Saturday, August 30, 2008

Punks on bikes in Berkeley 2

From the Berkeley Daily Planet:

Editors, Daily Planet:

I am fed up with bicyclists who act as if traffic laws don’t apply to them and ride as if they’re only ones who have the right to be on the road. There have been countless times when I have nearly been hit by bike riders while walking across the street in a crosswalk. Around 7 yesterday evening, for example, I was crossing Telegraph at Oregon. All four lanes of car traffic came to a gentle stop, respecting the crosswalk. However, as usual, a bike rider refused to slow or even alter his path and came within a few inches of hitting me. I had always thought that being environmentally responsible was about looking out for the greater good. Apparently these riders are so wrapped up in their own egos and arrogance that they forget traffic rules also apply to them; especially the laws protecting pedestrians from harm. I have to say there’s something perverse about pedestrians feeling safer around cars than bicycles.

Steve Berley
Oakland

More Punks on Bikes here.

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8 Comments:

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was a body of laws that took the nature of bicycling into account, we'd see a lot less scofflaw cyclists on the road.

But they don't have that body of laws; what they have is a bunch of laws designed for the exigencies of car traffic.

It's too bad that some beginner cyclists can't/won't respect other road users, but should not surprise us considering bicycling has been given such little consideration in planning, legislation, and education.

 
At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve, I don't envy you're having to deal with arrogant people on bikes that disregard other people trying to make their way around on city streets. You may differ with my view of the situation, but I don't believe that the people you're referring to represent the general behavior of people riding bikes (Incidentally, I'm not experiencing the situation in you're city, because I live in a suburb of Portland, Oregon).

I wonder if you could venture a guess as to what percentage of the people you encounter on bikes in a given day display the kind of behavior you describe. Do you also experience good behavior from people you encounter on bikes?

Here up north, the issue of bad behavior by some people riding bikes is a serious one. The public really needs some answers about how to begin more effectively dealing with this behavior. It's hard. People have lots of complaints they're readily willing to make, but not a lot of realistic suggestions as to how to get better behavior out of people.

Is it realistic to start banning bikes from streets? Seems like this is the approach some people would like to see start happening. It's probably not realistic though. Think of the consequences; more cars on the street, or more crowding on mass transit.

Some people suggest licensing bikes and people that ride them on public streets. I've heard some localities have done this, but haven't heard how effective it is, or how good a strategy it is.

wsbob/beav/ore

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Is it realistic to start banning bikes from streets? Seems like this is the approach some people would like to see start happening."

I don't know of anyone who has advocated this. It is of course impossible to determine what percentage of cyclists behave badly on our streets, but it surely is at least a significant minority. I also argue that, here in SF, trying to rush the Bicycle Plan through the process without proper notice or study shows the same kind of arrogance on the political level, as does the monthly Critical Mass demo.

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the cyclist was intentionally trying to hit you?

Just like the laws of physics, if you push against something (in this case cycling), you produce as outcome an equal but opposite force.

Your inability to harmonize with bikes (and the realities of the world) is of your own making.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Who are you addressing, the author---who I don't know---of the letter to the editor I reprinted or me? Seems like there's been an epidemic of punks on bikes running pedestrians down. Why is that? Are all those pedestrians unable to "harmonize" with bikes?

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Seems like there's been an epidemic of punks on bikes running pedestrians down."

There has? How big of an increase do the police statistics show?

 
At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is it realistic to start banning bikes from streets? Seems like this is the approach some people would like to see start happening." ws

"I don't know of anyone who has advocated this." Rob Anderson

I just ventured that approach as one hypothetical outcome of the commonly voiced distress certain road users have with bad behavior on the part of some people riding bikes. Many in this general category of people seem also to resent any public money spent or infrastructure created that would enable bikes to move about more safely and efficiently on motor vehicle dominated roads(maybe they don't realize or understand that this kind of infrastructure may help to enable bikes to move about safely and efficiently on motor vehicle dominated roads.). These attitudes may be part of an antagonistic relationship that goes on between some road users related to the growing presence of bikes on the road. That's unfortunate, because to varying degree, it probably provokes some of the bad behavior.

"It is of course impossible to determine what percentage of cyclists behave badly on our streets, but it surely is at least a significant minority." Rob Anderson

"...a significant minority." How many might that be? Under 10 percent? Does anyone have a good suggestion about how to address their behavior besides simple complaining?

Was the SF bike plan's movement through the approval process without the EIR having been conducted, due to political arrogance, or rather, wide ranging, broad based support from SF residents?

Up here in Portland, some months ago, residents faced a situation where a proposal, broadly supported by many city residents in many neighborhoods, was sidelined by a special interest lobbyist group by way of a procedural measure; it was going to pass or fail by city council approval...the group threatened to force it to a vote of the people, so the person heading up the proposal voluntarily put it to a ballot. Loosely defined, the proposal was for street repair and improvements. If I remember correctly, 4 percent of its budget was dedicated to the provision of bike boulevards. Opponents of the measure made great hay out of that provision, conveniently but effectively underplaying the fact that bike related expenses were limited to 4 percent.

The proposal was to be on the ballot in November. The economy, energy cost increases and the city budget resulted in the proposal being removed from the budget. The condition of streets is becoming a serious concern up here.

ws/beav ore

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger PastorHsiao said...

seriously, i dont understand why you are still having to force yourself into enjoying living in this town. the first thing im doing once i'm 18 is leaving this incestuous lunny-ville.

 

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