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  1. #76
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Good, because I can show you a bike path I regularly ride at speeds approaching 20MPH and higher... and hardly find it suicidal at all.
    Sure ... I don't mean to over generalize since there are sections of the MUPs around here where you can go pretty quick in a safe manner. Of course, that is also dependent on traffic.

  2. #77
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes

    Being afraid of traffic from the rear is not a phobia. It's a natural fear born out of our experiences driving and walking. Everybody knows drivers are crazy and it's only natural not to want to mix it up with them. Most people who are fearful won't even use a bike lane.
    Diane did you read my post... Debunking Forester

    I honestly believe that we are taught the cyclist inferiority phobia in our youth.

  3. #78
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    You know, until I got to this thread I'd honestly never heard of this Forester person, and after reading his site, I'm a bit perplexed as to why he warrants any attention at all. He's full of himself, imperious even; I'm surprised he doesn't speak of himself in the third person. How anyone can even take him seriously at all is beyond me. (I won't address his writing style, which is so pompous it would be a parody if he didn't take himself and his subject so deadly seriously.) I can well imagine that people involved in local government listen politely to him while they secretly wish he'd simply go away. Me, I'm going to ride my bike, on regular streets, in bike lanes if they're there, and even on MUPs. It doesn't matter; the main goal should be that people accept bikes as a legitimate form of transport for adults. All the rest of this stuff is just arguments between bicylcists who need to, you know, get out of the house more.. (including me)
    Last edited by bragi; 02-22-07 at 10:59 PM.
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  4. #79
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    I rode on an MUP today. I didn't even almost get nearly killed. I rode in a bike lane. I didn't have any close calls in the bike lane. I took the lane (right tire track) and was buzzed 3 times.

    That debunks it all for me.

    Or were my +20 shades of Alpha-Dog Stare not working?

    EDIT: I used the bike lane when there was one, I took the lane when no bike lane was present. I took the MUP when it was convienent (i.e. on my way to my destination).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  5. #80
    Bent Ryder Sandwarrior's Avatar
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    I am just wondering how many of the posters in the is thread ride the streets, and how many of you are conscious of being hit from behind? I would call that a survival instinct and not a phobia, defensive riding even. I have ridden the streets, and I have been hit from behind. I don't ride the streets anymore (well main thorough fares anyway). I guess I am a very sick puppy I do commute to work, but luckily have a MUP for most of the trip. In my opinion, my fear is based on the driver attitudes in Aurora and my inability to maintain 20+ Mph on the streets. The drivers I have encountered here are simply rude. They suffer from what I call the "me first" attitude. I have been run off the road, stuff thrown at me, verbally abused, intimidated and all of this while I was riding "VC" on my DF. Cagers DO need to be better educated, but what is wrong with trying to make the road cycling experience safer (i.e. BLs)? Am I out in left field here? It seems to me that Mr. Forrester is advocating an academy to train cyclists how to "properly" ride the streets. If we don't graduated from his school we are not allowed to ride a bicycle at all.
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  6. #81
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I ride everywhere in the city- drove to work one day last year- have been riding vehicularily and transportationally for a couple of decades, and have been hit in the lane from behind, by a taxidriver who was on his cell phone.

    I ride everywhere I need to go, i ride vehicularily without need for facilities, and find facilities enhance bikeable communities. I'm a vehicular cyclist that knows how to use a bike lane!

    i think john forester scowls out his car window as he drives past transportational bicyclists on wal mart bikes in blue jeans riding helmetless to work, giving 'serious high mileage' road cyclists a pockmark.

    i think there is the need to facilitate bicycling for the greatest good, not the elitist predications of the chestbeaters- some of the 'foresterites' that post in here DO drive a lot more than they bike, sandwarrior.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  7. #82
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre
    Bullcrap.

    Equinophobia, as far as I can tell, is a fear of horses. Not a fear of riding horses.
    Thanks for the correction. It changes almost nothing. Instead of, "If someone is diagnosed with fearing horseback riding, then he suffers from equinophobia, by definition", my assertion becomes, "If someone is diagnosed with fearing horses, then he suffers from equinophobia, by definition." Big deal. That slight slip warrants a "bullcrap"? Give me a break.

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    P.S. I agree that the self-test of bike paths is poor evidence
    The self-test is poor evidence of what? That OJ did it? Yes, it's poor evidence of that.

    Remember, all Forester was trying to show was that cycling at road speeds on an urban sidepath (nothing like the long intersection-free sections of your 20 mph bike highway, Gene) is significantly dangerous. He asserts that it is so dangerous that nobody is even willing to put it to a test. He tried, and nearly killed himself. Now, here we are, years later, his assertion stands. Seems like pretty good evidence of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandwarrior
    I would call that a survival instinct and not a phobia, defensive riding even.
    You say seat, I say saddle.

    Let's keep things in perspective. This whole thing is much ado about nothing, a semantic argument about the meaning of "phobia" at best.

    Even if you go by the DSM, it's not exactly clear what is a phobia, and what is not. Forester tried his best to explain why he thought it was a phobia per the DSM criteria. Diane was the only one who challenged his reasoning, and then really on a semantic point again (the meaning of anxiety). Let's remember that psychology is a soft science to begin with, and that what gets in or stays out of the DSM and "defined" to be a "mental disorder" is often determined by politics as much as "science". See criticism.


    I think we can all agree with invisiblehand when he says:

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    I have a difficult time criticizing the article from an educated standpoint other than Mr. Forester seems to be stretching it.
    But "seems to be stretching it" is hardly debunking. Nor does it justify, "How anyone can even take him seriously at all is beyond me.".

    I take my 7 year old daughter seriously, as I did when she was 3. I take everyone seriously (including Bek, ILTB and Diane) because everyone deserves to be taken seriously, and their words should always be evaluated as objectively as possible, interpreted in the context in which they were written or said. It doesn't matter who says them. I'm sure Albert Einstein uttered complete nonsense from time to time, and the unabomber actually made some sense here and there.

    Words should be evaluated, credited or debunked, not people.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 02-22-07 at 01:39 AM.

  8. #83
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Words should be evaluated, credited or debunked, not people.
    Nobody is posting pictures of John Forester. Or talking about his mother. It is his words that are being debunked; they debunk themselves for anyone who can read and think logically. Again, the zealous ones think their words, parables and mantras (Oh, The Wages of Sin!) are sacred and choose to take personally all debunking and ridicule of their foolish and outlandish statements. And no one here is going to write a 600 page treatise analyzing every phrase and parable of Forester's books to find a phrase or two that makes sense; there is enough word crap available on his web site to repudiate/debunk any thought of taking this character seriously.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Thanks for the correction. It changes almost nothing. Instead of, "If someone is diagnosed with fearing horseback riding, then he suffers from equinophobia, by definition", my assertion becomes, "If someone is diagnosed with fearing horses, then he suffers from equinophobia, by definition." Big deal. That slight slip warrants a "bullcrap"? Give me a break.

    You say seat, I say saddle.
    A phobia is an irrational fear, not a rational one.
    Being involved in an automobile accident, happens how many times a day and in various forms?? Now to have a fear of that is irrational?? Give ME a break!

    Tell me Serge, have you ever had someone literally stomp the ever loving hell out of you? I mean beat you until you couldn't breathe on your own? Well then, when 15 people with ballbats invade your home and tell you to not move or they are going to beat you, and you do exactly what they say, is that ball_bat_phobia, or getting_my_ass_kicked_phobia?? No, that's a rational fear.
    You call it phobia, THE REST OF US call it what it really is.
    Take a look at a dictionary sometime.

  10. #85
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head

    Remember, all Forester was trying to show was that cycling at road speeds on an urban sidepath (nothing like the long intersection-free sections of your 20 mph bike highway, Gene) is significantly dangerous. He asserts that it is so dangerous that nobody is even willing to put it to a test. He tried, and nearly killed himself. Now, here we are, years later, his assertion stands. Seems like pretty good evidence of that.
    Thanks for acknowledging our local bike hiway... as short as it is.

    I agree that a true sidepath can be quite an iffy situation... certainly one I would not chose to use "at speed." However, I do note with some distain that most of the local commuting cyclists in the Clairemont area chose to use sidewalks for their routes. They tend to move at about twice walking speed... 6-8MPH.

    Does nothing to enhance the image of road using cyclists... believe me.

  11. #86
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandwarrior
    I am just wondering how many of the posters in the is thread ride the streets, and how many of you are conscious of being hit from behind? I would call that a survival instinct and not a phobia, defensive riding even. I have ridden the streets, and I have been hit from behind. I don't ride the streets anymore (well main thorough fares anyway). I guess I am a very sick puppy I do commute to work, but luckily have a MUP for most of the trip. In my opinion, my fear is based on the driver attitudes in Aurora and my inability to maintain 20+ Mph on the streets. The drivers I have encountered here are simply rude. They suffer from what I call the "me first" attitude. I have been run off the road, stuff thrown at me, verbally abused, intimidated and all of this while I was riding "VC" on my DF. Cagers DO need to be better educated, but what is wrong with trying to make the road cycling experience safer (i.e. BLs)? Am I out in left field here? It seems to me that Mr. Forrester is advocating an academy to train cyclists how to "properly" ride the streets. If we don't graduated from his school we are not allowed to ride a bicycle at all.
    Seems to me, that the best way to avoid a rear-end collision is to have a mirror, that is properly aimed, and to know how to use it. If you see the car coming up behind you, you have two options, one is to try and get the drivers attention, to get them to slow down, move over, whatever. The second option is to bail, that could involve turning into a driveway or another street, to remove yourself from the situation.

    I also think that mirrors help with being buzzed, it's not the closeness, but that your not aware of the vehicle until it is late in the situation. You can avoid nearly all instances of buzzing by riding slightly more from the curb, then you would like to be passed by, you then have the option of moving right, into that space, if someone is about to pass too close. The real key, is that you know that they are there, you can avoid them, in most cases.

  12. #87
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    I am not sure if he is ofr or against BL's, for or against MUP's, for or against better drivers education to teach how to behave around a cyclist or for or against Complete Streets. Hell JF may not even know about the Complete Streets campaign.

    Can someone clear this up for me in the simplest terms possible? Please keep it to one paragraph. I just need to know the basics here.
    This is what Forester’s is for/against to the best of my understanding:
    BL – Mostly against but he does have statement something to the effect “ride as if there was no stripe.” This statement along with JF being for WOL leaves me the impression he is for extra width for cyclists (read as supportive to some degree of optional segregation for cyclists.)
    MUP – Against: generally the engineering of MUP’s are inferior to standard accepted practices of vehicular traffic engineering.
    Driver Education – Against: Same roads, same rules; motorists are already taught the rules but not cyclists (generally speaking.)
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  13. #88
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    there's NO PROBLEM with the 'bike highways' around here!

    Pshaw! I think john forester rode once on a sidepath, and was 'stacking the deck' against them, so to speak.

    john forester has facilti-phobia.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  14. #89
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Diane did you read my post... Debunking Forester

    I honestly believe that we are taught the cyclist inferiority phobia in our youth.
    I did read that and probably it is true for a lot of people. But that was not my experience, nor was it the experience of anybody I grew up with. We learned to ride at 5 years old and then we were free to go wherever we wanted (within reason, the circle getting larger as we got older). Even as a 5 year old girl I was free to go wherever I wanted unsupervised. The only message about cars was beware the drivers that slow down and offer you candy.

    Times have changed I guess. It's not that it was less dangerous back then, believe me because I have stories. I think people are just more fearful.

    Fear of bicycling was never my experience ever. Heck, I would get MAD when cars would drive a wide circle around me when I was a kid because I felt it said something about them not having faith in my abilities.

    As for HH's comment about debunking the man vs. the words, I guess he never wrote any papers in college. We always referred to the man's work by his name.
    ~Diane
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  15. #90
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Awww, c'mon Diane. Do you really believe that JF does not want more cyclists?

    I am no Forester scholar, but I get the sense that he is passionate about cycling, wants people to cycle as safely as possible, and wants more people to cycle. If I understand his argument, roughly speaking, he wants to demonstrate how safe cycling can be such that more people will cycle.

    I don't think he is right about everything. But I believe that he is genuine.
    By the way Diane, I feel strange referring to you by name but not giving my own. Sort of rude. If I never wrote it before, my name is Geof.

  16. #91
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Awww, c'mon Diane. Do you really believe that JF does not want more cyclists?
    Hmmm ... well ... in light of some subsequent posts, it looks like I am more wrong than right with respect to my statement directed at Diane.

    I still believe that he has good intentions. And I think he has some good ideas--I am about half through the "lane positioning"/"how to avoid accidents" discussion. Perhaps the best way to describe my thoughts is that I am disappointed with his methods.

  17. #92
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Well, Geof, Chip has noted many times that Forester didn't invent VC because cyclists already were riding that way. He merely described it. Then he layered over it all sorts of paranoid and grandiose theories of quasi-psychological nonsense. And, as ILTB points out, spread a layer of frosting made up of phony "statistics" and fake "studies" on top.

    He's said a number of times (Forester, that is) that he's not interested in increasing the number of cyclists out there. If anything, is all for decreasing their numbers and limiting them to high-mileage recreational cyclists who have been trained by his courses.

    This is the frame of reference which informs some of the more rabid VCers on this forum.

    I for one would prefer the plebes of the world get out of their cars and onto their bikes and start doing something positive for their own health, the health of their communities and the environment, but I'm just a tree-hugging liberal who hates America so what do I know?
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  18. #93
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I honestly believe that we are taught the cyclist inferiority phobia in our youth.
    I did read that and probably it is true for a lot of people.
    Like I said, this is all much ado about nothing. Here, Diane acknowledges regarding the essence of the particular Forester piece that she cited in the OP: probably [being taught the cyclist inferiority phobia in our youth] is true for a lot of people. That is Forester's only point in that piece: that the cyclist-inferiority phobia does exist. She apparently agrees. So what is all this "debunking" really about? How is it debunking of what Forester said in the piece cited in the OP at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrosseyedCrickt
    A phobia is an irrational fear, not a rational one.
    Agreed. And Forester's hypothesis is that many people's fear of being hit from the rear while bicycling is irrational, comparable to the fear many have of, for example, flying in airplanes.

    Being involved in an automobile accident, happens how many times a day and in various forms?? Now to have a fear of that is irrational?? Give ME a break!
    Being concerned about being involved in a crash, and taking appropriate measures as a result is one thing. But refusing to participate in the activity at all - in this case riding a bike in traffic - given the high unlikelihood of the feared crash occuring, is irrational, just as fearing flying is irrational, despite the non-zero likelihood of any plane falling out of the sky.

    But we can argue about criteria that determines whether something is "irrational" or not all day, another semantic argument (much ado about nothing). Forester showed why he believes the fear is a phobia based on DSM criteria. If you have an issue with his reasoning, then address that. Diane already acknowledged it (which goes to show that she's more interesting in vilifying Forester so that his arguments about bike lanes are "debunked" by association rather than debunking this particular piece).

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Words should be evaluated, credited or debunked, not people.
    Nobody is posting pictures of John Forester. Or talking about his mother. It is his words that are being debunked; they debunk themselves for anyone who can read and think logically.
    But the purpose of the particular words that are posted are not to debunk any particular position of Forester, it is an attempt to vilify Forester, so that the words of his which you cannot debunk are "debunked" by association, just because they happen to come from the same vilified source.

    Yes, he is an arrogant curmudgeon. Yes, he uses hyperbole. But no one takes his words as gospel (disgree? then why don't you have any examples of anyone doing that?), and of course, no one should. There is no need to make that point, over and over. No one's words should be taken as gospel. Heck, many people argue that gospel should not be taken as gospel. But Forester's words certainly should not be.

    Again, the zealous ones think their words, parables and mantras (Oh, The Wages of Sin!) are sacred and choose to take personally all debunking and ridicule of their foolish and outlandish statements.
    No one thinks anything that Forester says is "sacred". He, like anyone else who has posted a fraction of what Forester has posted on the internet, has said many foolish and outlandish things. So what? More attempts to vilify again.

    And no one here is going to write a 600 page treatise analyzing every phrase and parable of Forester's books to find a phrase or two that makes sense; there is enough word crap available on his web site to repudiate/debunk any thought of taking this character seriously.
    There you go again attempting to vilify the person ("this character"), and using hyperbole no less, as if there is only a phrase or two that makes sense in all of his 600 page book.. What you are attempting to do is discredit everything Forester has ever said, simply because he is an arrogant curmudgeon who has made his fair share of foolish and silly posts, regardless of whether it makes sense or not.

    You are and have been a member of several lists he has been on, for years, and you cherry pick those posts of his (out of thousands of posts) that illustrate his arrogance and curmudgeonness, just so you can whip them out in an attempt to vilify him, because you cannot debunk much of what he has written about the issues with which you disgree most strongly.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 02-22-07 at 10:32 AM.

  19. #94
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Perhaps the best way to describe my thoughts is that I am disappointed with his methods.
    Aren't we all?

    But what folks like Diane and ILTB try to do is leverage the fact that Forester uses "disappointing methods" to make his points in an attempt to discredit every point he has ever made by association, so that they don't have to debunk those points with which they disagree most strongly, and cannot debunk.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 02-22-07 at 10:35 AM.

  20. #95
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleHand
    P.S. I agree that the self-test of bike paths is poor evidence
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    The self-test is poor evidence of what? That OJ did it? Yes, it's poor evidence of that.

    Remember, all Forester was trying to show was that cycling at road speeds on an urban sidepath (nothing like the long intersection-free sections of your 20 mph bike highway, Gene) is significantly dangerous. He asserts that it is so dangerous that nobody is even willing to put it to a test. He tried, and nearly killed himself. Now, here we are, years later, his assertion stands. Seems like pretty good evidence of that.
    Well ... I seem to recall that Forester claims that this is scientific evidence--and defends it as such--of how dangerous bikepaths are with respect to roads. I also recall that he uses the experiment to come up with a "back of the envelope" estimate of the increase in danger. From the standpoint of the scientific method and a laboratory test with strong controls, his test is poor evidence. But as an anecdotal example to describe an idea, I think that it is fine.

    Mind you, just like I think that Forester's test is poor evidence, I think Genec and Diane's statements are poor evidence that bikepaths are safe at high velocity. It is difficult to tell through a webpage how skilled they are, their physical abilities, the qualities of their respective bike paths, and so on. It just is not scientific evidence.

    This does not imply that these statements have no value nor information. It just leads me to believe that the qualities of the bikepaths and roads are an important factor in their relative risk. (I will assume that neither Forester, Diane, or Genec are superbeings and that they are relatively skilled riders)

  21. #96
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    As for HH's comment about debunking the man vs. the words, I guess he never wrote any papers in college. We always referred to the man's work by his name.
    Ok fine. Then what you (and ILTB) are attempting to do, it seems to me, by making fun of the manner or style in which Forester often makes many of his points (being a curmudgeon, using hyperbole, etc.) is to debunk the entirety of the man's life work by association, instead of addressing, and taking seriously (despite his manner and style), the essence of what he writes.

    In short, you disagree with some of his most controversial conclusions, and you avoid addressing the evidence (data + reasoning) he gives for reaching those conclusions by arguing that none of what he writes is to be taken seriously. You want others to just ignore him (and by him, I mean his work), so you can just ignore it too. That, my friend, is the essence of ignorance.

    In contrast, note the approach invisiblehand is taking, with his periodic reports on the progress he is making in his quest to actually pay attention and try to understand what Forester is saying. Exactly what you avoid, and what you and ILTB encourage others to avoid.

  22. #97
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Well ... I seem to recall that Forester claims that this is scientific evidence--and defends it as such--of how dangerous bikepaths are with respect to roads. I also recall that he uses the experiment to come up with a "back of the envelope" estimate of the increase in danger. From the standpoint of the scientific method and a laboratory test with strong controls, his test is poor evidence. But as an anecdotal example to describe an idea, I think that it is fine.

    Mind you, just like I think that Forester's test is poor evidence, I think Genec and Diane's statements are poor evidence that bikepaths are safe at high velocity. It is difficult to tell through a webpage how skilled they are, their physical abilities, the qualities of their respective bike paths, and so on. It just is not scientific evidence.

    This does not imply that these statements have no value nor information. It just leads me to believe that the qualities of the bikepaths and roads are an important factor in their relative risk. (I will assume that neither Forester, Diane, or Genec are superbeings and that they are relatively skilled riders)
    Fair enough.

  23. #98
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Helmet Head


    Yes, he is an arrogant curmudgeon. Yes, he uses hyperbole.
    YES, Mr. head, and he is not the only one, so to speak.

    admitting john forester is an arrogant curmedgeon and uses hyperbole is the first step towards recovery.

    the first step towards moving beyond vehicular dogma. you use bike lanes to your advantage, dontchya? (you don't have to anwser that with an essay, either)
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  24. #99
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Actually HH, there are instances of looking at Mr. Forester's presentation style, but the bulk of the comments are regarding what he writes about. Like the issue of describing a general concern a "phobia" and his use of medical terminology which is not recognized by the medical field. Or the issue of his lack of enthusiasm for increasing the number of people who bicycle and his focus on the "skilled, high mileage cyclists" to the excusion and, in fact, to the dis-benefit of lesser skilled cyclists who could benefit from transportational cycling.

    These are all fair topics to pursue. JF has written about these topics and others publicly, so they are fair game for critical analysis. In fact, I doubt very much, given what I know about his personality, that he appreciates your dilution of his ideas. He will want one to take his words at face value and he will fight the hard fight. As much as people disagree with him, the world needs people like him. Not to be leaders (there's not a snowball's chance in hell that he could lead a bicycle or bicyclist advocacy group - in fact, he's tried before and failed), but to define the boundaries of the problem.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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    Just because someone is an arrogant curmugeon who uses a lot of hyperbole to make his points does not mean that his work should not be taken seriously.

    No one's words should be taken as a gospel. Everyone's words should be read accordingly: interpret words objectively, assume good faith, apply healthy skepticism.

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