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    A lot of times, the city and SFMTA will do major safety improvements after a pedestrian gets killed on our streets. There’s many examples:

    47th Avenue and Fulton: Used to be a two way stop with those on Fulton going as fast as 35 without stopping thru intersection. I advocated to the city to change to 4-way stop, but they wrote back to me saying it would “delay Muni.” It wasn’t until one day, a pedestrian was hit and killed, they finally put in 4-way stop, and now there’s a signal in place.

    Sunset Boulevard and Yorba (near Sloat overpass): Pedestrian killed by a car. That crosswalk was dangerous as hell, even with the flashing lights telling people there’s a pedestrian wanting to cross. Now there’s a traffic signal, more traffic signals along Sunset, and lowering the speed limit.

    Sloat and Forest View: A Lowell High School student was hit and killed by a DUI driver. Everybody knew crossing Sloat was dangerous, and the city and state (since it’s highway 35) forked the money fast to put in a new crosswalk signal.

    For the Taraval project, I’m happy the SFMTA is shoving back at the anti project people. They are willing to be proactive instead of waiting for the next death.


    Donovan Lacy

    I think that is a great idea. I think it may also be worhtwhile to educate riders to the idea of not getting into an Uber / Lyft if they are in a bike lane. I have been guilty of this myself and moving forward will deduct stars on the rating at the end of my rides for exactly this type of activity. My understanding is that the TNC’s are very sensitive to rider ratings.



    “the agency encounters enormous push back. It comes from competing agencies, local politicians, but, more often than not, from a loud minority of angry stakeholders”

    Roger, did we ever establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it was a “minority” of local residents who opposed these boarding islands?

    As I recall, even your own report at the time indicated that about 2/3 of the meeting opposed them.


    Donovan Lacy


    I may be wrong, but I do not believe that anyone is suggesting that this is the wrong forum for pointing out the flaws of the standard pro-car argument. Not to put words into anyone else’s mouth; I think what Murph and others are trying to say is that pointing out these flaws to this particular poster (RichLL) is an exercise in futility, as he will respond to any argument that you make, no matter how articulate and logical by changing the subject or creating a straw man and typically refuting facts with his feelings and opinions.

    I spent some time responding to his arguments and then decided to try the blocking technique. I have enjoyed your responses and assuming you have the energy, and at the risk of sounding contrary and a tad hypocritical, I encourage you to continue the debate.



    Wait, Mario, there are many prudent safety precautions we can all take that are not enshrined in statutes. Assuming you had the same kind of road safety classes in high school that I did, then you were taught to “look both ways” before crossing a road.

    Is that a legal requirement? No. Does it make sense if you want to be safe? Absolutely.

    Laws tell you what you must do, Common sense tells you what you should do.


    Mario Tanev

    This is one of those things like requiring bicycle helmets. People’s clothing is part of their identity, and having to wear something specific so you don’t get killed is an invalidation of their identity. People would rather start driving than suffering such indignities.

    Also, using a “reason” which is not legislated, nor proven to improve safety is very unfair. If it was a requirement to wear reflective clothing at night, it should have been a law. But it’s not, because such a law wouldn’t pass. Hence the onus is on the dangerous multi-ton vehicle driver to have proper lights and to pay attention.



    > the practice is not intrinsically dangerous
    Well, neither is parking on crosswalks or sidewalks, as long as you don’t run over anyone in the process!

    There is nothing intrinsically dangerous about setting up a chess table and having a nice game on the middle of the cross-walk, as long as you enter the crosswalk in the walk phase. Once you’re there and not moving, its very predictable. Drivers can find their way around safely with some patience and ingenuity, right? Worst-case, they wait till check-mate! NBD



    I don’t really see how ‘nobody post anything, because that way Rich won’t have anything to respond to’ leads to a comment section that has useful discussion.

    I thought pointing out the flaws in standard pro-car arguments was on-topic for streetsblog of all places, but apparently it gets me scolded and called a sock puppet (wat). Message received. If the existing community here wants to drive away people who agree with the philosophy of streetsblog just to try to starve Rich of people to reply to, so be it. I’ll go back to just reading, and you can go back to ignoring the fact the the comments section often has a bunch of unrefuted pro-car arguments that are designed to sound reasonable and convincing to any less informed readers that happen by.



    VM, sorry but that is offensive. I comment here in in good faith and often contribute arguments that cannot be refuted.

    You are welcome to ignore me, of course, but commenting here just to insult an active and energetic contributor to this site is very negative and sad.



    You know that commenter is simply using this forum to troll and bait people. I wish we all would stop responding to these frivolous comments. I encourage you to ignore him, possibly by using the block function available at Disqus. Your blood pressure will thank you, as well as fellow readers.



    I don’t think that car parking spaces should factor into discussions about the ratio of usable road space for different types off vehicles. I’m talking about road areas that are available for movement.



    Fair enough, but there is still a legal question here. If I block a bike lane and, in response, you engage in a reckless passing maneuver and get hit by another vehicle, would I be held liable for the accident in any way? If I left the scene would that be “hit and run” even though I never hit you?

    Or to put it another way, can a fully stopped vehicle ever be deemed at fault for an accident?



    I don’t think anyone is claiming that the pedestrian was 100% responsible for the accident just because he was difficult to see. Only that it may have been a contributory cause and that the jury in a civil case may award his estate less in the event of a lawsuit.

    Likewise, I don’t think a jury would take into account that a pedestrian wasn’t wearing a helmet, but they might if the victim was a cyclist who died from a head injury.

    Accidents usually happen because a few things all go wrong at the same time. Each factor should be considered and weighed.


    StrixNoctis .

    It’s ridiculous that these days everyone but the drivers are getting blamed for collisions that all have one common denominator–motor vehicles. Drivers can do no wrong!

    What comes next is pedestrians getting blamed “for not having reflectors, lights and helmets.” I can see it now, “the two pedestrians who suffered life-threatening head injuries are to blame for not wearing helmets!” “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain/wheel.”

    Vision Zero will continue to be Zero Vision while the smoke & mirrors continue..



    This is why I always wear neon orange when I attend black-tie dinners.



    I stand corrected. The city’s document does state that the $3M ultimate plan is indeed a grade separated crossing where the creek and parking-stadium traffic intersect. This is the right approach and ideally nothing should be spent on an interim routing of dubious merit. And the Niners should fund this mitigation of the problem that the stadium created.



    SF can annex brisbane






    Of course, for a width comparison to map to resource allocation, you’d have to multiply by the fraction of streets that have bike lanes. did a detailed look at resource allocation by area and mile in SF, and ten times as much public roadway space is allocated to parking individual vehicles than to than bike lanes. 10x is pretty close to the ratio of the modalities, so actually bike lanes aren’t disproportionate even if you ignore the reality that a lot of the “shared” road space is quite hostile to bikes.



    painting bike lanes seems like a simple and cheap solution when our city has much more pressing needs



    > So if I block a bike lane […] there is a sense in which you would not have had that accident if I had not been there.

    Against all odds, we seem to have finally reached some level of agreement here. Now the key insight is that this is what people mean when they say it’s a safety issue.

    If, when you see someone say in a comment that blocking a bike lane is unsafe or a safety issue, you recognize that this is what they mean instead of trying to argue with them, you could save everyone a lot of arguing.

    Obviously we don’t all agree on the exact level of risk that constitutes “bad behavior”, but at least that would be an improvement.



    The issue raised was what percentage of people are aware that having an Uber stopping in a bike lane to pick them up impacts cyclists. You don’t have to bike every single day to understand that.

    5% of people in the survey say biking is their primary mode of transit, so 3% is still the wrong number. I guess absent more detailed survey data, we’ll all have to reach our own conclusions about whether the remainder of the 17% consist entirely of people who drive their bike to GGP once a week and then bike in a car-free environment. That seems extremely unlikely to me.


    Corvus Corax

    What thread? I blocked our dreadful troll some time ago, and now I have blocked the new poster who insists on endlessly replying to each of his posts. So now I see a long line of ‘this user is blocked’ interspersed with the occasional reply to the troll.

    The comments section has devolved to a nitpick session co-opted by what might well be one person with two identities(?) Now, instead of real comments, I mostly see quibbling replies. Sad. Maybe these two should just exchange email addresses and have their war of words apart, leave the comments section for those who want to comment on the actual article and not to just to score points or incite.



    I’m not advocating anything. I am explaining why things are the way they are, and why the allegedly illegal characterization of this behavior is not reflected in enforcement priorities.

    And as previously noted, the practice is not intrinsically dangerous. What is dangerous is taking risks to pass an obstruction.

    I do come here to listen and to learn. That said, it surprises me that the arguments made are not more persuasive and convincing.



    No, you’re actually advocating for the practice, which is not only illegal and dangerous, but a terrible use of the public right of way. And you’re going on to tell a community invested in people-oriented transportation that they should accept further intrusion by cars into their hard-won space.

    If it feels like you’re bringing enlightenment to the conversation, then that’s a fair indication you’re looking to lecture and not willing to listen. So to you I say: you’ve convinced me, and thanks for the education.



    A bike lane takes up to 20% of the width of a typical road, for a 3% modal share. One can reasonably argue that cyclists already have a disproportionately large amount of road resources relative to their numbers.

    I am not entrenched in any position. I am merely seeking to educate you and others why there appears to be de facto immunity for cars BRIEFLY stopping in a bike lane.



    Make all the assumptions about me that you want; I’m not going to take the bait.

    Great, let the car-based problem affect cars. Bike lanes already take up less street space than a car lane; no serious policy-maker would entertain allowing cars to further constrain the space of the most space-efficient mode of transport.

    It’s already illegal for cars to park in bike lanes, and numbers of cyclists are only increasing, along with their ability to get laws enforced. I admire your tenacity, but I think you’ve become so entrenched in your position that you can’t see you’re fighting a battle that’s already been lost.



    Again, I don’t agree. The risk component arises only when the obstructed cyclist or driver takes undue risks to pass. However one can reasonably argue that an obstruction increases the risk of drivers and cyclists choosing bad behavior, without being directly responsible for any adverse result from that.

    So if I block a bike lane and you recklessly pass me and get hit by another vehicle, I will not be held legally responsible for your accident, but there is a sense in which you would not have had that accident if I had not been there.



    Murphy, 50% of your recent posts here have been about me. How does that kind of obsession help the discussion here?



    No, my point was more that if a vehicle is going to stop (and every vehicle does from time to time) then it’s going to cause a problem.

    As a cyclist you’d rather inconvenience a non-cyclist. I can see why you’d say that but surely even you can see the bias in your position?



    The issue raised before was daily commuting (along Valencia, mostly). An occasional cyclist who maybe rides in GGP on a sunny Sunday is not affected by this.



    “…it causes vehicular congestion and risk.”

    So now that congestion and risk are taking place in a car lane, it’s not acceptable? When the topic was congestion and delay in the bike lane, you spent all day arguing the point that these are the acceptable downsides of city living.

    You’re arguing that – despite laws to the contrary – it’s fine for one travel mode to block lanes specifically set aside for a different travel mode. Good for you that you’ve found people to engage in that debate, I guess. It’s just a non-starter.



    Wearing something bright or reflective at night was something I was taught in maybe second grade. Road workers often wear high-vis jackets. It’s prudent advice even if, as you suggest, it doesn’t mean that the pedestrian can be deemed at fault for the accident.



    > the 97% who don’t use a bike regularly will have little understanding of the problem

    As an aside, since you keep using the 97% number: that’s the approximate percentage of *trips* that are taken on bikes. The percentage of people who bike at least once a week is 17% (per the SFMTA 2012 report that also has the ~3% number for trips). So the number you are actually looking for when you are talking about people who aren’t likely to understand issues affecting cyclists is at most 83%.

    I’m sure you aren’t deliberately trying to mislead people with bad statistics; now you know for the future.



    Here’s the problem with that theory. Which Rich is very prolific at responding to each and every comment on the site, he doesn’t typically respond to his own comments. By responding to him (and thus triggering another response from him) you are increasing the amount of blather he puts on this blog that the visitors to this site will see.

    And by rolling up the comment thread to some rather banal post about Uber or whatever, he makes the site relatively useless for anyone who wants to have legitimate discussion. Streetsblog has definitely moved down my list of “to read”



    I agree those statements are not contradictory. Where you contradict yourself is when you constantly change your position as to whether or not an obstruction creates risk or not.

    If an obstruction is not a safety issue (as you always say when the topic is blocking bikes), then width only affects how long a car might need to wait before passing, not the risk. But somehow you keep using the words “risk” and “less safe” when talking about cars being blocked and cars passing, while you constantly object to anyone using those words to describe cyclists being blocked or passing.



    > In fact he said very specifically that it can make the difference between getting a ticket or not, because it shows the driver is aware and thinking about other road users.

    The fact that a cop told you this is a pretty sad commentary on the way traffic laws are enforced. He’s saying that if you clearly demonstrate that you *know* you are breaking the law and endangering (or inconveniencing) other people, then you shouldn’t get a ticket.

    That’s like saying that cyclists should be ticketed for running red lights, unless they are flipping off the cross traffic while they are doing it.

    > When people try and argue that blocking a bike lane is “unsafe” what they usually mean is not that a cyclist rear-ends a stopped vehicle but rather that the cyclist is then tempted to take risks to pass it rather than be patient.

    Yes, most people who talk about road safety are talking about the actual reality of what happens on the road, not what the effect is on a theoretical, non-existent road model where every single road user is doing everything perfectly and never makes a mistake.

    For instance, when people talk about installing speed bumps for safety on a residential street, they don’t mean that the physics of a car that is moving up and down slightly as it travels at exactly the speed limit causes it to be less likely to injure or kill someone than the same car going the same speed without the bumps. They mean that in practice, people speed there (even though they should be careful and patient), and the bumps will discourage that.

    And when people say that a bike lane that’s in a door zone is more dangerous than one with a buffer, they don’t mean that proximity to closed car doors is inherently damaging to cyclist, they mean that in practice, sometimes people getting out of cars don’t pay enough attention (even though they should be careful and patient), and will door cyclists.

    In fact, you are the only person I’ve ever encountered who tries to argue that doing something that, in practice (not idealized theory), increases the chances of collisions between other road users, is completely safe.



    An easier solution would be to grade separate the short walking route between parking and the stadium from the trail traffic. A wide but short east-west bridge spanning the creek and trail. That would result in zero detour along the trail.

    The currently proposed 1.8 mile detour is expensive and really does not accomplish much. We would be better off doing nothing.

    And yes, the Niners should be on the hook to fund this fix. Finish the project.



    mx, first it was a cop who told me to use hazards when creating an obstruction, no matter how briefly. In fact he said very specifically that it can make the difference between getting a ticket or not, because it shows the driver is aware and thinking about other road users.

    Second, the point of hazards is to make yourself more visible. Clearly this increases safety, at least in marginal road conditions, e.g. dark and foggy. Now as a cyclist you should be sufficiently aware of an obstruction ahead without a light show, but even so hazards either are neutral or they aid visibility.

    When people try and argue that blocking a bike lane is “unsafe” what they usually mean is not that a cyclist rear-ends a stopped vehicle but rather that the cyclist is then tempted to take risks to pass it rather than be patient.



    The two concepts are not contradictory:

    1) Road users should only pass when it is safe

    2) Wider road users create a potentially greater obstruction to others



    It would appear that Uber drivers who very briefly block a bike lane to pick up or set down are not being cited. For that matter nor are ordinary private cars, except rarely.

    So whatever SFMTA say and Uber say and you say, there appears to be a de facto prevailing policy of allowing such actions as long as they are reasonably brief and controlled.

    If cyclists have been unsuccessful in changing that then I suspect that is partly due to the fact that cyclists are a small minority, and partly due to the fact that the cyclist lobby has some PR issues, for the reasons I stated.

    Your challenge is to persuade the 97% of voters who do not commute by bike that this should matter to us.



    Again, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Uber passengers to be aware of all the traffic rules and regulations. Typically they will call Uber from where they are. If they wanted to walk a couple of blocks they could probably take a bus.

    And then there is the fact that they may be senior, disabled etc.



    In place of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds for construction costs, surely it would be cheaper to hire a small army of security to patrol the trail for whatever terrible things they think people will do there during football games (yet pose no hazard at any other time)?



    The clue is right there in the name: “hazard lights.” Hazard lights are something you turn on when you have created a hazardous condition and must alert others around you to take steps to avoid your hazard.

    Sometimes that’s unavoidable; if your car has physically broken down in the middle of the street and is unable to move, then yes, turn your hazard lights on while you take steps to deal with the problem. And sometimes it’s far more avoidable, such as if you are picking up or dropping off someone, especially if there’s a perfectly good driveway or other curb spot you could have pulled into.

    You can’t argue that it’s perfectly safe for everyone to stop in the middle of the street and make everyone go around you when you also agree that you should literally signal with special lights that you are a “hazard” while you are doing this.



    > We’ve already established that being technically “legal” doesn’t mean you are being considerate.

    Uber drivers blocking bike lanes, which is what the topic here is, are being both inconsiderate *and* technically illegal, so I don’t see what your point is.

    > I’d dispute that all compromises result in laws.

    Feel free to dispute that with someone who says it. I didn’t.

    > The reasonableness of cabs using a bike lane, for instance, hasn’t become a law, although it has achieved de facto immunity.

    It’s reached at least the level of a policy directive from the SFMTA. That’s not ideal from a process standpoint, but it’s a *whole* lot more than Uber has, which is nothing: the SFMTA has not said it’s okay, and Uber itself calls the practice dangerous and illegal. You are arguing that there’s a fuzzy line. That’s one way of looking at the law, but even if it’s true, Uber is nowhere near the fuzzy part yet. They don’t even claim they are (and it’s not like Uber has historically been shy about claiming laws should be changed,when they disagree with them).

    > In the last couple of days I have seen cyclists [doing illegal things]

    Me too. And cars and pedestrians. A race to the bottom where everyone does whatever they want is not the solution.



    I thought everyone should only pass when safe? If it’s safe, then by definition, there’s no risk. They may not be able to pass as often, but that’s different than safety. And when it comes to bikes, you keep saying people should just be zen about waiting, and 60 seconds of waiting, rather than passing, is no big deal. Surely that applies just as much to cars.



    > Uber drivers who demand that their customers hike to a side street may lose business or get bad reviews.

    As I said before: “Maximizing Uber reviews is not the purpose of public policy and traffic safety laws.” Do you dispute that?

    > It’s not entirely unreasonable to ask to be picked up where one is

    Unless being picked up there is illegal. Demanding that people break the law for your convenience is pretty close to a definition of unreasonable. If Uber customers feel that the current arrangement of the streets and traffic laws does not meet their needs, they should do what other groups do: advocate for changes that serve their interests (e.g., loading zones) so that policy makers and the general public can weigh the needs and desires of all the stakeholders (cyclists, drivers, merchants, residents) and decide on a compromise together.

    What’s happening right now is that Uber drivers are attempting to bypass that process, taking advantage of the fact that their vehicles are much larger than cyclists to do what they want by force.


    Jeffrey Baker

    What makes the Stars and Stripes segment particularly hazardous? I ride it every day from Great America Amtrak. Although it is a blasted hellscape, it doesn’t really stand out among all the other local hellscapes.



    As others have noted, Uber drivers who demand that their customers hike to a side street may lose business or get bad reviews. It’s not entirely unreasonable to ask to be picked up where one is, and there may be safety issues at night with waiting on a quiet side street. I pick my teenage kids up there a lot and I’m not going to ask them to do that.

    Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, Valencia is not the best street for a bike lane. Now that Mission has been messed up for cars, I’d support moving the bike lane to Mission Street. Folsom/Harrison are good alternatives too.



    Again, a car passing a double-parked car presents more potential risk than a cyclist doing that because the car takes more width.