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Posted by on Sep 18, 2011 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Entitlement to Speed

Check out this news report from 1978.

When forced to go the speed limit, drivers became violent and dangerous. Wow!

As a single vehicle going the speed limit (which is now 70 in most places) on the highway, I’ve been bullied by other drivers.

Also, note the difference in fuel efficiency at 55 vs 65.

Thanks to Eliot, for sending the video!


  1. I remember driving 55 mph speed limit back in the 70s. I think I was the only one in GA doing that.

    I still drive relatively slowly. I just stay in the right lane and drive 65 or under. Everyone on the road still passes me. ::sigh::

    • I find driving the speed limit on the highway feels a lot like driving a bicycle around town – everyone is passing me 15mph faster. On I-4 through downtown the speed limit is 50, so everyone is passing me 25mph faster.

  2. Lots of different lessons one might draw from the video. Just today, I got an email from LAB about how cyclists vote. Motorists vote too.

  3. Makes me want to bribe a bunch of my friends to drive around n abreast at the speed limit just to see what happens. Have cameras rolling in case the police pull us over for some reason.

    • You’d probably get ticketed for obstructing traffic, or not keeping right except to pass. Just because you’re keeping people from breaking one law, that doesn’t mean you’re not breaking any laws yourself.

      • It may help to think about it this way: you wouldn’t want someone to restrain you from crossing a street until the signal becomes walk, would you? I realize that pedestrians and motorists are different, but, at least on a rural freeway, it seems like a difference of degree only.

  4. This suggests a method of enforcing speed limits that seems to me would be much more effective and much less expensive than police patrols. Just pay some people who are traveling along that road anyway to create a moving blockade, just like the news team did. The details are racing through my mind right now.


      YORBA LINDA – Nancy Stevens thinks she knows how to solve the problem of hasty drivers zipping along Yorba Linda’s boulevards and byways: An army of vehicles with yellow “pace car” stickers roaming the city’s streets at the speed limit.

      Doing that, Stevens believes, will create “moving speed bumps” that will force other drivers to slow down.

      “We are educating,” Stevens said on a recent morning, standing near Yorba Linda Boulevard as cars whipped past. “This is considered a traffic-safety education program.”

      Recently, Stevens brought fliers to the City Council meeting, asking residents to join the program and take her pledge. In doing so, they promise to drive the speed limit, stop at all stoplights and stop signs, and, because it’s Yorba Linda, “be courteous … to horseback riders.”

      Earlier this year, the idea for a pace car force won unanimous approval from the City Council, which gave Stevens $500 to help with fliers and mailings.

  5. Forcing traffic to do the speed limit is an illustrative experiment, but a bad idea in another way besides motorists being stupidly irate.

    If everyone goes the exact same speed on the freeway you wind up with large platoons of densely packed vehicles (I call them “pods,” like of whales) interspersed with big empty gaps. If there is some variability in speed, this smooths out more which is better for everyone. Of course, in urban areas a Savvy Cyclist exploits the pods and gaps created by traffic signals :-).

    The Pace Car seems like a good program, but I wonder if its effectiveness has been evaluated. Neighboring Durham NC has one, but I’ve never noticed a sticker. I’ll look for them. I suspect that there would have to be a significant number of pace cars to make a difference. I bet the number of people who drive the limit or really close to it overwhelms the number of pace cars.

    The reality on normal surface streets is that signals, stop signs, buses, peds, bicycle drivers, slow cars turning in and out, etc. moderates speed. The denser the environment the more so.