The latest edition of John Forester's Effective Cycling has been published. I plan to obtain a copy, in part because I am curious to see what has changed. Also, given Forester's age, it might be his last revision to his book.
I have one of the early editions of the book, from 1985. It may have been the first publication--at least in this country--to advocate and explicate the concept of Vehicular Cycling. This means that cyclists should ride as if their bikes are vehicles--which, in fact, is what they are for many of us. That means, among other things, taking and using lanes in similar ways. In turn, he says, motorists and policy-makers should treat bicycles as if they are vehicles.
At the time the first edition of the book came out, Vehicular Cycling seemed like a radical idea. Even more radical was his notion that there shouldn't be separate infrastructure for cyclists because if cyclists acted more like vehicle operators, there wouldn't be any need for separate bike paths and such.
Almost everything urban planners have done to promote cycling and make their cities more "bike friendly" runs counter to what Forester says. One reason for that is that most planners are not cyclists; even the ones that are labor under the same misconceptions the non-cycling public has. Also, it seems that cities can get money for building bike lanes, but not for Effective Cycling courses (or any cycling courses, for that matter).
I don't entirely agree with Forester's idea that there should be no infrastructure for cyclists. If Vehicular Cycling became the norm, there wouldn't be as much need for paths and such. There are a few areas, I think, in which such lanes make sense. However, I would rather not have any lane at all than lanes that are poorly conceived- and -constructed and therefore even more dangerous than the streets from which the lanes are supposed to protect cyclists.
Still, I think the fact that such questions are being discussed at all is perhaps Forester's greatest contribution.