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Old 05-31-07, 01:10 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Cyclist-inferiorities: sub-concepts

The concept of cyclist inferiority is broad, and can be misleading. Many people conflate various forms of status and other psychological inferiorities, various forms of physical inferiorities and inequalities, and various forms of legal inferiorities and rights.

It could be clearer and more specific.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
The concept of cyclist inferiority is broad, and can be misleading. Many people conflate various forms of status and other psychological inferiorities, various forms of physical inferiorities and inequalities, and various forms of legal inferiorities and rights.

It could be clearer and more specific.
Is the following sufficiently clear and specific for you?

"The [cyclist-inferiority] hypothesis says that the roads are too dangerous for cyclists, they cannot operate safely as drivers of vehicles; therefore, so it says, special, safer facilities must be made for cyclists, so that they can ride safely to wherever they might wish to go". --John Forester, Bicycle Transportation, p. 1.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:20 PM   #3
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The problem is not cyclist inferiority... it is motorist superiority. The roads are just fine... it is all the darn drivers that think they own the road that messes things up.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:27 PM   #4
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The problem is not cyclist inferiority... it is motorist superiority. The roads are just fine... it is all the darn drivers that think they own the road that messes things up.
I don't understand the semantic obsession.

Con't cyclist inferiority and motorist superiority mean the same thing:

"On the road, cyclists are inferior to motorists; motorists are superior to cyclists".

Why does it matter whether you refer to that concept as "cyclist inferiority" or as "motorist superiority"?
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Old 05-31-07, 02:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
hypothesis
Nuff said.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I don't understand the semantic obsession.

Con't cyclist inferiority and motorist superiority mean the same thing:

"On the road, cyclists are inferior to motorists; motorists are superior to cyclists".

Why does it matter whether you refer to that concept as "cyclist inferiority" or as "motorist superiority"?
Because it not an issue of cyclists being inferior, it IS an issue of motorists feeling superior. If there was no percieved motorist "ownership" of the road, then there would be no cyclist inferiority.

While they may mean nearly the same thing... it is a perspective based issue. Motorists pushed cyclists off the road and invented facilities for cyclists... cyclists did not voluntarily leave the road and then decide Bike Lanes et al were a better solution.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:45 PM   #7
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Why does it matter whether you refer to that concept as "cyclist inferiority" or as "motorist superiority"?
I think genec is referring to motorist-exhibited "cyclist inferiority/motorist superiority" as opposed to cyclist-exhibited "cylclist inferiority/motorist superiority". These two things are not the same.

Is a cyclist who behaves as if he has more right to the road then a driver exhibited cyclist superiority, by the way?
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Old 05-31-07, 02:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Is the following sufficiently clear and specific for you?

"The [cyclist-inferiority] hypothesis says that the roads are too dangerous for cyclists, they cannot operate safely as drivers of vehicles; therefore, so it says, special, safer facilities must be made for cyclists, so that they can ride safely to wherever they might wish to go". --John Forester, Bicycle Transportation, p. 1.
That's better, but the term still has common-usage connotations that go beyond that, and often lead to misunderstandings, confusions, ambiguities, wrong conclusions, etc.

Also, the term "the roads" is too vague and broad.

Which roads? When? All segments or some segments? Under what conditions?

Some roads and conditions are definitely unsafe for cyclists. Others are not.

The term "cyclists" is also misleadingly broad. Some cyclists are fine with roads and conditions that are very unsafe for other cyclists.

***
This brings out another point: there are people who are riding bikes who are not the most together people in the world. Some are developmentally disabled or challenged. There is a wide spectrum (or something like a bell curve if you prefer).

Simpler, more forgiving environments make more sense for some people.

***
Another aspect is that there is a possible confusion of some with all. (One example, "...the roads are too dangerous for cyclists, they cannot operate safely as drivers of vehicles...." Under some conditions it may be true. 'All roads' at all times -- no.)

***
"...therefore, so it says, special, safer facilities must be made for cyclists, so that they can ride safely to wherever they might wish to go."

"Wherever" is too broad. This issue could also be more specific and clear.

***
Also, 'inferior in safety', in certain respects (during many sorts of collisions for example), has some validity.

***
"Too dangerous" -- perhaps; it depends on a variety of factors, including acceptable levels of risk or danger. (This could also be more clear and specific.)

***
"Cannot operate safely" is also broad and ambiguous.

***
If the basic overall point is that bikes do not belong on the roads (any of the roads? some of the roads? most of the roads? a few of the roads? at any time? under certain conditions or all conditions?......) because they are not safe there, then another term, besides inferiority or inferiority phobia, would probably be clearer.
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Old 05-31-07, 02:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Is the following sufficiently clear and specific for you?

"The [cyclist-inferiority] hypothesis says that the roads are too dangerous for cyclists, they cannot operate safely as drivers of vehicles; therefore, so it says, special, safer facilities must be made for cyclists, so that they can ride safely to wherever they might wish to go". --John Forester, Bicycle Transportation, p. 1.

"Roads" is a very broad term. Not every road is "too dangerous" for cyclists; not every road is "safe" for cyclists. There are an almost infinite number of variables of traffic patterns, road design, terrain, upkeep, access, policing, facilities, etc. What does "too dangerous"? What is an accepted level of danger.

The problem is each person has a different comfort zone and rides in a different area with different conditions. It is impossibile and intellectually dishonest to paint with such a broad brush and try and group every cyclist in one of two categories.
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Old 05-31-07, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I don't understand the semantic obsession.

Con't cyclist inferiority and motorist superiority mean the same thing:

"On the road, cyclists are inferior to motorists; motorists are superior to cyclists".

Why does it matter whether you refer to that concept as "cyclist inferiority" or as "motorist superiority"?
"Superior" can have multiple meanings.

Cars are superior in a variety of ways.

Cyclists are absolutely equal in other, also important ways.

And bikes are superior in certain ways.

***
Isn't the main issue safety?

Are cyclists equally safe (on the road)?

It depends on so many factors that a broad generalization can be very misleading.

***
There are other aspects of superiority that also matter: attitudes of superiority, assumptions of legal superiority, actual legal superiority, assumptions related to belonging or not belonging ('I belong here too' would be an interesting message for some drivers), unexamined comparative thinking that conflates certain physical inequalities (or superiorities) with other sorts of inequalities or superiorities -- something like the fallacy of authority (it could be seen as a fallacy of transfered superiority (from one area of superiority to another, or to overall superiority)) (this actually seems to happen with many drivers).
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Old 05-31-07, 03:15 PM   #11
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Paul Theroux has done quite a bit of cycling, and has written about this sort of thing (motorists' superiority attitudes). He has looked at it in terms of 'pecking order'.

Some of these attitudes (or feelings and actions based on superiority-sense and pecking order) may be sub-rational animal inheritance. We still have something called a reptilian brain that operates from deep beneath the cortex, and probably surfaces with some of these attitudes.

Dominance and dominance hierarchies are part of many animal packs and herds.

I think human beings can often go beyond this sort of thing, but it can take some re-education and self-examination, and some extension of awareness.

Last edited by Niles H.; 05-31-07 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 05-31-07, 05:26 PM   #12
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I don't think the concept needs to be clarified. The purpose of it is to brow-beat people who don't agree with John Forester. That's ALL it means.
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Old 05-31-07, 06:43 PM   #13
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I don't think the concept needs to be clarified. The purpose of it is to brow-beat people who don't agree with John Forester. That's ALL it means.
Exactly. It is all about Forester and his acolytes' delusions of grandeur about their cycling skills, knowledge and experience as well their intellectual superiority over all non true believers on all cycling issues.

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Old 05-31-07, 07:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I don't understand the semantic obsession.

Con't cyclist inferiority and motorist superiority mean the same thing:

"On the road, cyclists are inferior to motorists; motorists are superior to cyclists".

Why does it matter whether you refer to that concept as "cyclist inferiority" or as "motorist superiority"?
Well, I'm fairly certain that when that pickup truck honked and started to come into the lane I had taken, I HAD to move over, or possibly die. If another cyclist had been doing it, I wouldn't have been as immediately concerned.
There's the difference Gene might be referring to.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by skanking biker
"Roads" is a very broad term. Not every road is "too dangerous" for cyclists; not every road is "safe" for cyclists. There are an almost infinite number of variables of traffic patterns, road design, terrain, upkeep, access, policing, facilities, etc. What does "too dangerous"? What is an accepted level of danger.

The problem is each person has a different comfort zone and rides in a different area with different conditions. It is impossibile and intellectually dishonest to paint with such a broad brush and try and group every cyclist in one of two categories.
You are not discussing the real issue. That is, given the roads and traffic that we have, is vehicular cycling or cyclist-inferiority cycling the better way of cycling.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:11 PM   #16
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I don't think the concept needs to be clarified. The purpose of it is to brow-beat people who don't agree with John Forester. That's ALL it means.
Not at all. The purpose is to describe your views as accurately as possible.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:18 PM   #17
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I think I see the issue here, and it's a perception of what is actually being said......

What is being said isn't that cyclists feel inferior, what's being said is cyclists aren't considered to be worthy to be on the road at all by many motorists and legislators. If I'm wrong, well, I'm wrong, but that's what I think this whole argument is about.

Some individuals think John is implying THEY are inferior and what he's actually saying is that we are being forced into an inferior position legally on the road.

Frankly, barring me from the road and forcing me onto "facilities" would put a serious cramp in my cycling activities, considering I'm a bike tourist! I'm not against facilities, if they are equal quality to the road for my purposes, but that's totally impractical, unless the taxpayers want to foot the bill for a complete national "Bike road" network that would allow me to ride , say, from San Diego to Maine, or where ever else I want to go by bike.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:21 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Is the following sufficiently clear and specific for you?

"The [cyclist-inferiority] hypothesis says that the roads are too dangerous for cyclists, they cannot operate safely as drivers of vehicles; therefore, so it says, special, safer facilities must be made for cyclists, so that they can ride safely to wherever they might wish to go". --John Forester, Bicycle Transportation, p. 1.
What nonsense.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:59 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
I think I see the issue here, and it's a perception of what is actually being said......

What is being said isn't that cyclists feel inferior, what's being said is cyclists aren't considered to be worthy to be on the road at all by many motorists and legislators. If I'm wrong, well, I'm wrong, but that's what I think this whole argument is about.

Some individuals think John is implying THEY are inferior and what he's actually saying is that we are being forced into an inferior position legally on the road.

Frankly, barring me from the road and forcing me onto "facilities" would put a serious cramp in my cycling activities, considering I'm a bike tourist! I'm not against facilities, if they are equal quality to the road for my purposes, but that's totally impractical, unless the taxpayers want to foot the bill for a complete national "Bike road" network that would allow me to ride , say, from San Diego to Maine, or where ever else I want to go by bike.
If anyone who has read anything that Forester has ever written comes away with thinking that Forester contends that cyclists are inferior, that's frightening.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe

Frankly, barring me from the road and forcing me onto "facilities" would put a serious cramp in my cycling activities, considering I'm a bike tourist! I'm not against facilities, if they are equal quality to the road for my purposes, but that's totally impractical, unless the taxpayers want to foot the bill for a complete national "Bike road" network that would allow me to ride , say, from San Diego to Maine, or where ever else I want to go by bike.
Frankly, you have bought into the Forester Straw Man Argument; hook, line and sinker. Congratulations!
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Old 05-31-07, 10:01 PM   #21
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Frankly, you have bought into the Forester Straw Man Argument; hook, line and sinker. Congratulations!
No, logic and reason has lead him to the same realization.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:05 PM   #22
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Frankly, barring me from the road and forcing me onto "facilities" would put a serious cramp in my cycling activities,
It would put a bit of a damper on randonneuring events too!!
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Old 05-31-07, 10:08 PM   #23
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No, logic and reason has lead him to the same realization.
Another fish hooked by the wormy Forester fantasies.
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Old 05-31-07, 10:20 PM   #24
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Frankly, you have bought into the Forester Straw Man Argument; hook, line and sinker. Congratulations!
ILTB, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here.
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Old 06-01-07, 01:28 AM   #25
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Another fish hooked by the wormy Forester fantasies.
Right. Because his bait is so irresistable.
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