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View Poll Results: Do you still ride in the manner you learned as a child?

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  • YES

    14 21.54%
  • NO

    51 78.46%
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  1. #1
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    Calling a Forester statement into question.

    First, this is in no way meant as a attack or anything of the like on John Forester. While a lot of us disagree with & do not like what he has to say he has a right to say it.

    I am calling a statment by him into question though. That statement is this one:
    Most Americans on bicycles ride in the manner that they learned as children, according to societal norms that were produced by the motoring establishment in order to keep cyclists in their place.

    Let's use the members of BF as a representation of most Americans. Vote in this poll, either yes or no, which will indicate whether you still ride in the manner that you learned as a child. Yes meaning you still do & no meaning you do not.

    I would really like to see proof of the so called societal norms. What does that even mean, anyway? I'd love to see the documented proof that the motoring public created to keep cyclists in their place. Does such proof exist? If it does can anyone provide a web link to it?

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    if you start questioning forester's logic the whole 'vc' house of cards collapses, frsncyclst.

  3. #3
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    I don't, but I think the key words in that statement are "most Americans".

    Most Americans also don't see bikes as a viable transportation option.

    Most are overweight and suffer the related health issues.

    Most are not on BF, etc.

  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    forstors statement about most bicyclists riding like children is just one of his many hyperbolic fallacies he weakly bases his assumptions on.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frmsncyclst View Post
    First, this is in no way meant as a attack or anything of the like on John Forester. While a lot of us disagree with & do not like what he has to say he has a right to say it.

    I am calling a statment by him into question though. That statement is this one:
    Most Americans on bicycles ride in the manner that they learned as children, according to societal norms that were produced by the motoring establishment in order to keep cyclists in their place.

    Let's use the members of BF as a representation of most Americans. Vote in this poll, either yes or no, which will indicate whether you still ride in the manner that you learned as a child. Yes meaning you still do & no meaning you do not.

    I would really like to see proof of the so called societal norms. What does that even mean, anyway? I'd love to see the documented proof that the motoring public created to keep cyclists in their place. Does such proof exist? If it does can anyone provide a web link to it?
    The bolded statement above is a false premise. "Most Americans" do not frequent BF, nor do "most Americans" readily regularly ride a bicycle. The fact is that while the US enjoys more bicycles per capita than most other nations, we also have nearly the lowest number of regular cyclists, amounting to about 2% of all transportation needs in the nation. (I rounded up)

    Now the ironic thing is that this creates a rather interesting picture of the bike industry in the US... an industry that manages to sell a product that is almost immediately stored in the garage, and rarely used.

    The majority of cycling that is done in this country is recreational "park and path" riding.

    So to use BF members as a representation of "most Americans" is to paint a pretty false picture.

  6. #6
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    Bek, where does JF get his knowledge from? Or where does he claim to? Is it from personal experience? has he worked in a civil engineering field or in public administration? Does he have any sort of formal education to back up his claims?

    He is good at spewing his rhetoric & expects everyone to swallow it & has no problem insulting people when we disagree & will not swallow it. But where is it coming from?

    In other words what are his credentials?

    If it is from personal experience, then I'm sorry, but that is not enough to convince me or anyone else for that matter that what he says is true or right. It would be like me telling a anti-helmet cyclist who has never had an accident, that a helmet saved my life & only basing it on my personal experience & expecting the anti-helmet cyclist to start wearing a helmet, based on that. It just won't work.

    Has anyone bothered to ask John what his credentials are or where he gets his experience or so called expertise from? If not then it is time to call that into question as well. I am indeed questioning his credibility.

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    you do know about the history of EC, his efforts in california getting bikes NOT recognized as vehicles, forestors ouster from the LAB, his ostracisism from the mainstream bicycling advocacy community due his engineering prejudices, his allegiance with a pro motorist organization, and his efforts against bike infrastructure in this country, don't you?

    You know about his admitted sellout in California of bicyclists to the motorists' interests and the resulting ban along many of CA's high speed trasnportation cooridors?


    he wrote a book 35 years ago about bicycling. I wonder what's changed? On this forum he was recently recommending acetlyene bike lamps or 3W halogens.... one small indicator how out of touch he is about contemporary bicycling.


    johns unproven theories, his weak and unsurpportable data is just part of the story. not to mention his contradictions regarding how bikes should operate in narrow lanes of travel.

    his pithy fallacy 'bikes fare best when they act and are treated as drivers as vehicles' is also incorrect; bicyclists "fare best when they act and are treated in communities as drivers of human powered vehicles and accomodated as such"

    his decades old, outdated rant in the face of overwhelming world evidence to the contrary is, like membership in the flat earth society, pathetic.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 02-18-08 at 10:41 AM.

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frmsncyclst View Post
    Bek, where does JF get his knowledge from? Or where does he claim to? Is it from personal experience? has he worked in a civil engineering field or in public administration? Does he have any sort of formal education to back up his claims?
    Uh, not Bek here. But to try to answer some of your questions, here is JF's CV from his web site: http://www.johnforester.com/Consult/currvita.htm

    Here is his home page: http://www.johnforester.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by frmsncyclst View Post
    Bek, where does JF get his knowledge from? Or where does he claim to? Is it from personal experience? has he worked in a civil engineering field or in public administration? Does he have any sort of formal education to back up his claims?

    He is good at spewing his rhetoric & expects everyone to swallow it & has no problem insulting people when we disagree & will not swallow it. But where is it coming from?

    In other words what are his credentials?

    If it is from personal experience, then I'm sorry, but that is not enough to convince me or anyone else for that matter that what he says is true or right. It would be like me telling a anti-helmet cyclist who has never had an accident, that a helmet saved my life & only basing it on my personal experience & expecting the anti-helmet cyclist to start wearing a helmet, based on that. It just won't work.

    Has anyone bothered to ask John what his credentials are or where he gets his experience or so called expertise from? If not then it is time to call that into question as well. I am indeed questioning his credibility.
    See http://johnforester.com/Articles/Fac...s/bikelane.htm

    This outlines the method used to observe the behavior of cycling populations and some of the results. I admit that all of my formal observations have been made in the cycling centers of Northern California, and, hence, are not representative of the USA as a whole. The reason for this limitation is travel time and money.

    However, it is commonly believed that the behavior of cyclists in Northern California, as having been a center of bicycle activism for many years, is somewhat better than that in the nation as a whole. At any rate, I see no reason to suppose that the behavior of cyclists in the cycling centers of Northern California is worse than that of the nation as a whole.

    I know of no similar studies made anywhere else in the world.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=frmsncyclst;6185089]Most Americans on bicycles ride in the manner that they learned as children, according to societal norms that were produced by the motoring establishment in order to keep cyclists in their place.

    Let's use the members of BF as a representation of most Americans. Vote in this poll, either yes or no, which will indicate whether you still ride in the manner that you learned as a child. Yes meaning you still do & no meaning you do not.

    /QUOTE]

    Part 1. So there's been a conspiracy to keep cyclists in their place? Probably started by the aliens that crashed in New Mexico. Just what is the motoring establishment? Is this another definition for the Trilateral Comission? Enough with the conspiracy theories.

    Part 2. Sort of. Still have to push on the pedals to make it go. But nowadays, I stop at traffic signs and signals, give the right of way, ride with the flow of traffic, etc. When I was growing up, in a small town in PA, there were so many fewer cars one could ride about anywhere, any way, without worry. Times and place have changed.

    I agree that BF riders in no way represent most Americans.

  11. #11
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    What if one was taught to ride VC as a child and still does? That would be a yes vote, wouldn't it?
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    What if one was taught to ride VC as a child and still does? That would be a yes vote, wouldn't it?
    So far as I have observed, the only American cyclists who learned vehicular cycling as children are either immigrants from European nations where that was the national norm, or are the children of vehicular-cycling parents. It is possible that there are a few who learned it, as children, through some other route. However, none of the older published child-cyclist traffic-training literature shows vehicular cycling. They all show cyclist-inferiority cycling. Street Smarts is the modern publication that might be read by children that shows vehicular cycling, and I hope that it is producing a change.

  13. #13
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I voted Yes in your poll.

    My parents did not allow me to ride a bike until I was 9. They had a strict rule about this and none of my siblings rode until 9. I did actually borrow a bike from a friend and rode a bit before that, but rarely.

    At age 9 I was given a Schwinn, and attended a "bike rodeo" which was a series of safety demonstrations and tests that was sponsored by the local fire department. After that I was allowed to ride my bike to school... on the streets, as there were no sidewalks or bike lanes or paths.

    As an adult the biggest changes are that I now wear a helmet nearly all the time, I ride a multispeed bike most of the time, and I have shoes that clip onto the pedals. I also ride in much heavier traffic, and have managed to do a bit of touring in all sorts of conditions.

    Basically I ride pretty much in the same manner as I did when younger, albeit with more skill and experience. There were a few years between age 16-19 when auto driving replaced cycling in my life, but at about 20 years old I rediscovered cycling and was actually car free for about 7 years...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by frmsncyclst View Post
    First, this is in no way meant as a attack or anything of the like on John Forester. While a lot of us disagree with & do not like what he has to say he has a right to say it.

    I am calling a statment by him into question though. That statement is this one:
    Most Americans on bicycles ride in the manner that they learned as children, according to societal norms that were produced by the motoring establishment in order to keep cyclists in their place.

    Let's use the members of BF as a representation of most Americans. Vote in this poll, either yes or no, which will indicate whether you still ride in the manner that you learned as a child. Yes meaning you still do & no meaning you do not.

    I would really like to see proof of the so called societal norms. What does that even mean, anyway? I'd love to see the documented proof that the motoring public created to keep cyclists in their place. Does such proof exist? If it does can anyone provide a web link to it?
    There are really two parts to his statement. First, most Americans on bicycles ride in the manner that they learned as children. Second, according to societal norms that were produced by the motoring establishment in order to keep cyclists in their place.

    Both clauses depend on the subject "Most Americans on bicycles." That's ambiguous-- does that include every American who rides a bicycle, or does it only include every American who rides a bicycle regularly (let's say more than twice a week)?

    If he's talking about any American who might ride a bike at least once a year, he may be right that most Americans ride in the manner that they learned as children. If he's talking about cycling enthusiasts (leaving out those who ride through economic or legal necessity, rather than through personal choice), then he's probably wrong.

    The second clause could mean that laws were written establishing the rights and duties of all vehicle users, and defining where and when in the road those vehicle users may operate. If that's what he means, then he's right. If he means that the "motoring establishment" developed "societal norms" for the express purpose of discriminating against cyclists, well, if you didn't drink the Koolaid, you probably don't subscribe to that theory.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    snipped

    Part 1. So there's been a conspiracy to keep cyclists in their place? Probably started by the aliens that crashed in New Mexico. Just what is the motoring establishment? Is this another definition for the Trilateral Comission? Enough with the conspiracy theories.
    The names of the organizations represented on the two committees that produced the American bikeway laws and designs are well known. They consisted of governmental organizations with highway responsibilities, who would have to carry out the designs, plus the Auto Club of Southern California and the California Highway Patrol, who were the foremost advocates for shoving cyclists aside. The only cyclist representatives permitted were me, on the first committee, and John Finley Scott, on the second committee. One of the organizations, naturally, was the League of California Cities, whose representative informed the Legislature that the League members felt that unless the results of these committees were enacted into law and properly funded, the member cities would have no means of controlling the actions of the bicyclists who were flooding their streets.

    I repeat, for the umpteenth time, that this was not a conscious conspiracy. Because it was the reflection of typical, and unquestioned [except by vehicular cyclists], social attitudes, there was no need to conspire. That's the way that Americans thought, and they still do, and it is also the way that most of you in these discussions think. Motorists want cyclists out of their way, while most cyclists want to be protected from same-direction motor traffic; the two sides of the same coin, and equally wrong.

  16. #16
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I learned how to ride a bike when I was 6. I rode on dirt paths and small city streets back then. Now I dont do as many wheelies. And I can't buy a good "Cheater Slick" rear tire. Also gave up the grip tassles and sissy bars. I lived far away from Southen California.

    Now I take up the whole lane and speed more often than I did as a kid. I am more inclinded to procceed through a light after looking, rather than waiting for the light to turn green. I still ride the sidewalks somethimes, but probably am more aware of the dangers of that.

    Just because the dominant ethos concerning cycling is wrong, does not mean that adopting VC is the best way to change the dominant perspective. For example how much of the moterist attitude that "those cyclists belong off of the street", is due to the fact that motorists are allways late getting to work or to pick up the kids? How much is due to the fact that the roads are too congested for cars to even be used to the fullest capacity of the horse power that they contain? How many questions are asked about cycling on drivers tests? No doubt that as more drivers hit the roads, motorists' frustration will continue to grow. But so will the understanding that bikes do belong on the street for precisely that reason.

    Having said that I would support both VC and seperated facilities when appropriate. However I would rather not have some seperated facilities, if it made it against the law to also use the street.
    Last edited by slagjumper; 02-18-08 at 10:41 AM.

  17. #17
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    what a fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by forestor
    ....I admit that all of my formal observations have been made in the cycling centers of Northern California, and, hence, are not representative of the USA as a whole......I know of no similar studies made anywhere else in the world.
    thirty year old data set out to prove a biased hypothesis? no similar studies have ever been done? no other data supports johns?

    Last edited by Bekologist; 02-18-08 at 10:40 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    See http://johnforester.com/Articles/Fac...s/bikelane.htm

    This outlines the method used to observe the behavior of cycling populations and some of the results. I admit that all of my formal observations have been made in the cycling centers of Northern California, and, hence, are not representative of the USA as a whole. The reason for this limitation is travel time and money.

    However, it is commonly believed that the behavior of cyclists in Northern California, as having been a center of bicycle activism for many years, is somewhat better than that in the nation as a whole. At any rate, I see no reason to suppose that the behavior of cyclists in the cycling centers of Northern California is worse than that of the nation as a whole.

    I know of no similar studies made anywhere else in the world.
    Ok so I take this to mean your experience is or has been limited to northern California. So why then do you claim that your teachings & rhetoric will work for every where in the US? Where else in the US have you ridden to great extent?

    My cycling resume currently includes a large portion of the state of Iowa, a good portion of the state of South Dakota from the Black Hills, Sioux Falls & SE South Dakota, The eastern side of Wyoming around the Devil's Tower area, a small portion of the NE part of Nebraska & a good portion of Honolulu, Hawaii.

  19. #19
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    My biggest issue with VC is that it creates a false dichotomy. It says either A) everyone supports VC or B) You all will have to ride on the separate facilities.

    This has a way of de-emphasizing the many good parts to the VC rhetoric.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    ... it is commonly believed that the behavior of cyclists in Northern California, as having been a center of bicycle activism for many years, is somewhat better than that in the nation as a whole.
    I love the use of phrases like "it is commonly believed...", which is basically a way of saying, "I believe" and therefore to convince you of the weight of my opinion I will say, "it is commonly believed".

    But that aside let's examine the second part of this statement in a logical fashion.

    If "the behavior of cyclists in Northern California, as having been a center of bicycle activism for many years, is somewhat better than that in the nation as a whole."

    then should we conclude that all areas with a high degree of "bicycle activism" (whatever that is?) produce better behaved cyclists? Is John saying that areas like Portland, OR or areas with a larger percentage of cyclists actually improve cyclists skills over areas with fewer cyclists? So, does more cycling activity produce better, safer cyclists??!!

    The Rutger's study, recently debated thoroughly in these forums, shows evidence that bike facilities (bike lanes, bike paths) encourage cycling and increase the numbers of people on bikes and that those increased numbers actually promote cycling safety.

    John, I believe, disputes this conclusion, but it seems to me a well-documented study and one that certainly corroborates my own personal observations. Do others have similar experience?

    Given the volume of posts in the commuting forum of BF and the percentage of cyclists who ride either exclusively or a large percentage of their daily commute on a bike path I would think the Rutgers study to be correct. If there were evidence to the contrary either in documented studies or consistent individual observations then I would be inclined to change my opinion.

    I think many of John's statements are worth calling into question- they often lead to quite interesting conclusions.

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frmsncyclst View Post
    Has anyone bothered to ask John what his credentials are or where he gets his experience or so called expertise from? If not then it is time to call that into question as well. I am indeed questioning his credibility.
    Just check out his website.

    http://www.johnforester.com/

  22. #22
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    So to use BF members as a representation of "most Americans" is to paint a pretty false picture.
    Gene is right on a money here. So the poll has little meaning with respect to the original JF statement.

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    One thing I forgot to mention when I stated where I have ridden is it has not always been VC. Especially in Honolulu. Honolulu has an impressive system of on street bike routes, bike lanes & trails. Some of the BL's could be designed better, yes. Others are really nice to ride on & you would not want to ride in the travel lane. The road that goes around toward the winward side of the island is a divided 4 lane in the city that starts/ends at the H1, speed is 35 to 45 mph until it turns into the hwy that leads out to Sandy Beach PArk & up the winward side to the North Shore. In the city limits there is a BL on each side. A very nice BL at that. Once you're out of town you are in the travel lane. Very pleasent to ride on despite heavy traffic.

    If I had to describe or label my cycling habits, abilities or style I would probably say it is adaptive more then anything else. Sometimes it is VC, only when it needs to be, sometimes it is not, again only when it needs to be. There is no such thing as 100% VC, never will be as far as I'm concerned. I think it is impossible.

    And no JF, this is not because I have been corrputed or convinced by the general motoring public to think this way & take this attitude toward because it is what the motoriing public thinks my place should be.

    BTW there is nothing scientific about my claims or statments about my cycling ability or style. It is simply personal experience. I admit that. If there were ever scientific proof I would certainly provide evidence of it.
    Last edited by frmsncyclst; 02-18-08 at 08:20 PM.

  24. #24
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    What if one was taught to ride VC as a child and still does? That would be a yes vote, wouldn't it?
    My dad taught me to ride according to the rules of the road when I was a kid, but I'd still have to vote No, because I like to think that I've learned some things and refined my riding over the last 40 some years.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  25. #25
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    I voted no. I figured out pretty quickly what put me in danger, and what was safest on the road, and modified my riding to suit, and that's an ongoing process. VC, when I encountered it in the form of the Effective Cycling book, never taught me anything new.

    I was never really taught the rules of the road as a child (I did know which side to ride on at least), but when I took it up as an adult, after being a licensed car driver for a while, it never occured to me to ride in any way but in accordance with the rules of the road. I'm not sure why Forester thinks other people aren't capable of coming to the same conclusion - it's not rocket science.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

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