Okay, I understand there are many who disagree with Forester and the way he expresses his point of view. What I don't understand is why the level of emotion is so high. Is the idea that Vehicular Cycling has set back cycling in some way, or has actually prevented investments in cycling infrastructure in the US?
I feel like I've shown up late to the brawl -- everybody's sitting around moaning and nursing their wounds and I don't even know what the fight was about.
It is the very black and white manner in which John and his disciples present their views on constitutes effective cycling.
I am a vehicular cyclist because I have the skills, experience, and mind set to play in traffic but what works for me does not work for a high percentage of cyclists who would be more comfortable if they could utilize a dedicated bicycle infrastructure.
If I could ride my bicycles everywhere I needed to go on lanes that were dedicated to bicycles it would be awesome... my kids would enjoy riding even more, and I know many people that would ride more than they do.
The infrastructure in North America is poor all the way around and was very car centric for the better part of the 20th century and when cities try to improve their systems to support human powered transportation there will be conflicts and the risk to the rider is increased.
For me the problem is that Forrester wants to pose the issue as "Vehicular Cycling Versus Dedicated Infrastructure" which it seems to obvious that depending on the location both have great promise for cyclists.
Laissez les bon temps rouler
Since the bicycle design regulation now does nothing, it is no longer subject to active controversy, only academic. However, the bikeway program is still actively operating and is therefore controversial. The bikeway advocates have never demonstrated that bikeways make cycling much safer. They have long advocated bikeways on the basis of comfort for inexperienced bicycle riders. If that comfort is provided, these advocates believe that a great many Americans will switch trips from motoring to bicycling, which is the prime motivation for these "bicycle advocates". They are emotionally upset because my work has largely killed their safety argument, thereby removing the prime governmental justification for the bikeways that these anti-motoring advocates desire.
If you will read the article whose URL is presented in the first post in this thread, you will see that I have not criticized the arrangements operating in the Netherlands. I have made two statements: There is no evidence that attempting to introduce those arrangements into typical American cities will produce either the large bicycle mode share or the cyclist safety typical of the Netherlands. There are a great many significant reasons, concerned with the differences between the two countries, to believe that any such attempt will fail. These statements greatly upset those with the emotional belief that introducing Dutch arrangements into America will greatly reduce motoring.
I thought it was pretty funny that the author of the anti-Forester blog showed a picture of a narrow side path that had numerous driveways with obscured views as an example of how the Dutch side paths don't have issues with...driveways. Such a set up may well work in their culture, but would lead to some serious collisions here.
Look, more "john forester versus the facts"!
.They are emotionally upset because my work has largely killed their safety argument.
No one is emotionally upset about john foresters' work killing any bicycle safety arguments. The level of self-aggrandizement is very colorful, however. Maybe trolls existed before the internet?
Last edited by Bekologist; 11-17-12 at 09:35 PM.
"The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."
- William Saroyan
Well, anywhere there were Dutch style cycle paths in place of course. But in slow traffic, like up to 20 mph, they might be perfectly safe sharing the lane. As they would in somewhat faster traffic, like 30 mph, with a painted bike lane, given that it were sufficiently wide. And, surprise, on a road with fast, light traffic they might be safe on a wide shoulder, too (anything wider than 4 ft). Bike lanes, bike paths and shoulders will of course have to be free of snow, debris etc. for them to really be safe. And the 20 mph streets would have to be constructed so as to make higher speeds unlikely. Alas, they aren't always, round here, and there are very few 20 mph streets anyway
If we're talking about younger kids, like 6-11 years old, that's a totally different story. Dutch style all the way to make them safe on their own.
There are a lot of "ifs" and "buts" involved, as there are a lot of different ways of making cycling safe. One thing is sure: A lot of the VC advice is very unsafe.
Last edited by hagen2456; 11-18-12 at 07:17 AM.
Furthermore, what part of the VC advice "is very unsafe"?
1. There are clear and long-standing differences of opinion as to the effectiveness, feasibility, and desirability of these approaches. Forester is seen as the chief proponent for VC and has become its lightning rod.
2. The nature of internet forum debates are such that even trivial differences are argued with high vitriol. As the discussions are of no consequence, participants tend to argue for argument's sake, rather than for any constructive purpose. I am reminded of Henry Kissenger's observation that "University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small".
Does that work for you? I think this largely comes from the largess of Americans believing that they are blessed enough to use an enormous supply of non renewable resources while engaging a strong military to persuade the world of "the American way."
That and of course the fact that most of our cities have been re-designed for automobile traffic above all else.
But heck, what do I know... John Forester considers me an Anti-motorist. But then I have spent more time than he has actually riding bicycles in countries that have bicycle modal share well above 2%. John makes his proclamations from moving trains.
So you see that I have strongly upset all those whose primary interest is in persuading people to switch trips from motor to bicycle transport: the bicycle trade, the bike planners whose only justification for being called a profession is that they earn money doing it, and the bicycle advocates.
Now, Genec, please provide the evidence to support your claim that I proclaimed something relevant to cycling in nations with a high bicycle modal share that was derived from being on a moving train. That's your accusation. Please provide the facts: that is, if you can find any. Otherwise, stop your stupidity; it gets annoying.
This is the man in question?
The video is interesting. He has many interesting and true observations and research at the beginning. This is all observational and stuff that he looks at in a car-centric view, but is good to hear it coming from a different view.
His observation that traffic is vastly different in the US is true. However, the conclusions he draws from it are ones I do not agree with.
Forrester does come across as a practical cycling proponent of exisiting road structure.
Once they get into practical application and shifting to urban or bike-centered thinking, his position faulters (imo).
38:10 - Swedish audience member comments on bicycle safety and addressing crowded unsafe conditions
So from this point on, it's interesting because Forrester does not clearly, factually respond to the questions.
In fact, the response to the Swede is to "[get used to it, and it will be safer]"
That is not a solution.
What he basically does do, is put the onus on the cyclist. Really, the impression is that accidents are the cyclists fault and there is nothing that drivers do that can help.
Basically, he is advocating no change of focus but that cyclists should follow auto traffic laws. Really, the only things he advocates are 'more right and left turn lanes' and 'parallel sewer grates are bad'. Yes, I agree with that... and?....
His is a car-centric opinion.
It may be my bias watching the video, but I get the sense that the audience does not agree with his conclusions or solutions.
They seem to be more in line with the thinking that change is the future and bike-centric thinking should be focused on in city planning.
I see this happening in urban areas and yes, the US system will be different than Europe but we can have our own system that works to encourage bike commuting
and downtown LA
Last edited by cruiserhead; 11-18-12 at 12:07 PM. Reason: imbed video
Obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles is the best way to cycle on the American road system. Nobody has invented a better way. And the official way produced by government was, for decades, a childishly simple way for incompetent cyclists that drove them into traffic conflicts. As I said, those cyclists who graduated from the former official method to obeying the rules of the road reduced their car-bike collision rate by 75%. Such an astonishing safety improvement that would never be ignored in any field except that of bicycle transportation, where it is ignored because it is contrary to the political will.
It may be that something might be done to make American cycling both safer and more convenient. However that has not occurred. The most that has been done is to make typical American cyclists feel safer while still cycling in their dangerously incompetent style. I say that vehicular cycling should not be criticized until a new system has been devised that demonstrates that it improves both the safety and convenience beyond that provided by vehicular cycling.
Of course, if the policy is to simply get more people switching trips from motor bicycle transport by having them ride in the typically dangerously incompetent manner just because they feel more comfortable, then I both criticize that policy as being unethical and state that that policy must be formally announced with the proviso that those cyclists who choose to ride safely by obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles must be both allowed and encouraged to do so.
Are all American drivers idiot? Really? You have statistical data to back this up?
We use our military to persuade the world that our way is the best? Really? So when Hitler was engaged in that little land grab we should have just sat back and let him have his way?
I think that you might be a lot more persuasive if your rhetoric was less anti-American and more fact-based.
I have no dog in this fight. I drive a car and I ride a bike...either way I am on the road a lot and have to deal with bad drivers and bad cyclists.
My current stable:
1989 SLX Bottecchia (Campy Athena 11s)
1999 Cannondale F400 mountain bike
2012 Bianchi Infinito (Campy Record 11s)
2012 Colnago C59 in PR99 color scheme (Campy Record 11s)