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Old 12-16-09, 07:47 PM   #1
danarnold
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John Forester, Robert Hurst, and Cycling Advocacy

Recently Robert Hurst posted an article pointing out the extremes of cycling advocacy:
http://www.industrializedcyclist.com...r_Cycling.html

"On one side there is a group of earnest, innocent fledglings who honestly believe that any new semi-separated facility will be good for bicyclists and good for America. They hold a precious vision of Amsterdam-izing the country which is dangerous in its simplicity. On the other side is a cadre of pompous, personality-challenged streethogs who offer aggressively insecure and selfishly uncooperative riding in the guise of law-and-order, rights-and-responsibilities cycling."

There are of course, 'lunkheads' as Hurst calls them who advocate both positions. If I am correct in my reading of the article, Hurst points out that both of these extremist advocates can do cyclists political damage and in his words, '...they may actually be calling for a significant diminishment of your existing freedoms as a bicyclist.'

Although there are some who would try to forge a big distinction between Forester and Hurst, I see more in common between the two than I see differences. John leans more toward following the law, while Hurst sees times when a cyclist is better off with a more liberal interpretation of the law as it applies to bicycles.

What I'd like to see is a discussion that seeks to find common ground on a reasonable approach to cycling on the road so that we can have a more unified voice regarding any necessary changes and avoids extreme positions that may serve to diminish cycling freedom.

My own view is that the Idaho law should be pursued in other States, and a rolling near stop at stop signs makes more sense than a full, foot down stop. I am wary also of bike lanes because I see the lane stripe as sending the message that cyclists must stay in 'their bike lanes,' which is contrary to law. Sharrows on the other hand, tell motorists to share the road with cyclists without implied segregation.
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Old 12-16-09, 08:46 PM   #2
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You know:
Quote:
I got a few notes this week from bike-riding opponents of the Idaho Stop who were concerned by my endorsement of it. What they seemed to be asking me is this: How can we gain Equality With Cars if we're granted superior freedoms to drivers? It does present a dilemma.
This ideology that a bicycle just has to be equal with a car I have always found stupid. It's along the lines of asking "if we use a pencil to draw pictures, how can it ever be the equal of a typewriter?". They're two different machines. People need to accept that already.

Although I've already commented on this imagined perception of inferiority a number of times:

In response to the idea that there isn't enough government created incentive to ride bikes:
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Originally Posted by Mos6502
...It's also not entirely fair to say the government favors the automobile. For instance - is insurance required on a bicycle? Do you need a license to operate a bicycle? Do you have to register your bicycle?
In response to the idea that bike lanes make bicycles inferior to cars:
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Originally Posted by Mos6502
Isn't this about like saying "locomotive-inferiority railroading on railways"? - you know, since putting trains on the highway would make them equal to cars...
And so on. People should be focusing on giving the bicycle what it needs to be the most effective, instead of constantly comparing it to something it is not.

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Old 12-16-09, 09:08 PM   #3
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I agree, Mos, we should not advocate a blind 'equality.' I see no problem with tailoring some provisions of the vehicle code to have a better fit with the special qualities of the bicycle. As Hurst points out, we already have some advantages. We can elect the shoulder or not. Cars are not given this freedom.

The Idaho law makes sense because it recognizes what most cyclists do anyway because of the nature of cycling.

I also think it runs counter to our interests to have militant cyclists intentionally blocking traffic in some misguided political adventure. Why provoke the majority, motorists, to restrict the freedom we enjoy riding the roads? I can't think of a single thing that would be of greater assistance to cyclists than to simply inform the motoring public that bicycles have virtually the same right to the road that they have.

I'd like to explore the benefits and feasibility of a change in law that created a rebuttable presumption that if a cyclist is hit from behind the motorist is at fault.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:02 PM   #4
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Danarnold, one of the first things you should do is frame the argument succinctly.

you think concessions should be made between bicyclists that believe thoughtful planning for bikes as transportation will lead to higher rider share, safer riders, and fair chances of an improved quality of life,

and the cyclists like john forester that believe cyclists are circumscribed to ride at the edge of the roadway in all 50 states unless demonstrating a legal excuse to leave the curb, and require cyclists to leave the roadway for the benefit of faster traffic?

I think there's been several attempts to find common ground between faciltators and obstructionists.

did you know, for example, that bike infrastructure and vehicular cycling are not mutually incompatible? did you know that a bikelane is actually part of the roadway? Did you know bikelanes on a minority of streets in a community have a very good chance of both increasing bicycling on those streets but most of the other, remaining, non facilitated roads in a community?

did you know most traffic planners recognize the patterns between increased bicycling ridership and facilities. most traffic planners recognize the patterns between increased ridership and decreases in the indexed accident rate in communities?

i think there should be some common ground. the trouble lies in the 'vehicular cyclists' in admitting it!

did you look at the latest arterial design treatments in the new, 2009 MUTCD? Left turn bikelanes! and AASHTO has vetted this as a 'vehicular' roadway treatment!

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Old 12-16-09, 11:08 PM   #5
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did you look at the latest arterial design treatments in the new, 2009 MUTCD? Left turn bikelanes! and AASHTO has vetted this as a 'vehicular' roadway treatment!
'allowing' it in the MUTCD and actually building it that way are two completely different issues as I was reminded tonight driving on SW Oak in downtown Portland, which has recently had full lane width bike lanes installed (which btw hardly any cyclists are using) and requires right turning motorists to do so across the bike lane from the far left lane rather than allowing the motorists to first merge right into the bike lane to do so, the latter of which IMO would be a whole lot safer for everyone. Oy vey!
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Old 12-16-09, 11:27 PM   #6
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Downtown portland doesnt necessarily need full width bikelanes actually, some places it really could use some cross town bike rotes with underpasses at spots.....I remember feeling pinched at times by the drop in bikability South of the city and west towards beaverton isn't it?

think of the mobility impared, mamachari, and seniors that may feel more inclined to pick up cycling in your town with a more european system of cycling developed integral with an american cityscape

full lane width bikelanes? must be nice. Seattles got some, most notably one along Woodlawn Ave for decades now, I think. it the road itself is part of the Olmstead (also designed central park) legacy of a connector boulevard system that linked a series of parks in Seattle with a paved road that predates the automobile, Lake Washington Boulevard and promenade.


ach, seattles' got two left hand turn bikelanes already that I've ridden in. Seattle has had at least one (must have been a provisional) for a couple of years now.

rides fine, defines space for bicyclists, makers it more likely bicyclists make arterial lefts in 'vehicular' fashion!

seems to run counter to danarnolds inaccurate framing of the rudiments of the discussion.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-16-09 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:41 PM   #7
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downtown portland needs nothing to make it more bike friendly. traffic signals are already timed for 12-15 mph, and lanes are all 'take the lane' width wide. all the new full width downtown bike lanes do is cause traffic congestion and motorist resentment, and 'euro-style' cycle tracks would just be an attractive nuisance and a right hook accident waiting to happen for novice cyclists. Pretty sure the city will ignore the legitimate safety concerns and install them anyway, talk about taking away cyclist's right to the road, that's cycle tracks in a nutshell. I can't wait.

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Old 12-16-09, 11:56 PM   #8
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downtown portland needs nothing to make it more bike friendly. traffic signals are already timed for 12-15 mph, and lanes are all 'take the lane' width wide. all the new full width downtown bike lanes do is cause traffic congestion and motorist resentment, and 'euro-style' cycle tracks would just be an attractive nuisance and a right hook accident waiting to happen for novice cyclists. Pretty sure the city will ignore the legitimate safety concerns and install them anyway, talk about taking away cyclist's right to the road, that's cycle tracks in a nutshell. I can't wait.

Great example of unintended consequences.

I really like the idea of traffic signals timed for 12-15 mph. Hadn't thought of that before. Tell me more.

I assume this allows bicycles to ride straight thru with no stops, making them as fast as the cars, who, if they have any sense move along at the same speed.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:04 AM   #9
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Great example of unintended consequences.

I really like the idea of traffic signals timed for 12-15 mph. Hadn't thought of that before. Tell me more.

I assume this allows bicycles to ride straight thru with no stops, making them as fast as the cars, who, if they have any sense move along at the same speed.
exactly! on the three-lane north-south streets, I just get in the center lane, where there's no danger of hooking accidents, and can travel from one end of downtown to the other without stopping for any lights. it's a bit easier northbound, 'cause it's downhill in that direction part of the way, flat the rest of the way.

It's completely stupid to dumb it down for untrained novice cyclists with inherently unsafe cycle tracks; it would be much better for the novices to develop at least some basic rudimentary traffic cycling skills before they tackle downtown traffic, it's really not that difficult to do.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:06 AM   #10
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Danarnold, one of the first things you should do is frame the argument succinctly.
Thank you Beck. I appreciate your constructive criticism. After 30 years as a trial lawyer, I'm always willing to learn something new.
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Old 12-17-09, 02:14 AM   #11
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You must be a poor trial lawyer. what is that, a dodge? try to focus on some substantive issues istead of a bunch of faulty rhetoric.

Get the rudiments straight when framing whatever it is you're complaining about. lack of common ground is it?

lets get you to admit one thing first: vehicular cycling and bike lanes are not mutually exclusive.

and try this one on for size:

bike lanes are part of the roadway and cyclists using bikelanes are riding on the roads.

Additionally,

With well considered bike lanes and intersection treatments on a minority of streets deemed significant for bicycling traffic, cities have consistently shown they can build ridership across communities and increase bicycling on streets without bike facilities.

Did you look at the latest MUTCD? what do you think of the left turn bikelane?

those arterial designs are vetted by the american association of state highway and traffic officials as being vehicular by design.


the goals of federal transportation policy regarding bicycling is to retain and increase on road bicycling ridership while enhancing safety.

these are some of realities of american transportation policy that the 'vehicular' crewe needs to eat crow about and make some serious concessions.

I'm sorry for being so caustic, maybe we can find some common ground.

I'm a cyclist with a fairly comprehensive understanding of roadway design issues as they apply to actual roadway bicycling. I'm also more well read about and have a clearer understanding of american traffic law as it applies to bicyclists than some trial lawyers with decades of experience.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-17-09 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 12-17-09, 02:27 AM   #12
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downtown portland needs nothing to make it more bike friendly. traffic signals are already timed for 12-15 mph, and lanes are all 'take the lane' width wide. all the new full width downtown bike lanes do is cause traffic congestion and motorist resentment, and 'euro-style' cycle tracks would just be an attractive nuisance and a right hook accident waiting to happen for novice cyclists. Pretty sure the city will ignore the legitimate safety concerns and install them anyway, talk about taking away cyclist's right to the road, that's cycle tracks in a nutshell. I can't wait.

Oh, I'd think there are definetly some spots in 'downtown' portland i can think of that would benefit from more bike friendliness. anywhere where the big bridges peel off onto the waterfront seemed a bit of a cluster for bicyclists.

full width bikelanes and limited right turn intersections. that whole stretch along the water seems a bit of a speedway. maybe that's not 'downtown' or how about by the farmers market?

Burnside? I forget how wide those are. i do agree, oak is an odd street for significant bike traffic.
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Old 12-17-09, 07:06 AM   #13
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My own view is that the Idaho law should be pursued in other States, and a rolling near stop at stop signs makes more sense than a full, foot down stop.
I would rather see a campaign to remove pointless "traffic-calming" stop signs that most people all but ignore to begin with.
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Old 12-17-09, 09:02 AM   #14
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You must be a poor trial lawyer. what is that, a dodge? try to focus on some substantive issues istead of a bunch of faulty rhetoric.
I'll give you a lesson in rhetoric. Rule 1 is to get people to hear your argument. When you start out with a sentence like that, you've already lost your audience. They won't read the rest. I know I didn't. Bek, this is one of the reasons you are worse than ineffective in your efforts to persuade. Your style makes even those who are otherwise inclined to side with you, look for reasons to take the opposite position.

This thread is dedicated to bringing cyclists together so we have a stronger voice. Your goal apparently is the opposite.
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Old 12-17-09, 09:41 AM   #15
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kumbaya.
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Old 12-17-09, 09:45 AM   #16
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Vehicular cycling and bike lanes are not mutually exclusive.


Bike lanes are part of the roadway and cyclists using bikelanes are riding on the roads.



Community bikeways planning and a system of well considered bike lanes and intersection treatments on a minority of streets deemed significant for bicycling traffic will help build on road ridership across communities and increase bicycling on streets without bike facilities.

Arterial bikelane designs and intersection treatments are vetted by the american association of state highway and traffic officials as being vehicular by design.


the goals of federal transportation policy regarding bicycling is to retain and increase on road bicycling ridership while enhancing safety.
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Old 12-17-09, 01:58 PM   #17
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[...]

Although there are some who would try to forge a big distinction between Forester and Hurst, I see more in common between the two than I see differences.[...].
I feel the same about you and Bekologist, seriously.

FWIW, I've always felt that Forester and myself were divided by fundamentally different views of traffic itself. To Forester, the most important aspect of traffic, and the most important thing that bicyclists should be thinking about when riding as/in traffic, according to him, is the fundamental order of it all. Conversely, I feel that the salient feature of traffic is the basic human mistake, i.e. disorder.
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Old 12-17-09, 03:16 PM   #18
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I feel the same about you and Bekologist, seriously.

FWIW, I've always felt that Forester and myself were divided by fundamentally different views of traffic itself. To Forester, the most important aspect of traffic, and the most important thing that bicyclists should be thinking about when riding as/in traffic, according to him, is the fundamental order of it all. Conversely, I feel that the salient feature of traffic is the basic human mistake, i.e. disorder.
I think that is a fair assessment.
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Old 12-17-09, 04:02 PM   #19
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yeah, and both of you think infrastructure and community design has little to do with ridership, which is akin to believing the pony express was the pinnacle of long distance communication.
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Old 12-17-09, 04:24 PM   #20
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yeah, and both of you think infrastructure and community design has little to do with ridership, which is akin to believing the pony express was the pinnacle of long distance communication.
I believe infrastructure is an important factor determining the future (and present) of bicycling in America. That is why I am against 'cycle tracks' and strongly in favor of well-implemented sharrows and bike highway-like MUPs (class I bikeways).
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Old 12-17-09, 05:03 PM   #21
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bek, I am not sure in which of the many threads your are in to post this...but this is as good as any

I really don't know where you are coming from.....at one point you have multiple threads about bicylist's right to the road and then on the other hand you are touting infrastructure.

You are passionate, but your message is lost between your rudness, ranting and vendetta's

I sincerly hope you do not interact with your local government, because from reading your postings I can not see you as a positive advocate for cycling in any public context

Here are some thoughts for you and in general, IMHO

No vehicle has an absolute 'right" to the road, rather usage of the road is a privlege, dependent on various rules, regulation and licensing that vary by vehiicle and individual. (Drivers licenses, Traffic laws, truck route/wt limitations, trailer stay in right hand lane, etc)

Bicycles in general are less encumbered by these rules, regulations and laws than motor vehicles, but are at risk of being more encumbered if bicylist's behavior is perceived as negative or if it is considered that infrastructure means bikes should be off of roads in general. Mandatory bike path usage laws are an example.

I would bet money (or a large peet's coffee anyway ) that you and JF would agree that any restriction of general use of roads is not a desirable outcome.

We are a small minority, but in many cases are receiving what is considered by some disproportionate amounts of public funding as forward looking cities build various infrastructure items to encourage riding. This will in the short term focus attention of non cyclists on cyclist behavior.

We have to deal with the laws we have and work to change them instead trying to make up our own interpretations on the intent and application of laws to bicycles.

Courtesy when riding will go a lot further in effective advocacy than all the yelling in the world will. By courtesy, I mean simple things like, when stopped at a light, waving a driver behind you there is enough room for them to make a right on red. If there isn't room then of course you take the lane. Courtesy is making every effort to allow traffic behind you to pass if you are really slowing people down. Courtesy is not inferior behavior, but is recognizing that depending on the situation, there are performance differences between bike and motor vehicles.

the bottom line, is that the more people who bike, even short distances, as part of their life, the more leverage cyclists will have. The most effective advocacy is riding and getting other people to ride, thereby increasing our numbers
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Old 12-17-09, 05:20 PM   #22
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We are a small minority, but in many cases are receiving what is considered by some disproportionate amounts of public funding as forward looking cities build various infrastructure items to encourage riding. This will in the short term focus attention of non cyclists on cyclist behavior.
There are "some" who consider ANY money spent on ANYTHING that doesn't directly benefit "them" to be an inappropriate use of public funds. Any money spent on such "waste, fraud and abuse" as viewed through the biased filter of such selfish, greedy jokers would be a "disproportionate amount." No amount of so-called positive bicycle behavior will alter the thinking of "some" dim bulbs.


As a matter of discussion, what U.S. forward looking cities spend what a rational person would consider a disproportionate amounts of public funding on various infrastructure items to encourage riding, in comparison to the public funding spent on roads, streets, highways, bridges, tunnels, and all forms of public transportation in the same municipality?
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Old 12-17-09, 05:28 PM   #23
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I sincerly hope you do not interact with your local government, because from reading your postings I can not see you as a positive advocate for cycling in any public context
something Bek and John Forester have in common!

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Old 12-17-09, 06:13 PM   #24
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I feel the same about you and Bekologist, seriously.

FWIW, I've always felt that Forester and myself were divided by fundamentally different views of traffic itself. To Forester, the most important aspect of traffic, and the most important thing that bicyclists should be thinking about when riding as/in traffic, according to him, is the fundamental order of it all. Conversely, I feel that the salient feature of traffic is the basic human mistake, i.e. disorder.
Forester apparently understands your pithy statement better than I do. IF I understand you correctly, both points of view make sense. For safety concerns, certainly order is part of predictability and predictability is part of the foundation of safety.

Also, one would be foolish not to consider human mistakes, i.e. disorder.

I note you have put Bek and I into the same category, to my great embarrassment. Perhaps you can cite something I wrote that inspired this assessment.

BTW, I agree with the Idaho law and would appreciate more sharrows as opposed to bike lanes and fully endorse your statement:

"I believe infrastructure is an important factor determining the future (and present) of bicycling in America. That is why I am against 'cycle tracks' and strongly in favor of well-implemented sharrows and bike highway-like MUPs (class I bikeways)."

My own preference is for sharrows and separate bikeways that do not encourage curtailment of cyclists rights to the roads we share with motorists.
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Old 12-17-09, 06:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
yeah, and both of you think infrastructure and community design has little to do with ridership, which is akin to believing the pony express was the pinnacle of long distance communication.
I don't know who the 'both' you state is referring to, but I have no problem at all with separate MUP like facilities and very much appreciate them and use them. My concern is that they could be come a political argument for curtailing our right to the road. I'm also concerned with their interfaces with roadways. This is always a potential danger area. The only problem I've encountered with the MUPs in my area is that a cyclist must go much slower because of pedestrians. This is not really a problem, because I'm free to ride the MUP or not. Many of the ones we have in my region are built along beautiful stretches of river and parkway, and some even facilitate utility transportation since they sometimes exist as the shortest route between major destinations.
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