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  1. #1
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Forester hired by pro-car activists to speak in Santa Barbara

    I want to post this to make it perfectly clear. Whatever he may have been in 1974, John Forester is not a bicycle advocate.

    He was recently hired in Santa Barbara to speak to members of the City Council and the Mayor at a workshop they titled "An Inconvenient Path: A workshop on growth, transportation, and the future of Santa Barbara." The group that hired him is against traffic calming and has ties to pro-growth, pro-car activist organizations.

    John Forester spoke along with Randal O'Toole from Oregon. Both Randal O'Toole and John Forester are on the Speakers Bureau of the American Dream Coalition, a pro-car organization.

    I believe that anybody on this forum who tries to influence opinions on road design and bicycle riding techiniques from a viewpoint informed by John Forester is actually trying to influence you to support a pro-growth, pro-car, urban sprawl agenda without you realizing it. These people should not be confused with carrying an actual bike advocacy message.

    Just thought you should know. John Forester and his friends at the American Dream Coalition really do get hired by pro-car groups to come and influence local governments. Whatever he may have been a long time ago, John Forester is not a bicycling activist.
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  2. #2
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Forester has always been critical of groups that claim to be pro-cycling but are in fact really just anti-car. He's also always been critical of groups that lump cyclists together with pedestrians instead with other drivers of vehicles. New York's Transportation Alternatives is an example of both. In its recent anti-bike-lane-pro-barrier-lane video, TA had someone say that the idea cyling situation would be for cyclists to share the sidewalk with pedestrians. Great. Just great.

    And Forester would agree, he is not a "bicycle advocate." He attacks that term as part of the bicycle industry's effort to sell more bikes regardless of how well or how often they are used. He speaks of advocating for cyclists. By that he means the people who care enough about cycling to learn how to do it well. In the essay on the American Dreams web site, Forester attacks "bicycle advocates":

    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    Bicycle advocates are a group that the public fails to distinguish from the lawful, competent cyclists who are most frequently found among the voluntary transportational cyclists. The public incorrectly refers to both groups as “professional cyclists”. Many hundreds of bicycle advocates are professionals; fewer than half a dozen American voluntary transportational cyclists support themselves through cycling activities.

    The bicycle advocates, both professional and amateur, are largely motivated by the environmentalist anti-motoring agenda, and see bicycle transportation as competition against motoring. To compete effectively, bicycle transportation must be attractive to the general public with its prevalent cyclist inferiority superstition. Thus, bicycle advocates’ primary goal is physical protection from same-direction motor traffic, which means bikeways, with little care for anything else. There is obviously a close psychological link between the general fear that motoring will destroy our environment and the specific fear that cars from behind endanger you personally.
    I also think that the joke is on the motorists' organization. When cyclists are restricted to bike lanes, side paths, and sidewalks (as New York's Transportation Alternatives proposes), it makes it easier for cars to whiz down streets at top speed.

    Edit after the thread reached 8 pages: Thoughout this thread, shbikes repeatedly makes allegations that Forester took one position or another. When asked to back up her assertions with actual words from Forester, she repeatedly refuses. Then, she just says she's not going to back up what she says.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 02-13-07 at 06:47 PM.

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I wonder how well his anti bike lane agenda can work on streets with speed limits of 50 MPH and higher. In fact, I wonder if Forester himself ever rides on streets with 50+MPH speeds. Age should not be a factor according to Forester.

    Yeah I know all about WOL... now would someone tell the motorists out there to keep left.

  4. #4
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    I've pointed out before the obvious COI present with Foresters relationship with his newfound friends at the ADC.

    In that quote you've got there above, I'd like to point out another of his failings. I know of 12,000 professional, voluntary transportational cyclists that support themselves entirely through cycling, not the sale of bicycles or accessories or infrastructure. There were likely more when he made that ridiculous statement.

    John Forester is a divisive troll & will likely always be so. Thankfully he is not long for this world.

  5. #5
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    By that he means the people who care enough about cycling to learn how to do it well.
    And in Forester Speak, "cycling well" means cycling like John Forester and his associates: Club cycling, group cycling, competition cycling, fitness training, and /or cycling for "speed and efficiency", with the emphasis on the speed and the "efficienct" technique and equipment required to reach/maitain top speed.

    IOW, Forester Brand "Cycling Well" requires club associations and/or proper training in Forester approved cycling technique.

  6. #6
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Forester has no more of a COI than the consultants and city planners who make a living striping lanes.

    I also don't see how the speaking has changed his positions. The article I linked to above reads like a summary of the work he did in the early 1990's.

    Money affects people. Maybe it has affected Forester, but it doesn't look like it. Forester has an extensive written record. If you think that his recent speakers fees have caused him to shift positions, it should be easy for you to prove your assertion.

    Edited to correct typo.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I wonder how well his anti bike lane agenda can work on streets with speed limits of 50 MPH and higher. In fact, I wonder if Forester himself ever rides on streets with 50+MPH speeds. Age should not be a factor according to Forester.
    I wouldn't be surprised if he did. I ride on 50 and 55 mph roads regularly and I am grateful that they don't have bike lanes.

  8. #8
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Nothing new here. Forester has always been an advocate of only 'serious cyclists' and expanding the status quo when it comes to transportation.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston

    John Forester is a divisive troll & will likely always be so. Thankfully he is not long for this world.
    I wouldn't bet on his imminent demise. His heart (and presumably arteries) is hard like a rock. And has been for 30+ years.
    In his defense, HE doesn't troll on A & S; his acolytes do.

  10. #10
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Nothing new here. Forester has always been an advocate of only 'serious cyclists' and expanding the status quo when it comes to transportation.
    He just says that cyclists should take the time to learn how to ride in traffic. That's not so radical. I've read his book and watched his video (both checked out from the library), but I haven't taken a formal class. You don't have to. Just start in an empty parking lot, work your way to quiet streets, and then to progressively less quiet streets. It's not really that hard.

    The LAB and he split on very angry terms, but the LAB still uses a Forester-based class to teach traffic cycling. Even his harshest critics couldn't come up with a a better one.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eli_Damon
    I wouldn't be surprised if he did. I ride on 50 and 55 mph roads regularly and I am grateful that they don't have bike lanes.
    I note with extreme irony that the town he lives in now, did not have bike lanes until he moved there. I used to live there and still know folks in the area.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    And in Forester Speak, "cycling well" means cycling like John Forester and his associates: Club cycling, group cycling, competition cycling, fitness training, and /or cycling for "speed and efficiency", with the emphasis on the speed and the "efficienct" technique and equipment required to reach/maitain top speed.

    IOW, Forester Brand "Cycling Well" requires club associations and/or proper training in Forester approved cycling technique.
    If there was not a desire for "speed and efficiency" why did someone invent the automobile? If cycling is not in some way efficient, most people would not cycle. I personally would have stopped riding after my desire to cycle recreationally started to interfere with other interests. There are some on this forum who cycle only because it's more efficient than driving.

  13. #13
    Conservative Hippie
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    So what? John Forester is not the be-all-end-all of effective cycling. He was just there for the kick-off.

  14. #14
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    Forester has no more of a COI than the consultants and city planners who make a living striping lanes.

    I also don't see how the speaking has changed his positions. The article I linked to above reads like a summary of the work he did in the early 1990's.

    Money affects people. Maybe it has affected Forester, but it doesn't look like it. Forester has an extensive written record. If you think that his recent speakers fees have caused him to shift positions, it should be easy for you to prove your assertion.

    Edited to correct typo.
    Forester, in your opinion, advocates for cyclists.

    Could I write "Forester, in your opinion, advocates for cyclists by supporting the ADC."?

    The ADC is clearly a group in support of motoring & doing so in an unsustainable way for the sake of..convenience? While they do give lip service to cycling concerns, that is all it is. Don't think for a second that I support separate facilities, striping, or any other "advocate" positions. My cycling is a bit more real world than your average commuter, though that doesn't suppose my concerns or commitment is any more or less valid. If your average commuter were told to stop cycling to work they would drive, walk or use transit. If I & my mates were told as much, we would have to disband a billion dollar industry, & find a new way to earn a living altogether.

    The ADC

    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    I've found that when you lend your name to an organization you've lent your support to them.

    The American Dream Coalition believes that walking, cycling, transit & auto travel can coexist peacefully with properly designed facilities without necessarily leading to increased automobile congestion or reduced speeds.

    That's very noble..

    ..however these facilities don't exist yet, & the ADC will brook no infringement on the rights of Americans to drive. The right to drive supersedes all other considerations, as it is more than half of the American Dream we're all entitled to. Until the other modes of transport can be integrated into the highway & road systems in a manner that ensures every individual may drive unobstructed at a reasonable speed for 100% of their transportation needs the other modes of transportation will have to wait.

    In short, walking, cycling & mass transit must wait indefinitely. No development may impede automobility currently or in the ADCs intended expansion of auto use.

    The ADC is a ruse. Forester either believes bicycling is not actually a viable means of personal transport or his ego has been stroked to the point of titillation by the ADC claims of basing development on only empirical data*.

    *So long as the data shows an end result of every citizen in a single detached dwelling with a yard & a car for each adult with infrastructure that ensures a pleasant fast drive to all services and consumer goods necessary to ensure happiness.

    I have a problem with the ADC; their entire premise equates happiness & well being to the acquisition of consumer goods & services, which sums up their American Dream. Any other people who've been lucky enough to have more than they need at one time care to comment? Anyone who has less consumer goods than they believe they'd like have an opinion? I've been in both camps and I find that happiness = stuff doesn't work for a lifestyle.
    Daily Commute, that is critical of the ADC, but is it inaccurate? If you can't cycle without impeding motorists, even for one second, the ADC wants you off the road.

  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    If there was not a desire for "speed and efficiency" why did someone invent the automobile?
    There is nothing wrong with speed and efficiency as a goal. The problem is the assumption of the Forester Gang that because "Speed and Efficiency" is their be-all, end-all number one priority, it is (or should be) the be-all, end-all priority and goal for all cyclists who "cycle well." And those cyclists who don't "cycle well" in Forester Speak are not worthy of consideration. And the Foresterites don't consider anyone outside of their own narrowly defined exclusive club.

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Forester is an anti-populist, anti- bicycling, anti incredible utility bicycles provide for riders of all abilities.

    Predicate his notions on the rest of america, and less people will bicycle. The American Dream coalition is playing Forester like a fool for their automotive folly agenda.

    Forester is directly advocating against popular increases in bicycling as transportation. what a piece of work, and that ain't flattering.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #17
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    He just says that cyclists should take the time to learn how to ride in traffic. That's not so radical. I've read his book and watched his video (both checked out from the library), but I haven't taken a formal class. You don't have to. Just start in an empty parking lot, work your way to quiet streets, and then to progressively less quiet streets. It's not really that hard.

    The LAB and he split on very angry terms, but the LAB still uses a Forester-based class to teach traffic cycling. Even his harshest critics couldn't come up with a a better one.
    I've just always thought of Forester as using common sense.

    I've read his book twice (or was it 3 times?) and taken instuction based on his book, but it's my own experience that validated it for me.

    Based on my experience, I find most critisisms of him to be out of line. There are other valid points of view of course, and as much as Forester may be the way cyclists should behave, I found Hursts, The Art of Urban Cycling, more realistic and practicle as to the way cyclists do behave.

  18. #18
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    Could I write "Forester, in your opinion, advocates for cyclists by supporting the ADC."?. . .

    Daily Commute, that is critical of the ADC, but is it inaccurate? If you can't cycle without impeding motorists, even for one second, the ADC wants you off the road.
    From what I can tell, the ADC is what it looks like--a group that advocates for making driving in individual cars easier. Some of its positions are wrong headed, some are correct (probably more are wrong headed than correct). They are certainly not a cyclist or a bicycle advocacy group.

    But motorists and transportational cyclists have more interests in common than cyclists and pedestrians, yet bicycle advocacy groups and anti-car groups keep trying to lump cyclists together with the pedestrians. Further, if my local "bicycle advocacy" group was pushing to stripe a bike lane where it didn't belong, I would happily work with a motorists group to stop it.

    Instead of attacking Forester for merely speaking to this group, why don't you look at what he actually says to them. I'm not saying Forester is perfect (I never have), but why are you focusing on his audience instead of his message?

    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    I've just always thought of Forester as using common sense.

    I've read his book twice (or was it 3 times?) and taken instuction based on his book, but it's my own experience that validated it for me.

    Based on my experience, I find most critisisms of him to be out of line. There are other valid points of view of course, and as much as Forester may be the way cyclists should behave, I found Hursts, The Art of Urban Cycling, more realistic and practicle as to the way cyclists do behave.
    I've only read his book once (I skipped the mechanical chapters), but I pretty much agree. But to your list of praise for Hurst's book, I'd add that it says basically the same thing that Forester says, just without the acid.

  19. #19
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    From what I can tell, the ADC is what it looks like--a group that advocates for making driving in individual cars easier. Some of its positions are wrong headed, some are correct (probably more are wrong headed than correct). They are certainly not a cyclist or a bicycle advocacy group.

    But motorists and transportational cyclists have more interests in common than cyclists and pedestrians, yet bicycle advocacy groups and anti-car groups keep trying to lump cyclists together with the pedestrians. Further, if my local "bicycle advocacy" group was pushing to stripe a bike lane where it didn't belong, I would happily work with a motorists group to stop it.

    Instead of attacking Forester for merely speaking to this group, why don't you look at what he actually says to them
    Because he does not speak to them, he speaks for them.

  20. #20
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Forester is directly advocating against popular increases in bicycling as transportation.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  21. #21
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHouston
    Because he does not speak to them, he speaks for them.
    What words has Forester spoken "for them" that you think are wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Forester is directly advocating against popular increases in bicycling as transportation.
    What words has Forester spoken that "directly advocate against popular increases in bicycling as transportation"?

  22. #22
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Dude, if you don't know that forester is against populist bicycling, you haven't read, heard, or listened to his spiel.

    Shame on you, john forester. Colonel Pope would probably put a pump in your spokes.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  23. #23
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Dude, if you don't know that forester is against populist bicycling, you haven't read, heard, or listened to his spiel.

    Shame on you, john forester. Colonel Pope would probably put a pump in your spokes.
    "I'm right, but I'm not gonna prove it."

    Take your best shot Bek. This is probably my last post for at least a day.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    What words has Forester spoken "for them" that you think are wrong?


    What words has Forester spoken that "directly advocate against popular increases in bicycling as transportation"?
    Remember when reading the Forester quote from 2003 on a different list below that "lawful and competent cyclists" are those who "cycle well" AKA fit the profile of the Forester acolytes - club cyclists and speed enthusiasts and those who agree with Forester Brand Cycling Priorities

    "The issue isn't even about bicycling facilities. The entity that is being disputed is the government's program about bicycling, from goals to implementations.
    The government's program can be described in very simple terms. It is a program of incompetent bicycle riding on bikeways. It has been that way for as long as I can remember, and hasn't changed much. That program is obviously defective and harmful to cyclists. Cyclists travel much better, at a much lower accident rate, when they are lawful and competent. No practical bikeway system can provide the range of travel provided by the road system and no practical bikeway system can make incompetent cycling safe. A far better program would be one based on lawful, competent cycling on good roads. For those who care about the welfare of cyclists, as do I and the other vehicular cyclists, there is no possible doubt as to which is the better system. There are many reasons, all of them based on erroneous facts and defective reasoning, and all thoroughly exposed, why American society has chosen the worst for cyclists. What ought to amaze any rational observer is the strength with which the advocates of the defective system argue their defective case. But, as we all know, much of the realm of politics is irrational.
    It is the purpose of the rational vehicular cyclists to protect themselves against, to obstruct, to defeat, and to reform, the government's program that is so harmful to cyclists."

  25. #25
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    ... But to your list of praise for Hurst's book, I'd add that it says basically the same thing that Forester says, just without the acid.
    sort of, but Hursts book deals with realities in a way that Foresters doesn't. As examples (and there are more), "The Gap Effect", "Running Green Lights", "Fake Right Turns", and "The Helmet Controversy" are all topics dealt with that (I think) Forester never would, but are realistic daily things experienced by a cyclist.

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