above the speed limit; or 2. higher speed limits on similar highways (as you have in Texas) but little slack to people even slightly over the limit.

    You have the experience in miles to tell us not only what you prefer but also what makes you feel safer.

    An essay answer is acceptable.
    OK - essay answer.

    I can answer this question more or less on two levels. Almost every transportation planner or traffic engineer (as opposed to state legislator or county commissioner) will tell you that the proper set for a speed limit is the 85th percentile speed - the speed at which no more than 15% of drivers would be comfortable going faster. Traffic engineers would also say that a speed limit at this speed will usually result in the most orderly traffic flow and least speed differential in moving traffic.

    My riding experience agrees with this. Note however that when establishing "normal" speed limits for highways state-wide legislators often throw traffic engineering out the window. Some states do a pretty decent job at allowing district engineers to set speed limits.

    My experience is that when the driving public finds speed limits to be arbitrarily low (55 two-lane statewide as in Iowa, Minnesota, and a bunch of other states) traffic flow gets all messed up and so does public safety. Some folks will insist that the speed limit is what they intend to drive while others are perfectly happy to take their chances at 10 or 15 over because the roadway, side friction, sight distance, and other conditions allow these speeds safely. This is an open invitation to: large speed differentials, aggresive driving, tailgating, erratic lane changes, etc.

    But when speed limits are set at more reasonable speeds for the actual road characteristics speed differentials decrease and traffic generally flows smoothly. In West texas where the I-10 and I-20 limits are 80 speeds generally cluster between 75 and 80 - with occasional outliers mostly from out of state that think that 10 over is OK, but even these folks are fairly rare.

    On most of the 2-lane roads with 75 or 70 as the limit most of the traffic flows near but not much if any over the limit. You can sometimes go for 50 miles without being passed or any need to pass because traffic is flowing generally close to the same speed.

    Just like the traffic engineers and transportation planners say it is likely to behave.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

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