back to article Google robo-car suffers brain freeze after seeing hipster cyclist

A cyclist riding a fixed-gear bike claims to have brought a Google robo-car to a standstill. The rider, one “Oxtox” took to the forums of Road Bike Review with a tale in which he spotted “a Google self-driving Lexus”. Oxtox says “near the end of my ride today... we both stopped at an intersection with 4-way stop signs.” The …

Anonymous Coward

Re: As Mythbusters demonstrated...

"Roundabouts are much more efficient than Four-Way stop sign junctions and this sort of situation would be much less likely to happen on one"

Back in the day I was visiting Kentucky on business and was told that there was now one of these roundabouts in Louisville. It was seriously suggested that we make the trip so I could show my work colleagues how to deal with them.

It was, more or less, a mini-roundabout.

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Headmaster

Re: nearside and Gary Larson?

Ahem, I believe it is nearside and offside!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: nearside and Gary Larson?

"I believe it is nearside and offside!",

Doh! Yes, that's what I meant...

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"They often refer to nearside and farside though to designate a side of the car"

ITYM nearside and OFFside, And we use the left in the UK for the same reason we mount our horses from the left, it keeps one's sword / lance arm free when mounting and available to engage oncoming traffic when riding!

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There are four way junctions in the UK, and will have either four give ways, four stops or no road markings at all. The rules of precedence of arrival apply first then give way to the right. Where two vehicles are facing each other across the junction and one is indicating to turn across the others path then I'm not sure who has right of way (if anyone). similarly there would be a deadlock to resolve if all 4 approaches were to be occupied simultaneously (unlikely, these sort of junctions are never in busy locations).

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Vic

They often refer to nearside and farside though

Nearside and offside

Also they always give priority to the right

Do we buggery. That's the French. Sometimes.

Vic.

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Vic

There are four way junctions in the UK

Not many without traffic lights...

Where two vehicles are facing each other across the junction and one is indicating to turn across the others path then I'm not sure who has right of way

When turning across traffic, the oncoming traffic has priority. It *used* to be the case that you had to turn behind any oncoming traffic that is also turning across, unless the road markings say otherwise - but last time I looked, that has been reduced to a recommendation only.

Vic.

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Re: As Mythbusters demonstrated...

Roundabouts are becoming more common in many US cities. Where I live in the midwest there are over a dozen now. They like to place them in areas where they don't foresee the traffic ever reaching a volume where lights become necessary, but don't want to back up traffic the way a four way stop can.

They sometimes act like a stop or yield sign for those unfamiliar with them, but most of the time traffic flows through them pretty well. The more they build the more comfortable with them people around here have become. The delays I see tend to be people with plates indicating they are from more rural counties that likely don't have (or need) them, or out state of plates which probably also indicate people who don't have them where they normally drive.

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"Where two vehicles are facing each other across the junction and one is indicating to turn across the others path then I'm not sure who has right of way (if anyone)."

When two opposing cars meet at an intersection at the same time:

- If both are going straight, there is no conflict and both can proceed within the law.

- If both cars are turning in the same relative direction, there is no conflict and both can proceed within the law.

- If one is turning and one is going straight, the turning car yields to the ongoing car.

- If both cars are tuning in opposite relative directions such that they'll meet on the same street, the one turning across traffic yields to the one who doesn't have to cross traffic to complete the turn (IOW, the one turning opposite the driving side yields to the one turning with the driving side).

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"And we use the left in the UK for the same reason we mount our horses from the left,"

Virtually the entire world used the left side (for much the same reasons as elaborated)

Europe only moved to the right side when Napolean Bonaparte decreed it and sidedness tended to go with colonial expansion. (It only became important once motor vehicles were common).

Interestingly, there are stats which show that the crash rate is generally lower in countries which drive on the left as people are more likely to steer out of head on crashes.

Heavy carts tended to have the driver sitting curbside as that way he could see more easily when manouvering for deliveries. There are a few places in the world where the handedness of the driving is changed from the norm for similar reasons (Benmore dam access tunnel in New Zealand is one example, so that tour bus drivers can accurately assess their distance from the rather unforgiving tunnel wall.)

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Anonymous Coward

That's the French.

- Priorité a droite. Because in a well organised republic, there must be a sufficiency of business for car bodyshops. And the nausée, the existential dread of existence, this must be fended off by the exciting possibility of collisions at street corners. Is this not so, Antoine?

-I do not know, chérie, because I am contemplating this madeleine and asking myself, is it true that we French are logical, rational and philosophical or is it just that we think we are, and our traffic regulations, far from being a statist dream of order and discipline, are in fact nothing but a bétise sanglante?

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Re: As Mythbusters demonstrated...

"They like to place them in areas where they don't foresee the traffic ever reaching a volume where lights become necessary,"

Lights slow traffic down more than roundabouts. The difference is that when roundabouts gridlock they do so _hard_.

Lights in combination with roundabouts are common in a number of locations. They are often only activated during peak periods.

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Anonymous Coward

"Europe only moved to the right side when Napolean Bonaparte decreed it."

Myth. Danté records in the 13th century that traffic regulations were necessary on a Florentine bridge and that the traffic lanes were on the right. This practice seems to have spread as other towns became big enough to need traffic controls.

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Re: "Europe only moved to the right side when Napolean Bonaparte decreed it."

"traffic regulations were necessary on a Florentine bridge and that the traffic lanes were on the right."

I'm aware of that. Given the normal position of a coach or carriage driver of the period, it's logical to go to the right on a narrow passageway such as a bridge. You need to be able to see how close your wheels are to the edge as this is more critical than possibly bumping the other coach.

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Re: "Europe only moved to the right side when Napolean Bonaparte decreed it."

"Heavy carts tended to have the driver sitting curbside as that way he could see more easily when manouvering for deliveries. There are a few places in the world where the handedness of the driving is changed from the norm for similar reasons."

"I'm aware of that. Given the normal position of a coach or carriage driver of the period, it's logical to go to the right on a narrow passageway such as a bridge. You need to be able to see how close your wheels are to the edge as this is more critical than possibly bumping the other coach."

If the edge of the road is more important than oncoming traffic, then the driver's seat is to the edge side. Two other examples of this: open pit mine trucks (no guardrails, so edge observation is a matter of life and death) and mail trucks (so that mail/post boxes in places that use them are within arm's reach of the truck driver).

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Anonymous Coward

> Where two vehicles are facing each other across the junction and one is indicating to turn across the others path then I'm not sure who has right of way (if anyone).

In Sweden, the turning vehicle should yield to the one going straight.

If both are turning across the road (left here) the passage could be done 2 ways, either go straight and pass each other as if both going straight, and then turn (NEVER seen this practiced, but it's mentioned in the theory books), or both vehicles 'cut' the turn and let the other vehicle pass 'on the wrong side'. I'd expect 'interesting' things would occur if one driver each picked a different method...

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"both vehicles 'cut' the turn and let the other vehicle pass 'on the wrong side'. I'd expect 'interesting' things would occur if one driver each picked a different method..."

I think most traffic codes prescribe the latter method, as this has the practical consideration that neither car has to cross the other's path, meaning each can proceed at his/her own pace.

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Joke

Dear Sir,

the US does not make you drive on the right... In fact, for some people the US advices that they drive on the left...

Regards,

Guus

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Vic

I think most traffic codes prescribe the latter method, as this has the practical consideration that neither car has to cross the other's path

More importantly, both cars can see the oncoming traffic.

Vic.

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'...useful during track cycling spring races...'

Yes, but what techniques do they use during the other three seasons?

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Re: '...useful during track cycling spring races...'

Don't concern yourself, it's all in the passed.

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Anonymous Coward

Crushed nut algorithm

I remember the first time that I rode a fixie on a banked track. After a sprint I stopped pedalling but did not realise that I had to relax my leg muscles. Having my feet attached to the pedals meant that I was repeatedly thrown up and down in a rapid manner. My nuts were being hammered into the hard saddle. You only do that once.

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Re: Crushed nut algorithm

so they really are fixed? wasnt clear in the article. What on earth is the point of a fixie?

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Re: Crushed nut algorithm

According to Richard's Bicycle Book ( late nineties edition), the only purpose of fixed-wheel bikes was for training - forcing the rider to spin quickly when going down hill and pedal powerfully when going up can help tone their legs.

If I lived in a mostly flat area, I might not bother with gears (one less mechanism to maintain, and a single-speed bike can have thicker, more durable chains and sprockets), but free-wheel hubs are so reliable that there is no practical reason not to fit one.

Each to their own. My personal preference for a flat city would be a BMX (if chained to a fence those small tough wheels present a challenge to any pisshead who wishes to kick them in), but I would respect the choice of anyone riding a cyclocross bike, hybrid, folding Brompton, mountain bike, whatever if it works for them.

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Re: What on earth is the point of a fixie?

You can do pretty awesome stunts on them, as well as ride them backwards :D

so... on roads? None at all, and in combination with clip-in shoes they're bloody dangerous.

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Re: Crushed nut algorithm

"What on earth is the point of a fixie?"

Weight reduction. The things really are only used in track-cycling by sane people (for a given level of sanity, if you're pursueing that particular sport) .

They're not particularly useful on normal roads, and actually relatively dangerous to use there, given that the fixed gears mean you can't properly bank your bike in turns at speed without running the risk of hitting the ground with your pedals, which is especially unfunny if your feet are also strapped to said pedals. There's a solid reason speedcycling tracks have those heavily banked corners....

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Re: Crushed nut algorithm @Dave 126

"If I lived in a mostly flat area, I might not bother with gears "

The Netherlands are notoriously flat, this means you're also very much exposed to the fickle follies of wind... We cloggies love gears on our bikes, this may be a hint...

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Re: Crushed nut algorithm

well , thanks for the replies folks. I see now that on the road a fixie is a bloody stupid and dangerous idea . no wonder the google car was surprised. All to save the weight of a little ratchet mechanism on the back hub! (20grams?)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crushed nut algorithm

"f I lived in a mostly flat area, I might not bother with gears (one less mechanism to maintain, and a single-speed bike can have thicker, more durable chains and sprockets)"

You can have as strong chains and sprockets as you like with modern hub gears. My son in law is a convert, and he lives in one of the hilliest parts of the country and carries a child on a child seat, so the "extra" gears of derailleurs don't seem that essential.

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Coat

Re: Crushed nut algorithm @Joey M0usepad

All to save the weight of a little ratchet mechanism on the back hub! (20grams?)

Additional weight is saved: you don't need brakes. This (again) isn't too much in itself. But then you don't need braking surfaces on your rims (or disc brakes, which are heavy). And rim mass obviously has significant impact on acceleration.

And finally, you've seriously negated the chance of something breaking or need for maintenance. No gears/sprockets/freewheel, no brakes - just about all that can go wrong is the headset, tubes or chain. This is a good bike for riding around town. It is of course perfect for riding round a track.

Still agree they're bloody lethal (and I quite want one; wouldn't ride on roads in the UK though). My grandmother told me about all the hard men in her cycling club riding fixies (freewheels were for wimps) for pretty much all the reasons I've outlined above. 1930s were a while ago though in terms of bike technology...

Mine's the fluorescent one (with long sleeves, long back short front and weird back pockets: design is everywhere, once you start looking)

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"during track cycling spring races" - what technique do they use in summer,autumn and winter races?

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Joined up thinking

People who ride fixies on public roads are morons.

And so are probably Apple customers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Joined up thinking

Yawn..

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Re: Joined up thinking

Way to obvious, but have an upvote to annoy others :D

This whole thread is brilliant for a Friday morning. Grinning my ass off

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Re: Joined up thinking

Apple owners include some drivers of 10 year-old VW Passat estates, some pedestrians who wear Tricker's brogues, some skateboarders riding Independent decks, some users of the Swindon to Paddington rail line etc etc

Riders of fixie bikes though don't really want an iPhone. They want a WASP T12 SpeechTool: http://trashbat.co.ck/

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Re: Joined up thinking

And this Appleist drives a 1999 Citroën Berlingo.

I have also been seen on a very, very cheap Chinese scooter(may it rust in pieces... what little isn't rotted-out plastic) and have an old 21gear bicycle that has been converted to full PEDELEC electric bike standard...

I've even been known to take the bust to work sometimes...

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Gimp

Re: I've even been known to take the bust to work sometimes...

Ooooh!

Where can I get I bust I can travel to work in?

Do I sit in the cleavage?

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Re: Joined up thinking

It works on a Monday morning / lunch time as well!

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Track Stand? Bah.

As a regular cycle commuter for the last 40 years or so, there are few things that provoke a greater level of irrational annoyance in me than people who do a wobbly track stand at traffic lights. I struggle to resist the urge to push them over. Put your Bl**dy foot on the floor! And if it is too hard to get your foot off the pedal, then those shoes and pedals belong on a race track, not on a public road.

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Re: Track Stand? Bah.

Completely agree.

automatic pedals can be ok for city, just unclip:it is safer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Track Stand? Bah.

Track Stand? Bah.

As a regular cycle commuter for the last 40 years or so, there are few things that provoke a greater level of irrational annoyance in me than people who do a wobbly track stand at traffic lights. I struggle to resist the urge to push them over. Put your Bl**dy foot on the floor! And if it is too hard to get your foot off the pedal, then those shoes and pedals belong on a race track, not on a public road.

I would normally agree (and I upvoted you), but upsetting a Google car with that?

All is forgiven.

:)

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Re: Track Stand? Bah.

That's nothing. The track stand was also what killed slow bicycle racing. I think one rider was able to pull off a track stand for several hours, hinting that if this kept up, there would soon be a point where a race would never finish in a reasonable length of time.

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MJI
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Re: Track Stand? Bah.

Can't they afford a proper bicycle?

Bottom end Shimano setups are not that expensive. Though I note that Sturmey Archer hubs cost a lot more than they used to.

Last time I road a fixed gear bike I was small and it had stabilisers

My bicycle has 15 gears!

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Re: Track Stand? Bah.

Yes, you're commuting on a road you have to share. Be prepared to stop, and have a suitable vehicle. Unless you live in a dead flat area get something with fucking gears too, I don't want to be stuck behind you huffing and puffing up a 2% incline for the sake of your fashion.

In this instance the Google car has done precisely what it should have done, seen someone acting weird and going "Erm, wtf are you doing?" and not just ploughing on.

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Re: Track Stand? Bah.

Haven't seen this kind of fix-gear bike hear yet (this being the Netherlands, and me being a cycle commuter, I get to see LOTS of bikes). The only single speed bikes I have used a lot myself had back-pedal breaks and certainly a freewheel. These types are still popular here, what with the Netherlands being so flat, there is not much use for the lower two thirds of the 24 speeds of my current bike Koga-Miyata (fun in Dartmoor, though)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Track Stand? Bah.

I agree. I was stationary at a set of traffic lights (Red Light) cyclist comes up my inside "track stands" looses his balance lands on my car and smashes my passenger window as he falls, gets up, cycles off on the pathway while giving me the finger... thus, I had to buy a new window thanks for that idiot!

Cyclists shouldn't be allowed to get away with damaging peoples cars but they do as their "special" and road laws don't apply to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Track Stand? Bah.

In this instance the Google car has done precisely what it should have done, seen someone acting weird and going "Erm, wtf are you doing?" and not just ploughing on.

Nah. Down with them, I say. Develop some targeting software, paint them blood red so the smudges aren't too obvious and away we go.

Bonus points if they wear Spandex.

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Re: Track Stand? Bah.

I track stand if I know that the lights are going to change, there is no point putting your foot down if it's only going to be for a couple of seconds.

It's less of a problem now as it's now legal to ride through some red lights in Paris.

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