Jack Uldrich
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Country Road Dangers

Posted in Culture, Design, Government, Paradox, Politics

18428426_f42e72057b The other day I discussed this interesting paradox involving bike helmets and suggested that innovative designers might be able to craft a solution. I'd now like to pose another opportunity to creative designers–design safer country roads.

People mistakenly feel safer on country roads even though they are far more dangerous than urban streets. In fact, although only 23% of the population lives and works in rural settings over 57% of all accidents occur on rural roads.

There are a number of reasons for this (i.e. people are more likely to drink-and-drive on country roads; they are more likely to speed; feel as though they don't have to pay close attention, etc.) but could country roads also be designed in way to improve safety?

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2 thoughts on “Country Road Dangers”

  1. Jimmythegeek says:

    Country roads, at least here in Southcentral Kentucky, started life as paths between fields. It’s really evident in some places with a 90ᵒ switch back (90ᵒ left, then 90ᵒ right). In other places, the engineers were just following the lay of the land on the side of a hill above a stream. Still others were following old logging/mining roads.
    To straighten the curves & flatten the hills one would have to go through peoples’ backyards, thus exacerbating the NIMBY Syndrome that has resulted in legislation like Imminent Domain, through which a local government can take one’s land from them for road construction if “it is important to the local economy” (read: politician’s pocketbook).
    Most legislation these days is enacted by folks who realize that it is easier to sit around and talk about it, so it looks like they are doing something. If the public ever woke up enough to realize that most legislation can be averted by simply enforcing the laws already on the books, we would not have career politicians!
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to thread-jack you, but people don’t want roads in their backyards, or we’d have the straightest roads in the world!

  2. Jack Uldrich says:

    I don’t really have a pre-conceived idea of how to address this problem and, in general, I’m not a fan of more government. I’m just wondering if there are some other design options–besides straighter roads–that might address this problem.
    Thanks for your comments!

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