Stop, Go, Whatever

Via Greater Greater Washington, this video of motorists making the "Idaho Stop" in Philadelphia is shocking to some, although I'm not sure why.



I've said it before but it's worth saying again: the perception of a "safe stop" is a relative, not an absolute, phenomenon. In other words, when a bike slows from 10 mph to 5 mph, the bike still maintains 50% of its momentum. When a car slows from 30 mph to 5 mph, it maintains only 17% of its momentum. It looks like the car has come much closer to making a full stop.

Let's call it the relative speed fallacy, because ultimately, it's the absolute speed at which a vehicle (car or bike) travels through an intersection that determines how dangerous that maneuver is. But hey, if cars were somehow restricted to traveling no greater than 10 or 15 mph in our cities, I see no reason they shouldn't be allowed to roll through stop signs either.

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