Who Gets the Ticket?

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What happens when the driver isn’t “speeding” – but the car is?

Who gets the ticket?

It’s a question bound to come up soon in traffic court given the fact that some new cars – like Sammy Hagar back in the day – can’t drive 55.

Or rather, can be tricked into driving 85 when the speed limit is 35.

How do you trick a car to drive 50 MPH faster than the posted speed limit? By using black electrical tape to change the “3” to an “8” on a speed limit sign. McAfee (the computer anti-virus software company) researchers Shivangee Trivedi and Steve Povolny did exactly that and it fooled the apparently not-so-smart automated speed control system built into a late-model Tesla electric car.

Its Traffic Aware Cruise Control uses a camera to “read” speed limit signs – and automatically adjusts the car’s speed up or down accordingly – without any action by the driver. When the camera “saw” 85 it raised the car’s speed to 85 – or tried to.

The researchers hit the brakes to prevent it from running amok, but the point was made. If this hadn’t been a test – if the car “saw” 85 rather than 35 and the driver wasn’t paying attention, the result could be a very big ticket – or a very bad accident.

Possibly both.

Teslas aren’t the only cars with this type of tech, either. It’s is a building block of autonomous – of automated – driving tech. Which – as the McAfee researchers just established – isn’t infallible and can be just as dangerous as a reckless driver.

Especially when the driver isn’t paying attention to a recklessly driving car.

Given that the whole point of automated driving tech is to enable the driver not to – and given the fact that technology is no more infallible than the human beings who create it – it’s inevitable that automated cars will drive fallibly.

And fatally.

There have already been a number of fatalities involving auto-piloted cars, so it’s not a hypothetical. It’s an actual. And it is probable there will be more accidents and fatalities – as more and more cars are fitted with partial and fully-automated driving technology.

And drivers pay less and less attention to driving.

Almost all new cars have some degree of automated driving tech already – including a very questionable feature called Lane Keep Assist/Steering Assist. It is meant to help the driver keep his car in its travel lane, by using cameras that “see” the double yellow lines painted on the road to the car’s left and the white line to its right, demarcating the shoulder. The idea is that when the inattentive driver wanders too close to either painted line, the car will steer itself back into the travel lane, using electric motors attached to the steering gear.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

It often works differently in the real world. Or not at all, if the painted lines are too faded to be seen by the camera. A driver who expects the car to keep itself in its lane – and doesn’t make the effort to keep it in its lane himself – could find himself in the opposite travel lane.

Or veering off the road.

The system also sometimes pulls the car in a direction the driver doesn’t want to go – forcing the driver to fight for steering control.

This can lead to loss of control, especially if the driver is startled by the car countersteering and over-reacts to it.

There is also something called Automated Emergency Braking (or Automated Collision Avoidance) which is supposed to apply the brakes in an emergency – as when the driver fails to react quickly enough to a looming threat, such as a car suddenly pulling in front of your car or the car ahead of you suddenly braking hard, before you have time to react.

But sometimes, the car auto-brakes – and auto-stops – when there’s no emergency or even any reason to slow down.

This writer experienced both last summer while driving a brand-new press car equipped with the tech. The car slammed on the brakes – and came to a complete stop in the middle of the road. There were no other cars around – luckily for me. If there had been a car behind me, it might have acccordionized me.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation is currently looking into similar problems reported by dozens of drivers of cars equipped with this tech – which is increasingly not optional but part of a new car’s suite of standard – ahem – “safety” features.

It all raises several important questions. Most of all, who is responsible – legally and morally – when an automated car violates a traffic law?

Or causes an accident?

The cars already in circulation that have automated driving tech have lawyer-ese caveats and asterisks that insist the driver is fully responsible for the car and for driving it; that he must always be “fully attentive” and “prepared to intervene at any time” if there is a problem.

This is risible given – again – that the only reason to have automated driving capability is precisely to not have to pay attention to driving. Expecting drivers of cars equipped with automated driving tech to not text, check email or even take a nap is as absurd as expecting a kid given free reign of a candy store to not eat any candy.

It’s also an example – another one – of the cognitive dissonance which afflicts much “thinking” in this country.

Or at least, the posturing.

About “gun violence,” for instance. The argument is that gun manufacturers must be held liable for the harms caused by a product that by its nature is likely to be misused. Why doesn’t the same apply to automated driving tech – on the same basis?

Crickets, of course.

These issues are going to have to be hashed out in the near future, as more and more cars are fitted with automated driving tech – whether we want it or not.

It should have been hashed out before any cars with automated tech were allowed to “Beta Test” on public roads rather than closed-to-the-public test tracks.

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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55 COMMENTS

  1. “Who gets the ticket?”

    In Michigan the driver is responsible for ensuring their vehicle is in proper working order before driving. I suspect this standard will continue to be applied even through most people don’t have access to the software/firmware controlling their car.

  2. If your automated braking system acts up – technically it doesn’t pass inspection – and you can’t drive it. “Bricked” cars – oh my.

  3. In a recent finding of a fatal Tesla wreck in California, the conclusion was that the driver was playing video games on his phone when the Tesla misinterpreted road conditions and went astray. Tesla’s defense was (and always is) that the agreement/fine print states clearly that the driver needs to be paying attention, etc. and that this isn’t a “self driving car.” Drivers have to click “agree” or something.

    Kind of like Playboy magazine back in the day. Parents let you buy it but put a big red sticker on the cover stating that this magazine was for “reading articles only, no self pleasure permitted.” You can see how that would work out. Still, sometimes the articles were worth reading…Unlike a Tesla, no blindness or fatal consequences for that would happen if the “user” ignored the warning.

  4. It’s partly for this reason that I’ve never used cruise control.

    “I’m driving this baby, sweetheart, not you,” is what I’ve said my car for whom I feel real affection. “Just so we understand each other.”

  5. These “techies” inventing all this nonsense and the insane liberals who gobble it up in the name of control (safety) never think beyond the idea. When this garbage is put into practical use, it often fails or creates more of a mess. Just what we need, another 1,000 pages of gobbledygook added to the law-books and another 20 pages of useless nonsense attached to your insurance policy. Technology has its place, sometimes, but it doesn’t always improve living. Try Internet dating if you need a crash course on why pictures, searches, filters and misleading life summaries result in monumental failure to discover “the one”. I despise texting for anything other than a few words and Facebook will never be a substitute for real talk with a real person. AI is the dumbest thing created to convince people that a machine can do everything a real human person can do. Artificial intelligence will always be artificial.

  6. If this was a pharmaceutical drug or children’s toy being sold with all of these unforeseen, negative effects, it would be ordered off the market immediately by the government.
    Instead, they are putting out fires one by one, literally and figuratively, with all this new automotive technology. Not only is the government not acting to protect our safety, it’s in cahoots with the people who really don’t care if we die from this stuff as long as they can continue to use us as guinea pigs. A death here and there just means the product needs some tweaking.
    This seems counter to how government usually operates.
    So how does a distracted 20 year old mother react when her car is suddenly accelerating to 85? Interesting research question. I guess we’ll find out.

    • Hi Amy,

      I agree. And I have come to the conclusion that the only explanation is a calculated effort to eliminate the autonomous car. That is to say, the cars we currently drive (most of us) which we control. They – the government and corporations and the people who run both – want us in automated cars, preferably electric, under their control. Viewed from this premise, the whole sick thing makes sick sense.

      • 5g – Why control the car – just control the person. I put a raspberry PI on my horse with two servos on his halter – and drove him all around the field. This is what TV and internet does to us indirectly now. Soon we will all have cell phones implanted in our heads – and lenses implanted in our eyes for screens. Don’t do what they want? They will blind you for a few minutes as punishment – or maybe give you a headache. Don’t take the “chip”? You won’t be able to buy or sell …

  7. Can’t wait to see this scenario play out:
    A kid runs into the street in front of your path,
    you swerve to the left to avoid hitting said kid,
    “lane keep assist” steers the car back and kills the kid.
    What a clusterf**k that will be for the lawyers to sort out.

  8. The problem is people love electric trains.

    Why you ask?

    Back in the mid-70’s I was working with the new business computers that were coming online. I remember the Burroughs L-8500 being demo’d. It had a row of lights that blinked randomly while processing. People’s eyes would glaze over and the deal was done.

    My father, who I worked with, made the comment as we left the demo that, “People can’t have an electric train in their office so, they’ll get one of those.”

    Now we can have them in our cars…woohoo…

  9. The pilot in command (PIC) of an aircraft is the person aboard the aircraft who is ultimately responsible for its operation and safety during flight. This would be the captain in a typical two- or three-pilot aircrew, or “pilot” if there is only one certificated and qualified pilot at the controls of an aircraft. The PIC must be legally certificated (or otherwise authorized) to operate the aircraft for the specific flight and flight conditions, but need not be actually manipulating the controls at any given moment. The PIC is the person legally in charge of the aircraft and its flight safety and operation, and would normally be the primary person liable for an infraction of any flight rule.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_in_command

    Granted, this is aviation, where simple mistakes can kill you and manual overrides abound. But one big reason for the 737 Max grounding is because PICs won’t fly them. The FAA can do whatever they want when it comes to certification, but if the PIC says no, you don’t go. If “drivers” would take on even a little personal responsibility for their actions behind the wheel it would go a very long way to sorting out the automation liability problem.

    But to the inspiration for the article. These sorts of “screwball antics” will be common in the future. We all know that a suburban 2 lane road won’t have a speed limit of 85 MPH (or my favorite 155), and we all have a chuckle at the boys-will-be-boys graffiti. But unfortunately some moron won’t be paying attention, or some lawyer will decide to make a case of it (considering the oversupply of lawyers in this country), and that will inevitably lead to insurance company types (who have had their sense of humor surgically removed) to demand legislation against it. Or the government, looking for a scapegoat that gets them off the hook for allowing automatic cars, will label it “terrorism” or blame the Russians, or some other nonsense in order to put in ever more restrictions on humans.

  10. If we are going to have regulations regarding cars, dubious in its own right, it should be ILLEGAL to make or sell a car that doesn’t have a switch to turn off any or all of the automated systems. If part of such system becomes non functional, the car may be rendered undrivable, and force the owner to have it towed. It also may render it undrivable while involved in heavy traffic, which could be responsible for multiple incidents of damage/injury/death. This tech should not be allowed on the road until it is determined successful to a very high degree, which it obviously isn’t. The reason it is, is that the US tax slave is totally consumed with new tech gadgets and new abilities installed on them. Tech may save us all, if it doesn’t exterminate us first.

    • I’ll take it one further and say that autonomous vehicles that carry passengers should have a dead-man switch, like AMTRAK engines. Won’t solve every problem, but maybe by forcing someone to look up from their phone once in a while maybe they might notice the brick wall looming ahead.

    • The answer is NOT more regulations. The answer is, as always, a free market one: don’t buy these cars. Then, when *they* tell you you can’t drive your old car anymore, that’s when civil disobedience comes into play. If enough people do this, *they* would be powerless.

      *parasitic government busybodies

      • I’m so old I had already proved what an engineer said about keeping mags loaded for a long time. No, the springs don’t give out. Keep your ammo dry and your mags loaded. Guns up!!

  11. Simple: If it cannot be disabled,,, its the manufacturers liability. If it can,,, then it’s the drivers.
    Seems fair to me!

    The brake thing scares me. If following a tech-car/truck with this feature and a car pulls out from a side road,,, even if there is plenty of time and space the tech-car may brake suddenly causing a collision,,, possibly a chain of collisions. If the human drivers behind this tech-car see there is plenty of room for the car to pull out they will be off guard when the tech-car suddenly stops.

    All of this is not going to bode well for human drivers. It will be nearly impossible to drive defensively.

    • Hi Ken,

      On the one hand, we have liberals screeching that gun manufacturers are responsible for “gun violence” and should be sued or shut down – or both. But it’s ok to put tech in a car that without question provides something exactly of a piece – the capability to put others in danger.

      Yet neither the manufacturer – nor the individual – are the object of “calls” for an “end to automated car mayhem.”

      • eric, we’ve been spared the usual anti-gun rhetoric this week. The reason being, the FBI released their 2018 stats and gun violence is down with rifles coming in at 2.1% of homicide shootings and 65% of gun deaths are suicide.

        I’d bet neither Dems or Reps want to discuss the reason for the large influx of suicides in the last 10 years. I forget who said “It’s the economy stupid” but that would seem to be a very good cause not to mention our rights flying off the map willy-nilly.

        And now Zuckerberg is asking directions to stifle free speech. https://lewrockwell.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6ad24f4cd1574f1f7b8a0a03a&id=ec9f08d260&e=62e95e6f13

        It’s looking like removing the 2nd amendment’s real goal is removing the 1st.

        • BTW, I hear gun rights activists saying they need to “Google” something and it’s common to hear from just about everywhere.

          You notice I always say “do a search”. Do I have to add “with DuckDuckGo”? There are all these new browsers out there but every one of them is simply a Gooogul clone with the exception of Mozilla Firefox. I don’t understand why people don’t catch on to this.

          • Hi Eight
            “every one of them is simply a Gooogul clone with the exception of Mozilla Firefox”

            Same reason they buy the MS Windows crap which has more holes than Swiss cheese.

            • Hey ken, since wendurs 7 has run out of support, I’m going to install a linux program and be done with it.

              The problem now is the phone and on a internet security site I found out OSX is a worse spy master than the alternative. I’ve meant to look for a work-around to defeat Google on my phone.

              A couple years ago a company produced a phone with neither but their computing power was pitiful.

            • ken, I forgot to say we have a new “getting hacked” winner now, OSX. Surprised me in a way. But I can almost tell my looking and make it nearly 100% correct by being around them if the person has an Android or iPhone. Nearly everyone of them think they have something special with an iPhone, not knowing an Android is much faster. Most Androids are set up more intuitively operationally speaking.

              • iOS user here, pretty much all Apple these days. If I could pay Google for their product free from data harvesting I’d buy it. I actually paid for Ubuntu back before joining the fruit cult, but without a workable mobile solution I’m stuck with the least bad.

                SailfishOS seems like it could be the answer, but can’t get it in the US because of patents or something. I used a Nokia N900 Maemo phone for a while but when NOK s*** the bed I gave up and went with Android. Still lots of things I like about Android but can’t get past the lack of privacy in any way and completely disjointed app environment.

                • RK, that’s the thing. The other side of the coin is collecting as much info, probably not a smidge less than the G word plus they’re getting hacked and having more problems.

                  Once i bought one of the damned things, I gave up hope of any privacy and you should too if you think having an i anything will help in that respect.

                  The new Firefox has built in tracker blockers which you can adjust to block ALL trackers.

                  It’s impossible on a phone of any sort with a charged batteyr installed since sans battery, they’re still selling info based on where you go and what they can closely guess you to be doing.

                  I read of a young woman and the ads that changed on her phone in a month of becoming pregnant. People, esp. women, have other things like their sense of smell and their views changed as their hormones changed.

                  Due to things like changing types of bodywash and shampoo(less smell, more natural)the algorithms can determined a woman is pregnant before she can.

                  Surely you don’t think Amazon and all the other entities selling goods would advertise on an iPhone if they weren’t constantly collecting date and collating it for every reason under the sun do you? They want to be the “first to know” even if it precludes not even the people using them know.

                  • “The new Firefox has built in tracker blockers which you can adjust to block ALL trackers.”

                    Give Brave browser a try. I was a long time FF user until their updates started f’ing up all my settings every time.

                    Been very happy with Brave/DDG.

                    • Brave lets many more trackers of different types in due to being built on the Google chassis as it were.

                      You should check out the new features on Firefox which has had DDG as the search engine for many years.

          • One safety feature I would like is a tailgating sensor, that beeps when you’re going faster than ~30mph and tailgating for more than ~30seconds.

    • That’s as sensible a legal test as can be! If the tech can’t be turned off, it’s on the carmaker; if it can be, it’s on the driver.

  12. @BrentP- The person who first thought up the idea of ‘government’ should have been quietly strangled by the other members of his tribe before his awful secret got out. The world would be an infinitely better place.

  13. Remember the Road Runner cartoons? Paint over the road lines and repaint ones straight into a cliff face? Or off a cliff?

    Maybe just paint them to merge the opposing lanes and sit back waiting for the head on?

    MUhahahaha! This gonna be fun.

    OK, I won’t. But someone will……

  14. Will it serve to increase government power in the long run?
    1) Yes -> Go right ahead.
    2) No -> You may not proceed.

    Does it increase the freedom of individuals?
    1) Yes -> We need more regulation.
    2) No -> Go right ahead.

    Safety isn’t even part of the process.

      • Yes, you’ve made it very clear how you want government to legislate away bicyclists’ freedom and you’ll probably get it eventually since a bicycle allows more untracked freedom than modern government wishes to tolerate.

        • OK, a few things about that.

          First, it has been a long, long time since I wanted a ban on bicycles. I recanted that particular desire, and said so openly, multiple times; Jeremy (or was it Nunzio?) at least recognized that fact. This does NOT, however, mean that I am suddenly overflowing with joy at the idea of sticking to the exact center of my lane all the time, nor does it mean I see any expectation of such as being reasonable. Having a right to be a millstone around everyone else’s neck does not mean you are no longer a millstone around everyone else’s neck. So go ahead, enjoy your rights. Be the onerous mobile obstacle which everyone else must devote extra effort to spotting and avoiding. But don’t try to tell me I’m selfish or fascist for mourning the loss of everything that ever made car culture worthwhile. I’m not the one who thinks everyone else’s driving style should revolve entirely around me whether I’m there or not.

          Though since pretty much your entire argument revolves around “I pay for the roads with general taxes, so I can use a bicycle on them if I want”, what if a jurisdiction switched its funding model and started paying for road maintenance entirely out of fuel taxes? Would that be OK or would you still consider that “legislating away bicyclists’ freedom”?

          And second of all, bicycles may “allow more untracked freedom than modern government wishes to tolerate”, but cars are the bigger threat to “modern government” right now which is why they’re being targeted more heavily. What I was getting at is, the reason government is so tolerant of (or even outright biased toward) bicycles right now is that they really doesn’t increase the freedom of individuals all that much, but do have the potential to help increase government power in the long run. Once cars are out of the way, maybe they’ll try to regulate bicycles or maybe they won’t, but at that point it won’t matter since they won’t be giving up their cars (or their bicycles either); they’ll have the advantage either way. By trying so hard to keep adult cycling alive even at the expense of car/car enthusiast culture, you’re playing right into their hands, whether you want to or not and regardless of why you’re doing it.

          • So Chuck, just exactly HOW has your message changed? I suspect your sense of time is much different from Brent, Jeremy Nunzio and myself along with countless others here.

            As far as you REALLY having changed your mind, I’d say the clock is still ticking, the calendar changing, etc.

            • Hi Eight,

              I’ll get some hate for this, probably… but, I find drivers (Clovers) more an impediment to swift travel than bicyclists. And the car Clovers are much harder to get around than a cyclist, who has the excuse of not being able to do 45 in a 45 while the car Clover has no excuse for doing 33 in the 45!

              • eric, I suppose it makes a difference in where you ride. If you ride where I live, it won’t be people in cars and trucks that will be put out. We have these things called paved shoulders, amazing how much traffic can pass safely with those and even on the farm roads with no full shoulder, it’s not a big deal for cyclists or the rest of the crew which involved everything from big rigs to huge farm tractors(by far the worst)slowing traffic.

                And the farm tractor thing has gotten exponentially worse since manners are no longer the order of the day as they used to be. I used to pull off the road, not these days and it makes no difference how wide the implement may be.

                I was working on the high plains 5 years ago in an area where Mennonites were just about the whole of the population. The farmers there would turn 90 degrees toward the fence into the barditch leaving the entire road clear.

                Out on the highways here though, it’s definitely the spaced out crowd, not necessarily the typical safety clover in the way but the elderly and those who are descended from those not from this country or at least Texas.

                Plus the fact that cyclists will cease to exist driving as badly as clovers. Out here, the traffic is fast.

              • Eric,

                I will still have to disagree with you on this one. Slow drivers are an impediment to fast driving, but it’s a different type of impediment (which is something I have explained very poorly in the past as I believe it would be self-explanatory). You catch up to the slow driver, you slow down, eventually there’s a passing area or they go a different way and you take off again. They’re still annoying to some degree, in fact they’re beyond infuriating when you’re late for work, but at least they only matter when there’s actually one there in front of you, and in the wee hours of the morning you can be pretty confident of not encountering one at all. The same can’t be said of cyclists and pedestrians; they will appear out of nowhere on any road at any time of the day or night, frequently with no lights, reflectors, or even non-black clothing (yeah, I know, “I use the best lights ever blah blah blah”).

                On balance, I think I’ll take the occasional full impediment of a slowpoke over the permanent partial (but very significant) impediment of having to constantly check myself around every corner to make sure I’m sacrificing enough space to the bicycle deity.

                • Hi Chuck,

                  Irritations vary, of course!

                  My sense of things is that drivers, on average, have become much worse. Or rather, much more torpid. They accelerate glacially. It takes them forever to change lanes. They routinely just sit there – driving at or below the invariably under-posted speed limit, typically slowing at random and then speeding up again – equally randomly. At least most cyclists seem to be involved in what they’re doing and most – my experience – will try to get out of your way.

                  I agree with Brent’s observation that the biggest problem isn’t bicyclists, per se but rather Clover drivers too inept or fearful to pass them without needing to cross almost entirely into the opposite lane of traffic.

            • How has my message changed?

              Before: “Bicycles are an obnoxious hazard on the road and should be banned.”

              After: “Bicycles may have a right to use the road because of how it is funded, but they are still an obnoxious hazard.”

              See, that’s rub. It may not be a legislative thing, but it’s still a very important cultural thing. Willful, disruptive slowness has been normalized – unnaturally, as far as I’m concerned – and it has cost car culture dearly. The way I see it, if you want to call yourself a car enthusiast, the very least you can do is not partake of that normalization when you can help it. But the typical bicycle defender (libertarian or otherwise) doesn’t see this. As far as they’re concerned, as long as they “have a right”, that’s the end of it; they’re the most important person on the road and if you aren’t happy about that then you’re “selfish”.

              If car culture is to get its old spark back, the fundamental rowdiness that once characterized both the “street” and “track” sides of the subculture, then we have to get rid of this idea that deliberately choosing a transportation mode which is physically incapable of even keeping up with slow-normal traffic, and thus requires pre-deference far in excess of that given to other drivers even when properly lit up (a rare occurrence in and of itself), is not selfish or disruptive in any way. On the road, we should be trying to raise the lowest common denominator, not become a part of it and keep it around!

              • I keep thinking the only true salvation is flying. You can go around nearly anything. However, some areas are riddled with invisible barriers that you do have to work around, or get permission to fly through. I keep dreaming of going 3d when stuck in traffic. It makes perfect sense to me because I have lived that, being a retired pilot. However, the biggest impediment is that it mostly doesn’t make sense to fly unless you are going at least 100 miles.

                I had a helicopter for a couple of years. It gives immense freedom to choose where you take off and lend. The downside is that you can get in trouble for landing on private and much public property. I finally came to the conclusion that the automobile gives you the most freedom, overall, despite all the gripes and irritations. You can go nearly anywhere. At your destination, you park and walk away. You can’t walk away from your aircraft, except in very special places. Thus, overall, the car still wins.

            • I wish we could legally harvest deer from the ditch. Some would obviously not be worth anything but many only get hit in the head(hogs too). I don’t even miss beef when I have plenty of venison although I do miss wild hogs….the best “white meat”.

              • “I wish we could legally harvest deer from the ditch.”

                Screw legal. Do it anyway.

                Many years ago me and a friend stopped to see what was wrong on the Coquihalla highway once. Some tourist had whacked a deer with the RV but had not killed it. They were panicked and horrified so we told them to leave and we would take care of it.

                My buddy always carried a PPS (totally illegally here, but WGAF?) so after they left he popped the deer in the head and we tossed it over the bank and quick gutted it out of sight, then put it in the back of the van. His place was only about 20 minutes away so it was hanging in the garage about half an hour later.

                Never leave free food to rot.

                • The state needs to leave that for coyotes to give them strength to eat your livestock. After all, in Texas, the aholes that do that are “state poleez”. If you need clarification, the young un’s will gladly read you the riot act on all their power.

                  There absolutely is no moral LEO. It’s all about the money and they use that to the nth.

          • Chucky,
            You decided to make your little trolling reply for something that had nothing to do with bicycles. I decided to play along for laughs. And now you’ve done what you repeatedly do. That is to use any opening to once again DELIBERATELY misstate what I wrote in clear american english and push your stupid asinine arguments about bicyclists being a hazard to driving and anti-car culture. I am not having a rehash of that with you.

            Automobiles were targeted from the earliest days. Government saw them as a way to use a new invention to gain powers it never had before. It’s been doing it for about 120 years now. For someone who prattles on about car culture your knowledge of automotive history appears rather poor. Bicyclists were also targeted by government but it was more difficult for 19th century government to do anything meaningful there.

            • What did I misstate? No, really, name something I misstated.

              As for your original comment having “nothing to do with bicycles”, that just proves that you completely missed the point of my reply. You said it yourself – the government promotes things which increase their own power at the expense of the individual, and attacks things which do the opposite. So, keeping that in mind, have you ever stopped to wonder why cycling seems to fly under the radar so much, when it’s not being actively promoted? Perhaps the government did go after bicycles at one point long ago. I won’t try to dispute that – because it’s not important one way or the other. Right now, they’re going after cars, and they have chosen bicycles as one of their weapons in that fight. By defending and partaking of adult road cycling, you’re giving them exactly what they want. If bicycles were really as much of a threat to the powers that be as you seem to think they are, they’d still be trying to get people off them.

              As far as “not knowing automotive history” – well, that’s what you think. I am well aware, for instance, that there have always been those who feared the damage a fast-moving automobile could do to other modes of transportation – or, from my perspective, who wanted to hold back the automobile so that everything else could rule the road forever. The first speed limits and speed traps (enforced in ways that would make even the modern “warrior cop” cringe) were the work of these people, as well as several other ludicrous ideas which fortunately gained little traction.

              I am also aware that the automobile was a winner in the free market basically from the moment the first ones went on sale, with photographic evidence of active and highly enthusiastic car clubs popping up in even relatively small towns as early as 1908 – and guess what, street racing was a part of it from the very beginning.

    • Zane, the cops still make up their own laws and judges make them legal. Take the example of riding a horse drunk. It used to be a no-brainer that wasn’t drunk driving when people got DWI’s. Now it’s become law in some states.

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