Archive for the ‘bikes’ Category

Man, Teaching Adults How to Ride Bikes in Golden Gate Park Involves a Lot of Pushing of Bikes – A Lot!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

I’ll tell you, I’ve taught people how to ride bikes over the years, and I’ll tell you the amount of hours spent teaching all those people how to push bikes, well, that has been exactly zero.

And yet in these courses, as seen in the Panhandle, that seems to be all they do, just pushing bikes around in formation:

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And we can’t have a helmet law in CA because that teaches people that cycling can be dangerous, and yet helmets and safety vests appear to be Job One here.

Just saying….

I’ll tell you man, the people who want to ride bikes in Frisco are already riding bikes in Frisco. They don’t need to be coaxed or cajoled – they’re already doing it, you know, naturally. And if you, and you know who you are, if you think that this is the way to get a five-fold increase in cycling in San Francisco in the remaining five years ’til 2020, well, you’re sadly mistaken.

Is bike riding a religion or just another way to get around town?

You tell me, Babe.

You tell me.

Oh No, Shaming! – “Referee the Wiggle” Event Coming April 23rd to “Red Card” Cyclists at Infamous Waller and Steiner

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

I’ll tell you, I’m not a big fan of the vaunted The Wiggle bike route and here’s why:

FOR MOST PEOPLE, THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO GET FROM THE PANHANDLE TO DOWNTOWN, TO GET THERE AND BACK AGAIN

That’s why. This was my stab at promoting the Northern Wiggle,* aka the McAllister Pass,** aka the Hastings Cutoff. *** Some people listened, but most did not, oh well.

Anyway, aside from this route being a third of a mile shorter and faster and safer and relatively ped-free, it NEVER gets any SFPD Bicycle Enforcement Actions, the way, say, the intersection of Waller and Steiner gets.

Speaking of which, now more people are joining the SFPD, to “referee the Wiggle,” if only for a short time.

Here it is:

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“Referee the Wiggle
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 3:00pm – 3:30 pm
Waller and Steiner st – The Wiggle

While 95% of cyclists using the Wiggle are really incredibly respectful of other road users, there is that small minority who give us all a bad name. I’ve always wanted to dress as a referee and hand out yellow and red cards to bad cyclists (and maybe some cars and peds too) and I’m using NOW! as my excuse!

Come join me in shaming the few bad cyclists out there and making the Wiggle just a little bit safer and more courteous!”

*I, myself, wiggle from street to street north of the Panhandle on my way inbound to Fulton and Scott – it depends on traffic.

**The pass over Alamo Heights, which the Southern Wiggle route mostly avoids by generally following the route of the former creek what used to drain the kind of valley where the Golden Gate Park Panhandle sits now.

***Named for Landsford Hastings, a distant cousin, surely, of UC Hastings’ Justice Serranus Clinton Hastings.

Electric-Powered Skateboards and Bicycles Take San Francisco By Storm, Sort Of

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

And when I say sort of, I mean like this, a rare scene with three of them together in a kind of electric skater / biker gang in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park…

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…one used to be even rarer.

Is this Our Transportation Future?

Frisco Traffic – Big Wheel Up Front, Tiny Wheel Out Back – Are Pennyfarthings Legal on the Streets of San Francisco?

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

IDK. These rides certainly were not legal on CA streets a while back, but I’d have to look up what the current law says, something about being able to skid a wheel on dry pavement.

Anyway, here you go, in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle:

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Dorsal view:

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Brutal: Membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is Down More Than 20% the Past Couple Years – Actual Numbers Here

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

[This blog isn’t about me, Gentle Reader, and it might not look it, but I have more hours, miles, years, decades, whatever on a bike on the Streets of San Francisco than anybody at the SFBC, which is practically an arm of SFGov these days, relying on the gov’mint for hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and, in return, endorsing Ed Lee for Mayor without, of course, having a vote from its Members. Speaking of which…]

Oh, wow, Man. I knew that membership was down big-time at the SFBC, but hadn’t realized it had fallen to 9315.* Now let’s hear from SFBC member Edward Hasbrouck:

“Did you know that the membership of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has fallen by more than 20 percent in the last two years? The cover of the Winter 2013 “Tube Times” had the tagline “12,000 members strong.” By November 2014, there were only 9,315 members on our rolls! Why has our membership gone down? Why so dramatically? And why now?”

Well I’ll field that one. The SFBC lost its discount at Rainbow Grocery – that was huge.

And here’s another stab at it:

“Looks like a large decline in membership. I was a member for only one year, back when Ms. Shahum was always boasting about 12,000 members. I let my membership lapse because I concluded that the SFBC was a faith-based evangelical mission more concerned with people who don’t (yet) ride bikes** than people like my friends and me who ride thousands of miles every year.”

The SFBC doesn’t want to lose influence with SFGov, so it wants to hide this embarrassing decline, simply.

(Hey, has the SFBC endorsed Ed Lee for Mayor again this year? IDK. Perhaps the Board enjoys real estate inflation, the way most of its Members do not…)

OK, have at it, it’s all there, after the jump.

*The SFBC switched accountants and tax strategies changed at the SFBC, so it’s difficult to divine the drop of the number of SFBC Members by looking at what’s available online. Oh, and that was before the SFBC decided to hide a lot of information that had previously been freely posted online. Also, you don’t know if they’ve filed amended returns or how the IRS has reacted to the newer approach. This a touchy issue for the SFBC, needless to say.

**Indeed. For ex, the SFBC considers getting faster riders to stop using the estern end of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park a kind of victory. 

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Tourists Riding Rented Bikes on Fell Street: Which is Worse, Cruising on the Left Side or the RIght Side?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Up first we have the Left Side candidates, who have decided to go without smellmets:

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Cf. the Right Side candidates, spotted a few days later:

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I’m thinking I prefer the right side option, as your typical driver (which of course you should assume just got released from prison a week ago, and is uninsured, and is driving an unregistered vehicle) would be less surprised to see you there.

Mind you, none of these bicyclists was “taking the lane” improperly – all were biking legally.

But foolishly, IMO.

The best option would have been the Panhandle Bike Path, which is just to the left of the left lane of Fell, but these tourists didn’t seem to be aware of its existence.

Perhaps their tourist maps led them astray…

A Few of the Problems With Scott Wiener’s Announcement of a Massive Increase in Bay Area Bike Share (BABS)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: Oh, another press release has arrived – see it after the jump. I don’t know, maybe if I got hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from SFGov, I’d fall into the Reality Distortion Zone as well, who knows. In the meantime I’ll just try to make SFGov better, and I’ll leave my pompoms with the mothballs]

The news of the day:

We’re moving forward w massive expansion of in , 4 other cities. Huge step forward 4 :

All right, I’ll bite.

1. Just listen to yourself, Scott Wiener:

“Forward … massive … huge … forward”

Are you running for re-election 24-7?

2. So what do words mean? If I pay $9 for the privilege of riding a super-heavy bike for less than a half-hour, how is that “transit?” Let’s see here, transit, of course, is:

“…a shared passenger transport service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, carpooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement. Public transport modes include city buses, trolleybuses, trams (or light rail) and passenger trains,rapid transit (metro/subways/undergrounds etc) and ferries. Public transport between cities is dominated by airlines, coaches, and intercity rail. High-speed rail networks are being developed in many parts of the world.

So bikes isn’t transit, d’accord? D’accord.

3. Isn’t your vaunted “Motivate” company really just Alta Bicycle Share? Don’t they have / had / will have a lot of workers’ rights / union organizing problems? Oh yes, yes they do / did / will! And yet, Scott Wiener goes after Google / Rebecca Prozan for what, what exactly? Imagine the blowback if Google or Facebook or Apple or one of its contractors started firing employees for union organizing? Well, let’s take a look at Motivate / Alta right here – and this is its side of the story. Take a look, take a look right here at your vaunted “partner.”

4. Does a “public-private partnership” imply a massive advertising deal is coming our way? Enquiring Minds Want To Know. I hope your partner’s “advertising partner” will be Coke, cause, you know, Coke Adds Life, right?

5. How often do the existing bikes get used these days? Not that much, right? And has traffic in San Francisco actually “improved” since Alta’s bike share thing came into SF? I don’t think so. I think it’s gotten worse, actually.

6. And is Scott Wiener really claiming credit for Bay Area Bike Share “oversight?” Well, how’s he doing? Not so hot, based upon its abysmal 2-star rating on Yelp, right? (And Yelp gives you one star just for showing up – like a two star restaurant won’t be in business very much longer. Of course, a fee and tax payer backed bike share program can last forever, right?) And these poor reviews don’t factor in the tens of millions of dollars the existing small program already costs us. What’s the public subsidy per ride? It’s pretty massive. And yet, people don’t seem to like it all that much. Mmmm… How many bikes could we just buy for people and give away for that same amount of money?

7. Oh, this isn’t your deal Scott Wiener? You’re simply “applauding” / patting your self on the back?

So Scott Wiener, to review, BABS isn’t transit, it isn’t very good, it’s costs us a lot of money already and the private part of your new public private partnership has a record of being quite hostile to organized labor.

Oh well.

SUPERVISOR WIENER’S STATEMENT APPLAUDING NEW PROPOSAL TO EXPAND BAY AREA BIKE SHARE

Proposal announced today by the Mayors of five Bay Area cities and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission – on which Supervisor Wiener serves — will expand the regional bike share network through a public-private partnership

San Francisco – Today Supervisor Scott Wiener released the following statement after the Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville announced a proposal to partner with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to expand the Bay Area bike share program by entering into a public-private partnership with Motivate:

“I applaud this proposal to dramatically expand bike share in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” said Supervisor Wiener, who serves as a Commissioner on the MTC. “A robust and sustainable bike share network is a key part of being a Transit First city and will allow us to reap the benefits of bike share, including reducing traffic, improving public transit, and stimulating the local economy. I’ve been an active supporter of bike share at both the MTC and the Board of Supervisors, and I will continue to work to bring this critical transit program to more neighborhoods in San Francisco.”

Supervisor Wiener has been involved in Bay Area Bike Share for several years, including oversight hearings and workings with the MTA, MTC, and other stakeholders to ensure a full rollout of the program.

Motivate’s proposal includes expanding the number of bikes in San Francisco to 4,500, up from the current 328. The number of bikes regionally would increase to 7,000 from 700. This expansion would not be funded by public tax dollars. The MTC’s Administration Committee will consider the proposal at its next meeting on April 8th, after which it will go to the full Commission. New stations are slated to be installed starting in 2016.

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Debunking the Debunkers: “Charles Vincent, Chris Bucchere, and the SFPD”

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Look what popped up in my inbox:

Saturday, March 28, 2015 Charles Vincent, Chris Bucchere, and SFPD

Take a look and then come back here – that’s how the dedebunking business works.

On March 2nd Charles Vincent, 66 years old, was riding his bike at the intersection of 14th and Folsom in San Francisco when…

When he ran a red light, per the SFPD police report (which I’ve ask to see, but haven’t seen yet), right? The problem with telling the story the way DJ Connel tells things, is that that makes it StreetsBlog-style advocacy journalism. Why not instead tell the story straight? Moving on.

“The DA is not gonna charge that person with a crime because…”

Because the DA would have to get a guilty verdict from a notoriously-slack San Francisco jury. By way of example, you and your GF can have about 14 drinks at the Foodies’ New Favorite Bay Area Restaurant and then run over a Eurpoean visitor and then stop and then move his bicycle off of the street(!) and then switch seats and then make a run for it and then, later on, you get a little bit of jail time, less than a year, perhaps just a few months. So that’s your because. IMO, a different question is whose fault the accident is. (I thought the PR said it was the cyclist’s?)

If someone is in violation of code, it’s sanctionable to kill them with your own violation?

Well maybe, it depends on how the violation relates to the harm. (I’ll point out that sanctionable is a particularly poor word choice here.)

Rewind to the Chris Bucchere case…. Chris rode his bike at approximately 31 mph…

Oh no no no. It was “at least 31 MPH.” If you want to go for “approximately,” then the answer if 35 MPH.

This case brought out a wave of rage against Chris, indeed against cyclists in general, which caused the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to attack him…

Whoa, slow down here. What happened was that he got carried away with Strava, so he’d repeatedly “bomb” down segments of steep streets to see how fast he could complete the “Castro Street Bomb” or the “XXth Street Bomb” and, even though he was experienced with how pedestrians behave on Market street, he crossed over it way over the limit and then he made a bizarre post on the Internet. So if that’s what you want to simply call “the case,” that’s fine, but there’s a reason why this accident became international news. I certainly didn’t feel any “wave of rage” directed at me and I don’t think that the SFBC would have cheered him on absent any purported generalized wave of rage. The people who were really mad were on SF2G, boards like that. Bucchere was way off the scale.

Indeed there’s little question Chris was being reckless…”

Oh, this is quite an admission. The next step after reckless is purposeful, and nobody thinks this accident was purposeful, right? So, yes, pretty reckless. Something I do after I’ve entered an intersection legally, you know, IRL legally, is to stop just before the crosswalk at the far side of the intersection, so as to avoid hitting one or more of SF’s horrible peds. Too bad Bucchere couldn’t have thought of that. Or even slowing down a little bit – that could have helped a lot.

“But the question is here is one of fairness, whether drivers are treated comparably to cyclists…”

Well, let’s look at the case of Randolph Ang. No 35 MPH, no Strava “King of the Hill” aspirations, no internet ode to a bicycle helmet posted five hours later. He got community service, performed at, at least in part, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. No felony conviction, certainly. His post-accident behavior seemed more understandable, right?

The Bucchere case, on the other hand, went something like this: A: “That speeding cyclist blew through the stop sign and hit the pedestrians legally crossing the intersection – throw the book at him!” 

Uh no, for a lot of reasons. The people who voiced emotion against Bucchere, which included, of course, most of the cyclists who commented, (including one who said he’d feel embarrassed to continue wearing a jersey with a certain club name on it) didn’t really get into Sutchi Hui being legally in the crosswalk or not. And this wasn’t a California stop at a stop sign, as this intersection was and is controlled with electronic signals. No no, it was Bucchere’s attorney who talked about Bucchere entering the intersection “legally,” but of course this couldn’t have been true since he was speeding, so oh well to that. And big factors were what he posted online and his fascination with Strava

“But the video shows he [Bucchere] entered the intersection legally.”

Uh, do you mean on a yellow, DJ Connel? I think that’s what you mean. He was speeding though, right? Is speeding legal?

A: “Well, never mind that — he still plowed into those pedestrians legally crossing the intersection!”

Uh no, you’re putting words into peoples’ mouths here.

B: “But if he entered legally, and was near the speed limit, it’s impossible the pedestrians entered the intersection legally…

Whoa, whoa. He didn’t enter legally ’cause he was way over the limit, right?

A: “Well, never mind that — someone says he ran a stop sign during one of the blocks before the intersection.”

Well, stop signs – it looks like he did that too.

I’m not defending Bucchere…

Really? I think you are.

Amelie Le Moullac is just the most egregious of so many tragic cases where cyclists have been killed and blame-the-victim has been the first line of investigation.

Then cite all the many cases then, Dude. I don’t know, what about 2014? All of the deaths in SF were the fault of the cyclists themselves, right? Do you want to get into lessons learned here, DJ Connel? I don’t think you do.

You want to say that Bucchere was reckless but he was at the same time “legal.” You want to debunk myths, but you add some of your own.

So how does that help?

If you want to help, why not pour through all the police reports with at least one transportation-related fatality from last year. I’ll get you started, from a report I can’t link to, after the jump. Maybe you’ll learn something, IDK. Here’s something linkable, from Heather Knight. I’ll tell you, politically, this data proved to be unpopular with SFGov and, for whatever reason, the SFPD commander in charge of traffic got transferred to Timbuktu shortly after this bit came out. So there might be a bias involved, but not the kind you’re looking for.

All right, hop to it. For whatever reason, your blog is Google-worthy, so anything you write about Chris Bucchere gets sent out as a Google alert to those MSM journalists who haven’t yet cancelled their Bucchere Google Alerts. So, unlike any comments you might post on StreetsBlog, actual real nonactivists will look at what you have to say…

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Extreme Trialsing, 94117 – The Highest Form of Fixie, No Saddle Required – Dangerous Storage in the Western Addition

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

What the kids are calling a bicycle these days:

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MUNI’s Brave New World is Truly Orwellian: Like the #5L is Now the #5R? – Because “Rapid” “Sounds Better” Than Limited?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

So let’s see here, who’s offered me money, you know, for “outreach” that, you know, I’ve rejected? Well, PG&E and the SFPUC and that slow, clumsy SFMTA, for instance. Of course, some places, like the Bay Guardian (R.I.P.), and a defunct blog from the Avenues, and the MUNI Diaries or the SFBC, take money from those institutions, and in some cases, the dirty money has talked.

But it don’t talk to me.

Now you yourself might know more about MUNI than I, since I’ve mostly ridden bikes since I got here back in the 1980’s, because MUNI is such a remarkably poor transit system.

Having said that, WTF to this:

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One supposes that this is from an internal SFMTA PowerPoint presentation?

So “MUNI FORWARD?” What’s that? IDK. But let’s call it MUNI’s plan. And since we’re translating from marketing / “framing” words into Plain English:

“Investing” = Spending tax and fee payer money

“Customers” = Passengers

“Rapid” = Limited

Oh, here comes the “branding”

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Oh, a pole with a sign on it with the number of the bus? How fucking innovative! (Be sure to get a design patent on your “branding,” SFMTA.) And, what’s this,  you can’t put up plain simple cheap bike racks, you need to promote yourselves, SFMTA? Yish. Now “HISTORIC,” that means $6 one-way, soon enough, just as all the other lines will be $3 minimum, one-way, soon enough.

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[Poles + The airing of grievances = Festivus]

All right, time to pour the old wine into new bottles, or as they say in Japan: “古いワイン、新しいボトル” [Oh, snap!] So forget about the “branding” of the brand-new #5L, that new line that’s not really faster than the regular old #5, not really. Oh, here we go:

The 5L doesn’t really work

That’s from 40 Going On 28, who similarly isn’t on the take from the SFMTA. Anyway, here’s your scorecard showing that the 5L is history:

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(Comrades, the 5L is the 5R, therefore, the 5L has always been the 5R)

The nice thing about the word Limited is that it’s accurate and people understand it. OTOH, calling any particular SFMTA bus line “Rapid” might not be accurate, right?

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And here’s the Good News, Gentle Reader! OMG! Look at all the exclamation points! Wow!

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Of course some things the SFMTA wants to do are good and some are bad.

Hey, MUNI, what about all your antiquated work rules, what about those?

Oh, that’s hard to deal with? Oh, you’d rather just rename things and make PowerPoints? OK fine.

Anyway, we’ll see how this one goes…

*Originally, I had a heavy $199 cr0-molly MTB from Price Club and then I got some other bikes and now my main ride is a heavy aluminum $269 MTB from the Marin Bikes Outlet at 7th and Folsom. Not much has changed, huh?