Skip to content

Recent Comments



    Helpful advice to motorists turning right across bike lanes: yes, be aware of the risk of approaching cyclists from behind. But also be aware of the risk of hitting the double parked cars in front. :)



    Lets all drive our cars on sidewalks and get “rid” of all pedestrians in one go. Then we can drive at whatever speeds we want without ever having to slow down for cross-walks.

    Is that your ultimate goal?



    This is a very important point. I moonlighted as a Lyft driver a couple years ago when it was still an emerging service. It was fun, but as the service became more widely used, I noticed a steep rise in unrealistic passenger expectations. They would be mildly upset when I didn’t load them exactly where they were standing, especially in bus zones. I made it clear that I was required to pull over safely and legally, which at least made them more understanding when I dropped them off at the nearest curbside clearing (usually a driveway within 50 feet) at their destination rather than next to a parked car in the middle of a traffic lane. I haven’t driven for the past year or so, and I can only imagine how much worse it’s gotten based on my bicycling experience. I’ve all but given up on riding down Valencia Street because the bike lanes are completely filled with double-parked cars, Ubers, and even taxis (they still exist??).



    Nothing that California has ever done has reduced government, I’m not drinking that Kool-aid. The prime driving force behind regionalization is a new method to tax the overall region as a whole. Our long standing democratic process centers around the requirement for developing some sort of consensus, and the process is enhanced by that fact.



    And now the thread is over 50 comments. Rich wins, you lose. Block him, please.



    Merging the Bay Area into a single entity would actually reduce government if done right. Right now there’s a lot of duplication. Not just the jurisdictional overlaps of city-county-region but even between adjacent cities.


    Kristof Didrickson

    Simple UX solution: at the end of the ride, ask the user: ‘Did your driver pick/drop you off in a bike lane?’



    That’s not an exception in the vehicle code–it’s also illegal. SFMTA made the decision to not enforce this law.



    There is an exception, actually, which is elderly and disabled passengers.



    Yes, a cyclist taking a lane in the direction of travel is completely equivalent to a motorist entering oncoming traffic. I wonder why everyone else can’t see it? Its soooo obviously the same thing.



    RichLL has in a previous discussion claimed that if a motorist swerves to avoid an errant motorist and hence kills a cyclist, both the errant motorist and the cyclist are to blame.



    CVC 21751. On a two-lane highway, no vehicle shall
    be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in
    overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the
    same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and
    free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to
    permit such overtaking and passing to be completely
    made without interfering with the safe operation of any
    vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

    Game, set and match!



    That’s it? I don’t see how this super short video will affect behavior.


    Uncle Block

    Don’t Get Uberized – Distractive Technology is Dangerous.


    Guy Ross

    Eye witness as retold by the cops is the same as ‘the cops’.


    Guy Ross

    This is an excellent point and although many ‘mega cities’ are of a unitary municipal government, many of the large cities in the U.S. aren’t and this is a major driving force of sprawl and urban blight.



    Don’t forget the endless construction on each and every street corner.


    Guy Ross

    Rich, in staying true to your well recognized style, you are oblivious to the vehicle code. There are no exceptions for caps. Any vehicle is not allowed to load, unload, or stop in a bike lane if it obstructs the movement of cyclists.

    There is no exception. There is no oppression and there is no double standard.



    Then there was the woman who was raped on a moving Metro train, the Metro police officer who was arrested for aiding ISIS, reports that the whole system may need to shut down for six months to make repairs…the list just goes on and on. A bit more than anecdotal data, wouldn’t you say? In fact, by any metric, Metro is a system in decline.



    Those mega city are not 9 separate counties, and if Jim Wunderman from Bay Area Council has his wish, we will become a super mega-region of 21 counties, ranging from El Dorado county up in the foothills down to Monterey in the central coast. And some government agency is going to homogenize or ‘govern’ that mix? Please. We already have far too much government in California without creating more. The various cities and counties have been making choices for decades that represent their constituents, and we benefit from having a variety of different lifestyles represented. That’s a good thing, and isn’t going away anytime soon.



    farazs, was the cyclist too far to the left or was the cyclist too far to the left? There was enough road width to accommodate two car widths, a bike and reasonable space between them.

    And of course we know there was no actual impact. So it’s not blindingly obvious that the driver is 100% to blame here, which is your assumption. And the eye witnesses and police do not support your view.



    No, in Suyama’s case the 3-foot rule is crucial because there was no impact. For the driver to be at fault simply for “driving too close” to Suyama, then it must be reasonable for a cyclist to lose control and fatally fall from her bike.

    If she over-reacted to a vehicle that was, say, 4 feet away then that reduces the potential blame of that driver, and that is particularly so if Suyama was riding too far to the left.

    And even if the 3-foot rule doesn’t technically apply to oncoming traffic, you’d need a good reason to replace it with another number



    Many US mega cities have a unitary government, as do most foreign mega-cities like London and Tokyo. It is the Bay Area that is the exception. There is nothing about the size of the population that prevents that.



    If the car stops and picks up to the left of the bike lane, then that might be safer for cyclists on that bike lane, but it is less safe for the passenger who now has to walk into the road, and it’s less safe for other vehicles who will be held up by the stopped car in the middle of the road, and may take risks to pass the obstruction.

    So it’s not so much a safer approach for all, but a safer approach for some. Moreover, given that cabs can legally move into a bike lane to pick up or set down passengers, why should Uber be held to a different standard?



    Let’s take out all the pavement in the city. Some of us won’t be able to drive and some won’t be able to ride their tricycles any more.

    Is that your ultimate goal?



    Part of the problem here also is passengers themselves. I have seen numerous comments from Uber and Lyft drivers that their passengers don’t understand why they can’t just pull over to the curb rather than getting to a place where it’s safe to let them out or pick them up.

    In addition, the system of rating drivers exacerbates this situation. Some passengers will give poor ratings to drivers who fail to pick them up or drop them off exactly where they are standing at the curb. It would be helpful if Uber and Lyft could address these concerns by modifying their rating system to account for unreasonable demands from riders as well.



    Good start. Now shoot some videos with the normal chaos of: a blindly-reversing perpendicularly parked car blocked from view by the line of parallel parked cars, an annoyed pedestrian trying to go around them, a jogger approaching a blind-corner, a livid sportscar driver trying to swerve around both the Uber drop-off and the bicyclist passing them on the left, and throw in a MUNI bus or construction truck for good measure.



    Just saying there’s a diversity of opinions…sometimes we want sorta local government, like when Rose Pak opposes a street being permanently closed to traffic sorta near her general focus area.



    Go low, Romeo, go low.



    I think the biggest issue here is that it being at the bottom of the wiggle (creek bed), an actually raised sidewalk could present drainage issues.



    It’s weird that anyone’s pulled out the 3-foot passing minimum definition when it was merely a clarification on what a safe distance was meant to be.
    One is always responsible for driving and passing in a safe manner; no tape measure required.



    Whoa…I don’t see how you could have one government anymore that we don’t have Rose Pak to micromanage traffic flow for everyone.


    Jym Dyer

    @RichLL – My point, which should be obvious to anyone who bothers to read for comprehension, is that the 3-foot rule does not apply in the oncoming lane, and that there’s no excuse for the CHP not to know that.

    It’s your “full responsibility/fair share” blather that is off-topic here. There was a discussion in an entirely different blog entry about costs and the facts of that were explained to you, but here you are just regurgitating the same uninformed opinions where they are completely irrelevant.



    From the Press Democrat article:

    “Sloat said officers are also investigating whether the cyclists would have been considered oncoming traffic at the time Rudin went around the vehicle in front of him. Under state law, motorists can pass another vehicle so long as the left side “is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic.”

    “We’re still investigating whether or not this is a legal pass, and whether it violated the state’s 3-feet law,” Sloat said.”

    The fact that they are even questioning whether or not cyclists are considered oncoming traffic in the first place is stunning, but not when you consider it in the context of another statement he had made here:

    “But CHP Officer Jon Sloat, who reviewed the video, said the incident did not warrant a citation. Instead, he said, the CHP sent a warning letter to the pickup’s registered owner, based on the distance between the two vehicles as they passed.

    “He was awfully close to that other car. We recognize that,” Sloat said.”

    You realize that CHP is more concerned about how close the driver passed the vehicle next to him – not checking to see if there was oncoming traffic, as if the people on bicycles in the opposing lane are completely irrelevant to a safe pass.



    Yeah, there is absolutely nothing the motorist could have done that is between staying at home or performing an illegal and fatal driving manoeuvre. Poor soul had no real choice in the matter.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Glad to help :)



    Thank you, Jeffrey, for all that information. I always learn something from your comments.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Well, under a different plan Brisbane is supposed to gain 11000 jobs by 2040, but also under that plan Brisbane needs to build about 6k housing units.



    One unitary government replacing city/county governments for the roughly 7 million people? Sheesh. Hard to fathom how much worse things would be if the likes of MTC and Bay Area Council were annointed with more power. As is, they operate beyond any level of accountability. Way back when, someone once said “no taxation without representation”.



    Would that figure of 83 housing units still apply if Brisbane created 4-5k jobs at the Baylands?



    Again, please demonstrate that the 3 foot rule applies here, which was the “topic”.



    You are correct. It is pathetic for people in SF to complain that towns in the Peninsula export housing when there is a net daily commute into SF of 400,000.

    The biggest homes deficit in the Bay Area is caused by Sf, which is bailed out mostly by the East Bay



    I’ll buy that water drainage issue requires more study and jacks up the price. What if we did smaller humps on either side of the crosswalk so drivers notice?


    Jeffrey Baker

    San Francisco is doing the majority of the dumping, even today. They are building space for twice as many jobs as residents. This is even blessed, perversely, by Plan Bay Area. Under Play Bay Area, Brisbane need only build 83 housing units by 2022.



    Yeah, I don’t know if there is a legal basis. The entire Bay Area is in throes of a housing and transportation crisis based on the past seventy years of development policies and disaggregated local governments. It just seems madness to me that now that we are well aware of the problems of siting housing far from jobs and transit, that we continue to allow one local government to dump responsibilities on another.


    Jym Dyer

    @RichLL – More off-topic troll blather. Do attempt to stay on-topic if you must blather.



    Er… I meant to say ” commercial always comes out ahead because it creates a greater net revenue stream compared to *residential* “


    Jeffrey Baker

    What would be the basis of such a suit? The city of San Francisco is much further out of line with regional jobs-to-housing ratios than is Brisbane. If anything, the other cities should all be suing San Francisco.



    voltairesmistress – The root cause is economic, When measured by (consumption_of_services / tax_revenue), commercial always comes out ahead because it creates a greater net revenue stream compared to commercial. You don’t need to build schools, create public welfare programs, or need as much emergency services for commercial developments. But the tax can be lucrative.

    If we were to let the invisible hand of the market fix things cities would need to increase residential property taxes. That is really hard to accomplish in the current political environment.



    Surely everyone can see that had I been behind the wheel of that tractor-trailer rig my innate armchair skills and observation would have allowed me to sense danger to the irresponsible cyclists and maneuver the truck in such a way that the cyclist was sent off with a bit of a scare (because he deserves that) but would not have been run over (despite also deserving that).

    Whether this would have been through slowing cautiously, switching to hover mode, or other imaginative but certainly within grasp of my incredible skills is left open to discussion to encourage a diversity of opinions.