Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're silent" article

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reikiman
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Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're silent" article

http://www.thestar.com/article/643141 ... Sheesh. In the early history of cars, in England there was a law requiring cars going on roads to be limited to 20 miles/hr and to be proceeded by someone waving a flag warning all passersby about the approaching car. That of course made adoption of cars hard in England until the law was repealed.

There have been many of these "electric cars are dangerous because they're silent" articles.. and I'm wondering out loud whether it's a disinformation campaign by entrenched interests (a.k.a. oil companies) to slander the electric car, position them as dangerous, to keep them off the road.

I think it's the responsibility of the driver to operate their vehicle safely. If they happen to run over a deaf person who didn't hear them, then it's the responsibility of the driver for having done so. Cars are heavy objects that carry a lot of inertia when moving and it's a huge responsibility to operate heavy machinery in a safe manner. Unfortunately it seems many people shirk their responsibility to be safe behind the wheel. In this case they're positioning blind people as the victim of marauding silent electric vehicles, when there are other ways to present the same story.

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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

Most of most cars' noise is tire noise. You can demonstrate this by having a friend coast by you in a car with the engine off. An electric car moving from a dead stop is very quiet, but so is my wife's Honda. With any ambient noise such as wind I can't tell if her car is idling or not. This is an invented non-problem which is likely why it hasn't gotten any traction. My guess is the people who pitch this story know they can get attention by being iconoclasts.

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reikiman
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

Just took a walk around the block and came home thinking this has me riled up enough to write an Article to put the situation into perspective.

And the other thought I came home with is obviously there are a lot of people who are killed by cars anyway. This problem of pedestrians and bicyclists and wheelchair user fatality accidents was not created with electric cars. (uh.. actually, the first pedestrian fatality was in 1895 or so and did involve an electric car) But cars don't have to be electric in order to kill people, right? Why aren't they making a stink about the dangers of regular gas burning cars to pedestrians (blind or otherwise)???

Any other thoughts to cover??

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andys
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

Most new cars make almost no exhaust noise, so its the wind and tire noise you hear anyway.(unless is some young guys in a flat black Honda civic with a huge wing on the back) The Toyota Prius at low speeds runs on fully electric power, and I haven't seen any data showing Prius owners are running over more than their share of pedestrians.

An electric motorcycle may be one instance where the lack of the traditional engine revving noise could be a safety factor. How much of one, I am not sure. Any Vectrix owners find they have to be dodging surprised pedestrians on a daily basis?

Juiced
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

I own several "former ICE" converted bikes and have yet to have anyone step in front of the bikes at either the drag strip pit area or on the road.

In the bike world you are taught that you should ride as if you are invisible anyway so most of us who adopt that idea tend to keep a closer eye on the non paying attention public.

The Electric car "Silent but deadly" idea is nonsense. I have ridden many bikes (The Honda Aspencade comes to mind) that made almost no noise when running. That was the idea. You did not want to have a motorcycle engine drown out the fun of riding through the mountains.

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smace
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

A non problem with a simple fix, one that has been bounced around here several times. Market and aftermarket simple mp3 player and speaker that repeates a noise loop saved on a media card. in volume and proportion to the speed of the car or bike and also has an idle sound. Then sell, or give away, downloadable sound loops. I would use the Jetsons car loop.

Mik
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

Any Vectrix owners find they have to be dodging surprised pedestrians on a daily basis?

No problem with pedestrians so far, but I almost ran over a bicyclist once. Not that the Vectux is normally very quiet, but I was approaching a cusp and therefore I was coasting and was really very quiet for once.

When I got to the top I saw the cyclist starting to pedal off across the road, perpendicular to it, starting from the left, which is the driving side in Australia. Because I had been "expecting the unexpected" whilst approachin the "invisible" area past the cusp, I was able to do a full emergency break (and some swearing, all at once) and let her pass safely. Had it been a fire truck parked across the road (instead of the moving cyclist), I would maybe have bumped it just a little bit or stopped just in time in front of it. But because the cyclist was actually moving, I could let go of the breaks and roll on instead of having to continue the emergency breaking to a full halt.

The cyclist had not even glanced in my direction, and only saw me after the critical part of the breaking was over. My rear wheel blocked a little bit at times, and the front wheel was whistling...by the time she turned her head and looked at me she had made it to the middle of the road and I could let go of the breaks.

She had clearly chosen a bad spot to cross the road, and, on top of that, she relied on hearing only, instead of looking and hearing.

But no matter if you produce a lot of noise, NOx, CO2, soot particles, or nothing but turbulence whilst you are riding, it comes down to one simple rule:

You have to adapt your driving to the conditions!

Luckily the Vectux is so noisy that I don't have to worry about pedestrians a lot!

...

With a really efficient vehicle the problem would be much more serious, though: Those vehicles with low aerodynamic drag and low rolling resistance would be almost silent at 30km/h or even above speeds. They will also have a small front area and therefore relatively low visibility from the direction in which they are traveling.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

wolf3510
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

ive had a couple of drivers actually stare at me then proceed to start turning right into me...while they are still staring at me...yeah your eyes are not lying to you its a guy on an electric bike duh...

reikiman
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

Come to think of it, I've had more close calls on my gas bike than on the electric one.

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richardb
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

Come to think of it, I've had more close calls on my gas bike than on the electric one.

David, you are probably more responsible while riding your electric bike, and I'm sure you're more aware of safety issues when you're on any bike than when you're in your car.

But we all need to consider that we are responsible not only for our own safety, but for that of the others on the road as well, including the pedestrians, bicycle riders, and yes, even those who are in lightweight efficient motorized transportation. I'm thinking back at how many times I have been "invisible" on a bicycle and had to perform defensive maneuvering to avoid being crushed. I also posted in another thread that I'm in favor of taxing vehicles based on the damage they can do to others, rather than the safety they provide to the occupants. Sure, you're very safe in a 6000 pound SUV, but what about the guy in the sports car run over see. In my mind, a bicycle is considerably safer to a larger population than a Chevy Suburban.

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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

I've never had a shortage of people here stepping out in front of me without looking, and it didn't make any difference what I was driving, including a car with a bad muffler. A few years ago in our city, a local fad was for teenagers to step out into traffic to cross the street without looking, or take turns pushing each other into the street "as a joke". After several kids got hit by cars and one got killed, the novelty quickly wore off.
I've only had my electric bike for a week, but I've quickly learned to "ride as though I'm invisible", as you've said, and in the downtown part of the city, I always keep my hand on the brake and my thumb on the horn. By the way, I never ride my XB-600 "in traffic". In Maine, the bike is a moped, and mopeds need to stay as far to the right as possible without going onto the sidewalk. So keep an eye out for people in parked cars getting ready to open their doors. Sometimes I give a quick beep on the horn just to let people know that I'm there.

Buzzer

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PJD
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

One of the things I find so appealing about EV's is their low noise level!

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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

I work maintianing the grounds and buildings of a small gated community of condominiums. We have very little space, just street, garage fronts, and 2 feet of flowerbed. So we work in the street a lot, keeping the flowerbeds shaped up. The prius cars are very sneaky, and we can easily stand up, and back up into the path of one going 5 mph. At that speed, there is no tire noise. We can usually hear the ICE cars, or even the prius if the engine is running. It's amusing, and annoyance, but hardly very dangerous even with the 85 year old drivers.

At speed that would hurt, even the prius can be heard from tire noise, and anyway, people that step out into the street oblivious are counting on the driver doing something, not thier hearing. They'd step out in front of a fire engine.

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Mik
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Re: Another "electric cars are dangerous because they're ...

In many situations it is difficult to hear any vehicle because of the enormous background noise from all the ICE vehicles running in the vicinity!
If the ICE vehicles were gone, you could hear most EV's much better!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

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