Archive for car accidents

the last argument of drivers

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2019 by xi'an

When vaguely listening to the national public radio France Inter last night, while cooking dinner, I heard Patrick Septiers, president of le conseil départemental de Seine et Marne, express his (electorate catering) opposition to the new 80km/h speed limit on national and departmental roads on the most rational (!) argument that delivery trucks drove at that speed already and hence that the speed limit would “force” car drivers to break the law to pass trucks. Along with similarly rational claims to have each department regulate its speed limits on the basis it was financing most roads. (I had another illustration of the rationality above when walking by a big SUV this morning, with a large sticker against wind farms.)

drivers are not interested in maths formulas

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , on January 1, 2018 by xi'an

An appalling discussion on the French public radio (France Inter) this morning about reducing the average speed on bidirectional roads from 90 km/h to 80 km/h, when the representative of “40 millions d’automobilistes”, a driver lobby with a few hundred thousands members, called the chain to protest against this potential move by the Macron government. With arguments ranging from being unjust for the rural parts of the country [the reduction in speed adds seven minutes per hour!], to predicting the regulation to be ignored by most drivers, to a lack of democracy [as if driving a car was a fundamental right! What’s next?! The right to bear arms?!], and finally to denying arguments based on econometric models [dismissed as “maths formulas”], like Nilsson’s.

cyclic riddle [not in NYC!]

Posted in Kids, R, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2017 by xi'an

In the riddle of this week on fivethirtyeight, the question is to find the average number of rounds when playing the following game: P=6 players sitting in a circle each have B=3 coins and with probability 3⁻¹ they give one coin to their right or left side neighbour, or dump the coin to the centre. The game ends when all coins are in the centre. Coding this experiment in R is rather easy

situz=rep(B,P)
r=1
while (max(situz)>0){
 unz=runif(P)
 newz=situz-(situz>0)
 for (i in (1:P)[unz<1/3]) 
  newz[i%%P+1]=newz[i%%P+1]+(situz[i]>0)
 for (i in (1:P)[unz>2/3])
  newz[i-1+P*(i==1)]=newz[i-1+P*(i==1)]+(situz[i]>0)
 situz=newz
 r=r+1}

resulting in an average of 15.58, but I cannot figure out (quickly enough) an analytic approach to the problem. (The fit above is to a Gamma(â-1,ĝ) distribution.)

In a completely unrelated aparté (aside), I read earlier this week that New York City had prohibited the use of electric bikes. I was unsure of what this meant (prohibited on sidewalks? expressways? metro carriages?) so rechecked and found that electric bikes are simply not allowed for use anywhere in New York City. Because of the potential for “reckless driving”. The target is apparently the high number of delivery e-bikes, but this ban sounds so absurd that I cannot understand it passed. Especially when De Blasio has committed the city to the Paris climate agreement after Trump moronically dumped it… Banning the cars would sound much more in tune with this commitment! (A further aparté is that I strongly dislike e-bikes, running on nuclear power plants,  especially when they pass me on sharp hills!, but they are clearly a lesser evil when compared with mopeds and cars.)

60k versus 65k

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , on August 25, 2012 by xi'an

An add in Melbourne took a while to click in (for me!): it represented a woman projected on the hood of a car with the legend 65k and the same woman prostrated in front of the same car with the legend 60k… I was seeing this ad every day when driven to Monash and could not see the point as I was interpreting 60k as 60kg! So it sounded like a weird campaign for a new diet… After a while, I eventually got the point that it was a campaign towards speed reduction and against drivers thinking that 60km/h does not differ much from 65km/h. (I could not find a reproduction of the campaign posters on the official site.) Besides this misinterpretation, I find the message rather unclear and unconvincing: while driving more slowly obviously gives a driver more time to react, the 60k/65k opposition could be replaced with a 55k/60k opposition and would not make less or more sense. Furthermore, the variability in driver’s reactions and car behaviours is likely to influence the consequences of an impact as significantly as a reduction of 5km/h…

Les statistiques, évitons de rentrer dedans

Posted in pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , on December 24, 2010 by xi'an

A new campaign against urban road accidents caught my attention because of the above slogan… Playing on the double meaning of rentrer dans les statistiques (becoming part of the statistics) and of rentrer dans quelqu’un (hitting someone). The case for hitting motorbikes is particularly acute on the Paris beltway:  motorbikes are driving between lanes at speeds that are very different from those of the cars and when changing lanes in dense traffic (with a car) it is almost impossible to account for the possibility of a motorbike arriving at 100 km/h or above. There are around 800 accidents per year involving bikes on the beltway. Last time I went to the airport, my taxi got hit several times by a biker who was unhappy with the taxi changing lanes, despite him having signalled well in advance and all that… (Note the funny reflection of the pink tag on the car, also implemented in the other pictures. I am not sure what’s the point there.) Continue reading