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Source: (consider it) Thread: Noises for electric cars
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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A friend phoned me yesterday to say she had been listening to a programme about what noise should be available to electric cars to alert pedestrians! One of the suggestions was that it should shout, 'I am a car'!!! [Big Grin]
There have apparently already been several accidents with people being knocked down by electric cars, so the question needs to be sorted.
Any ideas? Serious and amusing. I can't think of any!!

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Baptist Trainfan
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It is a serious issue. During the WW2 blackout in Britain, electric trolleybuses became known as "silent death" because people all-too-easily got run down by them.

Obviously every vehicle needs some kind of audible warning device, whether it be a horn or a bicycle bell. Whether "fake engine noise" needs to be added is a moot point, though, as one should also welcome the general reduction in vehicle noise which electric cars offer.

Perhaps the real issue is that people have got used to registering the approach of cars by the noise of their engines; the few electric cars are much quieter and don't get noticed. But if virtually all vehicles were electric, we'd get used to detecting them visually instead. That might not be much good for those with sight problems who rely on their ears, although one needs to set it in context of generally lower noise levels.

BBC report.

[ 31. October 2017, 06:49: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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North East Quine

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Several years ago my son and I were walking along a single track country road and suddenly realised with a start that there was a car right behind us. We stepped aside and it passed us in total silence!

We thought we had seen a ghost car!

I wasn't until we were back home and describing our supernatural experience to the North East Man that I learned that electric cars are totally silent. [Hot and Hormonal]

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SusanDoris

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Baptist Trainfan
Interesting - I didn't know that about trolley buses. Where I live, the taxi drivers tell me there are a few electric cars, and I think one passed by as I was waiting at a crossing. I do not attempt to walk on unfamiliar pavements, and of course here I plan my routes with safe crossings, but it will be interesting to see how things change.

North East Quine
If it was a few years ago, was the electric car part of the current move towards electric cars?

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Boogie

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There’s a new regulation

A good thing imo.

I hope they don’t beep ‘tho. Once we are all electric it will drive us pedestrians crazy!

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
I wasn't until we were back home and describing our supernatural experience to the North East Man that I learned that electric cars are totally silent. [Hot and Hormonal]

Well, they still make tyre noise.

Last week I was in Glasgow and took the bus to the Riverside Museum. As you can see, this is an all-electric bus. However, I actually checked details of the vehicle on line afterwards as it sounded as if it had an engine, so I wondered if it was actually a "hybrid" like the Boris buses in London.

But no, it was totally electric - so perhaps it has had engine noise "added", or what I heard was the cooling system or something? I don't know.

(Interestingly it pulled away from stops remarkably speedily: electric - and hybrid - vehicles produce much higher torque on starting than internal-combustion ones).

[ 31. October 2017, 07:36: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Bishops Finger
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Electric cars could be fitted with nice melodious gongs, like trams.

Or they could play a little jingle, like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA5MwhuHWLo

[Two face]

IJ

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Golden Key
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Susan--

Hi. {waves} [Smile] I've occasionally heard about this in the news here in the US. I don't know what the current status is.

But I think it's very, very important: for people with visual impairment, kids, anyone not paying attention, animals.

Is there any particular sound you can think of that would a) stand out against the normal background noise there; and b) preferably be something that won't drive everyone crazy from hearing it?

I think the crosswalk buttons here usually have two alternating tones, for folks with visual impairment. But that's just for a brief crossing of a street, not hundreds of cars going down streets all the time.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:

If it was a few years ago, was the electric car part of the current move towards electric cars?

I like that.

There are quite a few of the large Teslas around here. No engine noise of course, but still some from the tyres. Much the same for the Priuses when they're in electric mode.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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My thanks for interesting posts.
Boogie - I wonder how it will affect the training of guide dogs.
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Susan--

Hi. {waves} [Smile] I've occasionally heard about this in the news here in the US. I don't know what the current status is.

I think it is all a bit vague actually. I phoned the RNIB a few months ago and although they have a campaigning department, not much seems to bebeing done at present.
quote:
But I think it's very, very important: for people with visual impairment, kids, anyone not paying attention, animals.
Certainly is, but in fact I think hereabouts the mobility vehicles being driven along pavements as if they have the right of way which present a greater hazard for the time being!
quote:
Is there any particular sound you can think of that would a) stand out against the normal background noise there; and b) preferably be something that won't drive everyone crazy from hearing it?
Since my friend phoned me yesterday evening, I have been trying to think of something especialy while I was out earlier, butso far nothing.
quote:
I think the crosswalk buttons here usually have two alternating tones, for folks with visual impairment. But that's just for a brief crossing of a street, not hundreds of cars going down streets all the time.
I expect they also have, as we do here, a tactile, turning button. Fortunately, my peripheral vision enables me to see the gvreen man too.

Gee D - What is a large Tesla?

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Pigwidgeon

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Maybe they could play a really annoying tune like the ice cream trucks around here do.

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
...if virtually all vehicles were electric, we'd get used to detecting them visually instead.

Never! Pedestrians would have to put down their phones and stop texting-while-walking!
[Eek!]

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Moo

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When I went to Germany in the mid-1950s, I almost got run down by bicycles any number of times. I became aware of the fact that I was in the habit of relying more on sound than sight when I crossed the street. After a month or two, I learned.

Moo

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I think they should have Ferarri engine sounds, connected to the throttle, so you get the proper sound as you accelerate, and everyone heards the cars approach.

And, over time, the allowable volume could be reduced, as everyone gets used to it.

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Stercus Tauri
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It's not really a new problem. Have you ever heard a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost? Not many people have, but they did have raucous horns.

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Gee D
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SusanDoris, a large Tesla . The links at the top will take you to the Models X and 3, which are smaller. All electric cars, very clever and imaginative designs particularly of the batteries. The range is getting better, but still not enough to get you from here to Albury or Wagga, let alone Melbourne, without a recharge taking about an hour. While that can be done over a lunch, I'm not sure just how good the food is at the recharge centres. For normal suburban driving, you plug it in to a powerpoint overnight a few times a week. Madame checked one out and thought with her driving to the factory most days of the week, she'd need to recharge twice, perhaps 3 times to be on the safe side. To give you some idea, the prices suggested on the site are roughly the range here for a 6 cylinder E Class Benz.

[ 31. October 2017, 20:10: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Polly Plummer
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While walking along the promenade by the beach, Mr. Plummer and I have often been passed by silent cyclists, so closely that they almost shave off our ears. They don't have (or don't use) bells or horns,and don't realise that we don't have rear-view mirrors!
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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by Polly Plummer:
While walking along the promenade by the beach, Mr. Plummer and I have often been passed by silent cyclists, so closely that they almost shave off our ears. They don't have (or don't use) bells or horns,and don't realise that we don't have rear-view mirrors!

How about this You're in the bike lane, please move. --Maybe cars could sing?

Realistically though, ringing can cause peds to jump into the path of the cyclist, particularly if there's less than about 30 feet to give you a warning, or if a ped doesn't respond to a ring from a decent distance. Peds should never ever dodge a bike, and let the cyclist go around them. Though the root problem is that cycling lanes and paths dedicated to bikes are required. Cars, bikes and peds need different and separated roads/paths.

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SusanDoris

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Schroedinger's Cat

I think the idea of having a strong sound which could gradually be phased out when people got used to electric cars is a very good idea.

Gee D
Thank you for the link - that was an interesting read.

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Gee D
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The Tesla S is an innovative design. AIUI, the battery is thin and flat; somehow it is the floor of the car (I assume the outer one to facilitate replacement) meaning that the heavy weight is low down and well spread. In addition the battery forms part of the structural strength of the car. Much as I like my present car, it's a bit more than halfway through what I'd planned as my time with it, and if the battery range is better by then, I'd be more than just tempted.

Overall, it's a long way from the Detroit Electric, a favourite amongst wealthy US women a century and more ago.

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Enoch
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Not for the first time on these threads, I'm going to disagree really fundamentally with what everyone else has said. It's pitting one disability group against another.

You will probably assume that it doesn't matter for the deaf because after all, they can't hear anyway. But for those with impaired or limited hearing, the real curse is indeterminate background noise, particularly loud background noise. Not only can they not hear speech against it. It is disorientating for them. Unlike blind people, they often also cannot tell what direction noise is coming from. Crowded rooms (as at parties), large enclosed spaces like railway stations, and traffic filled streets are both unpleasant and confusing.

The thought of traffic getting quieter, the reduction of the pervasive noise pollution of public spaces, is potentially an enormous blessing. Throwing away this benefit by insisting that quieter vehicles be required to emulate the pollution of the sound waves that petrol and diesel vehicles deliver is an appalling suggestion.

Besides, except at very slow speeds, much of the sound generated by modern petrol driven cars comes from wheels on the road surface. It's diesel cars, and above all lorries and buses that produce most of the engine noise.

It would be great if something could also be done to reduce wheel noise, either by changing the surfaces of roads or tyres, but I don't know whether that's actually possible.


All cars are required to have horns, which they should be able to sound if they think pedestrians aren't aware they are there. And don't get me started on cyclists who either think it's rude to use their bell when they are approaching a pedestrian from behind or, worse, haven't got a bell at all.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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Enoch

I certainly agree with what you say about the problems of deafness. One of the first things I did after sight loss was to set up a direct debit sub to the RNID as I think that loss of hearing must be much worse than sight loss. Hearing doesn't improve with age of course, but for the average age-related type, hearing aids are indispensable.

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Bishops Finger
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Another potential solution - at least in urban areas - is simply to have pedestrian + tram/trolleybus only streets.

They do it in numerous European countries...

Granted, it might still be necessary for electric vehicles to have some sort of sound.

Lower speed limits in residential areas - say 15mph max - would at least result in less severe injuries to unfortunate pedestrians!

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Enoch

I certainly agree with what you say about the problems of deafness. One of the first things I did after sight loss was to set up a direct debit sub to the RNID as I think that loss of hearing must be much worse than sight loss. Hearing doesn't improve with age of course, but for the average age-related type, hearing aids are indispensable.

I have two deaf/blind friends. They do really well with dual trained dogs and good technology. One does a Facebook teaching page about overcoming obstacles in life. I have had support from her on more than one occasion [Overused]

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I have two deaf/blind friends. They do really well with dual trained dogs and good technology. One does a Facebook teaching page about overcoming obstacles in life. I have had support from her on more than one occasion [Overused]

My word, that is amazing - unbounded admiration for them both.
Do they have any thoughts on noises for electric cars I wonder?

[ 01. November 2017, 17:28: Message edited by: SusanDoris ]

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mark_in_manchester

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I used to work in Acoustics.

Lotus (who are a kind of auto-engineering lab and engineering consultancy just as much, if not more, than they are a car maker) had a project on this about 20 years ago.

quote:
I think they should have Ferarri engine sounds, connected to the throttle, so you get the proper sound as you accelerate, and everyone hears the cars approach.

That was their (expensive) conclusion. It needs to sound like a car.

[Smile]

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Timothy the Obscure

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NPR invited listeners to offer suggestions for this a couple of years ago--the most popular, I believe (it was the one I sent in, anyway) was the sound of a playing card in bicycle spokes, like we used to do back in the old days...

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Moo

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There is a hiking/biking trail near me. There are signs which tell the bikers to yell, "On your left" as they approach hikers from behind.

Moo

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balaam

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I live on a hill, downhill traffic has more wheel noise than engine noise. Thread patterns cut in tyres to dispel water make quite a lot of noise when rolling, the idea that electric cars are silent seems odd to me.

I'd like to see the statistics from areas where pedestrians have been knocked down by electric cars to see how many have been knocked down by petrol or diesel engined vehicles. Without a comparison you can't make sense of a statistic.

Several is not a statistic anyway.

Electric cars do not need to make any more noise, but if they did I'd like then to go Moo.(Famous last post in the Circus).

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
There is a hiking/biking trail near me. There are signs which tell the bikers to yell, "On your left" as they approach hikers from behind.

What's wrong with a bell?

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simontoad
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Putting to one side the interests of people living with disabilities, I would like to propose an idea that would favor the minority group called the wealthy. I think for safety reasons, electric cars should be soundproof when the windows are closed. When in motion the cars play a loop of commercials programmed by the manufacturer. The revenue created by this innovation would surely be used to fund research into safer forms of transport and provide the country with many more jobs.

You are welcome. [Devil]

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Curiosity killed ...

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Bells on bicycles have people leaping all over the place, into the way for preference. A human voice tends to get people moving in a sensible direction.

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
There is a hiking/biking trail near me. There are signs which tell the bikers to yell, "On your left" as they approach hikers from behind.

What's wrong with a bell?
Every bike rider has a voice, but not all have a bell. Moreover, 'on your left' is far more specific than a bell.

Moo

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
There is a hiking/biking trail near me. There are signs which tell the bikers to yell, "On your left" as they approach hikers from behind.

What's wrong with a bell?
Typical answer from a non-cyclist.
I have a bell, I use my voice. People ignore a bell, as it is not loud enough.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Typical answer from a non-cyclist.
I have a bell, I use my voice. People ignore a bell, as it is not loud enough.

Plus when you ring a bell, they jump in a random direction. Half the time, into the path of the cyclist.
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Every bike rider has a voice, but not all have a bell. Moreover, 'on your left' is far more specific than a bell.

This city has a number of shared paths. I have a bicycle. I have a bell. I also have a voice. My voice is fairly standard. It is neither loud nor penetrating enough. Nor are most of the voices of people who creep up behind me when I'm walking. I use a bell.

Every new bicycle by law must be sold with a bell on it. Unfortunately, there's no legal obligation to retain it.

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Posts: 7385 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
There is a hiking/biking trail near me. There are signs which tell the bikers to yell, "On your left" as they approach hikers from behind.

What's wrong with a bell?
For every person who says "why don't you have a bell", there's another one who reacts to your ringing it like you're trying to force them out of the way.

I just ride on the road. Shared paths are a waste of space. Full of dog walkers, and unfortunately there seems to be a byelaw that when walking a dog on a retractable lead it must blend in with the background, and the dog must be on the opposite side of the path to the walker. You spend so much time slowing down to crawl to get past safely, speeding up, only to slow down for the next one - it's 15 miles to work, I can do it in well under an hour on road. Not on paths.

[ 02. November 2017, 22:38: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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churchgeek

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Something similar happened long ago already - the noise your turn signal makes! Originally, that was a solenoid, which inevitably makes that noise as the metal pops back and forth opening and closing the circuit to make the light blink. But when they no longer needed to use solenoids, people found they didn't know if their blinker was on if they weren't hearing it, so automakers created a similar sound electronically to go with the signal. That's died out, I think - I'll have to consciously check to see if my car's signal makes a noise, which makes me think it doesn't (or it makes a very soft one). And I hear in cars newer than mine, you can tap the signal and it will run for only a short period of time, long enough to change lanes or make a turn while driving (v. sitting at a light).

Anyway, perhaps as electric cars age, something in the body will start to rattle. That could be a warning noise.

Or there was the old Chrysler "legal ID" (as I called it, using broadcasting language, since I was working in a TV station at the time) - the squealing serpentine belt that let you know not only a car, but a Chrysler was approaching.

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simontoad
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# 18096

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When my wife and I were walking along a footpath in Naples we were tooted by a motorcyclist so we would get out of his way.

Another option for an electric car would be to have a person holding a pair of flags walking in front of it shouting "get out of the way".

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Human

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SusanDoris

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# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
When my wife and I were walking along a footpath in Naples we were tooted by a motorcyclist so we would get out of his way.

Another option for an electric car would be to have a person holding a pair of flags walking in front of it shouting "get out of the way".

That is, of course, absolutely the best answer!! [Big Grin]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Whimsical approaches that might help:

--Equip the front and rear bumpers of all vehicles with bubble wrap 5 feet deep. Just in case prevention doesn't work.

--Coat roads and sidewalks with a thick layer of high-density rubber, for the same reason. Safer than hitting hard pavement.

--Robotic crossing guards to let anyone crossing the street know when traffic is coming, and escort them across.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Robotic crossing guards to let anyone crossing the street know when traffic is coming, and escort them across.

A sort of mechanical lollipop man/lady in fact.

Speaking more seriously, if vehicle engine noise was reduced generally then electric cars wouldn't be quieter than others and we'd soon get attuned to the sound of their coming without other aural aids (except in emergency). The problem now is that they are comparatively rare and much quieter than anything else on the road (except bicycles).

[ 05. November 2017, 07:50: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

Posts: 9464 | From: The other side of the Severn | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Eirenist
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# 13343

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A sound of church bells, perhaps? Or (if we are to equate electric cars with cyclists, some form of detector that, when triggered, emits a stream of abusive demands to get out of the way.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Eirenist:
A sound of church bells, perhaps? Or (if we are to equate electric cars with cyclists, some form of detector that, when triggered, emits a stream of abusive demands to get out of the way.

Oh please. As a cyclist I get daily aggression from drivers of motor vehicles. As a pedestrian I can count the number of abusive cyclists I've come across on the fingers of one hand only using my thumb.

So if you want to turn this into yet another ignorance based cyclist-bashing thread (which unfortunately the web is awash with) then do it in the hot place where I can eviscerate you appropriately.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Eirenist
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# 13343

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We'll stick with the church bells, then.

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Eirenist
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# 13343

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Or they could be like some conventional cars round these parts and just play music at full volume the whole time.

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Enoch
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# 14322

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Perhaps if they've really got to make some sort of noise - which I still think would be a thoroughly retrograde step - they could make an imitation chuffing sound like a steam engine.

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Posts: 7385 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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Would that be a Stanier, Gresley or Bulleid sound? (i.e. a rhythmic 1-2, a somewhat syncopated 1-2-3, or a soft 1-2 punctuated by much faster and louder beats from time to time, complete with driver's swearing).
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Enoch
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# 14322

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Perhaps you could have a choice, as with colour schemes.

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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Crimson lake, garter blue or malachite green, then.
Posts: 9464 | From: The other side of the Severn | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged



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