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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.

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Old 03-06-07, 01:46 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Most people here, mostly the people who you deride as "not knowing what the definition of VC is" has the above concept of a definition in mind. The agreements in this thread are reflective of that.
Well, that explains much of the disagreement, then. We're ultimately arguing about definitions then, not the pros and cons of a particular concept.

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The above definition also separates the distinctive characteristics of vehicular cycling from those characteristics which are simply under the perview of "safe, legal cycling." There is no need to encompass all aspects of "safe, legal cycling" in with vehicular cycling; this would make everyone claim to be a "vehicular cycling" (which I did not define), which is what happens here, and then endless fights over what "vehicular cycling" really means "to me...".
The above definition also separates the concept from the concept of vehicular cycling that I, Forester, Stephen, and many others advocate.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:48 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
sggoodrie:

Okay, I register your complaint. I am not interested if my working definition is "correct," or even if it is the way you see the term. I am not interested in debating the pros and cons of bike lanes or lack thereof. I am interested in if my definition is self-consistent, meaning there are no exceptions or caveats, and that it is narrow, i.e. doesn't cover the world.

I know, it hurts to have an ideological term upsurped and made more precise for the sake of those who don't agree with the ideology. But it is, for better or for worse, the term we use around here, and I am tired of it's lack of precision. It has previously been used in the sense of "what VC means for me...". It has formerly meant everything and nothing.

I am simply trying to tighten the meaning up so that it is not an all encompassing descriptor of safe, legal cycling. You want to keep it broad to suit your ideological goals. I'll keep that in mind when we have discussions together.
I find the most useful definition of vehicular cycling to be one that can be used to teach novice cyclists to ride with greater enjoyment, convenience, and safety. This requires that the definition be simple yet elegant enough to handle the widest possible array of real-world situations. "Destination positioning at intersections, speed positioning between intersections" is a much more elegant and useful description of effectively cycling within the vehicular rules of the road than what you propose.

My "ideology" as you put it, is to have useful descriptive tools for helping cyclists understand and enjoy cycling. I don't think it helps beginners for anyone to confuse the public by implying that vehicular cyclists, as a matter of principle, don't let drivers pass them in the same lane. Since novices don't want a lot of social friction with drivers, such an inference will likely cause them to be less interested in vehicular cycling and thus miss out on the advantages of driving a bike according to basic vehicular rules.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:53 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff

Examples of what is not within the working definition of vehicular cycling:

3) two step left turns.
If this is part of the definition you and others have in mind when discussion "vehicular cycling", it's no wonder we have so many disagreements!

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Originally Posted by John Forester
If no gap shows, go to the corner and use the crosswalk.
Effective Cycling, 6th Edition, p 312.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:57 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
The above definition also separates the concept from the concept of vehicular cycling that I, Forester, Stephen, and many others advocate.
One cannot advocate for terminology. I am not arguing about what your "concept" is or isn't. That is kind of for you to decide. I am simply trying to frame some language around a term, so that various points of view can have a conversation. So far, the "vehicular cyclists" have defined the term in various different ways (which tend to be all encompassing) to avoid conversation about broader cycling practices. The "this is what VC is to me..." tendency of this forum is reflective of that.

I am trying to remove the war over words from the discussion of ideas.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:57 PM   #30
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The League of American Bicyclists operates more classes on vehicular cycling than any other organization in North America. Let's see how they define the basic vehicular traffic principles for cyclists:

From http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/.../roadrules.php

Quote:
Traffic Principles
Ride on the right
Always ride with the flow of traffic
Do not ride on the sidewalk
Allow yourself room to maneuver around roadway hazards
Yield to traffic in busier lanes
Roads with higher traffic volumes should be given right-of-way
Always use signals to indicate your intentions to switch lanes
Look behind you to indicate your desire to move and to make sure that you can
Yield to traffic in destination lane
Traffic in your destination lane has the right-of-way
Making eye contact with drivers lets them know that you see them
Signal and make your lane change early, before you need to
Directional Positioning
Position yourself in the right-most lane that goes in the direction of your destination
Ride in the right third of the lane
Avoid being overtaken in narrow-lane situations by riding in the right third of the lane
Speed Positioning
Position yourself relative to the speed of other traffic
Left-most lane is for fastest moving traffic, right-most for slower traffic
Yield to faster moving vehicles by staying to the right in the lane
I think their "right third of the lane" rule is possibly a useful simplification for beginners because it provides enough room for same-lane passing in a wide lane but discourages same-lane passing in a narrow lane.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:05 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
I find the most useful definition of vehicular cycling to be one that can be used to teach novice cyclists to ride with greater enjoyment, convenience, and safety. This requires that the definition be simple yet elegant enough to handle the widest possible array of real-world situations. "Destination positioning at intersections, speed positioning between intersections" is a much more elegant and useful description of effectively cycling within the vehicular rules of the road than what you propose.

My "ideology" as you put it, is to have useful descriptive tools for helping cyclists understand and enjoy cycling. I don't think it helps beginners for anyone to confuse the public by implying that vehicular cyclists, as a matter of principle, don't let drivers pass them in the same lane. Since novices don't want a lot of social friction with drivers, such an inference will likely cause them to be less interested in vehicular cycling and thus miss out on the advantages of driving a bike according to basic vehicular rules.
I am not describing a "vehicular cyclist". I am describing "vehicular cycl[/i]ing[/i]".

We are not in disagreement. You are describing a program. I am describing a word. I'm sure your program is well put together; but if you are restricting the term "vehicular cycling" to only that of the title of your program, then it should probably never enter into the conversation on these forums. You see, it is too broad to be used in a conversation between self described "vehicular cyclists" and other cyclists on this forum.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:06 PM   #32
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More from the LAB web site:

Quote:
Lane Positioning

1. Ride on the right
Ride in the same direction as traffic; stay far enough away from curb to avoid hazards
Ride in the right third of the right-most lane that goes in the direction you are going
Take the entire lane if traveling the same speed as traffic or in a narrow lane

2. Visibility
Always ride in or near a travel lane; stay visible by riding where drivers are looking
Wear bright clothing at night as well as during the day
Do not pass on the right; motorists are not looking for other vehicles there

3. Parked cars
Ride in a straight line, not in and out of parked cars on the side of the road
Beware of cars merging into the roadway from a parallel parking position
Always ride far enough away from parked cars to avoid hitting a surprise open door

4. Take the lane
If there is insufficient road width for cyclists and cars
If traveling the same speed as other traffic or if hazards narrow the usable width
Before intersections and turns to assert your position on the roadway

5. Extra wide lanes
Do not ride completely to the right; you will be more visible 3-4 feet away from traffic
Right turning cars and cars entering will be more likely to see you before they turn
Be careful of motorists passing on the right around left-turning vehicles
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Old 03-06-07, 02:09 PM   #33
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^^^^
We are not beginners here. I am uninterested in talking about beginner's curriculum for a LAB course. What we tend to talk about here when we use the term is more akin to college level biology ("insect" = lots of stuff and categories with narrow definitions), not second grade natural science ("insect" = "bug").

I'd include all that stuff under the heading "safe, legal cycling."
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Old 03-06-07, 02:13 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
I am not describing a "vehicular cyclist". I am describing "vehicular cycl[/i]ing[/i]".

We are not in disagreement. You are describing a program. I am describing a word. I'm sure your program is well put together; but if you are restricting the term "vehicular cycling" to only that of the title of your program, then it should probably never enter into the conversation on these forums. You see, it is too broad to be used in a conversation between self described "vehicular cyclists" and other cyclists on this forum.
If you are attempting to assign vehicular cycling to a practice of never allowing another driver to pass within the same lane, then you are in disagreement with the common use of the term. This will only generate more confusion and resentment. Vehicular cycling is operating a bicycle according to the general rules of the road that apply to drivers of vehicles concerning positioning and yielding. There is room for debate within this definition on specific techniques, and for debate with individuals regarding their application of the term. There is no need to sabatoge the definition, unless someone has an ideological disagreement with the concept as it generally understood.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:13 PM   #35
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Okay, no more war of words. Critique if this definition is self consistent and can be used as a [/i]precise definition[/i]. I really don't care if any one person agrees with its "correctness" or not. I have some good indications, so I will start refering people to this definition when the term comes up in my own posts.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:15 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
One cannot advocate for terminology. I am not arguing about what your "concept" is or isn't. That is kind of for you to decide. I am simply trying to frame some language around a term, so that various points of view can have a conversation. So far, the "vehicular cyclists" have defined the term in various different ways (which tend to be all encompassing) to avoid conversation about broader cycling practices. The "this is what VC is to me..." tendency of this forum is reflective of that.

I am trying to remove the war over words from the discussion of ideas.
Then I strongly suggest you come up with a less loaded term to mean what it is that you want it to mean. Call it "Ratliff Cycling" and define it any way you want.

But to take a term for which there are already well recognized meanings, and defining it as something similar but different, is very confusing, to say the least.

It's a bit like defining abortion as the killing of any human less than 6 months old, and then suggesting we stick to that definition when debating whether abortion is moral or should be legal. Good luck.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:17 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
If you are attempting to assign vehicular cycling to a practice of never allowing another driver to pass within the same lane, then you are in disagreement with the common use of the term. This will only generate more confusion and resentment. Vehicular cycling is operating a bicycle according to the general rules of the road that apply to drivers of vehicles concerning positioning and yielding. There is room for debate within this definition on specific techniques, and for debate with individuals regarding their application of the term. There is no need to sabatoge the definition, unless someone has an ideological disagreement with the concept as it generally understood.
You are acting as if "vehicular cycling" is the only term which can be used to describe cycling techniques. I'd refer your situation of the need to share lanes as "lane sharing." I have no need to satisfy an ideological goal here. There is no "vehicular cyclist" in my worldview, except as applies to a school of ideology.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:20 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
You are acting as if "vehicular cycling" is the only term which can be used to describe cycling techniques. I'd refer your situation of the need to share lanes as "lane sharing." I have no need to satisfy an ideological goal here. There is no "vehicular cyclist" in my worldview, except as applies to a school of ideology.
LOL!

I was about to ask you why you chose to name the concept you defined in the OP to be "vehicular cycling". Apparently, you think "vehicular cycling" is the only term which can be used to describe cycling techniques.

Seriously, why not use something else?
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Old 03-06-07, 02:36 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
LOL!

I was about to ask you why you chose to name the concept you defined in the OP to be "vehicular cycling". Apparently, you think "vehicular cycling" is the only term which can be used to describe cycling techniques.

Seriously, why not use something else?
It's descriptive. I am trying to strip the term of its load. The alternative is to ban it from use as it is too broadly defined and, as you are indicating here, "already taken" by an ideological group who polices the definition.

In any case, I'll put you on notice, when I use the term, the sense I use it in is in the OP. I am not a "vehicular cyclist" so I am not bound by your language.

When I say I "I take the lane vehicularly" you'll know what I mean.

Or when I say "I approach the intersection vehicularly to turn right" the definition is precise.

When I say "When preparing for a left turn, change lanes but remain in lane sharing mode," people can be clear on what I am talking about.

See how much better that is... If you don't like what I am doing, treat the OP like a #define term at the top of each of my posts.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:37 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
You are acting as if "vehicular cycling" is the only term which can be used to describe cycling techniques. I'd refer your situation of the need to share lanes as "lane sharing." I have no need to satisfy an ideological goal here. There is no "vehicular cyclist" in my worldview, except as applies to a school of ideology.
I don't understand your point. Of course there are other useful terms for describing cycling - there is pedestrianized cycling, where the cyclist attempts to follow pedestrian rules. There is "road sneak" cycling, where cyclists attempt to operate only in those portions of the roadway that motorists aren't using and aren't likely to use.

Vehicular cycling is operating according to the basic vehicular principles that apply to drivers, including speed positioning between intersections and destination positioning at intersections. Debates over preferred technique within the scope of these generalized rules for drivers don't alter the basic definition.

-Steven Goodridge
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Old 03-06-07, 02:42 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff

When I say I "I take the lane vehicularly" you'll know what I mean.
How does one take the lane non-vehicularly? With my definition, taking the lane non-vehicularly means not looking and yielding to other traffic before moving laterally into the center of the lane. With your definition, there is no such thing as taking the lane non-vehicularly, because you equate vehicular cycling with taking the lane.

By contrast, I can share a lane vehicularly. I operate in a straight line on the right edge, and don't move left without first looking and yielding to other traffic. That's the part that makes it comply with the basic vehicular rules. And, it's the part that makes it safer than non-vehicular cycling all over the road willy-nilly.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:43 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
I don't understand your point. Of course there are other useful terms for describing cycling - there is pedestrianized cycling, where the cyclist attempts to follow pedestrian rules. There is "road sneak" cycling, where cyclists attempt to operate only in those portions of the roadway that motorists aren't using and aren't likely to use.

Vehicular cycling is operating according to the basic vehicular principles that apply to drivers, including speed positioning between intersections and destination positioning at intersections. Debates over preferred technique within the scope of these generalized rules for drivers don't alter the basic definition.

-Steven Goodridge
I've never heard those terms defined precisely before as well. Besides, they are all ideological terms. Not descriptive of a set of techniques. Not to mention that they are derogatory as well.

Actually, LOL, I've never heard anyone utter those two terms in such a serious way before and try to formalize their definitions.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:48 PM   #43
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By jove, sggoodrie, finally a critique worthy of something.

Yes, I am in error. "Taking the lane" is already defined as "vehicular". Now then, it is entirely possible to "change lanes non-vehicularly." I do this regularly, where I change lanes out of the bike lane, but lane share in the adjacent lane. Or, one can change lanes vehicularly, which is called, "taking the lane."
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Old 03-06-07, 02:49 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
It's descriptive. I am trying to strip the term of its load. The alternative is to ban it from use as it is too broadly defined and, as you are indicating here, "already taken" by an ideological group who polices the definition.

In any case, I'll put you on notice, when I use the term, the sense I use it in is in the OP. I am not a "vehicular cyclist" so I am not bound by your language.

When I say I "I take the lane vehicularly" you'll know what I mean.

Or when I say "I approach the intersection vehicularly to turn right" the definition is precise.

When I say "When preparing for a left turn, change lanes but remain in lane sharing mode," people can be clear on what I am talking about.

See how much better that is... If you don't like what I am doing, treat the OP like a #define term at the top of each of my posts.
Fine Brian.

By the way, I'm putting you on notice, from now on, I'm using these definitions.

I = you
you = I
I'm = you are
hate = understand
failing = trying
good = bad
bad = good
misinterpreting = accepting
imagine = hope
muddy = clear

-------------

You hate what I'm failing to do. Normally you are pretty bad at misinterpreting whatever meaning anyone intends for whatever term they use.

You imagine that's muddy.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:52 PM   #45
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Glad you understand, HH...
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Old 03-06-07, 03:33 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
But to take a term for which there are already well recognized meanings, and defining it as something similar but different, is very confusing, to say the least.
"well recognized meanings"? Yeah sure. Your meaning - which means whatever you want it to mean today. Tomorrow is another day, eh?
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Old 03-06-07, 04:15 PM   #47
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I think your definition sounds good. The definition surprised me, which is good. Expands my thinking. Thanks for the effort, although it looks like the usual suspects aren't going to let it fly.
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Old 03-06-07, 04:24 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
I've never heard those terms defined precisely before as well. Besides, they are all ideological terms. Not descriptive of a set of techniques. Not to mention that they are derogatory as well.

Actually, LOL, I've never heard anyone utter those two terms in such a serious way before and try to formalize their definitions.
You are confusing ideology with paradigm. Vehicular cycling is a paradigm - a model of traffic negotiation based on vehicular driving rules. Likewise, pedestrianized cycling is a paradigm - a model of traffic negotiation based on pedestrian rules. I submit that one could also consider a type of "adaptive cycling" as a paradigm that allows switching between vehicular and pedestrian paradigms as conditions change. One need not have an ideology that promotes one paradigm over the others; a skeptical thinker can objectively recognize the operational advantages and disadvantages of one paradigm compared to another in context.

Vehicular cycling is the operation of a bicycle according to the basic vehicular rules; the vehicular rules establish a traffic choreography that provides the tradeoff of convenience and safety that most reasonable, sober drivers find optimal. Vehicular cycling recognizes that the kinematic, dynamic, perceptual, and logistical challenges faced by bicyclists are similar to those of other drivers.

Vehicular cycling isn't about following the law whatever it states, because localities may have special bike laws that conflict with normal vehicular traffic negotiation. Vehicular cycling isn't about trying to apply all motor traffic regulations to bicycles, because some of these motor-specific regulations are more appropriate for only those vehicles that have extraordinary potential danger and require additional constraints. Lastly, vehicular cycling isn't about taking the lane. That is a technique available to the cyclist who chooses to cycle within the vehicular rules, but is often not necessary, and is not sufficient as a description of vehicular cycling.
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Old 03-06-07, 04:34 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
provided that the bike lanes are true lanes and not "bike lanes in name only", which in practice, basically results in bike lanes which are 5-6' wide, flow into intersections logically and vehicularly (either the RTOL merges into the bike lane, which sometimes results in a "bike lane to the left of the right turn only lane", or the bike lane merges into the next adjacent traffic lane at the intersection), are swept regularly
Interesting - according to this definition, there are no bike lanes in my town.
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Old 03-06-07, 04:42 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff (post #1)
Vehicular cycling is a group of techniques surrounding the adoption by a cyclist of destination positioning utilizing the full width of the roadway.
Brian, you've certainly defined something. However, it conflicts with the way the term "vehicular cycling" is generally used. Perhaps what you've defined would better be called 'destination cycling."

My understanding of what 'vehicular cycling' means is closer to what sggoodri describes:
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Originally Posted by sggoodri (post #12)
"destination positioning at intersections, speed positioning between intersections, yielding before moving laterally, and yielding before crossing or entering a more important road.
I don't know about the last part (I'm not sure which roads are more important). I might change "yielding before crossing or entering a more important road" to "obeying traffic controls at intersections".

I understand the desire to create a simple working definition. It's an interesting exercise.

And I understand the problem of equating "vehicular cycling" with "safe legal cycling" (because one could indeed ride safely and legally without rinding vehicularly or, conversely, ride vehicularly without riding legally or safely).

But the biggest issue seems to involve pavement marking. Sggoodri's definition deals with lane lines by discounting their importance in some circumstances (this is my understanding of "vehicular cycling"). To be consistent, Brian's definition uses lane lines to define a rule that cannot be violated. While that's more consistent, I don't think it can properly be called "vehicular cycling".
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