John Forester, founding member of CABO, died April 2020

John Forester, M.S., P.E.
Cycling Transportation Engineer, Consulting Engineer, Expert Witness & Educator in Effective Cycling, Bicycles, Highways & Bikeways, &Traffic Laws
An updated edition of a classic handbook for cyclists from beginner to expert.
Effective Cycling is an essential handbook for cyclists from beginner to expert, whether daily commuters or weekend pleasure trippers. This thoroughly updated seventh edition offers cyclists the information they need for riding a bicycle under all conditions: on congested city streets or winding mountain roads, day or night, rain or shine. It describes the sheer physical joy of cycling and provides the nuts-and-bolts details of how to choose a bicycle, maintain it, and use it in the most efficient manner. …

“If you ride a bicycle or care about the design of modern cities — or even if you love or hate bike lanes — you should care about the life’s work of John Forester. After all, probably no individual in American history has had a greater impact on how US cyclists experience riding on the road.”

3. Acknowledging John Forester — the game changer
Cycling educator John Forester gets a lot of flak from people who reject his advocacy of cycling skills, preferring a populist, facilities-based “paint and path” approach.
Forester has brought abuse upon himself with his abrasive, confrontational style. But let’s not anybody forget that Forester was a game-changer. His book Effective Cycling, first published in the 1970s, pioneered with its advice on crash avoidance maneuvering, lane positioning, preparing for turns, nighttime equipment needs — supporting this advice with a review of research literature.
Forester also has been criticized from another side, for not recommending assertive enough lane positioning. (I understand that he has revised his advice in the recent 7th edition of his book, Effective Cycling — though I haven’t read that yet.)


5. John Forester web site –
“The right of cyclists to cycle properly and safely is disappearing. If you don’t fight to preserve it, it will disappear.”

Since 1944, American society has disapproved of lawful, competent cycling. It was then that bicycles were removed from the class of vehicles and became “devices” whose riders became subject to three discriminatory laws prohibiting cyclists from exercising the full rights of drivers of vehicles. These laws prohibited cycling away from the edge of the roadway, from riding outside of bike lanes, or for using the roadway at all if a path usable by bicycles was nearby. The bikeway system was devised by motorists to provide the physical enforcement of these laws that, motorists think, make bicycling safe by keeping “their” roads clear of bicycles. The environmentalists were suckered into this bogus safety argument and now demand bikeways to make bicycle transportation safe and popular. With the government spending more and more money on bikeway programs, lawful and competent cyclists are being more and more limited to operating on bikeways that are unsuitable for lawful and competent cycling. As long as bikeways are tied to the three discriminatory laws, bikeway promotion is carrying out the motorists’ intent of discriminating against cyclists for their own convenience.
Most of the rest of this website explains the advantages of lawful, competent cycling and the engineering and safety defects inherent in doing anything else. That is all support for what must be done now, fighting for repeal of the three discriminatory anti-cyclist traffic laws. Vehicular cyclists and bikeway cyclists must join forces to reform the national policy for bicycle transportation so that it serves cyclists rather than serving the convenience of motorists.

6. From Widipedia,
From early childhood, Forester had been a passionate cyclist.[3] Forester first became a cycling activist in 1971, after being ticketed in Palo Alto, California for riding his bicycle on the street instead of on a recently legislated separate bikeway for that section of the street, the sidewalk. He contested the ticket and eventually, the city ordinance was overturned. His first published article—the first of his many publications on alternatives to bikeways over the following four decades—appeared in the February 1973 issue of Bike World, a regional Northern California bimonthly magazine.
In May 1973, his focus broadened as the Food and Drug Administration (later the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC) issued extensive product safety regulations for bicycles. Originally intended only for children’s bicycles, the regulations were soon expanded to include all bicycles except for track bikes and custom-assembled bicycles. In October of that year, Forester published an article in Bike World denouncing both the California Department of Transportation and the CPSC.[9] He targeted the new CPSC regulations, especially the “eight reflector” system, which required front, rear, wheel and pedal reflectors. The front reflector is placed at the location for a bicycle headlight, which it replaces. However, motor vehicle drivers who are about to cross the path of the cyclist would not see the approaching cyclist because the headlights of their motor vehicle do not shine onto the front reflector of the bicycle, often resulting in a crash. (Only if the bicycle is directly in front of the car and only if the bicycle is headed the wrong way, will the car’s headlights illuminate the bicycle’s front reflector, until the inevitable head-on crash.)
After the rules were finalized, Forester sued the CPSC. Acting as his own lawyer (pro se), Forester did not understand that United States federal law did not grant jurisdiction to the appeals court to review the technical merit of the rules (a so-called “de novo” review) unless the procedure used to create the rules was flawed. The CPSC argued that a challenger must prove the process was “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge ordered a de novo review of the rules; threw out four of them, but left the “eight reflector” standard untouched.[10] Forester, emboldened by this partial success, proceeded to launch further challenges to administrative rules in court, but did not duplicate that early success. His legal advocacy remains highly controversial.
In addition to legal advocacy, Forester is known for his theories regarding cycling safety.[13] His Effective Cycling educational program, developed subsequent to his research claiming that integrating motorists and educated cyclists reduces accidents more than creating separate bicycle lanes, was implemented by the League of American Bicyclists (formerly, the League of American Wheelmen) until Forester withdrew his permission for that organization to use the name.[13]

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About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email: