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Old 06-06-07, 09:18 AM   #1
Bekologist
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practical VC advocacy for the 21st century

Well, now that foresterite driven VC is collapsing like an post-collision airbag, with admittances from the rabid VCists that "ANYTHING GOES", I've started this thread to discuss what the 21st century vehicular cyclist advocacy platform should consist of.

Now, John, we are well aware of what your 20th century "I fought the inferiority and the inferiority won" advocacy platform is, so if you'd please butt out with your tired, quixotic prattle. this is intended to be a discussion between forward thinking, forward looking vehicular cyclists.

My ideas for an effective vehicular cycling advocacy platform for the 21st century include:

1)fight mandatory sidepath mandatory use laws. don't fight bike path infrastructure, fight mandatory use laws.

2) major national driver education program about bicyclists use and right to the roads.

3) 'cars yield to bikes' laws codified in state traffic code.

4)continue the work to get kids riding to schools across the country.

5)work to encourage bike racks in front of all businesses.

6)bike commuter tax breaks as part of combatting carbon emissions.

7)on road bike infrastructure where appropriate; make communities more bikeable by more people by the use of bike specific, on road infrastructure. (remember, vehicular bicyclists can ride vehicularily in bike lanes!)

8) stiffen penalties for distracted driving- fix the "broken window" syndrome of drivers breaking traffic laws with impunity. rolling stops by drivers onto superior arterials are a concern for bicyclists for example.

9)adopt a policy similar to motorcycling's ABATE- work to make stiffer penalties for bicycling/auto accidents a court case, versus little or no punishment for drivers who "didn't see" the bicyclist they hit.

10) stop the blanket damnification of bike infrastructure.


The NEW paradigm of VC: ANYTHING GOES! so these are my ideas for 21st century "VC" bike advocacy.
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Old 06-06-07, 09:21 AM   #2
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tax breaks/incentives for businesses to provide space/racks for bikes, showers, lockers, etc to encourage cycling to work. a program that pays cyclists a certain amount every month for cycling to work instead of driving. (some places already do this)
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Old 06-06-07, 09:50 AM   #3
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Something close to my heart, in terms of desires as a cyclist....

Hold local road works authorities and municipal utilities to pavment and street-repair standards wich will allow not just safe automobile but also safe bike travel.
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Old 06-06-07, 09:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
Well, now that foresterite driven VC is collapsing like an post-collision airbag, with admittances from the rabid VCists that "ANYTHING GOES", I've started this thread to discuss what the 21st century vehicular cyclist advocacy platform should consist of.

Now, John, we are well aware of what your 20th century "I fought the inferiority and the inferiority won" advocacy platform is, so if you'd please butt out with your tired, quixotic prattle. this is intended to be a discussion between forward thinking, forward looking vehicular cyclists.

My ideas for an effective vehicular cycling advocacy platform for the 21st century include:

1)fight mandatory sidepath mandatory use laws. don't fight bike path infrastructure, fight mandatory use laws.

2) major national driver education program about bicyclists use and right to the roads.

3) 'cars yield to bikes' laws codified in state traffic code.

4)continue the work to get kids riding to schools across the country.

5)work to encourage bike racks in front of all businesses.

6)bike commuter tax breaks as part of combatting carbon emissions.

7)on road bike infrastructure where appropriate; make communities more bikeable by more people by the use of bike specific, on road infrastructure. (remember, vehicular bicyclists can ride vehicularily in bike lanes!)

8) stiffen penalties for distracted driving- fix the "broken window" syndrome of drivers breaking traffic laws with impunity. rolling stops by drivers onto superior arterials are a concern for bicyclists for example.

9)adopt a policy similar to motorcycling's ABATE- work to make stiffer penalties for bicycling/auto accidents a court case, versus little or no punishment for drivers who "didn't see" the bicyclist they hit.

10) stop the blanket damnification of bike infrastructure.


The NEW paradigm of VC: ANYTHING GOES! so these are my ideas for 21st century "VC" bike advocacy.

Some of these items contradict others, are based on contradictory views of how to use the roads. That will make it difficult to carry the good because of being contradicted by the bad.

Nation-wide motorist education about cyclists' right to use the roads. Good, but how is this reconciled with the bike-lane program?

"'[C]ars yield to bikes' laws codified in state traffic code." This conflicts with the previous item, because it contradicts cyclists' normal rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. And what do you think would be the reaction of the motoring establishment to giving cyclists rights that override the normal traffic law? Get them off the roads completely!

"[C]ontinue the work to get kids riding to schools across the country." Since this work consists nearly entirely in persuading parents that bikeways make cycling safe for untrained children, this is counterproductive to the item about cyclists' rights as drivers of vehicles.

Bike-lane promotion. Again, this contradicts the item about cyclists' rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. It matters not to already vehicular cyclists, but it militates against improving the skills of those persuaded that skills don't matter.

And, of course, stop the arguments against bike-lane stripes and sidepaths.

The promotion of facilities that are based on contradicting the rules of the road is counter to the long-term interest of cyclists in improving the skills of the cycling population and improving the social status and legal equality of cyclists.
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Old 06-06-07, 09:56 AM   #5
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john - your tired spiel is soooo last century.

vehicular cyclists can ride vehicularily in bike lanes, dude. You do.
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Old 06-06-07, 10:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
john - your tired spiel is soooo last century.

vehicular cyclists can ride vehicularily in bike lanes, dude. You do.
You have never provided an explanation of why this is relevant. It is irrelevant to the discussion of the theories of traffic operation.
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Old 06-06-07, 11:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by John Forester
Some of these items contradict others, are based on contradictory views of how to use the roads. That will make it difficult to carry the good because of being contradicted by the bad.

Nation-wide motorist education about cyclists' right to use the roads. Good, but how is this reconciled with the bike-lane program?

"'[C]ars yield to bikes' laws codified in state traffic code." This conflicts with the previous item, because it contradicts cyclists' normal rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. And what do you think would be the reaction of the motoring establishment to giving cyclists rights that override the normal traffic law? Get them off the roads completely!

"[C]ontinue the work to get kids riding to schools across the country." Since this work consists nearly entirely in persuading parents that bikeways make cycling safe for untrained children, this is counterproductive to the item about cyclists' rights as drivers of vehicles.

Bike-lane promotion. Again, this contradicts the item about cyclists' rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. It matters not to already vehicular cyclists, but it militates against improving the skills of those persuaded that skills don't matter.

And, of course, stop the arguments against bike-lane stripes and sidepaths.

The promotion of facilities that are based on contradicting the rules of the road is counter to the long-term interest of cyclists in improving the skills of the cycling population and improving the social status and legal equality of cyclists.

John, if these ideas are so contridictory, why do they work in places like Germany and France (where the "flat" model of Holland geography is NOT in existance?)

Specifically I am speaking of BL, and laws that give "weight" to cyclists over motorists in the event of a collision.... much like our laws give "weight" to pedestrians with regard to ROW.

Note also that more motorist education is required to obtain a German driving license... In fact America offers one of the easiest auto license paths of the industrialized nations.

I cannot offer specific evidence to support my claims, only anecdotal, based on a member of BF here that lives part time in France and part time in Southern California. Also though the web, one can find out how difficult it is to obtain a driver's license in other countries. I do however have colleagues in China and Australia that have commented on the ease of obtaining a license here in the US.

Now regarding the reaction of motorists toward cyclists... in that I tend to agree... motorists here believe they own the road... however, as the price of fuel escalates, we may find that mood shifting in the future.
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Old 06-06-07, 01:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by genec
John, if these ideas are so contridictory, why do they work in places like Germany and France (where the "flat" model of Holland geography is NOT in existance?)

Specifically I am speaking of BL, and laws that give "weight" to cyclists over motorists in the event of a collision.... much like our laws give "weight" to pedestrians with regard to ROW.

Note also that more motorist education is required to obtain a German driving license... In fact America offers one of the easiest auto license paths of the industrialized nations.

I cannot offer specific evidence to support my claims, only anecdotal, based on a member of BF here that lives part time in France and part time in Southern California. Also though the web, one can find out how difficult it is to obtain a driver's license in other countries. I do however have colleagues in China and Australia that have commented on the ease of obtaining a license here in the US.

Now regarding the reaction of motorists toward cyclists... in that I tend to agree... motorists here believe they own the road... however, as the price of fuel escalates, we may find that mood shifting in the future.
These are reasonable questions, but I think that they also start with considerable bias. To start with the easy part. It is certainly much easier to obtain a motoring license in the USA than it is in many other places, particularly European nations. However, for decades, and perhaps still, the USA was among the lower casualty rate nations. I don't see evidence that motoring in this nation is significantly more dangerous than it is in other nations. Of course, car-bike collisions are a different matter than general motoring safety.

You ask: "John, if these ideas are so contridictory, why do they work in places like Germany and France (where the "flat" model of Holland geography is NOT in existance?)

Specifically I am speaking of BL, and laws that give "weight" to cyclists over motorists in the event of a collision.... much like our laws give "weight" to pedestrians with regard to ROW."

Work? What does that mean? Bikeways exist there, certainly. And the flat model of Holland is not particularly relevant to the issue of bikeways. I have read complaints about, and seen pictures of, bikeways that are far below our standards in both France and Germany. There are reports of better bikeways in two or three German cities, old university cities I think. As has been repeatedly explained, very old urban designs are not suited to motor transportation, and in areas where motor transportation is inconvenient both walking and bicycling are more competitive, since, in fact, the facilities available were designed and built, way in the past, to be suitable for such transportation. We have very few such locations in the USA.

As for the legal situations, I have not heard good reports from anywhere in north-central Europe. It appears that cyclists do not have the rights of drivers of vehicles, or that if they do that is rather theoretical because of being so limited by infrastructure. It might be that the law placing responsibility on a motorist involved in a collision with a cyclist (if that is actually what it says) is an attempt to correct this deficiency. I prefer the American system in which cyclists have the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles (except, of course, for the side-of-the-road law and the mandatory bikeway laws, where these exist), and that fault is assigned in an equal manner because both the rights and the duties are equal.
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Old 06-06-07, 01:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by John Forester
These are reasonable questions, but I think that they also start with considerable bias. To start with the easy part. It is certainly much easier to obtain a motoring license in the USA than it is in many other places, particularly European nations. However, for decades, and perhaps still, the USA was among the lower casualty rate nations. I don't see evidence that motoring in this nation is significantly more dangerous than it is in other nations. Of course, car-bike collisions are a different matter than general motoring safety.

You ask: "John, if these ideas are so contridictory, why do they work in places like Germany and France (where the "flat" model of Holland geography is NOT in existance?)

Specifically I am speaking of BL, and laws that give "weight" to cyclists over motorists in the event of a collision.... much like our laws give "weight" to pedestrians with regard to ROW."

Work? What does that mean? Bikeways exist there, certainly. And the flat model of Holland is not particularly relevant to the issue of bikeways. I have read complaints about, and seen pictures of, bikeways that are far below our standards in both France and Germany. There are reports of better bikeways in two or three German cities, old university cities I think. As has been repeatedly explained, very old urban designs are not suited to motor transportation, and in areas where motor transportation is inconvenient both walking and bicycling are more competitive, since, in fact, the facilities available were designed and built, way in the past, to be suitable for such transportation. We have very few such locations in the USA.

As for the legal situations, I have not heard good reports from anywhere in north-central Europe. It appears that cyclists do not have the rights of drivers of vehicles, or that if they do that is rather theoretical because of being so limited by infrastructure. It might be that the law placing responsibility on a motorist involved in a collision with a cyclist (if that is actually what it says) is an attempt to correct this deficiency. I prefer the American system in which cyclists have the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles (except, of course, for the side-of-the-road law and the mandatory bikeway laws, where these exist), and that fault is assigned in an equal manner because both the rights and the duties are equal.
First, thanks for the courteous reply...

I brought up Holland only as it is often presented as the "ideal" cycling environment; but as we all know, there are some geographic issues in other areas (such as the mesas in San Diego) that would make that Dutch cycling environment impossible.

As far as "Work? What does that mean?" I mean only that while the automobile is in fact generally the primary independent system of transit in the EU countries that I mentioned, cycling is in fact used quite readily in EU countries, I believe to a greater extent than here in the US.

There could of course be other factors involved... the price of fuel for instance, and the availablity of public transit (encouraging people to not own autos).

The issue of rights however is one worthy of exploration. While cyclists in the US may have nearly the same rights as motorists (citing the CA laws where "exceptions" give rights rather than the direct granting of said road rights), could it be that due to the unique nature of the bicycle as a Human Powered Vehicle (or "device") that perhaps the rights of cyclists should be re-evaluated with regard to the physical differences of the vehicles with the road is shared?

In any collision with a motor vehicle, the cyclist will not tend to "fare best." Is it possible that by assignment of responsibility to a motorist involved in a collision with a cyclist (if that is actually what it says) could rebalance the scale that physics tilts greatly against cyclists.

Are not 3 foot laws a loose attempt to try to balance that scale?

"That fault is assigned in an equal manner because both the rights and the duties are equal" may work against the cyclist who may or may not be in a position to respond to the nature of the actual causes of the accident situation. For instance, the phrases "the cyclist swerved in front of me," and "I didn't see the cyclist" are often used by motorists after accidents when a cyclist may not be able to respond at all. And due to the Motorist Superiority situation in the US, those "excuses" are often accepted by a motorist biased system. If on the other hand, the "rights" of cyclists were weighted in a manner to shift the burden of fault to the operator of more massive vehicle, perhaps motorists would make more effort to ensure that they did "see the cyclist."

Put simply another way... when an elephant and a mouse have equal rights, no doubt the mouse still doesn't have equality.
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Old 06-06-07, 02:07 PM   #10
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Practical?

Some are a pretty big stretch ... although I imagine that local support for some ideas varies considerably across geography. EDIT: Such support certainly varies from DC, San Francisco, Albuquerque, and NYC.

Although if one is going to push for motorist education, why would one omit cyclist education?
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Old 06-06-07, 02:19 PM   #11
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Practical?

Some are a pretty big stretch ... although I imagine that local support for some ideas varies considerably across geography. EDIT: Such support certainly varies from DC, San Francisco, Albuquerque, and NYC.

Although if one is going to push for motorist education, why would one omit cyclist education?
One wouldn't and shouldn't.

However, the major problem with trying to educate cyclists is that they have no "requirement" to report to any "agency" as do motorists.

If the public school system took up the case of education of all road users (as after all these are life long skills) then it would be far more practical to educate cyclists.

As it is now... you are attempting to "herd cats" to try to tell cyclists they need education.
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Old 06-06-07, 02:32 PM   #12
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If the public school system took up the case of education of all road users (as after all these are life long skills) then it would be far more practical to educate cyclists.
When I was in elementary school in San Diego, they gave us a week long mandatory cycling class. It taught things like not riding on the sidewalk, riding predictably, and using the crosswalks like pedestrians for difficult turns, so that kids could begin to commute to school safely. Local LEOs helped reinforce this by handing out "tickets" to kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk outside of school, and having them walk their bikes, or ride in the street.

I remember how guilty we all felt for the longest time afterwards anytime we took a sidewalk shortcut.
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Old 06-06-07, 02:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
When I was in elementary school in San Diego, they gave us a week long mandatory cycling class. It taught things like not riding on the sidewalk, riding predictably, and using the crosswalks like pedestrians for difficult turns, so that kids could begin to commute to school safely. Local LEOs helped reinforce this by handing out "tickets" to kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk outside of school, and having them walk their bikes, or ride in the street.

I remember how guilty we all felt for the longest time afterwards anytime we took a sidewalk shortcut.
I too was taught in elementary school... in Texas how to properly ride a bike... and I commuted for much of my youth to school on a bike. Then later as a car free adult I continued the practice of commuting by bike.

But my son had no such opportunity here in San Diego County (Lemon Grove to be exact).

And the numbers of kids riding bikes to school these days, in this area, are quite small.
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Old 06-06-07, 02:42 PM   #14
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But my son had no such opportunity here in San Diego County (Lemon Grove to be exact).
That's unfortunate.
I think so much money could be saved by a general class early on, as opposed to later on, when habits are already engrained. I know it stuck with me much longer then a lot of driving principals I learned as an adult.
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Old 06-06-07, 03:07 PM   #15
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In regards to a cyclist right-of-way ...

If you mean this in a global sense, then I agree with John on this one. My experience with pedestrians on MUPs is that many feel that they can act with impunity due to ROW. Since we believe that bicycles have a right to the entire road, we should expect cyclists to behave according to the rules of the road. In my opinion, giving cyclists' a global ROW would encourage risky behavior that is probably not in the best interests of cyclists nor society in general. Moreover, I suspect that there would be a public backlash since under several scenarios I can see more people cycling but find it likely that motoring (cars) will remain king of the road for a while.

If instead, Bek means that in particular situations where transportation officials have encouraged the cyclist into a disadvantageous position for improved traffic flow--say in those areas where the bike lanes are painted purple--and that cyclists are given ROW in compensation, then I think that is more palatable.

I understand and sympathize with Genec's discussion regarding the asymmetric outcomes of an auto-cyclist collision, but if we push for a strategy more appealing to the general public--specifically, points #8 and #9-- then we address the underlying inattentiveness which increases the risk to law-abiding cycling.
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Old 06-06-07, 03:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
However, the major problem with trying to educate cyclists is that they have no "requirement" to report to any "agency" as do motorists.

If the public school system took up the case of education of all road users (as after all these are life long skills) then it would be far more practical to educate cyclists.

As it is now... you are attempting to "herd cats" to try to tell cyclists they need education.
I don't understand the "herd cats" phrase in the context. (seriously)

Do you mean I am prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution to cyclists with different needs and behavior?

More generally I have not come to a conclusion regarding mandatory cyclist training. I do find it somewhat unfair that we require motorists to get a license to use public roads while we subscribe to cyclists having equal access to those same roads without any standards.

I understand that a motorist imposes a greater risk to the surrounding environment if they act improperly. I agree with that assessment.

But I believe that the external cost of reckless cycling is with serious consequences too. We commonly think of the physical/psychological injuries and property damage of an accident, but I suspect that public services used (accident investigation, litigation, prosecution, etc.) and the traffic interference are significant too. I speculate that a lot of these costs are dependent on whether there is a serious injury and not whether there is massive damage. So a cyclist who does something silly and gets him or herself injured/killed imposes a big cost on the rest of society.

Are these costs great enough such that we should require cycling licenses to ride on public roads? I have not decided. Then again, I have not actually sat down and calculated the costs referred to in the text above. It would be interesting to compare the cost of the average reckless motorist to the average reckless cyclist.
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Old 06-06-07, 04:06 PM   #17
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Almost all cyclists are drivers at one point or another, so educating motorists casts a much wider net. That does not mean we should not educate cyclists, however, since cyclists are most receptive when they are seeking the information as cyclists.

That's a good list, Bek. And I agree with adding tax breaks and other incentives to businesses to help them encourage cycling. I'm lucky to work for a green company that gets involved in all kinds of environmental things, one of which is the Team Bike Challenge that is happening all month. We got pizza and a lecture on bike safety and how to change a tire today.
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Old 06-06-07, 04:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
Almost all cyclists are drivers at one point or another,.
All cyclists should be drivers, but folks don't usually learn the rules and laws of the road until they take a the lessons needed to obtain a motor vehicile operators liscense.

One result of this is people learn to cycle with the pedestrian mindset and even after they gain the hands on experience of the rules of the road needed for motor vehicle operation, they don't transtion that behavior to cycling.

Al
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Old 06-06-07, 05:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand
I don't understand the "herd cats" phrase in the context. (seriously)
It is a common metaphor meaning that everyone is going their own way (as cats would) and without a central leader or reason "herd" together.

What it implys is that cyclist have no license board or agency, have no need to report to any agency (such as motorists to state drivers license beaureus. So how can cyclists in general be gathered up, or even notified as to the presence or need for education. Motorists on the other hand have to report to their state agencies periodically...

Quote:

Do you mean I am prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution to cyclists with different needs and behavior?

More generally I have not come to a conclusion regarding mandatory cyclist training. I do find it somewhat unfair that we require motorists to get a license to use public roads while we subscribe to cyclists having equal access to those same roads without any standards.
We don't require a license to access the roads... we do require a license and insurance to operate heavy powered equipment on public roads.
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I understand that a motorist imposes a greater risk to the surrounding environment if they act improperly. I agree with that assessment.

But I believe that the external cost of reckless cycling is with serious consequences too. We commonly think of the physical/psychological injuries and property damage of an accident, but I suspect that public services used (accident investigation, litigation, prosecution, etc.) and the traffic interference are significant too. I speculate that a lot of these costs are dependent on whether there is a serious injury and not whether there is massive damage. So a cyclist who does something silly and gets him or herself injured/killed imposes a big cost on the rest of society.
Some 700+ deaths a year is a drop in the bucket compared to the 45000 motorists deaths a year. I don't believe cyclists are a burden on any resource... except perhaps the white paint resource.
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Are these costs great enough such that we should require cycling licenses to ride on public roads? I have not decided. Then again, I have not actually sat down and calculated the costs referred to in the text above. It would be interesting to compare the cost of the average reckless motorist to the average reckless cyclist.
Most of the costs imparted on motorists are due to having to maintain an administration to take care of the paperwork... the State DMVs for instance, cost money to maintain.

There is no comparible agency for cyclists.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
That's unfortunate.
I think so much money could be saved by a general class early on, as opposed to later on, when habits are already engrained. I know it stuck with me much longer then a lot of driving principals I learned as an adult.
I fully agree.

I think as much effort should be put into teaching all aspects of driving and dealing with traffic and the ethics involved from cycling to motoring as students advance in grade as we now put into history or PE or some other similar subject.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:55 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand
In regards to a cyclist right-of-way ...

If you mean this in a global sense, then I agree with John on this one. My experience with pedestrians on MUPs is that many feel that they can act with impunity due to ROW. Since we believe that bicycles have a right to the entire road, we should expect cyclists to behave according to the rules of the road. In my opinion, giving cyclists' a global ROW would encourage risky behavior that is probably not in the best interests of cyclists nor society in general. Moreover, I suspect that there would be a public backlash since under several scenarios I can see more people cycling but find it likely that motoring (cars) will remain king of the road for a while.

If instead, Bek means that in particular situations where transportation officials have encouraged the cyclist into a disadvantageous position for improved traffic flow--say in those areas where the bike lanes are painted purple--and that cyclists are given ROW in compensation, then I think that is more palatable.

I understand and sympathize with Genec's discussion regarding the asymmetric outcomes of an auto-cyclist collision, but if we push for a strategy more appealing to the general public--specifically, points #8 and #9-- then we address the underlying inattentiveness which increases the risk to law-abiding cycling.
It is not an issue of ROW, but simply a weighting of the burden of fault in the case of an accident.

It simply means that motorists should take more care to avoid cyclists, but cyclists don't gain any new ROW. What I am talking about is something that puts teeth into the 3 foot laws for instance... which generally are only enforced when violated... typically at an accident situation.

The idea is to remove the carte blanche "I didn't see the cyclist" or the "he swerved in front of me" excuse that is often used... when in fact there is no way for a dead cyclist to rebut that statement.

I think 3 may be going too far... 8 and 9 are pretty close.

No matter what though, the motoring public needs to be made more "aware" than they are now...
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Old 06-07-07, 01:15 PM   #22
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Hi Genec,

People can access the roads, true.

But I wrote that motorists need a license to use public roads. I think that is true as well. These are the same roads that we claim that cyclists have a right to. Maybe I am unclear since I used the phrase "public roads." (Are unpaved roads in national forests public?) From the context of the discussion, I am referring to regular streets, avenues, and such.

While people use their bicycles in a lot of different ways for different purposes, the reference to cyclist education is about riding on roads and interacting with autos. More generally, if we require motorists to have licenses to drive on roads, perhaps we should require cyclists to have licenses to drive on roads. The reference is to a much smaller set of cyclists that use roads and imposing a social agreement that in order to use a public resource where there is a lot of group interaction, one should have some set of skills/knowledge which make that interaction operate in a smooth fashion.

Although I agree that if bicycle licenses are out of the question, then trying to specifically target "road" cyclists would be difficult and probably not very efficient. Regarding the comment, I was not trying to tell cyclists that they need an education ... I was pointing out that if someone is a proponent for motorists to be better educated about interacting with cyclists and cyclists themselves are big part of that interaction, then it seems appropriate that one also be a proponent of educating cyclists.

Fatalities is only one metric and I think that it is a poor one given the magnitude cycling versus auto-driving and that my argument is that there are a lot of costs outside of the direct injury/mortality to the cyclist. Some of the costs I described are probably more of a function of whether there is an accident or not. Moreover, some of the costs described are borne by individuals other than the cyclist. If cyclist behavior increases travel time of others, clogs court systems, takes the attention of public servants, and so on, that is a burden on our resources.

For example, if a cyclist fails to stop at a red light and is killed in an accident, we all lose. The police officer has to spend time administering the accident instead of doing something else more productive. The ambulance that arrives could have been attending to and transporting another individual. Any psychological trauma that the motorist suffers from killing the cyclist is a cost. Whatever traffic is slowed as a consequence of the accident is a cost. I can go on. Given that labor is often a huge portion of many productive activities, all of this human time wasted is probably significant. Furthermore, I believe these costs will be similar if a motorist is at fault versus a cyclist is at fault.

Since we already have a Department of Motor Vehicles--at least, I believe that every state has one--I don't see the administration of bicycle licenses as a huge marginal cost to the system.

Re-reading your text, it appears I put too much emphasis on ROW instead of the more general message regarding the burden of responsibility in an accident (... at least that is how I interpret your text).

Bek, what do you mean by #3? Do you suggest that cyclists should have ROW like pedestrians?
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Old 06-07-07, 01:15 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by genec
No matter what though, the motoring public needs to be made more "aware" than they are now...
No argument here.
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Old 06-07-07, 02:36 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand
Hi Genec,

People can access the roads, true.

But I wrote that motorists need a license to use public roads. I think that is true as well. These are the same roads that we claim that cyclists have a right to. Maybe I am unclear since I used the phrase "public roads." (Are unpaved roads in national forests public?) From the context of the discussion, I am referring to regular streets, avenues, and such.

While people use their bicycles in a lot of different ways for different purposes, the reference to cyclist education is about riding on roads and interacting with autos. More generally, if we require motorists to have licenses to drive on roads, perhaps we should require cyclists to have licenses to drive on roads.
The license is not to access the roads though... the license is to use a heavy vehicle. It is specifically not called a road license, but a driver's license... and they vary not by the type of road, but by the class of vehicle.

I know that seems like a silly semantic argument... but there are plenty of vehicles that can be used on the road without a license... bikes, scooters, mopeds for instance do no require a license for access to the road. I don't believe a horse and buggy driver needs a license. Farm equipment operators do not need licenses.

It really is the heavy fast motor vehicle that people are being trained to operate and for which a license is needed. Not access to the PUBLIC roadway.

Quote:
The reference is to a much smaller set of cyclists that use roads and imposing a social agreement that in order to use a public resource where there is a lot of group interaction, one should have some set of skills/knowledge which make that interaction operate in a smooth fashion.

Although I agree that if bicycle licenses are out of the question, then trying to specifically target "road" cyclists would be difficult and probably not very efficient. Regarding the comment, I was not trying to tell cyclists that they need an education ... I was pointing out that if someone is a proponent for motorists to be better educated about interacting with cyclists and cyclists themselves are big part of that interaction, then it seems appropriate that one also be a proponent of educating cyclists.

Fatalities is only one metric and I think that it is a poor one given the magnitude cycling versus auto-driving and that my argument is that there are a lot of costs outside of the direct injury/mortality to the cyclist. Some of the costs I described are probably more of a function of whether there is an accident or not. Moreover, some of the costs described are borne by individuals other than the cyclist. If cyclist behavior increases travel time of others, clogs court systems, takes the attention of public servants, and so on, that is a burden on our resources.

For example, if a cyclist fails to stop at a red light and is killed in an accident, we all lose. The police officer has to spend time administering the accident instead of doing something else more productive. The ambulance that arrives could have been attending to and transporting another individual. Any psychological trauma that the motorist suffers from killing the cyclist is a cost. Whatever traffic is slowed as a consequence of the accident is a cost. I can go on. Given that labor is often a huge portion of many productive activities, all of this human time wasted is probably significant. Furthermore, I believe these costs will be similar if a motorist is at fault versus a cyclist is at fault.

Since we already have a Department of Motor Vehicles--at least, I believe that every state has one--I don't see the administration of bicycle licenses as a huge marginal cost to the system.
So you are suggesting that cyclists be licensed under the same system that motorists use.

Whew... I don't want to get into that... but for reasons of education alone perhaps some system is needed. We really don't have a way to qualify cyclists for the road now. This has actually been discussed at length here on BF. Of course cyclists do not like the idea.

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Re-reading your text, it appears I put too much emphasis on ROW instead of the more general message regarding the burden of responsibility in an accident (... at least that is how I interpret your text).

Bek, what do you mean by #3? Do you suggest that cyclists should have ROW like pedestrians?
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Old 06-07-07, 03:33 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by genec
It is not an issue of ROW, but simply a weighting of the burden of fault in the case of an accident.

It simply means that motorists should take more care to avoid cyclists, but cyclists don't gain any new ROW. What I am talking about is something that puts teeth into the 3 foot laws for instance... which generally are only enforced when violated... typically at an accident situation.

The idea is to remove the carte blanche "I didn't see the cyclist" or the "he swerved in front of me" excuse that is often used... when in fact there is no way for a dead cyclist to rebut that statement.

I think 3 may be going too far... 8 and 9 are pretty close.

No matter what though, the motoring public needs to be made more "aware" than they are now...
However, cyclists are killed in only a very small fraction of car-bike collisions. Therefore, there are many chances for the cyclist to rebut the swerving accusation. As for the "I didn't see the cyclist" excuse, that is susceptible to strong challenges. Lightless cyclists at night, of course, are practically unable to challenge such an accusation. However, if the circumstances are such that there was a direct line of sight between motorist and cyclist at the time when the motorist could have avoided the collision, the standard legal principle of keeping a proper lookout applies. The motorist cannot get away with the excuse of not seeing the cyclist when he should, and was capable of, seeing him. However, any driver who sees another vehicle is entitled to consider that the other driver will obey the law, until the other driver shows that he is, or is about to, disobey the law. At that point, the doctrine of last clear chance to avoid the collision is relevant and might well apply.

Most members of our society operate on the basis that cyclists are incompetent and might do anything, so that a motorist who collides with a cyclist often can "get away" without being held responsible for the collision. As in "the cyclist swerved in front of me" excuse. While the strict legal theory is that cyclists should operate as drivers of vehicles, our social and highway policies are based on the public view that cyclists are, and should be considered to be, incompetent. That is what I hold against the bikeway and bicycle advocates who advocate a system that is based on this public superstition.
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