28 December 2011

The One Minute Idling Rule

Bicycle Ride Home from Roskilde
These posters are up all over the city of Frederiksberg at the moment, where I live.

They read, quite simply: "Idling your motor - Maximum 1 minute - When you idle your motor your car emits chemicals dangerous to health. Show consideration and turn off your motor."

Hmm. Your car does it. Like it's alive and has a mind of it's own. Why, oh why, can it not just state that YOU emits dangerous chemcials when YOU idle your car? It's the motorist who is doing it, controlling the situation. Let's slap that responsibility on that motorist with a simple rewording, for god's sake.

With THAT said, there have been rules in place for many years in Danish cities regarding how long you can idle your motor. They don't apply to traffic jams, but just when you're sitting there... um... idle.

The regulations in Frederiksberg for this one minute limit have been in place since 1989, based on recommendations from the Environment Ministry back in 1982.

Pollution comes from various sources. Power stations, wood burning stoves and traffic among them. Frederiksberg states that 90% of the pollution in this city comes from cars.

If this hadn't been the regulation since the late 80s, I doubt that it would be put into place today, given how car-centric things have become. But it's nice that it's there.


Baljeet Degun said...

I remember seeing "switch your engine off" signs in Switzerland on a trip back in the mid 1990s. No timeout - just an instruction to turn 'em off when at lights for traffic passing by small towns and villages. They're still there of course. In 1991, I witnessed this happening in Delhi, India - everyone wanted to save petrol money I guess. And cars like Prius do it automatically.

I don't know this is not done in all countries, and for all road types - it's exceptionally rare for a car these days to not start first time - especially when it's already warmed up. And the wear and tear & extra pollution of a cold start doesn't apply.

I guess it all goes with the lazy car-obsessed culture.

snogglethorpe said...

Hmm, I've noticed buses around here seem to turn off their engines a lot, e.g. at red lights. I dunno if it's an automatic cut-off or the drivers are just well-trained.

Overtaker said...

What's the punishment for contravention, and who enforces it?

They have similar signs up next to a level crossing where I regularly have to wait for up to 3 minutes for trains to pass. No-one ever switches their engine off.

Mikael said...

Good question. I don't think there is any enforcement. Ergo this behavourial campaign asking you to be considerate.

Maybe bananas in tailpipes would be a good, activist thing to do.

Shaun McDonald said...

I've noticed a lot more people in the UK over the past few years switching their engine off at traffic lights/level crossings.

GH said...

Just another reason to make me glad I don't live there.

bikefish said...

We have signs like that (but without specified times) where people wait to load on the ferries and wait for the bascule bridges - but it's a rare driver that pays attention. I've gotten scowls and bad language when I've reminded drivers.

Erik Griswold said...

Hybrid vehicles do this automatically

Branko Collin said...

"YOU emits dangerous chemcials"

Speak for yourself. He who smelled it, dealt it.