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Common Sense Cycling

Old 07-18-20, 01:44 PM
  #26  
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As I tried to establish some posts ago, Tunisia ≠ Southern California. What you espouse as "safer positioning" I classify as "suicidal."

BTW, An "irrational fear" is being afraid of earthworms, or terrified of ghosts. Being wary of getting hit by a car is not a fear, much less an irrational one. It is a genuine concern. It happens to cyclists every day.

Afraid means you don't go out and ride on roads-- plenty of people chose this option. I do not. I also do not recommend people engage in behavior that is willfully dangerous.

Taking the lane as a matter of right might work there. It absolutely does not here.
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Old 07-18-20, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
On 70km/h roads i with 2 lanes (same direction) what happens when i take the lane ? Approaching cars slow down and overtake. This has to be done while frequently checking backwards and when a car stays too long behind me (usually while being overtaken by other cars) i let them pass but if it's a truck i don't because the lanes aren't wide enough for both of us.
When there are three lanes, i don't care and always take the lane because ere is enough room for everyone.
Now suppose i stick to the right side all the time : what happens is : cars arriving from behind won't even consider my presence and just overtake me without even slowing down. The worst scenario is with large trucks and buses: that's me putting myself in real danger. please care to explain where is the martyrdom part in my reasoning ?
No way, you don't get to shift the burden of proof like that. I never said that you were making a martyr of yourself, I have no idea what riding in Tunisia is like. I was speaking for myself and with my 50+ years of road riding experience in the US, I'm sure that is an awful strategy for me for several reasons. You chose to label your approach "common sense" , that implies you're claiming to speak to the best approach for everyone, and for most of the US, it's complete nonsense and virtually no one rides that way.

What you're describing is actually illegal in most of the US. If I were to ride like that in New Hampshire, where I live, I would be subjecting myself to constant ticketing and possible arrest. That's one form of martyrdom I won't be seeking. If I'm going to commit acts of civil disobedience, I'm going to need a lot better reason than "some people don't like to ride on the right."

I also think riding like that is wayyyyyy more likely to get me killed in the US. I actually find the idea that trucks and buses would wait for me to "let" them pass in the US quite hilarious. I can tell you exactly what would happen if I tried to occupy the lane to prevent them from passing -- they would go almost immediately into the oncoming lane and if I'm lucky, that lane will be clear. If the oncoming lane is clear, that pass is completely legal in the US even if there's a double yellow line ( there may be states where it is not, but I'm sure it's legal in the vast majority). That might be okay if drivers were good about making sure the oncoming lane is actually clear, but in my experience, they generally are not. Being in the center of the lane thus puts me right next to a really high probability head on collision of two motor vehicles or in the probable path of an oncoming vehicle swerving to avoid that head- on. Either way, I'm in a far worse position than if I had been riding FRAP. BTW, I've experienced this scenario several times when someone speeds up to pass me in the oncoming lane when I'm FRAP with resulting near misses between the motor vehicles. From my vantage point, I'm just a spectator hoping nothing bad happens to the drivers.

I hope whatever you've got working for yourself in Tunisia keeps working, but do yourself a favor and stop trying to tell other people how to bike in places you're not familiar with.

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Old 07-18-20, 03:27 PM
  #28  
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Of course vehicular cycling is safe, no driver wants to run down a cyclist in plain view in the middle of their path. When people write how it would somehow be suicidal where they live I always wish I could somehow instantly transport myself there and ride around with an onboard video cam.

It's true that most cyclists hug the right edge... and that's where most are hit.

I'm fine with others being afraid of riding VC style though. Ride the way you want.
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Old 07-18-20, 03:29 PM
  #29  
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Wear high visible attire, always be assertive with where you're riding, dont provoke a bad behavior & attitude. That's my recommendation for a novice street riding cyclist.
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Old 07-18-20, 04:02 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post

It's true that most cyclists hug the right edge... and that's where most are hit..
Most train collisions occur at the front and rear ends of the train.

Please let me know if you need your logical fallacy fully explained.
And FRAP does not mean "hug the right edge". That's just some more of the rhetorical spin VC advocates insisted on using before the lodge shut down.

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Old 07-18-20, 04:05 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
Wear high visible attire, always be assertive with where you're riding, dont provoke a bad behavior & attitude. That's my recommendation for a novice street riding cyclist.

The other recommendation I make is to try to be predictable. Signal any shift to the left, turn or lane shift before executing it (assuming drive on the right roads, of course).

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Old 07-18-20, 05:37 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
As I tried to establish some posts ago, Tunisia ≠ Southern California. What you espouse as "safer positioning" I classify as "suicidal."

BTW, An "irrational fear" is being afraid of earthworms, or terrified of ghosts. Being wary of getting hit by a car is not a fear, much less an irrational one. It is a genuine concern. It happens to cyclists every day.

Afraid means you don't go out and ride on roads-- plenty of people chose this option. I do not. I also do not recommend people engage in behavior that is willfully dangerous.

Taking the lane as a matter of right might work there. It absolutely does not here.
What happens when you do it ? On what basis do you claim it doesn't work 'there' ?
Suppose you have to ride on unsafe roads, what do you do ? How does your riding look like ?
You cannot simply disqualify a thesis merely on the basis that the person claiming is living in a different country.
I called the fear of taking the lane irrational because it leads to sticking to the right side which puts you in even more danger.
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Old 07-18-20, 06:16 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
What happens when you do it ? On what basis do you claim it doesn't work 'there' ?
Suppose you have to ride on unsafe roads, what do you do ? How does your riding look like ?
You cannot simply disqualify a thesis merely on the basis that the person claiming is living in a different country.
I called the fear of taking the lane irrational because it leads to sticking to the right side which puts you in even more danger.
Complete and utter bs. We're highly experienced riders dealing with these roads that you are completely unfamiliar with and we're supposed to believe that you can assess our risks at various positions better than we can? I dismiss your thesis because it's completely inconsistent with everything I have ever observed or experienced on American roads.
Do you really not understand how arrogant and absurd you're being? I wouldn't dream of telling you how to ride in Tunisia.
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Old 07-18-20, 06:23 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
No way, you don't get to shift the burden of proof like that. I never said that you were making a martyr of yourself, I have no idea what riding in Tunisia is like. I was speaking for myself and with my 50+ years of road riding experience in the US, I'm sure that is an awful strategy for me for several reasons. You chose to label your approach "common sense" , that implies you're claiming to speak to the best approach for everyone, and for most of the US, it's complete nonsense and virtually no one rides that way.

What you're describing is actually illegal in most of the US. If I were to ride like that in New Hampshire, where I live, I would be subjecting myself to constant ticketing and possible arrest. That's one form of martyrdom I won't be seeking. If I'm going to commit acts of civil disobedience, I'm going to need a lot better reason than "some people don't like to ride on the right."

I also think riding like that is wayyyyyy more likely to get me killed in the US. I actually find the idea that trucks and buses would wait for me to "let" them pass in the US quite hilarious. I can tell you exactly what would happen if I tried to occupy the lane to prevent them from passing -- they would go almost immediately into the oncoming lane and if I'm lucky, that lane will be clear. If the oncoming lane is clear, that pass is completely legal in the US even if there's a double yellow line ( there may be states where it is not, but I'm sure it's legal in the vast majority). That might be okay if drivers were good about making sure the oncoming lane is actually clear, but in my experience, they generally are not. Being in the center of the lane thus puts me right next to a really high probability head on collision of two motor vehicles or in the probable path of an oncoming vehicle swerving to avoid that head- on. Either way, I'm in a far worse position than if I had been riding FRAP. BTW, I've experienced this scenario several times when someone speeds up to pass me in the oncoming lane when I'm FRAP with resulting near misses between the motor vehicles. From my vantage point, I'm just a spectator hoping nothing bad happens to the drivers.

I hope whatever you've got working for yourself in Tunisia keeps working, but do yourself a favor and stop trying to tell other people how to bike in places you're not familiar with.
Please ... let's stick to universal reasoning and avoid vernacular speculations.
When describing what happens when you take the lane, you talk about head on collisions. So what happens when you ride on the far right ??? Both the cyclist and the oncoming vehicle get their share ?
You say AlmostTrick reasoning is a fallacy. Please explain why.
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Old 07-18-20, 06:34 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Complete and utter bs. We're highly experienced riders dealing with these roads that you are completely unfamiliar with and we're supposed to believe that you can assess our risks at various positions better than we can? I dismiss your thesis because it's completely inconsistent with everything I have ever observed or experienced on American roads.
Do you really not understand how arrogant and absurd you're being? I wouldn't dream of telling you how to ride in Tunisia.
Come on dude, we are having a discussion here, why are you making it personnal ? A rational argument is valid everywhere, if you want to bring in cultural specifics, please do so and mention them in your arguments. You've mentioned the law ? sure thing, don't do it if it's illegal.
I'm trying to reason based on how human nature works, and what would be the safest way to cycle. If the law is wrong ( as it quite often is ) then that's a different topic.
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Old 07-18-20, 06:55 PM
  #36  
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The safest way to cycle here is to ride as FRAP, because the automobile traffic is, in many cases, traveling in excess of 50mph. So if I'm doing 20mph, cars are closing from behind @ ~45fps. Factor in average human reaction time, assume that the driver is at an average level of distraction, and "taking the lane" isn't a safe pursuit.

Do I take the lane? All the time. My bike has radar. Not every road is chock full of high-speed traffic. But to even suggest that always taking the lane is the safest way to ride a bike is reckless.
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Old 07-18-20, 07:24 PM
  #37  
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This is a circular argument that only ended because VC has been such an utter failure as a doctrine. I'm out.

And the logical fallacy is that if the vast majority of cyclists ride FRAP, then of course we can expect a majority of accidents to occur on the right of the road. It doesn't mean we'd be better off or even as well off if more people habitually rode in the lane. There would just more cyclists getting hit there.

I don't have any problem making myself seen on the right side of the road, and I do that by adjusting my position appropriately, including quite frequently taking the lane. All this extremist "riding on the right is bad" and "it's our road" rhetoric is just so much absurd noise echoing from a dead movement.
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Old 07-18-20, 07:31 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
The safest way to cycle here is to ride as FRAP, because the automobile traffic is, in many cases, traveling in excess of 50mph. So if I'm doing 20mph, cars are closing from behind @ ~45fps. Factor in average human reaction time, assume that the driver is at an average level of distraction, and "taking the lane" isn't a safe pursuit.

Do I take the lane? All the time. My bike has radar. Not every road is chock full of high-speed traffic. But to even suggest that always taking the lane is the safest way to ride a bike is reckless.
I've never said one should always be taking the lane.
Of course in some situations where the lane is wide enough ( ones that leave enough space between the largest vehicle and the bike, ie 1.5m ) sticking to the right is safer... but how often do we come accross such lanes ?
1m to 1.5m for safety distance + 2m for the car or 3m for the truck + 1m for the cyclist = 4 ~ 5.5m width. such lanes are very rare.
You said you take the lane quite often : i presume you must be seeing some advantage in doing so. May i ask you what is it ?
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Old 07-18-20, 07:38 PM
  #39  
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The gutter/shoulder is where the debris settles. There are less road hazards out in the lane. Absolutely nothing to do with visibility.

I'd like to visit a fantasy world where the roads are so wide every cyclist is afforded 3 feet of clearance. I don't consider anything above 18" to even be a close pass. Close is when the sideview mirror ruffles your sleeve.
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Old 07-18-20, 07:56 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
This is a circular argument that only ended because VC has been such an utter failure as a doctrine. I'm out.

And the logical fallacy is that if the vast majority of cyclists ride FRAP, then of course we can expect a majority of accidents to occur on the right of the road. It doesn't mean we'd be better off or even as well off if more people habitually rode in the lane. There would just more cyclists getting hit there.

I don't have any problem making myself seen on the right side of the road, and I do that by adjusting my position appropriately, including quite frequently taking the lane. All this extremist "riding on the right is bad" and "it's our road" rhetoric is just so much absurd noise echoing from a dead movement.
The argument that we are safer in the lane was in AlmostTrick 's previous paragraph : no car wants to run down a cyclist in plain view.
The sentence you picked up, as i understood it, simply states a correlation, not causality : the majority of rides ride frap, the majority dies frap.. which leads to his disenchantment and being fine with others riding the way they want.
You said you adjust your position appropriately, and that's including taking the lane : when do you chose to do so ?
BTW: i suggested we stop talking about VC as a movement and just discuss the technique and positioning strategies on roads without bike lanes or where bike lanes are unusable.
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Old 07-18-20, 10:22 PM
  #41  
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See, this is why the VC sub forum was started and threads get dumped there... some people just get too upset over the subject.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
And FRAP does not mean "hug the right edge".
Who said it did? Although hugging the right edge could certainly legally be considered riding FRAP. As could taking the lane when appropriate. VC is compatible with FRAP. FRAP laws do not ever require riding in an unsafe position at the right edge.
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Old 07-18-20, 10:49 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
See, this is why the VC sub forum was started and threads get dumped there... some people just get too upset over the subject.
That's weird... this topic being so crucial and central to cycling, i sense some paradox lurking around..
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Old 07-19-20, 04:38 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
It's true that most cyclists hug the right edge... and that's where most are hit.
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Who said it did? Although hugging the right edge could certainly legally be considered riding FRAP. As could taking the lane when appropriate. VC is compatible with FRAP. FRAP laws do not ever require riding in an unsafe position at the right edge.

If you're distinguishing FRAP from hugging the right edge, why did you throw that at people arguing for FRAP then? As a factual matter, I think it's a false "fact" that you just made up. I don't see anyone "hugging" anything where I ride, so I really have no clue what you're arguing against.

And no, VC is not compatible with FRAP. They're fundamentally opposed. When I take the lane, I am doing it because that's as FRAP for that particular section of road. I am not practicing VC when I do it because VC is a doctrinaire opposition to riding to the right of the traffic lane. If you don't get that contradiction, I can see why you might be surprised by why this gets heated.
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Old 07-19-20, 04:55 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
The argument that we are safer in the lane was in AlmostTrick 's previous paragraph : no car wants to run down a cyclist in plain view.
The sentence you picked up, as i understood it, simply states a correlation, not causality : the majority of rides ride frap, the majority dies frap.. which leads to his disenchantment and being fine with others riding the way they want.
You said you adjust your position appropriately, and that's including taking the lane : when do you chose to do so ?
BTW: i suggested we stop talking about VC as a movement and just discuss the technique and positioning strategies on roads without bike lanes or where bike lanes are unusable.
My strategy is look at the road, take in the situation, and pick the best position to ride. It is very rarely down the middle of the traffic lane. Don't swerve, try to stay predictable.

Otherwise, I'm not interested in this conversation. Like it or not, where we ride affects how we ride. I don't think either of us has any insight into dealing with drivers in the locales where we drive, and I find your whole "a good idea one place is a good idea everywhere" approach something you're using to argue your experience matters and mine doesn't.

This conversation started with you proposing that a style of riding that's illegal in about 49 of the 50 American states and really isn't practiced at all in a state that allows it be labeled "common sense". That was silly on its face.
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Old 07-19-20, 07:11 AM
  #45  
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Names

Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Vehicular Cycling seems to have become a much stigmatized word. ..... let's replace it with another name : my suggestion would be Common Sense Cycling (abbreviated CSC) ...Anyone suggesting a better name ?
The OP is proposing a name and I haven't seen much discussion of that in this thread so far. I am not a deep student of the subject, but a couple of notes and my thoughts (pulling details from Wikipedia article so you're entering amateur hour here..):

One of the early documentations of the general principle that bicycling safely is best achieved by following the rules of the road was the book "Effective Cycling" by John Forester, and it was widely disseminated.

Most everyone posting here will know this history, but I'll restate it briefly. John Forester became actively involved in opposing some cycling-specific infrastructure. That opposition, along with Effective Cycling, got wrapped up in the term "Vehicular Cycling". Subsequently some cyclists established the warring camps of vehicular cyclists versus non-VC, a disagreement which I doubt more than 1% of the general population has every even heard of and which resulted in artifacts like a VC subforum on BF A&S.

The term "Smart Cycling" is what the League of American Bicyclists uses for its safety training, and it is generally consistent with Effective Cycling. There is a training course available, which I have not taken, which is called "Cycling Savvy". I've seen some of their materials and it also is generally consistent with Effective Cycling. I see the same general principles in other forms, such as "How to Not Get Hit by Cars" which is a website and not a good "handle". I'm sure there are others, and in other languages besides English.

I consider "A rose is a rose" and "words matter" to both be valid statements in the messy, gray world we live in. With those seemingly inconsistent thoughts in mind, my recommendation would be to continue to use "Effective Cycling" for the general tradition of riding bicycles on roads with motor vehicles in the safest way possible for the infrastructure that is present at the time and place of a given journey. (The only drawback I see is that some people associate Effective Cycling with John Forester and then reject anything associated with him.) Since Smart Cycling and Cycling Savvy are specific, defined educational courses they should be the "handles" for those packages.

Use of the term Effective Cycling in my mind does not preclude in any way changes to adapt to new conditions and making changes to more clearly define and communicate good practices. It already exists.

However, "words matter" really means that people can communicate clearly and effectively.. if the stigma associated with VC is too much for people, then a term like CSC or other will come to the fore. Language is just what we all agree on.

(A brief aside to illustrate some of my context. In the 60's an industrial control product called a "programmable controller" was developed to, essentially, replace relay-based control systems. We all called them PC's. Along came the "personal computer" which of course was a PC, and those of us in the industrial world had to adapt.. the gorilla sat where he wanted and we now call the industrial controllers "programmable logic controllers" aka PLC.)

Last edited by flangehead; 07-19-20 at 09:48 PM. Reason: Effective instead of vehicular in link to JF.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:23 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
My strategy is look at the road, take in the situation, and pick the best position to ride. It is very rarely down the middle of the traffic lane. Don't swerve, try to stay predictable.

Otherwise, I'm not interested in this conversation. Like it or not, where we ride affects how we ride. I don't think either of us has any insight into dealing with drivers in the locales where we drive, and I find your whole "a good idea one place is a good idea everywhere" approach something you're using to argue your experience matters and mine doesn't.

This conversation started with you proposing that a style of riding that's illegal in about 49 of the 50 American states and really isn't practiced at all in a state that allows it be labeled "common sense". That was silly on its face.
I find your whole attitude to be rather xenophobic.
Nevermind, you keep telling us you're not interested in this conversation anyway... go ahead, no one is begging you to come here... only to be rude and aggressive without even trying to present a coherent view on this topic.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:45 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
If you're distinguishing FRAP from hugging the right edge, why did you throw that at people arguing for FRAP then? As a factual matter, I think it's a false "fact" that you just made up. I don't see anyone "hugging" anything where I ride, so I really have no clue what you're arguing against.
Hugging the right edge is what I mostly see. I never equated that with FRAP. That was done in response to my first post here.

And no, VC is not compatible with FRAP. They're fundamentally opposed. When I take the lane, I am doing it because that's as FRAP for that particular section of road. I am not practicing VC when I do it because VC is a doctrinaire opposition to riding to the right of the traffic lane. If you don't get that contradiction, I can see why you might be surprised by why this gets heated.
Riding as far right as practicable as the law requires leaves it open to interpretation as to how far right this would be. Something riders, drivers, and police officers could disagree about, and ultimately only a court could rule on. Add in all the exceptions in the law requiring riding FRAP and you have a situation where being in the center of the lane clearly is compatible with the FRAP laws. It seems that you agree with this.

The problem, as you just alluded to and the OP correctly pointed out is: Calling a safe and legal form of riding VC!

But I understand why. John Forrester himself was quite contentious, and some VC promoters can be overbearing in their zeal for the practice. This causes some to get their panties in a tizzy at the mere mention of anything VC.
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Old 07-19-20, 09:43 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
I find your whole attitude to be rather xenophobic.
Nevermind, you keep telling us you're not interested in this conversation anyway... go ahead, no one is begging you to come here... only to be rude and aggressive without even trying to present a coherent view on this topic.
I'm going to disagree with this. I don't think LDL has been rude or aggressive, and he has presented a coherent view on the topic. And no one with 7000+ posts in 2 years is ever out of the thread or not interested in it!
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Old 07-19-20, 10:28 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Hugging the right edge is what I mostly see. I never equated that with FRAP. That was done in response to my first post here.



Riding as far right as practicable as the law requires leaves it open to interpretation as to how far right this would be. Something riders, drivers, and police officers could disagree about, and ultimately only a court could rule on. Add in all the exceptions in the law requiring riding FRAP and you have a situation where being in the center of the lane clearly is compatible with the FRAP laws. It seems that you agree with this.

The problem, as you just alluded to and the OP correctly pointed out is: Calling a safe and legal form of riding VC!

But I understand why. John Forrester himself was quite contentious, and some VC promoters can be overbearing in their zeal for the practice. This causes some to get their panties in a tizzy at the mere mention of anything VC.
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.

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. Drivers don't intend to hit trucks and cars either, yet plenty of collisions occur there between them. And using the word "intersection" as broadly as you do, keep in mind that bikes going in and out of the lane creates its own set of "intersections" with the paths of cars and trucks.
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Old 07-19-20, 10:54 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
I find your whole attitude to be rather xenophobic.
Nevermind, you keep telling us you're not interested in this conversation anyway... go ahead, no one is begging you to come here... only to be rude and aggressive without even trying to present a coherent view on this topic.
​​​​​​

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.
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