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Hiles, Jeffrey A. Listening to Bike Lanes. September 1996.

Bicycle Advocacy Resources

When I began researching bicycle-related information in 1990, it was extremely hard to find anything on bicycling other than sport-related books and articles. Fortunately, there has been a steady stream of new bike transportation-related materials in recent years. More than three quarters of the items on my reference list have 1990’s dates. But you still have to look in not-so-mainstream places. To help others avoid the long search I endured, I recommend the following sources as starting points.



This appendix is presented as I wrote it in 1996. I don’t intend to keep it up to date. Be warned that a lot has changed. For example, the Bicycle Federation of America has become the National Center for Bicycling & Walking and Bicycle Form has become the NCBW Forum.

To contact the NCBW, call (202) 463-6622, fax (202) 463-6625, email ncbw@bikefed.org, or visit www.bikewalk.org.

I assume the email lists have stayed active. Some of the participants had so much to say that I’d be surprised if they weren’t saying it still.

In my opinion, Bike Plan Source remains the most reliable and level-headed place to start looking for bicycle planning information on the Web.

-Jeff Hiles, February, 2002



Bicycle Forum Technical Note Series by John Williams and others.
Compiled by the editor of Bicycle Forum, these range from one to four pages and cover, bike path safety, bikeway liability, bike rack design, bicycle parking ordinances and other topics. Technical Note number S1 is an excellent summary of Cross-Fisher car-bike crash statistics. Contact the Adventure Cycling Association, P.O. Box 8308, Missoula, Montana 59807, (406) 721-1776.
Bicycle Safety-Related Research Synthesis by Andy Clarke and Linda Tracy.
This 1995 publication summarizes much of what has been learned to date about bicycle safety, education, and facilities. Published by the Federal Highway Administration, this 145-page book is free from the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse: (800) 760-6272.
Bicycle Transportation by John Forester
Although it is subtitled “A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers,” this is really one long anti-bikeway, pro-Effective-Cycling rant. It contains a lot of information, including some that’s useful, if you’re willing to wade and weed. The book is most valuable as background material to help you understand anti-bikeway passions. The second edition was published by the MIT Press in 1994.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
This classic critique of cities, city planning, and the relationships between environmental design and quality of life doesn’t specifically address bicycle issues, but offers a way of seeing that can be very helpful to bicycle advocates. The 1961 book is published by Random House.
Effective Cycling by John Forester
The textbook for the League of American Bicyclists’ Effective Cycling program, this book contains some of the best explanations of traffic cycling techniques you are likely to find. Of course, it is also riddled with Forester’s anti-bikeway sentiments. The sixth edition was published by MIT Press in 1993.
The Effects of Bicycle Accommodations on Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Safety and Traffic Operations by Wilkinson, et al.
This summarizes current information on various bicycle facilities. The authors seem quite partial to bike lanes, but the book is a good source of information and citations. This Federal Highway Administration report is available from the National Technical Information Service, 5282 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161, (703) 487-4650.
Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities prepared by the AASHTO Task Force on Geometric Design.
This might best be described as the national guide for bicycle facility planning and design. (Many states have their own guidelines, though.) It’s published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 444 N. Capitol St., N.W., Suite 225, Washington, D.C. 2001.
The Psychology of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
Norman has rolled cognitive psychology and industrial design into an entertaining and easy-to-understand package. Published by Basic Books, 1988.


Bicycle Forum
“The journal of bicycle advocacy” has been around since 1978. Topics include all aspects of bicycle education, engineering, encouragement and enforcement, including nuts-and-bolts how-to’s, with much more emphasis on engineering topics than you will find elsewhere. Also, each issue has a “Library” section that lists new publications in the field. Published quarterly, it’s available through the BFA, 1506 21st St. NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20036-1008; (202) 463-6622.
Pro Bike News
The monthly newsletter of the Bicycle Federation of America covers state-or-the-art bicycle advocacy with an emphasis on topics of interest to advocacy organizations. Contact the BFA, 1506 21st St. NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20036-1008; (202) 463-6622.
Transportation Research Record
This peer-reviewed publication of the Transportation Research Board is one of the best sources for the most current and respectable transportation research results. Records 1168, 1372, 1405, and 1502 each have bicycle-related themes. Contact the Transportation Research Board, Business Office, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418, (202) 334-3214. TRB information is also available at the web site: www.nas.edu


World Wide Web sites

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics has a remarkable number of articles on various subjects in its web site’s bicycle and pedestrian section:

Williams and Tracy Consulting’s web site provides resources for developing a community bike plan. It contains information compiled by Bicycle Forum editor John Williams and former Bicycle Federation of America project manager Linda Tracy:

E-mail mailing lists

For those who aren’t familiar with mailing lists: When you send an e-mail message to a mailing list, your message is automatically forwarded to everyone else who subscribes to the list. So you can carry on running, group discussions about the list’s topic. The following lists all reside at the same server. To subscribe, just send an e-mail message to:


The message itself should be the word “subscribe” followed by the name of the list. To subscribe to the Bikepeople list, for example, your message would read:

subscribe bikepeople

Soon you will receive a welcome message confirming your subscription and telling you how to unsubscribe. Then you can participate in discussions by sending messages to the name of the list followed by the server address:



“Cycling activists from recreational and utilitarian cycling points of view meet here.... Racing, touring, commuting, off-road, tandeming, etc. advocates are welcome. Advocacy can be a copy of a letter written to the local paper, excerpts from a new cycling textbook, testimony before a government committee, notes from a day in court or a report of illuminating encounter with one of our ‘friends on the roadway’ which provides an insight to an advocacy issue or problem are all legitimate.”
Issues include safety, facilities design, public/corporate policies affecting bicycles, strategies for educating/informing policy makers, sharing information. The scope includes all developments that affect bicycles: freeway construction, urban land use planning, intelligent vehicles, etc.
According to its welcome message, this list “is for worldwide information exchange and discussion on the topics of cyclist safety, cyclist/motorist/pedestrian education, cycling encouragement, and enforcement programs.”

More info

National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse

(800) 760-6272, fax: (202) 463-6625, e-mail: nbpc96@bikefed.org

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