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    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Cool What 'Exactly" is VC?

    So maybe I just arrived from another planet. I sure would appreciate some help understanding just what 'VC" is. My previous experience relates it to a very unpopular military conflict. Thanks!

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    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Coming from another planet seems to be a prerequisite for VC cultism. You'll fit in nicely.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

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    Living Life On Two Wheels knatchwa's Avatar
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    In all honesty it seems the simplest way to put it. Guidelines for a safer ride, to better able be seen as a vehicle not just a pedestrian on wheels. Vehicular Cycling, is one persons viewpoint on the best strategies for a safe ride. Otherwise it is just what you make of it. I use some of the techniques in my rides but not all.
    Last edited by knatchwa; 01-21-08 at 03:46 PM.
    When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart. ~Diane Ackerman
    Read More: Bicycling With Knatchwa

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    So maybe I just arrived from another planet. I sure would appreciate some help understanding just what 'VC" is. My previous experience relates it to a very unpopular military conflict. Thanks!
    Vehicular cycling is riding a bicycle on roadways in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road (as opposed to in accordance with the pedestrian rules of the road, or not in accordance to any rules).

    It means thinking like an equal driver (of an unequal vehicle) in traffic, and riding accordingly, as opposed to thinking like someone who doesn't belong on the road (except out of the way), and trying to stay out of the way of those who do belong (motorists). This doesn't preclude moving out of the way to allow faster traffic to pass when it is safe and reasonable to do so, but that's normal vehicular behavior for any driver of any relatively slow moving vehicle, so it's still acting like an equal driver (of an unequal vehicle) in traffic.

    Beyond that, there are many different practices, styles and techniques that fall within the umbrella concept of "vehicular cycling". But as long as the behavior is consistent with the rules of the road that drivers of vehicles follow, then it is vehicular cycling.

    One of the questions that sometimes arises here is how strictly the rules of the road have to be followed for it to be vehicular cycling. I think the best answer to that is that in order to practice vehicular cycling you don't have to follow the vehicular rules of the road any more strictly than does a typical motorist. Just as when you're driving, the important thing is to know the rules, and why they exist, so you understand when it's okay to bend them a little (like rolling a stop when there is no other traffic around, but certainly not when others are present who got there first).
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-17-08 at 06:40 PM.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    it SHOULD be a method of riding, nothing more, but in bike forums and in the real world some confuse it with a politicism on public right of way design, despite said 'vc' being best suited to handle any and all road designs and striping patterns..

    the social designs of the vcists are particularily unpalatable and the desires of the vcist have partly encouraged the pathetic modal share for bicyclists in the USA and Great Britain.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Vehicular cycling is riding a bicycle on roadways in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road (as opposed to in accordance with the pedestrian rules of the road, or not in accordance to any rules).

    It means thinking like an equal driver (of an unequal vehicle) in traffic, and riding accordingly, as opposed to thinking like someone who doesn't belong on the road (except out of the way), and trying to stay out of the way of those who do belong (motorists). This doesn't preclude moving out of the way to allow faster traffic to pass when it is safe and reasonable to do so, but that's normal vehicular behavior for any driver of any relatively slow moving vehicle, so it's still acting like an equal driver (of an unequal vehicle) in traffic.

    Beyond that, there are many different practices, styles and techniques that fall within the umbrella concept of "vehicular cycling". But as long as the behavior is consistent with the rules of the road that drivers of vehicles follow, then it is vehicular cycling.

    One of the questions that sometimes arises here is how strictly the rules of the road have to be followed for it to be vehicular cycling. I think the best answer to that is that in order to practice vehicular cycling you don't have to follow the vehicular rules of the road any more strictly than does a typical motorist. Just as when you're driving, the important thing is to know the rules, and why they exist, so you understand when it's okay to bend them a little (like rolling a stop when there is no other traffic around, but certainly not when others are present who got there first).
    Short version: "VC" means riding around in the middle of the road and blocking traffic. For all the fancytalk, that really is what it boils down to. The part about ignoring traffic laws if you feel like it is just icing on the cake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Short version: "VC" means riding around in the middle of the road and blocking traffic. For all the fancytalk, that really is what it boils down to. The part about ignoring traffic laws if you feel like it is just icing on the cake.
    I rode "VC" on the way home from work today in the snow. I rode in the middle of the lane (left tire track actually) and would have made it home about 15 minutes earlier if it weren't for all those darned motorists going so slow and blocking traffic. *******s wouldn't even pull into the right lane to let me pass on the left even when I flashed my lights and screamed at them (just kidding)

    Six Jours, since you often make this same comment, for those of us in the forum who care (at least me), please define "blocking traffic."

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    Sorry mate, I've had too much experience with you lot to get sucked into the semantics game again. Before long someone is arguing that holding a motorist up for seven seconds is unacceptable, but six seconds is just fine. Then somebody else will demand to know the definition of "seconds".

    We all know what "blocking traffic" means.

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    I wonder, though: when motorists are going slower than the cyclist is traveling, do "VCers" sit in line? Or do they illegally lane-split, in another instance of ignoring laws when they feel like it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I wonder, though: when motorists are going slower than the cyclist is traveling, do "VCers" sit in line? Or do they illegally lane-split, in another instance of ignoring laws when they feel like it?
    When traffic is moving <5mph, and looks like it will continue to do so for a long time, I have no problems creating an extra line of traffic when the roadway is wide enough to permit it. When traffic is rolling along, I'll generally sit in line and relax. Today was an interesting situation where I could have done much more lane splitting than I did but there was so much snow piled up in between the lanes on one road that it would have made for tricky riding. I wouldn't want to slip and accidentally put a handle bar into somebody's door. As far as I know, I am not breaking any laws in PA or DE by lane splitting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Sorry mate, I've had too much experience with you lot to get sucked into the semantics game again. Before long someone is arguing that holding a motorist up for seven seconds is unacceptable, but six seconds is just fine. Then somebody else will demand to know the definition of "seconds".

    We all know what "blocking traffic" means.
    When a new report says that an accident is "blocking" a lane, I can understand what they mean by blocking. When you speak about a slow moving vehicle occupying a lane, you lose me. By the way, the different between 7 seconds and 6 seconds is a 1 second delay. Almost any trip that you take using any vehicle will at some point cause someone else a delay. Unless you illegally stop in the middle of the roadway with the intent to block (there's the word again) traffic, there's nothing illegal about it.

    Think about making a left onto a heavily trafficked mulitlane arterial at a traffic light. Are you causing a delay or blocking traffic? No matter how fast you drive, you are still bringing 4+ lanes to standstill just so that you can make your turn a little more safely. When enough people use that arterial and enough people make that same turn, you can contribute to quite a large delay. I still wouldn't accuse you of blocking traffic though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    When traffic is moving <5mph, and looks like it will continue to do so for a long time, I have no problems creating an extra line of traffic when the roadway is wide enough to permit it. When traffic is rolling along, I'll generally sit in line and relax. Today was an interesting situation where I could have done much more lane splitting than I did but there was so much snow piled up in between the lanes on one road that it would have made for tricky riding. I wouldn't want to slip and accidentally put a handle bar into somebody's door. As far as I know, I am not breaking any laws in PA or DE by lane splitting.
    Motorized two-wheelers are not allowed to lane-split in PA according to PA Vehicle Code section III, subchapter B, 3523(c).

    Again, it seems an awful lot like "VCers" want the priviledges of operating a motor vehicle without the burden of restrictions on same. "I'm just like a car!!!" right up to the point that you want to start running red lights or passing on the shoulder.

  13. #13
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    I wonder why people in SMART cars and little Opels dont have
    to schedule an appointment with their therapist when a Porsche
    passes them on the Autobahn in the outside lane ?

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    Think about making a left onto a heavily trafficked mulitlane arterial at a traffic light. Are you causing a delay or blocking traffic? No matter how fast you drive, you are still bringing 4+ lanes to standstill just so that you can make your turn a little more safely. When enough people use that arterial and enough people make that same turn, you can contribute to quite a large delay. I still wouldn't accuse you of blocking traffic though.
    Think about driving your car on the same road at 15 MPH, just cruising down the lane. You might not call it "blocking traffic", but traffic would have a different opinion.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Script, it comes down to this, "VC" is no more than acting like you are driving a vehicle... and acting in a manner that is consistent with driving a vehicle and expecting the same treatment.

    The semantics that you will run into here will drive you nuts... as will the politics associated with vehicular cycling. In fact, some of us have taken to using the lower case "vc" to imply straight vehicular cycling, and any of the mechanics associated with it, and use "VC" or "EC" to relate to the politics (as it relates to the book Effective Cycling and the author John Forester and the political aspects of the strict adherents of VC). Now, by even mentioning the politics... I have stepped into the potential sh!tstorm of those politics.

    But let's move beyond that, and just examine the reality of "what is vc?"

    It really is simple; it is riding a bike in the manner of a driver of a vehicle... which means taking your place on the road where it best suits you for reasons of safety, and efficiency. This means you are destination positioned... aligned toward where you intend to go... just like the other vehicles on the road. If you want to go straight, you are in a position to go straight, if you wish to go left, you are in a left lane and positioned to go left, and if right... then, over to the right and and in the same place any other vehicle would be.

    A vehicular rider will obey the markings, lights and signs that any other vehicle driver would obey; a vehicular rider would be predictable in their movement... it should be obvious to any other vehicle driver what you intend to do... so if you intend to change lateral positions on the road, such as to change lanes... you might indicate so... in a manner that is understood by others.

    Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is to imagine yourself on some other narrow vehicle, such as a motorcycle... and how might you act while on such a vehicle. Now seeing as you are from another planet, it might be best to observe for a bit.

    But really, the goal is to act just like any other driver might and to expect other drivers to treat you in a proper manner accordingly.

    Now this also means that in the case where the road is narrow... you may have to take the full lane, with respect to the traffic that may build up behind you due to your generally slower speed. On the other hand, if the road is wide, with due respect to other users of the road, and still mindful of your own safety, a position toward the right side is more suitable, but in a manner that you are still visible to cross traffic, and not in such a way as to be misconstrued to be turning right.

    Regarding speed... if you are moving at the speed of other traffic, there is no reason why you should not be in the same place on the road as other traffic, but just as any other slow vehicle may move toward the right side (or what we sometimes refer to as the "slow lane") you are expected to move to the right side. (but be mindful of that destination positioning)


    That really is it... anything else are nuances of vehicular cycling and workarounds for when the vc method doesn't quite work... usually as a result of your speed or the traffic density.

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    What "exactly" is VC?




    And you just opened it!

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    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Motorized two-wheelers are not allowed to lane-split in PA according to PA Vehicle Code section III, subchapter B, 3523(c).

    Again, it seems an awful lot like "VCers" want the priviledges of operating a motor vehicle without the burden of restrictions on same. "I'm just like a car!!!" right up to the point that you want to start running red lights or passing on the shoulder.
    I don't think I'd like riding much if I was always in traffic jams. In fact, it would be much more irritating on a bike, since you're exposed to weather.

    I know I'm a chicken, but I stay as far away from a car as I can. I hate it when I have to take the lane. I view cars the same as I view horses... they're really nice as long as I can keep my feet from being squished, and I'd be nervous running with the herd.

    Nothing against you guys that are fearless, but I will never get there. It took a whole season to stop clenching my bars after getting hit by a car.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Script, it comes down to this, "VC" is no more than acting like you are driving a vehicle... and acting in a manner that is consistent with driving a vehicle and expecting the same treatment.
    So far so good, though I think it's important to note that "expecting the same treatment" does not mean that having an exception now and then (i.e., you don't get the same treatment) is not expected. Of course it is, but you can expect to be mistreated now and then no matter what you're driving.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    The semantics that you will run into here will drive you nuts... as will the politics associated with vehicular cycling.
    Speak for yourself, Gene.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    In fact, some of us have taken to using the lower case "vc" to imply straight vehicular cycling, and any of the mechanics associated with it, and use "VC" or "EC" to relate to the politics (as it relates to the book Effective Cycling and the author John Forester and the political aspects of the strict adherents of VC). Now, by even mentioning the politics... I have stepped into the potential sh!tstorm of those politics.
    Indeed, there is X, and there is advocacy for X.
    There is cycling, and there is cycling advocacy.
    There is the great outdoors, and there is advocacy for protecting the great outdoors (Sierra Club).
    Likewise, there is vehicular cycling, and there is vehicular cycling advocacy.

    Nothing wrong or confusing with that, is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    But let's move beyond that, and just examine the reality of "what is vc?"

    It really is simple; it is riding a bike in the manner of a driver of a vehicle... which means taking your place on the road where it best suits you for reasons of safety, and efficiency. This means you are destination positioned... aligned toward where you intend to go... just like the other vehicles on the road. If you want to go straight, you are in a position to go straight, if you wish to go left, you are in a left lane and positioned to go left, and if right... then, over to the right and and in the same place any other vehicle would be.
    Well, destination positioning is part of it, just as it's part of driving any vehicle in traffic. This paragraph makes it seems like that's all there is to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    A vehicular rider will obey the markings, lights and signs that any other vehicle driver would obey; a vehicular rider would be predictable in their movement... it should be obvious to any other vehicle driver what you intend to do... so if you intend to change lateral positions on the road, such as to change lanes... you might indicate so... in a manner that is understood by others.
    Yes, this is part of it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is to imagine yourself on some other narrow vehicle, such as a motorcycle... and how might you act while on such a vehicle. Now seeing as you are from another planet, it might be best to observe for a bit.
    Yes, the driving a motorcycle analogy is better than the driving a car analogy. Driving a low-power motorcycle is even better.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    But really, the goal is to act just like any other driver might and to expect other drivers to treat you in a proper manner accordingly.
    Right, but you're just repeating the point of your first paragraph again.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Now this also means that in the case where the road is narrow... you may have to take the full lane, with respect to the traffic that may build up behind you due to your generally slower speed. On the other hand, if the road is wide, with due respect to other users of the road, and still mindful of your own safety, a position toward the right side is more suitable, but in a manner that you are still visible to cross traffic, and not in such a way as to be misconstrued to be turning right.

    Regarding speed... if you are moving at the speed of other traffic, there is no reason why you should not be in the same place on the road as other traffic, but just as any other slow vehicle may move toward the right side (or what we sometimes refer to as the "slow lane") you are expected to move to the right side. (but be mindful of that destination positioning)
    Actually, all this lane positioning stuff is not necessarily part of vehicular cycling, since vehicular cycling does not dictate any particular lateral position, so long as it's consistent with the rules of the road. The rules of the road do not dictate that a cyclist must ride near the center of a narrow lane, or in any other part of it. This is an error I used to make too, and is still reflected on the Wikipedia page, which needs to be corrected. That's not to say that I'm not a proponent of using a lane-controlling position in a narrow lane - of course I am. I'm just saying that this is not necessarily dictated by vehicular cycling.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    That really is it... anything else are nuances of vehicular cycling and workarounds for when the vc method doesn't quite work... usually as a result of your speed or the traffic density.
    There is no such thing as "the vc method" (since vc is not a method), so the assertion "when the vc method doesn't quite work" is meaningless. Perhaps you're saying there are places and conditions where riding in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road "doesn't work". Pray tell, where would that be?

  19. #19
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solveg View Post
    I don't think I'd like riding much if I was always in traffic jams. In fact, it would be much more irritating on a bike, since you're exposed to weather.

    I know I'm a chicken, but I stay as far away from a car as I can. I hate it when I have to take the lane. I view cars the same as I view horses... they're really nice as long as I can keep my feet from being squished, and I'd be nervous running with the herd.

    Nothing against you guys that are fearless, but I will never get there. It took a whole season to stop clenching my bars after getting hit by a car.
    I can imagine it is difficult to rebuild confidence once you're hit by a car, but I know cyclists who have done it. I think the key is understanding the causes of crashes, and being confident in your ability to avoid those causes. And that's a big part of vehicular cycling. The tragic irony is that trying to "stay as far away from a car as I can" is often such a cause in and of itself.

    In fact, cyclists who focus on trying to "stay as far away from a car as I can" are probably much more likely to get hit by a car than are vehicular cyclists, who focus on riding in a manner that avoids crash causes. This is because trying to stay as far away as possible from cars that you are aware of (primarily same-direction traffic behind and beside you), often makes you more vulnerable to cars you are not yet aware of (primarily cross-traffic ahead of you), and it's the cross-traffic up ahead that is the much bigger threat to your safety, not to mention that moving too far right ("as far away from a car as I can") often invites same-direction traffic to try and squeeze into the lane beside you, thus keeping them much closer to you than they would be if you clearly and obviously controlled the lane, and forced them to change lanes to pass.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 01-18-08 at 11:03 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Think about driving your car on the same road at 15 MPH, just cruising down the lane. You might not call it "blocking traffic", but traffic would have a different opinion.
    And that's exactly what drivers of certain types of construction equipment do when they need to drive on the road. So what?

    Get over it. When there is no safe and reasonable alternative (the lane is too narrow to be safely shared), there is nothing wrong with "blocking traffic" (given your broad definition of "blocking traffic").

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    In fact, cyclists who try to do that are probably much more likely to get hit by a car than are vehicular cyclists.
    I agree with you. My indecision and squirrelly-ness has cause caused problems while riding. I wouldn't want to be a car behind me as I pass over an interstate or ride by a shopping district. I try, but I just chicken out. I'll sometimes give up and walk the bike a couple blocks if it's during rush hour and noone will let me in.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    There is no such thing as "the vc method" (since vc is not a method), so the assertion "when the vc method doesn't quite work" is meaningless. Perhaps you're saying there are places and conditions where riding in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road "doesn't work". Pray tell, where would that be?
    Ah yes, the semantics and nuance...

    While the "rules of the road**" do indeed work everywhere, actually riding a bike in a vehicular manner tends to fall apart as the speed of traffic becomes vastly greater than that which a cyclist can maintain... in which case the cyclist appears more and more like a rolling pedestrian; to such an extent that there are even non-vehicular workarounds to such things as left turns.

    The vehicular cyclist also needs co-operation from other users of the road, as does any other vehicle driver... this is part of the basic mantra of vehicular cycling... where cyclists are to "act and are treated as drivers of a vehicle...; " if that latter part, "being treated as a driver of a vehicle" is not present, and thus the co-operation of other users of the road is not given, then vehicular cycling fails.




    ** a loosely defined definition of generally accepted practices that tends to form the basis for the western worlds' driving practices.

  23. #23
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    Right, but you're just repeating the point of your first paragraph again.

    Sidenote here. Ever taken any classes in instruction?

    Ever heard of the method of: "Tell 'em what you're going to tell them; Tell them; Tell them what you told them?"

    It is a common method of instruction. You probably should have learned it in your LCI training. I learned it in the military, and later in college, and also a SCUBA instructor.

    Repetition is also a cornerstone of any education method. There are different methods of teaching, but for short sessions, this works well... the Socratic method is a bit time consuming for something like a quick bike course or even SCUBA instruction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solveg View Post
    I agree with you. My indecision and squirrelly-ness has cause caused problems while riding. I wouldn't want to be a car behind me as I pass over an interstate or ride by a shopping district. I try, but I just chicken out. I'll sometimes give up and walk the bike a couple blocks if it's during rush hour and noone will let me in.
    Ah, well, if you go so far as to resort to being a pedestrian, you are probably quite reasonably safe doing that, assuming a level of vigilance appropriate to traveling as a pedestrian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Sidenote here. Ever taken any classes in instruction?

    Ever heard of the method of: "Tell 'em what you're going to tell them; Tell them; Tell them what you told them?"

    It is a common method of instruction. You probably should have learned it in your LCI training. I learned it in the military, and later in college, and also a SCUBA instructor.

    Repetition is also a cornerstone of any education method. There are different methods of teaching, but for short sessions, this works well... the Socratic method is a bit time consuming for something like a quick bike course or even SCUBA instruction.
    I just pointed out that that didn't say anything new. I did not mean to imply it should not have been there.

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