Back-Peddaling and Bus Tossin’

LTR no reason to read further. It’s old wine in an old wine bottle here.

Still, it’s a red letter day that Forester has gone to his next fall back position!

LTRs know that I had penned a list of fall back positions and just as I predicted, it happened. It’s magic like being able to predict a sunrise or something. 🙂

Previously, I had predicted what would happen to the future of the VC advocates where I said that they would back pedal away from safety.

They did.

My next prediction is that people are going to start tossing Forester, himself, under the bus.

Here’s a recent quote from the man:

“There is a problem with making safety the paramount priority. Just prohibit cycling, and there should no longer be cyclist casualties. Any transportation program has to have a reasonable balance between safety and transportational effectiveness, what is commonly called convenience. In that respect, consider two possible designs. One design almost entirely excludes the possibility of car-bike collision but requires slow and out-of-direction operation with considerable probability of bike-bike collision. The other design keeps low the probability of car-bike collision for those cyclists who obey the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles and provides direct service as fast as the cyclist chooses to ride. One design might well be safer for a cyclist who does not obey the rules of the road, while the other is both safer and more useful for a cyclist who obeys the rules of the road. There is no reasonable way to say that one is necessarily safer than the other.”

–John Forester

Note, how he picked up my value of efficiency which I had been pushing for a while.

However, if you look back at Forester’s history he has said that bikeways were unsafe. When pressed, he started to say that it was not known if bikeways were safe which is a first step in back pedaling. Now, he seems to imply that cycling _can_ be made safer, if we want and he’s moved on to speed of cycling.

Note that this has never been an argument for motorists to ride “as fast as they choose to drive.” This is because it would be too dangerous. Speed limits try to reflect local norms, true, but racing on the streets is still highly illegal.

Here we see an earlier Forester:

Of course, the main problem is that Mr. Forester never thinks that perhaps we could have bicycle freeways where we could ride really fast with few to none intersections. This would make cycling faster _and_ safer.

And he continues to imply that VC cycling is reasonably safe without giving any numbers.

I have given numbers for vehicular collisions many times. At 2.5 million rear endings of automobiles, we can say that this happens quite often to “drivers of vehicles in the travel lane.”

We know that bicycles getting hit by a car is often very ugly and quite often very deadly.

It only stands to reason if we act like cars, we’ll have the same number of collisions and more fatalities. This should be stupidly obvious that the fact that I have to write this pisses me off.


Also, note that many, many roads are fifty miles per hour or more here which makes them off limits to “taking the lane” unless one has a death wish.

At any rate, I’m glad that Forester has conceeded that infrastructure just might be safer.

If only he had spent his time and money studying more successful cycling systems instead of creating one which is not just inferior but so regressive as to be anti-cycling, San Diego would look a lot different.

At this point, we still have some questions to Forester:

1. What is the cut off for “safe”? 1 dead cyclist? 2? 3?

2. Due to his notion of “convenience” how many cyclists per year is he willing to sacrifice in order to make our streets “convenient”? 1 dead cyclist? Or perhaps seven like we have had, on average, for many years.

In fact, though we can’t predict how many will die, we can predict based on current infrastructure in differing cities how many people will die per year. These numbers are pretty stable.

So if we say we “can’t afford cycling infrastructure”, we are also saying, “we can fully afford, we accept, and even condone seven funerals for cyclists and about seventy (that’s 70) funerals for motorists per year”.

Who talks like that?

I’m more in line with Sustainable Safety where we say, “one death is too many.”


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