May 24, 2012

Motorcycles in Traffic

A recent TML (Transport & Mobility Leuven NV, a Belgian transport specialist organization) study argues that if one-in-ten motorists converted to motorcycles, traffic flow would be substantially improved in Europe's already-more-modern transportation system. In an article titled "Why commuting by motorcycle is good for everyone" in the London Telegraph, Kevin Ash explains the conclusions of the study and does his bit to promote motorcycling, lane sharing, and filtering to a society that has already joined the 20th Century (You read that right, the US hasn't even evolved to the last century's standards, let alone the current one.) and encourages all of those activities. Ash's article refers to substantial reductions in commuting time, vehicle emissions, and efficiency due to the estimated effects of increased (to 10% of total traffic) motorcycle use. I was not able to find the original study, so this is all second hand information. (Thanks to Ian for the heads-up on the study.)

Unfortunately for US motorcyclists, the US EPA would not be able to confirm either the increased inefficiencies or the lowered pollution contribution of motorcycle use in any state other than California; and pollution numbers don't look better by much, even in CA. Part of the problem is the EPA is hobbled by rules that force the agency to look at pollution-per-gallon of fuel used, rather than emissions-per-mile driven. This idiot rule limits the efficiency of any US-sold vehicle, motorcycles included, since manufacturers are forced to work at eliminating fuel exhaust output in unrealistic conditions (on a dyno with no regard for miles traveled). The oil companies have to love this (and, undoubtedly bought the necessary politicians to keep this stupid rule in force), but the rest of us suffer 1960's efficiency vehicles to keep oil use and profits high. As always, we have the finest government money can buy.

8 comments:

  1. "pollution-per-gallon of fuel used, rather than emissions-per-mile driven."

    Really, thank you for that insight. That really is dumb, I didn't know that...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Geezer:

    you are right ! We are using stupid rules over here.

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can remember reading about this in Car&Driver back in the late 70's. They were lamenting how this method basically encouraged Detroit to not develop small efficient engines, since it was easier to control certain emissions with existing technologies. We ended up with horrible running, fuel guzzling cars for many years.
    You don't really expect politics to keep up with advances in science and technology do you?

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  4. The problem is that the one thing U.S. motorists can't stand more than being stuck in traffic is seeing someone else move faster than themselves. When I used to commute into Boston many cars would swerve to block your progress if they thought your lane was moving faster than their's. The other thing about filtering is I wonder if Europe has as many huge SUVs and trucks on the road with mirrors sticking way out on either side? I suppose they manage in California, but it seems like it could be a recipe for accidents.

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  5. Actually, I do expect my government to be technologically current. However, since we have the cheapest government money has bought my expectations are tempered by the knowledge that this is not my government. In fact, since 2000 there is barely a pretense made that the citizens even matter anymore.

    There is a delusion that Californians are somehow different than other "Americans." Clearly from people who have never been to or lived in California. Most of the Californians escaped the place in the late 80's after that recession finally moved to CA. What's left is people from all over the world. I have seen no evidence that lane-splitting or filtering is "a recipe for accidents" or crashes. One of the freedoms we still have is that you don't have to do it if you don't think it's safe.

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  6. I don't think I'll have the choice of filtering anytime soon. The trend is toward more restrictive laws directed at motorcycles, not less. When we keep reading about local squids getting arrested for going 150-170 mph on local highways it doesn't help matters.

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  7. Emission standards for motorcycles are in units of mass per distance:

    § 86.410-2006 Emission standards for 2006 and later model year motorcycles.
    (a)(1) Exhaust emissions from Class I and Class II motorcycles shall not exceed the standards listed in the following table:

    Table E2006–1—Class I and II Motorcycle Emission Standards

    Model year Emission standards
    (g/km)
    HC CO
    2006 and later 1.0 12.0

    (2) Exhaust emissions from Class III motorcycles shall not exceed the standards listed in the following table:

    Table E2006–2—Class III Motorcycle Emission Standards

    Tier Model year Emission standards
    (g/km)
    HC + NOX CO
    Tier 1 2006–2009 1.4 12.0
    Tier 2 2010 and later 0.8 12.0

    ReplyDelete
  8. Emission standards for motorcycles are in units of mass per distance:

    § 86.410-2006 Emission standards for 2006 and later model year motorcycles.
    (a)(1) Exhaust emissions from Class I and Class II motorcycles shall not exceed the standards listed in the following table:

    Table E2006–1—Class I and II Motorcycle Emission Standards

    Model year Emission standards
    (g/km)
    HC CO
    2006 and later 1.0 12.0

    (2) Exhaust emissions from Class III motorcycles shall not exceed the standards listed in the following table:

    Table E2006–2—Class III Motorcycle Emission Standards

    Tier Model year Emission standards
    (g/km)
    HC + NOX CO
    Tier 1 2006–2009 1.4 12.0
    Tier 2 2010 and later 0.8 12.0

    ReplyDelete

Disagree? Bring it on. Have more to add? Feel free to set me straight.(Spammers get serious. Spam goes straight to trash and is never read.)