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    This is true, I hadn’t thought about our roundabouts being in place of stop signs. Although really our roundabouts are more give way/yield signs than stop signs I would have thought.


    Andy Chow

    Talking to the driver is actually easier. And no, destinations is not street addresses and coordinates. If I want to be picked up lets say in front of door A of building B, GPS isn’t going to give you that kind of details. May be during the day you can stand by the curb and spot for the vehicle to stop anywhere it can, but you probably don’t want to do it late at night or in the rain.

    I see it kind of like On-Star or satellite radio, some kind of a paid service. So if you want to pay $79 a month with a two year contract, then you have unlimited self driving feature, or pay $20 for each trip. If this is the direction that it is going, many people will continue to drive themselves on normal commute.

    The trend is selling software as a service. This type of technology most likely will have frequent updates. So I don’t see this to happen without some kind of subscription, some kind of ongoing financial commitment from the customer.


    Andy Chow

    There should be a robot spouse as well because human spouse can sometimes say no, some could be abusive, and there can be frequent arguments.

    These days why would people still prefer actual people answering phones for customer service/technical support rather than some machines. Human customer service agents can sometimes be unhelpful.



    The point is, I don’t need to talk to the human driver to make my destination change. I do so, out of courtesy, but if the whole thing was automated it would work just as well, if not better. Destinations are just street addresses or coordinates.

    I imagine that self-driving will be a feature of your car that you can turn on or off, rather than something that is always on. That way, you can have full control of the vehicle when you choose, and leave it to the computer when you choose. Some people will use autopilot for every trip, and some people will use it only when they are too tired (or drunk) to drive themselves. It will not be something that is forced on to people, and personal preference will be a factor in how it is used.



    With your example there’s a human driver that you can talk to.

    There’s also no human driver who is going to crash, attack a passenger, etc…


    Andy Chow

    With your example there’s a human driver that you can talk to. You can also make minor requests that are available through the app. Destinations are not just street addresses or coordinates.

    There will always be a market for those who want a car convenience but do not envision themselves driving a vehicle for whatever reason. But I don’t see it as a desirable replacement for those who like to have full control of the vehicle. It is kind of like vegetarian meat, a product that can be consumed by non-vegetarians, and might convert some people to become vegetarians, but is not going to take any significant market share from meat products.


    Andy Chow

    We don’t know if collision rates will go down, especially compared to other implementation to either prevent or warn on-coming dangers while allowing normal control by the driver.

    If there are major collisions, the payout would be higher compared to regular drivers because if it is caused by a flaw in the computer system that means it can be replicated, as well as the fact that companies that will build this product are very wealthy.

    Car accident attorneys like to look for faults caused by manufacturers so they can win a much higher payouts.

    I don’t think that most people want to essentially give up control of the vehicle, but I think most would welcome technologies to warn dangers or prevent collisions by overriding at critical moments. So I don’t agree with the idea that people would want to become a child to be driven all the time, and I don’t think that is necessary to obtain the safety benefits.


    Upright Biker

    THE STUDY!!!!



    Good. There are many better ways for cops to use their time in SF.



    Given a notably large proportion of KTVU’s many commercials are advertisements for automobiles, and given the local Fox affiliate’s favored demographic is suburban motorists, the constant bias against bicyclists is par for the course. They literally get paid to gin up and amplify opposition to alternatives to driving cars.



    STOP whining



    Can’t wait to see Rob Anderson’s tin foil hat blog post on this one!



    KTVU used to have such an excellent news staff, but that was a decade ago. Like most news organizations it’s been hollowed out by budget cuts, and is only a shadow of what it once was. Sad.



    “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”
    -Abraham Lincoln



    I have been advised by the San Francisco Bicycle Advisory Committee that I don’t even need to stop. If I roll across the line at 1 mph, I should not get cited, and if I did my chances in court would be good. So no to your point. There is a discrepancy between the spirit and the letter of the law here.



    In the scenario you describe I imagine it would be the same as for a Stop-sign controlled junction. The first car to arrive at the line has right of way regardless of their intended direction. You still have to slow down and if necessary stop for a Yield sign.



    Sorry, that was a bit rough on my part. Either I didn’t fully read your response or just mis-understood it. To be fair, it’s quite possible that in the UK a choice was made between a roundabout and a traffic light or stop sign. I agree with you about roundabouts being a more fluent solution. And about replacing the Stop signs with Yield signs.



    It’s a huge pain in the neck. Most people roll through the stop signs when there’s no need to stop, which is why this ordinance is being proposed. The status quo is stupid in that it makes scofflaws of people who have no wish to break the law and in other ways are law-abiding citizens. It’s broke, it needs to be fixed.



    KTVU’s reporting about urban transportation issues is typically a joke and this segment is no different.



    Er, a (UK) “Give Way” sign is the equivalent of a (US) “Yield” sign. That said, I still prefer roundabouts, because they do a better job of keeping the traffic moving.


    Mesozoic Polk

    Aaron, did you receive the application that @disqus_SEeoxsAvKA:disqus and I sent to become co-editors of Streetsblog? Thanks for your consideration!



    The only empirical evidence of increasing danger is in Idaho, where this law has been followed statewide for 23 years. There has been no increase in bike/car and bike/ped accidents that can be attributed to the Idaho Stop Law. Therefore Suhr’s example is legitimate only in as far as it states laws should not change even when they don’t make sense. As Bialack says, Suhr doesn’t get it. My analysis is he either lacks the thinking power to get it, or he’s just being bloody-minded.

    And to counter your second point: I’ve seen cyclists hit and killed by car drivers, and have been hit and injured myself when following the law.

    To your final point: No, they won’t allow that, and this stop law certainly won’t encourage that.


    Darksoul SF

    The sign says “Stop” not yield unless stated otherwise.



    RichLL, you are mis-informed. Give Way signs just make more sense than Stop signs in many cases. You should try it some time.



    You are quite correct in your analysis. Sanford, Suhr and their like lack the education and experience to have a well-formed opinion on this subject. By this I mean they’ve not ridden bikes regularly in the manner suggested by the new stop prop, so they don’t really know what they’re talking about.


    Darksoul SF

    He made a legit example

    STOP means stop.



    According to the only working model in the country, in Idaho, accident figures didn’t increase when the ‘Idaho Stop Law’ was introduced. So there is no empirical evidence to back your claim, and Suhr’s position reflects more a case of stubborn opinion than clear thinking on an important subject. That’s why I think he lacks the smarts for his job.



    I see the basis for your point, and I agree it now is more heavily incumbent on cyclists than ever to yield right of way. But equally, pedestrians need to exercise restraint when they see a cyclist has entered the junction box before they started crossing, and stay on the sidewalk. I cannot tell you the number of times I, as a cyclist, have been shouted at by an indignant pedestrian who has not yielded when its my right of way.


    Darksoul SF

    Regarding the Bike Yield at Stop SIgn Law… If the law passes – The next law would allow bike people yield at RED LIGHTS.

    If the law really passes..

    The word “STOP” is nothing


    Bob Gunderson

    I should have known Aaron wasn’t finished ruining San Francisco.



    Maybe Chief Suhr is just not qualified intellectually for the job?


    Darksoul SF

    Aaron Bialick are you going take over SFMTA twitter too?



    From the KRON piece:

    At the corner of Van Ness and Union in San Francisco, it’s a busy strip of road. And it’s made all the busier with the big tech buses picking up and dropping off.

    Oh, KRON. It’s made all the less busy by the buses.

    Each bus *replaces* scores of individual cars.

    Get rid of the buses? Many people will just get cars and drive.

    Actually, it doesn’t even take all that many to switch to driving to make the problem disproportionately worse–since such buses’ footprints are barely 2-3x that of an individual car, all it takes is only 2 or 3 of their riders to switch to driving to make congestion calculably worse.

    Also, activists who were actually concerned about housing policy and displacement would bother to show up to protest city council meetings in places like Mountain View, Mill Valley and Milpitas when they decide yet again (this happens all the time) to maintain the single-family-home-only status quo.

    Of course that doesn’t make for as sexy a photo-op as standing in front of a bus (which is far more a symptom of a major problem rather than its cause).

    The housing shortage crisis is a regional issue which every community in the Bay Area needs to reckon for.



    Actually the law is not crystal clear and there is confusion, even among police officers as to how it should be applied. Some people stop but fail to put their foot down and are still cited by the police. Some of the police officers say they won’t cite under those circumstances, but other say they will. This ambiguity was the cause of the uproar from many of the more cautious people who ride bikes more than anything else. What people want is clarity around behavior that is truly dangerous (blowing through intersections) vs. that which is not (yielding and proceeding with caution).



    Sad to see you leave Streetsblog but looking forward to what’s new for both this publication and SFMTA!


    Golden Gate Shark

    That is awesome. I love having someone like you on the inside.. Best of luck



    Enforcement is uneven now, yes, but the law right now is crystal clear.


    David Polse


    Rick Bernardi

    Actually, police have no duty to act if they see you breaking a law. It’s entirely discretionary.



    Regarding the travel incentives to shift some people to use BART during non-peak, rather than “coupons, giveaways or discounts at stores or restaurants near BART stations” which seem clumsy and resource heavy with likely insignificant results, why not do this instead…next time BART plans to raise its fares, raise them for travel done during peak hours and leave off-peak hours at current prices. Peak hour pricing is being used in many applications – why not BART?



    The priority thing only means that if he simultaneously sees a dozen donuts, he will instead pursue them.




    The semi-rural Sausalito intersection without sidewalks, crosswalk or any pedestrian ever?

    Actually, people walk on that stretch a lot more than you might think (often with dogs). Remember, visually narrow shared-space streets can work successfully in SF, too:


    Mountain Viewer

    The semi-rural Sausalito intersection without sidewalks, crosswalk or any pedestrian ever? Sure, *that* intersection could do without the companion “road kill” sign.



    You’re talking about this, right?

    I’ve been here 6 years. When I got here the Bike Plan injunction was still in place, and the city was a terrible place to bike. I’ve seen biking infrastructure improve by leaps and bounds since then.

    I can’t believe that drivers wouldn’t get used to mini-roundabouts with better signage. The one used on the Haight traffic circle pictured in the SF Gate article is a ‘keep right of central divider’ sign, which is totally inappropriate. You need a yellow sign showing how to navigate the roundabout, and a yield sign with the words ‘YIELD TO TRAFFIC IN ROUNDABOUT’ below it for good measure.



    It doesn’t have to be a mandate — if accident rates go down significantly, then there will be a huge difference in insurance costs. When the insurance pool for human driven vehicles shrinks, eventually only high risk users will be left in the human driven vehicle pool. As a result regular vehicles will be economically unfeasible to operate and only a small subset of the population will want to operate a human driven vehicle.



    Replacing stop signs with yield right of way is a good idea but will only work at two way stops, not four way stop intersections.

    You can do this, though:

    (see further comments to jonobate on this topic further down the thread).



    See comment to Chris King below.



    Replacing stop signs with yield right of way is a good idea but will only work at two way stops, not four way stop intersections.

    The problem with the Avalos proposal is it doesn’t seem to acknowledge that stop sign and traffic light violations are covered by different sections of the vehicle code and are of a different magnitudes of seriousness. They shouldn’t be lumped together. Traffic light intersections, especially on Van Ness and on some parts of Polk are deceptively dangerous – and it’s really difficult to tell how fast cars are moving over hilly terrain, especially if you are moving at the same time.

    But it’s really as a pedestrian – I haven’t driven a car in 20 years – that i have difficulty with the traffic light part of the proposed legislation. This morning I started to cross Polk at Clay on the walk signal and was cut off by a bicyclist. It was ok and I know cars are more dangerous but it’s much easier for a pedestrian to see cars and anticipate what they’re going to do at a traffic light. Bicycles often catch you by surprise.



    If we’re talking about minor neighborhood streets here the key is visual narrowing so drivers are unable to go much over a crawling pace in the first place. For example, at this small neighborhood intersection in Sausalito the streets are narrow enough that no one can go much over walking pace:

    In addition, there aren’t even sidewalks so the presence of people on foot in the roadway + street parking + 2-way traffic further slows down vehicular traffic to a crawl. Though practically every time I’ve gone through there there have always been moving cars around I’ve never had a problem on bike or foot there.

    The key is for minor neighborhood streets to be visually narrowed/calmed enough that there’s no real possibility to speed through them in the first place. This has already been done on some streets in SF, but could be done much more pervasively:

    It’s currently being done on Bartlett St in the Mission, formerly resembling your average neighborhood street whose car space was overly wide:

    And becoming a much narrower lane for vehicles–notice how narrow the upcoming travel lane will be compared to what it used to be:



    Moreover, being the “lowest” enforcement priority still means that you can get a ticket. If a cop sees you breaking the law then he is duty bound to act. The priority thing only means that if he simultaneously sees someone doing something worse, he will instead pursue them. And I suspect that is the case now anyway.

    Either something is lawful or it is unlawful. There is not a third category of “unlawful but I will probably get away with it because it is cops’ lowest priority”.