Today’s Headlines

  • Looks Like All Systems Go For Central Subway (SFGate)
  • Muni Prop G Lawsuit: Work Environment Under Contract Is “Unsafe and Unfair” (BCN via Appeal)
  • Muni Equipment Flies Off of Overhead Wire Into Office Building on Bush St. (BCN via Mercury News)
  • Police Searching For Hit-and-Run Suspect in Early-Morning Fatal Car Drash Downtown (SF Examiner)
  • Sex Crimes Ride Under the Radar on Bay Area Transit (Bay Citizen)
  • Drunk Driver Pleads No Contest After Crash in Muni Tunnel (SFGate)
  • Devious Nevius Is Back With a Vengeance Sensationalizing Bike/Ped Conflict On the Wiggle (SFGate)
  • Wigg Party’s Morgan Fitzgibbons Back With a Response (HuffPo)
  • More on the Driver Cited in Tenderloin Ped Crash (SF Examiner)
  • Downtown Employee Bike Parking Proposal Headed to Full Board of Supes (CBS 5)
  • BART Considers How to Raise Fares This Year (SFGate)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Guest

    Which part of Nevius’ article is inaccurate or devious?  His observations are consistent with what’s happening on the Wiggle, which I ride through twice daily.  I do stop, and I’ve seen Andy Thornley do the same.  I have great respect for Andy as he actually practices what is preached.

  • peternatural

    I think the response by Morgan Fizgibbons does a good job of answering your question. (It’s the next article in the list after the Nevius article).

  • “We sat at the corner of Waller and Steiner and counted the bikes for five minutes. At between 9:20 and 9:25 on a weekday morning, 19 bikes and one skateboarder came through the intersection. Eighteen bikers and the skateboarder rolled right through the stop sign.”
    ^^This. Quit being hypocrites.

  •  5 minutes, 18 cyclists. But I thought nobody rode bikes in SF because it was too hilly!

  • @peternatural:disqus It doesn’t really answer those questions, but instead just says that  bicyclists should not have to obey traffic laws….so it doesn’t matter how many blow through stop lights. At least he isn’t lying about the fact that a ton of cyclists just don’t bother obeying traffic laws…which is obvious if you go out and check it out like Nevius did. What I don’t get is this persecution complex that cyclists have. I’m just a pedestrian trying to get to where I need to go….can you just obey the damn rules of the road so I can avoid having to get run over or buzzed by you, pretty please?

  • Jason – To clarify (without editorializing) Fitzgibbon’s isn’t saying cyclists should not have to obey the laws, he’s saying the laws are wrong.

  • peternatural

    As Morgan said, most bicyclists yield to pedestrians (and cars) quite nicely, no pretty please required. That is certainly my experience when I walk or ride along the Wiggle.

  • The Greasybear

    Did Nevius count the number of motorists who came to a *full and complete* stop at the intersection? Gee, I wonder why not?

  • peternatural

    In the absence of cross-traffic or pedestrians, it’s rather rare.

  • If Nevius was actually interested in pedestrian safety, he’d have included the number of drivers who committed traffic violations — they injure far more pedestrians than cyclists. He also doesn’t mention a more useful and relevant statistic: what percentage of the 18 stop sign violations were committed in the presence of a pedestrian who intended to use the crosswalk? 

    Without that piece of information his blog does two things. One, it generates ad-revenue for the Chronicle, which it desperately needs. Two, it alerts us again to the fact that cyclists are running stop signs.

    Yes, we get it, those evil cyclists are breaking the law. Ignoring for a moment the minority who endanger themselves and others without abandon, do you really care if a cyclist slows as they approach a stop sign, sees that there are no obstacles, and continues through it?

    Because that’s all this really seems to be — a game of gotcha.

  • Anonymous

    Great response by Morgan Fitzgibbons Nevius’ biased and uninformed attempt to stoke up the idiots that lurk in Sfgate’s comments who are too superficial and inarticulate to get their voice heard anywhere else.

    SF needs to get serious about realizing bicycles are not cars and stop expecting them to act like them. That is where all the problems lie, as everybody can say “oooo, bike scofflaw” when a cyclists doesn’t stop at a stop sign at an empty intersection and pretend to take some moral high ground instead of dealing with the real issues at hand (i.e., a culture almost completely biased towards cars). Until we do this, SF, like other cities, is going to continue to face this kind of ridiculous opposition by people who have not studied the issue enough and tried bicycling to understand what it is like. I think the bicycling community really needs to start pushing hard for Idaho Stop laws in California.

  • OK, then I must be an irrational person prone to making things up out of midair…
    Sorry, your anecdotal evidence isn’t going to protect me from almost getting hit. Just get honest about the “group” you belong to’s behavior and maybe the rest of the city will take you seriously.

  • Yeah, I’m a hypocrite.

    But I also live in a world where I realize that a person stuck in a 2000 pound vehicle that restricts their visibility (who is also probably distracted by any number of electronic devices) is much different than a person on a bicycle. 

  • Aaron Bialick

    What Nevius neglects to mention is that drivers and pedestrians have been on a “crash course” for the past century. They collide two or three times a day. I am not aware of a single ped-bike crash on the Wiggle.

  • I almost got hit on Market by a drunken homeless pedestrian who walked out onto the bike lane mid-block. Jason McKinnon, would you please talk to him at your pedestrian group meeting next month, this is getting out of hand.

  • @facebook-518248622:disqus could you also address the man pushing the shopping cart in the bike lane against the flow of traffic I encountered last week on Folsom, near its intersection with 5th Street?

  • I, too, like Morgan Fitzgibbons’ response. 

    If we were to design San Francisco from scratch with no cars and the physics and reality of bikes in mind, there would be nary a stop sign to be seen. Yield signs or roundabouts would prevail. But even in a bike utopia, bicyclists would have to cede the right of way to pedestrians and other bicyclists from time to time. Where and when would depend on how the traffic patterns were designed.

    What is the intention of a four-way stop? To make sure cars safely cede the right of way to each other and to other users of the road. This is what we need to focus on. I have no problem with SFPD ticketing bicyclists that do not cede the right of way to pedestrians or other bicyclists or cars that clearly arrive at an intersection first. Taking turns is how we all live together in a dense city. It’s a pity that a subset of people don’t learn this as children, rendering it necessary to rely on police and fines to enforce what should be basic civilized adult behavior.

    But a bicyclist does not necessarily need to stop to cede the right of way safely. Cars do, because they have blindspots and because they are massive vehicles capable of dangerous instant acceleration. As I approach an intersection on a bicycle, I have no blindspots. As I near the intersection (slowing down to under 10 mph), I can clearly size up if there are any pedestrians. (If the area is clogged and congested so I can’t make this judgement, I slow down further.) If I see a pedestrian, I slow down even further so they are well past my lane of travel by the time I reach the crosswalk. Unless there is a constant stream of pedestrians, there is rarely a need to come to a complete stop.  (If there are other bicyclists or cars who arrive at an intersection before me, I also either slow down or come to a complete stop and wait my turn.)

    Does this mean I can blow through an intersection at 20 mph with earbuds on never looking left or right, causing cars to slam on their breaks and pedestrians to jump out of the way? No, this is inconsiderate, dangerous behavior. I don’t think most bicyclists would object if this kind of bicyclist were targeted and ticketed.

    The only time ceding the right of way gets confusing is half the time I get to an intersection and a car is there before me, the car driver waves me through, a courtesy I gratefully accept. If the driver offers his/her right of way to a bicyclist, I would hope the bicyclist would not be ticketed for accepting it.

    Our city and our culture are constantly changing. Laws often lag trends in technology, cultural behavior, and social norms. Bicycling is a manifestation of people adapting to a new reality–a reality that is calling for lower energy input, low carbon output, higher population density, and a greater sense of community. Rather than rigidly prevent useful adaptation to remarkably powerful trends we are all living through, intelligent communities adapt their laws and their customs to what makes simple common sense. The focus of SFPD should be to ensure safety, ensure order. Bicyclists need not stop at stop signs to achieve these goals.

  • You folks seem to like pointing fingers and equivocating. This isn’t about what others are doing. This is about the behavior of people on bikes. It is really really childish to just say “Well, maybe other people shouldn’t do this vaguely similar thing.” Pointing fingers at others does not change the fact that some people on bike are behaving in a manner that makes life difficult for others for no other reason than that they think their time is worth more than mine or my safety. 

    You can keep on being snarky and basically lying and continue to get no respect or the collective ear of the City…or fess up and just say that bike are just in a special category where they do not have to follow the basic laws of common courtesy that are so important in such a dense city that we call home. 

  • +1

  • Sean, it is this type of blame game that makes people tune out. I don’t care if it’s a plane, train, automobile, tricycle, jetski, big wheel, or dune buggy…if you’re riding like the rest of us don’t exist you’re doing it wrong. The loaded way you’ve expressed yourself here, just underlines the fact that you can not have an unbiased opinion of this matter. You can not justify this thoughtless behavior with other thoughtless behavior. It’s just juvenile to even try. You’ve lost your way as a person if you think that my comments here are anything but a cry for some understanding and patience from my fellow citizens. This is dense city and some thought and goodwill would go a long way in making this a non-issue. Maybe, take some responsibility and we can finally move forward.

  • This is about the behavior of people on bikes. – sounds like you’re pointing fingers…

  • Again, not productive/combative…the article is about this issue…people on bikes not stopping at stop signs etc…the response even admits this is an issue. That is what we are talking about….so not really.

  • mikesonn

    FTFY >> Pointing fingers at others does not change the fact that some people in cars are behaving in a manner that makes life difficult for others for no other reason than that they think their time is worth more than mine or my safety.  

  • Really? Are you really just ignoring what I’m saying? Are you just being contrary? Apparently, there is no use in talking to you at all, because you stuck in this childish blame-game and are not interesting in taking responsibility for your own actions thus making a better city for all of us.

    Do you not care about anything outside own your own little world?

  • mikesonn

    You seem like a very angry person. There is also a lot of “you” as if we [and I assume you are using “you” to include “all cyclists”] are of one mind.

    I’m just pointing out your hypocrisy. You are jumping all over CW’s “article” [which is actually an opinion piece, semantics, I know] and using it to fulfill some sort of vendetta against people who use bicycles to get around. I believe I had this discussion with @EL:disqus once before – there is a segment of the population that are assholes, now would you rather have them behind the wheel of a car (and many are, as is seen in the very real number of vehicle vs ped/cyclist crashes in this city alone) or on a bike (where only one death has been caused by a cyclist in many many many years).

    The behavior of blowing stops signs (or whatever else you are upset about) is not accepted by the vast majority of cyclists just as asshole behavior isn’t accepted by society at large.

  • Again with the misdirection:

    1) Where have I shown the least bit of anger? I am just perplexed and sad about the lack of accountability in these comments and cyclists at large about this problem.

    2) Speaking of semantics, my use of “you” is just shorthand and by no means says all of anything (I explicitly said “some” earlier)..again just attacking me instead of taking responsibility.

    3) I don’t understand why you think that just because cars are bad for the environment that cyclists have any leeway when it comes to caring about your fellow San Franciscan. I am not a car nor do I own one. In fact, I’ve NEVER owned a car.

    So instead of attacking me, maybe you should examine the way you think about others..all of us.

  • @facebook-518248622:disqus Let’s quickly subdivide cyclists into three groups:

    1. Those who always come to a stop at a stop sign.
    2. Those who slow down and if they can tell no one else is there may roll through it.
    3. Those who ride without concern for others — maybe they’re riding way too fast, maybe they’re wearing headphones and can’t hear a thing, talking on the cellphone, not yielding, etc…

    I think reasonable people will agree that those in the third camp are a problem. I personally don’t see how those in the middle group are a problem, because by definition if they’re riding like “the rest of us don’t exist” then they probably aren’t yielding and are in the latter group.

    Nevius encourages what you’re labeling as “finger-pointing” by ignoring that there is a distinction between the second and third groups and then implying that the majority of cyclists are in the “jackass” group. You would see less of a “persecution complex” if the actions of a few weren’t so frequently assumed to be how everyone behaves.

    And yes, I am in the middle group and am constantly frustrated by those in the latter (if you like, I can cite several instances from this morning). 

  • mikesonn

    1) “childish blame-game” “Do you not care about anything outside your own little world?” “It is really really childish” “pretty please?” “It’s just juvenile to even try.”

    3) I don’t say cyclists should have any leeway, that’s on you. And congrats on never owning a car, but your displeasure is still misplaced.

    And I did share how I examine others – there is a certain percentage of people who are jerks, their mode of transportation doesn’t matter. But to get so up in arms against cyclists shows you have a clear bias against them because they do not pose nearly the threat you are trying to place on them.

  • Kevin

    It’s important to distinguish between road users because time and time again – there is a certain mode of transportation (cars) that consistently does more physical harm to other people that are taking other modes. There is a certain mode of transportation that gets priority over public space at the detriment of everyone else (and also seen as good for everyone, when it’s not). In a collision, there is a certain mode of transportation that is given more leniency, even if the harm they caused was very serious.

    On a side note there is no such thing as being totally unbiased. Our perception of the world is crafted from our experiences and our beliefs.

  • Agreed, Sean. A reasonable response. Now how to address that 3rd group now that we agree it exists?

  • How about this Jason.

    There are some cyclists who are douchebags. The response from you – the uber pedestrian – is that all cyclists in general don’t deserve any accommodations and should be looked upon with scorn because of said douchebags, and there is no such thing as a “good” cyclist because they are all a part of a “group” and they are responsible for self-policing.

    There are some pedestrians who are douchebags. The response from the cyclists you see on this forum is that pedestrians that are douchebags are not the responsibility of anyone but themselves, and that pedestrians in general are on the highest pedestal and deserve more accommodations from the city.

    Do you see THAT juxtaposition? That is why you are responded to with scorn.

  • 1) You consider someone not agreeing with you anger? You are very sensitive. Those comments are valid responses to comments given. Just calling out something as being childish is not anger….observing and calling out selfish behavior is not anger. Sorry, but it is not….once again trying to shoot the messenger.

    2) You can not sit there and tell me that wanting all of the city’s resident to have an enjoyable experience is misplaced. We’ve agreed that there is an issue with some people on bikes not respecting others…so what do we do about that? Pretend it doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter? It DOES exist and it DOES matter.

    3) I am not up in arms and I think that any random person who saw this exchange would think that I am being reasonable and am showing some degree of patience to some these “responses”.

    You can not just write off people because they disagree with you…that is a path to a very lonely existence and not conducive to trying to make this city a happier place for all of us.

  • mikesonn

    @facebook-518248622:disqus +1 to murph.

  • Anonymous

    @facebook-518248622:disqus wrote: “Agreed, Sean. A reasonable response. Now how to address that 3rd group now that we agree it exists”

    That is indeed the issue (though not a big issue in the bigger scheme of problems with our urban design … cars kill and maim way more people even when used correctly as well as cause orders of magnitude more environmental problems compared to the worst of problems with bicyclists), but it is certainly not addressed by finger-pointing and painting all cyclists into the 3rd group as Nevius did/does. So again, as Sean and others here keep saying: bicyclists are being expected to follow rules which were designed for 4000 lb chunks of steel whose drivers have their senses dulled and have hundreds of horsepower literally at the tips of their hands and feet. In the viewpoint that Nevius is articulating, it assumes these differences do not exist, or rather, they are unimportant. What almost every cyclist is saying is: no, these differences are hugely important and in fact warrant a different system of laws. Just like pedestrians have different rules to follow than cars, so should bicyclists. The problem with the argument as Nevius has framed it is that it built on a baby-boomer conception of our cities as purely being for cars and all else can fight for the scraps. If you agree with that assumption, then Nevius is right and we all should expect every bicyclist to completely stop at every stop sign or otherwise be ticketed with a high fine. But if you disagree with the very basic premise that cities should be designed purely for cars and that bicyclists should follow the same rules as cars, then you can’t even have a discussion with Nevius. This is the real problem.

  • @bc7e5583cff1290ca2c6791469a98985:disqus Empathy is an attempt to leaven bias, don’t ya think? 
    I disagree that is important in THIS case to talk about other modes of transport in that fashion is that we are talking about the behavior of people on bikes…what they are doing. Any deviation from that just seems diversionary and not productive in discussing the issue at hand.

  • @mikesonn:disqus  So obsessed with who “wins”, I see.

    @twitter-14678929:disqus I NEVER said all of anybody is anything. All I want is a honest discussion about a growing (?) segment of people on bikes who are the “douchebags”. Where did I blame everyone who ever rode a bike? The general tone of your last response shows that you are not interested in any real discussion. You can not see past your own interests and biases. You do not care about how other people or groups of people feel or get along. you are just focused on yours. that is your right.

    Thanks for your time.

  • mikesonn

    I was stating that I agree with his post. I’ll say it again, your displeasure with cyclists is misplaced.

  • Just get honest about the “group” you belong to’s behavior and maybe the rest of the city will take you seriously. 

    Please expand on that comment so I understand it to be anything different than “You need to get the douchebags to stop being douchebaggy or screw you, no soup for you!”

  • @mikesonn:disqus  So says the man in the echo chamber…

  • @twitter-14678929:disqus  I meant that just acting like this misbehaving subset:

    a) does not exist
    b) is not a problem
    c) is justified by unrelated issues

    makes people not want to be sympathetic to the things you say that make sense. That simple. I’m not angry…I just want there to be some sort of solution.

  • @facebook-518248622:disqus here’s what I would suggest (but also seems unlikely):

    1. Enact some sort of Idaho-like law which addresses the fact that bicycles aren’t cars and the same laws don’t always make sense.
    2. Focus on neighborhoods where this is a perceived problem and cite anyone who violates right of way.

    We’ve now protected most people who are being courteous and are free to go after the actual problem.

    The reason other forms of transit are invariably going to be discussed is that we have limited law enforcement resources. If you choose to make this a priority it means focusing less on some other area and you have to decide if it is worth it. So yes, I have to look at the fact that cars cause orders of magnitude more damage and say that we should focus our energy there first. 

    Education, and improved infrastructure will do more good in the long run.

  • I’d like to see Nevius count cars that respect the 25 mph speed limit on Masonic. (Discount anyone trying to find parking) 

    Oh wait, 25 mph speed limits are unjust speed traps meant to make money for the city.  It’s perfectly safe for people to drive 35+ mph on roads like Masonic.  Pedestrians aren’t afraid of being hit by cars while crossing Masonic, they’re more worried about bikes on the Wiggle.

  • I actually live one block from Masonic and couldn’t agree more, but that does not mean that people on bike couldn’t use a bit more caution and respect.

  • Shmoozilla2000

     Jason, you’re wasting your time here if you think constructive dialogue is a possibility.

  • @google-c1054b713ae4d63cc3ebaf620c20fb35:disqus  seemed like a reasonable person.

  • Anonymous

    Jason – maybe this will help.

    Nevius wrote the piece he did instead of a piece on Masonic or on drunks or whatever because he knows this topic will get him the most page views. This explains why he has written the exact same story over and over and over again. Maybe you’re new to this but I have been subjected to the same “attempt at constructive discussion about stop signs” a thousand times. You make some good points but you are also inflammatory and the 20th time around the “debate” gets so old none of us really care anymore. Which – if you actually cared about “changing things” instead of “getting in a flame war” you might comprehend and figure out how to engage.

  • @murphstahoe:disqus If what I’ve said here is considered inflammatory, there is no hope. Sorry for wasting your time.

  •  @facebook-518248622:disqus I agree that caution and respect are critical for everyone, including cyclists. What concerns me about the article is that it’s critical of the behavior of a minority user group (bicyclists) while ignoring the far more dangerous car behaviors that we all shrug off as normal, like driving over the speed limit, accelerating to beat the red light, cars not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk, etc. 

    One more point: aggressive cyclists would be just as aggressive behind the wheel of a car.  Aren’t you glad they’re riding a 20 pound bike instead of driving a 2,000 pound car?

  • Anonymous

    So you’re saying if I changed

    “We need protected bike lanes on Fell Street”


    “wow there are a bunch of dickweed cyclists in the Haight and it really concerns me! We need some protected bike lanes on Fell Street” that we’d be hunky dory and you’d write a letter to Ed Lee in support of those bike lanes?

  • ladyfleur Please see my points below, you are just saying the same things that I’ve responded to before. 
    This is depressing. I’m sorry for wasting everyone’s time…including mine.