Forester Vs. Clarke V

Forester Vs. Clark V

OK, to recap from last time:

“Clarke’s aim was to reduce motoring by taking advantage of the public belief that bikeways make cycling safe for those without traffic-cycling skills.”

Moving on:

“Clarke achieved a double object by persuading his contracting officer to substitute encouragement for safety as criteria in the first document.”

We covered this:

more cyclists == more safety (for both motorists and cyclists, actually)

On the other hand, long time readers know that I don’t really give two shits about safety. 🙂

“Clarke then established a system which largely ignored cyclists with traffic-cycling skills (Advanced Bicyclists) while establishing a ubiquitous bikeway plan for those without traffic-cycling skills, who needed to be encouraged (Basic Bicyclists and Child Bicyclists).”

I have no idea what this means, actually, but we’ll struggle together.

First of all, Forester creates this imaginary category of Advanced Bicyclists who are the sole keepers of traffic-cycling skills. I all ready covered how this is to push a product.

However, I’d like to further examine the whole notion of Advanced Bicyclists. I don’t believe that they exist because there is a continuum of cyclists with skills. We are all learning and trying to better ourselves. That is until we get too old to ride. When I get too old to ride, I’ll hang up my hat and stop writing about bicycling because there will be, no doubt, people who are younger than me who have mastered everything I know and move beyond it. Thus, I’ll just look like an old fool pontificating from my wheelchair. If I break this rule, people, shoot me. 🙂

Where do we draw the line on what is “Advanced” cyclist and Unadvanced cyclist?

Actually, I don’t see the point of doing this. In Copenhagen, everyone rode, and it was fine.

“Traffic Safety” skills took a minute or two instead of eight hours or whatever Mr. Forester’s class takes.

When I started riding in Copenhagen, I was a bit shaky and nervous which is good. My nervousness made me aware, and it kept me safe. In a few minutes, I felt way better and I was all ready out running the leader of the ride in a fun loving way. After the first ride, I had a good idea of how to ride around the city.

Thus, I’d welcome any system that “ignores” Advanced Cyclists.

However, I do question whether more infrastructure “ignores” anyone.

If I really did think of myself as an “Advanced Cyclists”–which I don’t because I don’t have the ego to–I’d be able to ride safely and comfortably anywhere.

Mr. Forester, however, needs special LACK of infrastructure to feel safe. That is, his class teaches us to be afraid of infrastructure.

I consider this to be very ominous indeed. Very bad.

To me, to be a good, safe, fun or whatever cyclist, one needs to be flexible.

Weather could be different. The road could get slippery. Drivers could fall asleep. Bike lanes end. Drivers pull out in front of us without looking.

What’s the key to being safe in all these circumstances?

It’s not training.

It’s actually easy. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!

Seriously, if you want to feel safe, slow down. Nobody ever got killed getting into an accident at 8 miles an hour helmet or no.

In fact, I bet if you broke down the risk of death, the number one thing that killed someone was speed, the speed of the automobile or the speed of the cycle or the speed of both. In fact, I bet that helmet wouldn’t really be that important because nobody dies at a slow, slow speed.

OK, the last sentence was hyperbole. Because one never ought to say never. People moving at zero miles an hour fall over in the store and crack their heads on the floor and die. Nobody thinks that everyone should wear a helmet at all times not even the helmet industry. Think about it.

If you EVER see someone–even the CEO of the “walking helmet” club–wearing a helmet to a bar and on the street, you’d want to institutionalize him.

I never heard Forester address this point. That’s because he wanted (he doesn’t ride anymore) to ride as fast as possible and that’s what he’s pushing. Racing on the streets which requires no infrastructure and lots of helmets. I wish he’d take off his mask, and you’d see the real person. He’s pushing for something I was against in an earlier post: street racing. If we eliminated street races of bicycles–just like we have with cars–all this safety shit would be irrelevant just like it is where there’s decent infrastructure.

Besides a slow speed, the one other thing that helps in making cycling safer is experience.

Helmets pushing and fear mongering plus lack of infrastructure is denying millions of us the thrill and cost savings of riding our bicycles to work. It’s also denying us experience.

How many people have you heard that have said that they no longer bicycle because the last time they did they got into an accident? Many.

Why can’t they press on? They are very afraid because of all these safety gurus.

I had an accident. My princess had an accident. We all have accidents. The point is that we should make this OK to happen. We should be OK with these small scrapes. Slow speeds and lack of cars running us over makes it OK to fall from our bicycles.

We need to realize that this won’t happen over and over again. We’ll become better riders, and we’ll become “Advanced Cyclists”.

Just kidding.

We’ll just be a little further along on the experience continuum.


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