Today’s Headlines

  • Looks Like All Systems Go For Central Subway (SFGate)
  • Muni Prop G Lawsuit: Work Environment Under Contract Is “Unsafe and Unfair” (BCN via Appeal)
  • Muni Equipment Flies Off of Overhead Wire Into Office Building on Bush St. (BCN via Mercury News)
  • Police Searching For Hit-and-Run Suspect in Early-Morning Fatal Car Drash Downtown (SF Examiner)
  • Sex Crimes Ride Under the Radar on Bay Area Transit (Bay Citizen)
  • Drunk Driver Pleads No Contest After Crash in Muni Tunnel (SFGate)
  • Devious Nevius Is Back With a Vengeance Sensationalizing Bike/Ped Conflict On the Wiggle (SFGate)
  • Wigg Party’s Morgan Fitzgibbons Back With a Response (HuffPo)
  • More on the Driver Cited in Tenderloin Ped Crash (SF Examiner)
  • Downtown Employee Bike Parking Proposal Headed to Full Board of Supes (CBS 5)
  • BART Considers How to Raise Fares This Year (SFGate)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • No offense intended, @facebook-518248622:disqus but if you’re going to give up that easily then I don’t know what you hoped to achieve. We don’t expect motorists to take ownership of the fact that they don’t all drive like saints, why do you expect it of cyclists?

    Since you seem to be coming at this as a pedestrian, do you go onto local motor-enthusiast forums and ask them similar questions?

  • Again, with the blame game…I thought this blog was about the streets…apparently it’s just about the people on bikes.

    Again, enjoy your echo chamber…I’m out.

  • Anonymous

    @facebook-518248622:disqus I’ve been following your posts, and you seem like a reasonable/rational person with some good viewpoints. But like @google-c1054b713ae4d63cc3ebaf620c20fb35:disqus said, you can’t give up that easily if you really care. You seem like the kind of person that should be part of this discussion. Nobody said this was going to be easy (and god knows cyclists, *the* most neglected group in urban design for almost a century, understand difficult battles), so don’t give up just because a lot of people here — who have thought and discussed these issues a *lot* — don’t agree with you. In my experience, just about everybody who has responded to your posts on this page knows a lot about the issues at hand and are reasonable. Maybe some get a little blunt though when they have to keep rehashing the same basic argument over and over whenever somebody new steps into the discussion, so that perhaps is the main flaw of the community here. However, overall, I think you’ll find that the vast majority of people who comment here have some really good points that, though they might be counter to the standard conventional wisdom (like that reflected by Nevius), make a lot of sense if you listen to them and put aside the car-centric bias of our current urban design and law enforcement.

    For when you consider the big picture of making our cities safer for people (not, however, more efficient for cars to drive through and park in), then you quickly find that, even with the small percentage of cyclists who are self-centered idiots who risk pedestrians safely, getting more people on bicycles is a HUGE net gain for our society in every single way:

    – reducing risks of accidents (even with the same percentage of jerks on bicycles as in cars, since it’s just physics with bicycles weighing way less than cars and traveling slower)
    – reducing consumption of limited environmental resources, especially oil
    – improving the cyclist’s mental and physical health
    – improving the mental and physical health of all others, even motorists, since bicycles emit less pollution and cause much less noise (the latter being, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated advantages of bicycles)
    – reducing space used for transit and returning it to either more real estate (which increases supply and lowers rent) or green space

    So completely neglecting all these advantages while only concentrating on the fact that, yeah, sure there are some jerks on bikes, as Nevius does in his articles, shows complete bias. Nevius’ articles feed to people who want to keep believing that bicycles are somehow a net disadvantage to our city, and that is patently wrong (see the above points). He feeds a small but vocal group of irrational, car-centric people and therefore you shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of cyclists — who already have to tolerate daily their convenience *and* safety routinely trumped for the convenience of motorist — find his irrational “logic” not just annoying but dangerous. You simply *cannot* talk about the bad behavior of minority of cyclists in a vacuum since the city has finite resources with which to deal with our problems. Sure, if bicycling was truly anywhere near the top of threats to pedestrians, then it would make sense to crack down on the bad-behaving cyclists. But the reality is, the main threat — by orders of magnitude — faced by pedestrians is that due to cars. Yet the cops spend a disproportionate amount of energy on cracking down on cyclists.

    So to get so many people (see the comments of Nevius’ articles) up in arms while those same people have no anger whatsoever for the hundreds of people injured or killed by cars in this city every year, is complete misplaced priorities. And that is what this all about. Even with a small percentage of bicyclists being douchebags and threatening pedestrians, getting everybody on bicycles and out of cars would be a HUGE improvement to pedestrian safety. And yet absolutely *nobody* on SFGate talks about this. The silence on this issues compared to the noise over cyclists on the Wiggle is truly stunning and shows the massive bias our society perpetuates against everybody but motorists.

  • mikesonn

    @jd_x:disqus Yes!

  • Aaron Bialick

    I saw a good example today from Copenhagen that relates to this. Police are performing stings on cyclists to meet quotas (they state this openly), and there was a quote in an article from a researcher at the Danish Cyclist Federation:

    “What happens in our bicycle culture is that there is a pragmatic interpretation of the rules. People think that as long as they don’t bother others, they can bend the rules here and there.”

    “A survey has shown that 75% of respondants have turned right on a red light within the past couple of months and by far the most of them think that it was okay to do so. So there is a conventional practice of ignoring the red light and an unspoken norm that it doesn’t matter, as long as you take care of pedestrians.”

    It’s much like stop signs here. The stop sign laws make no practical sense for people on bikes, so of course the vast majority don’t stop at signs if they can see they aren’t getting in anyone else’s way.

    @facebook-518248622:disqus  , let’s take a ride on the Wiggle and stop at every sign regardless if the right of way is clear or not. I imagine it’ll make a lot more sense to you why, as long as you are respectful of others, there is no need to make a full stop, and trying to do so would be very difficult.On a bike, the limitations and impacts of cars don’t apply – you don’t have a metal frame around you hindering your vision, you have a much greater ability to hear others since you’re in the open air, and even if you need to stop, you can do it much more quickly.

    It may often appear that someone is “blowing” through a stop sign when in reality, they are vigilant – it’s just not visible. Many riders especially tend to take right turns quickly if they see the way is clear since they aren’t crossing as many paths. Should they slow down, be vigilant, and ready to brake on approach? Of course. But the next time you see someone roll through a stop sign, just remember that it doesn’t necessarily mean they would not have yielded to a pedestrian had one been crossing.

  • 94103er

    Take that recent Chron article about red-light cameras, for another example. There was mention of a study done on a particular intersection (admittedly not in SF, but oh the hazards peds face in the burbs!) in which the vast majority of violations cited–and there were an awful lot in that time period studied–were for rolling through a right on red. It’s safe to say there’s insufficient outrage on behalf of peds or bikes to merit the page views for a Nevius column on that.

    OK Chuck, your next column idea: the camera at Fell and Masonic. I mean, jeez, how terrible that cars can’t turn left on red (or a red arrow) without consequences!

  • peternatural

    I agree with Morgan Fitzgibbons that the problem with Nevius’s blog post is that he’s pretending that rude/dangerous bicyclists are the vast majority (19 out of 20). In my experience it’s more like 1 in 20. (Fitzgibbons says 2 or 3 in 20).

    I often walk in the lower Haight along the route of the Wiggle, and if you’re trying to experience for yourself the problem of rude/dangerous bicyclists, it’s mighty hard to do! (Cyclists rolling through deserted 4-way stops don’t count.)

    First, you have to cross the street when a bicyclist is approaching closely enough to cause a conflict. If the volume of cyclists is about 20 per 5 minute period, then that’s 4 per minute. If each one presents a potential conflict for about 2.5 seconds, then about 5/6 of the times you try crossing the street, there’s no bicyclist to conflict with. If the actual fraction of rude/dangerous bicyclists is 1 in 10, then 59/60ths of the time you cross the street, there’s no conflict, and 1/60th of the time, there is. That’s about what I experience. (Sorry, Jason, but that’s not a “lie”).

    Now, if you’re in the habit of not paying much attention when you cross the street, then those occasional conflicts are going to suck (maybe even get you injured), and you’ll be mad as hell about it. (The cars will also get you in that case). But if you bother to check out your surroundings, it will only amount to a very occasional, very brief delay, as you slow down slightly to let through a rude/dangerous bicyclist who should have yielded to you instead of the other way around. Big whoop.