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Old 10-12-05, 10:11 AM   #1
scarry
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http://www.monkeychicken.com/fwar.htm

As you can see, this debate has been ongoing for a long time, and the arguments are the same rhetoric on both sides, repeated ad-nauseum, as you see here now. Enjoy. This one is in '99.

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Sara wrote her piece for Oregon Cycling, and I idly posted it to a dozen friends, bike-publications, and bike-groups. Jason Meggs of Berkeley Critical Mass reposted it to a slew of local officials and state-wide bike-organizations, and it touched off a debate over questions of whether and when cyclists ought to obey traffic laws: hundreds of e-mails - many of the more obnoxious ones repeated between 2 and 40 times - over the next 7 days (one fellow received 250 posts in 5 minutes and a couple of the California list-serves had to shut down for a few days) when the debate ended as abruptly as it began.

The combatants in this war are two widely represented factions in the cycling community: Critical Mass riders - the unorganized legion of cyclists in 200 cities worldwide who ride in protest once a month during Friday rush-hour to demonstrate the viability and virtue of cycling, and a group who style themselves Vehicularists due to their adherence to the notion that bicycles are vehicles and deserve the same status, consideration, and responsibilities of any other vehicle. They practice a training formula that they teach to cyclists all over the world to ensure a high standard of cyclist safety and predictability. Vehicularism was developed by John Forester in the early 70's and is explained in all its particulars in his frequently revised manual entitled Effective Cycling.

I believe this debate is of signal significance and that it prophetically and clearly lays out the future of urban cycling by virtue of its detailed consideration of the central issues. It is also a gripping battle between passionate antagonists, tempered only by a few unaligned fence-sitters and interested parties I dub the "Gandhians" from the consistent wisdom and temperance of their contributions. There are furious skirmishes, touching armistices, and a clearly decisive victory.

Last edited by scarry; 10-12-05 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 10-12-05, 11:23 AM   #2
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Nice, it combines the CM debate and the VC debate all in one big flame war, with the big guns chiming in.

It's a long read, though, so I haven't seen the "clearly decisive victory" yet.
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Old 10-12-05, 11:43 AM   #3
scarry
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Originally Posted by Hawkear
Nice, it combines the CM debate and the VC debate all in one big flame war, with the big guns chiming in.

It's a long read, though, so I haven't seen the "clearly decisive victory" yet.
Finally god speaks..........

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134 HOLY LORD<bicycle_god@yahoo.com> 12:03 p.m., Heaven

Subject: HEAR YE, HEAR YE!!!

To: sf-critical-mass@cyclery.com, chainguard@cyclery.com

IT IS I, THE GREAT AND BENEVOLENT GOD OF ALL. SEEING AS HOW SOMEONE HAS ALREADY USED MY NAME FOR GOD@YAHOO.COM, I HAVE TO SPECIALIZE. BUT QUESTION ME NOT! I AM GOD, THE GOD. THE HEAD HONCHO. THE REAL DEAL. YOU CAN TELL BY THE WAY ALL OF MY WORDS ARE CAPITALIZED! NO, I'M NOT OWEN MEANY...

I HAVE COME TO ISSUE MY GREAT AND ALL ENCOMPASSING JUDGEMENT ON YOU ALL.

JOHN FORESTER - WHILE YOU HAVE DONE MUCH FOR CYCLING, YOU HAVED SINNED BY SENDING YOUR POSTS ALL OVER MY CREATION. AS A RESULT OF YOUR ACTIONS, PEOPLE HIT "REPLY ALL" AND CLOG MANY PEOPLE'S E'MAIL. IN ADDITION, THE WORDS YOU CHOSE TO REFLECT YOUR VIEW INITIATED FIERY TEMPERS. I THOUGHT I MADE YOU WISER THAN THAT! I, HOWEVER, IN ALL MY GLORY (WHICH IS EVERLASTING) SHALL FORGIVE YOU. I TRUST OTHERS WILL DO THE SAME.

FOR ALL WHO ACT RUDELY UPON THE PAVEMENT WHICH COVERS MY MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE AND AESTHETICALLY PLEASING EARTH (SORRY. THAT'S A SORE SPOT FOR ME), YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW... ER... SO? NO - SOW.

TRULY, TRULY I SAY TO YOU - INSIDE EVERY CAR THERE IS A HUMAN BEING DYING TO GET OUT. HELP THEM.

VERILY, VERILY I CONTINUE. WHEN YOU CUT DOWN A WEED FROM THE TOP, IT CONTINUES TO GROW. WHEN YOU CUT DOWN A WEED FROM THE MIDDLE, IT CONTINUES TO GROW. WHEN YOU PULL OUT THE WEED ENTIRELY FROM ITS FOUNDATION, THE WEED DIES. AS IT IS SO WITH TRANSPORTATION - CUT DOWN THE OFFENDING PEDESTRIANS (JAYWALKERS, ETC) THE SLAUGHTER IN THE STREETS WILL CONTINUE. CUT DOWN THE OFFENDING CYCLISTS, THE SLAUGHTER WILL CONTINUE. AH, BUT CUT DOWN THE AUTOMOBILE, THE ROOT IS REMOVED FROM THE FERTILE GROUND, AND THE SLAUGHTER WILL STOP.

MORAL OF THE PARABLE:

STOP HACKING AWAY AT THE MIDDLE OF THE WEED FOR CHRIST'S SAKE! I MEAN IT! MY BOY HAS BEEN *****ING ABOUT THIS ALL WEEK! HELL, DO IT FOR MY SAKE - I'M THE ONE WHO HAS TO LISTEN TO HIM!

THANKS, ALL

YOUR LOVING GOD

PS: I DON'T EXIST.

SEND ALL PERSONAL RESPONSES TO MY SECRETARY AT:

josh_sutcliffe@yahoo.com
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Old 10-12-05, 04:05 PM   #4
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I don't have time to read it all right now, so perhaps its covered, but...

I think riding vehicularly vs. not is a different issue/debate than following traffic laws or not. One can not ride VC and still obey all traffic/pedestrian laws. Similarly one can VC and like other vehicles do, bend traffic laws.

The VC or not debate is about grey interpretation of limited data and experience about what is the safest way to ride a bike in traffic.

Following the laws or not is about making justifications of why it is OK to break the law. Its no different than making justifications for speeding in a car, for drinking underage, for illegal drug taking, for giving too much to charity on your taxes. Some of the justifications for cyclist breaking certain traffic laws may have some logic to them (more than available in the other examples I gave), but in the end it is still illegal, so in that sense it is not debatable. If there is real debate in this arena then comes to whether cyclists should advocate or not to have standard traffic laws changed with cyclist exceptions.

Al
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Old 10-12-05, 04:33 PM   #5
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I read alot of it and EVERYTHING that could be argued was.

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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I don't have time to read it all right now, so perhaps its covered, but...

I think riding vehicularly vs. not is a different issue/debate than following traffic laws or not. One can not ride VC and still obey all traffic/pedestrian laws. Similarly one can VC and like other vehicles do, bend traffic laws.

The VC or not debate is about grey interpretation of limited data and experience about what is the safest way to ride a bike in traffic.

Following the laws or not is about making justifications of why it is OK to break the law. Its no different than making justifications for speeding in a car, for drinking underage, for illegal drug taking, for giving too much to charity on your taxes. Some of the justifications for cyclist breaking certain traffic laws may have some logic to them (more than available in the other examples I gave), but in the end it is still illegal, so in that sense it is not debatable. If there is real debate in this arena then comes to whether cyclists should advocate or not to have standard traffic laws changed with cyclist exceptions.

Al
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Old 10-12-05, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarry
I read alot of it and EVERYTHING that could be argued was.
Yes I scanned it quick and noted it was all about following traffic laws or not and vehcular cycling or not, etc. But I just wanted to express that I don't think the two are (or don't have to be) as intertwined as the teaser leads us to believe.

Al
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Old 10-12-05, 06:24 PM   #7
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I'm still unsure how VC / non-VC camps will have any impact considering the limited number of people involved in the debate.

I did VC on the way home. It worked fine. Rush hour traffic, too. 3 people passed me and I heard an airplane. But this morning I did normal combat riding - wrong side of the road, running stop signs, excessive speed. Didn't see any cars. Seems to me (using the level of logic I normally see exhibited) that VC attracts cars and is thus a bad idea.
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Old 10-13-05, 01:34 PM   #8
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Do most people like to think of themselves as the Gandhis of this debate? I know I ain't one
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Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.
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Old 10-13-05, 01:51 PM   #9
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I've read the whole thing a couple of times (although I just skimmed over parts of it). It seems it was a rather heated (and public) debate. I found it amusing in places.

Since I'm not a huge fan of either CM or John Forester, I'm kind of unbiased. Ironically, the most convincing argument for the CM side was Forester's arguments against it. Forester leading with a personal attack also didn't help him.

One of my favorite comments:
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87 Rob, 12:52 a.m.
To: John Forester

So John, using that logic, we should send all of your inconsequential drivel and out-of-touch opinions to every podunk politico in Orange Grove [sic], wherever that is?

Would you please take your bushel of hostility somewhere else...
The debate wasn't all that enlightening but it was a pretty good flame war and I did get a couple of chuckles out of it.
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Old 10-13-05, 05:53 PM   #10
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Go MonkeyChicken!
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Old 10-14-05, 02:18 PM   #11
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Okay, fine, I'll go read it. I glanced at it but it was huge. First I guess i want to see if *every* argument was trotted out, and now I'm tempted to see if it's really a good flame war. There's nothing like a jerry springer internet!
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Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.
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Old 10-14-05, 10:54 PM   #12
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Is there a Cliff's Notes?
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Old 10-14-05, 11:06 PM   #13
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If only John Forester could have been Henry Spencer instead.
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