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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 03-19-07, 02:01 PM   #26
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Revision 1.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Brian's "working definition" thread has helped me come up with a slightly different presentation of what vehicular cycling means to me. I'm open to comments, questions and suggestions...

The vehicular rules of the road, or the vrotr, are the rules of the road according to which drivers operate their vehicles on roadways, as opposed to the pedestrian rules of the road, which pedestrians follow.

The undocumented vrotr according to which drivers actually operate should not be confused with the documented legal vehicle code to which drivers must technically adhere in order to avoid getting a citation. There is a lot of overlap, of course, but they are not one and the same. Few drivers have ever even glanced at a vehicle code, much less studied every vehicle code for every jurisdiction in which they have driven. Instead, the vrotr that each driver follows are learned by most drivers through a combination of experience, common sense, driver training, and reviewing (skimming) the driver's manual every 4-8 years. Therefore each driver has his own personal undocumented informal idea of what the vrotr are, but the main principles are understood by all (keep to the right, obey the speed limit, obey traffic controls, slower traffic keeps right, etc., etc.).

The vehicular rules of the road encompass the rules of the road that govern drivers of slow moving vehicles as well.

Vehicular Cycling (VC) is a set of practices, techniques and skills used to ride a bicycle on roadways in accordance to the vehicular rules of the road, including the vehicular rules of the road that govern drivers of slow moving vehicles. It is distinguished from traffic cycling practices that are blatantly in conflict with the vrotr.

Basic VC (BVC) is the collection of VC techniques, skills and practices most experienced cyclists already use, but most novices need to learn, such as:

* Ride on the right half of the road, with vehicular traffic.
* Obey traffic control.
* Use hand signals before turning.
* Use lights/reflectors at night.
* Use speed positioning between intersections, including riding in the margins.
* Use destination positioning at intersections and their approaches.
* Turning left by waiting for a gap before merging left.
* Etc.

Advanced VC (AVC) is the collection of VC techniques, skills and practices few experienced cyclists already utilize, at least not consistently, and almost all novices have not learned, such as:

* Using negotiation to create gaps.
* Merging left one lane at a time.
* Signaling using look backs.
* Being able to look back for more than a fraction of a second without riding off course.
* Using assertive "centerish" lane positioning to discourage lane sharing/squeezing when the lane is too narrow to be safely shared.
* Using assertive "centerish" lane positioning to improve sight lines and conspicuity when safe and reasonable to do so.
* Recognizing when traffic behind needs a hint about what to do, and providing it appropriately and effectively.
* Recognizing when and where bike lanes are okay to use, and when they should be avoided.
* Etc.

Is this useful or helpful? Confusing?

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
I'm going to revise the definitions provided in the OP by incorporating some of the suggestions in this thread.
In particular, i think I need to move away from the "in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road" because so many people seem to insist on interpreting that as "following the letter of the law".

This post will serve to preserve "Revision 1.0".
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Old 03-19-07, 03:23 PM   #27
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What's the point of this thread (other than for HH to control the debate and pontificate)?

There's already a perfectly adequate definition of Vehicular Cycling on Wikipedia (including references, footnotes, and a bibliography...and, lacking an "axe to grind" ).

This thread might make sense if HH had some professional bona fides in the subject area (e.g., a PhD in traffic management, experience as a state or regional cycling coordinator, board member of LAB, etc.)...but, clearly he doesn't.

In the absence of qualifications, and with a perfectly acceptable definition already available, I recommend locking this thread, or changing the title to "Helmet Head's VC Definitions".
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Old 03-19-07, 11:14 PM   #28
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Published Definitions of Vehicular Cycling

http://www.johnforester.com/Articles/bikebooks.htm
Traffic operates according to rational principles (five being most important), and the traffic laws for drivers of vehicles follow these principles. Cyclists who operate in accordance with the traffic laws for drivers of vehicles (which is what the law requires) encounter few problems and have a low accident rate. This is the vehicular-cycling principle: "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles."

http://www.johnforester.com/
Vehicular cycling, so named because you are acting as the driver of a vehicle, just as the traffic laws require, is faster and more enjoyable....

http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/vehicular.pdf
The term 'Vehicular Cycling' comes from America, but the phenomenon that it describes is intrinsically British. It describes the style of cycling whereby cyclists ride as part of the general traffic mix, enjoying the same rights as the drivers of other vehicles and accepting the same responsibilities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicular_cycling
Vehicular cycling, or VC, is the practice of driving bicycles on roads in a manner which is visible, predictable, and in accordance with the principles for driving a vehicle in traffic.

http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl...cs1/page6.html
Bicycle Driving, A.K.A. Vehicular Cycling - A bicycle driver follows the vehicular Rules of the Road in order to safely and efficiently take advantage of the convenience of facilities designed for vehicular travel. The bicycle driver knows that she is an equal user of the roadway, and acts like it, cooperating with other drivers and asserting herself where necessary. Cycling down a street with wide lanes, she uses the right side of the lane to allow overtaking vehicles to pass easily, then looks behind to merge with traffic when approaching an intersection, and smoothly moves into the middle of the left turn lane in preparation for a left turn. She patiently awaits a green light before proceeding, looking carefully for other road users whose paths may conflict with hers as she turns. The bicycle driver cycles down a side street taking care to stay four feet away from parked cars in order to avoid being doored. On a street with lanes that are too narrow to safely share side-by side with a motorist, she drives in the middle of the lane to provide herself room to maneuver and to avoid being squeezed off the road. When traveling straight through an intersection, she uses the through lane, never the right-turn lane, and does not pass on the right side of other drivers who might turn right. On narrow two-lane roads with heavy traffic in each direction, she occasionally pulls off the road to disperse traffic if and when it backs up behind her. When cycling at night, she equips her bicycle with a white headlight in front and a bright red reflector, and perhaps a red light, on the back.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:19 PM   #29
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and a vehicular cyclist will use a bike lane when safe and reasonable to do so!

...funny that the definition provided by bicycle transport about 'bicycle driving' DOESN'T describe bicycling on a road with a bike lane stripe....

and on roads with lanes classed for specific types of vehicles, a bike follows the rules of the road for that stretch of roadway. sometimes using a right turn only lane for proceeding straight thru an intersection, IF the lane is classed for "Right turns only, except buses and bicycles"
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Old 03-19-07, 11:48 PM   #30
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...very interesting.....

Steve Goodridge and Bruce Rosar are both 'founding members' of the north carolina 'bicycle driving' coalition that is responsible for the bicycle transport.org clabberworks. interesting. public knowledge, not often mentioned in bike forums....
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Old 03-20-07, 08:17 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
...very interesting.....

Steve Goodridge and Bruce Rosar are both 'founding members' of the north carolina 'bicycle driving' coalition that is responsible for the bicycle transport.org clabberworks. interesting. public knowledge, not often mentioned in bike forums....
What's more, I took Bruce Rosar's LAB Road 1 course several years ago (he's an LCI) and at the end of this week I'm taking a seminar to become an LCI myself. Bruce and I are members and officers of the same bike club, and we both like to participate with one another in casual rides with family and beginning cyclists as well as century rides.
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Old 03-20-07, 10:43 AM   #32
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steve, your definitions of vehicular cycling on your bicycle driving website are incomplete and innaccurate. see my post #29.
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Old 03-20-07, 11:15 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
What's more, I took Bruce Rosar's LAB Road 1 course several years ago (he's an LCI) and at the end of this week I'm taking a seminar to become an LCI myself. Bruce and I are members and officers of the same bike club, and we both like to participate with one another in casual rides with family and beginning cyclists as well as century rides.
Bruce may be the greatest guy on Earth; and may be the smartest, bestest bicycling instructor anywhere. In fact I'm sure he's a good guy. But, some of the stuff he writes though, especially his unique interpretations and applications of Constitutional Law IRT to bike lanes; wheh, something else!
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Old 03-21-07, 11:52 AM   #34
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I added this Strict VC section to the OP:
Strict VC is strict adherence to VC while riding a bicycle. It means never riding on sidewalks, never doing a 2-step left turn, never taking a short cut through a parking lot, never mountain biking, never rolling a stop (a.k.a California Stop), never riding on bike paths, etc. There are no known adherents or proponents of Strict VC, though some VC contrarians have been known to mischaracterize VC advocates as such.
Comments? Suggestions?
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Old 03-21-07, 11:55 AM   #35
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I removed the following paragraph from the OP, because it seemed to cause more confusion than anything else:


The undocumented vrotr according to which drivers actually operate should not be confused with the documented legal vehicle code to which drivers must technically adhere in order to avoid getting a citation. There is a lot of overlap, of course, but they are not one and the same. Few drivers have ever even glanced at a vehicle code, much less studied every vehicle code for every jurisdiction in which they have driven. Instead, the vrotr that each driver follows are learned by most drivers through a combination of experience, common sense, driver training, and reviewing (skimming) the driver's manual every 4-8 years. Therefore each driver has his own personal undocumented informal idea of what the vrotr are, but the main principles are understood by all (keep to the right, obey the speed limit, obey traffic controls, slower traffic keeps right, etc., etc.).
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Old 03-21-07, 11:59 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
There are no known adherents or proponents of Strict VC, though some VC contrarians have been known to mischaracterize VC advocates as such.

Comments? Suggestions?
I'm offering a $100 reward to anyone who can identify a Strict VC adherent, to the satisfaction of a consensus of participants in this thread.
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Old 03-21-07, 12:22 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Bruce may be the greatest guy on Earth; and may be the smartest, bestest bicycling instructor anywhere. In fact I'm sure he's a good guy. But, some of the stuff he writes though, especially his unique interpretations and applications of Constitutional Law IRT to bike lanes; wheh, something else!
Honestly, I don't follow everything he writes, but Bruce is the one who introduced me to the comparison of the "vehicular cycling" paradigm to the "pedestrian on wheels" paradigm. The explicit identification of these paradigms, and the resulting analysis of how people (cyclists, police, transportation engineers, lawmakers) act depending on which one they are using, was a great revelation to me. All my prior experiences with cycling on roads versus sidewalks, and my observations of others behavior, suddenly made a lot more sense. This is why I think these models are useful for discussion about cycling.
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Old 03-21-07, 12:28 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I added this Strict VC section to the OP:
Strict VC is strict adherence to VC while riding a bicycle. It means never riding on sidewalks, never doing a 2-step left turn, never taking a short cut through a parking lot, never mountain biking, never rolling a stop (a.k.a California Stop), never riding on bike paths, etc. There are no known adherents or proponents of Strict VC, though some VC contrarians have been known to mischaracterize VC advocates as such.
Comments? Suggestions?
Why bother? As has been pointed out above, there are already a number of other, generally accepted definitions of VC available on the internet. The one on Wikipedia has been vetted by its community of editors, and the others are by generally acknowledged authorities on the subject.

Why should we care about your definition when those other definitions are readily available and much more authoritative than yours?
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Old 03-21-07, 12:29 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
This is why I think these models are useful for discussion about cycling.
Models are useful for discussion, sure, I agree. But Bruce's constant repetition of his unique interpretations of law IRT to bicycling as if his interpretations were derived from sacred tablets of stone are not discussion. IMO, more like chanting mantra.
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Old 03-21-07, 12:30 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
steve, your definitions of vehicular cycling on your bicycle driving website are incomplete and innaccurate. see my post #29.
There aren't enough well-designed bike lanes in all of North Carolina to bother mentioning them in a single page devoted to explaining safer and more efficient cycling on the roads we have. Other issues like staying out of the door zone, using the proper part of the roadway at junctions, and using lights at night are more important to highlight.

Using a striped bike lane when it is free of debris and routed reasonably belongs somewhere between paying for ferry rides and being careful not to get chain grease on other patrons when bringing a folding bike on a bus.
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Old 03-21-07, 12:34 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Models are useful for discussion, sure, I agree. But Bruce's constant repetition of his unique interpretations of law IRT to bicycling as if his interpretations were derived from sacred tablets of stone are not discussion. IMO, more like chanting mantra.
Well, at least you aren't accusing us of all thinking and talking the same way....
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Old 03-21-07, 12:58 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by SSP
Why bother? As has been pointed out above, there are already a number of other, generally accepted definitions of VC available on the internet. The one on Wikipedia has been vetted by its community of editors, and the others are by generally acknowledged authorities on the subject.

Why should we care about your definition when those other definitions are readily available and much more authoritative than yours?
I can't even begin to tell you why this cracks me up so much. Maybe I will in a PM.

I think it's helpful to differentiate between "basic" and "advanced" VC. The other definitions tend to mix them all up. More importantly, when people write about VC, sometimes them mean basic VC, sometimes they mean basic+advance, sometimes they mean just advanced. If we achieve acceptance for these clarified terms, perhaps they will be adopted in wider circles.

Besides that, the term "strict VC", has been bandied about here lately, and I think it's useful to use it to differentiate between real and imagined VC advocates.
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Old 03-21-07, 01:05 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I can't even begin to tell you why this cracks me up so much. Maybe I will in a PM.

I think it's helpful to differentiate between "basic" and "advanced" VC. The other definitions tend to mix them all up. More importantly, when people write about VC, sometimes them mean basic VC, sometimes they mean basic+advance, sometimes they mean just advanced. If we achieve acceptance for these clarified terms, perhaps they will be adopted in wider circles.

Besides that, the term "strict VC", has been bandied about here lately, and I think it's useful to use it to differentiate between real and imagined VC advocates.
Oh...I get it. You want to split hairs and pontificate on a subject in which you have no acknowledged qualifications. OK, then.
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Old 03-21-07, 01:14 PM   #44
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Oh...I get it. You want to split hairs and pontificate on a subject in which you have no acknowledged qualifications. OK, then.
Most terms are created by folks who have no acknowledged qualifications. Those that catch on, catch on. Those that don't, don't.

I happen to believe that people use the term VC rather loosely in various contexts, meaning different things with the same term depending on the context. Because the same term is used, there is often confusion. I believe some of this might be alleviated if we adopted more specific terms (basic vc, advanced vc, strict vc) with more specific meanings. We'll see. For now, I'm going to use these new terms (and I didn't even come up with "strict vc"), and will refer anyone who asks about what I mean to the OP of this thread.
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Old 03-21-07, 01:18 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head

Basic VC (BVC) is the collection of VC techniques, skills and practices most experienced cyclists already use, but
...
* Recognize that door zones should be avoided.


Advanced VC (AVC) is the collection of VC techniques, skills and practices few experienced cyclists already utilize, at least not consistently, and almost all novices have not learned, such as:
...
* Avoiding door zones by habitually riding at least five feet from the edge of parked vehicles.
I forgot to mention that I added these two points about door zones under BVC and AVC.

Without mentioning any specific members, I've seen some who describe their riding as vc, and acknowledge the door zone, but don't seem to fully appreciate it. That difference is what I tried to capture above.

Comments? Questions?
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Old 03-21-07, 01:27 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I can't even begin to tell you why this cracks me up so much. Maybe I will in a PM.
I can see why, since you contributed to the wiki definitions, as just about anyone else can. Indeed, why are you so concerned with drafing a definition here...don't they let you contribute to the wiki anymore?
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Old 03-21-07, 01:35 PM   #47
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Again, what I'm defining here are new terms with specific meaning that are not widely accepted. Such cutting edge terms and definitions would belong in Wikipedia only if they gained wide acceptance. Whether they have the utility to achieve wide acceptance is still to be determined.

The reason I believe they have utility is because of ambiguity in meaning of "vehicular cycling", and how often it is interpreted, for example, to mean what I define in the OP as "advanced vc" when what is really intended is "basic vc", vice versa, and etc.
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Old 03-21-07, 02:39 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I forgot to mention that I added these two points about door zones under BVC and AVC.

Without mentioning any specific members, I've seen some who describe their riding as vc, and acknowledge the door zone, but don't seem to fully appreciate it. That difference is what I tried to capture above.

Comments? Questions?
I think it's as important as acknowledging the difference between 1. riding the same direction as traffic and 2. riding in a lane controlling position in the same direction as traffic. It's "advanced" because even a new cyclist should be easily convinced that it's better to ride with traffic and similarly easily convinced that car doors opening in your path are a hazard to be concerned about, but it will be more difficult, and sometimes impossible without actual on-road experience, to get them to see the benefit of the advanced techniques.
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Old 03-21-07, 04:24 PM   #49
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I think it's as important as acknowledging the difference between 1. riding the same direction as traffic and 2. riding in a lane controlling position in the same direction as traffic. It's "advanced" because even a new cyclist should be easily convinced that it's better to ride with traffic and similarly easily convinced that car doors opening in your path are a hazard to be concerned about, but it will be more difficult, and sometimes impossible without actual on-road experience, to get them to see the benefit of the advanced techniques.
Scary. Sometimes your posts make ME wonder if we're socketpuppets of the same person.

Seriously, my tendency is to fault the way I write for others' inability to get what I mean, but that flies in the face of your ability to almost always understand anything I write so quickly and accurately.

How are you at grokking Unix man pages?

Last edited by Helmet Head; 03-21-07 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 03-21-07, 05:52 PM   #50
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How are you at grokking Unix man pages?
Not sure where your link was supposed to point to but I learned a new word looking at the Wikipedia article. I'd say I'm about as good at grokking Unix man pages as you are at 3D modelling (unless you have another mechanical engineering job).
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