Forester vs. Clarke VII

Forester vs. Clarke VII

“Clarke has opposed lawful, competent cycling throughout his career.”

Note, how Forester combines the two together?

He actually believes that his course is the only competent cycling. Not only that, but his course teaches lawful cycling.

Thus, it is implied, strongly, here that if you have not taken Forester’s course, you are cycling illegally!

“He argues that bikeways eliminate the need to learn vehicular cycling skills.”

This is so true. Saw it in Copenhagen.

“He evaded the issue of safety by causing the federal government to change its policy criterion from safety to increasing the numbers of cyclists.” Because he knew that bikeways were not safer than roadways, he finessed his way around that issue by misstating and denigrating the work in bicycle transportation engineering that demonstrated the safety and value of vehicular cycling.”

OK, we know that bikeways are actually safer. Of course, Forester has no data saying bikeways are dangerous. Also, like I said before, we actually like vehicular cycling. There’s nothing wrong with it. However, it’s like any other martial art, you are most happy and successful when you don’t need to use it.

“This is the man whom the League has hired, and then promoted, as its Executive Director, a mendacious person who is utterly opposed to the original purpose of the League, which is to improve cycling for lawful, competent members.”

This sounds great, but it’s vague. I have to skip some things because I covered them at least once before.

The worst word here is “improve” which means nothing.

Unless, of course, he means that we must force everyone to take the lane on high speed roads and to take a day long class before being allowed on a bicycle.

Still, that won’t change things for the original members will it?

And to improve things you need to change things.

But Forester and his crowd oppose changes so it’s kind of hard to see where they want to improve things.

“A League management who has done this must be utterly opposed to that original purpose, and ought to be dismissed by the membership.”

Not necessarily. Goals change. We learn things and we “improve” ourselves.

“Like practically all federal documents regarding bicycle transportation (after the Cross study of car-bike collisions), this is another attempt to justify the government’s program of incompetent cycling on bikeways. While the word “safety” is in its title, Clarke managed to change the contract to ignore safety. The original contract required emphasis on safety, but since there was no scientific knowledge demonstrating that the program made cycling safer, Clarke managed to get the emphasis changed to increasing bicycle use while ignoring safety.”

I haven’t read the original documents, but I kind of doubt that anyone would actually say that they want to “justify incompetent cycling.”

Again with the science.

We can’t do anything if there’s no “science” behind it. But we need to conduct experiments to get the science. But that would be doing something, and we can’t do it. Ug. Going in circles here.

I am starting to really, really love the crazy version of Clarke that Forester is creating. Let’s toss out the nutty circular reasoning the vehicular cycling, safety, and science and bloody DO SOMETHING. Later on, we can collect data and see if vehicular cycling is necessary.

I feel it won’t be and that “safety” will occur organically and without effort.

“Clarke states that older cyclist advocates “believe bicyclists should have knowledge and skills needed to operate a bicycle in the traffic conditions” of normal streets: Advanced Cyclists. However, writes Clarke, “increasing bicycle use means attracting new users and those new users will often not be willing to share roadway lanes with motor vehicles”: Basic Cyclists and Child Cyclists. Clarke quotes various policy documents supporting a national policy of increasing bicycle use, and most of the document uses this as the criterion. Those bicycle owners who can operate in traffic, Advanced Cyclists, don’t need encouragement, but they are only 5%. The 95% of Basic Cyclists and Child Cyclists need encouragement. “Given that the stated policy goal is to increase bicycle use, a supply-driven (as opposed to a demand driven) approach of providing special bicycle facilities to increase bicycle use (i. e., ‘if you build them they will come’) is warranted.” This means that every street with more than minor traffic that serves any place that an average person might want to reach should include a bikeway.”

I totally agree with Clarke here. We need to worry about the 95% of people who are too scared to cycle. I talk with these people everyday who look at me wistfully as I strap on my non-existent helmet and head out onto the road.

I’d love a bikeway everywhere.

“That is, he knew that bikeways attracted unskilled cyclists because these cyclists thought that bikeways made cycling safe for them. Naturally, Clarke was not about to upset that attraction, either among the public or among politicians. Failing to tell the truth that it is your duty to tell is equivalent to lying. Clarke therefore is a liar, and the government’s whole program for bicycle transportation is based on lies.”

News flash. Everyone, even those who have just taken the Forester safety class are still unskilled. The only thing that gives us skill is actual experience in the real world. The only way to get that is to start cycling. If we oppose that then we oppose any chances of real skill. So there’s no problem with attracting “unskilled” cyclists to cycle because this is how they get competent. Jeez!

Plus, based on this bizarre definition of liar, I don’t think that Clarke is a liar.

Basically, Forester is saying that “if Clarke doesn’t include the stuff that would torpedo his project based on my course, Clarke is a liar.”

Clarke is actually really cool.


2 Responses to “Forester vs. Clarke VII”

  1. Aaron Garland Says:

    I haven’t read the article that you are commenting on, so your comments are a little hard for me to follow. You will have to explain more to me when we hang-out. I noticed you mentioned the day long course, but did you know that there was a big riff between Forester (and his buddies) and the league when they reduced the course from 30 hours to a mere 9. Jim was telling me about it the other day.

    • Fred Says:

      Actually, Aaron, most of what I know about the course is through you. I appreciate all the insights, and I’m open to corrections in anything I say about this topic.

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