Posts Tagged ‘bikes’

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…

(more…)

A Steam Clean for the May Queen: SFGov Spends Thousands More on the Panhandle’s McKinley Statue, Once Again

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Here you go, this is what it looks like when the RPD spends thousands of your hard-earned to steam clean the McKinley Statue. (Hey, whatever happened to KKK Katie?)

Get up to speed on this neverending game of cat and mouse here – just keep reading down.

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IDK, are these people contractors paid by the RPD / SFGov? Prolly. Looks like a pretty easy gig, just get some machine and some green vests and then you’re raking in some sweet sweet govt cash:

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And actually, I don’t know how much offensive Nazi graffiti was cleaned up this go-around. I hadn’t noticed any.

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Perhaps these people were just cleaning the steps this go-around and this wasn’t a five-figure budget-crusher for the Arts Commish / Rec and Park Dept? I know not.

I can see why elements of SFGov, politically-connected, white & wizened millionaires who live in million dollar houses far outside the city limits, want to just throw up their arms by throwing up a metal fence around these steps at the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park. Oh, and local real estate interests, the realtors who live and “prospect” in the 94117 – they want an ugly fence as well, around this iconic meeting place.

I can see why, it’s their cry for help. But I don’t approve of no fence.

(And, mind you, the very same people who want the Great McKinley Fence are those who 86’ed the harmless Panhandle Bandshell a few years back…)

Stolen Bike Bazaar Moves Across Market – Generally, These Criminals Hang Out Around Second Street

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Parts is parts, North of the Slot this time

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On It Goes…

Mobile Stolen Bicycle Chop Shop at Second and Market Street in the Financh? That’s Pretty Brazen

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Parts is parts, one supposes:

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Our SFMTA, Which Wants All Cars Off of Eastern Market, Will Impose a Brace of Turn Restrictions in 3 Months – “Safer Market Street”

Friday, March 6th, 2015

IDK, if you asked me what would make a safer Market Street, I’d say, “Well, how about banning all them buses and taxis?” Oh, that’s not practical, huh?

But it would leave us with a safer Market Street though.

The actual SMS plan, I’m not so sure about:

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Anyway, this would seem to slightly improve your north-south flow across Market, but the SFMTA isn’t a mental health agency so there are some issues it’s not equipped to handle…

Wild Wild West: What Happens When the Traffic Signals at Sloat and Great Highway Start Flashing Red

Friday, March 6th, 2015

This was the  the cause of a lot of the problems the other day – the light at Sloat and Great Highway flashing red. So traffic backed up into Lake Merced:

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In most towns, the cops would care about something like this, but in SF it’s up to the SFMTA to care, and it doesn’t really care, so bike riders heading north didn’t know where to go – they went all over, on the sand, on vegetation, on the sidewalks. and lane-splitting was an option as well:

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These guys heading south had to pick up their road bikes and carry them for a while after being forced into the sand:

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Speaking of which, this MUNI bus looked abandoned in the dunes. I think operators park them here to allow car drivers to use the traffic circle to get back to the intersection, cause, you know, its wheels are to big to get caught in a little sand, right? Well…

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…this ride here got totally stuck in a just a little sand. It was sad. (Photos altered to protect the embarrassed.) Help seemed to be far far away as cars behind got blocked in the circle:

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Do you need to hang a left to get a nice free parking space? Sure, what’s a few lanes of stalled traffic?

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And then there’s just your normal Great Highway, with horrible pedestrians in between crosswalks…

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…and improperly in crosswalks:

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And there’s the sand again, always the sand:

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Or no sand  – I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t dream of ever being on this side of the line, but perhaps that’s a quarter century of SF County living talking, IDK. So really, you don’t want to use that bike lane up there, or that other one to the right of you, huh? OK

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And the live aboard RVs – they’ll get hidden away come nighttime of course.

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That’s life out west, where every day is Do What You Feel Day.

SPUR, the Urban Renewal people, have a plan to “renew” this area. IDK, they’ve had a pretty bad record over the years and decades, right? And they seem to love SFGov’s current Willie Brown orientation.

Anyway, they have a roadshow to sell  people on their ideas. You should check it out sometime to see the promised Bright New Future, the promised New Gold Dream.

Open-Air Bicycle Chop-Shop, 13th Street – These are Just a Few of the Hundreds of Stolen Bikes on Division, 13th, and Duboce Ave

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Chop chop, always with the chopping, in this area:

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If your bike hasn’t yet gotten chopped and it has a serial number on it, then there’s something the cops can do about it.

Otherwise, chop chop, always with the chopping, in this area.

Back up in the hood where the rules dont shift
And the gangstas talk trills, sip purp and burn piff
You can call 5-0 and 5-0 might come
But by the time that they arrive all that dirt had been done

Oh My, It’s ARBOR-GEDDON 2015 – The SFMTA Wants to Kill Hundreds of Healthy Street Trees to Slow Down Traffic on Masonic

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

See this giant, healthy tree at Geary and Masonic? The DPW just put a death notice on it:

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Around its waist, with clear packing tape.

And this sidewalk grove is doomed as well, at the western edge of the intersection above the Geary Tunnel:

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Here’s what the notices look like:

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And here are the smaller, run-of-the-mill trees street to south:

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Chop chop, 300+ (300x, in SFGov parlance) trees, all gone.

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Let’s see here, is the SFMTA’s Grand Unified Plan for the 3000 feet of Masonic betwixt Geary and Fell going to:

SPEED UP MUNI BUSES? Nope. In fact, the Plan will slow down MUNI buses, like part of the Plan is already doing that already, at Ewing Terrace, for example. (The nearby City Target had some mad money so it gave a quarter million to the SFMTA to put in a new light at Ewing in order to gain support for The Plan from a woman who lives on The Terrace.) This plan will slow down MUNI. Simply. Yet somehow, it will “increase access” to transit, by giving people the right to sit longer at bus stops?

SPEED UP THE REST OF TRAFFIC ON MASONIC, THE GREAT CONNECTOR WHAT LINKS THE PARKSIDE, THE SUNSET, AND THE RICHMOND WITH THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTING BUSH PINE WITH LINCOLN, FULTON, OAK, FELL, TURK, BALBOA, AND GEARY? Oh, Hell no. Masonic will turn into a congested parking lot during the morning and evening drives, ala Oak Street, ala Octavia Boulevard. Buses will no longer pull over into stops – they’ll simply stop and block the slow lane, leaving the solitary remaining lane, the “fast” lane, to temporarily serve as the only way for motorized traffic to travel on Masonic.

INCREASE “ACCESS” TO MUNI? We’ll see. The SFMTA is claiming that rebuilt bus stops will be the big benefit to MUNI riders.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA? Oh no. In fact, the Plan will remove 100-something 22-hour-a-day parking spaces from Masonic. (For some this is a feature and not a detriment.)

BENEFIT CYCLISTS? Perhaps. This, see below, is what people do these days, for the most part – they ride their bikes on the wide wide sidewalks, going uphill, for the most part, as I’ve been doing for a couple decades. SFGov is free to make this practice legal on Masonic, but it chooses not to. In fact, SFGov is sometimes reluctant to make piecemeal changes, for safety or whatever, because SFGov shuns so-called “chop-shop” projects – SFGov prefers giant pork-barrel projects paid for by, among others, people living in North Dakota. And then, if residents started to think that Masonic was then “fixed,” through small changes, that would lessen the pressure for a big pork barrel project using money from the Feds and Sacramento.  Anywho, most of the coming changes to Masonic appear to favor bike riders, so yes, we’ll be getting separated lanes up and down Masonic. And then, we’ll have less of this:

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We did lose a bike rider to a severely drunk driver a few years back on Masonic. Such an accident would be less likely to occur after the coming changes. [UPDATE: IMO, that is. If you want to say that accidents can happen anyway even after the changes, I’ll agree, but this particular accident involved two people consuming 14(!) drinks at Kokkari restaurant on Jackson and then using Masonic to get to the Avenues out west, and I’ll tell you, the future Masonic would have been easier for this driver to navigate. I mean he made it all the way from 200 Jackson to the 94117 without hitting anything but his brain didn’t have the processing power to deal with the cyclist being where the cyclist was.]

BENEFIT PEDESTRIANS? Perhaps. The hundreds of healthy trees that the SFMTA is going to chop down will get replaced, one supposes, with new trees, planted in an unnecessary, unnecessarily-wide new median, which effectively widens the street, right? Why are we going to get the big median? For aesthetics. For oxygen, cause, you know, trees produce oxygen – did you know that!? I’ll tell you, this truth just blew me away when I found out about it, when I five freaking years old. But the SFMTA had some lady come to one of the meetings to talk about all the extra oxygen molecules that we’d have floating around, OK fine. Of course, the SFMTA didn’t talk about any of the concomitant downsides of spending all these tens of millions of pork barrel dollars from Uncle Sucker, the SFMTA didn’t mention ARBOR-GEDDEN 2015. Anyway, if peds prefer having new trees in a median over older trees closer to them, well, sure, I suppose that peds will benefit. And speaking of severely drunk drivers, we did lose a ped to a drunk driver within recent memory – I don’t think the recent changes would have affected that crime though. And we lost an architect just north of Geary on Masonic owing to her jaywalking to get to Trader Joe’s #100, a few years back. owing to a poorly planned parking situation courtesy of our Planning Department. But the grand mal Plan for Masonic stops at Geary, so the SFMTA doesn’t appear to even to pretend to care about safety on Masonic north of Geary, not at this time.

Oh what’s that, you have questions? Fire away:

ISN’T IT TRUE THAT “THE COMMUNITY” SUPPORTS THE PLAN?

No, not necessarily. Any public meeting that the SFMTA might refer to was packed with activists/urbanists who don’t live in the neighborhood. So a tally from some meeting made up 70% of activist members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition isn’t an actual survey, right? If you want to say that a vote only made up of people who care enough to show up to all the meetings is what we should follow, then be my guest. But any SFMTA focus group meeting about which SFMTA plan attendees prefer doesn’t mean that The Plan is supported by the people who live, work and pass through Masonic, right?

WON’T ALL THE NEW CONGESTION, THE GREAT SLOWDOWN, INCREASE SAFETY? 

We’ll see. We’ll see what the unexamined effects will be, like, where will traffic go instead of Masonic? Will that new traffic in other areas cause new accidents in other areas? We’ll see.

WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE PROPERTY OWNERS DIRECTLY ON MASONIC, DON’T MOST OF THEM SUPPORT THE PLAN? 

I don’t know, maybe. A lot of them aren’t looking forward to all the construction, so there goes a lot of support right there. I mean, what if there was going to be a pork barrel project that was going to “beautify” the area just outside your property and the govmint was going to spend $50K per parcel in your nabe – would you like that? Maybe. And I’ll tell you, there’s a parochial school what costs $30K per year per student that’s in favor of the Plan. I say parochial because people at the school think that way, they think that the school is so so special that of course everybody should come to a crawl when they pass by. The school is the center of the universe, in their eyes, so people traveling by shouldn’t just rush through. The problem with this attitude is that, for the vast majority, GOLDEN GATE, TURK AND MASONIC, the Great Crossroads is not a destination in itself. So, ideally, we’d balance a whole bunch of factors and concerns, we’d actually consult with the people who actually use Masonic now. Those at this rich kids school, those small individuals with parochial attitudes, just don’t care.

BUT WON’T THE PLAN INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY OVERALL AND HELP GET US TO VISION ZERO 2024?

We’ll see. But by then, it will be too late, and by then, the SFMTA will be more than happy to spend tens of millions of dollars to “tune up” the Big Project. And Vision Zero 2014-2024 is like two Soviet-style Five Year Plans strung together – nobody believes that transportation deaths in San Francisco will “whither away,” but everybody involved acts as if there’s a chance that this fantasy will come true. And you know, there are some countries that have had more success in reducing deaths than so-called Vision Zero countries, right? So what’s so special about that particular name? I don’t get it.

IS IT TRUE THAT SOME PEOPLE ON AND NEAR MASONIC STRONGLY OPPOSE THE PLAN? 

Hell yes. People put homemade signs in their windows. It’s too late though – I can’t think of anything that would stop the SFMTA now.

BUT DIDN’T THE SFMTA SAY THAT THERE WAS NO OPPOSITION TO THE PLAN?  

Yep. The SFMTA lied about that, when its employees filled out some necessary paperwork. I’ll tell you, there’s no way that the SFMTA isn’t going to spend any pork barrel money it can spend. That’s its purpose.

So that’s the update on Masonic.

I live very close by – we’ll have to wait and see if I personally benefit from all this spending. Somebody in the opposition one time asked me if I personally supported the project and I had to think about it. Perhaps it will benefit me, we’ll see. It seems selfish, to me, to dwell on the issue. In any event, the SFMTA gets excused for nothing. This project is a case study of how the SFMTA does what the SFMTA wants to do, which is to spend money and increase the size of … the SFMTA. If you want to get into how the SFMTA is all about safety, well, I disagree with that, but that would be something to debate. IMO, the SFMTA could “increase safety” without it getting any more money than it gets now.

IMO.

Enjoy the coming SFMTA Mass Arborcide – it should be a spectacle.

NIMBY’s vs. the SFMTA: Local Objections to New Traffic Signals on McAllister at Broderick and Scott for the 5 Fulton

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This effort appears to be similar to the SFMTA’s attempt to add traffic signals on Haight at Scott and Pierce.

This isn’t the worst example of NIMBYism, but I’d say it’s fairly alarmist, fairly absurd.

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I’ll just say that, generally speaking, it’s generally harder to get around town these days by car, by bike and by MUNI, compared with ten or twenty years ago. Part of this has to do with our newer, absurdly-wide sidewalks, designed for pedestrian “comfort.”

And yet, most ped and cyclist deaths in San Francisco involve fault from the peds and cyclists. Here’s 2014:

The Police Department found that in the 17 pedestrian deaths, drivers were responsible for eight and pedestrians were responsible for nine. Bicyclists were responsible in all three instances when they died.” 

(I should do a video on how to be a pedestrian in SF. It might involve some jaywalking but it would also involve extreme alertness on behalf of peds. You see, the way to prevent a lot of ped deaths in SF would be to get inside their heads to see what’s going wrong.)

IMO, the SFMTA should leave McAllister alone and then start taking out as many bus stops as politically possible.

I’ll tell you, not that many cyclists pass by Broderick and McAllister compared with Scott and McAllister, it seems, owing to geography. So looking at McAllister and Scott, it seems that the lights will be timed against cyclists using FULTON DIVISADERO MCALLISTER eastbound as an alternative to the already-overcrowded Wiggle route to get from the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to the Financh.

So for my own selfish reasons, I’d prefer that MUNI not make these changes, but who am I to stand in their way? What the MUNI people are saying is that we’ll all be better off overall, and 40 seconds each way each day will add up to millions of seconds, eventually.

In conclusion, meh. If MUNI wants to put in lights, we should let them do it.

Irate Pedestrian Hectors Bike Riders Individually and Indiscriminately in a Crosswalk at 4th and Market

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

She hectored only the riders who stopped for her at the crosswalk.

She was angered by the riders who went through the red, but they were too far away for her to hector. Her unfocused rage came out against those who were already doing as she wished.

Then after she passed by, riders began to run the red, cause the signal timing of 4th and Market these days is crazy. (Like, who’s doing what now? Like why isn’t anybody using the intersection now?)

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SF has the worst peds in the world…