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  1.  

    extra

    Oh man, you really nailed that one. How astute.

  2.  

    caryl

    I’m curious, would you be ok with the SFPD prioritizing their ‘crackdown’ on bicyclists who violate others’ right-of-way? Aren’t those the ones we’re ALL concerned about? Or is it important to you that bicyclists come to a complete stop regardless of the situation?

    The reason I ask is that when I ride the wiggle and see pedestrians, I tend to slow down well in advance of the intersection and nod to them so that they know I am yielding to them. I developed this approach because as a pedestrian, I hate when cars slam on their brakes stopping their car inches from the crosswalk I’m in. It’s apparently legal behavior (they did stop after all), but it’s really intimidating as a pedestrian. When I’m biking, this approach often has the added benefit of allowing the intersection to clear before I even approach it and thus I very rarely come to a complete stop (much as happens naturally when bicyclists and pedestrians interact on multi-use paths). I am also going fairly slowly at this point and am therefore able to react quickly if someone else approaches the intersection. While I almost always get positive reactions from pedestrians and motorists using this approach, I am technically breaking the law, regardless of how courteous I am being. Should I be getting a ticket? I’m genuinely curious what your thoughts are on this and am trying to understand your perspective.

  3.  

    Yao

    Cyclists, scores of them, working in the building where the meter is installed almost always turn onto 10th St to enter the garage. So they are never captured by the meter. In other words, the milestone has most certainly been passed a while ago.

  4.  

    Donovan Lacy

    Captain Sanford did not have all of the statistics on citations for the Park Station at the meeting. He mentioned an individual within the city government that would be able to provide the data. Did anyone get the contact information for that individual or better yet, has anyone gotten the actual data?

  5.  

    Donovan Lacy

    No kidding. Still didn’t see you out there and I had plenty of time to look for you, what with stopping and putting a foot down at every stop sign to and from the meeting.

  6.  

    dat

    Tell ‘em about the Twinkie.

  7.  

    Donovan Lacy

    And speaking of data, the “Focus on the Five” program, was created to focus SFPD’s attention on the the five most dangerous activities by drivers:

    1) speeding;
    2) running red lights,
    3) running stop signs,
    4) violating pedestrians’ right-of-way in crosswalks
    5) failing to yield to pedestrians while turning

    The goal is to issue at least 50 percent of traffic citations for the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries.

    Care to guess what the percentage is for SFPD issuing citations in the Park Station? According to Captain Sanford it is the high 20% and he has apparently set his own goal of 37%-38% (I forgot to take notes).

    So he is no where near the stated goal, but has time to focus his attention on other violations.

  8.  

    Donovan Lacy

    Just to boil it down for future reference, your argument is:

    (1) People should not be concerned with the most dangerous threats to their health statistically speaking, but should focus on what I perceive to be the most dangerous threats; and

    (2) Cops should not focus their attention on the most dangerous threats to their safety, but rather they should focus their attention on what I perceive to be the most dangerous violations, regardless of what the data actually shows.

    Sounds reasonable.

  9.  

    jd_x

    Thanks for the reductionist summary, though not that you normally do that.

  10.  

    Vegetarian Taliban

    Dog and cats living together.

  11.  

    The Colonel

    Just to boil it down for future reference, your argument is:

    (1) People should not be concerned with a threat if, statistically speaking, bigger threats exist; and

    (2) Cops should not police a crime so long as there are more serious crimes happening elsewhere.

    Sounds reasonable.

  12.  

    The Colonel

    “See that’s the problem: you can’t do that because your kids are no more important than mine.”

    Bro, this isn’t a zero sum game. Cops can enforce reckless driving AND reckless cycling.

    Your position is the far more unreasonable one: There can be no enforcement of cyclists AT ALL unless and unless EVERY reckless driver is stopped.

    “And yes: it’s mutually exclusive because the cops can’t be everywhere.”

    Now you’re just sandbagging. Of course the cops police all crime at the same time, and suggesting that they crack down on prostitution in one neighborhood doesn’t mean they’re neglecting the drug trafficking in another. I mean, really, you’ve hit rock bottom with that argument. It’s the same thing I just referenced above–you’re asserting that cops SHOULD NOT police reckless cycling as long as there is reckless driving, because reckless driving results in more statistically verifiable injuries. That’s your position.

    Which is the same thing as: Cops should not police teenage drinking because heroin kills more kids. That’s simply absurd.

    “So I got an idea; why don’t we get everybody’s personal opinion on what the greatest threat is to them and then … oh wait, we already have that: it’s exactly what statistics are.”

    I think we’re just about done here. There is no one alive who isn’t concerned of a legitimate threat simply because there are statistics to show there’s a bigger threat elsewhere.

    “I think you want this discussion to be about you and your cause and I want this to be about policy.”

    No, I want it to be about policy, too. And the policy that exists under the law is that everyone on the road has to obey the traffic rules. Unless and until that law changes, you’re just whining.

  13.  

    The Colonel

    “First of all, do you have the data to show that bicyclists are *actually* your greatest threat? Or is that your perception?”

    Consider how silly this is. My “data” is my “perception.” What you’re saying is that unless I can show there are X number of pedestrians being hit by cyclists, I shouldn’t be worried about the reckless cyclists I encounter ever day in the Wiggle. I can just waltz across the cross-walk without a worry about that cyclist barreling down on me and my kids because, you know, there aren’t that many people actually injured. NO DANGER HERE–even though that cyclists just whizzed by my 2-yo less than a foot away–BECAUSE STATISTICALLY SPEAKING!

    You don’t really believe that. How about this scenario: only 14 people worldwide a year are killed by sharks. You ready to swim with the great whites? Of course not. But the statistics!

    “But second, do you never leave the Wiggle? Because as soon as you do, guess what’s most likely to kill you? cars.”

    Okay, sure, and if whenever I walked my family outside of the Wiggle–say, to Delores–I felt that threat, I’d be saying something about it, too. But again, for the 75th time, you can quote stats, and logical precepts, and ideas about rationality all day long, but at the end of the day anyone, EVERYONE is going to judge threats based on their own perception. And mine, from living on the Wiggle since 2007 and observing it first-hand every single day, is that reckless cyclists are the primary problem that could easily be solved.

    How about this: how about I promise to advocate more against reckless driving, and YOU and the other people on this board promise to advocate for respectful riding along the Wiggle? You seem adamantly opposed to the idea of doing ANYTHING vis a vis reckless cyclists so long as there is a vehicular threat–can’t we both do both, with our individual focuses on the issues we believe are most pressing?

    ” SFPD will be making sure those 6 blocks on the Wiggle are pristine while the rest of the neighborhood is overrun with cars.”

    Here’s the current state of play along the Wiggle: basically zero enforcement against cyclists. There have been a few, one-off “speed traps” for cyclists, but in eight years at the problem corner of Steiner and Waller, I’ve seen cops there TWICE. That’s not typical of the city; that’s no equal to the amount of enforcement addressed at cars, it’s far, far less (particularly given the constant reckless behavior on display).

    So no, the issue isn’t about making anything “pristine,” it’s about going from basically zero to SOME. The fact that you and others are so opposed to any enforcement of cyclists AT ALL, shows your true colors.

  14.  

    jd_x

    “And I’m going to continue to try and do things to rectify the situation, whether it fits your “bigger picture” or not.”

    Okay, got it: so this only about you. That’s always what I conclude when I talk to somebody outraged by bicyclist behavior. See that’s the problem: you can’t do that because your kids are no more important than mine (who faces much greater threats from cars) or than anybody else’s (who also face much greater threats from cars). And effort spent on protecting you and your kids from a threat two orders of magnitude less severe from one that effect’s most other people and their kids is nuts. And yes: it’s mutually exclusive because the cops can’t be everywhere. Why should somebody who cares about policy (not just their own family, which is why you’re excused from such policy-making … also why we don’t let victims of crime be on the jury) not act on the greater, societal good rather than random cases here and there? In the bigger picture of the city, or even your own neighborhood, your threat from bicyclists cannot trump that others face from cars especially when it is two orders of magnitude less. Doesn’t mean cops can’t bust those asshole cyclists who truly are threatening, but there’s no need for crackdowns.

    Hey, I got on idea: seems like we will never solve this if we just go by what you think is the biggest threat or what I think. So I got an idea; why don’t we get everybody’s personal opinion on what the greatest threat is to them and then … oh wait, we already have that: it’s exactly what statistics are. It’s funny how you think statistics are some theoretical, irrelevant, impractical construct when they are nothing but getting every “Colonel’s” opinion and putting them all together and deciding where to deploy finite resources. So nothing wrong with you fighting the battle that matters most to you (even though I totally disagree your greatest threat is bicyclists, not even close, but whatever), but this whole anti-crackdown debate is about SFPD’s *policy*. Nobody has ever said we can’t give asshole bicyclist ticket but that the threat doesn’t warrant this crackdown.

    I think you want this discussion to be about you and your cause and I want this to be about policy. You’re entitled to fight for what you want and I can’t hold that against you (though I can try to dissuade you, not that I’m succeeding in that), but when we have to decide policy, we can’t let that behavior dictate the discussion.

    So it’s true, you are truly so amazing that you have helped enlighten the discussion by making it clear that the people who flip out about bicyclists on the Wiggle want the discussion to be about themselves (regardless of how close their threat perception is to reality, but I’ll leave that aside) whereas those against the crackdown are talking about a larger policy issue. So thanks!

  15.  

    The Colonel

    “Stepping back, you (and SFPD) are conflating *actual* reckless bicycle behavior (not yielding to pedestrians) with “letter of the law” violations, i.e. not coming to a complete stop when there is nobody around, that do not harm anyone.”

    Let me stop you right there. No, I’m not. I have not said one thing about people not coming to a complete stop when “nobody is around,” but that’s not the situation in San Francisco, especially along the Wiggle. I have seen bicycle advocate for the “Idaho stop,” but the Idaho stop concerns EMPTY four-way stops. Our problem here is bikers breezing through OCCUPIED four way stops, as is typically the case in a bustling city.

    “But you need to distribute your resources to match the risk.”

    I’m not discussion SFPD’s allocation of resources–that’s your issue. I’m discussing reckless bikers in my neighborhood, which is my issue. Even if the reported statistics show that more people are hurt by cars, that doesn’t change my everyday, real world, reasonable observations that I and my family are routinely scared and impinged upon by reckless bikers.

    I mean, honestly, what are you suggesting? That tonight, whey I am my kids walk to the park, and a cyclist headed into the city doesn’t stop at the corner of Steiner and Waller (and trust me, almost NONE of them do, even when we’re in the crosswalk already), what would you have me do? Tell myself (and my kids), “No need to worry with that near miss, because cars are more dangerous?” Even if they are, statistically speaking, that has ZERO RELATIONSHIP to the REAL WORLD THREAD we face from CYCLISTS on a DAILY BASIS. How is that so hard for you to understand?

    “So what was in second place that is now your greatest threat? Are you going to go insane campaigning against that?”

    Am I “insane campaigning over” this? Nope. I’m discussing it on a message board, and rolling out to voice my (friendly) approbation of the lame protesters jamming up my hood. Strikes me that a bunch of grown adults choosing to act like petulant children are far more “insane” than I.

    As to your question: I don’t know. My biggest issue right now, at least in part because I have two little kids who cross the street more slowly than most, is cyclists. If Wiggle cyclists start showing us more respect, acting right and following basic traffic laws, I’ll probably focus my attention somewhere else. But things aren’t getting better in that regard, they’re getting worse, so we can table that question.

    “It’s all connected and for you to go complaining about bicyclists when it is an order of magnitude better for your safety than other neighborhoods were cars dominate is nuts.”

    Call me nuts, bro. I’m going to stay concerned with my family’s safety. And all of your appeals to (purported) logic and statistic, and all your criticism of my intellect and rationality, aren’t going to move me on that point one bit. Along the Wiggle, in my neighborhood, reckless cyclists are my number one issue (even over scary street people, un-neutered pitbulls and other threatening stuff). And I’m going to continue to try and do things to rectify the situation, whether it fits your “bigger picture” or not.

  16.  

    jd_x

    “I’m “irrational” because I have correctly determined that bikes are a bigger danger to my family IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I mean, seriously, that’s like telling someone who lives near the beach in South Africa that they’re “illogical” to be worried about sharks in the ocean because more South Africans are killed by gun violence. Along the Wiggle, as I have rationally observed most every day that I have lived there, cyclists are the primary hazard–not cars, not pedestrians.”

    Forgot to respond to this. First of all, do you have the data to show that bicyclists are *actually* your greatest threat? Or is that your perception? Like injury statistics? Would love to see that because I don’t believe it, not at all. I think it’s easy to feel like bicyclists are always coming dangerously close to you (everybody complaining has had so many near misses, yet funny how they never correlate to hits. In every thing else, near misses correlate to hits so the more near misses you have the more hits you would have), but I actually think, like climate change, people don’t actually interpret the risk wrong. Again, not condoning asshole bicyclists who threaten pedestrians, but I do believe it’s much lower than you think. And again, if you got no evidence to show that it really is your greatest threat, then you got nothing to convince anybody.

    But second, do you never leave the Wiggle? Because as soon as you do, guess what’s most likely to kill you? Yep, cars. But you know what? SFPD will be making sure those 6 blocks on the Wiggle are pristine while the rest of the neighborhood is overrun with cars. So even if you think the Wiggle is safe from cars, it’s nuts that you don’t think SFPD should be dealing with the dangerous motorist behavior happening elsewhere than bicyclist behavior on the Wiggle.

  17.  

    jd_x

    Stepping back, you (and SFPD) are conflating *actual* reckless bicycle behavior (not yielding to pedestrians) with “letter of the law” violations, i.e. not coming to a complete stop when there is nobody around, that do not harm anyone. You need to be able to put the two aside in your head instead of lumping everybody together. If you can’t do that, we got nothing to go on. And you keep saying you can differentiate, but your vehement and continual (not just here, but Hoodline and probably elsewhere) outspokenness against all things bicycle says otherwise (even I have had to had like 4 or 5 back-and-forths to get you to even acknowledge that you’re less opposed to a lot of what I’m fighting for than your obnoxious “Colonel” character normally implies). Just like you talk about protesting bicyclists alienating you from their cause, your continual disproportionate hammering away at bicyclists as a general group even though most do nothing to threaten you isolates them from your cause (even though I’m sure you don’t care, right?). You over-exaggerate their risk to your safety because you believe it is the greatest risk you face even though others in this city, and even your own neighborhood, face much greater risks from cars (go look up the injury statistics for your neighborhood to see what is really hurting people and you’ll see cars way up top by a mile).

    “Logical fallacy. Just because global warming exists doesn’t mean I can’t concern myself with saving the whales. Just because cars are a menace doesn’t mean I can’t complain about reckless Wiggle cyclists.”

    Wrong. First of all: bad example. Our society does not come close to appreciating the threat posed by global warming (which, by the way, riding bicycles diminishes significantly since transportation is approximately 30% of US GHG emissions). Nonetheless, I get the point of your example.

    But here’s the problem with it: I and everyone else on my side of the debate (being against an SFPD crackdown on “letter of the law” violations not those that are actually dangerous) are not saying you can’t ever enforce laws against bicyclists but that they amount of effort you put forth towards that end needs to match the risk. So, if I modify your example to pick something that people truly believe is a threat like, say, cancer, the equivalent to what SFPD is doing would be this: let’s spend $100 billion saving the whales and $10 million to research cancer. The priorities are backwards and we would be up in arms over that. But this doesn’t mean whales don’t matter just like we’re not saying bicyclists jeopardizing pedestrians safety don’t matter. But you need to distribute your resources to match the risk.

    So I’ve got nothing against SFPD given bicyclists who don’t yield tickets, but a crackdown on letter of the law violations is like funding whales over cancer. And as I’ve mentioned before, it smells badly of bias because we never see the equivalent crackdown (let alone any sort of punishment!) of motorist behavior that routinely and much, much more seriously threatens bicyclists (since way more bicyclists are injured/killed by cars than pedestrians are by bicyclists). It’s not a logical fallacy because I’m not saying saving the whales or keeping you from getting hit from jerk bicyclists doesn’t matter, but Capt Sanford better be prioritizing these threats relative to all the others (which will put it much lower down in the hierarchy). He’s not doing that, because if he was, his enforcement efforts would match the *data* in terms of what violations he chooses (since he must choose) to enforce.

    “I have correctly determined that bikes are a bigger danger to my family”

    This is where it gets interesting. So let’s say all bicyclists disappear tomorrow and/or are perfect, law-abiding citizens and you no longer feel like it is the greatest threat to you. So what was in second place that is now your greatest threat? Are you going to go insane campaigning against that? While meanwhile a couple blocks over something that is two levels up on other people’s priority list is injuring them at a much greater rate. *Something* will always be the greatest threat, and the problem here is the inability to put them all in context (just like you keep thinking we can isolate bicyclists from motorists when talking about our streets even though we’ve told bicyclists they are essentially exactly the same as cars in the eyes of the law). It’s all connected and for you to go complaining about bicyclists when it is an order of magnitude better for your safety than other neighborhoods were cars dominate is nuts. Well, it’s fine if you want to believe that, but SFPD better not be pushing their resources based on that distortion.

  18.  

    The Colonel

    “If we replaced all those bicyclists with motorists, do you think your neighborhood would be safer?”

    Nope, and then I’d be railing against reckless motorists in my neighborhood.

    “Because that’s what happens when you crackdown on normal bicycling behavior.”

    Running occupied four-way stops is not “normal bicycling behavior.” It’s OBNOXIOUS, unlawful cycling behavior, even under the Idaho stop.

    “Why do those on the Wiggle get special treatment?”

    I’m not asking that Wiggle cyclists get “special treatment,” but only be held to the same standards as everyone else on the road. If motorists were proceeding through the Wiggle like cyclists, they’d need to get shut down too.

    “This is part of living in a society: if you neglect people you have to deal with the shit that neglect causes.”

    I, and my fellow Wiggle denizens, have not “neglected” cyclists at all–to the contrary, we necessarily give them more attention than anyone because we have to jump out of their way more than anyone. What you seem to be saying is “unless and until all cyclists have complete road safety, they’re allowed to disregard the rights of pedestrians along the Wiggle.” That’s obviously wrong.

    “So let’s bitch and moan and complain and sic the cops on them even though, in reality . . . there are waaaaay worse things going on.”

    Logical fallacy. Just because global warming exists doesn’t mean I can’t concern myself with saving the whales. Just because cars are a menace doesn’t mean I can’t complain about reckless Wiggle cyclists.

    “Oh really? And what are those potential dangers do you think? You think it’s bicyclists?! If so, you’re irrational. The statistics show that, by far, the greatest threats to you and your family (and mine) on the streets is the damn cars (the number one killer of kids is car crashes).”

    That’s just silly. By that logic, cancer is a bigger threat than cars so we shouldn’t be concerned with car deaths. In any event, you’re more than a bit of an asshole for teling me that I’m “irrational” because I have correctly determined that bikes are a bigger danger to my family IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I mean, seriously, that’s like telling someone who lives near the beach in South Africa that they’re “illogical” to be worried about sharks in the ocean because more South Africans are killed by gun violence. Along the Wiggle, as I have rationally observed most every day that I have lived there, cyclists are the primary hazard–not cars, not pedestrians.

    “Until then, you (and I) can expect to be annoyed by bicyclists.”

    A-ha! Wrong! I am not “annoyed by bicyclists” as a general proposition. I am annoyed by the behavior that bicylists exhibit ALONG THE WIGGLE.

    You can argue can safety all day long, call me irrational, tell me its inevitable and everything else, but so long as I constantly feel threatened by cyclists on the Wiggle–and again, I’m a rational individual with the capacity to make real world judgments about my immediate surroundings–I’m going to have a problem with it, and I’m going to work and alleviate the problem.

    You fight your battle against cars, and I’m going to fight my battle against reckless cyclists on the Wiggle. Your battle is valid, and I support you it. My battle is valid, too.

    It’s kinda of sad that you see them as being mutually exclusive.

  19.  

    jd_x

    I would also add — and this way too often get overlooks — that bicyclists are nothing like cars when it comes to merging to make a left turn. When I’m riding down a road with a bike lane and there are, say, 2 auto lanes in each direction with traffic going 35-45 mph and I want to turn into a driveway (not at an intersection), I can’t just “put on my signal” and merge to the left lane and then wait there for oncoming traffic to clear to turn. I am not a car and cannot pretend like one because I do not have the power to keep up with traffic and will end up getting a near-death buzzing if not actually hit, all accompanied by horns honking and probably yelling at me. Since I’m so narrow cars will try to pass me in the same lane versus if I’m a car they know they have to change lanes to go around me … and this is assuming I can even get over to the left lane in the first place which I can’t if there is heavy traffic. It’s utterly insane that we think that bicyclist have anything to do with cars other than having wheels.

  20.  

    gneiss

    That is exactly the point. Applying the current California law for stop signs to people who ride bicycles is not protecting people, but rather leading to a rather onerous burden on one class of road users for whom it doesn’t make much sense and does not measurably increase public safety, in fact, if you take data from Idaho it diminishes public safety. Also, let me point out that we already don’t treat bicyclists the same on our roadways. Two examples of differences are: They don’t have the same access to bridges like the Bay Bridge and they are required to stay as far right as practicable, both of which diminish their rights over drivers of motor vehicles.

  21.  

    jd_x

    Good discussion … when you actually lay off your sarcastic and obnoxious “Colonel” attitude.

    “I never said that honking at a cyclist is okay.”

    Sure, but the context implied that pretty clearly. You’ve done as much with my comments, so let’s just stop with being so literal.

    “That doesn’t change my perspective that many cyclists along the Wiggle operate in a disrespectful and dangerous manner that needs to be addressed (before the bad blood gets worse).”

    But it’s all context. If we replaced all those bicyclists with motorists, do you think your neighborhood would be safer? Because that’s what happens when you crackdown on normal bicycling behavior and start making it a huge pain in the ass and/or expensive. That’s really the issue here in that there are millions of laws broken every day in the city and the cops can’t possibly enforce them all, so they have to pick and choose. And picking and choosing cyclists safely rolling stop signs (not the assholes that cut way too close to pedestrians) is patently *not* making your neighborhood safer because behavior what is *actually* causing harm is being ignored. It’s just like discrimination at airport security against people that look like a stereotypical Muslim: the problem there is that the security guards stop looking for *behavior* (which is what really signifies a threat) and instead focus on superficialities. Same for SFPD’s crackdown on bicyclists: instead of looking for the actual dangerous behavior (the bicyclists that you are talking about that don’t yield), they are lumping every bicyclists together like a security guard would do if he lumped every stereotypical Muslim-looking person into a security threat. That just is discrimination and in fact does not make society safer.

    “Again: I don’t care “which group is breaking the most laws and causing the greatest danger.””

    And this is why you’re not SFPD! I do give a damn and I want SFPD to also give a damn because of the whole finite resources thing. We can’t have the cops going around following you and protecting you from everything that bothers you, nor can they do that for me, or anybody else. Instead, they have to operate on statistics that help the most people. That’s just good policy and I don’t think there is any debate for that. Or do you tell your boss at work that you spent 90% of your effort on making the report look really pretty with just the right font and picture layout even though the content sucks because you put 10% into the content? Why is it so hard for people to extend basic human behavior that governs the rest of their life to street dynamics? Oh, I know: addiction to cars. People can’t think straight when they are addicted. And by addiction to cars, I don’t just mean in driving one, but in assuming the threats they opse are normal and hence ignoring them and focusing on secondary threats, like bicycles. This is what I see from most people, including SFPD. And it’s not surprising since cars dominate our cities. But we need to change them, and that’s what I’m fighting for.

    “Where I live, along the Wiggle, cyclists routinely and regularly blow through occupied four-way stops in a way that is disrespectful and dangerous and needs to stop.”

    Ah, here is where I get to play this game too so you can see the futility of this point of view: where *I* live (now it’s about me … fun, isn’t it?), motorists routinely and regularly blow through stop signs, speed (even when going up to a red light), pull crazy-ass maneuvers like passing when it’s unsafe or making stupid U-turns, cutting way too close to pedestrians and bicyclists, and this isn’t even mentioning all the assholes blasting music or with amplified exhaust that is just a quality of life issue. Oh, and I’m also on a major bicycle route between Noe Valley and the Mission so there are tons of bicyclists going by and I’m a hill so the ones going downhill can go pretty fast … yet I very rarely feel threatened by them. But motorists? Constantly. Yet where are the damn cops and the neighborhood complaints about the motorist behavior (though on my street, at least people aren’t complaining about the bicyclists like in yours, so there is that which makes our situations different)? Why do those on the Wiggle get special treatment with regards to 20 lb bicycles going 15 mph when I (and just about everybody else including those on the Wiggle) have to deal with 2-ton cars going 30 or 40 mph?

    Hear those crickets in response to that question? Yeah, that’s because we all just assume that this motorist behavior is just part of life and there’s nothing we can do about it. But bicyclists: well hey, that’s a new hipster/gentrified thing and we don’t like new shit because hey, we were here first and whatever was done in the past can never change. So let’s bitch and moan and complain and sic the cops on them even though, in reality (which means objectively, which means statistics not everyone’s made-up “threat level” they want to assign to it), there are waaaaay worse things going on.

    “By the same token, the cyclists standing up for their rights (a movement I fully support) should appreciate that if they protest by screwing up the lives of people who live along the Wiggle, it will be counterproductive.”

    Your opinion. But there is a lot of evidence that protests “get shit done” because they force officials to listen. It may be inconvenient but that’s the price we as a society pay for neglecting certain minorities, whether minorities by race or how they choose to move themselves.

    “My angst in dealing with it was magnified by what I saw as a self-righteous and disrespectful disparagement of MY rights, when I haven’t done anything to any of the protesters besides try to live peacefully with Wiggle riders.”

    What rights are you talking about? Your “right” to not be inconvenienced even though the bicyclists are protesting their right (actually a right in this case) to be treated equally (not with regards to car laws they were forced to obey but in terms of recognizing them as a legitimate form of transit with their own unique needs) under the eyes of the law? This is part of living in a society: if you neglect people you have to deal with the shit that neglect causes. Bicyclists have been for way too long neglected but their numbers were too small to have any power. Though they are still a minority, they have grown enough that they can stand up for the discrimination they face. And it sucks we have to be inconvenienced by this, but just like our response to protests about discrimination about race, we need to realize the solution is not to blame the protesters but to blame the society that created the situation.

    “I’m going to identify potential dangers to my family members and try to rectify them.”

    Oh really? And what are those potential dangers do you think? You think it’s bicyclists?! If so, you’re irrational. The statistics show that, by far, the greatest threats to you and your family (and mine) on the streets is the damn cars (the number one killer of kids is car crashes). You keep saying that I’m trying to make this about cars vs bicycles, but it always is because we have finite resources that must get divided up and it’s a zero sum game; you can’t talk about bicycles without talking about the greater system in which they operate (especially since they were forced into the car paradigm even though it’s completely inappropriate). I want safety for my family and yours (and everybody else’s), and that will come by getting people out of cars and onto bicycles, walking, and public transit. And when people do have to drive, their is way better regulation and laws and much more severe punishment for violation of those laws. And doing the bicycle component of the transit system requires acknowledging that bicyclists have unique needs and should not be held to the same laws and standards as motorists. Until then, you (and I) can expect to be annoyed by bicyclists. But the solution is to focus that frustration on improving the lot of bicyclists, not blaming them for being forced to deal with a second-class infrastructure and being second-class citizens in the eyes of the law.

  22.  

    the_greasybear

    Yes–calling into question the legitimacy of all traffic safety laws, specifically as they relate to bicyclists, is the entire point of this protest movement. The ‘foot down or ticket’ rule that was selectively enforced against hundreds of bicyclists last week by the biased SFPD–diverting resources from preventing motorists from committing what the data proves are the five most harmful traffic law violations–is of questionable legitimacy, to put it mildly.

  23.  

    SFnative74

    It used to be the law that people of the same sex couldn’t marry or that women couldn’t vote. There are plenty examples of bad laws that need to be revisited.

  24.  

    SFnative74

    Might as well allow drivers to treat stop signs like yield signs – that’s what happens all over the city already. I say this partially tongue-in-check, but there’s a reason why everyone blows stop signs…in most cases, it’s an excessive request. There are way too many stop signs in this city, especially four way stops. It’s bad design but they have been put in over the decades due to bad driver behavior (let’s be honest) that has resulted in speeding or not yielding properly. We drive like idiots and our street designs treat us like idiots. Some very dense cities – especially in Europe – have zero stop signs, because people there know how to yield. Stop signs should be used sparingly. Since they are not, 99%+ of people out there basically ignore them and treat them like “slow down” signs.

  25.  

    The Colonel

    “You operate from a position . . .which is to think of bicyclists as second-class citizens who are assholes/scofflaws/whatever and if you think honking at a cyclist is okay, that shows me that you don’t really understand the perspective of the bicyclist.”

    I never said that honking at a cyclist is okay. Nor can you conclude–simply because I disagree with you on this particular issue–that I don’t really understand the perspective of the bicyclist. I’ve cycled for years, and lived in Holland for several years where I did nothing but ride bikes all day every day. That doesn’t change my perspective that many cyclists along the Wiggle operate in a disrespectful and dangerous manner that needs to be addressed (before the bad blood gets worse).

    “You (or SFPD, or whoever) can’t go around flaunting that bicyclists break the letter of the law when you don’t even understand the laws to be able to draw a larger conclusion of which group is breaking the most laws and causing the greatest danger.”

    Again: I don’t care “which group is breaking the most laws and causing the greatest danger.” That’s irrelevant to my point, and illogical in any event–just because one group is worse doesn’t mean I can’t focus on the less bad group.

    For the fiftieth time, I’m not advocating for cars over bikes, or for enforcing rules against bikes that aren’t enforced against cars, or in any way making any global value judgment about cyclists versus drivers, or cyclists versus pedestrians, or cyclists versus terrorists or kindly old grandmothers or Fozzy the bear.

    Hear me now, oh jd_x! Where I live, along the Wiggle, Cyclists routinely and regularly blow through occupied four-way stops in a way that is disrespectful and dangerous and needs to stop. By the same token, the cyclists standing up for their rights (a movement I fully support) should appreciate that if they protest by screwing up the lives of people who live along the Wiggle, it will be counterproductive. My angst in dealing with it was magnified by what I saw as a self-righteous and disrespectful disparagement of MY rights, when I haven’t done anything to any of the protesters besides try to live peacefully with Wiggle riders.

    It’s just human nature, bro. I’m going to identify potential dangers to my family members and try to rectify them. By the same token, I’m going to respond negatively to people who needlessly interfere with my right to go about my day.

    I get it, you have your issues and your positions on the whole bike/car thing. But that’s your deal, not mine, and you can’t dismiss my legitimate concerns (I’m not dismissing yours) simply because we don’t share the same focus.

    See you on the Wiggle! Hope you stop when I do!

  26.  

    jd_x

    There is a reason protests exist: it’s to fill a gap in a system where laws can’t be changed in the formal official way. This happens all the time, that we realize laws were bad; see slavery for (an extreme) example. And you act like it will be anarchy with this precedent, but yet there is no legitimacy to obeying rules when the statistics show disobeying causes no harm. Instead, enforcing this laws to the letter only becomes institutional discrimination against a minority. However, as is the case with bicyclists rolling stop signs as long as they yield, the statistics actually show that this behavior is safe. So sure, we need to change the law, but that ain’t happening anytime soon and it’s utterly ridiculous to make bicyclist act like cars in the meantime while our car-centric society spends years (at a minimum) to wrap their heads around other ways of transit.

    And if you want a legal system that actually protects people (as opposed to being afraid to change the car-centric status quo), then getting more people to bicycle and considering their unique needs in road design and law enforcement would undisputedly make our society safer (see any study on the health, traffic, resource usage, and environmental benefits of bicycling compared to driving and even public transit usage). People who act like the laws making bicyclists pretend they are cars like to think these were some carefully thought-out laws that some highly intelligent people created for our own safety when they patently were not and were instead done to do something with the second-class citizens that are bicyclists since they didn’t want to give them their own infrastructure, especially in the heady car-centric post-WWII decades when most of our cities were turned over completely to cars. We as a society just said, “We’re not going to make a third parallel transportation system (since pedestrians already have sidewalks, their own lights, etc. and obviously cars have their own system) on our roads and we’ll just lump bicyclists in as cars since … well … since they have wheels! (as in almost every other way they are much closer to a pedestrian than a car, be it weight, speed, power, visibility, maneuverability, etc.)” It’s completely nuts that people can’t release that treating bicycles as a cars was purely an afterthought to avoid dealing with them and not because it will make our society safer.

  27.  

    murphstahoe

    You would probably tell that to Ghandi. And then go have a drink with the Brits and laugh about it.

  28.  

    jd_x

    Yep, because 1) apparently SFPD uses citizen complaints to make policy decisions so in effect the citizens interpretation/understanding of the laws decides how limited law enforcement resources are deployed (hence the problem with complaint-driven enforcement), and 2) you seem to have really strong opinions and are convinced bicyclists are the biggest threat to your safety on the Wiggle and apparently want to improve the situation (assuming you are correct that bicycles are the biggest threat even though there are no statistics to back this up), yet you don’t seem to fully grasp the larger context in which bicyclists operate. You operate from a position that societal inertia wants to push us all, which is to think of bicyclists as second-class citizens who are assholes/scofflaws/whatever and if you think honking at a cyclist is okay, that shows me that you don’t really understand the perspective of the bicyclist. And after all, that’s really the root cause of all this — that many don’t understand what it’s like to ride a bicycle on roads where you are second-class — so it matters. You (or SFPD, or whoever) can’t go around flaunting that bicyclists break the letter of the law when you don’t even understand the laws to be able to draw a larger conclusion of which group is breaking the most laws and causing the greatest danger.

  29.  

    The Colonel

    Haha, Murph, you always kill it. Good one!

  30.  

    murphstahoe

    “I live on the Wiggle, and almost get nailed daily”

    Fool me once, shame on me. Almost get nailed daily – maybe you need to re-evaluate your technique.

  31.  

    extra

    So you want a whole society of people who think that the law doesn’t apply to them. I would rather have a legal system that works for, and protects, the people.

  32.  

    murphstahoe

    No kidding. Just like that loser Gavin Newsom, who should have gone and had state law changed to specifically allow same sex marriage instead of just going out willy nilly issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. It pretty much destroyed his career, what he did. And it’s caused a pretty much lawless society.

  33.  

    murphstahoe

    NAKED PEOPLE!

  34.  

    Deep Streets

    As Andy and Jym mention, it’s about priority and thinking – not worship of signs. The Netherlands using “teeth” indicating priority, but this now being implemented in Poland, too.

    Even the Czech Republic has a priority system on small streets without lights…. for many years. It’s not cycling-optimized but nevertheless makes things much safer for cautious people then does stop signs.

  35.  

    The Colonel

    “First — and this yet further demonstrates the bias against bicyclists since most people (as you’ve demonstrated) don’t even know the laws.”

    Let me get this straight: because I’m not aware of the law you cited, I’m biased against cyclists. That’s the conclusion you’ve drawn. Amazing.

  36.  

    jd_x

    First — and this yet further demonstrates the bias against bicyclists since most people (as you’ve demonstrated) don’t even know the laws — honking is absolutely illegal:
    https://ticketbusters.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/when-honking-your-horn-can-land-you-a-ticket/

    I’ll note specifically:

    “When You Should Not Use Your Horn:
    – If a driver or bicyclist is going slowly, and you want him or her to drive faster or get out of your way. The driver or bicyclist may not be able to safely go faster, due to illness, being lost, intoxication, or having mechanical problems with the vehicle.
    – To alert other drivers that they made a mistake. Your honking may cause them to make more mistakes or to become angry and retaliate.
    – Because you may be angry or upset.

    To honk at pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists unless necessary to avoid a collision. Remember that your horn sounds much louder outside a vehicle.”

    Have you ever been honked at riding a bicycle in an already sketchy situation where you are being squeezed between parked cars with doors that suddenly open and fast-moving motorists on the other side and then had some asshole honk at you and scare the shit out of you when you’re doing everything completely illegal but they can’t wait 5 seconds? Yeah, it totally sucks and good luck finding a single ticket SFPD has ever given to a motorist doing this to a bicyclist. It *never* happens … because SFPD has zero empathy for what it’s like to ride a bicycle on roads where they are effectively second-class citizens.

    Second, this is totally relevant because it shows the bias of SFPD. They claim they care about safety but if they did, they would equally (nay, more so since the threat here is much greater) punish motorists for infringing on bicyclist safety. Yet it never happens. Again, go find evidence of it. You won’t find any. (Hell, just use the statistics Sanford posted at the meeting the other night … not a single one for a motorist jeopardizing a bicyclist’s safety). This is completely relevant because it paints the bigger picture in which the crackdown on bicyclists takes place and proves the hypocrisy of a police department that doesn’t approach a situation unbiased or by statistics.

    Third, fine, I’ll retract my statement that you don’t care. That’s not fair. And in fact, I think most motorists do care if you actually cornered them and asked them, but when they are driving in a system that has made them feel like their convenience let alone safety trumps that of everyone else, so they naturally become “assholes”. It’s funny how motorists stereotype bicyclists as self-centered and entitled when that vibe, when true, is a result of being treated like second-class citizens where their *safety* is routinely jeopardized by *design* and where the cops don’t give a damn, whereas motorists become self-centered and entitled when their *convenience* is jeoparized (and often even that is minimal). That’s why the system needs to change as much as driver behavior needs to change. DMV education of motorists about how to behave safely just around other cars is a joke and it’s an order of magnitude worse when it comes to teach safe behavior around vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists.

    Anyway, getting back to the Wiggle, I don’t think anybody disagrees that bicyclists who disregard anybody else’s safety shouldn’t be ticketed, but that is not what SFPD was doing with this crackdown. They were going for “letter of the law” violations and not “spirit of the law” and mostly just swept up a bunch of people who are actually making the city safer by riding a bicycle. Meanwhile, real violations that are killing and injuring people (mostly by motorists, though occasionally by bicyclists) go completely unchecked because they are dicking around with this crackdown ….

  37.  

    The Colonel

    Well, and I’m not suggesting that my “assessment of risk [be] the basis for policy or enforcement prorities,” am I? If you’ll re-read the page, I haven’t said anything like that.

    This is an interesting exercise. In almost every case, the people who’ve responded to my posts on this past have responded to things I didn’t say. I get it: you guys are entrenched on these arguments, and you’re used to having them go a certain way. But I’m not advocating the ideas you’re arguing against.

    It’s telling, though I’m not sure of what.

  38.  

    Flatlander

    Considering that on average only 26 people are injured by bicyclists each year in San Francisco (with perhaps one of those instances occurring on the wiggle annually), it sounds like your assessment of risk is not a sound basis for policy or enforcement prorities.

  39.  

    The Colonel

    “When I take my kid to work on my bicycle and some asshole motorist nearly hits me coming within inches, would you be so quick to stand up for me like you did for this mother?”

    Absolutely.

    ” I’m sure not.”

    Why is that? I’ve said nothing that would allow you to reach that conclusion.

    “Why is me and my child’s life worth less than this mother’s?”

    Of course it’s not. Why would you ask that?

    “how many tickets do you think the cops give to motorists for buzzing cyclists, right-hooking them, or honking at them?”

    I have no idea (but why would they get a ticket for honking?). In any event–what does that have to do with this discussion? I fully believe San Francisco cyclists should have equal rights on the road, and should be protected in every way. I’m a huge advocate for dedicated bike lanes.

    “Hell, even when a motorist screws up and kills or injuries a bicyclists, then often don’t even get a ticket. That is the issue here.”

    What? No it’s not. The issue here is cyclists stopping at stop signs, and then being jerks when asked to do so. You’re injecting another issue, which seems to be enforcement against bad drivers. I 100% support better police enforcement of bad drivers in the city, too.

    I’ll tell you, though: living along the Wiggle, my family isn’t afraid of cars the way we are of cyclists. Sure, there are asshole drivers who don’t stop and make running turns, but that’s 10% of our worry when crossing the streets. Cyclists are 90%. I have no reason to misrepresent that fact–I’m a lifelong cyclist myself, as is my father. But along the Wiggle, cyclists are the problem.

    “That is the issue here: the ridiculous bias that is quick to point the finger at bicyclists but never to protect them.”

    That’s not the issue here, but in any event: who said I don’t want to protect them? I do. Where have I said anything that would lead to the contrary?

    I’m simply asking for cyclists to be more respectful when they pass through my neighborhood, both by following the law and stopping at stop signs, and by not staging crybaby protests that only harm the same people who have to suffer them every day.

  40.  

    Jym Dyer

    @Mountain Viewer – They use red lights (signalized intersection in general) much as we do. At most intersections, though, there are no signals and no requirement to stop. There may be yield guidance in the form of signs and road markings.

    It’s completely different form the default configuration here, which is to have STOP signs at every intersection.

  41.  

    extra

    This is terrible policy. If Avalos wants to succeed as a politician and improve society, he should take initiative to have the state law changed, not instruct SF residents to break a law and prohibit local cops from enforcing it. This strategy calls into question the legitimacy of all traffic safety laws, and all laws in general.

  42.  

    jd_x

    The Colonel says to murphstahoe: “You’re being willfully reductive.”

    But then later says, “I’m faulting them for being entitled assholes who purposefully jack up the same people who have to live with them daily.”

    Is that not reductionist? When I take my kid to work on my bicycle and some asshole motorist nearly hits me coming within inches, would you be so quick to stand up for me like you did for this mother? I’m sure not, because it happens *every* day to almost every bicyclist who rides more than 10 minutes on any SF road. Why is me and my child’s life worth less than this mother’s? The problem here is, though there is no doubt that some bicyclists can be assholes just like some motorists and some pedestrians, one of these groups — bicyclists — is entirely neglected by the cops (and pedestrians are only given marginally better treatment) … for how many tickets do you think the cops give to motorists for buzzing cyclists, right-hooking them, or honking at them? I’m guessing Sanford has given zero, yet this happens to me almost daily. Hell, even when a motorist screws up and kills or injuries a bicyclists, then often don’t even get a ticket. That is the issue here: the ridiculous bias that is quick to point the finger at bicyclists but never to protect them. That’s what really gets me and proves the bias.

  43.  

    The Colonel

    You’re always quick with a zinger, Murph!

  44.  

    Nicasio Nakamine

    I’m not against it, but compared to park-side protected bike lanes, returning Oak & Fell to two-way streets would be extremely difficult, politically speaking.

  45.  

    The Colonel

    Stop lights.

  46.  

    The Colonel

    You should go back and re-read my posts–I’ve said none of those things. I understand that the battle lines on these issues are so firmly drawn that people have stopped listening and assume they already know what the other side has to say. But let me be clear:

    “You are . . . unwilling to empathize with the cyclists who are frustrated by what they believe is a selective enforcement of the stop sign law.”

    I empathize with the cyclists plenty, and understand that not all the rules of the road apply to them equally. I disagree, however, that San Francisco cyclists should have a right to ignore stop signs (remember: I live on the Wiggle, and almost get nailed daily).

    “Selective enforcement” of the stop sign rule is the status quo. Cyclists routinely disobey stop signs, and it’s generally not enforced. SFPD’s mere suggestion that they would begin enforcing stop signs resulted in a bunch of entitled people having a hissy fit, and disrupting the rest of our lives. Again, I live on the Wiggle–I literally CONSTANTLY have to defer to cyclists, both when I’m driving and walking. The idea that I need to defer to them further by allowing them to gridlock my neighborhood is insulting. Why punish the people along the Wiggle, who already bear the brunt of the City’s obnoxious cyclists (and not all of them are).

    “In the instance that you recounted, you are faulting the bicyclist for following the letter of the law.”

    No, I’m not. I’m praising them for stopping, particularly at the corner of Steiner and Waller, where they very rarely stop. I’m faulting them for being entitled assholes who purposefully jack up the same people who have to live with them daily.

    It doesn’t make me more sympathetic to the cyclists’ cause, it makes me way less sympathetic. I suffer entirely disrespectful behavior from Wiggle cyclists nearly every day, and now I’m being punished further–for what?

    “would you also agree that the mother acted rashly as well as illegally by attempting to go around several stopped vehicles.”

    Illegally, maybe (are you allowed to drive around an obstruction? I think so), rashly? Not at all. The protestors had the entire street blocked, and her car was stuck in the middle–she had no other way out forward or back, so she tried to go around. When you have to pick up your kids, you have to pick up your kids and, trust me, you’ll jump your car over an low-flying plane if it means getting there on time. The protesters gave this mom no choice so she did what any parent would have done.

    The opposite is NOT true of the protestors. who could have easily waged their war on literally anywhere else in the City–City hall, the police station, MARKET STREET–rather than on us Wiggle folks who suffer them daily.

    Trust me: when I was there for the last protest, everyone standing on the sidewalk was critical of the protest. People were laughing, they couldn’t believe the self-entitlement. Honestly, the protesters are only making things worse for people who live along the Wiggle, which will make things worse for Wiggle cyclists in the long run.

  47.  

    roymeo

    or entered on a yellow according to the video footage.

  48.  

    Donovan Lacy

    oh, that must have been why I didn’t see you.

  49.  

    The Colonel

    It ended too soon! We were rushing home from school to make our “THANK YOU FOR STOPPING!” signs but it seems everyone had already moved on.

  50.  

    The Colonel

    Steiner and Waller doesn’t have lights.