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Old 06-11-07, 02:18 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Act as drivers act? ...which drivers?

Average drivers?

Typical drivers?

Atypical drivers?

All drivers?

Drivers in general?

(Do I want that?)

Good drivers only?

Excellent drivers?

Skillful drivers?

Skillful and responsible drivers?

Skillful, responsible and safe drivers?

Not all drivers?

***
"Learn to be skillful, responsible and safe" makes great sense.

Being like most drivers does not.

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-11-07 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 06-11-07, 02:28 PM   #2
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"Acting skillfully, responsibly and safely," and "learning to act skillfully, responsibly and safely" also make great sense.

Acting or learning to act like other drivers does not.

Emulating models of excellence makes sense. Emulating the general category of drivers does not.

Cyclists can set higher standards for themselves.
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Old 06-11-07, 02:37 PM   #3
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"Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. - John Forester

In the context of the VC principle "act as drivers of vehicles" simply means follow the rules of the road for drivers, as opposed to following the rules of the road for pedestrians, or no rules at all.

That's all.
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Old 06-11-07, 02:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
Average drivers?

Typical drivers?

Atypical drivers?

All drivers?

Drivers in general?

(Do I want that?)

Good drivers only?

Excellent drivers?

Skillful drivers?

Skillful and responsible drivers?

Skillful, responsible and safe drivers?

Not all drivers?

***
"Learn to be skillful, responsible and safe" makes great sense.

Being like most drivers does not.
Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. The acts referred to are those of lawful drivers.
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Old 06-11-07, 02:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John Forester
Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. The acts referred to are those of lawful drivers.
Lawful drivers of average skill?

Typical lawful drivers?

Typical, average, or general levels of responsibility, skill and safety?

Cyclists fare best this way?

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Old 06-11-07, 02:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
Lawful drivers of average skill?

Typical lawful drivers?

Typical, average, or general levels of responsibility, skill and safety?

Cyclist fare best this way?
It's a simply dichotomy, Niles.

When riding on roadways, cyclists fare best when they act like lawful drivers (as opposed to not acting like lawful drivers).
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Old 06-11-07, 02:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
Lawful drivers of average skill?

Typical lawful drivers?

Typical, average, or general levels of responsibility, skill and safety?

Cyclist fare best this way?
I wrote, lawful drivers. I don't care whether they have superlative skills, or lesser skills, just so long as they operate in a lawful manner according to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, and that goes for both cyclists and motorists.
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Old 06-11-07, 04:07 PM   #8
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It's a simply dichotomy, Niles.

When riding on roadways, cyclists fare best when they act like lawful drivers (as opposed to not acting like lawful drivers).
Thank you. That is a clear answer.

***
Then the question arises, if that is the aspect (lawfulness) that you are trying to communicate or convey, then why not say, "act lawfully"?

It is simpler and clearer, and it points to the aspect that is relevant. (Otherwise, as seen on these threads and elsewhere, other aspects may quite reasonably be read.)

***
And another question arises: aren't higher levels of skills, responsibility (or responsible behaviors), knowledge, and safety also important? Wouldn't it be reasonable to give these more emphasis, particularly since recommending being lawful is not exactly bringing surprising news to most people.

***
Higher levels of skills, knowledge, and safe operation -- and the degrees to which these can be improved -- are not as widely appreciated, and may come as news to many people.
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Old 06-11-07, 04:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by John Forester
I wrote, lawful drivers. I don't care whether they have superlative skills, or lesser skills, just so long as they operate in a lawful manner according to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, and that goes for both cyclists and motorists.
Is simply operating in a lawful manner really such a desirable standard?, or a very high standard?

Is it really enough?

Recommending that (as faring best) can be somewhat misleading.

Cyclists can fare very badly in some situations while cycling lawfully.

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Old 06-11-07, 04:26 PM   #10
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You ask:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H.
then why not say, "act lawfully"?
Then state:
Quote:
Cyclists can fare very badly in some situations while cycling lawfully.
Again, it's about the dichotomy between acting "like a driver of a vehicle" versus NOT acting "like a driver of a vehicle".

If you start qualifying, even with just "lawful", then you leave it open to even more misinterpretation and objections, like:

Quote:
Cyclists can fare very badly in some situations while cycling lawfully.
Remember the context. We live in a culture where many still think that cyclists "fare best" when they act like pedestrians (some even think we should ride on the side of the road opposite vehicular traffic), and there is very little recognition for the equal rights of cyclists to the roadway, much less appreciation for the fact that riding accordingly is safe. That's the point that "cyclists fare best ..." is trying to make.
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Old 06-11-07, 04:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
Is simply operating in a lawful manner really such a desirable standard?, or a very high standard?

Is it really enough?

Recommending that (as faring best) can be somewhat misleading.

Cyclists can fare very badly in some situations while cycling lawfully.
Well, yes, a lawful cyclist is still open to injury by falling aircraft, or, more likely, lightning. Note that the vehicular-cycling principle states "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." Falling aircraft and lightning strikes are outside the realm of traffic law, but it seems to me that you are trying, with almighty imagination, to dredge up any old criticism of that principle that is imaginable. Well, to start with, when one is treated as a driver of a vehicle by other traffic, then that traffic is, by definition, operating lawfully. The same goes for a government act, as in designing a roadway.
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Old 06-11-07, 05:12 PM   #12
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umm, left hooks, john, are examples of a cyclists sometimes faring badly when cyclists act like vehicles.

oh, i see the sophistry, you include "and are treated as"
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Old 06-11-07, 05:22 PM   #13
Niles H.
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Remember the context. We live in a culture where many still think that cyclists "fare best" when they act like pedestrians (some even think we should ride on the side of the road opposite vehicular traffic), and there is very little recognition for the equal rights of cyclists to the roadway, much less appreciation for the fact that riding accordingly is safe. That's the point that "cyclists fare best ..." is trying to make.
This brings up a very important point: you are speaking in different contexts, or to different audiences.
(This may deserve a separate thread.)

To be regarded as a vehicle by policy makers and lawmakers may be important in some ways. I can see that.

One group (audience or context) regarding cyclists as drivers of vehicles, and regarding bikes as vehicles, is one thing; another is another.

The sentence is often read not in the context of a group of policy makers (or any one individual policy maker) as the pertinent audience, but rather in the context of the individual cyclist as the pertinent audience.

(There are also cyclists collectively, which is another audience.)

(There is also the culture and cultural attitudes and perceptions, which may be yet another audience.)

(And there is the non-cycling public. And there are motorists. Different audiences, sometimes having different needs. Overlapping, perhaps, but also different (Venn-diagram overlap).)

The individual cyclist (as audience or reader) may have no good reason whatsoever to regard himself or herself as the driver of a vehicle, and the sentence makes very little sense to many people in this context.

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Old 06-11-07, 05:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H.
The individual cyclist (as audience or reader) may have no good reason whatsoever to regard himself or herself as the driver of a vehicle, and the sentence makes very little sense to many people in this context.
What!??

The main audience, by far, of vehicular cycling is the individual cyclist, and perhaps the main message is that he or she needs to think and see him or herself as a driver of a vehicle (with the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of vehicles) in order to "fare best" on roadways (as opposed to not seeing him or herself as a vehicle driver).
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Old 06-11-07, 05:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
snip
The individual cyclist (as audience or reader) may have no good reason whatsoever to regard himself or herself as the driver of a vehicle, and the sentence makes very little sense to many people in this context.
Then he has to go along as a road sneak, unhappy, fearful, and in the danger caused by his phobia. That's what's wrong with American bicycling policy, and what vehicular cyclists are trying to change.
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Old 06-11-07, 05:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by John Forester
Well, yes, a lawful cyclist is still open to injury by falling aircraft, or, more likely, lightning. Note that the vehicular-cycling principle states "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." Falling aircraft and lightning strikes are outside the realm of traffic law, but it seems to me that you are trying, with almighty imagination, to dredge up any old criticism of that principle that is imaginable. Well, to start with, when one is treated as a driver of a vehicle by other traffic, then that traffic is, by definition, operating lawfully. The same goes for a government act, as in designing a roadway.
Falling aircraft, lightning, etc. -- meteorites, cats that have fallen out of police helicopters, bombing pelicans, and too many other absurdities to mention. But can't you see that your selective use of these examples evades the many and more-relevant other examples?

One has already been given by someone else, but there are many others as well.
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Old 06-11-07, 05:53 PM   #17
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To John and HH (and anyone else who wishes to contribute something here),

There may be a difference (for certain audiences and purposes) between simply 'acting lawfully' and 'acting lawfully as the driver of a vehicle' (or 'acting as the lawful driver of a vehicle'). As you point out, some people need to hear the point that bikes are vehicles, and the point that cyclists have some kind of equivalence to other drivers.

Agreed.

Problems arise, though, from the dual-audience or multiple-audience attempt with this sentence.

And it is not always clear which audience (or context) is being addressed. This can cause confusions.

When it is clear that the sentence is directed toward 'the culture', and changing the relevant attitudes there, it is one thing.

When the audience is different (individual cyclist) (or worse, certain particular or specific individual cycists) (or specific individual cyclists in specific individual situations or conditions), then the communication can be less meaningful, or serve no good purpose, or even be misleading.

When you are speaking to a policy maker there may be one set of concerns.

When you are speaking to a non-cycling member of the public, there may be another.

There may be other sets of concerns for certain individual cyclists, and for other audiences.

And the shifting or unclear addressees can cause some confusions.
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Old 06-11-07, 05:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by John Forester
Then he has to go along as a road sneak, unhappy, fearful, and in the danger caused by his phobia. That's what's wrong with American bicycling policy, and what vehicular cyclists are trying to change.
American bicycling policy. One thing. Let's be clear; otherwise, it just shifts around.

Individual cyclists (in general). Another thing.

One specific (or specified) individual cyclist. Another thing.
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Old 06-11-07, 05:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
American bicycling policy. One thing. Let's be clear; otherwise, it just shifts around.

Individual cyclists (in general). Another thing.

One specific (or specified) individual cyclist. Another thing.
Playing the semantic theologist as if you do not understand common discourse? More silly waste of time, and demonstration of miniature mindedness.
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Old 06-11-07, 06:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H.snip
The individual cyclist (as audience or reader) may have no good reason whatsoever to regard himself or herself as the driver of a vehicle, and the sentence makes very little sense to many people in this context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Forester
Then he has to go along as a road sneak, unhappy, fearful, and in the danger caused by his phobia. That's what's wrong with American bicycling policy, and what vehicular cyclists are trying to change.
A road sneak, cringing in the gutter.

Rat-like. Abject. Pathetic.

In danger. Psychologically, spiritually, physically, and probably in other ways.

A cockroach among cockroaches.

Worse: a tumour-cockroach-rodent-hybrid -- greasy, poor, limping along in the soot, reviled by Lexuses, traveling nuns, taxicabs, and retired Presidents.

***
I'm sorry, I got a little off track.

You were saying....

And I was about to say this:

That is not the only option.

I (for example) (and it is just one example, I want to stress that) may regard myself as a pilot -- for this, to me, means something much higher and more responsible than "a driver." The word pilot, to me, more specifically suggests certain extremely responsible (far more than "drivers"), highly skilled, safe, well trained major airline pilots I have known.

Or I may regard myself as a cyclonaut.... (and this may have relevant meanings to me that make me fare better)

Or various other things that are far more meaningful and valuable to me as an individual cyclist....

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-11-07 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 06-11-07, 06:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head

"Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. - John Forester
I don't care much for this statement. Of course we fare best when we act like and are treated like drivers of vehicles. But in reality, how many people that pass us each and every day out there on the road think of us as vehicle drivers and not just someone in their way? Granted not all of them yell at us or harass us, but that does not mean they are treating us as vehicle operators. This quote gets tossed around ALOT on here without much real examination, which seems to be what the OP is looking for.
How about when I am around the people who do not wish to treat me like a vehicle driver? And what if those people are so set in their ways that they do not care if harm comes to me by them passing closely? Would I still fare best around those people by acting like the driver of a vehcile?
I don't think so.
Drivers of motor vehicles do not treat other drivers of motor vehicles with the due respect of a fellow vehicle driver. And I doubt I would fare best when riding my bike on the road when that type of motorist is around.
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Old 06-11-07, 06:19 PM   #22
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I don't care much for this statement. Of course we fare best when we act like and are treated like drivers of vehicles. But in reality, how many people that pass us each and every day out there on the road think of us as vehicle drivers and not just someone in their way? Granted not all of them yell at us or harass us, but that does not mean they are treating us as vehicle operators. This quote gets tossed around ALOT on here without much real examination, which seems to be what the OP is looking for.
How about when I am around the people who do not wish to treat me like a vehicle driver? And what if those people are so set in their ways that they do not care if harm comes to me by them passing closely? Would I still fare best around those people by acting like the driver of a vehcile?
I don't think so.
Drivers of motor vehicles do not treat other drivers of motor vehicles with the due respect of a fellow vehicle driver. And I doubt I would fare best when riding my bike on the road when that type of motorist is around.
I could care less what they think - it's how they treat me that matters.
And as long as the vast, vast majority treat me like a driver of the vehicle - which is the case when I act like driver of a vehicle - that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned.

If someone faster approaching from behind slows down to my speed, or changes lanes to pass me safely, that's treating me like a driver of a vehicle, whether they think of me as one, or just as someone/something that is in their way.

If someone waiting to enter or cross the road up ahead sees me and waits until I pass, rather than cutting in front of me as if I'm not there, that's treating me like a driver of a vehicle, whether they think of me as one, or just as someone/something that is in their way.
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Old 06-11-07, 06:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Forester
Playing the semantic theologist as if you do not understand common discourse? More silly waste of time, and demonstration of miniature mindedness.
Theologist??

Sir, you cut me to the quick!

I won't resort to the downward path of calling you or your perceptions theological or miniature-minded; but I will point out that there are some wider points here, if you could see them, and stop looking only at the level of the miniature.
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Old 06-11-07, 06:29 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I could care less what they think - it's how they treat me that matters.
And as long as the vast, vast majority treat me like a driver of the vehicle - which is the case when I act like driver of a vehicle - that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned.
I can accept that. As long as the motorists I come into contact with are not agressive towards me, then I honestly do not care what they *think* about me at all. But I was talking about the actual quote that keeps getting tossed around. I might have even been eluding to how we should stop using that quote and come up with something a little better to be used in its stead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
If someone faster approaching from behind slows down to my speed, or changes lanes to pass me safely, that's treating me like a driver of a vehicle, whether they think of me as one, or just as someone/something that is in their way.
I disagree. Just because they slow down does not mean they are treating you as a vehicle driver. It means they are slowing down for either your safety, their safety, or maybe they don't want to scratch their paint too badly if they hit you. One action on a persons part does not constitute them treating you as though you belong to a certain group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
If someone waiting to enter or cross the road up ahead sees me and waits until I pass, rather than cutting in front of me as if I'm not there, that's treating me like a driver of a vehicle, whether they think of me as one, or just as someone/something that is in their way.
I was driving the other day and there was a dog in the road. I stopped. I was not treating the dog as a pedestrian (even though he was actually in a crosswalk), I just didn't want to kill it. I treated it like a living creature, not a pedestrian. And I use this example to point to my statement above. Just because you are not treated like a Group A memeber, does not mean you are treated like a Goup B member.
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Old 06-11-07, 06:33 PM   #25
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I could care less what they think - it's how they treat me that matters.
And as long as the vast, vast majority treat me like a driver of the vehicle - which is the case when I act like driver of a vehicle - that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned.
"...which is the case when..."

Some may; others do not.

Some -- certainly not the vast, vast majority.

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