Forester was born in England in 1929, the son of Cecil Scott "C.S." Forester - author of such noted novels as the Horatio Hornblower series, and The African Queen (adapted into a classic film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn). He moved with his family to California when he was 10 years old, and he would later take on American citizenship. He graduated from Berkely in the 1950s and had a stint in the U.S. Navy. He was a lifelong cyclist.
Living in the Palo Alto area in the 1970s, he famously received a ticket for riding in the street, and refusing to ride in the recently created bike-way. He fought the ordinance that mandated cyclists to use the bike-way and won. Many people cite that action as the beginning of a movement. He would go on to write numerous articles for cycling magazines, and became very involved in the fight against the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) safety regulations on bicycles, which he believed were poorly written and conceived - and failed to distinguish adult bicycles from children's toys.
|I have the 6th edition.|
He was a controversial character in the bike advocacy movement, frequently ruffling feathers and clashing with other prominent advocates, in part because he was a staunch opponent of bike lanes and bicycle-specific infrastructure. That was a point that many modern advocates clashed with him on, and I'm sure there are some who believe that, if not for Forester, every city in the U.S. would be like Amsterdam. As for myself, I'm highly skeptical of such claims, and assume them to be grossly exaggerated. Personally, I tend to disagree with "all or nothing" approaches to anything, regardless of which side of an issue people are on, but in order to understand the reasoning behind Forester's stance, it's important to know that in his experience, and from his point of view, most bike lanes were poorly designed by people who did not ride or understand the needs of cyclists, and the efforts were typically undertaken NOT to help cyclists, but rather, to restrict them and keep them off the roads. People often described him as "inflexible" - but I think it helps to know where he was coming from.
Whether people agreed or disagreed with him, I think a lot of us owe some gratitude to Forester. Rest in peace, sir.