A VC Hater

I’m on the fence when it comes to VC riding. Sometimes it comes in handy and other times it scares me.

But every now and then I really appreciate reading a blog post by someone who doesn’t fence sit and comes right at you with their opinion.

Vehicular Cycling Advocates – Spawn of Satan (you don’t even have to read the article to know where she stands).



9 thoughts on “A VC Hater

  1. I’ve never understood why cyclists would oppose (proper) bike lanes in favour of ‘acting’ like a car. When Ottawa was in the midst of creating their separated bike lanes, many cyclists spoke out in favour of VC riding.

    I see fairly often on the St. Catharines stretch of the Welland Canal trail, the ‘roadies’ (those on their $5000 road bike decked out in spandex) on the narrower road that runs beside it. I suppose this is good for pedestrians and us who don’t ride as fast, but it just pisses motorists off who see a perfect pathway 10 metres away.

    My extent of VC riding would be left turn lanes. Except for rush hour, I tend to use left turn lanes often. Haven’t had any issues with motorists when using them.

  2. You don’t need to read the article to point out major gaps in her argument either.

    To suggest that all proponents of vehicular cycling are extremists who oppose any bike infrastructure is ridiculous, and a straw man argument. I know from experience that segregated bike lanes can be a lot more dangerous than VC *if* they’re done incorrectly (ie.if they reduce visibility). It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out – try crossing a busy street by walking out from between two parked cars instead of at an intersection. But I also know from experience that most of the time segregated bike lanes are well designed and work great.

  3. I like some VC ideas too, but cars and bikes are quite different… at least 10x weight difference and likewise with speed of travel… so it is kind of silly to think that one should behave like the other, I mean why not have vehicular walking too? Somewhere there is a happier medium and I do usually ride on the road and follow the rules, etc. etc. but I’d much rather be on a trail or side streets and will go 5-10km out of my way to do so.

  4. As with most things, it’s a matter of balance and of reading the context. I’m sceptical both of the attitude that bikes aren’t vehicles, and of the attitude that only by riding as if one were a semi-trailer can one avoid being a subservient victim of a car-culture false consciousness. Bicycles are vehicles; it’s silly to claim otherwise. But they are not large, heavy, well-protected motor vehicles. Ride bearing both these things in mind, I guess. Is there some additional controversy?

  5. I guess she has something against small electric scooters too. By her standards, those aren’t vehicles either.
    It sounds like she has a big chip on her shoulder.

  6. I guess people simply must have their Black and White. Without bike infrastructure EVERYWHERE, there has to be a place for VC-style riding. Normal people who ride bikes a lot simply take the things that work best for them from both and carry on without so much fuss. For myself, I would trade all the bike lanes in the world for smooth pavement everywhere… but that ain’t gonna happen. In addition, it isn’t just about me and lots of people are encouraged to ride by those lanes.

    Looks like I’m a fence-sitter too. In this case, I think squarely on the fence is where most people should be. It’s not a one-or-the-other proposition.

    1. You’re right, it can’t be black or white in this situation. Like Graham says, VC has its place, as do bike lanes, separated paths, and even (gasp) sidewalks.
      PS In addition to smooth pavement, 14ft lanes would be nice too.

  7. I’m reading all these links to try and figure out just what VC riding is and I still don’t get it? It seems to me its just bikes on the road, particularly left turning bikes. Is there really an option? I won’t rise on sidewalks and we don’t have bike paths here…

    1. I’m not even sure that is considered VC riding (left turns).
      The only other (legal) option is making a ‘Copenhagen left’, making a right turn to go straight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRGTW06ZgO8

      From my own experience, VC riders tend to over assert their right to the road by riding down the middle of the lane or riding outside of a bike lane.
      I should mention neither are illegal to do, but pissing people off by taking up an entire lane, when you could ride closer to the right doesn’t help cyclists in general.

      I stick to as far right as safe and have only had maybe a small handful (ie. 2 or 3) issues with motorists in 7 years.
      If there is a construction zone that puts traffic into a narrow single lane, I’ll ride down the middle so no one passes, but I’ve never had someone complain yet. As matter of fact I’ve had two people in vehicles and a construction worker suggest I ride even closer to the middle in case someone does try to pass.

Comments are closed.