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Author Topic: Speed Limit Hypothesis  (Read 1761 times)

sprjus4

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2019, 10:32:57 PM »

NY didn't even bother to raise even so much as a single mile of interstate above 55 until after NMSL was already repealed and Mario Cuomo was replaced by a Republican.

On the other hand, they post 55 for roads that would be 35 to 40 in most other states.
Even Texas?  :wow:
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vdeane

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2019, 11:12:51 PM »

I imagine those roads he's talking about are the curvy ones that are signed 55 because that's the default and nobody's going to do a speed study and post a ton of signs for a lower limit if the advisory signs are working fine and nobody's asking for a decrease.
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sprjus4

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2019, 12:54:26 AM »

I imagine those roads he's talking about are the curvy ones that are signed 55 because that's the default and nobody's going to do a speed study and post a ton of signs for a lower limit if the advisory signs are working fine and nobody's asking for a decrease.
I recall this one road in Texas (I’m not going to take the time to check which one ATM) west of San Antonio that’s extremely curvy, narrow, and my maximum speed only got up to 38 mph on the entire stretch. The entire road was posted at 55 mph even though there’s no way you could do that.

Once it straightened out, 55 mph felt appropriate, but then it just jumped to 70 mph.
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NoGoodNamesAvailable

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2019, 01:37:12 AM »

NY didn't even bother to raise even so much as a single mile of interstate above 55 until after NMSL was already repealed and Mario Cuomo was replaced by a Republican.

On the other hand, they post 55 for roads that would be 35 to 40 in most other states.

The 55 limits in rural areas are nice, but NYSDOT will rarely just tell you straight out. For years the standard practice in some regions was to just post "END XX MPH LIMIT" signs at the end of the speed zone and force drivers to figure it out. Out of state drivers especially tend to skim the sign and assume the big number is the speed limit.
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ce929wax

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2019, 01:57:25 AM »

I think the car factors into this as well.  I had driven from DFW to Salt Lake in a 2005 Kia Rio in August of 2007.  I wanted to see what the little car could do on I-70 in Utah, so I pushed the pedal to the max and got up to 110 before I lost my nerve.  The car was shimmying and shaking so bad, I thought the wheels were going to fall off.  That car shimmied anytime I went over 55 the entire time I owned it.

Fast forward to last Saturday, I was driving 85-90 on US 127 in Northern Michigan (speed limit is 75) in a 2015 Hyundai Accent and the car felt smooth as silk.
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RobbieL2415

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2019, 11:17:54 AM »

MassDOT (and formerly MassHighway) use thicker stripes for roads on the Cape. Makes the roads appear more narrow.  Granted, you're lucky if you break 5 under on a state highway out there.  People are just oblivious to speed limits.
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webny99

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2019, 02:03:41 PM »

I agree that NY is good about posting 55 mph (or "end XX mph limit", which means default to 55 mph); not so much in developed areas, but certainly in areas that aren't too heavily populated. I figure population density and terrain are the main causes for the difference between Upstate NY and New England in this regard.
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RobbieL2415

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2019, 10:25:02 AM »

I agree that NY is good about posting 55 mph (or "end XX mph limit", which means default to 55 mph); not so much in developed areas, but certainly in areas that aren't too heavily populated. I figure population density and terrain are the main causes for the difference between Upstate NY and New England in this regard.
Well NYS speed laws are different than most New England STATES.  All public roads here have to have a posted speed limit. The only state that doesn't, I think, is VT which has a basic speed limit of 50mph when one isn't posted.
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crispy93

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2019, 02:09:51 PM »

NY didn't even bother to raise even so much as a single mile of interstate above 55 until after NMSL was already repealed and Mario Cuomo was replaced by a Republican.

On the other hand, they post 55 for roads that would be 35 to 40 in most other states.

New York is weird with speed limits because they only get reviewed when a municipality wants it lowered. NYSDOT doesn't do speed studies by their own volition. I've seen busy surface arterials at 55 MPH and as soon as it clips a dinky little village or city, it drops to 30 for no reason.
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PHLBOS

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2019, 02:55:43 PM »

In the US, the National Maximum Speed Law gave everyone who could drive or who was conscious of others' driving disrespect for speed limits. Roads with design speeds of 80+MPH (and probably many of those were safe close to 100MPH) were, by law, set down to 55MPH. Since 55MPH was the limit on the best, safest, and fastest roads, speed limits on narrower, twistier, less equipped roads had to be lowered to show the difference. The law enacted in 1975 and was only modified so as to permit 65MPH on the best roads in 1985. Finally, the law was repealed in 1995. Now, that's nearly 25 years ago, but the legacy of speed limits that were set too low and the contempt for speed limits won't die for years.
Your timelime/history with regards to when the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) is a tad off.

Such was initially enacted as an emergency (read temporary) reaction to the skyrocketing gas prices & related gas lines that took place in October 1973.  Originally, the maximum was set at 50 (hence, is where the catchy Fifty is Thrifty phrase came from).  As short time later (early 1974(?)), the maximum was bumped up to 55.  This emergency/temporary measure was supposed to expire by mid-1975 but either such was overlooked or legislation was signed making such permanent.

Note the political listings below are strictly for historical purposes/context only.

Efforts to repeal 55 gained some momentum during the 1980 Presidential campaign.  Then-GOP candidate Ronald Reagan mentioned such as a campaign promise.  Such came on the heals of the second gas price spikes/long lines that started again in early 1979.  While Reagan would ultimately be elected President that year; due to the NMSL being an Act of Congress, only another Act of Congress could repeal such (i.e. repealing such via Executive Order was not allowed).  While the Senate became under GOP control, the House of Representatives was still under control of the Democrats; as a result, legislation containing a repeal of the NMSL languished... until 1987.

In an effort to throw President Reagan a bone in signing a very expensive & controversial highway bill (that gave the green light for funding Boston's Big Dig project) into law; a provision that would allow states to raise their maximum speed limit along rural Interstates to 65 was placed in the bill.  Despite that provision, President Reagan still vetoed the bill due to its price tag and the House & Senate (both of which had Democrat majorities then) successfully over-rode the veto & the 65 mph speed limit returned, in limited fashion, after a 13+ year absence.  While many states jumped on the 65-mph bandwagon; many, mostly northeastern states that had Democrat governors in office, maintained the maximum 55 mph speed limit.  Slowly but surely, those hold-out states would ultimately raise their rural Interstate speed limit to 65.  Usually such happened when a state's governor's seat changed hands as well as political parties.

As you mentioned earlier, the final blow to the NMSL came in 1995 when the then-GOP controlled US House & Senate placed a provision to repeal the NMSL in a highway spending bill that then-President Clinton signed into law.

Despite the NMSL being gone for now-24 years, very few northeastern states have raised their limits beyond 65; although many have added 65 zones to more highways (including non-Interstates).

PA's adoption of the 65 NMSL for its rural Interstates took place just prior to the full-blown repeal of NMSL.  Such was probably one reason why it took a couple years to at least add 65 zones to some rural non-Interstates.   However & as someone indirectly mentioned earlier; aside from the I-76, 276 & 476 stretches of the PA Turnpike being posted at 70 (courtesy of Act 89 & the PTC not wanting to have several different speed zones in their system), no other freeway in the Greater Philadelphia (southeastern PA) area has increased beyond 55... even though the average speeds on many of those roads (when such aren't gridlocked during rush hours) are indeed higher.
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Brandon

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2019, 03:15:24 PM »

In an effort to throw President Reagan a bone in signing a very expensive & controversial highway bill (that gave the green light for funding Boston's Big Dig project) into law; a provision that would allow states to raise their maximum speed limit along rural Interstates to 65 was placed in the bill.  Despite that provision, President Reagan still vetoed the bill due to its price tag and the House & Senate (both of which had Democrat majorities then) successfully over-rode the veto & the 65 mph speed limit returned, in limited fashion, after a 13+ year absence.  While many states jumped on the 65-mph bandwagon; many, mostly northeastern states that had Democrat governors in office, maintained the maximum 55 mph speed limit.  Slowly but surely, those hold-out states would ultimately raise their rural Interstate speed limit to 65.  Usually such happened when a state's governor's seat changed hands as well as political parties.

And this is why, as only rural interstates, not other non-interstate freeways, that interstates such as the western I-88, I-39, I-335, and a few others were created.  These would've been simply US, state, or unnumbered highway freeways otherwise (IL-5, US-51, and Kansas Turnpike). 

However, I had noticed, even back then, that some states seemed to stick to the letter of the law while others posted 65 on non-interstate rural freeways.
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2019, 03:34:26 PM »

In an effort to throw President Reagan a bone in signing a very expensive & controversial highway bill (that gave the green light for funding Boston's Big Dig project) into law; a provision that would allow states to raise their maximum speed limit along rural Interstates to 65 was placed in the bill.  Despite that provision, President Reagan still vetoed the bill due to its price tag and the House & Senate (both of which had Democrat majorities then) successfully over-rode the veto & the 65 mph speed limit returned, in limited fashion, after a 13+ year absence.  While many states jumped on the 65-mph bandwagon; many, mostly northeastern states that had Democrat governors in office, maintained the maximum 55 mph speed limit.  Slowly but surely, those hold-out states would ultimately raise their rural Interstate speed limit to 65.  Usually such happened when a state's governor's seat changed hands as well as political parties.

And this is why, as only rural interstates, not other non-interstate freeways, that interstates such as the western I-88, I-39, I-335, and a few others were created.  These would've been simply US, state, or unnumbered highway freeways otherwise (IL-5, US-51, and Kansas Turnpike).
Don't forget the stretch of the Maine Turnpike between Falmouth & Gardiner.  Such was originally unnumbered but was later designated (initially) as I-495 so that such could get a 65 mph limit.  Such later became part of I-95 when Maine converted to mile-marker-based interchange numbers circa 2004.
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2019, 04:24:48 PM »

How fast was the average speed for cars when the NMSL went into affect? I know cars weren’t as aerodynamic as they are today. I think the median speed limit most people go today is between 75-80. What was the median speed back then 60-70? As the cars & roads are made safer we will probably be a good median speed of 90-100MPH! Imagine how fast you can get to places on a highway going safely @100MPH.

The fact that everyone ignores the speed limit expect when its inclement weather. Even speed raders are often set off @ 5-7 MPH the actual speed. DOTs know the speed limit is bullshit. But there are too many variables with raise the speed limit. From old cars still on the toad to people who hog the left lane. Until the risky variables are taken off the road the speed will not increase.


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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2019, 05:11:49 PM »

How fast was the average speed for cars when the NMSL went into affect? I know cars weren’t as aerodynamic as they are today. I think the median speed limit most people go today is between 75-80. What was the median speed back then 60-70? As the cars & roads are made safer we will probably be a good median speed of 90-100MPH! Imagine how fast you can get to places on a highway going safely @100MPH.

The fact that everyone ignores the speed limit expect when its inclement weather. Even speed raders are often set off @ 5-7 MPH the actual speed. DOTs know the speed limit is bullshit. But there are too many variables with raise the speed limit. From old cars still on the toad to people who hog the left lane. Until the risky variables are taken off the road the speed will not increase.


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sprjus4

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2019, 05:36:40 PM »

From old cars still on the toad to people who hog the left lane. Until the risky variables are taken off the road the speed will not increase.
Did you forget cars aren't the only vehicles on the road? Trucks, buses, etc. represent a good portion of the traffic on the highways and it's not easy for them to do 75 - 85 mph like the rest of us and maintain it.
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2019, 09:25:36 AM »

As many people I know say: "Speed limit is more of a suggestion". Flow of traffic is always faster than the limit around here so you just have to adapt and stay with the crowd. Means doing 70-75mph in a 55 zone, 80 in a 70 zone, etc... or running the risk of being "ran off the road".

Funny enough, today is speed awareness day in Illinois where ISP will be cracking down on speeding. Curious to see how that goes.
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2019, 09:51:05 AM »

Science teaches us that understand.  Speed is self regulating.  People will drive safe (and fast) when left alone to do so without the need of signage or random taxing highway men.  Speed limits are about power and money, and, sadly, in many cases, race, class, gender, and age.

Raise the SL to a point that there is no money in enforcement, order the cops off the highway and down where serious crimes are committed, and enjoy freedom.
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sprjus4

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2019, 10:11:55 AM »

Science teaches us that understand.  Speed is self regulating.  People will drive safe (and fast) when left alone to do so without the need of signage or random taxing highway men.  Speed limits are about power and money, and, sadly, in many cases, race, class, gender, and age.

Raise the SL to a point that there is no money in enforcement, order the cops off the highway and down where serious crimes are committed, and enjoy freedom.
Reminds me the fact that doing over 80 mph or 20 mph over the speed limit in Virginia is a reckless driving charge which is a criminal offense with up to 12 months in jail or $2,500 fines.

The speed limit on most rural interstate highways is 70 mph, so that means if you're going with the flow of traffic doing as little as 10 mph over, you risk a punishment that high.

Doing 80 mph on a rural interstate highway is not reckless. It's a ridiculous law that's strictly a revenue generator.

Leaving Virginia, I was in Maryland the other day driving down US-301 on the Eastern Shore. The highway has a full interstate-highway cross section, two 12 foot lanes each way, a 10 foot right shoulder, 4 foot left shoulder, and a 60 foot grassy median. The highway has limited-access which prohibits private connections, only at-grade intersections at permitted at minor roadways, and interchanges at larger junctions. The design of the roadway would naturally call for a 70 mph speed limit, and when I was on it, everybody was traveling at least 68 mph, many doing 75 - 80 mph. I maintained 73 mph the entire way and did not have any safety concerns or issues, no sharp curves, no blinding intersections, etc. However, because the roadway is not a "freeway" and it's in the northeastern states, the speed limit is an absurdly low 55 mph for a 40-mile-long rural stretch.

Go to Texas however, and just about every roadway in rural areas that has no access control is posted at 70 to 75 mph, including two-lane roadways or four-lane roadways. Interstate highways and freeways with limited-access are posted at 75 mph. Heading west, long stretches of I-10, I-20, and I-40 have 80 mph speed limits, and in the Austin area in the middle part of the state, TX-130, a four-lane limited-access toll road, has an 80 mph speed limit for its northern half, and 85 mph for the southern half.

Even states like West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, etc. permit 65 mph on any four-lane highway, which is somewhat more reasonable than 55 mph or even 60 mph as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Indiana permit.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 10:15:03 AM by sprjus4 »
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PHLBOS

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2019, 11:06:02 AM »

How fast was the average speed for cars when the NMSL went into affect?
When the Interstate Highway System was first established circa 1956; it was assumed that the average speed along those highways (when built) would be 65 to 70 mph.

From the mid-50s through the late 60s; performance got more emphasis across all car lines (many of which debuted during the 60s).  While a bare-bones 6-cylinder sedan probably would not reach a top speed of 100 mph; that same vehicle with an optional big-block V8 would easily top out over 120 mph & do 7 to 8 second 0 to 60 acceleration times. 

A 1969 Dodge Polara full-size sedan w/the 440 Magnum cubic inch engine could obtain a top speed of 149 mph.  That particular engine was also available on retail/civilian models as well back then.  A friend of my brother's had a '69 Chrysler 300 coupe equipped with that same exact engine.  Such, for a police-packaged sedan would remain a record until the 2006 Dodge Charger Pursuit w/the 5.7L V8 topped out at 152 mph. 

By the early 70s with the combination of newly-enacted emissions regulations coupled with spikes in auto insurance rates; many then-new vehicles got detuned and the performance (mainly acceleration) rates showed.  Muscle cars, which were essentially mid-size coupes with sportier appointments & available high-output engines morphed into personal-luxury coupes; a '75 Dodge Charger looked like a poor-man's Chrysler Cordoba.  That said, many of such vehicles (when new) could still cruise at 65 to 75 mph with no real issues; such would just take a little longer to get to those cruising speeds (10+ second 0 to 60 times became the norm for most mainstream vehicles).

Prior to the implementation of the NMSL, most car speedometers (police packages & sports cars excluded) were calibrated 0-120 mph (during the late 60s, Ford placed a red-line that started at 70 and went beyond) while trucks & vans featured 0-100 mph speedometers.  When the NMSL took effect, several manufacturers cut their speedometer calibrations down to 0-100 mph.  The rationale for doing such was so that 55 mph would still be beyond the half-way mark.  The much hated/maligned 0-85 mph calibrations started showing up on cars circa 1977 and such was applied on trucks & vans as well.  For the 1980 model year, the calibration markings were done in the 5-15-25, etc. manner with 55 being either highlighted in a different color or a box placed around it (aka TV 55).  Even sports cars like the Corvette featured the shortened speedometers out of the factory.  While some models started offering longer calibrated speedometers during the mid-to-late 80s; it wouldn't be until the mid 90s when the last 0-85 mph speedometers were phased out completely.  The fact that such happened right when the NMSL was fully repealed seemed to be more of a coincidence. 

Early on, many vehicles that ditched the 0-85 speedometers initially reverted back to the prior 0-120 mph calibrations.  However & over time, many mainstream vehicles have since gone the other extreme IMHO in calibrating their speedometers 0-140 or even 0-160.  Such means that 65 mph or even 70 mph is only or less than half-way along the speedometer.  While some would argue that the reason for doing such is because many of these models are offered in other countries (mostly in Europe) where there are either no speed limits (portions of Germany's Autobahn) or possibly higher limits (?); the truth of the matter is, like the fact that 80 to 85 mph speed limits are only restricted to a handful of areas/roads in the US, not every road/highway in said-European countries Germany's Autobahn network have no speed limits.  Many of them probably have posted 110-120 km/h (65 to 75 mph) limits as well.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 03:15:00 PM by PHLBOS »
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RobbieL2415

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2019, 11:35:06 AM »

The way I've always thought automobiling in the 50s until 1990 is that the automatic transmission muted performance in production vehicles across the board. But because they were automatic everyone wanted one, so by 1970 you had people driving cars that would never go faster than 80mph.
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Brandon

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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2019, 11:49:17 AM »

As many people I know say: "Speed limit is more of a suggestion". Flow of traffic is always faster than the limit around here so you just have to adapt and stay with the crowd. Means doing 70-75mph in a 55 zone, 80 in a 70 zone, etc... or running the risk of being "ran off the road".

Funny enough, today is speed awareness day in Illinois where ISP will be cracking down on speeding. Curious to see how that goes.

Probably like any other day.  Of course, the state's broke, and Pritzker probably wants more money (without cutting a damned thing).
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2019, 01:36:27 PM »

While some would argue that the reason for doing such is because many of these models are offered in other countries (mostly in Europe) where there are no speed limits; the truth of the matter is, like the fact that 80 to 85 mph speed limits are only restricted to a handful of areas/roads in the US, not every road/highway in said-European countries have no speed limits.  Many of them probably have posted 110-120 km/h (65 to 75 mph) limits as well.

Other than the Autobahn in Germany, what European country has roads with no speed limit?
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2019, 03:13:33 PM »

Other than the Autobahn in Germany, what European country has roads with no speed limit?
Off hand, I'm not aware of any; but in case someone knew of such I wasn't aware of, I worded my original post to be open-ended.

I have since revised my post to specifically refer to Germany's Autobahn for roads that have no speed limit; although I have been told in the past that not every road in Germany's Autobahn network has no speed limit.
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2019, 04:49:53 PM »

I have been told in the past that not every road in Germany's Autobahn network has no speed limit.

That is certainly true.  But it is the only road network I'm aware of in Europe that has any portion with no speed limit.
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Re: Speed Limit Hypothesis
« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2019, 05:01:03 PM »

I have been told in the past that not every road in Germany's Autobahn network has no speed limit.

That is certainly true.  But it is the only road network I'm aware of in Europe that has any portion with no speed limit.

It's tiny, but the Isle of Man has no speed limit.
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