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    Is that your way of saying that you do not have a powerful response to the claim? So instead you duck it and hope nobody notices?


    Ziggy Tomcich

    Rich, please stop pretending that you know anything about riding a bicycle in this city by playing armchair quarterback. You yourself admitted that you haven’t ridden a bicycle since you a child. I’m pretty certain that makes you completely unqualified to offer any experienced urban cyclists any type of safety advice.

    Dana is in the hospital with serious injuries, and you seem to be advocating that this is ok so long as drivers don’t have to slow down any. And you think I’m the selfish one? I’m advocating everyone behave safer and more responsibly, while you seem to be advocating exactly the opposite.

    As I previously posted, there was no room for me to move over because of construction equipment nor was there any room for a vehicle to safely pass me in the same lane. There was another lane, which meant I was not blocking traffic. I would’ve chosen a different route had I known it was so dangerous, but I thought that riding on the bike route would be the safest way for me to bike from south SF to the Opera house. Silly me!

    Neither York nor Hampshire are bicycle routes because they have perpendicular parking, which can be far more dangerous for cyclists.

    If the bicycle route is unsafe, they should setup a detour, which we would’ve followed. Hopefully they’ll setup a protected bike lane on Potrero so that drivers and bicyclists don’t have to jockey over the same street space.


    Christopher Childs

    That comment was just a mishmash of all of the usual talking points. It’s hard to respond to; you can’t really do anything with it without getting launched into the usual unproductive point-by-point debate that overall misses the big picture.



    You may laugh but I’ve heard all of that here at one time or another.


    Charles Siegel

    Woonerven is the plural. Woonerf is the singular.

    It is incorrect to say, “On a Woonerven street….” That is like saying “on a Boulevards street…”

    You should simply say “On a woonerf…” without capitalizing.



    “Moreover they want to not have to wear a helmet, not have lights and to wear all black.” lolwut



    Chris, I suspect those reductions are “significant” to the people who didn’t get injured or killed because of the various changes that have been made.

    Of course, if what you are saying is that those changes are useless and didn’t work, then maybe we need to re-think those tactics anyway.



    Except that for safety and security reasons you probably need each station to be manned anyway. Plus there’s someone to ask directions or relay problems to. Then there are the ongoing cleaning and housekeeping requirements, and so on.



    Yes, it might be a theoretical requirement that you tag even if you have pre-paid. But in practice it is not enforced and I don’t see how it could be. You could not be cited for fare evasion because you paid the fare, So it’s merely an administrative infraction that Muni would look pretty silly taking you to court over.

    I guess it’s more for their stats. They want to know who is going where and in what numbers. Fair enough but I don’t see why I should give up my privacy just for that.

    I do tag getting onto a bus if I get on at the front, just so the driver knows I’ve paid. Don’t usually bother if I get on at a center door however, and have never been called out on that either.



    The other major advantage of removing faregates from BART is that stations could be unstaffed, reducing operating costs. There is little reason to staff the lower ridership suburban stations on the edges of the system.

    You could easily have a hybrid system where the high ridership destination stations in SF/Oakland/Berkeley retain faregates but the suburban stations are open platform with Caltrain-style Clipper readers. That way most riders would still go through a faregate at one end of their journey.



    I’ve been stopped by POP officers several times with an untagged Clipper Card that had a MUNI Monthly Pass loaded on it, and every time they’ve just waved me through. The card reader shows ‘NO’ in big red letters, but the smaller print below tells them you have a pass.


    Chris J.

    Well, the petition the piece links to says the following in bold face: “Three years into Vision Zero, there have been no significant reductions in the number of people killed or severely injured.”


    alberto rossi

    If even streetsblog is pimping the nonsense that progress on Vision Zero is going just grrrreat(!), then there’s really no hope, is there?


    Karen Lynn Allen

    In thinking about the level of traffic violence that we in the United States placidly accept as a matter of course, I’m reminded of the short story, “The Lottery,” that all of us of a certain age no doubt read in junior high or high school.

    We sacrifice so many on the altar of private vehicle movement in as brutal a fashion as the stoning in that story. And we accept these deaths and injuries with little more than a shrug. They are considered personal, individual tragedies, “accidents”, not an indication of systemic cruelty and injustice. Indeed, we would sacrifice thousands more if it were necessary to preserve our freedom to drive quickly and recklessly.

    From Wikipedia about “The Lottery”: “The story also speaks of mob psychology and the idea that people can abandon reason and act cruelly if they are part of a larger group of people behaving in the same manner. The idyllic setting of the story also demonstrates that violence and evil can take place anywhere and in any context. Alongside the mob mentality, the story speaks about people who blindly follow traditions without thinking of the consequences of those traditions.”

    What is the moral difference between a community that randomly kills one person a year via stoning or twenty people a year via poor street design and reckless driving?



    Oh I’m well darn aware of the fare gate trap. I would agree with making BART accessible from all sides (I frequently do Castro Valley to Oakland which is one of those stupid one side only ones). I just think the benefits are far greater for bus service than for BART. I think there’s a design solution to better access without removal of fire gates while not needing to hire many more fare station attendants.



    Yeah I think it’s probably a wash for fare evasion. My concern is that the homeless and no-good kids will just crowd onto the platforms and trains. Heck they even manage to do that now – not sure how.



    Yes, Frenchie, I think you are right and Wendall is wrong. I have often boarded a Streetcar without tagging, but with a monthly pass. Inspectors have boarded the vehicle, checked my card and moved on.

    A monthly pass is POP, whether you tag or not.



    The mobile app or paper transfers are still legitimate ways to ride without any visible indication that you’ve got a valid fare. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it doesn’t matter whether you or I think they’re paying or not, as we’re not fare inspectors.

    So long as the penalty exceeds the fare divided by the probability of getting inspected & cited, riders have incentive to pay and POP seems like a reasonable system to me. And if the statistics mentioned in the Wired article are correct, POP systems see no higher incidence of fare evasion than faregated systems. Faregates are expensive, paying at the door is slow, so I’m all for POP.



    Wow, thanks for the heads up. I don’t have a muni pass so I’m not totally familiar with how that works–I assumed it works like my caltrain pass (no need to tag, once the pass is loaded, that clipper is valid POP for the month).



    Have you ever had to navigate to/from a BART station? Because if you have, then you would know that removing faregates would significantly speed up BART boarding.

    BART stations are designed around the “castle moat” model whereby everyone gets funneled through a single entrance. This can really increase the amount of walking just to get to/from the platform.


    Dave Moore

    You seem to be ignoring most of what Ziggy said, and are focusing on one statement out of context. He was supposed be riding in the middle of the lane *in this case* because the street was not suitable for riding to the right. The street was labeled as a bike route and there was no warning or detour sign. He didn’t say “all cyclists should always take the lane”. He didn’t say “I demand the right to ride on Potrero irrespective of its suitability”. That’s all stuff you’re ascribing to him based on…what? I don’t know.



    Wait, even if I have a monthly fastpass I still have to tag?



    No, Ziggy, you are not “supposed” to ride in the middle of a lane if you could instead move over and allow faster traffic to pass.

    In fact that is exactly the kind of arrogant, selfish and entitled behavior that makes other road users angry, frustrated and careless, which is what really makes you unsafe.

    If you try and control the behavior of others by engaging in reckless selfish behavior you increase the odds of ending up in SFGH which, at least, is handy for this location.

    What the hell is wrong with York or Hampshire? Word – its not all about you.


    Wendall M

    Actually, you are required to tag/pay every time you board per MUNI’s website.
    I assume it’s for a number of reasons but especially considering the system receives money based on ridership. Not tagging cheats the system a number of ways.

    I’ve seen people being ticketed even with a fastpass. You can tell how infuriated they are so please start tagging!


    Ziggy Tomcich

    Potrero Ave lanes were even narrower because of construction. The lack of signs and any bicycle infrastructure made makes that section of road dangerous.



    Sometimes you can just tell. The other day I’m on the F and a black dude gets on the off door, looking furtive, and sits in the back.

    The driver calls him out and he just plays dumb rather than offer POP. The driver gets up and goes back and I’m thinking – OK this is 15 minutes of my life I’m never getting back.

    Big row ensues and finally some other black dude on the bus pays the guy’s fare.

    If you can’t tell who is playing you then you are the sucker


    Ziggy Tomcich

    I wasn’t blocking anybody. I was riding in the center of the lane, which is exactly what bicyclists are supposed to do. Your assertion that bicyclists deserved to be threatened and terrified by aggressive and illegal driving behavior on poorly designed bicycle infrastructure is offensive and callous.



    Are you sure they’re riding for free? There’s no need to tag/pay if:
    – you have a monthly pass
    – you have a paper transfer
    – you tagged your clipper on another route and are within the transfer window (I think? I tap agin to be sure, though)
    – you bought a ticket in the mobile ticket app
    So just because someone walks on to a Muni vehicle and doesn’t tag/pay, doesn’t mean they’re evading the fare.



    VM, closing your mind to diverse opinions and the viewpoints of others causes accidents like this. If cyclists are conducting themselves in ways that increase their risk then it sometimes take others to point that out.

    What we’ve seen in the comments here is a number of cyclists arrogantly demanding the right to ride where they want, when they want, as if nobody else exists. Moreover they want to not have to wear a helmet, not have lights and wear all black. And to travel along roads like Potrero that anyone with a brain can see are risky.

    And then when someone points out things that could make you safer, you accuse them of trolling. You honestly could not make this up.



    I think no faregates only makes sense in certain contexts. I’d love to make more/all buses and light rail gateless, AC transit and more, because it speeds up service significantly, which is a major bus problem.

    Heavy rail doesn’t make as much sense comparatively. Also, forgetting to tag out can be a really harsh penalty on long-range routes – it was like 20GBP when I forgot in London once.

    It probably wouldn’t speed up service significantly – that’s mostly train boarding and maintenance events (though I reserve the right to be wrong on this when Bart rolls out more 3-door trains)


    Corvus Corax

    Good point. Thanks.



    Fair enough.



    I know a lot of people have replied to you already, but it doesn’t look like anyone has tried to address your question.

    Byrant’s narrowness is its self a problem. Finding space to put bike lanes on it would be difficult. There are several stretches with perpendicular parking, which is something that makes me feel riding (or driving) too close to.

    According to Google, Hampshire has sharrows. I’m not sure if that’s really true or not, but it might be a better choice than Bryant.

    As to Potrero, many wide arterial streets in San Francisco are that way because people wanted to use them en mass before the advent of motorized vehicles.

    Much of San Francisco’s arterial network follows the flattest route between destinations, because it was designed for walking, horse powered vehicles, electric trolleys, and then as time passed, bikes. Later they were striped for gas powered vehicles.

    In general in San Francisco, the wider the street, the more likely it is to have features that draw bicyclists to it. The good news (if you ask me) is there usually is enough space for bike improvements. Best sign that there is room is if there is more than one automobile sized travel lane per direction. (Cue pearl clutching.)



    In addition, I’ll add that if you’re going faster than 15mph, the difference in impact between a 30mph car traveling the same direction as you and a stationary door are actually a wash. You might be lucky and pop onto the hood of a car, have the helmet hit the windshield, and not be forced to a complete stop very fast. There’s almost nowhere to go with a door if you hit it straight on – you’re getting the full impact and coming to a complete stop very fast, if you’re not the 1/100th person who flies through the window instead.



    There should be a basic level of safety and security for all street users, bikes, cars and peds on all streets at all times, but in order to achieve that it would make sense to prioritize certain streets for certain types of traffic. Others could also use those streets, but why would they when a preferred alternative existed just a block or two away?



    “My main risk on the right is the odd door, which is relatively light and slow moving”

    What I believe tends to happen, however, is that you react instinctively to avoid the door that just popped out in front of you, swerving left into a fast-moving vehicle who thought they had room. This a much bigger problem when your average full-speed approaches >20mph. Taking the lane is trying to indicate to motorists that they should not be passing in this moment or to move fully into the left lane.

    We’re in agreement that cyclists should not deliberately hold up traffic and should move to the right *when appropriate* to let others pass. To tell cyclists to get off and walk, however, is in my opinion a bit too far.

    I hope an autonomous-car world creates stricter requirements on human drivers and allows you to feel safe cycling someday.



    Does anyone else notice that tragic stories on this site of bicyclists being hurt, maimed, or killed are always seized upon by two or three contrarians to criticize bike riders and defend the status quo? Worse, intelligent readers engage and try to argue or educate these bottom dwellers. The whole thread becomes a waste of our precious political energy to create change. Block these commenters from your own disqus section, and stop responding. They are predictable and boring, and a waste of our time.



    Very sorry your friend is in a coma. Best wishes seem a paltry offering. But I will keep him and his family in my thoughts.


    Christopher Childs

    Your fear is pretty common; it’s why vehicular cycling (taking the lane and riding with traffic) failed to interest hardly anyone besides a small group of young adult men. It is why the typical cycling advocate strategy switched to demanding dedicated cycling infrastructure. In the absence of infrastructure, it’s still your best bet.

    When, if ever, will it be safe for you to ride? Why is it not safe now? Do you distrust the quality of the average driver?


    Dave Moore

    I think studies have been done that show that the approach of taking the lane is ultimately safer for all involved. But I don’t have them in front of me so I won’t claim to be sure. Perhaps others can provide them.

    I think you’re probably right that there is a somewhat increased chance of head on collisions by being more in the middle than the far right. I would expect that increase to be small, although obviously catastrophic.

    My suspicion is that the risk of being sideswiped is increased by riding tight to the right because drivers mistakenly think that they can safely pass. Also that it creates more opportunities for sudden changes in the road to cause the cyclist to need to veer to the left while being too close to a car. Those seem almost as catastrophic as a head on collision and the increase in occurrences may cause there to be ultimately more risk.

    But I would be very interested in a real study.



    It is clear that no road user obeys the law 100% of the time. Whether the reason for that is safety or laziness is another matter, but it is a reality we should all accept.

    I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a kid and never would now. Nor does my wife nor our kids. Not safe.

    That said, if I was on a bike, I would consider the risk to be higher if I ride on the left because that greatly increases the risk of getting into a head-on collision or being side-swiped by a vehicle passing me.

    My main risk on the right is the odd door, which is relatively light and slow moving

    I’d also factor in how my behavior affects others and whether I might be at risk of a road rage incident if I piss too many people off.


    Christopher Childs

    If a cyclist going slower than traffic keeps left rather than stays right, thereby causing faster traffic to have to go into oncoming traffic, then that’s a problem.

    In a general sense I think you’re right — nobody actually wants to block anyone’s path for an extended period of time, and it is unsafe and undesirable to do so.

    But, every time you describe your scenario where a head-on collision may occur, it reads like the person who initiated the unsafe pass had a thought process that went something like “welp, there’s a cyclist in front of me; I’m legally obligated to pass them because I’m certainly going faster, even if I have to go across a double yellow, so I’m going to throw my car at the other lane and pray there’s nothing there!”

    You almost certainly wouldn’t get into this situation if you came across a clueless driver going 15mph; your first instinct would be to lay on the horn, because you wouldn’t dare overtake entirely in the oncoming lane without ensuring it is completely clear. The only difference is that their vehicle occupies the entire lane, so you have to yield to them. Why does it change just because the person in front of you only appears to need 2 feet?

    I get that accidents happen. But, if your scenario came to pass, it would not have been an accident. It would just be pure negligence, creating a situation that led to an injury or death.

    We’re usually talking about using more of the lane for a hundred feet or less to get around construction and double-parkers, like Ziggy talking about one specific intersection.

    Put another way, would you rather hit a door opening at 5 mph or a vehicle doing 30? The safest tactic is also the most considerate.

    It’s sadly a combination of both: The door opens at 5mph, the collision throws you across the lane, and then the vehicle that was narrowly overtaking you at 30mph kills you. Ultimately, there’s no winning with either of those collisions. They both need to be prevented.


    Dave Moore

    Again, it’s not clear to me that we are thinking of the same sort of incident. I’m imagining (and this is my assumption) that the sidewalk is blocked and the rider comes across an unsafe section. At that moment he has the choice of staying to the right or taking the lane. I don’t think dismounting in the middle of the road is a viable alternative.

    At times you use the argument that “this is the law so you should do it” such as above with the slow moving vehicle. Other times you use the argument that “this may be the law but you shouldn’t do it”. Which is it?

    Also I’m not sure whether you think the cyclist shouldn’t use the full lane because it’s inconvenient to others as a direct impact or if you feel it’s because it’s ultimately less safe as a second impact (pun not intended).

    If it’s really that last reason then I think there is at least room for an honest debate about the relative safely of the approaches. I’m not positive it applies in this specific case however as the rider may not have had a viable choice.



    Murph, since you now only post to discuss me, you are the ultimate troll here



    Wrong. Self-contradiction is an optimal way to garner more responses because it angers the target. You understand he’s trolling but you then ascribe to him thoughts that are counter to the art of the troll. So you lose the game.



    So, Murph, you can ride on a “traffic sewer” (your words) like Potrero with impunity? But ask you to take a quiet leafy residential street like York or Hampshire and you’re shocked, shocked I say?



    Of course, but Murph demands the right to take the crappiest, ugliest, least safe route and demand that others get out of his way so that he can bike in blissed-out serenity.



    I might think you had a point if you were saying that Bryant should be closed to cars and drivers with a destination on Bryant should take Potrero to the cross street nearest their destination. But you’re not.



    Wrong. Bikes are vehicles but, just like other vehicles, they should keep right if going slow



    You would take Bryant to the cross street nearest your destination and cross over to Potrero. The net effect would be to shift through bike traffic from one street to another in order to better distribute street users to reduce travel time and avoid conflicts.