Posts Tagged ‘cyclists’

The SFMTA’s Current Approach to Bikes in the Broadway Tunnel Doesn’t Seem Better Than the Old Approach

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

After years of work and study…

BROADWAY TUNNEL BICYCLE PROJECT: Staff has sent a work order to
the Signal Shop to have the bicycle symbol flash when turned on. (No
updates)

…this the result, eastbound – a blank, nonsensical, K-Mart-looking diamond what lights up when cyclists are sensed in the BT:

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The old method of alerting drivers was similar, but it actually made sense to drivers when it wasn’t operating.

(The SFMTA seems to think that dreaming up crazy new ideas is its obligation – if you’ve never seen things before anywhere else in the world, that’s proof that the SFMTA is showing “leadership,” apparently)

Now here it is when it’s actually working, which I’ve never seen before, courtesy of Google Maps (from the northern lane – G gives you a choice):

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The big issue is how to handle bikes in the tunnel.

My method, westbound, from Chinesetown, is to walk the bike unless I see the rare ped, and then I dismount and stop while the ped passes me. In practice, this usually means riding all the way through. I think this is agin the current rules, but I don’t think I’m risking getting a ticket or anything.

Now eastbound is a different story, since the grade is generally working your way. The technique is to wait for a wave of traffic to go through and then enter when drivers idle at the red at Larkin. You’ll have a few cars pass you, but that’s better than just blithely ignoring traffic the way most do. Or, you can just ride on the sidewalk, remembering that you’re a second-class citizen when doing so.

Anyway, it seems that the generally dull-witted SFMTA is sophisticated enough to understand that going east and west is different thang here, so that’s good.

So do we want to encourage people to ride through this tunnel? IDK. I’ll tell you, westbound, uphill on the Geary Tunnel is worse and the Stockton Tunnel is way better.

I don’t know what the options are at the Broadway Tunnel. I’m sure most of them are very expensive…

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.

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…

Biker Gang, Market Street – Going Beyond Scraper Bikes – These Looked Like Single-Speed Mountain Bikes

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Popping wheelies on the way to the Ferry Building:

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The ones I could see looked like simple, higher-end hardtail mountain bikes – less trials bike-looking than what Danny MacAskill might ride if he ever came back to Frisco. They could be on Huffys too, IDK. No road bikes, that’s for sure.

This is a youth subculture with which I’m not familiar.

This is something the StreetsBlog might cover if the StreetsBlog weren’t financed by a millionaire urbanist straight outta  Park Slope…

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.”