OFF WE GO:
What About Scofflaw? – Perception, Reality and What We’re Doing About It – SF Bicycle Coalition, July 9th, 2012
SO THIS IS WHY SFGOV HANDS MONEY TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BIKE COALITION, SO IT CAN CREATE MAGNUM OPI SUCH AS THIS? OK FINE, LET’S HAVE A LOOK-SEE.
Scofflaw cyclists—the phrase is rolling off the pens of bloggers, journalists and commentators across the Bay Area.
DENY. DO A SEARCH YOURSELF AND YOU’LL FIND RECENT REFERENCES ONLY TO THIS VERY ARTICLE. OTOH, A SEARCH FOR CHRIS BUCCHERE TURNS UP LOTS OF ARTICLES AND COMMENTS. HEY, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT CHRIS BUCCHERE BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO SAY, “CHRIS BUCCHERE?” SEEMS THAT WAY. WHY IS THAT?
And while they’re focusing on this singular aspect, here at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, we’re helping direct the conversation to a broader, more comprehensive view of San Francisco’s diverse bicycling community and the responsibilities that all of us have on the road – when biking or driving.
OH, WAIT, ARE YOU DONE SETTING UP YOUR STRAW MEN ALREADY, SFBC? THAT WAS FAST!
We are busy talking about the significant San Francisco victories toward better biking—such as the dramatic 71% increase in the number of people biking in our city in the last five years. Thanks to the support of our 12,000 members, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is helping to Connect the City with streets that are inviting for people ages 8-to-80. And thanks to the success of Sunday Streets, parklets and bike corrals — projects we’ve had a strong hand in launching—our streets are more people-friendly and welcoming than ever before.
WELL, LET’S SEE. IS THE FIXIE CRAZE TOPPING OUT RIGHT ABOUT NOW? I THINK SO. HEY, HOW ABOUT MEMBERSHIP? I THINK SO, AGAIN. OH, AND THEN YOU HAVE YOUR SALES PITCH. HURRAY FOR US! HURRAY FOR THE SFBC!
These are big successes, and they should be bigger stories in the media and in conversations with City, community and business leaders.
DISAGREE ABOUT YOUR SUCCESSES / FAILURES, SFBC.
Yet, lately, much of our energy has gone to answer one persistent question: What are you doing about those scofflaw cyclists?
SO, THIS QUESTION COMES FROM WHOM? FROM SFGOV, YOUR PATRON, YOUR SOURCE OF MONEY?
…lately, we’ve also noticed an increase in the amount of rude, and sometimes unsafe, behavior by some people on bikes, especially problematic along streets with lots of pedestrian use.
REALLY? HOW DOES THIS FIT IN WITH THE WHOLE 15-YEARS-AGO-ONLY-YOUTHFUL-MALES-RODE-BIKES-IN-SF MYTH, YOU KNOW THE ONE THAT GETS PROMOTED BY ELEMENTS OF THE SFBC? MMMM…
Other people are noticing too. We’ve been hearing from an increasing number of our own members, as well as political and community leaders, about this issue.
HEY, REMEMBER THE BICYCLE-PEDESTRIAN DEATHS? ARE YOU GOING TO GET TO THAT PART. CAUSE, YOU KNOW, THAT’S THE REASON FOR THIS WHOLE DEAL, RIGHT? SRSLY, I HAVEN’T CHECKED YET, BUT ARE YOU GOING TO DANCE AROUND THE ENTIRE PED DEATH ISSUE? WE’LL SEE.
The thoughtless actions of a few are not only causing real safety problems, but also creating a negative image of San Francisco bike riders overall.
I GUESS THIS IS THE TOUGH-LOVE PART. IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK, THIS HECTORING, SFBC.
This is making it even more difficult for us to garner the support we need to get new, better bikeways on the ground.
UH, IS JFK DRIVE IN GOLDEN GATE PARK, FOR INSTANCE, A “BETTER BIKEWAY?” HEY, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS ONE? “New JFK bike lanes are bad for everyone.” WHY WOULDN’T STEVEN T JONES BE ABOARD WITH YOU ALL ON THIS ONE? MMMMM…
When we ride a bike, we are ambassadors for biking. It can sometimes feel like we are held to a higher level of scrutiny than other road users. Whether that’s true or not, all eyes are on us when we ride—particularly when we ride recklessly or rudely.
DOES THIS KIND OF HECTORING WORK? DO YOU THINK? I’M NOT SURE. OR ARE YOU DOING THIS EXERCISE MERELY SO YOU CAN SAY YOU DID IT? SO YOU CAN TELL SFGOV THAT YOU DID IT?
What can you do? First, make sure you’re clear on the Rules of the Road. We know that sometimes people break the law because they don’t know what the law is. Let’s be clear: pedestrians always have the right of way on our roads.
LET’S BE CLEAR, THIS IS AN ABSOLUTELY FALSE STATEMENT. IN CALIFORNIA, WHERE WE ALL LIVE. PEDESTRIANS DON’T ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. THAT’S WHY IT’S THEIR FAULT, FOR THE MOST PART, WHEN THEY DIE ON THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO.
The SF Bicycle Coalition is educating tens of thousands of San Franciscans about how to share the streets safely. We teach free Urban Bicycle Education classes for adults, Safe Routes to School programs for children, and reach tens of thousands more people each year with our printed and online safety materials that are available in three languages.
WHAT, ARE YOU AN SFGOV AGENCY NOW, JUSTIFYING YOUR BUDGET? ALMOST SOUNDS THAT WAY.
We are also spearheading efforts to educate drivers about how to safely share the road with people on bikes. This year, we expanded our education programs to include a course for all new San Francisco taxi drivers.
I’M SURE CABBIES-IN-TRAINING ALL LOVE IT! HEY, HOW ABOUT GETTING EVERY LAST SFMTA WORKER TO TAKE YOUR COURSE? YOU KNOW, A MANDATORY THING. YOU KNOW, SO MUNI DRIVERS WON’T EVER KILL ANYBODY AGAIN.
So far in 2012, the SF Bicycle Coalition has taught more than 2,000 people in our free adult and youth bicycle education classes, and reached more than 25,000 people with our Rules of the Road sheet.
TO WHAT END?
Of course, it’s not just about education. Our City needs to prioritize safety through purposeful enforcement of all road users and this should be done with priority toward those causing the most harm. The SF Bicycle Coalition is urging the SF Police Department (SFPD) to focus their efforts on the most dangerous behavior by road users at the known, most dangerous intersections. We know that drivers are responsible for the huge majority of injuries and fatalities to pedestrians on our streets, so this problem should receive the huge majority of enforcement attention.
UH, AREN’T PEDESTRIANS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INJURIES TO PEDESTRIANS. I THINK SO.
We’ve heard troubling accounts of the SFPD setting up stings to catch people on bicycles rolling through stop signs on quiet streets where no one else is around.
QUIET STREETS? REALLY, THEY’RE “QUIET?” WELL, IF YOU SAY SO. BUT WHAT YOU CALL “STINGS” ARE NOT REALLY STINGS, ARE THEY? THEY’RE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS IS WHAT THEY ARE WITH NOT A DROP OF DECEPTION.
This isn’t focusing on dangerous behaviors at dangerous intersections, and these tickets are not prioritizing the actual goal of making our streets safer for everyone.
I’M SORRY, WHY SHOULD THE SFPD LISTEN TO THIS? DO YOU CONTROL THEM? DO YOU CONTROL THEIR BUDGET? THEIR PENSIONS? SO WHY ON EARTH WOULD THEY LISTEN TO YOU OVER EVERYBODY ELSE?
We agree with your phone calls, e-mails, tweets, Facebook posts, etc, complaining that these tickets should not be prioritized at a time that limited enforcement resources should be aimed at actual dangerous behavior.
UH, DIDN’T CHRIS BUCCHERE ENGAGE IN “ACTUAL DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR?” I THINK SO. AND WHAT ARE YOU SAYING HERE, YOU WANT RED LIGHT AND STOP SIGN RUNNING DECRIMINALIZED? SOUNDS THAT WAY.
We urge the SFPD and other City leadership to stop focusing on perceived problems as a reaction to media attention and, instead, to respond with appropriate enforcement where the real problems exist.
WOW: “…stop focusing on perceived problems as a reaction to media attention…” I SEE. SORT OF I GUESS. YOU’RE SAYING THE MEDIA’S TO BLAME FOR YOUR PROBLEMS, IS THAT IT, SFBC?
For years, we have urged the Police and other City partners to regularly and systematically review their own data on street crashes to identify hot spots and test approaches to reducing crashes in these locations. But this has not happened — yet. It’s true that this will require a shift of thinking and action by the SF Police Department. However, we feel encouraged that, thanks to enlightened leadership and new technology, the SFPD is ready to step up to this important opportunity.
THE OLD POLICE CHIEF(S) SUCKED, APPARENTLY, AND THERE’S SOME NEW “TECHNOLOGY” OUT THERE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT BUT YOU WON’T TELL US ABOUT IT. OK FINE.
We all bear the responsibility of moving on our streets with courtesy and respect for others. Of course, this applies when driving, particularly given than the vast majority of people injured and killed on our streets because of dangerous or irresponsible behavior are people behind the wheel. In fact, between 10 and 20 pedestrians and between 1 and 2 bike riders are killed by people driving during an average year in San Francisco. That is unacceptable.
AREN’T THE PEDESTRIANS KILLED BY THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR? DO YOU WANT SPECIFIC EXAMPLES, LIKE DEAD PEDS THIS YEAR? A COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVER AND CYCLIST CHRIS BUCCHERE KILLED ONE EACH AND THE REST OF THE PEDS KILLED THIS YEAR WERE KILLED BY THEMSELVES, RIGHT?
Also unacceptable is that none of these fatalities caused by people driving received even one-tenth of the attention that the high-profile Market/Castro incident involving a person biking fatally hitting a pedestrian last March drew.
WELL, WHAT TO YOU WANT, A PED STEPS BETWEEN CARS INTO TRAFFIC AND GETS KILLED. FOR EXAMPLE. HOW MUCH ATTENTION SHOULD THAT KIND OF THING GET. OH I KNOW, WE SHOULD JUST TELL THE PEDS THAT THEY “ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY” EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T. IS THAT HELPFUL?
Why? Precisely because the latter is so rare. Equally tragic, absolutely heartbreaking, but undeniably rare.
ALL RIGHT, I’LL DENY IT. IT’S NOT SO RARE THESE DAYS. SORRY.
Within just one week of that crash at Market and Castro Streets, there were two other pedestrian fatalities, both reportedly caused by people driving. Did you read anything about those?
UH, YES, ACTUALLY. AND WEREN’T THOSE DEATHS CAUSED BY THE JAYWALKERS THEMSELVES? LET’S SEE, ONE ON LOMBARD AND ONE ON HAYES. YES I DID READ ABOUT THOSE. IN THE MSM.
And in May, a 23-year-old San Francisco State University student, Robert Yegge, was bicycling when he was hit and killed by someone driving a truck on Oak and Franklin Streets. As of writing this, with the exception of a single story in Streetsblog, no media outlets covered his tragic death.
UH FALSE. AND IS STREETSBLOG REALLY A “MEDIA OUTLET?” I THINK IT’S MORE LIKE A PAC. (SOME RICH GUY STARTED IT UP, APPARENTLY. I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH MORE HE CAN GO WITH IT THOUGH.)
In fact, pedestrian deaths caused by people driving are seen as so commonplace that they draw shockingly little attention public or media attention. And that, in itself, is a tragedy.
DO YOU WANT ROBOTS DRIVING? THE PED DEATHS YOU SPEAK OF WERE CAUSED BY THE PEDS THEMSELVES.
[GIVE US MONEY, BLAH BLAH BLAH OMITTED]
[RAHM EMANUEL CHICAGO STUFF OMITTED]
[WORK FOR THE SFBC FOR FREE OMITTED]
On a daily basis, be a bicycle ambassador by being a great representative of San Francisco’s amazing, diverse and growing community of people who bicycle.
PROSE LIKE THAT GAGS, DOESN’T IT?
Stop behind the crosswalk, give pedestrians the right-of-way and others will follow.
[AND THEN THE PITCH, ALWAYS WITH THE PITCH, OMITTED]
SO I GUESS THE NAME CHRIS BUCCHERE ISN’T GOING TO GET MENTIONED ANYWHERE AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF WORDS.
SO I GUESS THE PR HANDBOOK SAYS NOT TO.