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  1. #1
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    Advocacy....a proposal

    Advocacy: the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal

    Here is a simple proposal, as to the best way to be an effective advocate for cycling. The goal is to increase the number of cyclists and to change the perception of cycling from a recreational activity to being a mainstream activity, such that anytime there is a political decision that relates to cycling the decision makers are cyclists, know cyclist, have constituents that are cyclists. It won’t be magic it won’t be overnight, but it will work

    1) Ride your bike, lots. Not just on trails, training or recreational. Commute, even if it is one day a week or one way once a week. Use your bike (get a clunker if needed) for errands and utillity runs, anything under 2 miles one way or 5 pounds and you would be amazed at how little you need to use your car. Ride with your kids, ride with friends, ride, ride, ride Ride in your kit, ride in normal clothes.

    2) Be visible and positive, part of this is riding, part of this is lights and reflectors, part of this is participation in the political process , part of this is talking to your co workers, friends, neighbors, etc. about cycling

    3) Follow traffic laws (at least pretty closely)...no running red lights, period. Stop at signs, or at least slow almost to a stop and really stop if another vehicle has the right of way. This means for all rides, including Critical mass, fast training rides, etc..

    4) Help and encourage others to ride. Help a neighbor fix their old bike….show someone how to change a flat . Offer to commute with someone not comfortable riding off the sidewalk.

    5) Wear a helmet. There is no real downside (except for bad hair ) and there is upside in many accidents. It shows responsibility (and if your kids wear helmets…so should you). And for all the arguments about helmets .please go to the helmets cramp my style thread.

    6) Ride and act with courtesy, but assert your right on the road.

    7) Quit whining about what an oppressed minority we are and why drivers should follow laws but we shouldn’t. Bottom line is drivers are the majority…..the only way to change is to get more cyclists out there.

    If in doubt go back to number 1….Ride and be counted
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  2. #2
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post

    Here is a simple proposal, as to the best way to be an effective advocate for cycling. The goal is to increase the number of cyclists and to change the perception of cycling from a recreational activity to being a mainstream activity,
    Agree with a lot of what you have said. But I hear this a lot in relation to bike lanes--that getting more people cycling will encourage even more to cycle. I dont buy it.

    When you see a traffic jam, does it make you want to go jump in the car?
    When there is a long line at the bank, do you think "I just have to go there"?


    More people cycling is not necessarily a good thing. If those people are crazy, wrong way, law breaking, or scared to actually go anywhere cyclists.

    we need quality not quantity.
    Not too much to say here

  3. #3
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    .....we need quality not quantity.
    As the Russians said (with regard to their inferior, but more numerous nukes) quantity has a quality all its own!

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  4. #4
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    5) Wear a helmet. There is no real downside (except for bad hair ) and there is upside in many accidents. It shows responsibility (and if your kids wear helmets…so should you). And for all the arguments about helmets .please go to the helmets cramp my style thread.
    Wearing a helmet will suggest that biking is a dangerous activity that requires special safety equipment. This will not encourage more people to get on their bikes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    Wearing a helmet will suggest that biking is a dangerous activity that requires special safety equipment. This will not encourage more people to get on their bikes.
    Just about all activities require some sort of "specialized" safety equipment. Football requires pads and helmets yet thousands across this great nation play it. Baseball requires helmets for the team at bat. Motor racing (car, truck, motorcycle) all require flame retardant suits, and helmets.
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  6. #6
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    Wearing a helmet will suggest that biking is a dangerous activity that requires special safety equipment. This will not encourage more people to get on their bikes.


    Encouraging motorists to be careful and look twice to prevent right hooks, or give three 3 feet passing room, will suggest that cycling is a dangerous activity that needs special roadway treatment.

    These actions by drivers will not encourage more people to get on their bikes.....


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  7. #7
    smatte
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    When you see a traffic jam, does it make you want to go jump in the car?
    When there is a long line at the bank, do you think "I just have to go there"?
    I have to disagree with you here. Your analogy is flawed. Seeing a car stuck in traffic, or people standing in line at a bank does not equate to seeing someone riding down the street on a bicycle, as neither are fun. Now if you said when you see someone skiing down a hill or out for a run some may think "I'd like to do that too?

    or When you see someone having a beer does it make you want to have one too? I'd say yes.

  8. #8
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Hold your line
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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  9. #9
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    depends on what kind of beer and on the person drinking it

    Yes:


    No:
    Last edited by noisebeam; 07-29-09 at 02:18 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    3) Follow traffic laws (at least pretty closely)...no running red lights, period. Stop at signs, or at least slow almost to a stop and really stop if another vehicle has the right of way. This means for all rides, including Critical mass, fast training rides, etc..
    while i agree that being aware of stop-indicators is a good safety practice, i'm not really sure how this point works in favour of cycling advocacy.

    again, bicycles are different than cars: they have a different set of strengths and weaknesses. what is going to make cycling appealing is seeing cyclists highlight the strengths of the bike -- filtering for instance -- rather than showing off the weaknesses, ie. piss-poor acceleration off the stop line.

    to put it more succinctly, i'll crib what a co-worker told me when i commented on him taking up cycle commuting: "i got sick and tired of having you whizz past me on the way home every day, so i went and got a bike of my own."
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

  11. #11
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    and now, having read over my post, i realize that i sound like a prize ass who finds the one point to complain about and totally ignores all the good stuff the op said.

    for the record: with the minor exception of point 3, i think this is exactly what advocacy -- real advocacy that affects real change -- is about.

    the endless, kafkaesque squabbling over the minutiae of cycle law is not effective advocacy. the safety nanny-ism that leads to always seeming to blame cyclists for getting hit by cars is not advocacy. the lame, lame, lame psa's produced by cycling groups that do for the image of biking what aadac ads in the eighties did for non-smoking are not advocacy.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

  12. #12
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    5) Wear a ... ~argument deleted~. And for all the arguments about helmets .please go to the helmets cramp my style thread.
    Yeah. I'll be right there waiting for ya!
    Last edited by closetbiker; 07-29-09 at 04:49 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    1) Ride your bike, lots. Not just on trails, training or recreational. Commute, even if it is one day a week or one way once a week. Use your bike (get a clunker if needed) for errands and utillity runs, anything under 2 miles one way or 5 pounds and you would be amazed at how little you need to use your car. Ride with your kids, ride with friends, ride, ride, ride Ride in your kit, ride in normal clothes.

    2) Be visible and positive, part of this is riding, part of this is lights and reflectors, part of this is participation in the political process , part of this is talking to your co workers, friends, neighbors, etc. about cycling

    3) Follow traffic laws (at least pretty closely)...no running red lights, period. Stop at signs, or at least slow almost to a stop and really stop if another vehicle has the right of way. This means for all rides, including Critical mass, fast training rides, etc..

    4) Help and encourage others to ride. Help a neighbor fix their old bike….show someone how to change a flat . Offer to commute with someone not comfortable riding off the sidewalk.

    5) Wear a helmet. There is no real downside (except for bad hair ) and there is upside in many accidents. It shows responsibility (and if your kids wear helmets…so should you). And for all the arguments about helmets .please go to the helmets cramp my style thread.

    6) Ride and act with courtesy, but assert your right on the road.

    7) Quit whining about what an oppressed minority we are and why drivers should follow laws but we shouldn’t. Bottom line is drivers are the majority…..the only way to change is to get more cyclists out there.
    8) write newspapers relentlessly in support of cycling until the editor gives in and gives you your own column!
    Last edited by closetbiker; 07-29-09 at 08:31 PM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frymaster View Post
    while i agree that being aware of stop-indicators is a good safety practice, i'm not really sure how this point works in favour of cycling advocacy.
    ."
    frymaster, IMO it is important to advocacy as I have proposed, because otherwise we get the "why should we take cyclists seriously you are all a bunch of yahoos who run lights and stops signs" reducing the take cyclists seriously factor......also I believe it is a real safety issue...... I did try to nuance it a bit from rigid stop and put foot down at every sign ..ok reflecting how i ride which is pretty conservative.......

    a Small study from san jose, ca (with no major bias that i am aware of...I know some of the players) indicates that bicycles runing lights/stops are a major cause of car bike collisions.... take it for what it is worth ..small sample http://www.sanjoseca.gov/transportat...l%20Report.pdf
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  15. #15
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    8) write newspapers relentlessly in support of cycling until the editor gives in and gives you your own column!
    Good idea....a very specific example of 2 Be visible
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  16. #16
    A.K.A. purple fork man ilchymis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    Wearing a helmet will suggest that biking is a dangerous activity that requires special safety equipment. This will not encourage more people to get on their bikes.
    Much like seatbelts scare people away from driving cars, I take it...

  17. #17
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    people will never be scared of driving cars because everybody thinks they're a better driver than everybody else.... (plus it's just too much fun driving fast)
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  18. #18
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    Advocacy: the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal

    Here is a simple proposal, as to the best way to be an effective advocate for cycling. The goal is to increase the number of cyclists and to change the perception of cycling from a recreational activity to being a mainstream activity, such that anytime there is a political decision that relates to cycling the decision makers are cyclists, know cyclist, have constituents that are cyclists. It won’t be magic it won’t be overnight, but it will work.
    Normal people riding normal bikes doing normal things will make cycling normal (kinda like it is in most of the world)







    Last edited by closetbiker; 07-29-09 at 08:55 PM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilchymis View Post
    Much like seatbelts scare people away from driving cars, I take it...
    Do you really believe that this is a valid point, or are you just being snarky?

    Assuming this argument was made in good faith, I should point out that: (1) we don't need any incentives to getting people to use cars; (2) people tend to feel that they don't have alternatives to riding in cars and, most importantly, (3) studies have shown that mandatory helmet laws reduce cycling by 30%. Mandatory seat belt laws don't reduce driving at all.

    Leaving aside any discussion of the dubious utility of helmets, I just don't understand why, given the clearly demonstrated evidence that mandatory helmet laws reduce cycling dramatically, someone would suggest that we could *increase* the number of bikers by riding with helmets.

    And, as closetbiker pointed out, in places where cycling is an everyday part of life, helmet use tends to be very low. Without, somehow, there being a corresponding increase in the number of brain injuries.

    To increase the number of cyclists, the best thing to do would be to have a large number of cyclists out wearing normal clothing, taking normal trips, and doing normal errands by bike. Preferably even on upright bikes, where they can look people in the eye as they ride past.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bluegoatwoods's Avatar
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    I can't find anything to fault with your list. I do believe that there are a few situations where a bike should behave differently than a car, but for the most part I think that we can gain respect by interacting with them co-operatively. Though I can't offer proof, I'll assert that I'm treated pretty well by the motorists and that I think the reason is because I act as though they can trust me. Part of it, also, is my "look". I'm a blue jeans and T-shirt/sweatshirt rider. I make sure, though, that they're not faded and old looking. (They're so inexpensive that no one really needs to wear old ones, anyway) Unless it's high-noon I wear a reflective safety vest. I also (mostly) wear a helmet. I use hand signals and bodly language that makes my intent easy to see. The result (I think) is that I look like an everyday guy who is using a few items of clothing specific to this particular activity and who can be trusted to be level-headed. At least that's my aim. It seems to be working.

    If the motorists viewed all bicyclists as such, then I think we'd be better accepted.

    But I don't mean to say "You must do this!". But we could view it as a suggestion.

  21. #21
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    And, as closetbiker pointed out, in places where cycling is an everyday part of life, helmet use tends to be very low. Without, somehow, there being a corresponding increase in the number of brain injuries.
    Here isn't there, and there isn't here. If some people are scared off by helmets, then IMO it's a good thing because those people obviously have no business mixing with motorized traffic on our streets. They can stay on the MUP where it's "safe".
    Last edited by bkrownd; 07-30-09 at 02:12 AM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    isn't it in cycling advocacy's interest to foster an attitude that moves more towards the attitude they have there?
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  23. #23
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    ...drivers are the majority…..the only way to change is to get more cyclists out there….Ride and be counted


    our benefits are tied to the numbers of participants

    http://www.citeulike.org/user/mokgand/article/905719

    The likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies inversely with the amount of walking or bicycling. This pattern is consistent across communities of varying size, from specific intersections to cities and countries, and across time periods.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Sounds good to me.

    I think the biggest thing is to ride, and not be a jackass about it.
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  25. #25
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    #4 can actually be used to get someone riding. It's a sales technique: Give them something and they'll be guilted into giving back. To follow up you ask your neighbor, with the now fixed bicycle, to come along on an easy weekend ride. He may feel obliged to go because you fixed his bicycle without asking for anything. You can't say "I'll fix it if you ride with me." That doesn't work.

    In my opinion what bicycle advocacy is missing is advertisement. In a given day you probably see 2-3 automobile ads. Good, bad, offensive, or great they remind you: "Automobile, automobile." Everyone you know drives a car, and your neighbor just bought a new one. How many things say "bicycle" in your day? So, anything you can do to broadcast the word bicycle in a way that isn't negative is probably beneficial.

    You never know when you're gonna start someone thinking: "I need to get in shape, I'll ride to work!"

    A lot of what you mention works toward this. Just riding on roads does it to everyone that passes.

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