Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School's Open Drive Better

Anniversary #3 of The Beginning of The MinusCar Project is fast approaching. So much has changed even though so much is still the same.

I explained to The Dad that I get wrapped up in some big ideas and then have a tough time blogging. I'm going to try to stick to the small stuff to see if I can increase frequency.

How 'bout that John Forester article in the previous post? There were three negative comments. Forester does that to people. It's a lot easier to find fault that agreement. I've called people out on that before. Since it's my blog I'll do it again...but what do you LIKE about the article? You show me yours, I'll show you mine.

This morning my presence on the road seemed to cause a driver to forget about the school zone we were driving in. I slowed and stopped to let some kids cross the crosswalk (as any driver is legally required to do in any crosswalk for any pedestrian of any age, anywhere (but not for any bicycle being ridden in any crosswalk)). They began to accelerate to pass but soon enough they realized what was up. The next couple blocks were interesting as I led them through at the maximum school zone speed of 15mph. In the end, I felt a little pressure.

I found myself looking for the softest spot of a driver's side quarter panel on the way home yesterday. I managed to get just a little more from my brakes, and they saw me soon enough that disaster, had it occurred, would probably have been manageable. The driver gave me a big ol' smile.

Saturday I volunteered for the FAB Helmet Survey. I observed four bike trail riders on an unpopular stretch of the local bike trail at 7am. Two with helmets, two without. The survey Doctor and Sioux Falls' newest biking blogger gave his report here at his blog, The Chainring Chronicles.

Finally, The Family participated in the FAB Starlight Ride Friday night. A beautiful night for a ride it was the longest ride ever for The Wife who pulled The Boy 6 on his longest ride ever. I shared the tandem with The Boy 10 - a couple years ago he did 2 or 3 of these rides with me. The fact that they all went 20 miles greatly increases the possibility more MinusCar trips.

Good times.


chiggins said...

There were three negative comments. Forester does that to people. It's a lot easier to find fault that agreement. I've called people out on that before. Since it's my blog I'll do it again...but what do you LIKE about the article?

His spelling was very good. Top notch.

Snakebite said...

Maybe he dresses snappy, too.

Garrett said...

Here's the thing, Forrester is an engineer. My experience with engineers (I realize I'm generalizing, and I know it's not always true, but I've seen this repeatedly in my dealings with engineers) is that they are a certain 'type' who are stuck on EXACTNESS and have a way of presenting themselves that does not always come across well.

With that said, that 'type' of engineer that I've encountered know their stuff. Forester knows his stuff. He knows the best place for a cyclist to be on the road based on the research that has been done in the area. He may come across as arrogant and pushy in his presentation, but his presentation is clear. You leave the discussion knowing what he thinks. Unfortunately you often leave the discussion with a bad taste about his presentation, but it's clear.

That's as positive as I get.

db said...

...but what do you LIKE about the article?

That's a fair question. What I LIKE about the article is that it is trying to champion vehicular cycling. Regardless of the tone, he knows the subject matter on an expert level.

It's a lot easier to find fault that agreement. I've called people out on that before.

True, true. But why are you not calling out Mr. Forester with the same question -- what did he LIKE about the McLaughlin article?

In short, the whole article is clear evidence of what is wrong with American bicycle transportation, and with the governmental policies that encourage incompetent cycling, and with the anti-motoring activists who praise and advocate it.

No mention of any high points in McLaughlin's piece. Just a point-by-point documentation of "evidence" (his words) of incompetence.

Not trying to start a fight on here. I almost always agree with your stated opinions, and enjoy reading about what can be done minus the car.

But as a constructive criticism, I'd say that it looks like you are calling out commenters for doing the same thing that Mr. Forester did in the first place - focusing on the negative. Your standards should apply to your heroes as well as any nay-sayers.

Thanks for making me use my brain today.

chiggins said...

Alright, so I went back and read it again. Then I read it again. Every time I got to the end, I found I couldn't remember the points being made because of the strong reaction I was having to the tone.

But, I know folks (including yourself) think highly of Mr. Forester's work and advocacy, so I dug a little more, and watched this presentation he gave at Google.

I've still got problems with his assertions, and I may write something up about it because I do think it's worth consideration and response. But more than that, I can hear a different tone in the post he did. So my reaction's less visceral now.

There's lots to think about and discuss in the articles I've found, and certainly in the presentation, but that post is just a series of what feels like personal attacks, it's hard to take much more away from it than that.

chiggins said...

I'm sure you've probably already seen this, but it was new to me, thought I'd share:

Listening to Bike Lanes, well done paper examining claims and evidence by both sides of the debate.

Bon Apetit! Enjoy!

mytzpyk said...

DB -

Regarding my apparent double standard betwixt my heroes and the nay-sayers...

In this case the so called nay-sayers are actually people who have accepted an invitation into my world for a few moments a day or week. We have, at some level, a reciprocal relationship. We are peers. You want to know what I’m thinking so you come here. When I want to know what you’re thinking I ask – and sometimes you tell.

I happen to believe that a societal problem we have is that it’s ok to dismiss everything a person says or believes because there’s one thing a person says or believes that is disagreeable. Division. A house divided against it self – well – I think we see it falling apart around us right now, eh?

In Forester’s world the relationship is not reciprocal. He and I are not peers. Forester is an expert. Forester is there to teach and to learn from.

If you really want to nail me on this I invite you to suggest that *I* have a double standard because *I’m* so inclined to agree with Forester that *I* have failed to find anything good in the Post article. You should challenge me to find something good there.

db said...

Yes, I could've challenged you. But I was more focused on Forrester, because he wrote the article.

And my criticism of him, in my opinion, stands. He does not get off the hook just because he's an expert, or a teacher. A teacher, in particular, is obligated to point out both sides of an equation, i.e., both the good and the bad of the original article.

And I don't see this discussion as "a house divided". I hope my previous posts did not seem angry, sarcastic, or aggressive. I see it as an honest debate about what is the best way to present this information, that's all. We're all still friends.