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Standardized bumper cars

lower casualties by 95%
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Before you call me on advocacy let me show you my artistic license.

There.

Now I propose that roads be widened by 10 feet and all cars be required to have big, BIG air filled bumpers on all sides and the top. It will decrease efficiency but less so since the cars don't have to be made of heavy, strong material any more. It will also protect the environment by cars not being damaged/replaced nearly as much. I bet after all is considered you're losing only a few kilometers per liter for a massive safety improvement.
Voice, Oct 05 2010

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       Massive stinking piles of bones by the roadside from all the cyclists and pedestrian casualties.
pocmloc, Oct 05 2010
  

       I get the joke, but...   

       //I bet after all is considered you're losing only a few kilometers per liter for a massive safety improvement//   

       At cruise speed, most of the loss is through aerodynamic drag. This will most definitely hurt efficiency in a big way.
Freefall, Oct 05 2010
  

       What you'd have is a very long bumper car 'rink' (is that what they are called?) with a lot of dead pedestrians and cyclists smushing around amongst the cars who are loving bashing into each other.
Boomershine, Oct 06 2010
  

       Bumper cars are great fun when you are in a funfair and crashing into each other at about 5mph but once you start doing 30mph+ an inflatable bumper will be much less effective. It would probably reduce damage/injury, but you'd still end up with wrecked cars and casualties.
Bad Jim, Oct 06 2010
  

       A brief study on the subject of elastic collisions would show that an inflatable bumpered car, colliding with a pedestrian, will often result in the pedestrian being thrown away from the collision at a speed considerably greater than the speed of the car.   

       Result = casualties UP by 95%.   

       Big smelly bone.
Twizz, Oct 07 2010
  

       [Twizz] Not obvious to me why that would increase injuries. Can you explain? You seem to know something about the topic.   

       Let's suppose the collision is so elastic that the kinetic energy gets transferred to the pedestrian without causing any injury. The pedestrian then flies through the air, and is decelerated inelasticly by the pavement, suffering injuries as a result. Why does this do more injury than cutting out the middleman, i.e. having the car do the same as the pavement (albeit with opposite sign)?   

       If the collision with the car isn't perfectly elastic, then the pedestrian suffers some injury from the initial collision, but also flies a shorter distance, and suffers less injury on encountering the pavement.   

       If we assume a perfectly spherical chicken, it should all balance out, no?
mouseposture, Oct 07 2010
  

       only if the chicken is of uniform density...
Voice, Oct 08 2010
  

       mouse; almost any car will deform plastically to some degree on collision with a pedestrian. The fact that it is possible to kick a dent into the front of a car without injury illustrates this point.   

       So, the best case scenario is that on collision, the difference in speed between the car and the pedestrian is accounted for by a uniform acceleration of the pedestrian (and slight deceleration of the car) spread over the maximum possible distance by yielding of the car's body panels. The car and pedestrian then slow (as the car is presumably braking) to a halt.   

       The worst case is for the collison to store energy in the elastic medium of the bumper and that energy to accelerate the pedestrian, potentially to a speed much greater than the speed of the car. The pedestrian then has a great deal of kinetic energy to dispose of. This will happen on contact with the largely non-compliant scenery (road, trees, walls etc.)   

       While it is true that there would be less injury at the point of collision between car and pedestrian, there would be more at the time when the pedestrian comes to rest.
Twizz, Oct 08 2010
  

       The vast majority of injuries happen in car-to-car collisions.
Voice, Oct 08 2010
  

       [Twizz] Ah, I see. Would this idea work better if the bumpers were filled with, say, Play-Doh? Or, more realisticly, if the bumpers were vented?   

       Seems like the problem you raise must have been solved in the case of airbags. (Or else the passeger really does rebound violently off the airbag and the whole benefit of airbags is that the inelastic collision is with your occiput rather than your face.)
mouseposture, Oct 08 2010
  

       //If we assume a perfectly spherical chicken//   

       [marked-for-marking]
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 08 2010
  

       Mouse - yes, holes in the bumpers would allow energy to be absorbed by the inelastic displacement of gas. This is the case with airbags.
Twizz, Oct 11 2010
  

       //the best case scenario is that on collision//   

       //the whole benefit of airbags is that the inelastic collision is with your occiput rather than your face//   

       I just wanted to see these two quotes in the same anno. Grim.   

       Re:second quote:I'd rather have the occiput absorb the collision than any part of me. They just grow their legs back, I'm pretty sure...oh, wait, that's starfish. Never mind.
Boomershine, Oct 11 2010
  
      
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