The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Balmer Island Gazette.

"The population on Balmer Island increases to 100,000 during the summer months. To reduce the number of accidents involving mopeds and pedestrians, the town council of Balmer Island plans to limit the number of mopeds rented by each of the island's six moped rental companies from 50 per day to 30 per day during the summer season. Last year, the neighboring island of Torseau enforced similar limits on moped rentals and saw a 50 percent reduction in moped accidents. We predict that putting these limits into effect on Balmer Island will result in the same reduction in moped accidents."

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.

In this letter to the editor of the Balmer Island Gazette, the writer states that if the maximum number of moped rentals allowed at each of Balmer island’s six moped and bicycle retail companies was reduced, there would be less summertime accidents involving mopeds and pedestrians. While this could be valid, as there were similar results observed on the neighboring island of Torseau, we still need to address some questions in order to better valuate the lines of reasoning behind the author’s argument.

First of all, we need to know the reason why the number of accidents involving mopeds and pedestrians has seen a decrease on the island of Torseau. It is likely that the decrease in number of accidents on Torseau is not linked to the moped restriction and is due, instead, to other factors, such as increased levels of safety awareness among moped drivers and pedestrians, more attention paid to road conditions, or stricter penalties for accidents. If these are the true reasons, then it would be unlikely that Balmer island would observe a decrease in accidents. Otherwise, the author’s recommendation will be supported.

Furthermore, even if the decrease in moped and pedestrian accidents on the island of Torseau is directly related to the lower amount of mopeds able to be rented, are the two islands comparable? In his/her letter, the writer immediately makes the assumption that the two islands are comparable, presuming that results seen on Torseau island will, with minor adjustments to moped rental regulations, manifest themselves on Balmer island. However, road conditions, weather conditions, and island development could differ drastically on the two islands. If, after thorough examination, it is found that the two islands are not comparable for a variety of reasons, then the writer’s assumption in this regard would be ungrounded, and the expected results may not be seen.

Granted that the two islands are comparable, whether limiting the amount of rentable mopeds on Balmer island is feasible and effective should be considered. If the island does not have a subway system or regular buses, as it is hardly affordable to build and run a public transportation system on a touristic island, there would be a sharp increase in the number of pedestrians on the street. This would bring about more tension on the roads, leading to more accidents. In addition, reducing the total amount of mopeds could, in turn, drive up the prices of rentable mopeds available, which would force people to search for other rental service, such as bicycle rentals, or alternative vehicle rentals. People may be just as reckless when they ride the bike or operate vehicles as they drive mopeds, and, if this were to be the case, there would be increasing accidents between vehicle and pedestrians, which would be another nuisance to the town council. The writer seemingly overlooks the implications of this moped restriction, rendering the trajectory of his claim, along with the logic supporting it, slightly askew.

Lastly, are there other solutions other than the one proposed by the author to solve the problem at hand? The writer should not be so limited when it comes to possible solutions to the problem. Perhaps there are other methods that could accelerate the decrease in accidents, such as constructing wider pedestrian walk ways, where only pedestrians can walk and vehicles of all kind are restricted; marking pedestrian walk ways with clear lines; investing in more road signs; or promoting safety awareness on the island. If the writer does not give consideration to other procedures that could potentially be more effective in reducing accidents, then the island may not see a conspicuous decline in accidents for a long while.

In conclusion, only after the aforementioned questions are addressed can we fully evaluate the author’s recommendation.

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