131. Vehicular Cycling and John Forester, Part 1

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NOTE: This is part one of a two-part episode. To hear both parts right now and without ads, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.

Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.

That quote is the core philosophy of John Forester, the father of vehicular cycling. Forester, who died in 2020, was a major figure in the the world of cycling advocacy and transportation policy, and his influence shaped street design and bicycle safety in the United States for decades. We take a deep dive into Forester’s 1976 book, Effective Cycling. Part guidebook, part encyclopedia, part polemic, Effective Cycling explains why cyclists should not be afraid to ride not just in traffic, but as traffic. Throughout the book, Forester dismisses anyone who might be afraid of taking the lane with fast-moving cars and trucks as suffering from what he calls the “cyclist inferiority complex” and asserts that only a strict adherence to the principles of vehicular cycling can keep everyone safe.

Who was John Forester? What is vehicular cycling? Why are we talking about a book that was published almost fifty years ago? It’s all here in this mega episode.

This episode was sponsored by Cleverhood and Pinhead Locks. Listen for the latest discount codes.

LINKS/SOURCES

Read Peter Flax in conversation with John Forester, via Bicycling Magazine.

Northeastern University’s Peter Furth takes on John Forester.

STUDY: “Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street,” by Lusk, Furth, et. al.

PAPER: “A Historical Perspective on the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and the Impact of the Vehicular Cycling Movement,” Schultheiss, Sanders, and Toole, 2018

AASHTO’s Draft Bikeway Guide Includes Protected Bike Lanes and More, Streetsblog 2016

Key Design Guide to Finally Include Protected Bike Lanes, Streetsblog 2018

‘Death Of A ‘Dinosaur:’ Anti-Cycleway Campaigner John Forester Dies, Aged 90, by Carlton Reid in Forbes

Read Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, by Carlton Reid.

Read Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, by James Longhurst.

How the former Dallas bicycle coordinator held back cycling infrastructure for years, via the Texas Observer.

Dallas’ Former Bike Czar Tells Newbie Riders to Go Play in Traffic, via the Dallas Observer

Access John Forester’s website via the Wayback Machine.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, pick up a copy of John Forester’s Effective Cycling.

Grab some merch in our official store!

This episode was edited by Yessenia Moreno. It was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio.

https://thewaroncars.org/

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130. Critical Mass Nairobi with Cyprine Odada

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Cyprine Odada is the Executive Director of Critical Mass Nairobi and an urban planner specializing in active mobility. Ever since founding the Kenyan capital’s chapter of Critical Mass, the largest gathering of non-competitive cyclists in Africa, Cyprine has helped get more people on bikes from different neighborhoods, ages, and social and economic groups, changing the perception of who rides a bike in Nairobi and building more political support for bike infrastructure in a city where cars dominate. By focusing on the joy of cycling and the way in which the bicycle can connect people and create community, Cyprine is doing what she can to transform Nairobi into a cycling city, inspiring other African cities along the way.

This episode was recorded on the floor of the Velo-city Conference in Ghent in June 2024.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon.***

LINKS:

Watch Cyprine Odada’s presentation at TedX in 2020

Learn more about Critical Mass Nairobi

Follow Critical Mass Nairobi on Instagram

Learn more about the Velo-city conference

Grab some merch in our official podcast store.

This episode was produced and edited by Doug Gordon.

https://thewaroncars.org/

 

Check out this episode!

129. Killed by a Traffic Engineer

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Because it has the word “engineering” right in there, the field of traffic engineering is something most people assume is governed by science and rational rules. But a new book, written by a traffic engineer himself, argues that is not the case at all. In Killed by a Traffic Engineer: Shattering the Delusion That Science Underlies Our Transportation System, Wes Marshall — a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Denver — says that the idea that the design of our transportation system is based on science couldn’t be further from the truth. By examining a century’s worth of history, studies, old professional journals and current standards, Marshall argues that his colleagues need to do some deep soul searching about the rules they follow so that they no longer design a system that kills tens of thousands of people per year.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

This episode was sponsored by Cleverhood and Bullmoose Softgoods. Listen for the latest discount codes.

Pick up a copy of Killed by a Traffic Engineer and books by all of our podcast guests at our official Bookshop.org page.

Grab some merch in our official store!

This episode was edited by Yessenia Moreno. It was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio.

https://thewaroncars.org/

 

Check out this episode!

128. Women’s Freedom to Ride

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Why don’t more women ride bicycles in London? The advocacy group London Cycling Campaign wanted to know, and so they asked. What they discovered was disturbing: Among more than a thousand women surveyed, nine out of ten said they experienced verbal abuse and aggression while biking. Ninety-three percent said drivers had used vehicles to intimidate them. One in five said they had given up riding permanently or temporarily after they had been harassed. And when women reported incidents of aggression to the police? The cops almost never followed up.

We spoke with the London Cycling Campaign’s Kate Bartlett about what women face on the road and what advocates are doing to make cycling safer and more accessible for all.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

This episode was sponsored by Pinhead Locks and Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest discount codes.

LINKS:

Check out the London Cycling Campaign’s initiative to get more women out and riding freely.

Merch! Pick up The War on Cars t-shirts, stickers and more in our store.

Purchase books from podcast guests and support independent booksellers at our official Bookshop.org page.

thewaroncars.org

 

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127. Kathy Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Flip-Flop Fiasco

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Congestion Kathy

In this emergency episode, we discuss New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s 11th-hour decision to “indefinitely suspend” congestion pricing, the program that would have charged drivers to enter Manhattan below 60th Street. Her move, announced in a prerecorded video on Wednesday, June 5th, came mere weeks before congestion pricing was set to launch, jeopardizing what was set to be a major funding source for transit and a revolutionary plan to reduce traffic in a way never seen before in the United States.

Why did Hochul do this? Is it bad politics or atrociously bad politics? What does this mean for the future of the New York City subway system, commuter rail, accessibility, the environment, the economy and even democracy itself?

More importantly, we discuss what you can do if you live or work in the New York metropolitan area and want to see Hochul’s flip flop reversed. We also discuss what effect this could have on cities across the U.S. that might be considering a congestion pricing program of their own.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

WARNING: We swear a lot in this one.

To support everything we do at The War on Cars please become a Patreon subscriber. You’ll receive access to exclusive bonus episodes, ad-free versions of regular episodes, free stickers and more. We depend on listener support, so thanks!

HELP SAVE CONGESTION PRICING:

Contact Governor Kathy Hochul and tell her to implement congestion pricing as planned: 1-518-474-8390

Local advocacy organizations have their own calls to action and can help you contact elected officials:

Riders Alliance

Transportation Alternatives

Tri-State Transportation Campaign

SHOW NOTES:

House Democrats pressured Hochul to tank congestion pricing. (Politico)

Noto a whole lotta teachers drive into Manhattan. (Hellgate NYC)

Read Aaron’s take on Representative Hakeem Jeffries and congestion pricing from 2008. (Streetsblog)

Hear our original thoughts on congestion pricing back in episode 111 with Diana Lind.

This episode was recorded at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio by Josh Wilcox. It was edited by Doug Gordon.

thewaroncars.org

 

Check out this episode!

TEASER: The War on The War on Cars

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This is a preview of a Patreon-exclusive bonus episode. For complete access to this and all of our bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.

For this month’s exclusive Patreon bonus episode, we take a look at three states that have attempted to ban everything from bus rapid transit to taxing driving by vehicle miles traveled. While most of these initiatives have failed, one of these states successfully banned bus wraps, but not because bus wraps make it harder to see out of bus windows.

What is going on? We take a look at recent news from Indiana, Arizona and Florida.

thewaroncars.org

 

Check out this episode!

126. Winter Cycling in Oil Country

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An unlikely cycling revolution is happening in one of the coldest big cities on the planet: Edmonton, Alberta. Despite freezing temps, lots of sprawl, big trucks and an economy built on pulling oil out of the Albertan tar sands, the Western Canadian city is in the midst of a four-year, $100 million CAD investment in active transportation that will connect far-flung neighborhoods with a network of safe, high-quality, protected bike lanes. Many of these bike lanes will even get priority over roads for cars when it comes to snow removal. We traveled to the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers to attend the Winter Cycling Congress, where we talked with the people pushing for this transformation, including the city’s former mayor, Don Iveson. Plus, hear our appearance on drive-time radio in the heart of oil country.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

This episode was sponsored by Bullmoose Soft Goods and Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest discount codes.

LINKS:

Tom Babin of Shifter says Edmonton is “the most exciting bike city in North America.”

Learn more about Edmonton’s former mayor, Don Iveson and City Councillor Michael Janz.

Check out The Winter Cycling Federation and listen to Sarah’s dispatch from the 2020 Winter Cycling Congress in Finland.

Read all about the Edmonton Bike Plan.

Learn more about “Oil Country Urbanism” from Oh The Urbanity! and check out About Here on YouTube.

Lorne Gunter of the Edmonton Sun thinks charging drivers to park is a “war on cars.”

Buy toques, t-shirts, stickers and more in The War on Cars merch store. Save 10% with code BIKEMONTH.

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was edited by Doug Gordon and Ali Lemer. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

 

Check out this episode!

125. When Driving Is Not an Option with Anna Zivarts

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Anna Zivarts, a smiling woman with short blonde hair wearing glasses

Anna Zivarts

The United States has built a transportation system centered around automobiles. But one-third of the nation’s population can’t drive, whether because of disability, age, financial hardship, immigration status, or any of a host of other factors. Those tens of millions of people are often invisible to planners and elected officials, and that’s why Anna Letitia Zivarts, herself a low-vision nondriver and a longtime activist for better transportation choices, has written a new book titled When Driving Is Not an Option: Steering Away from Car Dependency (Island Press). We talked with Anna about how, by designing our transportation future for those who can’t or don’t feel comfortable driving, we could build a system that works better for everyone and that would be more equitable, safer, and more environmentally sustainable.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

This episode was sponsored by Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest discount code.

LINKS:

Buy Anna Zivarts’s book, When Driving Is Not an Option: Steering Away from Car Dependency, at The War On Cars Bookshop store or from your local bookseller.

You can follow Anna on X.

Buy t-shirts, stickers, hats and more in The War on Cars merch store. It’s Bike Month so save 10% with code BIKEMONTH.

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was edited by Ali Lemer. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. 

TheWarOnCars.org

Check out this episode!

BONUS: Dodge’s “Deeply Weird” Pitch for Electric Muscle Cars

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Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis tries to sell electric muscle cars the ghosts of the Dodge Brothers.

***This is a preview of a Patreon-exclusive bonus episode. For complete access to this and all of our bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.***

We were getting ready to record our “Cybertrash” episode with Ed Niedermeyer last month when Ed happened to bring to our attention to this “deeply weird” ten minute-long extended car ad. It’s a promotional video for Dodge’s new, “Next-Gen Charger,” the electric-powered version of the very same “muscle cars” that Doug confronted at the New York International Auto Show in Episode 85 and Aaron rode along with back in Episodes 92 and 96.

The move from gas-guzzling, window-rattling, V8 engines to electric motors has clearly plunged Dodge into an identity crisis. They spent decades building their brand on obnoxiously loud and dangerously sociopathic gas guzzlers. How will they ever convince their loutish loyal customers to switch over to (supposedly) clean, quiet, big government-mandated electric cars?

In this video we get an answer to that question. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis is going to try to sell his muscle e-cars with rightwing dog whistles and a Make Dodge Great Again pitch. But he barely even sounds like he has convinced himself. A lot like Elon Musk’s Cybertruck marketing, the Dodge promo video is simultaneously super weird and extremely revealing about what American car culture is really all about.

We had some extra time with Ed in the studio so we had to talk about it with him. And we put that together for as a Patreon bonus. If you aren’t yet a Patreon subscriber of The War on Cars, maybe now is the time! Subscribe for $3, $5, or $10 per month. We’ll send you stickers and you’ll have access to ad-free episodes and bonus conversations like this one. We really appreciate the support. We couldn’t produce the podcast without you.

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124. Tesla Cybertrash with Ed Niedermeyer

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A Tesla Cybertruck crashed into a hotel in Los Angeles.

The Cybertruck has launched

Elon Musk’s gigantic, stainless steel, 1980s sci fi movie–inspired Cybertruck is starting to show up on city streets. Perhaps you’ve had the misfortune of seeing one rolling through your neighborhood. If not, you’ve almost certainly seen some of the vehicle’s many truly epic fails on the Internet. The Cybertruck might not work very well, but it still appears to be wildly popular. More than two million people have deposited $250 to get in line for the opportunity to buy one. Journalist Ed Niedermeyer is the author of “Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors.” In this episode, Ed joins us to analyze the Cybertruck as a cultural text and also just to revel in its overwhelming absurdity. What is the Cybertruck? And what does its apparent popularity say about who we are and where we are headed collectively? This is the Cybertruck launch event we’ve all been waiting for.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

This episode was sponsored by Sheyd Bags and Cleverhood

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***
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