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Common Sense Cycling

Old 07-19-20, 12:01 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Good discussion!
Here's where I think the VC label is one to be avoided because it's associated with a radical view that segregation of bike traffic from car traffic in any form is wrong. I agree that the key word in FRAP is "practicable" and I read it to give me fairly wide discretion as a cyclist but it is clearly not so subjective as to swallow the rule. But the doctrinaire VC insists that the FRA part is a form of segregation and therefore wrong, and bolster that view with wildly exaggerated statements about being invisible in that position, statements I know from experience as both a rider and a driver not to bear much relationship to reality.
Thanks, LDL. I don't believe all forms of car/bike segregation is wrong, or that FRAP is either. Maybe some VC proponents do, but that to me is no reason to reject the entire VC strategy of staying safe on the roads, which mostly DON'T have suitable bike infrastructure. A cyclist can do much worse than following a VC strategy, and I'd argue that most do!

I also agree one is practically as visible off to the right as they are in the lane. But they are not as relevant. ANYTHING directly in a motorists path will demand more attention than the same thing not in their path.

"Visibility" goes beyond overtaking traffic. Being in the lane gives riders and motorists better sight lines at any crossings, blind corners, and such.

I disagree vehemently with the probability arguments you made above, I strongly believe that if you had more bicyclists riding "in the lane" you would see at least a proportional increase in bicycle-involved crashes there.
I don't believe I made any "probability arguments" above. I did say I'd like to transport to someone's area where they say VC would never work, and ride around with an on board camera. Maybe doing this would prove them right! (but I doubt it) I do agree that more cyclists in the lane would likely equal more wrecks there. Would it be more or less than proportional? We all can make our guesses but we won't know unless it were to happen and be properly studied.

Drivers don't intend to hit trucks and cars either, yet plenty of collisions occur there between them.
I believe that cars and trucks are at higher risk of being hit simply because they are so common. A cyclist in the lane sets off alarms in the motorists mind that forces attention that a car traveling at 15 mph would be much less likely to get. Surely you've been in the lane and noticed this.
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Old 07-19-20, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Thanks, LDL. I don't believe all forms of car/bike segregation is wrong, or that FRAP is either. Maybe some VC proponents do, but that to me is no reason to reject the entire VC strategy of staying safe on the roads, which mostly DON'T have suitable bike infrastructure. A cyclist can do much worse than following a VC strategy, and I'd argue that most do!

I also agree one is practically as visible off to the right as they are in the lane. But they are not as relevant. ANYTHING directly in a motorists path will demand more attention than the same thing not in their path.

"Visibility" goes beyond overtaking traffic. Being in the lane gives riders and motorists better sight lines at any crossings, blind corners, and such.



I don't believe I made any "probability arguments" above. I did say I'd like to transport to someone's area where they say VC would never work, and ride around with an on board camera. Maybe doing this would prove them right! (but I doubt it) I do agree that more cyclists in the lane would likely equal more wrecks there. Would it be more or less than proportional? We all can make our guesses but we won't know unless it were to happen and be properly studied.



I believe that cars and trucks are at higher risk of being hit simply because they are so common. A cyclist in the lane sets off alarms in the motorists mind that forces attention that a car traveling at 15 mph would be much less likely to get. Surely you've been in the lane and noticed this.

There's a lot there in your post, but a lot of what I've noted as more attention when I'm in the lane is a whole lot of hostility, dangerous swerving and utter confusion on the part of drivers. I find it generally accepted in the Boston area, but in NH and other parts of MA, being relevant is not necessarily a good thing. Again, this is an issue where local knowledge is important. No exaggeration, there's places I've ridden where I'm worried about deliberate attempts to hurt me if I ride too "aggressively.". Yes, I'm looking at you, Fitchburg.

Also, from driving, I know there are a lot of blind spots that affect the drivers' abilities to see vehicles in the lane next to them. If you're riding in the right traffic lane of a 4 lane road, you are very vulnerable to a car shifting into your lane from the left.

And no offense, but you're talking to some very experienced riders in this thread, and I think you owe us the respect to know that if we tell you that it isn't safe to take the lane on many of the roads we ride it isn't because we're somehow squeamish. Our opinions are formed based on thousands of hours of road riding experience as, I assume, yours are as well.

If I had to describe my riding style, it would be one of situational awareness and adaptability, recognizing that every lane position has its advantages and disadvantages, and that no single position will do in all situations. I also happen to ride in a region where there are a lot of hostile drivers and I'm generally not looking to ride in a manner where I have them getting increasingly angry while on my 6, so living in the lane instead of occasionally visiting it is a most unattractive option. Again, a lot of this is based on local knowledge of what the drivers are like around here.

And I disagree with the term "VC techniques.". VC is the ideology , not the riding method. Talking about VC without including the categorical rejection of segregating bikes and cars is like discussing the merits of flat earth theory without including the notion of a flat earth.

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Old 07-20-20, 05:31 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
​​​​​​

Well, I'm pretty clear that you don't understand the word "xenophobic" if you think stating that local conditions vary, and that it's impossible to prescribe best practices if you are uninformed about those local conditions is a form of xenophobia. It's quite the opposite, I respect that I can't tell you how best to ride where you are because I assume you are an intelligent human being able to assess that far better than I can as I have no idea what the roads or drivers are like where you are. When you describe what you're doing as "common sense" and repeatedly make statements regarding the rationality of riding on the right anywhere in the world, you are not according me or anyone else adhering to FRAP with that respect. I have tried throughout this thread to be coherent, I just don't think you like my message.

And here's a for instance from this morning's 50 mile ride. This is NH-111. If common sense is telling me to ride on the left side of that white fog line, I don't want it:


I know from several hundred rides on this road that the pavement on both sides of the line is identical, and debris is not swept to the right.
Why xenophobic ? You've been dismissing all the arguments because i don't live where you live, which was unfair because the arguments i've been suggesting were precise situations that happen to any cyclist forced to share the same lane with cars and you weren't even interested to know how different road conditions were in Tunisia. So yeah, using that argument without further investigation was rejecting the opponent's arguments simply because he lives abroad.
BTW, that's a beautiful road you have there
But i don't get your argument : You already have a lane, why would you want to ride on the left side of that line
Tomorrow i'll take a couple of pictures to show you my commute so you can see we are not living on different planets..
See, that's why i've been insisting we should stop talking about VC and name common sense cycling strategies differently. Flangehead already suggested the name Effective Cycling, personally i don't like it because suggests the idea of speed and efficiency whereas i would like specifically to find a different name for intelligent placement on the road.
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Old 07-20-20, 06:33 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Why xenophobic ? You've been dismissing all the arguments because i don't live where you live, which was unfair because the arguments i've been suggesting were precise situations that happen to any cyclist forced to share the same lane with cars and you weren't even interested to know how different road conditions were in Tunisia. So yeah, using that argument without further investigation was rejecting the opponent's arguments simply because he lives abroad.
BTW, that's a beautiful road you have there
But i don't get your argument : You already have a lane, why would you want to ride on the left side of that line
Tomorrow i'll take a couple of pictures to show you my commute so you can see we are not living on different planets..
See, that's why i've been insisting we should stop talking about VC and name common sense cycling strategies differently. Flangehead already suggested the name Effective Cycling, personally i don't like it because suggests the idea of speed and efficiency whereas i would like specifically to find a different name for intelligent placement on the road.
What's hilarious is I'm feeling that you rejected my point of view with all the "a good idea is a good idea anywhere" stuff which I think rejects the importance of local knowledge. I'm very interested in your description of riding in Tunisia, I'm just not particularly interested in your opinions on how I should ride. That's not xenophobic, I just don't have any reason to assume you have anywhere the level of knowledge of my region and my strengths and weaknesses as I do. Likewise, I don't expect you to be terribly interested in my views of proper riding in Tunisia (you seem to have missed that repeatedly). You're just off the beam here with the xenophobia crap, I fully expect l could learn a lot about what it's like to ride in Tunisia (and I look forward to that) from you. I just don't think you have much to teach me about riding through Worcester, MA.

Yup, that's a nice road, and your response of "you have a lane" demonstrates that you really aren't a vc guy--that's actually the shoulder, and plenty of vc guys would say you never should ride on it. No doubt there would be some overwrought blather about getting right hooked at the intersection with the small road on the right.

If I had to label my approach, it would probably be "pragmatic" . I will do what I think is safest in the circumstances I find myself in, and try not to get locked into some ideological "one size fits all" approach.

And this isn't aimed particularly at you, but I find the people who try to tell people how to ride either annoying or hilarious. It's one of the simplest activities in the world, and like all simple activities, a bunch of people appoint themselves as experts and try to make it sound difficult and complicated.

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Old 07-20-20, 07:45 PM
  #55  
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One thing I've learned through my 14 years of VC threads here on BF is that when you compare how the experienced riders here actually ride, there is not a whole lot of difference... No matter if they are proponents or detractors of VC. The former will happily ride a sweet shoulder, and the latter will happily take a lane when prudent. And why not? Both are legal, and safe. "Always take the lane" is rare, I've never seen it. Yet that's what detractors like to beef about.

The only time I was hit by a car as an adult (did it once as a kid too!) I was in a cross walk while riding a side path. Something many (especially beginners) believe to be safer than riding in the road. Had I been in the middle of the lane, it never would have happened.

VC means riding according to the rules of the road. Nothing about it is illegal. Again, I understand why some have such a distaste for the mere mention of VC, and it has little to do with the riding principles, which are sound and safe. No matter where one rides.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:11 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
One thing I've learned through my 14 years of VC threads here on BF is that when you compare how the experienced riders here actually ride, there is not a whole lot of difference... No matter if they are proponents or detractors of VC. The former will happily ride a sweet shoulder, and the latter will happily take a lane when prudent. And why not? Both are legal, and safe. "Always take the lane" is rare, I've never seen it. Yet that's what detractors like to beef about.

The only time I was hit by a car as an adult (did it once as a kid too!) I was in a cross walk while riding a side path. Something many (especially beginners) believe to be safer than riding in the road. Had I been in the middle of the lane, it never would have happened.

VC means riding according to the rules of the road. Nothing about it is illegal. Again, I understand why some have such a distaste for the mere mention of VC, and it has little to do with the riding principles, which are sound and safe. No matter where one rides.

So basically, we just ignore everything John Forrester had to say on the subject? It was his label, I don't see any purpose in rehabilitating it.

You're also ignoring the whole philosophy of traffic design that was espoused which is understandable given that it has so thoroughly been rejected.

The problem with the whole project of this thread is that the connection between VC as an ideology is so opposed to common sense that it was widely acknowledged even by Forrester that it was never about having the masses bike--road riding was going to be the province of a few relatively elite riders.

I go back to my previous statement as it seems to agree with something you said-- biking is actually a very simple activity and a lot of people are trying to sound like they have some special expertise. I think that's supported by your observation that there really isn't a lot of difference between how experienced riders ride.

This is probably a US specific observation, but I think the past few decades have had way too much mystification of riding so that many people have been discouraged from trying it. I think we're now seeing the start of an era where a lot of people have just realized that the presence of relatively new bike paths means they can just pick up a bike and ride. I don't think we do those people any favor if we have safety discussions that stem from an ideology that doesn't want them to venture out on the roads .

VC is dead, take some stuff out of the pockets of the corpse, but don't consider "taking the lane where appropriate" as being the invention of VC. We figured that out when we were 12.
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Old 07-21-20, 07:14 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
So basically, we just ignore everything John Forrester had to say on the subject? It was his label, I don't see any purpose in rehabilitating it.

You're also ignoring the whole philosophy of traffic design that was espoused which is understandable given that it has so thoroughly been rejected.

The problem with the whole project of this thread is that the connection between VC as an ideology is so opposed to common sense that it was widely acknowledged even by Forrester that it was never about having the masses bike--road riding was going to be the province of a few relatively elite riders.

I go back to my previous statement as it seems to agree with something you said-- biking is actually a very simple activity and a lot of people are trying to sound like they have some special expertise. I think that's supported by your observation that there really isn't a lot of difference between how experienced riders ride.

This is probably a US specific observation, but I think the past few decades have had way too much mystification of riding so that many people have been discouraged from trying it. I think we're now seeing the start of an era where a lot of people have just realized that the presence of relatively new bike paths means they can just pick up a bike and ride. I don't think we do those people any favor if we have safety discussions that stem from an ideology that doesn't want them to venture out on the roads .

VC is dead, take some stuff out of the pockets of the corpse, but don't consider "taking the lane where appropriate" as being the invention of VC. We figured that out when we were 12.
Wouldn't that be the bikeways ideology?

As we are all aware, the popular view is that cycling on the roads is not safe, we need bike paths and lanes. Here’s the beauty that John DID invent: The roads as they presently are constructed are perfectly safe for bicycle travel if you follow the laws and ride properly. His landmark book “Effective Cycling” is a wonderful tool that has allowed many (hundreds of thousands, millions?) who feared leaving the bike path, get out and use their bike effectively almost anywhere. As it should be. Now on its 7th edition. Not bad for something that’s dead!
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Old 07-21-20, 07:08 PM
  #58  
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livedarklions , do you ever take the lane ?
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Old 07-21-20, 08:41 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
livedarklions , do you ever take the lane ?
I have to admit, this is somewhat of an odd question after all LDL has written. Of course he does. So?
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Old 07-22-20, 05:09 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I have to admit, this is somewhat of an odd question after all LDL has written. Of course he does. So?
The whole point of this thread was to stop talking about vc and give a different name to safe positioning techniques (that most of us have learned as vc) so we stop quarelling about vc. livedarklions keeps talking about vc though.. why not focus instead on how to stay safe on the road ?
As promised, here are pictures of my commute.

This is almost the end of it, that's also the only stretch of road that has a shoulder... (pictures are in reverse order)


amercian cemetary and memorial in north africa









the mountain on the left .. that's bougarnine (With two peaks)

didn't mean it... but i like it
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Old 07-22-20, 05:18 PM
  #61  
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on a long and lonesome highway

kilometer 24, another 20 left


exiting hammam lif

he wouldn't have dared if i hadn't put the canera in front of the flashing headlight

first miles and the most dangerous stretch of the road
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Old 07-23-20, 02:57 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
...

first miles and the most dangerous stretch of the road
I see similar shoulder in several of the shots. What’s it like? Gravel over soil? Does it get soft after a rain?
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Old 07-23-20, 09:03 AM
  #63  
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Thanks for the pics HT! It's always nice to see the roads other posters here commute on, especially when it is in counties other than the US.

Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
The whole point of this thread was to stop talking about vc and give a different name to safe positioning techniques (that most of us have learned as vc) so we stop quarelling about vc. livedarklions keeps talking about vc though.. why not focus instead on how to stay safe on the road ?
Ok, so lets look back at your OP:

Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Vehicular Cycling seems to have become a much stigmatized word. Besides, its name is counter productive because it suggests that bicycles aren't vehicles already and one should cycle like a "vehicle", a real vehicle like a car.


What the hell, bicycles are actually super vehicles, they are the most energy efficient vehicles, they take the least space and they keep their users healthy !

Let's get rid of all the controversial residue related to this term, i'm no expert on this topic but it seems like there has been some advocating against building bike lanes and let's replace it with another name : my suggestion would be Common Sense Cycling (abbreviated CSC) because it seems so obvious and besides there is no other way than taking back our roads, getting rid of that paralyzing fear from sharing the road with other cars and ride safer, with dignity.
Anyone suggesting a better name ?
Let's say a "new" term with less baggage is decided on. Then what? What would be done with it, and how would others know about it? Are you proposing some kind of marketing campaign?

And before that, I'd ask: Why? Is it really necessary for VC to be more popular than it is now? It's a valid system that allows one to safely ride along with motor traffic on almost any road. Anyone interested can learn/do it at any time. There are even courses based on VC style riding available for those who are interested. Others can restrict themselves to side paths and pine (or push) for more of them.

What is your goal here?
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Old 07-28-20, 11:53 AM
  #64  
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Do drivers of cars ever take the lane?
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Old 07-28-20, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post

Do drivers of cars ever take the lane?
No, they just drive on the sidewalks and MUPs....
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Old 07-31-20, 07:44 AM
  #66  
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Sorry for coming back so late
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Thanks for the pics HT! It's always nice to see the roads other posters here commute on, especially when it is in counties other than the US.
Thanks AlmostTrick, i was hoping livedarklions would realize that the roads in Tunisia weren't as different as he had pictured them.
What's so weird is that when i took the picture of the American WWII cemetary, i realized that my commute started with the German WWII cemetary (Borj Cedria) and ended with the American one...

Let's say a "new" term with less baggage is decided on. Then what? What would be done with it, and how would others know about it? Are you proposing some kind of marketing campaign?

And before that, I'd ask: Why? Is it really necessary for VC to be more popular than it is now? It's a valid system that allows one to safely ride along with motor traffic on almost any road. Anyone interested can learn/do it at any time. There are even courses based on VC style riding available for those who are interested. Others can restrict themselves to side paths and pine (or push) for more of them.

What is your goal here?
Well, the whole idea came with this post censoring vehicular cycling. The whole problem with the thread about amazon trucks blocking bicycle lanes was (in my view) because of the mentality that bicycles are restricted to bike lanes and riding on "normal lanes" was too dangerous. However, vehicular cycling, which is the obvious solution to the entire problem of blocked or unavailable bike lanes, has become a toboo because of all the unrelated fuzz that surrounds it.
My idea was to coin a new term that would point uniquely to the aspect of safe bike positioning techniques and methods to share the roads with other vehicles so we don't have to argue about all the ideological mess related to VC.
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Old 07-31-20, 07:55 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I see similar shoulder in several of the shots. What’s it like? Gravel over soil? Does it get soft after a rain?
Oh that's funny you noticed it : I remember them sprinkling bitumen over a fine gravel or sand then spreading gravel over it. Most of the gravel was washed away anyway, and i remember thinking what a waste of money. Useful for parked cars, the surface is like the surface of an old unmaintained road could have been a nice bike lane..
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Old 07-31-20, 10:09 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
livedarklions , do you ever take the lane ?
Just to be clear, it was at this point I decided I wasn't wasting any more time "discussing" things with you as you obviously hadn't really read anything I had written up to that point.
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Old 07-31-20, 04:47 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Just to be clear, it was at this point I decided I wasn't wasting any more time "discussing" things with you as you obviously hadn't really read anything I had written up to that point.
I'm sorry if it disenchanted you, but i was indeed reading all you have been writing and i've noticed that in the entire "discussion", you have been avoiding the main question : when do you take the lane ? under what circumstances do you consider taking the lane the safest measure ? would you mind elaborating that point precisely ?
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Old 07-31-20, 08:43 PM
  #70  
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Vehicular cycling ≠ always taking the lane.
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Old 07-31-20, 08:49 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
I'm sorry if it disenchanted you, but i was indeed reading all you have been writing and i've noticed that in the entire "discussion", you have been avoiding the main question : when do you take the lane ? under what circumstances do you consider taking the lane the safest measure ? would you mind elaborating that point precisely ?
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Yes I mind, because I found at least three posts above where I've already explained this already, and I don't feel I owe you a cross examination on specific situations. General is to the right with frequent signaled shifts towards the center when needed for left hand turns, avoiding obstacles and hazards, and keeping left of right-turning vehicles.


If you disagree with any of that, I really don't care. My basic point is that I am rather sick of the self-appointed experts who seem to think they have something to teach us all. You don't. I see very little riding I consider unsafe, much less than the bad driving I see regularly.
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Old 07-31-20, 08:55 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The gutter/shoulder is where the debris settles. There are less road hazards out in the lane. Absolutely nothing to do with visibility.
FRAP is far right as practicable in the roadway. The roadway is the travel lane. It's not the shoulder.

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Old 07-31-20, 09:11 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
One thing I've learned through my 14 years of VC threads here on BF is that when you compare how the experienced riders here actually ride, there is not a whole lot of difference... No matter if they are proponents or detractors of VC. The former will happily ride a sweet shoulder, and the latter will happily take a lane when prudent. And why not? Both are legal, and safe. "Always take the lane" is rare, I've never seen it. Yet that's what detractors like to beef about.
...
VC means riding according to the rules of the road. Nothing about it is illegal. Again, I understand why some have such a distaste for the mere mention of VC, and it has little to do with the riding principles, which are sound and safe. No matter where one rides.
This.

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Old 07-31-20, 09:20 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Oh that's funny you noticed it : I remember them sprinkling bitumen over a fine gravel or sand then spreading gravel over it. Most of the gravel was washed away anyway, and i remember thinking what a waste of money. Useful for parked cars, the surface is like the surface of an old unmaintained road could have been a nice bike lane..
What they are doing is much cheaper.
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Old 07-31-20, 10:04 PM
  #75  
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I do remember you asking "when do you take the lane" several times, and feel that's a fair and relevant question. I don't recall livedarklions giving any specific answers to it. But he did say that when he does take the lane he's not practicing VC, it's something else.

So I guess you are right... the name of how one rides is very important to some.

Personally I'm fine with VC, but leaning away from the term "take the lane". It makes it sound like stealing. I'm not taking anything, just like drivers of motor vehicles aren't either when they are in the lane.

I'm using the lane, riding in the lane, or utilizing the lane. Safely and in accordance with the rules of the road.
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