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Posted by on Jun 10, 2012 in Bicycle Culture | 12 comments

Let’s Choose Possibility!

 

As more and more interests jump on the bicycling bandwagon, I am becoming increasingly dismayed at the predominant approach to promoting bicycling — advocating for bike lanes and other facilities by focusing on fear and limitation. Clinging to limitation seems to be a natural tendency for everyone in our culture these days, and it’s certainly been the focus of bicycling advocacy for many years. Bike advocates seem to be in a near panic that if people are asked to take some ownership of their own safety, they won’t ride bikes. The horror of  it is the farcilities that are being produced to appease demands; the threat of mandatory use laws because we’ve failed to fix the root cause; and the lives lost as a result of trying to encourage ridership with the promise of safety on facilities that violate the principles of movement.

We can do better!

In the video presentation below, I explain the root cause of the beliefs that inhibit bicycling in America, why the prevailing strategy can’t fix it, and offer a strategy that can. In addition to teaching people to be successful anywhere, this strategy includes many progressive infrastructure ideas that are cost-effective, versatile, expandable and supportive of successful bicyclists.

Presentation at CNU20:

For more on this topic:

Doom or Possibility? by Mighk Wilson

Strategy for a Cyclist-Friendly Community by Keri Caffrey

12 Comments

  1. Brilliant, and human-centered.

  2. Very good presentation Keri! Nice job!

  3. Wow, Keri, what a great roll-up of all the good stuff you’ve been advocating for. Once again, you have provided something I can point people to when my assertions and crazy eyes won’t quite do the trick.

  4. Thanks for essay and kudos on the presentation!

  5. This is a good example of the logical error known as “false dichotomy.”

    This can be easily seen if we say the same thing, only using cars instead of bicycles.

    Statement #1:

    “Car driving is safe and easy! You can learn a few vital skills and then go anywhere by driving a car”

    Statement #2:

    “Roads with cars are dangerous! We need to build special facilities for people to drive cars safely.”

    It is quite obvious that The Powers That Be in Orlando regard both statements as true. One unfortunate symptom of car culture is that people sometimes are unaware of the enormous extent to which special facilities for cars are routinely built into Orlando’s roads.

    One example of special facilities for cars in Orlando is the enormous number of traffic control devices built for Orlando’s roads. These include traffic lights, signs, pavement markings, etc, etc.

    Whenever I enter any major urban car-free zone one of the things I notice right away is that all of these traffic control devices are suddenly gone. They are special facilities for cars, and without cars they are not needed. I am not the only person to notice this. Read, for example, this report on the Toronto Islands, North America’s largest urban car-free zone:

    http://www.theurbancountry.com/2011/06/no-cars-no-traffic-signals-no-deaths.html

    Other special facilities for cars include filling in roadside ditches, guardrails and don’t even get me going about special segregated car-only roads like I-5!

    • The analogy used here breaks down because the term “special facility” is used in the context of special meaning special traffic controls for bicyclists that are different from standard, general traffic controls that apply to all drivers, including motorists and bicyclists. The standard general controls are not “special” relative to another set of controls, and comparing them to no controls is not in any way logically analogous.

      In addition, given the breakdown of the analogy, the statements #1 and #2 are not evidence of a false dichotomy, the couplet simply don’t make logical sense because there isn’t a constituency making statement #2. Motorists are not demanding to be segregated. And what would they be segregated from? They’re the majority user!

      • Motorists routinely demand segregated facilities. It was not cyclists who demanded the segregated car-only I-5.

        • That’s funny. What other users of I-5 are motorists segregated from? Of course the answer is none, because motorists are the majority and only user so there can be no talk of motorists being segregatred from other users of I-5. So your concept of motorists demanding segregation is empty rhetoric.

          Bicyclists wanting to be segregated from motorists along a highway is not analogous to motorists wanting a freeway.

          • I just realized another fatal flaw with his “I-5″ (maybe he means I-4, the Interstate through Orlando) argument. Freeways are, by definition, free of cross traffic. That’s why motorists like them so much. There are probably no cyclists who dislike (well-constructed and maintained) bike paths that are similarly free of cross traffic. But these are expensive without a pre-existing, usually railroad, corridor. Hence the CROW sidepath infestation.

  6. Hello Keri,

    I happened to be checking the LCI Group to see if anything useful had been posted in response to a recent query of mine on the latest AASHTO Guide. I’m glad I did because David Smith , in his comment, included a link to “Lets Choose Possibility” at
    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2012/06/10/lets-choose-possibility/

    That prompted me to view the comprehensive video of your presentation and you’ve done a wonderful job of describing the issues and how to address them successfully. I have not seen it done better. My sincerest congratulations!

  7. Keri,

    You cover it all and after taking your course in DFW I must say you’ve gotten it mostly right.

  8. Very well thought out, Keri, and organized most logically. An excellent arrangement and linking of long-known principles into an ideal we might all strive for whether we believe it is attainable or not.

    Thank you.

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