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Vehicular Cycling (VC) No other subject has polarized the A&S members like VC has. Here's a place to share, debate, and educate.

View Poll Results: Has learning/applying VC made cycling in traffic safer for you?
Yes, I'm safer now that I've learned VC from studying EC. 13 26.53%
Yes, I'm safer now that I've learned VC from taking courses. 7 14.29%
No, I've learned VC but am not any safer. 7 14.29%
N/A. Have not read the book(s) or taken the course(s). 22 44.90%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-05-07, 05:20 PM   #1
Helmet Head
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Has learning VC made cycling in traffic safer for you?

This is only for folks who have read/studied/applied Effective Cycling, Cyclecraft and/or taken EC, LAB or CAN-BIKE courses, and feel they learned vehicular cycling from that effort.


Has learning and applying VC made cycling in traffic safer for you?
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Old 03-05-07, 07:12 PM   #2
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I wonder how many people, of those riding on a regular basis (whatever that may be) studied written material or attended courses of any kind? I know I did not, and ride every day.

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Old 03-05-07, 07:45 PM   #3
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good question, Ed.
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Old 03-05-07, 07:51 PM   #4
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The only courses on bicycling that I've ever taken were at the School of Hard Knocks, and I'm still enrolled at this fine academic facility.
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Old 03-05-07, 07:58 PM   #5
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Most of VC is common sense and vigilance. Its primary benefit is to point out the dangers inherent in curb hugging and other old-school practices.
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Old 03-05-07, 08:22 PM   #6
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I didn't learn VC from the EC book or a John Forester-approved course but I did learn it from other cyclists. And it did help to learn how to make a proper left turn and be more assertive, but we also would ride on the quieter streets instead of the main ones, and used bike lanes when they were available.

In other words, I was taught some common sense stuff, but not the dogma. You don't have an option for that in your poll.
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Old 03-05-07, 08:59 PM   #7
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I voted "Yes I'm safer" because after reading EC I understand better what content is practical, based on my experience, and what content is hogwash and, at best, a factor dividing the cycling community and, at worst, dangerous to cycling and cyclists.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:40 PM   #8
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I learned enough through experiece to teach the class I took. While I readily admit that there were students in the class that did improve, frankly the classes taught me very little.

On the other hand, I found Hurst to be a good read and Forester was worst then trying to read a bad tech manual.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:14 PM   #9
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Taking a bicycling course is a bit like taking a snow shoeing course: Yes, you could learn something by taking the class, but you could learn as much just by doing it yourself, and about as quickly, since the content is fairly self-evident. Riding a bicyle safely in traffic isn't exactly rocket science. (I'm not trying to disparage vc/ec courses; I merely feel that such courses are unnecessary for most people.)
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Old 03-05-07, 11:18 PM   #10
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I've learned the "VC" method of cycling from roaming around the internet and finding proponents of it on various pro-utility/commuter cycling websites. It seemed common sense enough to me to the point where I felt that reading Effective Cycling, attending a LAB course, or any other qualification Helmet Head requires in this thread to be, well...superfluous

Besides, it only took one 3 mile ride to figure it all out, ON MY OWN, with a little bit of assistance from the tips given by said internet websites.

I've only been harassed once (told to get on the sidewalk), and honked at about 4 times (although I must admit that 1 of those times was mostly my own fault...the rest were typical JAM/Cager types). I guess that's a pretty good average when you consider that it happened over the course of about 18 months.

I stay to the right, take the lane if it gets too narrow, signal my turns, stops, etc. What I found on the internet was basically that sort of stuff, and I generally ride a modified version of VC which is basically this: I ride the way the law dictates. I'll make changes to anything that seems too "rigid" if that's what it takes to ensure my safety. Since California vehicle code doesn't seem to have any conflict that I can see with VC principles. Of course, I haven't read EC, nor have I taken a LAB course, nor...well, you know.

With all of that said, yes, it's made me safer, if by safer, you mean it made me feel safer and more confident in negotiating the streets with automotive traffic. Without it, I'd probably still be moseying on the sidewalk or staying on the bike paths around here.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi
Taking a bicycling course is a bit like taking a snow shoeing course: Yes, you could learn something by taking the class, but you could learn as much just by doing it yourself, and about as quickly, since the content is fairly self-evident. Riding a bicyle safely in traffic isn't exactly rocket science. (I'm not trying to disparage vc/ec courses; I merely feel that such courses are unnecessary for most people.)
Just curious, have you taken such a course?
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Old 03-05-07, 11:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by genec
I learned enough through experiece to teach the class I took. While I readily admit that there were students in the class that did improve, frankly the classes taught me very little.
Some people are just unteachable.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:42 PM   #13
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I read all the books in our local library on cycling when I was a kid-brainiac-

It STILL took me 30 years of riding to figure out the "tickle fingers" worked better than pointing the "finger of clearance."
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Old 03-06-07, 12:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Just curious, have you taken such a course?
Well, I started to. I wanted to go on a road ride with a local outdoorsy club, and you have to take a bicycle safety course before they'll let you, this being the land of liability, so I went. By the second class, I realized that I knew much more than necessary to pass their test, so I just stopped going.

I don't have a car, and ride my bike virtually everywhere I go, so I have quite a bit of experience riding in traffic. It took me only a few days of riding among cars to figure out the basics of VC, and since then, I haven't had any serious safety problems. I really do think that, for anyone with average intelligence, it's analogous to learning to use use snow shoes: get on the bike and ride.
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Old 03-06-07, 07:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I learned enough through experiece to teach the class I took. While I readily admit that there were students in the class that did improve, frankly the classes taught me very little.

On the other hand, I found Hurst to be a good read and Forester was worst then trying to read a bad tech manual.

Gotta agree, Robert's book was not only a much better read, but full of more common-sense, real-world content.
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Old 03-06-07, 12:15 PM   #16
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Gotta agree, Robert's book was not only a much better read, but full of more common-sense, real-world content.
You guys are referring to this book?:
The Art of Cycling: A Guide to Bicycling in 21st-Century America

It does not exist in my entire regional library system. Kind of sad

O well, I will do my part for advocacy today and request the local library buy a copy.
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Old 03-06-07, 12:22 PM   #17
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It might be under the title: "The art of urban cycling"

The second edition dropped the word "urban" from the title. Mr. Hurst can give more details. Perhaps he could donate a copy to your library ?...
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Old 03-06-07, 12:37 PM   #18
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It might be under the title: "The art of urban cycling"

The second edition dropped the word "urban" from the title. Mr. Hurst can give more details. Perhaps he could donate a copy to your library ?...
Thanks, but no luck on that one either. I requested the library buy it and a response with their decision. I am happy to have someone (me or the library) pay Mr. Hurst for his time in writing the book especially since so many recommend it, but thanks for the ideas.
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Old 03-06-07, 12:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
Most of VC is common sense and vigilance. Its primary benefit is to point out the dangers inherent in curb hugging and other old-school practices.
That's how it helped me. When I learned my first job was to take as much lane as I needed as a legitimate user of the road, I discovered I wasn't being squeezed into the gutter. Human hamburger is not on the menu anymore.

Also, I found out that I felt much safer, probably because I didn't have so many scary encounters. Go figure--the main reason I hugged the curb was to protect myself, but I ended up putting myself at greater risk. It's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy: cycling in traffic is dangerous, so I stay out of the danger by hugging the curb; cars squeeze me, proving cycling is dangerous...
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Old 03-06-07, 01:04 PM   #20
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Thanks, but no luck on that one either. I requested the library buy it and a response with their decision. I am happy to have someone (me or the library) pay Mr. Hurst for his time in writing the book especially since so many recommend it, but thanks for the ideas.
If you have no luck with the library, you can borrow my copy for as long as needed. I thought it was a good read and I might have found it as eye-opening as Effective Cycling if I had read it first.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:12 PM   #21
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That's how it helped me. When I learned my first job was to take as much lane as I needed as a legitimate user of the road, I discovered I wasn't being squeezed into the gutter. Human hamburger is not on the menu anymore.

Also, I found out that I felt much safer, probably because I didn't have so many scary encounters. Go figure--the main reason I hugged the curb was to protect myself, but I ended up putting myself at greater risk. It's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy: cycling in traffic is dangerous, so I stay out of the danger by hugging the curb; cars squeeze me, proving cycling is dangerous...
Yep. When I hug the curb, I get buzzed constantly. When I take the lane, I still get buzzed, but a lot less
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Old 03-06-07, 09:55 PM   #22
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Some people are just unteachable.
Funny, I have a Bachelors degree that says I somehow managed to learn something. Not to mention that I make a good living by learning how to use complex CAD software tools.

Nope, I think you're barking up the wrong tree here sport.
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Old 03-07-07, 01:29 AM   #23
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When I take the lane, I still get buzzed, but a lot less
I get buzzed less too, plus I've got a lot more room in which to slalom around the big pavement defects that infest some of the roads here.
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Old 03-07-07, 05:34 AM   #24
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Some people are just unteachable.
And some can't teach; or have nothing of value to offer that anyone wants taught to them by a self appointed, self assigned "teacher."

BTW, how many students have you taught as a League Cycling Instructor? Any organization sign you up yet to be their representative for teaching cycling to anybody?
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Old 03-07-07, 08:16 AM   #25
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Some people are just unteachable.
I thought he was just kidding.
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