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Old 11-29-08, 04:39 PM   #1
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John Forester vs. The Human Car

ILTB pointed out a link on John Forester's site where John summarizes his time here and quoted me. John is sort of using me to summarize all that is "evil" here, Since I don't speak for you or this forum I wanted to give you all a chance to put in your two cents as well.

This is what I have up on my site as a rebuttal: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/artic...81129150252619

Quote:
Originally Posted by (some formatting and links lost in copying)
Well it seems that I have gotten some notoriety courtesy of John Forester the author of "Effective Cycling". So in response to his post on his site (link follows) here is my response:

Despite it being a normal day in most respects there was a discussion on Bike Forums (BF) that took on a surrealist bent, John Forester, the so called father of Vehicular Cycling (VC) was arguing to ride to the right side of the road and Bekologist (a bikeway advocate) was arguing to take the lane. Despite several admonishments (and) to John that the discussion was not about bikeways/bike lanes, John insisted on trolling that subject as well as insulting forum members and as a result was temporally banned.

I really have to question John's understanding of the arguments presented if the "bikeway" advocates were not discussing bikeways but about when is taking the lane appropriate or not and John in his rebuttals kept bringing up bikeways.

What concerns me most is that John has stated that he supports a compromise position:
A compromise has been suggested by Dan Gutierrez that has my support. The end result of the compromise, of course, must have two sides. The operational side is to be that all cyclists be allowed to operate according to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, without the bicyclist only restrictions that now apply to the side-of-the-road, to bike lanes, and to side paths. Equally for motorists; they must be allowed to cross or enter bike lanes whenever required by the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. The facilities side of the compromise is that bike lanes be permitted in accordance with guiding standards such as AASHTO's Guide for Bicycle Facilities.

To achieve this compromise, both bicyclist sides must work together to persuade the motorists and others who control traffic law. Motorists and others who control traffic law will not be persuaded to this compromise unless (and maybe this won't be sufficient) they are forced to recognize that there is no scientific basis for bike-lane stripes or side paths, that in many aspects they contradict the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, and that the only basis for them is "popular desire" or "popular superstition". Once it is recognized that there is no scientific or engineering basis for bike-lane stripes or side paths, then there is justification for repealing the traffic laws that require cyclists to use them, even when that is contrary to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. I repeat, in my judgment repeal of the restrictive laws will be impossible just so long as legislators believe that bike-lane stripes make cycling safer, and they will continue to believe this superstition as long as they can. and can be persuaded otherwise only when the bicycle activists themselves declare that there is no safety justification for bike-lane stripes.

There you are, the compromise laid out. To accomplish the desired end, the bicycle activists have to not only admit, but to proclaim, that their supposed safety justifications for bike-lane stripes have no basis beyond superstition, but they can say that that same public superstition might result in a considerable increase in bicycle transportation if bikeways are built.

Bicycle activists get their bikeways, while lawful, competent cyclists get legitimization of vehicular cycling.
It seems to me the so called bikeways advocates that John is so critical of support this position and I find that disturbing.


When John summarizes this on his site he adds this line:
They were absolutely unwilling to admit to the public that bike lanes did not make cycling safe.
This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. On one hand we do have a scientific study that does show a marginal increase in safety for bicyclists in bike lanes, which (most of) the BF bikeways advocates would summarize as as bike lanes do not increase safety they increase comfort. On the other hand we have John who speculates that the study should show (by scientific and engineering methodology ???) a marginal decrease in safety and bikeways only support the inferiority superstition. I'll assert that the bulk of the difference for safety is just semantics or just marginal at best and no clear winner on ether side. I am also under the impression that John perceives promoting comfort with promoting the cyclists inferiority superstition. Irregardless of whether this is valid or not John seems to use this point to automatically knock down the compromise position, which yields in an automatic impasse for those trying to promote the compromise. So I really have to question if John supports the compromise or not.

Another inconsistency in John's posts is that it seemed as if he and only he only can ride out of the way of motorists as a courtesy to motorist (as long as his safety is not compromised) for anyone else wishing to stay out of the way of motorists they suffered from cyclists inferiority superstition.

My final comment is the lack of references in his post, "Bike Forums" yields over 6 million hits on Google. Come on John, site references.

John's post: http://www.johnforester.com/Articles/Social/Year.htm

Please note I do not speak for Bike Forums nor its members, the above is just my opinion.
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Old 11-29-08, 06:14 PM   #2
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shouldn't that be 'jon forestor vs. the world'

amazing he would write such voluminous drivel about bike forums on his site, versus engaging the site with his criticisms. No matter, i found jon's rationale fraught with inconsistency and contradiction, his invective solidified to such degree it prevents discourse with that auto-apologist curmudgeon.
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Old 11-29-08, 06:21 PM   #3
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without bike forums John wouldn't have anything to write about at all
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Old 11-29-08, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link B.
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Old 11-30-08, 08:28 AM   #5
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tl;dr
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Old 11-30-08, 08:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allister View Post
tl;dr
Oh dear, In my own defense what I wrote is a heck of lot shorter then what JF wrote... but then again that's not saying much.
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Old 11-30-08, 08:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Allister View Post
tl;dr
Translation for the less hip?
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Old 11-30-08, 09:00 AM   #8
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Short version of : Too long, didn't read....
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Old 11-30-08, 09:51 AM   #9
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Short version of : Too long, didn't read....
Thanks.
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Old 11-30-08, 10:09 AM   #10
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Short version of : Too long, didn't read....
I thought it was too lazy, didn't read. :my bad:
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Old 11-30-08, 10:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allister View Post
tl;dr
Have to ask... have you ever read "Effective Cycling?"
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Old 11-30-08, 10:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
amazing he would write such voluminous drivel about bike forums on his site, versus engaging the site with his criticisms.
It is not surprising considering (1) that the article is about a discussion that led to him being banned, (2) that he was presumably banned at the time he wrote the article, and (3) he has been banned almost immediately upon returning here.
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Old 11-30-08, 10:39 AM   #13
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I thought it was too lazy, didn't read. :my bad:
That is my understanding. The "lazy" component is sort of reinforced by the abbreviation ... no?

I recall that Allister has two young kids. I suspect that he is getting geared up for their "texting phase" in the upcoming years.
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Old 11-30-08, 10:56 AM   #14
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For Allister and other TL's (whatever that means) just read the 2nd and 3rd paragraph. The 3rd paragraph is especially poignant in regards to the conversation on the Hurst thread about petitioning to get JF back.
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Old 11-30-08, 01:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
It is not surprising considering (1) that the article is about a discussion that led to him being banned, (2) that he was presumably banned at the time he wrote the article, and (3) he has been banned almost immediately upon returning here.
I could be wrong, but my recollection is that the original ban was for a week, but he stayed away for a whole year
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Old 11-30-08, 01:39 PM   #16
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JF's temp ban: Banned Users which makes it about a half year that he stayed away.
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Old 11-30-08, 11:34 PM   #17
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i suspect jon was busy for those six months, busy polishing his experiences here for his website and his band of zealous acolytes, prior to his recent one day crash and burn here. a wild performance indeed, but jon's argumentative incorrigibility is well known.
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Old 11-30-08, 11:58 PM   #18
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Dannihilator and I reviewed, and he thought after thinking about it that perhaps the permanent had been a bit strong, so it's been downgraded to a week for John.
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Old 12-01-08, 08:06 AM   #19
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Dannihilator and I reviewed, and he thought after thinking about it that perhaps the permanent had been a bit strong, so it's been downgraded to a week for John.
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Old 12-01-08, 08:53 PM   #20
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Dannihilator and I reviewed, and he thought after thinking about it that perhaps the permanent had been a bit strong, so it's been downgraded to a week for John.
That should give you some time to put on some more maintenance staff, and no, I don't want the job.
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Old 12-01-08, 09:11 PM   #21
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This came up in a side conversation:
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Forester
...the Cross statistics, show that bike lanes can reduce car-bike collisions only by a very small amount
...
The most that they [BF bikeway advocates] would come to was to admit that bike lanes had only an insignificant effect on collision rate.
...
They were absolutely unwilling to admit to the public that bike lanes did not make cycling safe.[]
Ref: http://www.johnforester.com/Articles/Social/Year.htm
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Last edited by The Human Car; 12-01-08 at 09:18 PM. Reason: WTF
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Old 12-06-08, 10:14 PM   #22
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So many of John's arguments and the dogmatic VC stance are so outdated and unnecessarily in opposition to contemporary bicycling advocacy, which tends to be far more inclusive, collaborative and open minded that it's almost painful to read and reread the same arguments.

This fight is over. The only thing keeping it going is JF's and his proteges' obstinance and the insistence of some of their opponents to keep feeding the beast.

But it's over. Let it go.
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Old 12-07-08, 12:46 PM   #23
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From what I have read here, on other sites, including JF's, and personally experienced in dealing with john, he has no problem insulting someone when they disagree with him. He can be pretty brutal about it and mask it in such a way that it appears non-insulting, but really is. He does not use, nor needs to use, vulgar language to brow beat or berate anyone. To him it does not matter if the opinion and point someone else is trying to make against his has any logical basis or not. Unless you agree with him he will insult and brow beat the heck out of you until you do agree with him or give up and go away.

He thinks his way is the only way. I think his opinions of and basis of his attitudes on vc are soley based on his personal experience. Whether it is when he is out riding, dealing with governments on all levels for better facilities, which includes preventing bike lanes and paths from being built. I think he is a bitter old man because he has been told no or things did not happen the way he wanted them to after presenting something to a city government when it comes to facilities.

I used to have a lot of respect for him and from time to time had no problem debating him on other web sites. After the way he treated me and several others I stopped having anything to do with him and his hauled book, Effective Bicycling, as well as other recyclables on my bike down to the public drop site at the city recycling center. Probably the most expensive thing I have ever recycled.

With the way he treats people who disagree with him I think he should stay away until he can learn to treat people better when they disagree with him. Especially when they are educated in why they disagree. His ban should either be permanent or he should have the self discipline to never return here again until such time that he can behave.
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Old 12-09-08, 11:15 AM   #24
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^^^ this! JF loves to dish it out but can't take it. guy needs some meds.
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