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suv bashing...(not directly cycling related)(49 posts)

suv bashing...(not directly cycling related)husker
Sep 17, 2002 2:55 AM
Article from the Detroit Free Press (9/17). A nice psychological profile about the insecurities of SUV owners and the inherent dangers of the vehicles.
Ought to go in Noncycling forum, but since we're here...Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 3:40 AM
I share a lot of distaste for SUVs and some of the people that insist on driving them. I can't stand the irresponsible wastefulness that's inherant to larger SUVs. I'm disgusted by the Might-Makes-Right attitude that certain SUV drivers have, that they are so happy to threaten other road users at the drop of a hat, and that these vehicles cater to them so obviously.

I do believe a lot of SUV purchasers are insecure, as evidenced by the fact that SUVs are so seldom used for their touted practical benefits. Here in Utah, you seldom see them hauling anyone other than the driver, seldom see them carrying loads of groceries, towing boats, going off-road...hell, I drive my Integra more aggressively off-road than most of these fools when I'm heading to mountainbike trails. SUVs are by and large slow, tilt-happy, boring and tedious vehicles to drive. And people are willing to pay MORE on gas for this? Huh...wonder why.
But I LOVE my Expeditisaurus!RickC5
Sep 17, 2002 5:24 AM
I would have bought a Suburban, or a Excursion, but they won't fit in my garage. I love intimidating those rotten little compact cars. I know I'm insecure, just like I know that guns, tobacco, cars, bikes and whatever KILL other people. The owners are not responsible for the actions of their inanimate objects.

Excuse me while I remove my tongue from my cheek.

BTW- the supercharger I added for MORE POWER means my 5.4 liter Expedition is anything but slow and boring.
Which is part of my point. More power to chase down them dang little compacts, more power to throw around all that useless mass you're toting around with you. It's bad enough when them little Jap rice burners dare to be on the same road as you, but that them things actually get anywhere faster is more than you can bayre! Time to chasem down and open a can of whoopass! Yeehaww!! Okay, my turn to pull my tongue out of my cheek. Well I'm hoping that this doesn't apply to you personally, but I see this dynamic played out over and over on the streets. One time about a year ago I was the victim of it. So tell me, why do you bring it up? There's no other reason I can think of for why you'd want any real speed in a big heavy vehicle that handles like a whale. While you're Expedition won't be as anemic as my friend's Explorer, it won't be much peppier than my other friend's V8 Cherokee, if at all. Yes, I've driven both, as well as a Pathfinder, Suburban, and my mommy's MPV. Yours may have impressive acceleration as far as SUVs go, but on its own it wouldn't be exciting to me. And as the driving experience for me also includes sharp handling, your Expedition would still bore me to tears. May as well drive the MPV, it handles better than any SUV I've driven thus far, satisfies all the same practical criteria, but with better gas mileage. I drive an Integra with a few minor mods. Rev-happy engine, razor-sharp handling, 30 mpg, zero emissions, and more room and power than I've ever needed. I love the thing to death. So go ahead, try to chase me down and threaten me, if that's what makes you feel good about yourself.Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 6:50 AM
Um, whatever that was. nmLeisure
Sep 17, 2002 6:51 AM
Oops! Looked like I pushed your hot button.RickC5
Sep 17, 2002 8:08 AM
But hey, I was just jerking your chain. Take a deep breath and maybe have a couple of beers.

I do actually own an Expedition, but its not my main driver, and it doesn't have a supercharger. Its my wife's car and I don't know or care what she does with it. I have a Ford Ranger pickup. I'm 55 years old, and these are the vehicles we want. We've had our share of sporty cars over the years, and they no longer meet our needs/wants/desires. I just traded a Lexus ES300 (great car, but can't carry two bikes without using a rack) for the Ranger.

Your personal opinions & feelings aside, people will continue to buy what they want. Its called free enterprise. I'm happy you like what you drive. I like what I drive. Have a nice day!
Or, did I push yours?Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 11:19 PM
Since you responded first claiming you had a supercharger when in fact you didn't? Hmm...

And so many pro-SUV arguments are rallying behind freedom and free-market, but that has nothing to do with what I am talking about. Buy what you want as long as you drive the thing responsibly. My problem is with threatening behaviors by motorists that are facilitated in full-size trucks and SUVs, which for *most* people don't have any other practical value.
agh! this screwed up the whole forum! Gregg?? nmDougSloan
Sep 17, 2002 7:05 AM
sorry Leisure, not your faultgregg
Sep 17, 2002 9:42 AM
...a "bug" in the system. I've chased this one down time and again, and cannot find the source.
Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of it is to delete the whole thing.


It happened when:Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 10:15 PM
I tried to edit out the last sentence after deciding it was probably too pointed. I clicked the edit button and instead of getting the full message, it said "accepted" under the message area, which I take was to indicate no offensive language was used. So I clicked forward and then post and got the silly problem. I don't mind, it was a tossup to get rid of that last sentence anyway. I doubt I'm the first to describe the problem, but maybe this'll help anyway.
Sep 17, 2002 7:36 AM
zero emissions vehicle, on what planet are you not emitting?
yeah, yeah, the technicality of the title "low emissions".Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 7:50 AM
Fair enough, but I figure you know what I mean. CH2, CO, and NOx emissions all below measurable limits. Everything else is CO2, which will contribute to global warming, but as I'm consuming less than half the gas of most full-sizes, I at least feel I'm doing a bit less damage.
yeah, yeah, the technicality of the title "low emissions".jp2
Sep 17, 2002 8:12 AM
maybe they are driving half as far ;)
In defense of SUV's...fbg111
Sep 17, 2002 5:39 AM
Mothers buy them b/c they're the best protection for their children. Most mom's don't fluck around when it comes to their kids, and if they can transport their kids in a tank, then they'll do it.
Regarding Mothers...Fez
Sep 17, 2002 5:45 AM
There are a lot of mothers that also talk on their cellphone while aimlessly driving this tank with their precious little ones in the back. If safety was the #1 concern, people would drive a lot more attentively and defensively.

And this tank argument is a little shoddy. Sure the laws of physics can be on the side of the big SUV driver, but most of the fatalities come when they roll over. And certain SUVs have a much higher incidence of rollovers than large cars.
not to mention...Steve_0
Sep 17, 2002 5:47 AM
these 'caring' moms who blow by me on the highway in their SUVs...when I'm already doing 10 over the limit.

Yeah, childs well being is really being considered there.
You mean the mom's who don't buckle up their kids?Tig
Sep 17, 2002 6:39 AM
Those are the same type of parents who let their kids ride around without helmets too. Once you've seen a few dead children who weren't in car seats/seat belts splattered inside their mom's car, you'll never forget it.
in criticism of SUVs...Steve_0
Sep 17, 2002 5:46 AM
is a predisposition to rollover really the best protection for children?

Volvo, saab, mercedes (not to mention the many of the large american cars) provide EXCELLANT crash protection without threat of rollover.
in criticism of SUVs...NJRoad
Sep 17, 2002 11:21 AM
You're arguement looses impact when you only mention higher priced cars although these are in the same price range as the SUV.

Excellent safety can also be had in smaller cars like Subaru and Kia.
Granted, some mothers are the insecure stupid ones...fbg111
Sep 17, 2002 6:12 AM
as mentioned in that article, but I know plenty who are overly careful and take no chances with their children. Yes, rollover is a problem, but only if you don't slow down enough going around turns. As a driving enthusiast, I find it hard to understand how that concept could not be obvious to everyone, but apparently there are plenty of people out there who can't feel when a vehicle is about to lose stability and roll over on a fast turn. Maybe they're too distracted by their cell phone to notice until its too late. You can't drive an SUV like you drive a car, but a lot of peeps just don't seem to make that connection.

Regardless, the criticisms in the book that news article talks about sound as though they're coming more from a bitter, insecure person than from a dispassionate, objective researcher. He resorts to name calling way too much and fails to criticize his own argument. For example, the article writer points out that highway deaths have fallen 50% since the mid 80's while SUV sales have increased 600% in the same time. If SUV's were such a dangerous menace, don't you think the number of highway deaths would have increased at least somewhat (or at very least remained stable) in the face of such a huge increase in SUV ownership? Or else, some other change occured in the same time that not only cancelled out the extra deaths caused by SUV's but decreased the overall death rate as well. What could that have been?
Driving enthusiast?Fez
Sep 17, 2002 6:23 AM
I think most SUV moms are NOT driving enthusiasts and probably are NOT in the BMW or Porsche car club and have NOT taken advanced driving courses, nor do they do autocrosses on the weekends to hone their skills.

Furthermore, the SUV rollovers are not because of folks who can't turn properly. Lots of the rollovers have occured when a tire blows out and the SUV's higher center of gravity (and the tall sidewall of the tire which has just blown) forces a rollover. Does the Ford Exploder/Firestone tire debacle come to mind? Or when one has been T-boned a rollover is much more likely (and deadly) because the roof structure isn't as well designed as in some other cars.

As far as highway deaths allegedly falling, if true, don't you think advances in technology have anything do with it? Crumple zone design, ABS, airbags, traction control, advanced tire technology all must have contributed to fewer fatalities.
Rollovers and deathskenyee
Sep 17, 2002 6:33 AM
The Ford debacle brings up two points which no one seems to mention when bringing up deaths when a car rolls over:
1) the Ford Exploder's roof collapsed and killed or made their drivers quadraplegics; this should never ever happen
2) a lot of the "deaths" happened because people weren't wearing their seatbelts and were thrown out; there have been stories of this happening w/ cars locally as well (big surprise). There was a sob Dateline story about an Exploder family that lost a brother who was sitting in the cargo area when it rolled and he was thrown out and squished; putting a passenger in this area is illegal in places like TX, but that was never mentioned, nor was it mentioned there are no seat belts back there (duh).

When you hear any news reports comment on how rollovers are dangerous w/o mentioning these two items, you know they're just trying a cheap tug at your emotions. Sadly, much of today's population won't even bother questioning the talking heads...
Airbags. nmMB1
Sep 17, 2002 6:29 AM
Protection issue is bogus--that's a symptom, not the diseasecory
Sep 17, 2002 7:34 AM
The best protection for your children is not to crash. Wrapping them in more steel--which takes far longer to stop, handles poorly and is prone to rollover--and then driving them around with a cell phone stuck to your ear, a Big Gulp in your lap and a Whopper on the console is a recipe for disaster. That's not the SOLE province of SUV drivers, but if you look around, you'll sure see a lot of them doing it.
Don't crash.fbg111
Sep 17, 2002 8:34 AM
I actually agree. Not crashing is the best bet. A nimble car combined with an alert, defensive driver is your best bet. I love the BMW 5 commercial that ends with, "... or you redefine the term, unavoidable accident".

Basically I'm just attempting to point out that *some* people actually justify buying an SUV by more important criteria than image, status symbol, social one-upsmanship, and other useless aspirations. Whether they are right or wrong about SUV's being safer than cars, I at least don't dislike such people for their rationalization (or lack of) for buying one.
So you're saying...brider
Sep 17, 2002 10:14 AM
that every time a cyclist gets hit, it's their fault?

Every hear of it actually being the other person's fault? Sure you have, every time a cylist is hit. Same thing can apply to cars/SUVs. You CAN be hit through no fault of your own, regardless of your skill. THAT is what I'm protecting my family from.
Thank you...NJRoad
Sep 17, 2002 11:30 AM
Since you were so kind to buy a enormously wasteful SUV with that rational that it will protect your family, they will live to see the day that we are again mettling in Middle Eastern politcs to protect our oil supply.
off-road with hondas/acuras and volkswagens...and big peoplegwendolynofthemountain
Sep 17, 2002 7:52 AM
right on!! from the roads and trails i have been on, my front wheel drive golf does more off-road activity than most suv's. where it can't go, i take my mountain bike. the roof rack holds 4 and the trunk our gear, my friends fit fine inside. Oh, and I have 4 cup holders for the soy lattes with the triple shot of espresso.

not to contradict myself or to bash on others, but I was in mammoth a few weeks back realized the one and only reason to own an suv... big people. there are a lot of big americans out there. stop eating so much crap and you won't need to buy the only vehicle you fit in, aside from a couch.
re: suv bashing...(not directly cycling related)Zyzbot
Sep 17, 2002 4:03 AM
So now we are "psycho-profiling"?
re: suv bashing...(not directly cycling related)PEDDLEFOOT
Sep 17, 2002 4:05 AM
I tend not to generalize groups of people but when I have some of the closest calls while riding from SUV's and pickup trucks I tend to agree with the overall view of the article.You could include the pickup truck driver in the article to and you wouldn't get an arguement from me.
Anyone see the new commercial for Subaru?NJRoad
Sep 17, 2002 4:06 AM
They compare the Outback Wagon to the Explorer? The Outback is no saint of the environment (22 City/28 Highway MPG is only a few points better than the other smaller SUVs but the attitudes of the drivers reflected in the ad is spot on.
I thought that ad was great! ;-) (nm)jtferraro
Sep 17, 2002 5:00 AM
The other day...filtersweep
Sep 17, 2002 4:24 AM
in my neighborhood, on my street, an SUV was T-boned in an intersection a block away and it rolled over... neither vehicle could have been driving very fast.

For all those nay-sayers who poo-poo the reputation of SUVs being top heavy, ever see an SUV swerve on the freeway? They keep rocking back and forth...

The only justice I see, is that here in MN, the only vehicles you ever seem to see in the ditch in a snow storm are SUVs... last I checked ALL vehicles have FOUR WHEEL BRAKES... anyway, I could rant all day...
On one of my road trips home from college...Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 4:45 AM
I was approaching Park City, Utah from Evanston Wyoming during a blizzard. Just about everybody driving a truck or SUV was going fifteen or more mph faster than all the cars and semis. I just didn't get how they weren't noticing that the ONLY vehicles (of which there were many) that had swerved off the road were trucks and SUVs! They seemed to all learn their lesson eventually, though...when I'd pass them a few minutes later with their own vehicles...ahem...swerved off the road! Well duh.

Actually, there was one car that had lost control. I saw it parked next to the truck that had struck it. Genius, I tell you.
The Big Mac is next...fretking
Sep 17, 2002 4:50 AM
The author states that the SUV is "menacing" and that the SUV "kills". Last time I checked, my neighbor's SUV's were sitting quietly in their driveway. First, big tobacco, then SUV's, next is big meat. Don't scoff, the lawsuits have been filed.

Guns don't kill, you know the rest.

BTW, my wife's 60's Schwinn cruiser weighs about 40 lbs. It gives her a much better chance against tricycles in our neighborhood...
Sep 17, 2002 5:03 AM
..if "they" can go after Joe Camel, they SHOULD go after Ronald McDonald for pushing burgers on kids.
its already been filed, i do believe. nmSteve_0
Sep 17, 2002 5:24 AM
Proud not to own a SUV...biknben
Sep 17, 2002 6:11 AM
SUV...the perfect example of our excessive society. I have no problem with those who use them for their intended purpose. If you go off-road, tow, or haul stuff then it is necessary.

My VW Golf has no problem hauling two kids, bikes, strollers , pack & play, etc. I got the deisel so my gas milage is well over 40 MPG. I'm no tree-hugger. I just have better things to spend my money on.

The comment about 4-wheel brakes can't be more accurate. The 4-wheel drive is great in handling and accelerating. When it's time to slow down, look out, 4-wheel drive doesn't do squat for stopping.
a confused mess of issuesDougSloan
Sep 17, 2002 6:15 AM
Sounds like the guy simply hates SUV's, or some of their drivers, and will say anything to insult, shame, or intimidate the public into demonizing the vehicles and their drivers.

This "psychological profile" stuff is a bunch of hooey. Maybe we should run a profile of writers, or any other car class, and see what that reveals. Besides, Generalizing some traits and applying them to an entire segment of the population, with no causal connection, is pure junk psychology. The guy should know better.

I think it is intuitive, if not proven, that generally a larger, more massive vehicle will inflict more damage on another vehicle in a collision. Maybe all cars should be banned so that motorcycle (or bicycle) riders can be spared? It's the same idea. Or, let's ban semi-trucks, or all vehicles over 4,000 pounds.

Taller (compared to width) vehicles generally roll over more easily than lower center of gravity ones. Again, that's intuitive and basic physics. That does not make them inherently dangerous. Everyone must be aware of the particular handling characteristics of the vehicle they are driving, be it a motorcycle, sports car, mini-van, or large SUV. As long as they are fundamentally predictable and consistent in handling, they can be driven safely. I don't think we want idiot proof cars, do we? If we do, I'd recommend something like the lowered MR2 sports car I drove 12 years ago -- you couldn't roll that in a 90 mph slalom (literally).

I think this issue is really based upon the perception that others are being wasteful by driving these things, with the assumption that most people who have them don't "need" them. People then demonize them in any manner they can think of, including some that are pretty irrational or at least equally condemning of other car or driver segments (want to discuss blue hairs' in Cadillacs, mothers in mini-vans, punks in pony cars, employees in company vans, tow truck drivers, slammed Asian imports, etc.?). Some people must be thinking, "I am driving a responsible vehicle, and these other people are not. Not only are they irresponsible, but their larger vehicle is a threat to me. Therefore, I must comdemn it by any means I can."

If you want to condemn gas guzzling, then do that. Up the gasoline tax and apply the concept fairly to everyone, including those who drive smaller cars but drive four times as much as others. If you want to condemn large vehicles, then do that, including pick-ups (there is almost no difference between a pick-up and SUV), vans, large luxury cars, station wagons, motor homes, etc. If you want to ban aggressive driving, then do that. In other words, have an appropriate target for the condemnation and apply the concept fairly and evenly.

It's wonderful that everyone has the freedom to express their opinions about these things. Feel free to attempt to persuade everyone that anything you dislike is evil. Rant like hell. Just concede that others are entitled to that same freedom.

Very nicely said!kenyee
Sep 17, 2002 6:27 AM
That's one of the most level-headed replies I've ever seen (nm)brider
Sep 17, 2002 6:46 AM
Trying too hard to be fair.Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 7:25 AM
Perhaps you just live somewhere where you don't have to deal with the kind of hillbilly schmucks I'm stuck with. Or you've always had a big enough vehicle where few bother to threaten you. But deal with the problem first-hand enough, open your eyes to some obvious trends, and you'll figure it out. You apparently know (from another thread) what it's like to be threatened. Imagine some guy trying to chase you down, charging you from every direction over several miles with his wife and three kids in his vehicle. Happened to me. How hard do you honestly have to think to figure out he was driving an SUV?

As usual, you've come out with a polite "everybody do your own thing and we'll all be happy" reply. While I don't disrespect your intentions, I find this too naive. There are simple realities where we cross paths and actually have to deal with each other. A certain percentage of drivers like to threaten other road users. The overwhelming majority of the ones I've seen are in large trucks and SUVs. Not motorhomes, full-size luxury cars, or station wagons. Sure, it's not the vehicle that does it; it's the personality of the driver that buys it. And what do you think these people want to drive? Granted they don't make up the majority of SUV drivers, but they make enough of a percentage that plenty of people take notice. No advanced psychological profiling there.

I'll dump the conversation now.
I'm a libertarian. What can I say?DougSloan
Sep 17, 2002 7:55 AM
Talking about freedom and critical analysis of motives and arguments isn't just appeasement or placation. It's fundamental, something often overlooked. It seems some people want freedom for everyone, except those who tick them off.

Knew there was a reason I like your posts ;-)kenyee
Sep 17, 2002 10:14 AM
And this pertains how?Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 11:38 PM
There's a difference between ticking people off and being threatening. The first is legal. The second is not, even though in practice most people get away with it. My beef here is not with people buying or using SUVs. It is with people throwing them around like weapons. Whether or not people are free to buy or drive SUVs has nothing to do with that.

OTOH, last I checked I was supposed to be free to use public roadways with other vehicles.
different opinions..dotkaye
Sep 17, 2002 1:17 PM
Doug said: "It's wonderful that everyone has the freedom to express their opinions about these things. Feel free to attempt to persuade everyone that anything you dislike is evil."

But in the case of the SUV/large pickup craze, there are facts as well as opinions. Not all opinions are created equal - some can be substantiated with facts, and some are not much more than vapour out of a tailpipe.

Also, there is the matter of the public good. Once private decisons begin to impact the commonweal, then it becomes a public matter. The pollution and subsidies for terrorism generated by driving a SUV are quite sufficient for moving this from the private to the public realm: so SUV drivers as a class become an appropriate target. In my opinion.

I particularly despise the assertions about SUV 'safety'. SUV's are not 'safer'; they are statistically more liable
to single-vehicle accidents, and the fatality rate for such accidents is higher for SUV's than for cars. The woefully inferior handling and stopping distances of SUV's make them much less adept at avoiding accidents. They are only 'safer' inasmuch as they are guaranteed to crush smaller vehicles in a multi-vehicle accident. Delightful. A fine expression of democratic values.
Well said.Leisure
Sep 17, 2002 10:26 PM
Saying "I feel safer in my SUV" quickly becomes "I feel safer threatening other road users in my SUV" - again, for *certain* motorists. This is the distinction I'm trying to get at, and you've pretty much nailed the same thing from another direction.
Bought for the wrong reasonsTurtleherder
Sep 17, 2002 6:27 AM
Big revelation! It's not a car and does not drive like a car! Most of the people who buy suv's take on this air of invincibility. They think that because it is big and has four wheel drive that they can drive through or over what ever is in their way. In fact, suv's are the exact opposite of what you want to be driving. Plain and simply you cannot drive it like a car. They have very long braking distances are slow to accelerate and will not tolerate rapid lane changes. The only thing they do well is haul stuff and drive through deep snow better than a car. I know, I own one, I just drive it like a truck, not a car.
Slow acceleration clogs roads...Steve_0
Sep 17, 2002 6:37 AM
I read a the results from study performed at numerous intersectiosn nationwinde.


1. As you stated, the SUV takes longer to get through the intersection

2. Cars FOLLOWING the SUV tend to follow at 50-100% greater distance (theorized to be lack of visibility)

These two factors result in (a fairly significant percentage of ) fewer cars getting through an intersection with each change.