John Forester (cyclist)
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John Forester (born 7 October 1929) is an American industrial engineer specializing in bicycle transportation engineering. A noted cycling activist, he is known as "the father of vehicular cycling"  and for coining the term Effective Cycling. The author of a much-cited book of the same name, now in its seventh edition, he has also written three versions of Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers. 
Born in East Dulwich, London, England, Forester is the elder son of the writer and novelist C. S. Forester and his wife Kathleen. He moved with his family to Berkeley, California, in March 1940 and attended public schools there until after his parents' divorce, when he finished high school at a preparatory school on the East Coast. Thereafter, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, starting as a physics major, but graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English in August, 1951. Following a brief stint in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s during the Korean War, Forester eventually settled in California to become, as he describes, "an industrial engineer, a senior research engineer, a professor, and, of all things, an expert in the science of bicycling".
In April 1966, Forester's father died. The unexpectedly large estate, its contents, and its disposition proved to Forester that his father, whom he had loved and admired, had consistently lied to him for years, and strongly suggested evidence of another secret life. That discovery was a traumatic experience, and led to his biography of his father, Novelist and Story Teller: The Life of C. S. Forester.
From early childhood, Forester had been a passionate cyclist. Following his father's death, his attention increasingly focused on cycling, racing and brevet touring. In the 1960s, he and his wife divorced, and he met Dorris L. Taylor, a visiting cyclist from Minneapolis. Taylor and her daughters moved in with Forester the following year and joined him in his pursuit of cycling. In 1973 Forester dedicated himself to full-time cycle advocacy.
Forester first involved himself locally, arguing against the installation of segregated bicycle facilities in the city of Palo Alto, facilities that were based on Netherlands designs adapted for American use and had been recommended to the California Department of Transportation by two researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles. His first published article appeared in the January/February 1973 issue of Bike World, a regional Northern California bimonthly magazine.
In May 1973, his focus broadened as the Food and Drug Administration (later the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC) issued extensive product safety regulations for bicycles. Originally intended only for children's bicycles, the regulations were soon expanded to include all bicycles except for track bikes and custom-assembled bicycles. In October of that year, Forester published an article in Bike World denouncing both the California Department of Transportation and the CPSC. He targeted the new CPSC regulations, especially the "eight reflector" system, which required front, rear, wheel and pedal reflectors. The front reflector is placed at the location for a bicycle headlight, which it replaces. However, motor vehicle drivers who are about to cross the path of the cyclist would not see the approaching cyclist because the headlights of their motor vehicle do not shine onto the front reflector of the bicycle, often resulting in a crash. (Only if the bicycle is directly in front of the car and only if the bicycle is headed the wrong way, will the car's headlights illuminate the bicycle's front reflector, until the inevitable head-on crash.)
After the rules were finalized, Forester sued the CPSC. Acting as his own lawyer (pro se), Forester did not understand that United States federal law did not grant jurisdiction to the appeals court to review the technical merit of the rules (a so-called "de novo" review) unless the procedure used to create the rules was flawed. The CPSC argued that a challenger must prove the process was "arbitrary and capricious." The judge ordered a de novo review of the rules; threw out four of them, but left the "eight reflector" standard untouched.  Forester, emboldened by this partial success, proceeded to launch further challenges to administrative rules in court, but did not duplicate that early success.
In addition to legal advocacy, Forester is known for his theories regarding cycling safety. His Effective Cycling educational program, developed subsequent to his research demonstrating that integrating motorists and educated cyclists reduces accidents more than creating separate bicycle lanes, was implemented by the League of American Bicyclists (formerly, the League of American Wheelmen) until Forester withdrew his permission for that organization to use the name.
|“||I offer the following two points. The first is that the concept of sharrows is theoretically impossible to properly implement. As I understand it, painting a sharrow on the roadway, say at milepost 1.53, designates the appropriate lateral position for any cyclist coming along the roadway and passing that milepost. That's absurd, contrafactual. The second point is that we have quite strict standards for bike lane markings, but despite those standards, in many places we have bike lane markings that magnify the danger, that are even praised for doing so. Required by ignorant politicians, designed by compliant or ignorant traffic engineers or bikeway planners, and painted by people who try to follow the design but often fail.
I fail to see better results from sharrows, except it appears that they are less harmful than stripes.
Statistical decision theory
Because teaching statistical decision theory from the texts of Robert O. Schlaifer was so difficult for the students to understand, Forester decided to prepare his own text, Statistical Selection of Business Strategies. In the course of preparing this book, Forester determined several characteristics of this aspect of statistics. All the problems, treated in rather different ways by mathematics that looked complicated, were capable of solution only if they had one common structure. This common structure could be solved by one purely arithmetical algorithm. While the mathematical solutions were mathematically accurate, the error in finding a formulation that best fit the empiric data was as great as the error introduced by treating the empiric data directly by arithmetical methods. Forester determined that Schlaifer, when describing his simplified method usable when all the data were normal, used the common normal table that gives areas of the two portions of the normal curve, when what was needed for Schlaifer's calculation method was a table showing the center of mass of each portion. Forester prepared such a table. The Forester method was so suited to digital calculation that once desk-top computers became available, problems that had required several hours of slide-rule and adding machine computation were solved almost as fast as the data could be entered.
- Statistical Selection of Business Strategies Chicago, Richard D. Irwin, 1968 Lib Cong 67-17054
- Bicycle Transportation (First edition, 1977; Second edition 1994, The MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-56079-8)
- Effective Cycling (First edition, 1976; Sixth edition, MIT Press, 1992, ISBN 0-262-56070-4), 7th (2012) ISBN 0262516942
- Effective Cycling Program, Effective Cycling Instructor's Manual, the film Bicycling Safely On The Road (Iowa State University, 1978)
- Effective Cycling, The Movie, (Seidler Productions, 1992)
- Novelist & Story Teller, The Life of C. S. Forester, 826 pages, ISBN 0-940558-04-1 (2 vols, John Forester, 2000), a biography of his father
- Aschwanden, Christie (November 2, 2009), "Bikes and cars: Can we share the road?", The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), "Forester is the father of the "vehicular cycling" movement -- a philosophy that views the bicycle as a form of transportation that belongs on the streets alongside cars."
- Forester, John (1994). Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers (Second ed.). Preface: MIT Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-262-56079-5. "This book is the third form of my book on cycling transportation engineering. A first version appeared under the title of Cycling Transportation Engineering Handbook (Custom Cycle Fitments, 1977), and the first formal edition was Bicycle Transportation (The MIT Press, 1983)."
- Forester, John. My history Forester Website. Accessed November 1, 2007.
- State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs. "John Forester, Industrial Engineer, License # 236". Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists.
- "Forester v. Consumer Product Safety Commission". 559 F. 2d 774 - Court of Appeals, Dist. of Columbia Circuit 1977. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- Smith, David. The bicycle driver. Cranked Magazine #5, pp. 22–25. Accessed November 1, 2007.
- post to caboforum list at Topica.com
- John Forester's web site
- ProBicycle biography of John Forester
- John Forester talk at Google headquarters, May 17, 2007 (video)
- Effective Cycling: The Cure for Un-riding! Review by Cycle California! Magazine.