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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

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Old 01-18-06, 08:07 PM   #1
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What is your advocacy priority?

Cycling advocacy can take many forms. Some are:

* Encouraging new cyclists
* Educating cyclists about safe riding practices
* Educating motorists about the rights of cyclists
* Educating law enforcement about the rights of cyclists
* Promoting recreational facilities
* Promoting en route transportational facilities like paths and bike lanes
* Promoting destination transportational facilities like bike racks and showers
* Educating kids about cycling
* Urging stepped-up enforcement against cyclists who break the law
* Demanding prosecution of motorists who violate cyclists rights
* Working to change inappropriate laws
* Organizing group cycling events
* Monitoring the media and responding to irresponsible and incorrect statements about cyclists

What do you think are the most important? Have I missed any?

(Isn't there a lot more to advocacy than endlessly arguing lane position?)
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Old 01-18-06, 09:29 PM   #2
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Good list.

HIGH:
1) Working to change inappropriate laws
2) Educating cyclists about safe riding practices
3) Educating kids about cycling
4) Promoting destination transportational facilities like bike racks and showers
5) Encouraging new cyclists (already covered by 2 & 3)
6) Monitoring the media and responding to irresponsible and incorrect statements about cyclists

MEDIUM:
1) Demanding prosecution of motorists who violate cyclists rights
2) Organizing group cycling events
3) Promoting recreational facilities

LOW:
* Educating motorists about the rights of cyclists
* Promoting en route transportational facilities like paths and bike lanes
* Urging stepped-up enforcement against cyclists who break the law

(lane position is a safety topic, not an advocacy topic)
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Old 01-18-06, 09:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Good list.

HIGH:
1) Working to change inappropriate laws
2) Educating cyclists about safe riding practices
3) Educating kids about cycling
4) Promoting destination transportational facilities like bike racks and showers
5) Encouraging new cyclists (already covered by 2 & 3)
6) Monitoring the media and responding to irresponsible and incorrect statements about cyclists

MEDIUM:
1) Demanding prosecution of motorists who violate cyclists rights
2) Organizing group cycling events
3) Promoting recreational facilities

LOW:
* Educating motorists about the rights of cyclists
* Promoting en route transportational facilities like paths and bike lanes
* Urging stepped-up enforcement against cyclists who break the law

(lane position is a safety topic, not an advocacy topic)
Why would you consider educating motorists & stepped up law enforcment against cyclists who break the law such a low priority? I think if a cyclist breaks the law he or she should pay the penalty if they are caught & the laws should be enforced equally for all. Motorists need to be educated to the rights of cyclists. Otherwise if they have no clue that we have rights to the road ways they will continue to treat us as they do, just an obstacle they can shove aside with their large steel & glass cage.
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Old 01-18-06, 11:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_C
Why would you consider educating motorists & stepped up law enforcement against cyclists who break the law such a low priority?
Excellent question.

Because, practically speaking, I believe that any efforts spent on these initiatives would be a waste of time, money, and other resources, because it would not be effective.

Cyclists comprise what, 1% of the population? And advocates are what, 1% of cyclists? So we have 1% of 1% of the population trying to push an initiative to educate motorists. Educate them about what? That cyclists have the "same rights, same rules, same roads"? Let's say we're highly effective (ha!) in getting that message across. If that dream could actually be fulfilled, how would that change anything for cyclists? Now imagine that the dream can only be partially fulfilled, such that, say, less than 1% of motorists are actually "educated". Now, how would that change anything for cyclists?

Every dollar, hour and kilobyte that we spend on any kind of "motorist ed" is a dollar, hour, or kilobyte that we are not spending on "cyclist ed", where I am convinced we can get a lot more bang for the buck. First of all, we have a much smaller target population for the education. Second, cyclists have a selfish interest to learn about how to keep themselves alive that motorists don't have with respect to not killing cyclists. Finally, the vast majority of car-bike collisions appear to have been avoidable through cyclist behavior changes alone.

To illustrate: we're trying to get from A to B (getting to "B" will make cycling safer). Now we can there by Route 1 (cyclist ed), which is 10,000 paved miles, or by route 2 (motorist ed), which is 100,000,000 unpaved miles. There are 10 of us. The more riders we get to "B", the safer cycling becomes. Do we all work together to get to "B" via Route 1 as soon as possible, or do we give up some riders to work on getting there via route 2? Why do that? Sure if they ever get there, cycling might get a little bit safer, but if we use them to help us get to "B" via Route 1, cycling will be much safer.

As far as stepping up law enforcement against cyclists... I just don't have much faith in that ever being very effective in getting cyclists to change their behavior. But maybe I'm wrong. It would be interesting to test in some area, where cyclists are ticketed and required to take "cyclist defensive driving" courses. Who knows?
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Old 01-19-06, 01:13 AM   #5
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Educating cyclists about safe riding practices is #1 for me. No amount of driver education or legislation is going to change the laws of physics. We need to behave like vehicles if we expect to be treated that way.
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Old 01-19-06, 06:57 AM   #6
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1. Encouraging new cyclists AND helping them learn to ride safely, while having fun in the process.
2. Urging stepped up enforcement of traffic laws in general.
3. Exposing advocates who do not represent the majority of cyclists and hinder efforts to change laws and/or create/improve infrastructure because of their narrow political agendas.
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Old 01-19-06, 07:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Excellent question.

Because, practically speaking, I believe that any efforts spent on these initiatives would be a waste of time, money, and other resources, because it would not be effective.

Cyclists comprise what, 1% of the population? And advocates are what, 1% of cyclists? So we have 1% of 1% of the population trying to push an initiative to educate motorists.
+/- 18 million units sold throughout the US in 2004 alone. 13.5 of which were wheel size 20" and up. Equality under the law makes these numbers both pointless and useless. Motorist education is a useful and viable tool. It won't help anyone that forces a motorist to cross into oncoming traffic in order to be passed at the same relative distance from the motorists vehicle.
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Old 01-19-06, 09:32 AM   #8
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Given that oil prices are climbing, there will be more totally unexperianced cyclsits hitting the road in the near future. I think that educating that group and the yonger kids would help to save the most lives. All of the issues I've seen in this thread are important.

My only concern is when I imagine a time when money is available for new bike facilities, but then infighting among bike advocates causes delays and loss of finances. You know the city anounces 2 million available for road improvements and the various groups of advocates start arguing about how that should be spent. I guess that would actually be a "good" problem to have, but because of lack of consensus it would cause delays at the least and loss of funding at the worst.
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Old 01-19-06, 10:09 AM   #9
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Promoting cuties handing out hot coffee halfway thru the winter morning commute and handing out cold beer for the last 1mi of my PM summer commute.

Since its just a selfish dream....

Money to fix/improve the true problem areas - i.e road sections that are difficult even for the most experienced cyclists. I believe this ultimately helps all cyclists of all levels - I posted why in other threads.

Al

Last edited by noisebeam; 01-19-06 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 01-19-06, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Exposing advocates who do not represent the majority of cyclists and hinder efforts to change laws and/or create/improve infrastructure because of their narrow political agendas.
And what would be an example of a "narrow political agenda" of an advocate who does "not represent the majority of cyclists and hinder[s] efforts to change laws and/or create/improve infrastructure"?

In particular, does saving cyclists' lives and encouraging cycling by conveying the inherent relative safety in vehicular traffic cycling and fighting the notion that traffic cycling is inherently dangerous qualify as an example of a "narrow political agenda" for you?

Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-19-06 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-19-06, 02:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Houston
+/- 18 million units sold throughout the US in 2004 alone.
Buying a bicycle does not a cyclist make.

What percent were ridden more than 100 miles in a year?
500 miles?
1,000 miles?
5,000 miles?
10,000 miles?
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Old 01-19-06, 03:16 PM   #12
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I don't want just my cycling to better/easier/safer. I want my city to better/easier/safer.

So, I want more regional transportation planning; more integrated residential/business/civic areas; neighborhoods to be smaller, more distinct and more cohesive.

I'm not convinced that anything but people deciding to make it so leads to these changes, but certainly some of the advocacy needs to be more than getting a piece of the pie for cyclists. It has to include changing the pie somewhat (to stick with a bad analogy).
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Old 01-19-06, 03:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnbacon
I don't want just my cycling to better/easier/safer. I want my city to better/easier/safer.

So, I want more regional transportation planning; more integrated residential/business/civic areas; neighborhoods to be smaller, more distinct and more cohesive.

I'm not convinced that anything but people deciding to make it so leads to these changes, but certainly some of the advocacy needs to be more than getting a piece of the pie for cyclists. It has to include changing the pie somewhat (to stick with a bad analogy).
Excellent point(s)!

Al
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Old 01-19-06, 04:58 PM   #14
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Perhaps a bit petty when measured against the priorities listed, and maybe I am a bit spoiled by having such a nice area in which to ride, but I am constantly nagging for more and better street maintenance and cleaning.
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Old 01-19-06, 10:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
And what would be an example of a "narrow political agenda" of an advocate who does "not represent the majority of cyclists and hinder[s] efforts to change laws and/or create/improve infrastructure"?

In particular, does saving cyclists' lives and encouraging cycling by conveying the inherent relative safety in vehicular traffic cycling and fighting the notion that traffic cycling is inherently dangerous qualify as an example of a "narrow political agenda" for you?
This reminds me of when I was a kid. Me and my buddies tied corn cobs on the back of my car and we drove round and round the police station. Finally, a cop got behind us and pulled me over. He asked, 'why are you driving around here with corn cobs dragging behind you?' My friend piped up, 'trolling for pigs, looks like we found one'.

It's interesting that you decided that this portion of my post pertained to you and felt compelled to reply when nobody else did. Is there some particular reason you think it was directed at you?
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Old 01-19-06, 10:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Buying a bicycle does not a cyclist make.

What percent were ridden more than 100 miles in a year?
500 miles?
1,000 miles?
5,000 miles?
10,000 miles?
Are we going to get into the 'real' cyclist debate again? If one rides a bicycle, they are a cyclist.

From wikipedia: "A cyclist is a person who engages in cycling whether as a sport (bicycle racing) or who rides a bicycle for recreation or transportation (utility cycling)."

From Princeton Wordnet: "a person who rides a bicycle"
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Old 01-19-06, 10:51 PM   #17
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You missed one ..... and it is the one I consider most important ....


Being a good example to other cyclists and to motorists of how a cyclist should ride.


You can educate, encourage, promote, organize, and work all you want to change the attitudes of motorists and to try to get more people riding .......... and then run one stop sign in front of another cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, or anyone watching .... and all your work will be undone. You will lose all credibility.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:07 PM   #18
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Right now drivers look at us and think we're crazy. Somehow driving a car has to become the crazy alternative. Until then, we're all just surviving an aging system. All our arguments here only amount to a bunch of people talking about their survival skills in a crumbling, poorly-designed infrastructure--which includes not just the roads we drive on but also the subsidies to the auto and oil industry.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:23 PM   #19
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Right now drivers look at us and think we're crazy. Somehow driving a car has to become the crazy alternative.
Gas at $5/gallon?
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Old 01-20-06, 03:52 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
It's interesting that you decided that this portion of my post pertained to you and felt compelled to reply when nobody else did. Is there some particular reason you think it was directed at you?
Like me being the only one replying to some post is an unusual event around here? You've got to be kidding! I have no idea whether it was directed at me or not, and I don't really care. I am curious about what you meant, however, and look forward to you answering my questions.
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