Posts Tagged ‘cyclists’

Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Has Lost Thousands of Paid Members Lately

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

[UPDATE: I’ve omitted Stanley Roberts’ video from this post as I mistakenly thought it was new as of this week when in fact it was posted almost two years old now. My apologies, Stanley. As you can see, Mr. Roberts goes after everybody (including fake monks and nuns) and certain people at the SFBC have been irritated by that over the years.]

Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has lost thousands of paid members lately.

Now part of that’s due to “churn,” which is something that every organization has to deal with, but most of it has to do with behavior of the SFBC itself. I’ll tell you, I’ve been riding bikes around town longer than the current SFBC has existed – no, I’m not saying that I’ve been here since the “early 70’s,” I’m saying that the SFBC didn’t really exist in the 1980’s when I came to SF. I’m saying that before Critical Mass (and its predecessor, the “Commute Clot”), the SFBC didn’t really exist – they were nowhere, man. What _did_ exist, a little later on, was the car-centric Willie Brown Administration. And all those functionaries working for Willie Brown were trying to find some “bicycle people” to cut a deal with, to tame Critical Mass, to give grant money to. But no, all the Critical Mass leaders were saying stuff like, “Critical Mass doesn’t have leaders, Man.” Eventually, the SFBC managed to practically become a part of the SFMTA, you know, conducting surveys for SFGov, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxpayer and feepayer money, forcing companies like Twitter to deal with the SFBC, you know, officially, and, in return, the SFBC stopped promoting Critical Mass, and SFBC now offers pols a nice photo op every year on Bike to Work Day and it actually endorses (without consulting the Members at all) for election Willie Brown protegees like, I don’t know, Ed Lee, for example. So that’s the history, and during this history I’ve seen the SFBC grow in membership, from “over 1000″ to “over 5000″ to “over “10,000” and then “over 11,000″ and then “over 12,000″ and then, uh oh, back down to “over 11,000″ and most recently back down to “over 10,000.” What are the numbers now? IDK, 9000-something? The SFBC isn’t exactly candid about its recent loss in membership. The SFBC certainly doesn’t want people freely looking at its tax forms or its older webpages, so that’s why it recently started suppressing this kind of information. Mmmmm… I’ll tell you, of course, there’s been a huge increase in bicycling in San Francisco since I’ve come here, and for various reasons, fine. (It’s sort of funny about how the big annual jumps in cycling came exactly during the rise of the fixie craze, and exactly when the Bicycle Plan injunction froze all infrastructure changes, but whatevs.) I’ll ask you, why can’t a monomaniacal advocacy organization like the SFBC concede anything? I guarantee you that the SFBC people who went the extra mile to “reach out” to Stanley Roberts of KRON-TV are pissed off about the above video coming out right before the Big Vote on Polk Street, which is supposably [what, no red underlining for a word I purposefully misspelled? Amazing] coming March 3rd, 2015, but who knows how that will work out. I’ll tell you, IMO Polk Street is a triple beam lyrical dream the way it is now. What are the other options to go north south in the area? If I don’t take Polk, then I’d be thinking Stockton, Grant, Kearney or the Embarcadero to the east or, to the west, Steiner (it’s sort of the pass over Pacific Heights, sort of) or Arguello through the Presidio. In your efforts to pursue your goals, SFBC, which I don’t necessarily oppose, you go too far and you end up alienating people like me, a man in his 40’s, and even older people such as Junior the Bike Messenger, and, apparently, THOUSANDS OF OTHER FORMER SFBC MEMBERS.

The question is, WHY IS THAT, SFBC?

 

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

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…

Remembering 2012, When the SFPD Picked Up Enforcing Traffic Laws on Market Street, One Bike Rider at a Time

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

It looked like this:

In the 80’s, 90’s, and early aughts, bikes were practically invisible to cops on Market Street, except for the occasional* Commute Clot / Critical Mass event. But these days, the SFPD seems to consider enforcing traffic laws on bike riders a higher priority,** for whatever reason.

Anyway, back in the day, you’d just have to sit and wait for your ticket to get written up, but nowadays you can play Tetris on your iPhone to make the minutes fly by, as you can see.

Cops generally prefer to give tickets to car drivers for various reasons. One of them is that the protest rate is many many times greater from cyclists than drivers. So the theory that this recent push to enforce traffic laws on bike riders came from the top down sounds right to me.

*And especially except that time in ’97, when Mayor Willie Brown decided to “do something” about CM. A hundred-something people got ticketed / detained and had their bikes impounded, most of them getting penned in at Sacramento Montgomery for running a red light.

**Think it was in 2012 or 2013 that I got detained by two Crown-Vic driving SFPD on Market near 6th. Pretty sure it was just after the #5 Fulton line was rerouted to take McAllister almost all the way to Market, and I’d noticed two #5’s jammed up in front of the Hibernia Bank building along with three marked and two unmarked Crown Victorias within a block or so.  I was thinking, well, this certainly is unusual so it looks like the cops are dealing with something around 7th and Market, maybe involving the buses, so I’ll just keep on moving inbound by taking McAllister all the way to Market and then I’ll cross over Market after the SFPD radio car goes off east on Market. Except the car slowed down waiting for me to cross over to the right side of Market. I couldn’t understand how I was getting all this attention from the SFPD. Anyway, flashing lights, a request from a rookie for my “license and registration” (I looked at his partner, who sort of chuckled – I don’t think the rookie had ever pulled over a bike rider before),  a quick warrant check for me, an admonishment to use the correct side of the road, and I then I was off again. And all the while, some photographer guy recognized me and started taking pictures from a traffic island. (He never sent them to me, oh well.) I’ll tell you, I moved to the Tenderloin back in the 1980’s and I’d been California stopping at stop signs and red lights around and on Market for more than two decades before I got any kind of attention from the SFPD. And I thought, oh, things are different now… 

The SFMTA’s Restriping of JFK Drive Has Been a Massive Failure for a 100 Small Reasons – Let’s Take a Short Trip

Friday, January 9th, 2015

These cyclists stopped for peds at the prior stop sign, and I thought, “These are pretty polite cyclists,” because, you know, most of the time cyclists don’t stop for peds and/or stop signs.

So then here’s the next stop sign, where the peds stutter-stopped for fear of being hit by the very same cyclists:

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Moving on, further into the park, with the very same cyclists, to see this woman, who was totally blocking the bike lane with her body and two open passenger doors. She was oblivious. Then she notices what she’s doing so she goes back to shut the rear door…

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…and then the front door as the cyclists wait:

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This place is a mess. Many long-time cyclists now avoid using JFK. Is this what the all-seeing all-knowing SFMTA wanted? IDK. Oh what’s that, cycling in San Francisco is going to increase six-fold by 2020 (I’m seriously, this was the goal, this was what was “expected” by local pols not too long ago), so we need to accommodate all the new traffic? But what if that huge increase doesn’t materialize and then you lose a significant chunk of the pre-existing riders?

(Any survey from the SFMTA showing broad-based support for these changes isn’t a real survey.)

Moving on, to this. Where else in the world do they put a kink into double yellow lines.

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Why do this? Is this “good design?”

Why not have a single dashed line? (I know that the SFMTA has its reasons, but in other locations these double yellows would be seen as a cue that encourages speeding.)

In short, the restriping of JFK is a mess, a continuing mess, one that was spawned by the SFMTA for ideological reasons.

Oh well.

Vox populi:

“I cannot imagine that any survey demonstrates that most people like the new lanes. I’ve read dozens and dozens of comments and the vast majority feel the same way as I do, which is that these lanes are dangerous for everyone. And what about emergency vehicles? How do they pass when motorists cannot pull to the right? This past Saturday, 4/20, a fire truck got stuck in traffic at the eastern end of JFK. Traffic backed up in both directions. It was utter chaos. And Jesus, does it make the road look ugly or what?”

Redux

“My primary observation on the new bike lanes is that separating them somewhat from the vehicle traffic lanes seems to have been a signal that cyclists should ride a bit faster and ignore the stop signs and pedestrian crossing rules. I find them much more dangerous as a pedestrian. I have taken to holding an arm out when crossing any road in SF to signal my intent, but I am nearly struck daily by cyclists.”

What Should Be the Speed Limit for Bicycles on Golden Gate Bridge?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

I don’t know. Some consultant came up with 10 MPH a few years back, but that idea wasn’t good for business, or something like that.

Now here’s a sign that tells you how fast you’re going, anyway:

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Sometimes, I just don’t know…

Compare and Contrast: Marin County’s Bicycle Movement vs. San Francisco’s – Point / Counterpoint with Marinite Dick Spostwood

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Check it out:

Dick Spotswood: Marin bike lobby’s political clout is slipping – Marin Independent Journal

1. Hey, SF County has a “powerful bicycle lobby” as well – so let’s take a look, paragraph by paragraph. I should say though, that if I were running things bike-wise in Marin, I prolly wouldn’t listen to Dick Spotswood at all.

2. I’ll bet you the Marin County real estate industry, for instance, has lobbyists more effective than the Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s, to keep things in perspective.

3. So DS is promoting a “silent majority” argument against a minority of a minority? OK fine, but it sounds like he’s mad at just a small number of bikers. And what’s this – “self-righteous on-the-road arrogance?” We have a bit of that on our side of The Bridge also.

4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Well, I didn’t know all that stuff. San Francisco County Supervisors don’t really have to worry about people coming after them for excessive bike advocacy, so this makes Marin seem a lot different than SF. I’ll tell you, riding through a smelly old train tunnel sounds like something worth trying, once or twice anyway. (I could go either way on whether opening these tunnels makes sense, cost benefit-wise – I don’t know much about them.)

9, 10. Charging people for walking or riding across the GGB is a real non-starter, like something that’s never going to happen ever again. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind if the state of CA rolled governance of the GGB into the BATA and then cast Golden Gate Transit out, leaving Marin County to pay for Marin County’s transit system. JMO.)

11. “Biker-anarchist Critical Mass” isn’t all that much these days and it doesn’t operate “most Fridays,” just some Fridays, just once a month, actually.

12. My understanding is that “bicycles are generally restricted from narrow, single-track trails” on Mt Tam, but perhaps some trails have been opened up recently? IDK.

13. What’s this, the  Marin bike movement was “hijacked by big-time developers and their regional alphabet agencies’ allies.” Wow, yes, the same thing happened in SF over the past quarter-century – this is the era of the “urbanst,” indeed.

14. We have a similar dynamic in SF, but it’d be hard to imagine bike advocacy ever being a “ballot box negative” down here.

15. Oh, at long last, the TO BE SURE graf! Finally, all the way at the bottom. Hurrah!

16, 17. Oh, and now come the bromides for the bike movement of Marin. IDK, if I had a lot of time and not much money, I’d get my buds to pack into political meetings as well.

All right, that’s it.

(Oh, I’ll add that the membership at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition appears to have dropped something close to 20% from the high of a few years back. The SFBC has been captured by SFGov, so  these days it pays more heed to whichever Mayor is in currently in office than its remaining membership. JMO.)

The Horrible Pedestrians and Bike Riders of the So-Called Great Highway, Way Out There in the Sunset

Monday, December 8th, 2014

An overly-confident pedestrian is a dead pedestrian, sometimes:

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Oh, here’s the same scene a few blocks up the road:

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Oh, what’s that, jaywalking is merely a “legal construct” and “Vision Zero” 2024 is going to prevent all transportation-related deaths in San Francisco County within a decade?

OK fine.

The Lazy Stokers of Golden Gate Park

Friday, November 14th, 2014

So lazy!

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