This word seems to cause a lot of confusion. The whole presentation tends to cause a lot of confusion.
When people read something about faring best if you behave like a vehicle, it is not clear what it means. It is often taken to mean that you should behave as if you were a car.
[A daydream: cyclist has message printed on jersey: “I AM A CAR”. Cyclist gets pulled over by police. After questioning, police determine that this cyclist belongs on a 72-hour hold for evaluation, since cyclist appears to be delusional, and a danger to self and others. Cyclist’s behavior in traffic contributes to overall impression.]
It has been fairly well established on these forums that behaving like a car is not quite the intended message. So (since people so often tend to interpret it that way), why not adapt or amend or intelligently modify the message?
Isn’t the basic idea that cyclists are (or can be) road-worthy?, and that bikes can be serious transportational vehicles, rather than toys?
(and not so much that they should necessarily behave as if they were motor vehicles?)
[Actual incident: An associate at a large Wal-Mart answered the question “Where is the bike section?” with “In the toy department,” and then apologized for this, saying that it is an American thing….]
So re-classifying bikes as (serious, road-worthy) vehicles makes sense, in a way. It helps to change people’s thinking and perceptions and attitudes; and it can also help when it comes to cyclists’ rights on the roads.
This makes sense.
But the statements about cyclists faring best when behaving as if they are (motor (or understood to mean motor)) vehicles says something else, something that doesn’t make as much sense and is often unclear to people. It seems unnecessary and amendable. It engenders unnecessary confusion, resistance, disbelief, successful counterarguments, many counterexamples and exceptions, etc.
So why not communicate the essential messages in a clearer, more unmixed way?