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What constitutes a "vehicel"?

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What constitutes a "vehicel"?

Old 03-17-13, 11:43 AM
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What constitutes a "vehicle"?

What constitutes a vehicle?

OK, first off, this is not intended to be a discussion belonging in A&S. Rather, Iím seeking thoughts and input from those who have been around half a century and have a broader base of experience related to the topic. Additionally, my interest is not to debate what a vehicle is or to take a political stance on any issue related to my primary question. Hereís whatís triggered this. On todayís ride I saw a man riding a BXM style bike, to work. Iíve seen him many times before and know he works at the local big box store. My thought was that itís a shame he has to ride a toy to work. So, unbeknownst to me, Iíve classified BMX bikes as toys. As I thought more about this, I realized that Iíve created an unconscious image of these machines as NOT a vehicle. As my thoughts expanded (they tend to do that when Iím cycling), I realized I didnít see tractors as vehicle. Where I currently live I occasionally see a township tractor on the roads headed to some place where it is needed. Iím often mildly annoyed with this, wondering why they donít put it on a tractor-trailer flat bed to move it. I see these tractors as tools that donít belong on the roads. They are tools for farming, cutting grass, etc. But I donít see them as vehicles.

Five or six more miles of pedaling and Iím wondering how I came to hold these images of BMX bikes as toys and tractors as tools. I know that itís been fairly well established that the process of image formation is unconscious as the image is being formed. However, Iím wondering how these images came to be. Iím thinking that Iíve received messages that have been validated enough that both of these are not vehicles that Iíve unconsciously come to accept this. If this is the case, Iím now wondering what messages we (collective society) are giving to people about what a bicycle is or is not. When I ride on a bike path, is that giving a message that Iím not intending to give (i.e., these are not vehicles; they are pieces of recreational equipment)? Do I give the same message when I ride on streets and roads wearing full kit? So, now Iím recognizing that on some level I see vehicles in a utilitarian manner related to transporting people or goods. So, how did that happen?
OK, enough of the stream of thinking. Whatís your sense of ďvehicleĒ and how did that come about? Iím not looking for definitions. Iím looking to understand how you actually think about these moving things and perhaps some insight into how you believe you came to hold these images.
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Old 03-17-13, 12:38 PM
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If they're on public roads, they're vehicles.
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Old 03-17-13, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
If they're on public roads, they're vehicles.
So, a kid on a skateboard would be a vehicle? Serious question.
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Old 03-17-13, 12:54 PM
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That will be a question who's answer is a legal definition specific to your State. For an answer for your State, you should probably ask your Local or State Police, your Department of Motor Vehicles, or a Law Firm that specializes in Traffic law.
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Old 03-17-13, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
That will be a question who's answer is a legal definition specific to your State. For an answer for your State, you should probably ask your Local or State Police, your Department of Motor Vehicles, or a Law Firm that specializes in Traffic law.
If you read my entire post, you'lll note I've indicated that I'm not looking for a definition. I'm looking to see how people think about it.
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Old 03-17-13, 01:22 PM
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At least here where I live, skateboards are allowed on the roads, but with the flow of traffic. I was going down the road and a skateboarder was coming at me against traffic and not looking. I snapped, "Heads up!" Just as I passed him, I turn my head and say, "You're on the wrong side of the road!" I've said this to cyclists, people on bicycles, going against traffic. These people are going to get creamed by a motor vehicle turning right, USA etc.(or left(UK and such) because the driver is not looking to the other direction. When I drive, I do glance in the other direction quickly to check for pedestrians, but also wrong-way cyclists.

If it's allowed on the road, it's a vehicle--just as we cyclists are vehicles, self-propelled.
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Old 03-17-13, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikey Mikey View Post
If it's allowed on the road, it's a vehicle--just as we cyclists are vehicles, self-propelled.
Watch it. The OP is a little jumpy today

Seriously.
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Old 03-17-13, 02:34 PM
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NOS,
I 've had a similar discussion in a law class. It came up regarding a MUP and a "no motorized vehicles" sign. It seemed, at first, easy to determine what would be forbidden. Then I mentioned motorized wheel chairs.

I think of a skateboard as a toy until I see a student on campus using one and assume he's using it as a vehicle to get to class. On the other hand, I see NASCAR as a group of big boys in big toys. I suppose it depends on the situation.
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Old 03-17-13, 02:38 PM
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I view it as a transportation issue. If it is transporting people or goods, it is a vehicle.
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Old 03-17-13, 03:00 PM
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How many posts have we read complaining about walkers or roller skaters or whomever on the MUP? It seems to me that the only purpose of such a definition is to codify our prejudices. We form a picture in our mind of what we think is right, then develop a definition that confirms our vision and excludes everything else.
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Old 03-17-13, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
How many posts have we read complaining about walkers or roller skaters or whomever on the MUP? It seems to me that the only purpose of such a definition is to codify our prejudices. We form a picture in our mind of what we think is right, then develop a definition that confirms our vision and excludes everything else.
It is that very formation of the picture in our minds that leads to prejudice I'm interested in. I'd like to know more about that process in our larger culture related to cyclist. For example, after some reflection I've come to understand my prejudice against tractors being legitimate vehicles. Growing up I had numerous messages from family members who farmed that would say things like, "What's the matter with that fool. Doesn't he know he's going to burn his engine and transmisson up trying to drive that thing on the road." It became a deeply seated belief that I didn't even know that I had. Upon clear, aware evalutation of it, I can see it's not one I want to hold onto. Now why I see BMX bikes as toys is still a bit of a mystery to me.
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Old 03-17-13, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by miss kenton View Post
NOS,
I 've had a similar discussion in a law class. It came up regarding a MUP and a "no motorized vehicles" sign. It seemed, at first, easy to determine what would be forbidden. Then I mentioned motorized wheel chairs.

I think of a skateboard as a toy until I see a student on campus using one and assume he's using it as a vehicle to get to class. On the other hand, I see NASCAR as a group of big boys in big toys. I suppose it depends on the situation.
So, it's the utility of getting the student from one place to another that makes it a vehicle in your thinking? I suspect that's the root of most of my thoughts too.
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Old 03-17-13, 03:30 PM
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My personal opinion is that the idea of "vehicle" is itself nothing but a container for whatever legal definitions there are.

That may be why my response was unsatisfying. I have no real set personal opinion on what a "vehicle" is, since I mostly really don't think about it, and it's a slippery ideal with infinite grey area to muck about in.
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Old 03-17-13, 03:40 PM
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The liquid in Paint that evaporates after it is applied, is a Vehicle, technically speaking..
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Old 03-17-13, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
The liquid in Paint that evaporates after it is applied, is a Vehicle, technically speaking..
Well then, it should have a license tag and insurance. ;-)
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Old 03-17-13, 05:20 PM
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Hi,

A Tractor, though it may need to use public roads occasionally,
is clearly is not a road vehicle, and neither is but not so much
a BMX bike, neither are purpose designed for road travel.

Vehicles transport passengers or cargo on roads, generally.
Anything with an extra purpose isn't a general road vehicle.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 03-17-13, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
It is that very formation of the picture in our minds that leads to prejudice I'm interested in. I'd like to know more about that process in our larger culture related to cyclist. For example, after some reflection I've come to understand my prejudice against tractors being legitimate vehicles. Growing up I had numerous messages from family members who farmed that would say things like, "What's the matter with that fool. Doesn't he know he's going to burn his engine and transmisson up trying to drive that thing on the road." It became a deeply seated belief that I didn't even know that I had. Upon clear, aware evalutation of it, I can see it's not one I want to hold onto. Now why I see BMX bikes as toys is still a bit of a mystery to me.
Maybe the usage is what defines a vehicle. A BMX bike or a skateboard or a riding lawnmower that's used for commuting becomes a vehicle. The identical hardware used another way might be defined as a toy or a tool.
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Old 03-17-13, 06:09 PM
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Vehicle: any conveyance in or by which people or objects are transported. Boats, planes, skateboards, trains, BMX bikes, hot air balloons, supermarket trolleys.

If the question is what sort of vehicle is it appropriate to use on a public highway, that's just a matter of law.

As for the prejudices involved, I don't think it surprising that an older cyclist might regard a BMX bike as a toy. They didn't exist when we were young, they were, initially at least, mainly used by teenagers or younger, and they aren't terribly practical for cycling long distances. Even now I'd think of them more as a piece of sporting equipment rather than a "vehicle" in the transportation sense. I guess my attitude is that function is the issue. A packing case is a packing case unless it happens to be being used as a table.
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Old 03-17-13, 06:23 PM
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Where I live a "vehicle" is considered not going illegally too slow if it going at a reasonable speed appropriate for the vehicle type. This is explicit in the law. So that rules out getting upset at backhoe/frontloader road-repair equipment. It also rules out getting upset at cyclists. That's good. It also depends to some extent on the driver of said vehicle understanding the value of being courteous. That's also good.

But that's not what the OP was asking about. He/she/it was asking about one's thought processes, how we form our opinions and mental images.

W.r.t. a bike, mine were formed from my image of what a bike can do, what it allowed me to do through the years. A bike could go from one place to another under my own power in a reasonably short time. In my mind that's a road bike. I rode bikes through woods trails when I was maybe 10 y.o. but the real value of a bike became apparent when I had reason and need to go farther, off to class, off to work, off to a day's recreational exploring.

If someone uses a BMX or hybrid or whatever to do the same then it is a vehicle. Bike paths and MUPs are used by commuters as well as recreationers. In the end the intent isn't at issue. It's the going that matters. There is no drawing a line between going far and going near, or going for need and going for fun.
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Old 03-17-13, 07:30 PM
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In matters of linguistics I always appeal to people with authority, in this case, Humpty Dumpty:

"When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less. The question is, said Alice, whether you can make words mean so many different things. The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, which is to be master, thats all."
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Old 03-17-13, 08:02 PM
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The definition is not a matter of opinion except for appellate courts' opinions. Your state's statutes and published appellate court opinions will define "vehicle." The definitions probably differ little from state to state, but each state defines vehicle as its legislature sees fit and as its courts construe what the legislation means. Look it up! That's what I think about it.

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Old 03-18-13, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
But that's not what the OP was asking about. He/she/it was asking about one's thought processes, how we form our opinions and mental images.

W.r.t. a bike, mine were formed from my image of what a bike can do, what it allowed me to do through the years. A bike could go from one place to another under my own power in a reasonably short time. In my mind that's a road bike. I rode bikes through woods trails when I was maybe 10 y.o. but the real value of a bike became apparent when I had reason and need to go farther, off to class, off to work, off to a day's recreational exploring.

If someone uses a BMX or hybrid or whatever to do the same then it is a vehicle. Bike paths and MUPs are used by commuters as well as recreationers. In the end the intent isn't at issue. It's the going that matters. There is no drawing a line between going far and going near, or going for need and going for fun.
Thank you. That is what I was asking about.
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Old 03-18-13, 01:13 PM
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Hi,

You can clearly use a BMX bike to get about town, or go
for a bike ride, I see it all the time, but I also presume
that the choice of bike is related to messing around in
bikeparks with ramps, half pipes and all that, or BMX racing
round a loop, that the riders choice of road bike is really
related to their off-road activity, they prefer BMX onroad.

A BMX isn't a toy, for a grown up riding one, conversely
they are a decent small road bike for the young, but in
that context I don't think the young should be allowed
on open roads without training, thankfully I hardly ever
see that, mostly see adolescents / adults on the road.

That is, unless your aware of what BMX bikes are really
for, tricks, hops, showing off etc they won't make much
sense to a road bike rider. I assume for the skills needed
its best to always ride a BMX, even when its not ideal.

I'd be fairly sure someone who rides a BMX to work
everyday does it for training and familiarity reasons,
and is well aware a road bike would be much quicker.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 03-18-13, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
I'd be fairly sure someone who rides a BMX to work everyday does it for training and familiarity reasons, and is well aware a road bike would be much quicker.
And sometimes "familiarity" just means that's the bike you own (or have access to) at the moment.
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Old 03-18-13, 04:18 PM
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Hi, in my view, you can't completely separate your mental models from formal definitions and laws. You generally begin forming your mental models from some kind of definition. You reinforce those models with laws or legal definitions, if they exist. I don't know the basis of your view of a vehicle nor do I know your definition of a toy. However, they seem to conflict with how you look at different kinds of bicycles.

In earlier times, I probably would have viewed a BMX bike as a toy. This is because I would not have seen a BMX bike as a "serious" form of transportation. My view of bicycles as transportation and vehicles has changed. A skateboard could be transportation but I would only classify it as a vehicle based on state or local definitions of a vehicle. I wouldn't look at a skateboard as a vehicle solely on what I think because I know that legal definitions are important when understanding how I should expect the operator to act on roads or sidewalks.

For example, local ordinances prohibit skateboarding and cycling on sidewalks in business districts. So regardless of whether or not I think a skateboard is a toy, there is a legal definition of how you are to use one in a business district. At the same time, a bicycle is legally a vehicle and I expect the operator, regardless of the kind of bicycle, to operate it in accordance with laws. Those laws changed and other thinks changed how I view people on different kinds of bicycles (mental models) a long time ago.
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