[OSM-talk] Tagging for street danger levels

Paul Houle paul at ontology2.com
Mon Jun 21 15:55:11 BST 2010

Toby Murray wrote:
> Someone in my area is starting up a new website that is focused on
> cycling in the city. They have decided to use OSM as their map which
> is awesome. 
    Streets are not dangerous to bicyclists;  ~intersections~ are 
dangerous to bicyclists.

    When bicyclists modify their behavior in search of "safe streets" 
they set themselves up, lemming like,  to be killed at intersections.  
Most of the dangerous and (mostly) illegal cycling behaviors that are 
widespread,  such as riding on sidewalks,  riding on the wrong side of 
the road,  riding on sidewalks on the wrong side of the road, and 
weaving around parked cars are derived from this fantasy cyclists have 
that some motorist is going to come up from behind in a faster,  larger 
vehicle and cream them.

    In reality,  the self-preservation of motorists forces them to be 
looking ahead of themselves for vehicles that behave like other 
automobiles.  Cyclists are most likely to be picked up by that scanning 
behavior if they follow traffic rules.  If they disobey traffic rules,  
they're at much greater risk.

    Cyclists may be safer if they follow a "dangerous" busy street that 
is well signalized and has few dangerous intersections than riding on a 
"safe" back alley that crosses numerous busy streets at poorly defined 
intersections.  There very well may be an "objective" measurement of the 
safety of ways,  routes,  and intersections,  but the majority of 
cyclists have demonstrated in everyday behavior and by their actions in 
the political sphere that the mental model of "safety" that they have is 
dangerously incorrect.

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