Toole Design explains why we don’t have bike lanes in the US

According to Toole, et al, were it not for Forester, we would now have bike lanes everywhere. And not just bike lanes, the entire US would look something like Utrecht, Copenhagen, or Amsterdam.

A Brief History of How American Transportation Engineers Resisted Bike Lanes

The “VC is only for old white males” is a trope. John Forester, author of Effective Cycling reiterates, e.g. in this August 2018 discussion thread (group membership required to see whole thread):

The frequent argument against vehicular cycling is that it is promoted by middle-aged men, or older like my 88 years, while cyclist inferiority cycling is promoted by much wider groups with many more members. Vehicular cycling is denigrated by cyclist-inferiority believers in many ways that may be summed up as being an elitist, unpopular, minority view.

Vehicular cycling is the skill of cycling in traffic according to the rules of the road. Operating a vehicle according to the rules for vehicles is not a difficult task; America expects that almost every adult could do it if he wanted. We don’t let children drive motor vehicles because of the danger to the public of motor vehicles driven by immature persons. Indeed, the accident statistics show that we allow motoring by persons who have not yet reached adult maturity. But the public danger of riding bicycles is so small that we allow untrained, deliberately untrained, children to do so.

America is a cyclist-inferiority society, made so by Motordom’s campaign to make motoring easier by frightening cyclists off the road. Motordom managed to keep cyclists frightened of and ignorant about obeying the rules of the road, even cyclists who had motoring licenses. Motordom’s arguments were not investigated for forty years, by which time they were believed implicitly by the public. But once they were scientifically investigated, starting in 1970, they were completely disproved.

From 1950 on, by my memory, there were small groups of cyclists who had recognized the advantages of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles over the official cyclist-inferiority method. These groups were often sparked by cyclists who had had experience of vehicular cycling in England and France. The skill of obeying the rules of the road while riding a bicycle is not an elite skill, any more than are the skills to paint a chair, light a fire, or write a letter. The proper reply to those who assert that vehicular cycling is an elite, even elitist, activity is that such arguments are based on complete ignorance of it, and that advocating cyclist-inferiority instead demonstrates further ignorance, since cyclist-inferiority has no scientific support. It is important to state that those who oppose vehicular cycling are ignorant, because that is the truth. However, we can then point out that the ignorance, and its ideology, is Motordom’s desired result of its ninety years of anti-cycling campaign. Any person opposing vehicular cycling and advocating cyclist-inferiority cycling needs to be persuaded that he has succumbed to Motordom’s hornswoggling and should learn better.

Toole Design is perhaps the most prominent, another being Alta Planning, of a class of consulting engineering firms promoting designs which are perceived as safe/safer by mass audiences. They sell their services to cities and towns on the basis that they are perceived as safe/safer, which will increase the relative amount of cycling which will (hopefully actually, not just perceived) increase relative safety [see safety in numbers, below] and now the town will be “bicycle-friendly”.

Toole largely promotes a solution of complete segregation including some form of physical barrier all roads beyond very low volume very low speed residential streets. This can be fine in some circumstances; but becomes problematical at every intersection and every driveway. This leads to a need for more engineering solutions, culminating in a “protected intersection” with additional separate signal phases. Bicyclists are normally left “unprotected” at any driveway; and are also left “unprotected” from pedestrians, which are normally plentiful and immediately adjacent to any cycletrack (or call it what you like: sidepath, separated bike lane, protected bike lane).

Toole design has some sort of contract(???) to make the next version of the AASHTO Guide for the develop of bicycle facilities.
Expect (brace yourself for) the next version of the Guide to look a lot more like the present NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
Here is a presentation format explaining the proposed AASHTO updates per Toole.
Here is a more scholarly piece written by Toole’s Schulteiss covering similar material, published in TRB. A Historical Perspective on the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and the Impact of the Vehicular Cycling Movement
For more about the safety in numbers hypothesis see here. In short the major weakness is that it’s a correlation not a causation.

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