Vehicular cycling

A term coined by John Forester to describe riding a bicycle as if it were a motor vehicle. The Embassy does not believe vehicular cycling is an option that most people would choose; it effectively excludes the majority of the population from cycling.

In the vehicular cycling model, cyclists must constantly evaluate traffic, looking back, signalling, adjusting lateral position and speed, sometimes blocking a lane and sometimes yielding, always trying to fit into the “dance” that is traffic. Research shows that most people feel very unsafe engaging in this kind of dance, in which a single mistake could be fatal. Children as well as many women and elders are excluded. While some people, especially young men, may find the challenge stimulating, it is stressful and unpleasant for the vast majority. It is no wonder that the model of vehicular cycling, which the USA has followed de facto for the past forty years, has led to extremely low levels of bicycling use.

From The Walkable City, by Jeff Speck.

Of course, the vehicular cycling technique - enshrined in Bikeability training in the UK - can be an effective coping strategy for roads that are not designed properly for cycling; however it should not be a goal, nor should it be a substitute for road and street design that does not require assertive cycling.

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