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Old 11-09-09, 02:37 PM   #1
randya
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Slate Article on 'Facilitators' vs. 'Vehicularists'

http://www.slate.com/id/2232555
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Old 11-09-09, 03:20 PM   #2
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He must be joking,"What is the way to get me and my stop sign flouting buddies to quit running stop sighs?" Kidding ! ?

Tickets will do it-then maybe licenses, license plates, and red light/stop sign cameras.
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Old 11-09-09, 03:58 PM   #3
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So many errors of fact, let alone those of opinion.

Bikes "are neither cars nor pedestrians." Cyclists are drivers of vehicles and are required to obey the rules for drivers plus any special rules for cyclists.

The emphasis on stopping at stop signs ignores the much greater safety requirement. The stop-sign law requires stopping and then yielding to traffic. It is not the stop that makes safety, but the yielding. And cyclists having to put a foot down? Nothing but a superstition. One can stop and then continue (different cyclists manage different durations of stop). But, also, in many situations the stop is required before it is possible to observe traffic to yield to it, so the driver stops, or slows drastically, and then moves forward to where he can yield. There are too many stop signs; traffic engineers complain about having to put in unwarranted ones. Therefore American motorists have discovered the California stop, and usually get away with it, moving so slowly that they yield. I see no reason for citing those cyclists who are obeying standard practice, but much reason for those who, as I have observed then when studying their habits, pedal right through a stop sign without looking right or left,.

Cyclists are excepted from the traffic laws that have no reasonable relation. OK, but these are not the laws for "highways, some sidewalks, and other non-bicycle-friendly-turf." The rules of the road do not apply on sidewalks and other non-roadway places, and they apply on 'highways', I suppose meaning freeways. No, the exceptions for cyclists are such as that which prohibits opening a door into traffic, or having at least the minimum groove depth in tires, or requiring seat belts, etc.

Lawmakers tend to favor the full stop at stop signs. As above, yield signs work better. In 1500 miles on English roads in 1985, I encountered two stop signs. Each was where a narrow blind alley debouched onto the road.

Modern traffic laws didn't evolve until after WW 2 and the interstate system. Absolutely false. The first modern traffic code was written by Eno about 1904, and adopted by New York City in 1908. The National Committee for Uniform Vehicle Codes and Ordinances published the first edition of the Uniform Vehicle Code in 1926.

Despite these factual errors, the author, Christopher Beam, closes with a the most important statement in his piece. "As a biker, my wish would be for police to crack down on more dangerous behavior, such as riding at night without a light or tearing the wrong way down a one-way street."

While Beam focuses on cyclist behavior, I think that he has only a limited understanding of the problems. He describes vehicularists as wanting to act as cars. Not quite correct. They believe that cyclists should obey the rules of the road for drivers, and are happy when doing so. Beam describes facilitators as "recogniz[ing] the innate differences between bikes and cars." Also not quite correct. Special bicycle facilities are designed for those people who don't want to obey the rules of the road. The difference is not one of vehicles, but of behavior.

This sounds fine while the non-vehicular cyclist thinks he's protected from traffic that is not very dangerous, but becomes a real trouble when, as at intersections, he finds that he is immersed in traffic that he has not learned how to handle. Beam does not recognize this.

Beam also shows little understanding of vehicular behavior in his description of the behavior desired by vehicularists. They "believe bikes should act as cars: occupy full lanes, stop at red lights, use a hand signal at least 100 feet ahead of a turn." Occupying full lanes? Only under some circumstances, not at others. Stop a red lights? This is an issue only when compared to the other cyclists' practice of running them. Hand signals for 100 feet? This, like the stop sign discussion, emphasizes the least important part while ignoring the most important part. Signalling does not create right of way. Proper yielding, negotiating, attaining proper position, are required of all drivers, be they motorists or cyclists, and they make the difference between a competent driver and a public danger.

In short, while Beam recognizes that the problem is improper cyclist behavior, he does not quite know what that is.
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Old 11-10-09, 08:37 AM   #4
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Oh i think the slate author rides a lot in a crowded metropolitan area. he is cognizant of the actions of riding a bike in the 21st century.

His article fairly accurately portrays some of the issues surrounding the schism between those that obstruct bike infrastructure and those that recognize public rights of way can be engineered to more equitably treat multiple modes of transportation.


in every public meeting about bike policy i've been to, some joker chirps in with the vacuous sophism 'every lane is a bikelane' as if this is the sole distillate of how to best accommodate bikes and cars on public roadways.

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Old 11-13-09, 10:41 AM   #5
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I think he probably did a really good job of describing the area he rides. It was all pretty meaningless to me because where I ride there are absolutely no accomodations for bicycles, few for pedestrians. I ride like a vehicle by default. I am glad to see that discussion of this issue is taking place in popular news. That's a good thing even if he did get some of the details wrong.

Thanks for posting it.
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Old 11-28-09, 08:53 AM   #6
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I agree that overall, the article is more good than bad. I think it’s largely a matter of simplifying concepts down to the point that the layperson can grasp them without giving those in the know an aneurysm.
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Old 06-24-10, 09:27 AM   #7
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Great article! As usual, they break folks down into absolutes, which is unrealistic but works for the sake of argument. I guess I am more vehicularist than facilitator, but I actually think it's the drivers who need the education that we actually belong on the road. Nor do I believe we should be expected to obey laws that don't make sense. I do not, however, hold any hate for cars. I own and drive one. I think cyclists should signal when they can, yield to pedestrians and cars when they have the light. It's pretty logical. The cars aren't going anywhere--it's a big country.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:16 AM   #8
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Proponents of "vehicular cycling" believe bikes should act as cars: occupy full lanes, stop at red lights, use a hand signal at least 100 feet ahead of a turn. That's the best way to make cars—and policymakers—aware of bicycles and to respect them as equals on the road.
So the USA was founded in part on this idea that "all [people] are created equal." But machines like cars and bicycles aren't endowed by their creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The idea that a person choosing between a bike and a car to get from one place to another isn't choosing among equals isn't Nazism. We don't have to pretend vehicle choices are "equal" in a civil rights sense. Cars don't respect bikes as equals on the road. They use their powerful engines to pass us ... and to go 50 mph up long, steep hills.

Cars and bikes both have unique strengths, weaknesses, and liabilities. Pretending otherwise is just plain goofy, and hard to take seriously.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:31 AM   #9
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So the USA was founded in part on this idea that "all [people] are created equal." But machines like cars and bicycles aren't endowed by their creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The idea that a person choosing between a bike and a car to get from one place to another isn't choosing among equals isn't Nazism. We don't have to pretend vehicle choices are "equal" in a civil rights sense. Cars don't respect bikes as equals on the road. They use their powerful engines to pass us ... and to go 50 mph up long, steep hills.

Cars and bikes both have unique strengths, weaknesses, and liabilities. Pretending otherwise is just plain goofy, and hard to take seriously.
Neither cars nor bikes make the trip on their own... they all require people. Both cars and bikes provide transportation for people. It is people making the trip, not the car or the bike. People have the same rights.

Cars don't make decisions, and can neither show respect nor love nor hate. People on the other hand, can.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:56 AM   #10
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The fact that cars and bikes are both operated by people doesn't make them equal as machines. And bikes aren't "respected as equals on the road." We're often politely tolerated, but that's a very different thing. The equality of the driver and of the vehicle is also different thing; we can both vote, but only one of us can do 60 mph, only one is bound by FRAP laws, only one can use most freeways, only one is required to have brake lights and current tabs, only one must be insured, and only one can deploy an air bag.

Which vehicles we use are choices we make. It's not that different from some people using Facebook and others continuing to use a horse and buggy and shun electricity. Amish people are our equals, but their hand-written letters arrive a lot more slowly than my gmail, kind of like how my bike gets me home more quickly than my car could, thanks to the parking lot known as I-5 ( which I'm not allowed on with my bike ).
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Old 06-24-10, 11:23 AM   #11
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The fact that cars and bikes are both operated by people doesn't make them equal as machines. And bikes aren't "respected as equals on the road." We're often politely tolerated, but that's a very different thing. The equality of the driver and of the vehicle is also different thing; we can both vote, but only one of us can do 60 mph, only one is bound by FRAP laws, only one can use most freeways, only one is required to have brake lights and current tabs, only one must be insured, and only one can deploy an air bag.

Which vehicles we use are choices we make. It's not that different from some people using Facebook and others continuing to use a horse and buggy and shun electricity. Amish people are our equals, but their hand-written letters arrive a lot more slowly than my gmail, kind of like how my bike gets me home more quickly than my car could, thanks to the parking lot known as I-5 ( which I'm not allowed on with my bike ).
Whether I am Amish or not, if I send a letter via the postal service, it is treated the same way.

Your choice of vehicle type on public roads should give you no special priority.

Sure a motor vehicle may go much faster than a bicycle, but that doesn't absolve the operator of their responsibility to share public facilities... and in fact, the fact that a motor vehicle operator must be licensed, "have tags," and carry insurance, shows that they hold a greater responsibility for the use of said vehicle.

Last edited by genec; 06-24-10 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 06-24-10, 12:13 PM   #12
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Whether I am Amish or not, if I send a letter via the postal service, it is treated the same way.
Yep. And if you make a trip via car, your trip is treated like other car trips.

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Sure a motor vehicle may go much faster than a bicycle, but that doesn't absolve the operator of their responsibility to share public facilities...
I said that cars and bikes are different, not that drivers should be able to kill cyclists, or even "just" force them off the roads.

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and in fact, the fact that a motor vehicle operator must be licensed, "have tags," and carry insurance, shows that they hold a greater responsibility for the use of said vehicle.
That's exactly what I'm saying! No more and no less, although you did a better job than I did, of expressing the same thought.
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Old 11-03-10, 08:32 PM   #13
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Sure a motor vehicle may go much faster than a bicycle, but that doesn't absolve the operator of their responsibility to share public facilities... and in fact, the fact that a motor vehicle operator must be licensed, "have tags," and carry insurance, shows that they hold a greater responsibility for the use of said vehicle.
Well, maybe that. But it does show that the user of a car is renting a privilege, while the user of a bike, who can use it on most public rights-of-way without formality, has a right to do so.
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Old 11-06-10, 10:41 AM   #14
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I left a few comments on the original article.
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Old 11-06-10, 05:59 PM   #15
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This old article again -- will it never die?

I have a rule of life -- opinions are like @$$holes, everybody has one, most stink. You can think or believe whatever you like, but when you actually take the effort to FIND OUT, then YOU KNOW.

Factual knowledge trumps belief (at least in court, most times.).
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Old 11-15-10, 02:21 PM   #16
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yes, it's 'old', look at the post date in the OP
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Old 11-20-10, 11:08 AM   #17
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Yup -- AND the date of the 'revival'... just since THAT date, I've seen this article reposted about fifteen times.
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Old 11-20-10, 12:07 PM   #18
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So many errors of fact, let alone those of opinion.

Bikes "are neither cars nor pedestrians." Cyclists are drivers of vehicles and are required to obey the rules for drivers plus any special rules for cyclists.
He's right on that one, John. Cyclists are neither cars (with their size and capability for speed) nor pedestrians. They are vehicles, but they most certainly are not cars.

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This old article again -- will it never die?
My first thought was... nothing new here.

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yes, it's 'old', look at the post date in the OP
...and now I know why.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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Old 11-23-10, 08:17 PM   #19
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Spider Jones the n00b revived it
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Old 11-29-10, 06:23 AM   #20
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Spider Jones the n00b revived it
Sorrry to be the bearer of continuing staleness ...
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