Point-Counterpoint on the Recent Topic of Cycling’s “Golden Age”

Didn’t realize the amount of snark that San Francisco Chronicle editorials can have. (Like this recent reference to the “shopping cart set,” for instance. Wow.)

Anyway, point-counterpoint, below.

Boy, this is a genius photo – the traffic lights are red and green at the same time, all Christmas-like. Signals at this intersection still need work.

Here we go:

Pull up at any busy intersection where bikes and cars meet, and it’s often a free-for-all.”

No it’s not. I realize this fits the format of an editorial but it all seems a bit clunky. Is lying allowed here?

“Drivers honk, shout and swerve into bike lanes.”

Well sure, sometimes, but not “at any busy intersection.”

“Riders are allowed the full use of driving lanes, the same as any vehicle.”

False, exactly false, actually. Here’s the rule: “Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway…” There are some exceptions of course but bikes are not treated “the same as any vehicle” under CA law. Do editorialists have editors?

“The city’s network of lanes and suggested riding streets is little known…”

Uh, false? Little known, what?

“….one side-effect of an obstructionist lawsuit that delayed bike lane work for four years until this year.”

The City gambled and lost on CEQA. It took a judge about five minutes to agree that Our City was improperly horsing around with Environmental Impact Report laws. Could it be that CEQA itself is “obstructionist?”

San Francisco clearly wants to accommodate bike riding in a major way. But it must be accompanied by a recognition that bicyclists must follow the rules – and San Francisco police should be willing to enforce them.”

Now this bit here is tacked on at the end, all abrupt-like. So, drivers are allowed California stops in California, especially in San Francisco, as are cyclists, especially in San Francisco. There are reasons why SFPD cops generally don’t hand out tickets to cyclists. So attempting to change that, well, that’s going to take more than a half-assed, error-ridden editorial, right?

I’m think the “Golden Age” of cycling has more than a little to do with the rise of fixed-gear bikes. Talk to a bike store owner about the mountain bike craze – I’m saying I wouldn’t go extrapolating out too far into the future.

But Only Time Will Tell.

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4 Responses to “Point-Counterpoint on the Recent Topic of Cycling’s “Golden Age””

  1. Patrick says:

    In a region with the poorest drivers I’ve seen in most of the world, cyclists are always an easy mark, and if they aren’t it’s driver ranting on each other (deservedly). Many drivers find cyclist pesky simply because they are in their way and Americans more than any other culture know no limits to their right to drive. Other countries do far more to accommodate cyclists, including seperate (and safe) bike lanes. As far as the not stopping. Do motorists really want a bicycle to spend teh extra half-minute in a four way stop ahead of them to really stop, put their foot down, look at them and then proceed?

    At the end of the day, ranting against cyclists is petty and ignorant.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I don’t know, I could name some other countries with worser drivers…

    Seems pretty pointless to make cyclists stop all the way, but that’s what the Chron wants.

    I don’t they meant to come off as ranting, maybe even-handed was what they were going for…

  3. Al says:

    If you keep reading the code, one of the exceptions to riding on the right is: “(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.”

    “Safely side by side” is subjective, of course, but it comes down to ‘any road that doesn’t have unusually generous shoulders’, which, in the city, is more or less ‘any road’.

  4. sfcitizen says:

    I’ve heard that before. Just don’t agree with that interpretation.