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  1. #1
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Vehicular Cycling: Cycling's Secret Sect

    check the original for more links.

    01 JULY 2010
    Vehicular Cyclists - Cycling's Secret Sect
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/07...cret-sect.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Copenhagenize
    By coincedence I've found myself explaining Cycling's Secret Sect to a couple of colleagues on two separate occasions over the past couple of months. Bicycle planners the both of them. Neither had heard of the group before and in both situations the discussion was whether or not countries like America and the UK would ever get on the bicycle bandwagon in any great numbers, as well as why they haven't done already.

    Especially considering the fact that so many cities and towns in Europe have rapidly and impressively increased the numbers of everyday cyclists of the course of two short years.

    The secret sect I'm referring to is known in some circles as Vehicular Cyclists and is largely unknown in most international circles. I've had a draft of this article for a while but reading this post over at Crap Cycling in Waltham Forest yesterday made me dig it out.

    I explained this Vehicular Cycling theory to my colleagues in brief. Saying that this group fight tooth and nail against virtually any form of separated bicycle infrastructure because their theory is based up on the premise that bicycles are 'vehicles' and therefore should act as the vehicles in the traffic, using the car lanes just like cars.

    The first colleague, upon hearing this explanation, merely said, "Do these people hit their children, too?"

    I couldn't confirm that they did, but I suggested that they made 'vroom vroom' sounds when cycling in traffic.

    Both agreed that this theory was quite far-fetched and I tend to agree. Since then I've asked some other colleagues at the Traffic Dept here in Copenhagen about Cycling's Secret Sect and the responses started with sighs and rolling of the eyes.

    After talking with so many bicycle advocates at Velo-City from around the world, I can understand that these Vehicular Cyclists are regarded in many areas as a frustrating deterrent to mainstreaming cycling. "A cold-sore that just won't go away", in the words of a German colleague. "Kinda like those vuvuzela horns at the World Cup", said his colleague.

    Goodness. What a lot of strong opinions about a relatively unknown group.

    It is a small, yet vocal, group that is male-dominated, testosterone-driven and that lacks basic understanding of human nature. They expect that everyone should be just like them - classic sub-cultural point of view - and that everyone should embrace cycling in traffic and pretending they are cars. They are apparently uninterested in seeing grandmothers, mothers or fathers with children or anyone who doesn't resemble then contributing to re-creating the foundations of liveable cities by reestablishing the bicycle as transport.

    Calling them a Sect is cheeky, sure. But so many aspects of this group resemble a sect. They have a Guru or two, whom they seem to worship. There's John Forester in the US and John Franklin, to a lesser extent, in the UK. Their numbers are few but they are noisy. They are aggressive. And their influence is destructive.

    The theory about Vehicular Cycling has been around for more than three decades. The reason that vehicular cycling can not be considered any more than a theory is quite simple.

    There is nowhere in the world where this theory has become practice and caused great numbers of citizens to take to the roads on a daily basis. It remains a theoretical manifesto for a fringe group of cyclists. They often refer to themselves as 'bicycle drivers'. Vroom Vroom.

    I asked a leading American bicycle advocate about vehicular cycling and he said, "They have had around 35 years to prove that it works. They haven't be able to. It's time to shelve the idea."

    Vehicular cycling, in the countries where the theory is popular, has done little for mainstreaming urban cycling and reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and respected transport form, as it used to be.

    This is largely because the theory appeals to very few cycling enthusiasts who like to go fast. Going 'fast' is apparently important. This theory is also referred to as Effective Cycling and you can read that "Effective Cycling is Safer, Faster, and More Fun!" on the website of the theory's founder, John Forrester.

    The group has a Wikipedia page that they guard fervently and where you can read about the theory. While we're linking to Wikipedia, here's a link to the Flat Earth Society.

    The vast majority of **** sapiens in countries without bicycle infrastructure share roads with cars by necessity, not choice. If we once again refer to the analogy of Ignoring the Bull, the vehicular cyclist crowd are the Pamplonans of cycling. They enjoy running with the bulls. Great for them. Completely and utterly useless for the rest of society, not to mention the Common Good, public health, liveable cities.

    The group rejects bicycle infrastructure - it's not for them. Unfortunately, they often stand in the way of getting regular citizens onto bicycles. They come up with all manner of excuses when someone mentions Denmark or the Netherlands and the fact that infrastructure actually gets large numbers of people onto bicycles. "Won't work here", they say. They manipulate studies about the safety of infrastructure and actually spin it to the extreme, calling bicycle lanes 'dangerous'. They have a selective memory and never seem to mention all the bicycle infrastructure in the the early part of last century.

    They are unable to see that when you have a large percentage of the population riding bicycles, the benefits to society are overwhelmingly positive. They are also blind to the developments in Emerging Bicycle Cultures like French cities, Spanish cities and even cities like Dublin, Portland, New York, Philadelphia, etc etc. People are returning to the bicycle thanks to infrastructure and taming of the bull. All over the world.

    Their guru, John Forester, on a forum earlier this year, went so far as to cave in. Effectively giving up.

    It has been remarked on some of these lists that I, Forester, have given up with respect to governmental negotiation in bicycling affairs. That is not so. but I need to make my position clear. I have concluded that the political power of the bicycle advocates is so strong that we bicycle drivers are unable to prevent most of what these bicycle advocates advocate. Where they propose items that have many traffic-operational defects we may be able to prevent such items being approved and installed. Bike boxes seem to be the current candidates for this position. However, I am not optimistic about our ability to prevent even such monstrosities as bike boxes, given the political power pushing them.

    I have concluded that we bicycle drivers should concentrate our energy on revitalizing and preserving our right to operate as drivers of vehicles. I know that it sounds social to argue that those who desire incompetent and therefore dangerous bicycle transportation, on the basis that anti-motoring trumps cyclist safety and efficiency, ought to be allowed to have their way, since there is no practical way of stopping them. But that's the world as it is. We have tried for thirty five years now to change society to a bicycle driving policy, and society not only has defeated us at every turn but has developed more ways of preventing or discouraging bicycle driving. We must devote our efforts to both preserving what we still have, and reversing the legal (I don't bother about the social aspects) discriminations that work to prevent bicycle driving.

    Why don't I bother about the social aspects? First, hoping to change American social opinion against bicycle driving is hopeless. Second, we can live with the occasional nastiness from motorists; after all, that has been present since, probably, the 1930s. Yes, some of us think that American social opinion opposing bicycle driving is a deterrent to cycling in general, and should be opposed because it makes cycling unpopular. However, nothing that we do in that respect will make bicycle driving popular; it will only assist in making cyclist-inferiority cycling more popular, because that's what the public wants. And this consideration has the same reservation that all our political efforts have, that we haven't a hope in Hell of changing American public opinion away from opposing bicycle driving. Don't waste effort on what has to be futile; concentrate the effort where it is most necessary, preserving our right to operate as drivers of vehicles.

    Infrastructure. That's what the public wants. Reading his text one is struck by the tone. Another example of the sect-like approach of the group. 'We' are right and yet 'we' are misunderstood. 'They' oppose us. Etcetera.

    On the Wikipedia page about Sects, the English sociologist Roy Wallis argues that a sect is characterized by “epistemological authoritarianism”. According to Wallis, “sects lay a claim to possess unique and privileged access to the truth or salvation and “their committed adherents typically regard all those outside the confines of the collectivity as 'in error'”.

    The American sociologists Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge assert that "sects claim to be an authentic, purged, refurbished version of the faith from which they split". They further assert that sects have, in contrast to churches, a high degree of tension with the surrounding society.

    Here's an interesting blogpost from a Citizen Cyclist in the UK battling with the Pretend you're a car theory.


    Can we call these people bicycle advocates? I'm not sure. They're advocating a certain kind of cycling. Stamp collectors are 'communication advocates' but they don't rant against emails and text messages and other forms of mainstream communication that benefit the Common Good and human interaction.

    It's as though a group of race walkers are advocating pedestrianism. Telling everyone that it's all about Effective Walking and that it's Safer, Faster and More Fun! Insisting that the general population walks just like them.

    35 years is a long time. Especially without any results to back up this sub-cultural theory. How many Citizen Cyclists could have had their lives extended by being provided with safe infrastructure, or lived a life with fewer illnesses? How many overweight people could have had the chance to cycle happily to work on bike lanes and keep fit? The number of potential daily cyclists who have been restricted access to the bicycle must number in the tens of millions. All because of the ideology of a self-serving group.

    Let's not wait another 35 years and see yet another generation become obese and suffer a long line of lifestyle illnesses. Now, more than ever, it's time to get people onto bicycles. With theories that have been proven. With best practice that has been established.

    Let's get to work.

  2. #2
    JRA
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    VC-ism may be largely unknown in international circles (it's not all that well-known in the U.S.) but, to anyone familiar with it, the fact that VC-ism fights "tooth and nail against virtually any form of separated bicycle infrastructure" and "lacks basic understanding of human nature" is no great secret. Actually, orthodox VC-ism fights tooth and nail against virtually all bicycle infrastructure, separated or not.

    I've been a rules of the road transportational bicyclist for approximately half a century. I once considered myself a vehicular cyclist but that was before I had actually studied the social and psychological theories that are the foundation of Forester-inspired crackpotism. Now, calling me a vehicular cyclist is fightin' words.

    I'm sure that true believers have no understanding at all of where I'm coming from, and will dismiss my opinion as easily as John Forester does. What was that about VC-ists lacking a basic undersanding of human nature? LOL.

    I ride according to the rules of the road but Foresterism is anathama to me. If VC-ists want to be taken seriously, it's past time that they get a clue.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I found this statement rather ironic: "Vehicular cycling, in the countries where the theory is popular, has done little for mainstreaming urban cycling and reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and respected transport form, as it used to be."

    Where exactly is vehicular cycling popular? The whole premise of the quoted text posted by the OP is that Vehicular Cycling is a secret that "is largely unknown in most international circles."

    Cycling itself as a form of transportation is practiced by less than 2% of the American population, and an even smaller group within that 2% are dedicated vehicular cyclists.

    Indeed, Vehicular Cycling is "Cycling's Secret Sect." So where exactly is the theory "popular?"

  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copenhangenize.com
    After talking with so many bicycle advocates at Velo-City from around the world, I can understand that these Vehicular Cyclists are regarded in many areas as a frustrating deterrent to mainstreaming cycling. "A cold-sore that just won't go away", in the words of a German colleague. "Kinda like those vuvuzela horns at the World Cup", said his colleague.
    a frustrating deterrent to mainstreaming cycling, like a cold sore that won't go away.

    Recognized worldwide as a canker on community design that supports bicycling as a populist mode of transportation.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 07-06-10 at 08:20 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  5. #5
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    VC is a coping mechanism when no bike infrastructure exists.
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    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    "Do these people hit their children, too?" VC-ism is like a plague. it needs a vaccine.

    Like JRA, I make a distinction between VC-ism and rules-of- the- road cycling. there's a difference.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    The VC camp is a downright HAZARD to cyclists rights right to the road nowadays, with an appalling action plan to go about repealing protections cyclists are presently afforded under current state laws, and their fairly united VC front against planning for bikes in communities, safe passing legislation, safe routes to schools programs, etc.

    A hazard and a menace to populist american cycling. the cultish belief they are 'preserving cyclists rights' falls flat when taking a look at what happens when communities plan for bicyclist traffic - bikes ALL OVER THE PLACE!


    the VC crewe's koolaid is saccharine and muddled. It doesn't even taste good to the adherents when huffing exhaust on a high speed, high ADT corridor with little road width for convenient road sharing, its really quite tedious and stinky. throw in a little inclemency and taking the lane can even become hazardous under these conditions.

    Heaven forbid trying to serve it at the senior center.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 07-06-10 at 09:00 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  8. #8
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Check out this comment on the article:

    Peter said...

    most vehicular cyclists have gone, now, tho i still do occasionally spot one out in the wild. there's plenty of reasons for that, but i think one of them is that most of them are now retirement age -- 60s+ -- they just don't have the energy anymore. or maybe they're afraid to meet their maker and now have become cycling advocates to make up for their dreadful crimes? got me.

    the last prominent vehicular cyclist got fired a few months or so ago from his job as Bicycle Coordinator of Dallas, Texas. yes -- this guy was actually in charge of the bike program there for like 20 years or something. he actually prevented bike lanes in Dallas for that long -- actively opposed them. hilarious.

    the good folks at Bike Friendly Oak Cliff finally managed to get him canned. that was a huge step forward for mankind -- the veritable crumbling of the berlin wall that was vehicular cycling -- The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the [vehicular cyclist] -- The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the [unreasonable man/vehicular cyclist] -- etc.

    Denmark out! Should have been made to cycle home! No, they did ok.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  9. #9
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Demonizing the opposition is always a sign of weakness.
    George
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    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando View Post
    Like JRA, I make a distinction between VC-ism and rules-of- the- road cycling. there's a difference.
    What is it?

    It appears to me that characterizing a heterogenous group and/or a cycling strategy by the same name by selectively discussing the actions of a subset is analogous to a driver observing a cyclist run a red light and labeling all cyclists as scofflaws.

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I might as well play the devil's advocate here...at least until the devil himself comes around.

    If vehicular cycling is worthless and the only way to get "regular" people to bike is to create bike-specific infrastructure, what are all those normal people supposed to do until they actually have all that nice bike infrastructure that gets them to all the places they need to go?
    "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

  12. #12
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    who said riding bikes is worthless?

    fighting planning for bikes in the transportation mix is worthless. fighting safe routes to schools planning and safe passing legislation is worthless. fighting to repeal protections afforded cyclists under laws by misstating these rights is worthless.

    Bicyclists organizing to fight against populist bicycling strategies (case in point: Chainguard's rusty cronies and the unwitting new guard there) is hapless if not malicious to bicycling in america.

    These people -who can be corralled by their platform and message as the oppositional tooth-and-nail Vehikular Cyklist versus those of us that adhere to the virtues of the far nobler Roussean natural Vehicular Cyclist - should be ashamed of themselves and their oppositions to what are clearly indicated as boons to bicycling in communities.

    riding bikes isn't worthless.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 07-06-10 at 09:35 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    I can't figure out why people think the goal of vehicular cycling is the promotion of cycling.

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    VC is a coping mechanism when no bike infrastructure exists.
    There seem to be radically different views of what vehicular cycling is. For some of us, vehicular cycling is the preferred way to travel by bicycle, according to the rules for drivers of vehicles, whether it be on a roadway shared with motor vehicles or on a non-motorized path. But on faster, busier roads cyclists sometimes experience social conflict with motorists who want cyclists out of the way, and so we struggle to find ways to improve the roadways to reduce this conflict without negating the safety and efficiency benefits of acting as drivers of vehicles (e.g. 16' outside lanes, wide paved shoulders, greenways in their own right of way, bicycle boulevards, even some types of bike lanes where there are no intersection or parking conflicts). In some cases, people propose bike infrastructure that seriously conflicts with the rules for drivers of vehicles, often being made mandatory for bicyclist's use under law, and many vehicular cycling proponents oppose these designs out of concern for the reduction in safety and/or efficiency. Which bike facility designs conflict with normal traffic rules and which can operate consistent with them is a healthy subject of debate.

    To others, vehicular cycling is an imagined insistence by "elite" bicyclists that all other bicyclists should never be allowed to ride outside of the traffic flow dominated by motorists; that any social conflict with motorists should be countered with assertive or aggressive behavior and not addressed with reasonable engineering improvements to reduce such friction. These people are preoccupied with most vehicular cyclist's habit of controlling travel lanes in-line with motor traffic in order to use existing roadways as effectively as possible, and, fearing or disliking the potential consequences of doing this themselves, turn themselves against the entire paradigm of operating according to vehicular rules. They instead adopt a paradigm more like pedestrians on wheels, and promote those facility designs that prevent cyclists from ever having to get in line with other traffic but often conflicting with vehicular rules. When these proposals conflicting with vehicular rules result in political conflicts with vehicular cyclists, they falsely cast the vehicular cyclists as opposing any improvements to the status quo.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 07-06-10 at 09:34 AM.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    FHWA design guidelines direct vehicular operation of bicyclists using on road bike infrastructure. the FHWA guidelines do not direct a pedestrian on wheels paradigm.

    despite this vehicularity in planning for bikes in the transportation mix as reflected in current federal roadway design guidelines,

    these vehicular road enhancements for bicyclists are fairly uniformly rejected by the rabid Vehikular Cyklists.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    who said riding bikes is worthless?

    fighting planning for bikes in the transportation mix is worthless. fighting safe routes to schools planning and safe passing legislation is worthless. fighting to repeal protections afforded cyclists under laws by misstating these rights is worthless.

    Bicyclists organizing to fight against populist bicycling strategies (case in point: Chainguard's rusty cronies and the unwitting new guard there) is hapless if not malicious to bicycling in america.

    These people -who can be corralled by their platform and message as the oppositional tooth-and-nail Vehikular Cyklist versus those of us that adhere to the virtues of the far nobler Roussean natural Vehicular Cyclist - should be ashamed of themselves and their oppositions to what are clearly indicated as boons to bicycling in communities.

    riding bikes isn't worthless.
    But you didn't answer my question, what are all these "regular" people supposed to do while all this nice infrastructure is being debated, funded and built?
    "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

  17. #17
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    FHWA design guidelines direct vehicular operation of bicyclists using on road bike infrastructure. the FHWA guidelines do not direct a pedestrian on wheels paradigm.

    despite this vehicularity in planning for bikes in the transportation mix as reflected in current federal roadway design guidelines,

    these vehicular road enhancements for bicyclists are fairly uniformly rejected by the rabid Vehikular Cyklists.
    So you say that vehicular cycling is the basis for FHWA roadway design. If so, then vehicular cycling is hardly a minority paradigm, but in fact the majority one in operation, both in infrastructure and in traffic law applicable to cyclists. It is therefore vitally important to teach and promote vehicular cycling methods for use on our public ways.

    Now, who are these "Vehikular Cyklists" you write of? They must be different from mainstream vehicular cyclists or you wouldn't have created a special name for them. I am sure the "Vehikular Cyklists" are a small minority, compared to mainstream vehicular cyclists, who simply seek to protect their current ability to operate on roadways with the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles, and not be directed into door zones or onto sidewalks, under penalty of law or harassment.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 07-06-10 at 09:52 AM.

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    you must mean the cyclists that stand opposed to most bike specific roadscaping and offer up vague ideals of 'wide lanes' and the curbhugging and right hooks attendant.


    can't talk now as i'm off to bike to work, but mikhail anderson-cooper and the rest of the bicycling advocacy community know EXACTLY what type of cyclists are being described, steve. no need to be coy.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    I might as well play the devil's advocate here...at least until the devil himself comes around.

    If vehicular cycling is worthless and the only way to get "regular" people to bike is to create bike-specific infrastructure, what are all those normal people supposed to do until they actually have all that nice bike infrastructure that gets them to all the places they need to go?
    Seems that "regular" people do what they do now... drive.

    A paltry 2% or less of the population bikes for transportation... more so in areas with "nice bike infrastructure." But apparently that vision has never quite sunk into the heads of either those of the "vehicular driving sect," nor transportation engineers... the latter who continue to design roads geared primarily for motor vehicles moving at high speeds.

    So until quality cycling infrastructure IS funded and installed, I suppose folks will continue doing what they do right now.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
    So you say that vehicular cycling is the basis for FHWA roadway design. If so, then vehicular cycling is hardly a minority paradigm, but in fact the majority one in operation, both in infrastructure and in traffic law applicable to cyclists. It is therefore vitally important to teach and promote vehicular cycling methods for use on our public ways.

    Now, who are these "Vehikular Cyklists" you write of? They must be different from mainstream vehicular cyclists or you wouldn't have created a special name for them. I am sure the "Vehikular Cyklists" are a small minority, compared to mainstream vehicular cyclists, who simply seek to protect their current ability to operate on roadways with the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles, and not be directed into door zones or onto sidewalks, under penalty of law or harassment.
    Here's a question. If we look at all the cyclists in America that use bikes for regular transportation... ie not just training or entertainment, do we find more folks cycling on some form of infrastructure not geared to motor vehicles, which includes sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths; or are more folks riding in a vehicular fashion in the streets acting as "drivers of vehicles?" Now for this question I would include school children who ride bikes to school... as this is indeed transportation that would otherwise have to be replaced in some other fashion.

    I know this is a tough question, as there really is not any regular study or survey for this... and likely you will find the distances covered by vehicular cyclists greater. But I am just wondering about the sheer numbers of users and how the numbers break down per transportation mode.

    Of course in such a study we would find cyclists that do use the road, but hardly ride in a vehicular fashion... ie the curb huggers... and the salmon cyclists.

  21. #21
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Seems that "regular" people do what they do now... drive.

    A paltry 2% or less of the population bikes for transportation... more so in areas with "nice bike infrastructure." But apparently that vision has never quite sunk into the heads of either those of the "vehicular driving sect," nor transportation engineers... the latter who continue to design roads geared primarily for motor vehicles moving at high speeds.

    So until quality cycling infrastructure IS funded and installed, I suppose folks will continue doing what they do right now.
    So that's the answer? Until we can (if we ever get around to it) provide "quality" cycling infrastructure that can get you anyplace you need/want to go, tough crap, drive a motor vehicle?
    "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

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    I might as well play the devil's advocate here...at least until the devil himself comes around.

    If vehicular cycling is worthless and the only way to get "regular" people to bike is to create bike-specific infrastructure, what are all those normal people supposed to do until they actually have all that nice bike infrastructure that gets them to all the places they need to go?
    Even if all that bicycle infrastructure existed, what are these normal people supposed to do if they need to go someplace where this infrastructure is missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    A paltry 2% or less of the population bikes for transportation... more so in areas with "nice bike infrastructure."
    If the percentage is larger in certain areas, the percentage is much less in others. And, in those other places, those areas are much larger with fewer economies of scale.

    That is, bicycle infrastructure in cities might be more viable because fewer, less extensive facilities can serve many more people.

    Except in one or two countries, bicycle infrastructure (to whatever degree it exists) in Europe is urban.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 07-06-10 at 11:07 AM.

  23. #23
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    So that's the answer? Until we can (if we ever get around to it) provide "quality" cycling infrastructure that can get you anyplace you need/want to go, tough crap, drive a motor vehicle?
    You asked about "normal people." That seems to be their answer. "Normal people" see roads as being for cars, period. Just ask any group of "normal people..." they'll tell you just that.

    I am a vehicular cyclist. I go where I want to go when I want to go. Most "normal people" consider me a bit crazy.

    While I am a vehicular cyclist, I don't eschew cycling infrastructure, I am not "militant" about opposing cycling infrastructure nor do I equate my rights on the road to the struggles of human rights advocates. I see vehicular cycling as a coping mechanism for human powered vehicle users to use roads designed primarily for high speed motor vehicles.

    What I support more than anything else are roadways designed for all road users, or "parallel, equitable, structures" where such facilities make more sense. I support more people on bicycles, not just a select few on bikes.

    I also support diversity in our transit system, not a single focus geared for one type of vehicle dependent on one basic type of fuel. I also believe in a strong public transit system. Since the advent of the motor vehicle in America, the single focus has been on one type of transportation system... to the detriment of previously existing widely used public transit systems. I believe that has to change.

  24. #24
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    Let's deal with reality in North America, rather than the vision of what some wish it to be and won't be for a long time

    * North America isn't copenhagen or amsterdam or Europe (not that all of Europe is bike nirvana) and will never be. This is simple geography The distances are much greater even for casual commuting, other transportations systems like rail which are much more developed in europe are often part of muliple mode transporation for commuting. City layouts are far more compact in Europe, with even less parking, all of which encourage use off bicycles for utility or everday use (commute, get grocererids, go to a pub, etc.)

    * Cyclists, to get to where they need to go will have to share streets with vehicles, there will never be sufficient bike specific infrastructure separated from motor traffic to eliminate this interaction, except possibly in the inner core of major citties. This means education, cyclists and drivers and consistent law enforcement cyclists and drivers.

    * much of the current separated infrastructure like MUP's are not really supportive of cycliing in general or utility riding (using bike instead of car). This is because the multi use portion makes MUP's slower that street riding and often the paths, having a recreational design often by creeks as part of park, simply don't go to places that people need to go to.

    * I understand the VC concern of being forced into use of infratructure....I don't want to be told to ride a MUP that is not efficient for my trip, but that does happen.

    * Personally I think bike lanes are the most efficient and best type of bike specificy infrastructure, there are realatiively cheap to make, can cover far more routes than separated infrastructure and clearly establish a bikes right to the street to motorists....most of whom have no idea what the traffice codes says. Sharrows on the other hand....... no one knows what these are.

    * The whole "build the infratructure and the cycliists will come" is not going to work, it has to be build the cyclists and the infratructure wil come..

    * IMHO is that there will be little growth in cyclists numbers until there is economic incentive...ie gas is 7 dollars a gallon, there is no free parking at your job, there is not place to park you car near where you live......all of the factors that drive cycling in the "nirvana" places in europe.

    * Bottom line there is not a black and white, right or wrong here..... cyclists need to be able to ride on the street, which basically means understanding something about VC, there will be growth in infrastructure both simple (lanes) and more separated.



    ps: bek your posts will be less entertaining but more likely to make you point clear is they didn't sound like they were written by an over caffeinated North Korean speech writer
    Last edited by squirtdad; 07-06-10 at 11:57 AM. Reason: correct some typos
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  25. #25
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Here's a question. If we look at all the cyclists in America that use bikes for regular transportation... ie not just training or entertainment, do we find more folks cycling on some form of infrastructure not geared to motor vehicles, which includes sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths; or are more folks riding in a vehicular fashion in the streets acting as "drivers of vehicles?" Now for this question I would include school children who ride bikes to school... as this is indeed transportation that would otherwise have to be replaced in some other fashion.

    I know this is a tough question, as there really is not any regular study or survey for this... and likely you will find the distances covered by vehicular cyclists greater. But I am just wondering about the sheer numbers of users and how the numbers break down per transportation mode.

    Of course in such a study we would find cyclists that do use the road, but hardly ride in a vehicular fashion... ie the curb huggers... and the salmon cyclists.
    The highest volumes of bicycle traffic will be found on routes that perform well for cyclists (are both pleasant and efficient) or places where bicycle transportation is more convenient than motoring. Where I live, motoring is more convenient and most residents have the means to motor, so cycling is mostly about pleasure.

    On the street in front of my house (collector street with 32' of asphalt, unstriped, 25 mph posted speed limit, 25 mph speed humps), nearly all of the adult cyclists are on the roadway. About half of the child cyclists are on the roadway and about half on the sidewalk. About a mile away are two collector streets of the same width and speed limit, but without driveways fronting them. These streets were always popular for bicycling. Some of these streets were recently marked with centerline striping and bike lanes. I haven't noticed any increase in roadway cycling versus sidewalk cycling, but there has been a substantial increase in wrong-way bicycling after the bike lane striping was added. Cyclists can reach a lot of destinations in town using networks of 25 mph streets (mostly unstriped) plus some nice greenways in their own right of way, but not as many as we'd like to.

    Between these roads is a 4-lane arterial, posted 35, with 14' outside lanes not including a wide flush gutter pan. This road used to be two narrow lanes; bicycle traffic on it has increased since it was widened three years ago.

    In some cases the government constructs bicycle-specific road features in response to bicycle traffic. In others, the bicycle traffic increases in response to making the roadway more pleasant for bicycling. It's hard to determine the cause and effect. However, it's clear that there are lots of ways to make roads more pleasant for bicycling without adding bicycle-specific traffic controls to them and modifying the normal rules of the road. That's not to say that bicycle-specific traffic controls should never be used. I disagree with the concept that bicycle-specific traffic controls should be the default facility design for roads used for bicycling.

    As a big proponent of bicycling, I've always wanted to make roads more pleasant for bicycling and market bicycling in a way that would make cycling seem more normal and mainstream. When I first learned about bike lanes, I found them compelling in their ability to visually market cycling to the public and to provide additional space that could make road sharing more pleasant. What I didn't realize until later were the operational and political downsides, i.e. that in many cases the stripes did not create more space for cyclists but restrict the amount of space cyclists could use, that hazards often accumulated or were designed into the bike lane space, and that bike lanes were often positioned in ways that conflicted with safe traffic negotiation. But a few arterial route bike lanes, by far the minority of bike lanes where I live, seemed to be better than the way the road would have been built without them, as long as they got swept. So, I stopped thinking of bike lanes as desirable in their own right and concentrated on critical evaluation of their performance, as a good engineer should.

    I see lots of non-engineers as excited about using bike lanes for marketing bicycling as I once was. I wish they would focus on alternative methods of marketing and leave traffic control design to the engineers. I believe that traffic engineers should design roads with the assumption that they will be used for bicycling, and that bicyclists are as important as any other road users, but the decision about when to use bicycle-specific traffic control should be based on science rather than an attempt to market one transportation mode over another.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 07-06-10 at 12:01 PM.

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