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 – http://www.johnforester.com/
“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, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forester_(cyclist)
From early childhood, Forester had been a passionate cyclist. 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. 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. 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. 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.