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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 03-06-07, 08:53 AM   #1
bbunk
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Advocacy and saftey

Seems like this forum has gone down a one way track to now where lately. So I have a couple of questions of my own.

1. Has arguing about VC riding helped you better advocate for cycling?
2. Has arguing about VC proponents made you a safer cyclist?
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Old 03-06-07, 09:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbunk
Seems like this forum has gone down a one way track to now where lately. So I have a couple of questions of my own.

1. Has arguing about VC riding helped you better advocate for cycling?
2. Has arguing about VC proponents made you a safer cyclist?
No on both. The VC arguments in here break down so quickly into something that is totally devoid of any practical application as to be completely useless other than for the sake of arguing itself.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:05 AM   #3
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What I can tell you is that #1 & #2 is beginning to cause sleep deprivation and a lack of social life on the level that I'm taking a break for a few days. People can destroy each other with #1 and #2 to their hearts' content.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:32 AM   #4
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Discussion about the cycling environment and ways to approach it are very helpful.

Threads only become undesireable when the discussion breaks down into personal attack. This is not due to the subject matter, but due to the style of some posters here.

Al
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Old 03-06-07, 09:35 AM   #5
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It depends on how you "argue." Respectful debate can effectively exchange ideas. But if you insult people in the process, you shut down their willingness to try to understand you.

I think some people here have come to better understand my concerns about engineering changes that conflict with the ordinary rules of the road in undesirable ways, and why I consequently don't think that bike-specific engineering is always inherently good. I've also come to understand why some people have had nothing but good experiences with striped bike lanes or paths - there are some well designed ones in some places - while other communities feature what seem to be nothing but undesirable implementations.

Occasionally, however, one meets an advocate whose opinion is based on a strong ideology that seems to be (but may or may not be) based on a paradigm with little grounding in practical reality, at least where they seek to apply it. If gentle discussion of contraexamples and real-life situations doesn't reveal practical bounds to his or her ideology, then sometimes poking a bit at their sacred cow will eventually reveal the psychological basis of their ideology. This can be useful for predicting their behavior and for generating more effective defenses for one's own interests in the future. However, I still think it's possible to do this without getting personal and ugly.

I found Benjamin Franklin's autobiography to be inspiring in the way he explained how he developed his ability to persuade other people. As he admits, argument can be fun, but conveying an understanding cannot be done effectively by attacking the listener. Similarly, it's a lot easier to convey ideas here in this forum by sharing photos, maps, and stories that build empathy, rather than to simply state "here's how it is."
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Old 03-06-07, 10:19 AM   #6
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I think they way you argue is very important.

I don't think you're going to get too far to have someone else understand your point of view unless the intended audience can relate to the different point of view. The other person has to decide in his/her own mind that the different point of view makes sense. You can't bash that into him/her. There has to be something in the info that makes sense that the other may not have considered in some way.

After a couple of years riding non-VC, I started to ride VC (without any kind of instruction) because I would get into far fewer troublesome situations. Every collision report I would read, I found the collisions were preceded by non-VC behavior. By the time I read EC by JF, I found I had been riding VC for some time. So not only do I think I'm safer riding VC, I think the vast majority of collisions between any kind of road users are preceded by non-VC behavior.

I think to be a better advocate for cycling and to be accepted on the road by non-cyclists that others need to see we're just like them and we all follow the same rules.
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Old 03-06-07, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb
What I can tell you is that #1 & #2 is beginning to cause sleep deprivation and a lack of social life on the level that I'm taking a break for a few days. People can destroy each other with #1 and #2 to their hearts' content.
Why are you letting an internet forum dictate what happens with your sleep or social life, mod. or not? As far as I know being a mod. here is a voluntary position. So why?
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Old 03-06-07, 11:00 AM   #8
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Why are you letting an internet forum dictate what happens with your sleep or social life, mod. or not? As far as I know being a mod. here is a voluntary position. So why?
Because she actually cares about this forum and the community it serves.

I agree with most of the posters here that the arguments could be handled better on both ends. If both or either side come to the table in an effort to inspire discussion in an honest way that is respectful to the members and the incredible amount of cycling experience they share collectively it shows and is appreciated by everyone.

Although I don't believe that most of the forum members minds can be changed (especially in this particular forum) the debate can be worthwhile nonetheless if presented from a true, honest, sincere effort to understand each other better and make cycling safer.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:24 PM   #9
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The VC debates have, in my opinion, come to upset the balance of the A&S forum* At first it was interesting to read of the methods used or proposed by others to ride in different environments. Unfortunately, we seem to have descended into a war on doctrine & dogma, to the point where many "VC threads" contain little of value, IMHO. There are also an awful lot of VC related threads.

Ed

*Yes I have been moved to add opinion to VC threads on occasion... such as here, for example
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Old 03-06-07, 01:45 PM   #10
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Isn't it important in advocating for cycling to know who it is we are advocating cycling to?

Doesn't it make a difference in the way we make our points if we are to argue amongst cyclists fine points of safety or advocacy, vs. if we were to articulate an argument for the benefit of cycling to a non-cyclist?
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Old 03-06-07, 03:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
Isn't it important in advocating for cycling to know who it is we are advocating cycling to?

Doesn't it make a difference in the way we make our points if we are to argue amongst cyclists fine points of safety or advocacy, vs. if we were to articulate an argument for the benefit of cycling to a non-cyclist?
I, for one, would have to say that I agree with you.

Too often we see threads in which debates become arguments and those arguments then become a points scoring excercise & personality contest. This does nothing for safety or advocacy in cycling.

Ed
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Old 03-06-07, 03:18 PM   #12
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I think if you don't pay close attention to a thread, and just take quick look, it's easy to miss the nuances of the topic, and, therefore, the point of the discussion.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:59 PM   #13
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I think if you don't pay close attention to a thread, and just take quick look, it's easy to miss the nuances of the topic, and, therefore, the point of the discussion.
I used to like sewing too and agree one needs to be very careful when threading the needle so as not to poke oneself with the needle point.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Holland
...Too often we see threads in which debates become arguments and those arguments then become a points scoring excercise & personality contest. This does nothing for safety or advocacy in cycling.

Ed
...and arguing amongst ourselves (avid cyclists) about how best to use the streets is far different from explaining why it is that cyclists out on the streets are better than increasing automobiles on the streets to the general population.

I think that is the larger and more productive goal. To advocate to non-cyclists the benefits of cycling for everybody. Including non-cyclists.
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Old 03-06-07, 07:14 PM   #15
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In the few years I have been here I have yet to see a VC thread advocate or promote safety in a sense that it would make sense to the person who posed the question, which is usually some newbie who doesn't understand the terms VC, DLLP, UFIA, STFU, etc.. etc..
And these same people (the newbies) don't want to have to resort to using google, wikipedia, etc in order just to figure out what someone told them. They came here to ask a question and have it answered but instead it becomes a sermon or a senatorial debate.
Truthfully, if you meet someone on the street and ask their advice on something, would you really stick around to hear the end of it if you needed a dictionary and thesarus in order to understand just what the hell they were saying?
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Old 03-06-07, 11:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by pj7
In the few years I have been here I have yet to see a VC thread advocate or promote safety in a sense that it would make sense to the person who posed the question, which is usually some newbie who doesn't understand the terms VC, DLLP, UFIA, STFU, etc.. etc..
And these same people (the newbies) don't want to have to resort to using google, wikipedia, etc in order just to figure out what someone told them. They came here to ask a question and have it answered but instead it becomes a sermon or a senatorial debate.
Truthfully, if you meet someone on the street and ask their advice on something, would you really stick around to hear the end of it if you needed a dictionary and thesarus in order to understand just what the hell they were saying?
Agreed PJ. Ironically, those who speak the most about "advocacy" are the ones arguing theory and "paradigms" most fervently.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:54 PM   #17
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thanks DJ
BTW, your .sig, that's one of my favourite cult movies of all time!!
"that certainly illustrates the diversity of the word doesn't it"
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Old 03-07-07, 12:08 AM   #18
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"that certainly illustrates the diversity of the word doesn't it"
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Old 03-07-07, 08:50 AM   #19
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VC discussion has done only one thing for me -- it's convinced me that i'm pretty much on my own to defend myself vs. the legion of idiots behind steering wheels. too many people think that cyclists need to be held to some higher standard of conduct to deserve equal treatment under the law.

uh-oh...i just realized...that puts us in the same boat as minorities/women in the workplace....

all this thinking is making my head hurt; i'm going riding!
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Old 03-07-07, 09:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by pj7
In the few years I have been here I have yet to see a VC thread advocate or promote safety in a sense that it would make sense to the person who posed the question, which is usually some newbie
I know there have been newbies who have asked questions about how to improve safety in a situation or had a situation and advice was given - and those newbies replied with thanks and on some occasions reported they tried it and it helped. It would be a tedious BF search to find those examples, but I distincly remember. Help like this rarely uses TLAs - those come up in the 'debates'

I also remember myself as a newbie asking 'fine tuning' questions and getting help from some of the more wordy VC proponents here, help that was practical and I learned from.

Al
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Old 03-07-07, 09:58 AM   #21
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If we're talking advocacy in the terms of defending or expanding our long held legal right to use the road to non-cyclists, it's important to keep things in terms others can understand.

Like, the League of American Wheelmen were instrumental in getting the nation's roads paved in the first place and bicycles are the reason most of our right-of-way rules exist. The first automobiles were second on the scene and were confined to these roads and rules.

Like, roads are built on public land with public money for public transportation and the right of way rules allow all types of transportation to interact together, so VC promotion is something the general public can understand and go along with because they understand it and have to follow it every day
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Old 03-09-07, 11:46 AM   #22
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This can relate to this thread

http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=275748

where a city councillor in Toronto said, "Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day."

Advocacy is needed when a supposed responsible citizen with authority can think such a thing
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