back to article Make assistive driving safe: Eliminate pedestrians

Er… a lamppost, some clouds and… whoah, another car! Screeeeeee. Instead of concentrating on the road ahead, I got distracted by the non-stop nagging. I am alone in the car, mind, and the radio is turned off. It's my smartphone that's doing all the talking. Some acquaintances convinced me to give this Doze route-finding app a …

  1. Dr_N Silver badge
    Coat

    In other words, precisely the wrong direction. Nice.

    Oh I don't know. A day out and a stroll along the Promenade Des Anglais might be quite a pleasant detour.

    Bring a jacket. It can still get chilly of a morning/evening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other words, precisely the wrong direction. Nice.

      a stroll along the Promenade Des Anglais might be quite a pleasant detour.

      Unless they've finished the roadworks, a stroll will definitely be a faster & more pleasant way to negotiate Nice. Better yet, stay in Cannes.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: In other words, precisely the wrong direction. Nice.

        Unless they've finished the roadworks

        Ahahaha, cackle, cackle. We've caught one... The roadworks are never finished. ha ha... ha ha ha...

    2. WanderingHaggis

      Re: In other words, precisely the wrong direction. Nice.

      Cassie is pretty good and nice restaurants

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

    Is that the programmed progression of punishment for pedestrians who don't acknowledge their subservience to the auto-auto? Easier to train the meatsacks..

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

      Actually, I would LOVE to be able to shove quite a number of pedestrians in my city into the middle of traffic and put them out of their my misery.

      Quite a good number of pedestrians here refuse to walk on their side of the sidewalk. On a sidewalk that is only wide enough to fit 4 people abreast, almost for sure they will indeed walk 4 people abreast going in their direction, as if others don't even exist.

      I had a face-to-face confrontation with one after she managed to walk into me as I carried a package, walking in the opposite direction and pushed all the way to the edge of the sidewalk with my shoulder mere inches from a construction fence.

      She had the nerve to yell at me because, of course, I should have moved for her because "[She] have the right to walk wherever I want!". Not only was I on the correct side, everyone in her direction was walking on the opposite side *and* taking up the entire width of the sidewalk to boot.

      But I was in the wrong because I didn't move for *her*.

      After yelling at one another, her for her entitlement and me because I wouldn't move for her entitlement, she cursed me out behind her back as she walked away and I called her the female dog she acted like.

      Oh, I just LOVE visiting the city. /s

      1. ConsumedByFire

        Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

        Avoiding the phone users is the bigger problem. Walking and texting/facebooking/news reading are incompatible. Whatever is so urgent you can't concentrate on not walking straight into me can wait. Can't it?

        Seriously!!!

        1. Sub 20 Pilot

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          I just carry on, let them bang into me and bounce off. My general lack of concern and the sudden shock of crashing into a relatively solid object (Years of martial arts and physical training) means that most don't say anything but generally bugger off slightly bruised.

          The sad dumbing down of the Highway Code does not help. The general lack or interpretation by entitled pricks who seem to think that any vehicle should be able to stop from a legal 30 mph within 3 feet because they can not be arsed to look up from their rivetting screen while crossing a road will sadly result in trauma and stress for law abiding motorists.

          Darwinism will take it's course but sadly, to the detriment of these people.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          @ConsumedByFire

          That is why Darwin has placed so much street furniture on our roads.

          I wish I had video for every time that I have seen an engrossed idiot walk into lamposts, traffic signs and benches, there would be enough for a TV season.

          My favourite so far was a hoverboarder crossing a road with his face in a tablet...... didn't see the kerb, he managed to go face first into the pavement with only a tablet as a cushion.

          I had to pay up and leave the cafe where I was sitting with tears in my eyes.

          Am I a bad person?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

        Isn't that what screen wipers were invented for?

        It's the one automation I would have expected Musk to implement: see pedestrian about to cross, switch on screen wipers.

        /s

        Just to make this triple clear: it's a joke. I do not advise to run over wayward pedestrians. Also because they may damage your paintwork. No wait, that's not where I was going with this ..

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          Oh, you mean use the car's window washer or built-in water pistol. And, indeed, no.

      3. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

        Does your city designate a right side and a wrong side? Not in the UK, although it's not a bad idea in some situations.

        In your situation when it became clear they were not going to move, I would have just stopped and waited. If you're standing still they can't say you did something wrong, can they?

        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          Mrs IP, originally from a mainland European country, still can't get used to the British habit of walking wherever we want on pavements, regardless of direction. She regards it as very messy. When we visit her home country, I regularly get grumbled at because I don't observe whatever arcane rule applies at any given time.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Mrs IP

            She's right IMHO. It shows a complete lack of courtesy when the vast majority of people yield some space to opposing 'traffic' but you, you selfish bastard (talking out loud, not to a single person here) "need" to walk wherever the hell you want and expect everyone else to watch where you're going.

            I'd love to have a Bugs Bunny Steamroller (tm) episode on the street right there and then.

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

            Note: I know a lot of readers are looking at my posts and saying "What's wrong with him?? He's so uptight about this!". Well, I am a fast walker. A very fast walker. I already deal with maneuvering around terribly slow foot traffic in general (because I work in, and live near, tourist districts) and selfish people walking anyplace they feel like, expecting others to deal with their choices, makes getting anywhere I want to go, using the methods I usually do (that is, again, walking very quickly) much more difficult for no reason beyond baldfaced selfishness.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Mrs IP

              Well, then don't be so selfish and walk slower. You won't have to worry about people in your way then.

              Anything else I can help with?

              :)

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: designated right or wrong side

          They do, far too occasionally, post "Keep to the right" signs on stairs leading to mass transit. Far too occasionally. In queues, in many places, they will line you up on the right and many dual-doorways are the same.

          "Keep to the right" is not only intrinsic to the society (we drive on the right, after all) but I was even taught in grade school to "keep to the right" when walking or climbing stairs.

          It almost a situation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, it is really that basic.

          When she (most often a "she" but very, very occasionally a "he") yelled out "I have the right to walk wherever I want!", because I guess I was supposed to hover right over the fool's head in order to avoid hitting every other person currently on the sidewalk, I blew my fuse.

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

          One time I was walking along with a friend and griping about how many females in the neighborhood walk as if they are completely and utterly oblivious to anything but themselves, expecting you to move on their account as if you don't even exist. He said I was just being both grumpy and a bit misogynistic. Ten seconds later an older woman steps on to the sidewalk from the street and places herself 8 inches in front of me. Directly in my personal space. And then proceeds to walk at her own #!&*ing pace.

          I, of course, after doing both a double-take and a double-step to avoid running her azz over (and I should have), I wave my hands at the back of her head as proof to my friend - it just happened right in front of his own eyes!!

          Didn't hear about my 'attitude' much since.

          1. Allan George Dyer

            Re: designated right or wrong side

            @Snake - "Ten seconds later an older woman steps on to the sidewalk from the street and places herself 8 inches in front of me."

            Isn't the reasonable action to allow people to get out of danger? A pedestrian on the footpath should give way to a pedestrian leaving the street. Even if there is no traffic at the moment (these horseless carriages move fast, you know).

            OTOH, I'll come to a dead stop and wait to see if a phone zombie walks into me, particularly if I'm carrying a large package.

          2. Man inna barrel

            Re: designated right or wrong side

            I think this is a variant of the shopper who has to be reminded that cash or its equivalent is required in exchange for the goods just bleeped through the checkout. The quids are always hidden somewhere in the interstices of the multi-dimensional handbag. If the purse is always in the last place you look, why didn't you look there first, and save us all a few minutes of our remaining time on earth?

        3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          Yes in the UK. You travel on the left in the UK, have you never observed the outside world?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

            True, as far as on the road is concerned. Pavements etc, not so much. At junior school, the rule was keep left when moving about the school corridors. At secondary school, not only was the rule "keep right", but it was signed as such all over the place. As for out in the real world, I find the vast majority of people walk "where the hell they like" but through a system of learned behaviour, unwritten rules and fleeting eye contact, most people manage perfectly well. But, of course, there are always twats. There always will be.

            On really busy pavements, somehow the crowd seems to work out that everyone going in the same direction should be on the same side of the pavement, which mostly works. Except there are "junctions" frequently along the route as people need to go look in a shop window or go into/out of a shop, which can be a little awkward at times if your direction of travel is on the outside and someone is speed-walking with a large parcel! :-)

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. non_hairy_biker

            Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

            I have to agree on keeping to the left on the pavement in the UK, I was always taught that you face the traffic coming towards you when on the pavement so you have the best chance of seeing the panicked driver coming towards you and can take evasive action, not so the person walking away from traffic (though hopefully, when seeing you dive out the way they would do the same).

            So, in the UK it is always the left, when in a country that drives on the wrong side of the road, it's the right, simple really!

            1. David Nash Silver badge

              Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

              That's when walking in the road, not the pavement (which in the UK means the separate footpath (can't bring myself to say "sidewalk" 'cause that's not what we call it)

        4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-pedestrians-1-to-35

          does have rules: part of the "sidewalk" may be for cyclists only, and in any case, "Where possible, avoid being next to the kerb with your back to the traffic" - which means that "your" side is facing towards traffic on the traffic-facing edge of the sidewalk, or facing in the direction of traffic and on the away-from-traffic side.

          In practice, I leave the away-from-traffic side to less able-bodied walkers, and children, while trying to not bump into traffic, but which side of the road I'm on is more likely to depend on where I can or can't cross the road safely.

          An interesting rule is that parades are supposed to keep to the sidewalk ("pavement"). I have seen parades which did not. I suppose this is by special arrangement.

          Anyway, if X is a cyclist, and the sidewalk is divided between pedestrians and cyclists, then the cycle track part of it is not for pedestrians.

          Pedestrianized paths and arcades with COVID-19 around have set up separated opposite direction walking lanes, and I think that extraordinarily busy areas like London's Oxford Street had previously tried out marked westbound and eastbound lanes on the sidewalk, but most of this doesn't have the force of law, and if it's there now, it doesn't show from above on Google Maps.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

            I live in an area where we have several lanes with no footpaths. It's also a popular sight-seeing area so we frequently have walkers. As the lanes have quite a lot of bends, one has a couple of right-angled bends made blind because of retaining walls on the inside. The sensible thing to do here is ignore the facing the traffic bit - keep on the outside of every bend where you can be seen by oncoming traffic. On the whole people seem to walk at random. As some of them will have driven here you'd think they'd have a driver's perspective on it but it doesn't really seem to work. Given that I've seen one idiot park up on the short stretch between a cross-roads and the worst of the blind bends maybe it's not too surprising.

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

              Yes, sorry, there is a rule about bends too, I didn't mention it. As it does imply crossing the road again and again to be on the best side of each bend, it seems to me not always good.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

                It's a handy rule when panning for gold, though ...

        5. logicalextreme Silver badge

          Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

          obligatory HMHB

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

        The sidewalk has up and down lanes?

      5. Dr Paul Taylor

        Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

        What a selfish entitled git you are!

        As Dabbs says, pedestrianism is the natural state.

        You should be banned for life from using your lethal metal box on wheels.

    2. David Roberts

      Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

      That used to be part of the point scoring system for drivers (in my youth) for running down non-motorists.

      Memory is hazy, but I think one of the highest scores was for a blind nun in a wheelchair going backwards over a zebra crossing.

  3. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    "constant reminders on the benefits of respiration,"

    Well, it is a habit you don't really want to give up on...

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Joke

      Give it a try, please do... Only three minutes of your life(*) to test a splendid new experience.

      (*) or just about 0.00000761% of the average human life span. This time you surely have spare. Driving uses many more orders of magnitude of your lifetime already.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      RE: habits!

      LOL!! Just last night I was [re]watching a wonderful YT vid by History Matters, "Ten Minute English and British History #16 - The War of the Roses".

      It's a concise, yet rather (Britishly) funny lesson in history.

      Very British phrases such as:

      [after the capture of Margaret]

      "Edward the Fourth soon after entered London and it wasn't long before Henry the Sixth died. Probably from a case of the murders."

      and

      [after the battle]

      "This somewhat delayed [Richard of] York's ambitions, because he was dead."

  4. disgruntled yank

    pedestrianism

    "despite the fact that pedestrianism is the natural state for most of us"

    You're not from Los Angeles, then, are you? I have fond memories of a young woman from Los Angeles I worked with, who would drive fifty yards to a convenience store rather than walk. Even in a very car-happy county this stood out as unusual.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: pedestrianism

      To be fair, in the US if you pop out from the office just to go grab some food. Walking along the road outside campuses with no "sidewalks" you are going to get hit the the head with a car.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: pedestrianism

        I walk pretty much everywhere, if it's under a couple miles or so. That's everywhere from extremely rural (over two hours, by road, from cold beer) to downtown in the largest cities in the US. I have never been in danger of being "hit in the head with a car". Not once.

    2. Kubla Cant

      Re: pedestrianism

      the motorised vehicle always takes precedence over the pedestrian, despite the fact that pedestrianism is the natural state for most of us

      Especially in the Land of the Free (TM) where the motor vehicle lobby invented the abusive term "jaywalking" to describe pedestrians exercising their natural freedoms and managed to get it made into laws. Also in the dictatorial regimes where it's an offence not to use pedestrian crossings and obey the signals.

      drive fifty yards to a convenience store rather than walk

      In the mid 60s, my mother knew a posh middle-aged lady who would travel in her chauffer-driven Daimler between her big house and the parish church a similar distance away.

      1. 42656e4d203239 Bronze badge

        Re: pedestrianism

        >>Also in the dictatorial regimes where it's an offence not to use pedestrian crossings and obey the signals.

        Does that include Spain?

        I know they had a relatively recent dictator and are now notionally at least a democracy (unless you are Basque or Catalan - let us not go there) but the notion of not using the crossing/obeying the signal being an offence still persists, IIRC (It's been a while)

        1. ConsumedByFire

          Re: pedestrianism

          But quite alot of Spain has a crossing at every junction where peds have priority. I like this.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: pedestrianism

        "In the mid 60s, my mother knew a posh middle-aged lady who would travel in her chauffer-driven Daimler between her big house and the parish church a similar distance away."

        That sound very much more like a status thing beloved of certain classes and wealth levels rather than laziness.

        1. Andy A Bronze badge

          Re: pedestrianism

          Yes. Notice that the car was a Daimler.

          Royal cars were Daimlers. Rolls Royce just made cars for People In Trade.

      3. Man inna barrel

        Re: pedestrianism

        Jaywalking is indeed a curious concept, considering that it originated in a nation that prides itself on defending freedom of the individual. Did jaywalking exist as an offence when there were no cars? In the old days, people rode around on horses, and I think it fair to say that a good horse is an autonomous form of transport, with actual intelligence and an aversion to splattering other creatures in its path.

        1. Sherrie Ludwig

          Re: pedestrianism

          actual intelligence and an aversion to splattering other creatures in its path.

          Actually, horses do not care if you live or die, but their self-preservation instincts make them unwilling to step on squishy surfaces, which include human bodies.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: pedestrianism

          There is no Federal jaywalking law.

          So-called "jaywalking" laws might be implemented at a local level, but in reality even if they exist they are usually ignored UNLESS the jaywalker is putting others at risk.

      4. Potty Professor Bronze badge
        Gimp

        Re: pedestrianism

        My brother so loved riding his bicycle that he would walk the length of the garden to get it out of the shed, then ride it back down the garden, out through the front gate, across the street to the corner shop five houses along, and then all the way back, rather than walk through the front door and along to the shop.

      5. jake Silver badge

        Re: pedestrianism

        It should be noted that the USA as a country does not have any jaywalking laws.

        Pedestrian regulations on the wheres, whens and hows of so-called "jaywalking" may, or may not be contained within an individual state or city's traffic laws. Many states have no such law, and said law, if it exists in any given town or city, is usually ignored by all and sundry, including law enforcement.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: pedestrianism

      A friend went to LA as an exchange student. He ended up near Beverly Hills.

      His host family didn't smoke, so he went out for a walk down the block. After 5 minutes, a police patrol pulled up and asked him what he was doing? He told them that he wasn't allowed to smoke in the host family's house, so he was going for a walk.

      The police told him not to walk on the street, it made the residents nervous! He should go for a walk in the woods behind the houses instead (with the thrill of additional fire hazards from discarded matches and cigarette butts).

      A few days later, he was walking through the woods, when a horse mounted police officer came upon him, his comment was, "oh, you must be the German exchange student," and carried on his way!

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: pedestrianism

        >> The police told him not to walk on the street

        Wasn't this a Ray Bradbury short story? Trying to remember the name...

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: pedestrianism

          Fahrenheit (Beretta) 92F ?

        2. Andy the ex-Brit

          Re: pedestrianism

          The Pedestrian.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pedestrian

          1. Alistair Dabbs

            Re: pedestrianism

            Thank you, Andy. I think about this story every day, ever since I first heard it as a schoolboy.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: pedestrianism

              Remember, that story is based on an incident that happened to Bradbury while walking on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles during the height of McCarthyism. Paranoia was rampant during that era.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: pedestrianism

        When I lived in Sacramento (1999), I used to drive down to my mate's factory in Oakland to go for lunch, my first time down there my mate was stuck in a business meeting so I went for a walk.

        I managed about a couple of hundred yards before a cop car stopped by me to ask what I was doing, when they heard my English accent they took pains to explain it was a dangerous area, then one of the cops said 'If you are walking in the street the locals might decide you are too dangerous to mess with but don't count on it'.

        In the suburbs where I lived, anyone walking would often get the cops called on them.

        I doubt any of them would have liked Lewisham or any of several other parts of London at night, you could get mugged by an old lady in some places.

        1. ConsumedByFire

          Re: pedestrianism

          I've never been to America. I don't think I'd like it. I walk everywhere.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: pedestrianism

            Yes, I walk a lot and probably walk between 60 and 90KM a week.

          2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: pedestrianism

            If you walk everywhere, then getting to America presents a difficulty anyway.

            Simon and Garfunkel "walked off to look for America", but I think they were close by already. And in fact, I think they only walked to a bus stop.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: pedestrianism

              Well, if he sets off now, and walks through the Channel Tunnel, by the time he reaches the west side of the Bearing Straight, there might be the oft proposed bridge there :-)

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: pedestrianism

                I seriously doubt the Bering Strait crossing will be built within the lifetime of the walker. For lots of reasons ... some of them even make sense.

          3. Man inna barrel

            Re: pedestrianism

            America is a bloody big place. You won't get anywhere by walking. I guess you might get to somewhere out of town, and admire the vast scenery, but then die of thirst, because you just went out for some cans of beer, without the appropriate transport.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: pedestrianism

              As a Yank, I walk everywhere within reason. So does almost everybody I know.

          4. jake Silver badge

            Re: pedestrianism

            Don't confuse a single testimonial with reality for the whole. If you do, I doubt you'll even ever visit anywhere as far away as Hull. And that would be sad.

        2. Man inna barrel

          Re: pedestrianism

          I just about recall a book by Bill Bryson, a fine American author who lived in England for years. He went back to America, and made the mistake of going out for a stroll around town, as one does when visiting a new place. The architecture made it rather awkward. Everything made it difficult for pedestrians, but easy for cars. He had to climb over walls to avoid being run over by going out into the street. This eventually attracted the attention of the police.

          I should point out that I have experienced similar problems with car-orientated architecture and signage in the UK. When I went for a job interview in an out-of-town industrial estate, I was assured that the office was only a few minutes away from the railway station. I followed the directions from the station, and ended up God-knows-where. I asked directions from a passing motorist, and eventually ended up on the right track, but a few minutes by car can be quite a jaunt on foot. I got the job, by the way. I trade on old-fashioned eccentricity and arcane wisdom, so getting lost was all part of the narrative.

          1. Dr Paul Taylor

            A few minutes away

            "Minute" is unit of time or angle, not distance.

            According to Einstein, time and space are the same, the exchange rate being the speed of light.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: A few minutes away

              Except that minute is the length of time it takes to do something.

              Don'tcha just love t'English?

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: pedestrianism

            Methinks Mr. Bryson was telling an entertaining tale rather than presenting an accurate travelogue.

        3. Potty Professor Bronze badge
          Big Brother

          Re: pedestrianism

          Back in 1964, my family were living in Louisville, KY, my father was on secondment to University of Louisville from University College London for 14 months. We had an adopted stray dog, and my sister and I used to take her for a walk every evening, generally across the golf course to the shopping mall and back. One evening, just as we were walking across the car park, a black and white drew alongside us and the driver demanded to know who we were and where we were going. He seemed to find it hard to believe that we were out walking for pleasure, and insisted the we got in the back of the patrol car and drove us home. The following day, my parents had a visit from the local Police Chief, who wanted to be assured that we were only taking the dog for a walk. Satisfied that we were harmless, he issued instructions to the local patrolmen that we were allowed to walk when we liked, as we were English, and that they were not to stop us. Thus we had a sort of Police escort whenever we took Trudy for a walk.

        4. jake Silver badge

          Re: pedestrianism

          Oakland and Sacramento are, as you know very well, exceptions to the rule. Walking in the US is (in most places) not only considered quite normal socially, it is applauded as being the healthy exercise that it is.

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: pedestrianism

        Some wealthy neighborhoods are like that, mostly due to paranoia of strangers. The vast majority of the US wouldn't even notice that he was there ... although I know some curtain-twitchers who would call the cops because he was smoking. Fortunately this kind of twat is rare.

        In some neighborhoods, a stranger skulking around in the woods behind the houses would definitely get the cops called out ... although again, that is mostly paranoia raising its ugly head.

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: pedestrianisms

      That would be very unusual ... but then I have known a dude who would fire up his car, hit the garage door opener, drive to the end of his driveway (perhaps 40 feet), roll down his car window to get the mail out of his mailbox, then reverse the procedure.

      I pointed out that in his neighborhood the mailman would cheerfully deliver directly to his house, if he liked. He told me to not be so silly, he was perfectly capable of collecting his mail from the box out at the street.

      Two weeks later, I noticed his street box was gone ... and there was a mail slot next to his front door.

      Note that this is completely abnormal.

  5. .stu

    My first thought when I read the article about Teslas not stopping at STOP signs was that they would also do 36 in 30 zone.

    Version 2.0 will add the ability to tailgate anyone driving within the speed limit and flash the heaflights.

    1. Mast1

      optional extras.....

      You can get sound modules for the inside of your car linked to the engine speed. Then you can select Rolls-Royce or Maserati, depending on your fancy (or age), played through the in-car entertainment.

      Perhaps self-driving cars could have a similar selector feature but by the type of driver steterotypically driving the brand. See El Reg passim about certain brands of motorcars not needing indicator lights or rear view mirrors because the drivers do not seem to use them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: optional extras.....

        When somebody tells me a job they're doing is pointless I remind them that there's somebody employed in Germany to fit BMW's* with indicators.

        * though I sometimes suspect they've moved to Audi.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: optional extras.....

          (BMW driver here who endeavours to be fastiduous with the use of indicators, and even routinely lets people out of busy junctions, etc.) Yes, he moved to Audi. The guy who doesn't fit number plates to the front of cars has also moved to Audi...

    2. big_D Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I think Alistair was prescient this week.

      I had to drive to another site yesterday and took the pool car (Skoda Superb). It was raining and as I was doing 130 in the overtaking lane to pass an HGV, it suddenly decided it would be a brilliant idea to slam on the brakes!

      I was cruising along at 130 and suddenly I was thrown forward in the seat as the car rapidly lost speed, with the dash saying "please confirm emergency braking"! I planted the throttle to the floor, to stop being rear-ended by the smartphone gazing twat behind me!

      The lane holding software also didn't think pulling out to overtake was a good idea, at times, as well and kept trying to steer me back into the back-end of the HGV I was approaching - and, yes, I had activated the indicator to show my intent.

      It was a pleasure to get back into my own car, when I got back. At least it only beeps at me, if I try and change lanes, it doesn't try and kill me.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        You should have had an older model. They don't have any dangerous road safety features.

        SWMBO's little Suzuki doesn't actually jam on brakes, it just flashes warnings which is annoying enough. It's done that to me a couple of times when braking would have been dangerous and she says it complains when she pulls out to pass parked cars.

        If I ever get a new car I hope the consequences of this rubbish have made themselves clear enough for such features to be banned.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          My 1992 Discovery only does what I tell it to, has never tried to kill me via any alleged autonomy or driver aid, it does have an annoying habit of refusing to go if I haven't put any diesel in it though.

          No irritating beeps, bleeps or bongs, it starts instantly and goes fast enough, is reasonably economic, plus I recognise everthing under the nonnet and elsewhere and can fix any problem without plugging in diagnostics.

          I am the diagnostic system.

          1. DoctorPaul

            Yep, 1989 BMW here.

            It's new enough to have fuel injection, electric windows and central locking, what else do you need?

          2. Potty Professor Bronze badge
            Boffin

            1994 Range Rover LSE Soft Dash. Even though, it still has FOUR computers, one for the Fuel Injection, one for the Air Suspension, one for the Immobiliser, and even one for the Driver's Seat Adjustment. They don't try to take over from me when I am driving, although once the Immobiliser got confused and stopped the car in the most inconvenient place possible, on a blind bend on a narrow two lane "A" road, frequented by many huge artics. Had to "Switch it off and switch it on again" before it would let me proceed, must have been made, or at least inspired, by Micro$oft.

        2. KBeee Silver badge

          It can only get worse. NCAP ratings are continually being updated to reflect "safer" systems. Car manufacturers love the 5* rating, but they'll only get that by installing every electronic driving aid.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Maybe the current chip shortage could put a stop to that. I mean, FFS, they even use chips to control the indicators so they "flash" like a rope light extending in the direction of travel. I wonder how much a failed "bulb" costs to replace just because some designer thought it looked pretty and convinced some safety board that a "travelling light" would help to indicate the turn direction more effectively than a "simple" flashing light?

            1. logicalextreme Silver badge

              I'm not sure how it is for other drivers, but I can tell you that that type of indicator slows me down as a pedestrian. I can no longer ascertain indicator status from a brief glance; I have to pretty much stop moving completely and stare at the car for a few moments before I'm confident that the light isn't doing something fancy and useless. Last I checked use of, or even possession of functioning, indicators wasn't a legal requirement in the UK and you're blessed if anybody decides to use them so I'm already slowed down more than I'd like to be; but I do wish things would improve on the whole rather than backsliding.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Yes, hand signals are still part of the Highway Code.

                1. Andy A Bronze badge

                  Indicators still form part of the UK's MOT test. If they are fitted, they have to work, and show vaguely orange in colour. If you are lumbered with a US red lens, you can get by through the use of green LED lamps.

                  In one of the very rare cases of forcing retrofitting of features, an audio repeater has to help the driver know whether the indicators are working - unless the driver can see them from the driving seat. My semaphore-style indicators were fitted to the front pillars. :-)

                  Hand signals, though still in the Highway Code, have not needed to be demonstrated in the Driving Test since 1975. The chances of finding them in use are slim indeed.

                  In my day, the Highway Code had a special section dealing with police officers on point duty, a whole concept which has disappeared.

                  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                    In my day, the Highway Code had a special section dealing with police officers on point duty, a whole concept which has disappeared.

                    That's a shame. The town I used to live in had a light-controlled junction that was always jammed at rush hours, except when the lights failed (not uncommon) and a motorcycle cop from the nearby police station turned up to manage the traffic. It always flowed much more smoothly then.

                    1. Andy A Bronze badge

                      My route to work a few years back passed through a roundabout which had traffic lights at every place roads joined. The average queue length was 1/3 mile - that's 2 miles of standing traffic at any time.

                      Except when the lights failed. Then, despite the presence of a van used by the repair man half-blocking one of the routes, the MAXIMUM length of any queue was 3 vehicles.

                      We managed to scare away one repair engineer, though it was not a nice feeling being awful to someone in a closely related profession.

              2. Loyal Commenter

                Last I checked use of, or even possession of functioning, indicators wasn't a legal requirement in the UK

                I believe the law states that you have to signal your intentions (and it can be done by hand signals, which you have to learn as part of the driving test).

                If you do have indicators fitted, they must be functioning though, or it's an MOT failure come test time.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      My first thought when I read the article about Teslas not stopping at STOP signs was that they would also do 36 in 30 zone.

      Version 2.0 will add the ability to tailgate anyone driving within the speed limit and flash the heaflights.

      Well Tesla seems intent on mimicikng human behavior. In many places, rolling through a stop sign is considiered normal and even named. The louisiana curtsy, texas curtsy are examples of this.

      1. First Light Silver badge

        I thought it was the California Roll, outside California.

        In California, it's the Hollywood Roll.

        I once Hollywood Rolled myself into a $150 ticket on my BICYCLE in Berkeley. Bike=vehicle for the purpose of local traffic ordinances. I learned my lesson.

        1. Trilkhai

          I'm from the North Bay, and I've never heard it called a "Hollywood Roll" (nor have my Baby-Boomer parents — we've always heard it called a "California Stop."

          1. jake Silver badge

            I'm a generation older, and my parents agree.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Oh, bullshit.

          No cop in Berkeley (San Francisco, Oakland ...) would dare to pull over a bicycle, much less ticket the operator for a traffic infraction. The nature-nazis would have his/her head on a platter before the top of the hour.

          It's called the California Stop. The "California Roll" is sushi invented for people afraid of raw fish. I've never hear the phrase "Hollywood Roll", but I'd imagine it describes a bum stealing from a passed out drunk at the corner of Sunset and N. Highland.

        3. Loyal Commenter

          I thought it was the California Roll, outside California.

          I thought that was a hideous Americanised form of sushi that is full of fake crab meat. Give me a nice ikura nigiri instead any day.

          1. jake Silver badge

            I think you'll find that the California Roll as we know it is Canadian, invented in Vancouver. The California variation was a moving target, morphing around all over the place, until pretty much everybody agreed that Tojo's variation from BC, hand rolled with the rice on the outside, was "the one".

            If you look, you'll also find that the "fake crab meat" is also not American, see "Surimi" for more info (besides, real California Rolls use king crab, not surimi).

            I think you'll also find that it's not "hideous" at all. Plenty of people who enjoy sushi and sashimi also enjoy a California Roll occasionally.

            But thank you for sharing your misconceptions and prejudices.

    4. KBeee Silver badge

      I thought the next step was to put the pedal to the metal at amber lights.

      1. jake Silver badge

        No, no, no ... NeXTSTEP was a fairly decent OS that was later perverted into MacOS.

    5. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Quora dot com has a lot of stories of U.S. drivers being stopped by police and even given tickets because they're driving just under the speed limit but the rest of traffic is running faster so apparently they are meant to as well.

      But it also has a lot of stories of U.S. drivers being stopped by police apparently just to have a conversation, such as, I was thinking of getting a car like yours, what do you recommend.

      And police in other countries, sometimes.

      As a cyclist, I recognise the value of stop signs, but if I stop, I fall over. So I prefer to brake down to probably 1 mph, which is falling over speed anyway (I can balance comfortably at 4 mph) but I can look around then either actually stop, or accelerate again and use the junction. I think the difference in this from stopping is not a difference that affects anyone's safety... unless children or the police are watching. For children, I don't want to set a wrong example, for police, I don't want to be caught doing it!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Do your feet not reach the ground?

        1. jake Silver badge

          It's probably one of those yuppies who think bolting their feet to the pedals is somehow "cool" ... and wonder why the rest of us laugh at it when gravity wins and it lands on its ear.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Seated on a normal properly adjusted bicycle, your feet barely reach the ground on tiptoe. In fact, my ride does have trademarked "Flat Foot Technology", but stopping and starting is still uncomfortable, and an impediment to making progress. I will fall over at 1 mph, but what I want to do is to as-good-as-stop, look around, and get going again from being not-quite-stopped. It's much easier.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Driving under the speed limit is legal, UNLESS your are blocking other traffic. Here in California, it's a moving violation. "Impeding the flow of traffic", to be precise. Ticket, court, points on driving record, insurance rates go up, etc.

        Even if you are going 5-over and other traffic is stacking up behind you, you can get pulled over for the same thing. Note that in this case the cop could give you a ticket for both impeding and speeding ... but you'll probably only get the former.

        Basically, the actual speed of the flow of traffic is not your decision to make, so if you are being a dick and forcing YOUR opinion on speed on everybody behind you, you can get cited.

        My brother's father-in-law decided to enforce the local speed limits by driving at the speed he, personally, thought should be the limit (usually 5 to 10 MPH under the actual flow). He finally received so many tickets (and lost in court) that he no longer holds a valid driver's license.

        Note that driving over the limit can also get you a ticket ... if you draw attention to yourself, especially. So don't be a dick, and don't drive like an idiot, and chances are you'll never talk to a cop. Simples.

  6. MiguelC Silver badge

    "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

    Unfortunately you would have to go back in time for that, the Pyramids now border Cairo city and are almost surrounded by suburbs (it won't take long until there will be modern buildings all around)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

      Visiting the Pyramids was one of the most disappointing things that I've done, approaching from the Cairo direction.

      It's like having Stonehenge on the outskirts of Swindon (or if you know Swindon on one of the P estates).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

        OK, but as engineer it does introduce a sense of wonder looking up at them, as in "how the f*ck did they manage to haul all these stones here and stack them?"

        Amusingly, it took me a while to work out why it all felt so familiar despite having never been there in my life: in my youth, I read absolutely boatload of cartoons, and this was all quite well drawn in Asterix and Obelix Cleopatra :)

        1. First Light Silver badge

          Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

          Mixture of slave and migrant labour, apparently. The Egyptians are busy trying to claim that all pyramids were built by paid workers. I suspect it's more complex.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

            Thete does seem to be little evidence of slavery. The places the workers were expected to stay in were pretty comfortable by the standard of the day. And anyone who has worked in IT know thats having some twat on your shoulder 24/7 doesn't actually have any productivity advantages!

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

              "Slavery in ancient Egypt existed at least since the Old Kingdom period. Discussions of slavery in Pharaonic Egypt are complicated by terminology used by the Egyptians to refer to different classes of servitude over the course of dynastic history; interpretation of the textual evidence of classes of slaves in ancient Egypt has been difficult to differentiate by word usage alone.[1] There were three types of enslavement in Ancient Egypt: chattel slavery, bonded labor, and forced labor."

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Egypt

              1. Mooseman Silver badge

                Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

                Using forced labour to cut stone to precise and accurate dimensions is unlikely to produce anything useful. There is plenty of evidence that points to the workers being housed pretty well. They may have used slave labour for the business of hauling the stone, of course.

    2. ConsumedByFire

      Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

      One of the most 'interesting' roads I have ever been on is the Cairo ring road to get to the pyramids. 8 (iirc) lane highway with no lane disciplne, no concept of fast/slow lane, pedestrians (whole families, sometimes with animals crossing) and the occasional rich kid in a souped up hot hatches forcing themselves through the traffic at speed.

      Car crash waiting to happen!!

      Spent two weeks there in Cairo and Luxor and one day sat in passenger seat on a day trip I realised that almost every (about 99%) car had body work damage including bonnets and roofs.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "I could be driving out of Cairo towards the Great Pyramids of Giza"

      "the Pyramids now border Cairo city"

      Yes, that's why we always see almost the exact same photo or video clip, no matter who takes it. There's only that one angle where the slums don't encroach on the image.

  7. Fazal Majid

    Elaine Herzberg RIP

    Then there is the case of the pedestrian who was mowed down by a Uber self-driving car in Arizona. Their programmers, no doubt hired from the same school of douchebaggery as their executives, programmed the car not to slow down because that would inconvenience passengers. The safety driver was busy playing with her cell phone. The NSTB issued a scathing report blaming an "inadequate safety culture", which is putting it mildly. Sometimes moving fast and breaking things means breaking people, to a pulp.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Elaine Herzberg RIP

      I disagree with your description of the incident. As a cyclist, like her, I wouldn't get too stoned to ride and then walk with my bike and a load of groceries briskly straight across the road and into the path of a close approaching car on a dark night, like her. And the Uber driver seems to have been watching a video on Hulu. As Wikipedia tells it, the self-driving software braked the car but it was set to leave the driver to execute hard emergency braking, and I think The Register reported that the car adapted by Uber was built with its own emergency braking function that Uber took out. How dark the night was is contradictory; I've seen versions of the video where I would and wouldn't have cycled over her. If the image can be enhanced to make her visible, then she should be visible to the car - but not if processing and enhancing the image takes ten minutes per frame...

      I expect there are more, therefore more interesting, incidents with self-driving cars where another road user was injured but survived. Though maybe a lot of those victims are paid to keep quiet.

  8. keith_w
    Stop

    I used to think that Dabbsie wrote his articles based on the videos he linked, and must admit that I thought so today as well, until he switched from Doze to Tesla. When self-driving cars were first talked about seriously, I imagined dozens of pedestrians stepping out into roadways bringing all traffic to a standstill. This article startled me into realizing that if dozens of pedestrians did that, there would instantly be a need for dozens of ambulances.

    Icon because

    1. herman Silver badge

      Dozens of Hearses - TFIFY

    2. Allan George Dyer
      Joke

      What we need is dozens of self-driving ambulances, they can be sent out to constantly patrol and pick-up the casualties they cause.

  9. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    the single most useful feature that any private vehicle could offer, ever: fully automated reverse parking

    I had something purporting to be that very feature on my previous car. I have no idea how well it worked though...on the occasions when I did feel inclined to trust myself to an automated system it fell at the first hurdle by completely failing to recognise anything, no matter how large, as a parking space.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Fully automated reverse parking works very well, though it often uses more forward/backward manoeuvres than necessary, I would normally do it in one backward movement, it takes two or three.

    2. Kubla Cant

      Automated reverse parking fails in the same way as much other automation. It tackles the easy problems (big spaces) and leaves you with the hard ones (spaces only slightly longer than you car).

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        what you fail to realise is that a large number of people - even in the UK - are incapable of reversing AT ALL - let alone parallel parking into any size space

        I wish I was kidding about this and the question is where they got their licenses

        The way to deal with this is to offer to assist them, reverse the car into a park and then drop the keys down the nearest gulley trap

        1. Jan 0

          > incapable of reversing AT ALL

          Not quite. They hate reversing, so they do the worst thing and put it off 'til later when they reverse out of parking spaces and gates.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            ....straight into the oncoming traffic that they can't see.

            As per earlier poster: WTH did they get their license?

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              "As per earlier poster: WTH did they get their license?"

              The driving test, in the UK at least, only tests your ability to pass a driving test, which is a very limited set of circumstances. The number of people driving that have a total lack of awareness constantly amazes me.

              1. Potty Professor Bronze badge
                Flame

                Driving Test

                I used to ride a motorcycle using my full car licence as a provisional for the bike. I let my bike insurance lapse while nursing my wife through terminal cancer, but after she passed away, I couldn't re-insure the bike unless I took a CBT first. Why do I have to take (and pay for) a simple test when I have over fifty years' experience riding anything from 50cc to 1200cc? I refuse to pay over £50 a year to be allowed to do something I have done for free for 50 years up until ten years ago.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Na - practice is the thing. I live in the sticks and most of the roads round here are single lanes with passing places. I also drive minibuses full of screaming pensioners and until covid I could park a minibus inch perfect first time. I could reverse several hundred yards at high speed in the winter - in the summer I only do it at 1/2 mile an hour because the fucking tourist isn't reversing into the passing space 10 feet behind them an I'm more than happy to waste their holiday too!

      Don't go out much now due to the plague and often end up parking my own car on the pavement due to lack of practice. Even having a few goes at that seems to be faster than the automatic ones I've seen,

  10. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    "What I don't need is constant reminders on the benefits of respiration, or playing I-spy"

    Sound like an app to put you on par with the concentration skills of the pedestrian zombie. The one who assumes the law of the road (pedestrians have priority) outweighs the laws of physics (idiot meat sack walks directly in front of moving vehicle and wonders why the world suddenly shifted).

    "Now I realise they are simply designed to copycat the way the average motorist drives already."

    The distance between theory and practice. May it be classroom, driving lessons or whatever subject pits theory against the real world. Anyone who lives it knows theory is a spherical chicken in a vacuum and thats before you meet outliers of anally retentive rule abider's to lawless twits. That the machine is able to blend in with the many shows a level of sophistication.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ha

      Downvoted for a light-hearted comment on an SFTW piece?

      That's cold,

      Here, have an upvote for the weekend.

      Consolation upvotes go well with beer.

  11. Bowlers

    Tesla

    Tesla advises: "The currently enabled Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous."

    I thought there were rules, even laws regarding false advertising.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Tesla

      If you advertise it as an "autopilot", then it's an autopilot. Switch on, leave it to it. Not a driving assistance. Don't they have trade description laws in the States? If not, I have a 10kg gold bar to sell you. Don't let it's dull grey colour mislead you, I'm advertising it as a gold bar.

      1. SuperGeek

        Re: Tesla

        "If you advertise it as an "autopilot", then it's an autopilot. Switch on, leave it to it. Not a driving assistance. Don't they have trade description laws in the States?"

        Apparently it's the same with planes. Autopilot is not self flying, only "pilot assistance"? So why don't they call it Assistpilot? Then it can't be classed as misadvertising! Tesla can use the name too, and it's self explanatory!

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Tesla

          Its called Tesla for a reason - never before has one man had so much bullshit written about him.

  12. Potemkine! Silver badge

    So I take the turn as directed by

    I did that once, when Waze hadn't the option yet "don't go through roads that aren't roads after all".

    I found myself trapped in a muddy dirt road, with nice big rocks from time to time, and a downward 15% slope. And of course with a car with an automatic gearbox, because it's funnier when you can't use motor brake and drive a way a crab would be proud of. After 10 minutes of sweat, I was lucky to be back in one unbumped piece to a standard road. Since then I don't follow apps applications if they lead me to a road too narrow to turn back.

    Mr Dabbs leaving near Montpellier would be surprised of this, but there are cities in France where a pedestrian can cross the street, eyes closed, without risking death. In France the way to drive is very different from one region to another. In Montpellier like most places in south-eastern France, a pedestrian makes a gamble each time there's a street to cross, even on a pedestrian crossing. More exactly, especially on it, because it can give a false sense of security...

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      >> Mr Dabbs leaving near Montpellier would be surprised of this

      Oh, I dunno. I find motorists more courteous here - to each other and to pedestrians - than in London. The one thing all motorists have in common worldwide, though, is their hatred of cyclists and overwhelming desire to kill them. Cyclists, in turn, hate and try to kill pedestrians. Pedestrians tread on ants.

      1. JassMan Silver badge

        Except in Australia

        Stand on the wrong ant ants its mate will jump on your leg and bite. If you're lucky it will be a variety that only feels like someone covered your leg in burning petrol. Jack Jumper ants in the south are even worse. If you are very unlucky you could end up dead.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        @Alistair Dabbs

        "their hatred of cyclists and overwhelming desire to kill them."

        Yes, I know that feeling from both sides, but it's not about cyclists and motorists and pedestrians but about how we plan and build towns and the whole lot.

        I have found "Not just bikes" quite good at pondering about those questions, apart from that, he clearly owns a passport.

        A few examples.

        How to (Quickly) Build a Cycling City - Paris

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI-1YNAmWlk&t=64s

        Safe Cycling Showdown - Good vs. Bad City Design - Plus 1 Minus 2

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8F5hXqS-Ac

        Why Canadians Can't Bike in the Winter (but Finnish people can)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhx-26GfCBU&t=440s

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          That's the problem. Towns aren't planned, they grow over dozens of centuries.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            The French managed to build large booleyvards which are piss easy to add cycle lanes to, You can even see where they were in India! But then they drive in way that means you wouldnt want to cycle there unless the closed the roads for Le Tour.

            UK towns did what ever the opposite of evolving is.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              The French managed to build large booleyvards which are piss easy to add cycle lanes to

              They built them like that because it's much harder to build and man an effective barricade across a wide avenue than across a typical city street. Know your citizens, I guess...

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Towns aren't planned"

            Two words: Milton Keynes.

            1. Precordial thump

              And I have just one for you: Canberra.

      3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        It is not true that cyclists hate pedestrians, and, of course, they do not try to kill pedestrians. They are not really allowed to.

        Recently on weekends in the middle of Glasgow, I've seen the near exception of food delivery couriers on bicycles, who presumably are paid according to their speed, and not by whether they're riding on pedestrian pavement or riding safely in traffic and at junctions. I assume there are a lot of accidents, and I take a view that Something Must Be Done. But maybe this situation is everyone else's normal.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "It is not true that cyclists hate pedestrians, and, of course, they do not try to kill pedestrians."

          The important point is that some do, most don't. As with any large group, the majority are relatively normal, law-abiding citizens, the minority are self-important twats. Of course, we forget about all the people who don't cause issue and never forget the twats who jump out into the road, cycle through red lights, or turn left, cutting up cyclists.

        2. Stork Silver badge

          There was research done some decades ago in Denmark on which types of cyclists had accidents.

          What I remember was that women in their 30es had a lot, they stuck to the rules and expected naively others to do the same. Bike messengers had relatively few, they broke every rule, expected others to do the same and were hyper aware of what happened around them.

    2. Andy Non

      I nearly got mowed down in Vire, Normandy. I had to jump back off the pedestrian crossing back to the pavement narrowly avoiding being hit by a female driver gabbing on her mobile phone not looking at the road ahead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Normandy? If it was after breakfast your driver was probably blind drunk.

        While visiting there I ran into a road barrage where police was testing all passing drivers for alcohol. Given the early hour I asked the police officer about it and he explained to me that people there had peculiar drinking habits...

    3. Dr_N Silver badge

      Pedestrian respect is not a country or region issue.

      It's a distance-from-the-Mediterranean phenomenon: The nearer you get to the Med, the greater the likelihood that a car will take you out whilst you are using a pedestrian crossing.

      1. Jan 0

        Distance from the Mediterranean?

        You've obviously never been to Southern Italy or Sicily. If they were to hit a pedestrian they'd probably die of shame. Just watch how skilfully all the drivers avoid the little old lady who just steps into the road knowing she doesn't need to look. It's not enough to think you're a good driver, you have to demonstrate it to everyone nearby.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        "Pedestrian respect is not a country or region issue."

        It's perhaps more about west to east than north to south.

        East Europeans had to wait until the Soviet fell before they could all get (posh) western cars and it shows. Cars are status symbols they way they were in the west too.

      3. Potemkine! Silver badge

        It's a distance-from-the-Mediterranean phenomenon

        Not only! I lived in several parts of France. In Normandy, they didn't catch yet the concept of 'car', and are unable to drive safely. On Caen's ring road, each time it rains there's a car crash, so there's a car crash every day. . In Lorraine, you can walk and cross the streets of Metz without even looking before, and car drivers are polite and respectful to each others. In Paris, the only rule that matter is "watch the front of your car" and don't care about the rest. In Toulouse or Marseilles, there's no rule at all, everything is possible.

        1. DoctorPaul

          Tip from a friend in Turin - when parked don't engage the handbrake.

          If there's a gap smaller than their car, the Torinese just shunt themselves in - leaving the handbrake off means less damage to the front/rear of your car.

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Stay in lane features can be a menace, I have found. Overtaking a cyclist typically does not require going to the opposite lane, but I do like driving around them rather than through them (personal preference, others may feel differently), as the lane assist would have me do. It is totally unnerving when the car (a rental Volkswagen Passat) basically tries to take over control of the wheel and nearly drives you into a bike. Don't get me started on the various alarms going off when trying to back out of a parking space, because the proximity sensor detects the presence of a wall in front of the car. A wall you are clearly moving AWAY from.

    I am so glad my own car has far less AI (alleged intelligence) built in

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Changes to the Highway Code

      "Overtaking a cyclist typically does not require going to the opposite lane..."

      If you are in the UK, you may not need to go completely into the opposite lane, but you will overlap it by a large margin, according to the Highway Code. The new clarifications say that you should leave at least 1.5 (5 feet) when overtaking cyclists. Similarly cyclists should cycle at least 0.5m (1.5 feet) from the kerb "when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them."

      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-highway-code-8-changes-you-need-to-know-from-29-january-2022

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Changes to the Highway Code

        "Similarly cyclists should cycle at least 0.5m (1.5 feet) from the kerb"

        Many of them do that. It puts them tight in the middle of pavement causing maximum hazard to pedestrians :-)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Changes to the Highway Code

        When I learnt to ride a bike the Highway Code said to ride just far enough out into the road to avoid drain covers. 1 1/2 feet would have been the maximum, not the minimum.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is totally unnerving when the car basically tries to take over control of the wheel and nearly drives you into a bike

      But your car will score more highly in the Euro crash/safety tests, which is why all cars now come with it permanently enabled. More rules created by people whose main experience of driving is having their chauffeur pilot the limo between Strasbourg & Brussels.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Last year, a salesman in the car showroom told me that the lane assist technology had been cut down to be much weaker than it used to be, for this very reason (it's dangerous). If I recall correctly he cited European law, although that might be a false memory.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          EuroNCAP

          From the Euro NCAP website: "Euro NCAP rewards LKA [Lane Keep Assist] and ELK [Emergency Lane Keeping] systems, based on a standard set of tests performed on a test track. ... Additional points are awarded to cars equipped with a Lane Departure Warning system and a Blind Spot Monitoring system."

          It's all down to getting the best score in standardized tests.

          1. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: EuroNCAP

            My 8 year old Nissan has a lane departure warning sound - first thing I turned off, as it pinged annoyingly every time I overtook something.

    3. Trilkhai

      If the alarms only go off in reverse when there's a wall in front of the car, that's a step up on my stepmother's car — it always spends the entire time it's in reverse playing an alert beep in the cabin that's very similar to the beeping a large delivery vehicle makes. If it was audible outside the car, then I'd just figure it was warning other people, but nope, it's silent from their perspective...

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Does the lane function react to your indicators? I think someone here just mentioned that theirs did not. Also, I advise indicating well before you start the manoeuvre. This should show other drivers that you are not making a straightforward lane change since, indeed, you are not doing it yet.

      A self driving car ought to be made able to recognise a cyclist with a jacket bearing a large camera logo, as it is on road signs, because cyclists report that this improves the behaviour of human drivers considerably.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Also, I advise indicating well before you start the manoeuvre. This should show other drivers that you are not making a straightforward lane change since, indeed, you are not doing it yet."

        Er, you should *always* indicate before you start your manoeuvre. That's why they are called indicators. They indicate your intention or wishes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Does the lane function react to your indicators?

        They're supposed to, certainly the ones I've had inflicted on me by hire cars do.

        Interestingly, when I was taught to drive the instructor was clear that you must always indicate before changing lanes to overtake, because that was a potentially unexpected manoeuvre which should be signalled to other drivers. On the other hand, there was no need to signal when returning to your lane afterwards, because that's what the highway code requires you to do and so it should not be seen as an unexpected change.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          #MeToo - my instructor told me an examiner might consider indicating to pull back in a lack of mechanical sympathy for the car as it was increasing the wear on the (crappy BL) indicator stalk.

    5. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Its worth avoiding cyclists for a variety of reasons - a mate of mine was rammed by a car and walked away after he'd gone through the windscreen arse first and turned the driver into a quadriplegic. He got a lovely new bike too!

  14. herman Silver badge

    Hmm, it gets really boring having to disable the bicycle seeker and train crossing engine stop features every time I get into my car.

  15. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
    Pint

    The Joy of Motoring

    I can see there might be a case to support some sort of automation when

    driving on motorways (UK) but then again some degree of zombie-control already seems to exist:

    Enter motorway- Certain cars immediately move to the outside lane, and stay there until time to exit, usually at the last possible moment without warning.

    Lorries (aka Trucks): Behaving as trains but unhooked, travelling close in the slip-stream and confounding entry/exit of any other vehicle.

    Lane-hogger: Steady as she (or he, etc.) goes.

    There's no reason why these traits couldn't/shouldn't be automated. I've no doubt some already use the freedom to do their breathing exercises, with or without an app. (Actually, I can see an opportunity for Dabbsy to do the voice-over on the app. In language we can all understand.)

    But when vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists meet, the rules of the jungle take over and the heaviest will win. For some reason, AI is seen as the solution when common courtesy would be more appropriate. Anyway it's Friday and I'm not driving anywhere ->

    1. ConsumedByFire

      Re: The Joy of Motoring

      Middle Lane drivers - GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The Joy of Motoring

        Especially when lane 1 is actually empty.

        But, apparently there is a thing going around where people refer to lane 1 as the "lorry lane". They probably think cars aren't allowed in that lane.

  16. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Seattle

    "What they found was that good drivers in built-up areas have learnt to recognise a pedestrian's body language and facial tics that suggest they are about to step into the road. "

    Right. We've gotten pretty good at discerning the difference between a pedestrian about to cross and a hobo stepping up to the gutter to throw up.

    But seriously: I've seen a number of reports on the progress of self driving adoption. And most of them assume the eventual incorporation of V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communications. Great. But what do you do about the pedestrians and cyclists? Rather than designing some sort of cooperative AI system, vehicle designers need to look at adversarial game theory a bit more. Your enemy isn't going to willingly tip their hand.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Seattle

      "What they found was that good drivers in built-up areas have learnt to recognise a pedestrian's body language and facial tics that suggest they are about to step into the road. "

      In time, autonomous vehicles will come to recognise a pedestrian's body language, facial ticks and the sheer expression of terror in the final moments before the vehicle collides with them

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Seattle

        > will come to recognise a pedestrian's body language

        Squishy.

  17. Franco Silver badge

    I'm trying to decide if people are stupid, if car manufacturers think they are stupid, or a mix of both.

    Almost exactly 2 years ago someone went in to the back of my car on the M8 around Eurocentral. Nothing unusual in this, it's a very busy road that goes from 4 lanes to 2 quite quickly. No one hurt, no serious damage. Got a Hyundai something or other as my courtesy car whilst my rear bumper was being replaced and it would not shut up. Wipers turned on or off, lights turned on or off or anything else and the dashboard put up a big flashing message to tell me what I'd just done. Being in what the car thought was the wrong gear for 20 seconds caused it to have a fit, despite the fact that it is unaware of what I know, that I'm coming up to a junction. Trying to turn off the indicator after changing lanes to overtake really confused it.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      I had a slightly similar experience with a washing machine, but I got it repaired.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The currently enabled Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous."

    Ahhh, this is obviously a new use of the term "Full Self Driving" that I was not familiar with.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Unfortunately it seems to be that a feature can be given a name, which people can mistake for a description. So as it's not a description, but a name, it doesn't count as false advertising.

      In the past this used to be done by misspelling.

      See also the drink that gives you "wiiiiings", note not "wings" because that would not be true!

    2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      'Ahhh, this is obviously a new use of the term "Full Self Driving" that I was not familiar with.'

      Just another version of the term "fully semi automatic" that we see on this side of the pond.

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Why did the chicken NOT cross the road?

    Do autonomous driving system designers care about hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, deer, toads, birds and other assorted fellow road users?

    Why did the chicken NOT cross the road?

    Because it had just seen a hedgehog being run over by a Tesla.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Why did the chicken NOT cross the road?

      > Do autonomous driving system designers care about hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, deer, toads, birds and other assorted fellow road users?

      They'll get to it as soon as they manage to handle bicycles. Right now they're still trying to detect stopped emergency vehicles.

  20. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Don't mention... Stephen Fry

    "In America I own a car that is capable of autonomous driving. I sit on the freeway, pull twice on a stalk on the steering wheel, fold my arms and tuck in my feet, the car, one of Elon Musk’s Tesla models, does it all...

    The above quote is about half way down on this article

    https://www.stephenfry.com/2017/05/the-way-ahead/

    As for the rest of the lecture, probably best read with reference to...

    https://www.theregister.com/2013/03/25/stephen_fry_not_upset_you_twat/

    Note: It is approaching 5 years since that lecture - hopefully Mr Fry no longer folds his arms and tucks his feet in when he puts the Tesla on "autopilot". And whilst pedestrians are banned from using freeways, they are not free of pedestrians

  21. mpi

    Here is an interesting to make traffic better in general:

    How about we

    * reduce the amount of streets and parking lots in our cities by, say, 70%

    * use all that free space to build rails for public transport systems

    * as well as nice ways for pedestrians and bicycles to get around

    * preferably shaded by some trees and flanked by some bushes and other green stuff (ya know, because it filters the air, binds a bit of CO2, coold down the immediate area by water evaporation and looks a hell of a lot nicer than the concrete wasteland our cities have become).

    * reserve road traffic primarily for the transport of goods (transportation and delivery) to stores

    * and in general decide that cities, first and foremost, are LIVING AREAS, not traffic areas?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here is an interesting to make traffic better in general:

      "* as well as nice ways for pedestrians and bicycles to get around"

      Primarily the tourists who came to see the quaint villages that people used to live in. Please be sure to wear your period costumes when stepping out of your houses.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Here is an interesting to make traffic better in general:

      "the concrete wasteland our cities have become"

      Tree roots. That's the excuse many councils give for removing trees from down the side of streets. The roots lift the surrounding ground, people trip, then sue the council. Oh, and not forgetting that it costs money to assess trees regularly and lop off suspect branches in case they fall on people. And leaf cleaning in Autumn. Again, people might slip on them and sue the council who put the tree there in the first place!

      Likewise, councils have money left at the end of the budget year, or get grants for "beautification" projects, but they never have the money to maintain them (different budget!!) so they end up looking very tired and messy after a while.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Here is an interesting to make traffic better in general:

      a hell of a lot nicer than the concrete wasteland our cities have become

      Come friendly bombs...

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Here is an interesting to make traffic better in general:

      My local town (which I try to avoid as much as possible) pedestrianised the main street. From my PoV it makes it even less pleasant. It has now got beyond buskers. Last time I was there there a DJ had set up sharing his choice of hideous racket with half the town centre.

  22. Tom 7 Silver badge

    looking down from the railway bridge

    you see an empty track 99% of the time or more (round here its close to 2 minutes of trains in a 24 hr day FFS. Now, as painstaking as Top Gears caravan trains were most people on here can imagine a set of autonomous carriages occupying 99% of the track space at high speed with rapid points moving people left right and centre and delivering very low energy transport with ease and efficiency. We dont need trains - we need carriages and some really primive software and we've got a transport system the French might go MEH! at!

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: looking down from the railway bridge

      You're thinking Segways perhaps.

      I wonder if people will or should go back willingly to mass-occupancy public transport and breathing shared air as, with as much good luck as we can hope for, SARS-CoV-2 persists in its omicron form that infects everyone every month whatever you do but leaves alive most of the people that the other variants didn't kill first. Not to mention influenza, winter lung-vomiting lurgy, and just thinking about all the people who don't wash their hands before using a bus or after doing anything.

      I do use a bus again... but I don't pick up the freesheet newspaper that my seatmate laid down. Not these days.

      So, I'm sort of expecting to see new buses with each seat in its own cubicle with outside door. Or shower curtains all around each seat. Then some kid gets on with a Bluetooth speaker playing "that" music from "Psycho".

  23. Rich 11 Silver badge

    So I take the turn as directed by Doze and hurtle the wrong way down the one-way street

    It's France. No-one gives a shit. Unless the person in error is Italian, in which case a degree of cultural superiority will need to be imposed.

  24. Big_Boomer

    Our society gives "rights" to Pedestrians pretty much making it the motor vehicle drivers "fault" no matter how idiotic the pedestrian was behaving. If you are going to have a mix of soft squishy humans mixed in with fast, heavy, unyielding vehicles, you can grant all the rights that you like to the humans, but they will ALWAYS lose against the motor vehicle. No matter what some idiots think, the laws of Physics trump human laws 100% of the time.

    A friend of mine was riding his motorcycle down a dual carriage way at the speed limit when a drunk vaulted a fence from a slip road and landed right in front of him. My friend had no time to brake and ended up in hospital with broken legs and pelvis. The pedestrian died. My friend was subsequently charged with involuntary manslaughter even though the autopsy showed that the pedestrian was extremely inebriated. My friend spent several years fighting our "justice" system before he was finally cleared of the idiotic charge.

    If you want to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths, you need to completely separate pedestrians from motor vehicles and design the environment accordingly. Humans do stupid things and will try to find shortcuts despite the obvious risks. Once we have "self-driving" cars, pedestrians will start challenging the cars by stepping out in front of them because some people REALLY are that stupid. If they leave it late enough then no matter how good the human/computer driver, the pedestrian will die or get injured.

    As for driver assistance systems, they should all be used at arms length, if at all. All they do is further distract the driver from their primary role which is driving. Modern cars have far too many distractions and seem to be getting worse and worse. If you are going to drive then drive. That means 100% of your attention on your surroundings at all times. If you want to fiddle with your phone then take public transport.

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