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Forester: Bicycle Transportation [Hardcover]


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Book Description

1 Jan 1983
A professional engineer and avid avocational bicyclist, John Forester combined these interests in founding the discipline of cycling transportation engineering. This book presents the basic principles of the field, buttressing the author's arguments in an earlier, privately printed edition with new insights and updated information.In this book, Forester contends that when motorists and cyclists obey existing traffic laws and regulations, and when each group respects the other's right of way and rights to the roadway, riding a bicycle along streets with traffic is safer than pedaling on restricted bike paths and bike lanes. He argues the case for cyclists' rights with passion, zeal, and statistics. His opinions are not simply the whimsical notions of a man who loves cycling, but are solidly based on experience, traffic studies, and roadway design standards."Bicycle Transportation" begins by comparing "vehicular cycling" to what the author calls "inferiority cycling." Among the numerous topics it discusses are the demographics and economics of cycling, accidents, the effects of bicyclists on traffic, effective educational programs, improving bicycling facilities, and dealing with government cycling policy. The book outlines the complete process of cycling transportation design and offers a recommended cycling transportation program.

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About the Author

John Forester is a bicycle transportation engineer and the author of Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers (MIT Press). An experienced cyclist, cycling advocate, and onetime racer, he lives in Lemon Grove, California --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Bicycle Transportation 14 Dec 1999
By Fred B Oswald - Published on Amazon.com
Bicycle Transportation is Forester's book for transportation professionals. Unfortunately, the author is NOT an effective advocate. His harsh, confrontational style is off-putting to say the least. This is a pity because Forester has much to teach.
The book will be a valuable resource for cycling advocates and for those few professionals who can overlook the shower of insults that accompanies the words of a real expert in the field.
If only the warts were removed ---
5.0 out of 5 stars Forester's Bicycle Transportation is foundational. 5 Jun 2013
By J Bruce Prior - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anybody who works in a city planning department dealing with roads should read this book carefully and keep it on the shelf. Safe cycling in a city environment requires a road system that keeps all users in mind, most especially cyclists. Simple examples are storm drain covers that don't become wheel traps for bicycles and wide curb lanes. Painted bike lanes on roads are not a gift to cyclists. That's where gravel accumulates if motor vehicles don't drive there. A big hazard for cyclists is left-side vehicle doors opening. Safe cycling also requires much better education of both cyclists and motorists. The key is that cyclists and motorists need to communicate with one another, not just with standard hand signals, but with eye contact and helpful gestures. Important off-road facilities which promotes bicycle use are secure bicycle parking facilities and workplace lockers and showers. Yes, totally segregated bicycle paths are wonderful, but in reality, cyclists are best served if all urban roads are designed so they serve both muscle-powered and engine-powered forms of transportation simultaneously.
4.0 out of 5 stars Ride like a car is driven 5 Aug 2012
By Louis Mauriello - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Forester is an interesting character. He wrote two massive books on this subject and reused a majority of the material in each so if you have read one of them you end up re-reading it all over again when you read the second book (effective cycling). Some of these books deal with and are colored by his personal problems fitting in the industry. Forester believes bicycles should be treated like cars and have the exact same rights (which to some extent they do by law), privileges, and restrictions as cars. He is also antigovernment regulations on safety items (reflectors, lights, etc) and blames the government's requirements for safety items as the root of most non cyclist created accidents. His premises basely that since the government says only reflectors are required (and poor versions besides) then most bicyclists are convinced that they do not need headlights, tailights, or better reflectors, and as such ride without them, ending up in accidents that they wouldn't have had they had better safety items (reflectors, lights, etc).

One of his points about bicycle mobility seems very straightforward - if bicyclists try to get treated differently thn motorists they will, but only for the worse not better. A good example is bike lanes and paths. Where bicyclists fight for bike lanes and paths and get them it is usually at the loss of being able to freely travel on the roadways. Personally I am in complete agreement with him in this area. The problems with bike lanes and paths are many, but my main issue is that they quickly become multipurpose: pedestrian and rider. These multipurpose routes are just plain dangerous. Pedestrians have no concept of right of way or consideration for moving vehicles (bicycles) on these routes. If adult bicyclists learned to drive the "drive your bike like a car on the roadway" methodology Forester describes all bicyclists would have a better safer environment because car drivers would get used to bicycles being on the roadways. The government also needs to require that motorists to learn that bicycles have the same rights to use the roadway as cars.

My personal belief is that if you are the type that would rather ride on a car free path, taking your time, riding slowly while smelling the flowers, so be it, enjoy yourself riding and watching out for pedestrians and dogs and other uncontrollable distractions, but, do so at your own loss and not at mine. Don't fight for your right while removing mine to freely ride my bicycle on the roadways, with the cars, at the pace, and speed I want to travel.

I got the impression that Forester seems to think that other pro bicycle writers and lobbyists are sellouts. Especially ones who champion bike lanes on the roadways. These are another route that is extremely dangerous to bicyclists. They are usually along the side of a roadway restricting bicyclists to having to make left turns thru moving traffic, or they are behind the right side of the road parked cars making each and every intersection a danger zone.

Forester sat on a few committees and was involved in some of the early states created bicycle laws and programs and as such is probably one of the first people responsible for the recent government review of bicycle usability in US cities.

Most readers will find a great deal to learn reading his books, and probably just as much to criticize as well.

If you are a firm believer that the only way to safely travel on a bicycle is to be on a separate route than cars travel on then Forester is not for you, but, you should try reading him because you will probably learn a thing a[or to that might possibly change your mind.
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