Monday, April 12, 2010

Children and the bike cult

It's no surprise that children of parents who belong to cults are initiated into the beliefs and rituals of those cults. Many parents in the city's bicycle cult are eager to indoctrinate their children in their ideology. The Bicycle Coalition leads the way in that effort with Family Day and Safe Routes to School.

But these programs apparently aren't enough for some, which is why we have a website devoted to the idea that kids should ride bikes on the streets of San Francisco.

The Bicycle Plan proposes indoctrinating city school children in the benefits of cycling as a lifestyle, though that won't begin, you understand, until the children are nine years old: "Before the age of nine, most children do not have the maturity and developmental skills required to ride a bicycle in urban traffic situations...In addition to technical skill and traffic laws, bicycle-safety education for children should promote bicycling as an enjoyable transportation method with positive lifestyle, health, and environmental benefits."

In a discussion of John Forester's ideas, bike messenger and author Robert Hurst ("The Art of Cycling") has a different view: "While Forester claimed that even children could ride safely on busy streets using the vehicular-cycling principle, our way is unquestionably for adults. Freedom will be our food and our poison. The streets demand from us[cyclists] an awareness and maturity that would be very rare in a child."

Kids and bikes can be a dangerous combination:

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), each year more than 700 people are killed and over 500,000 are treated in emergency rooms as a result of bicycling injuries in the U.S. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 are particularly prone to bicycle-related injuries and account for the majority of those treated for cycling injuries in hospital emergency rooms.

From the National Safe Kids Foundation:

Bikes are a classic symbol of childhood recreation, transportation and health...Unfortunately, bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile. In 2001, 134 children ages 14 and under died and nearly 314,600 were injured in bicycle crashes. Additionally, more than 176,000 children ages 5 to 14 are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to skateboards, scooters and skates.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons finds that cycling is the most dangerous recreational activity for children: of the top 10 head injury categories among children ages 14 and younger in 2008, cycling is first with 34,366 and football is a distant second with 16,902.

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88 Comments:

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Randerson said...

40 people were killed skiing last year. 13 are killed annually playing football. Each day in the United States, nine people drown.

Shall we ban these activities too? The per capital fatality rate is substantially higher for those activities.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No one is talking about banning anything. Fatalities are one thing, and serious head injuries are still another. I just think it's irresponsible of parents to encourage their children to ride bikes in a city when it isn't really safe for adults to do so.

 
At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Current risks associated with cycling underline the importance of major cycling infrastructure development and age appropriate training for riders.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Major cycling infrastructure" means that the city should take away more than 2000 parking spaces and 50 traffic lanes to make bike lanes as per the Bicycle Plan? So the 94% of folks who don't ride bikes---taking the bike people's estimate of 6% of trips by bike---in SF are supposed to redesign their streets and traffic systems to benefit your minority? Leah Shahum wants to make it safe for 8-year-olds to ride their bikes safely on city streets, which leads to the question, What is in fact "age appropriate" for riding a bike in SF? And what effect would "calming" city traffic to that extent have on the city's economy? Why do I get the impression that there aren't many bike people working in the city's hospitality industry---the hotels and restaurants, etc.?

 
At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that there aren't many "bike people" actually doing anything substantive to drive the economy in SF? Unless painting bike lanes over parking spaces is considered economic stimulus.

Creating jobs at nonprofits who use our tax dollars to advocate for more bike lanes doesn't count.

 
At 11:31 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Kids used to grow up riding bicycles everywhere.

Now they don't and they're fat.

Rob Anderson: defender of childhood obesity

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Childhood obesity has more to do with junk food, TV, and video games than it does with bikes. When I was a kid growing up in Marin, we walked everywhere, including the trails in the hills above Corte Madera. It's a shame that the bike people insist on putting their kids on wheels in this walkable city.

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

By the way, an important factor for the bike cultists is speed and thrill element of riding a bike. I see many cyclists speeding at unsafe speeds down McAllister, Hayes, Haight, and Page much like the mountain bikers on Marin County's fire trails. But the mountain bikers are more honest about the thrill/speed aspect of their hobby than urban cyclists.
(http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2007/03/mountain-biking-thrill-and-speed-based.html)

Encouraging children to ape their elders and indulge in this kind of reckless behavior is poor parenting in my opinion.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

But cars never speed....

http://sfappeal.com/alley/2010/04/reports-motorist-hits-tree-at-ofarrell-and-van-ness.php

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Try to focus on the topic, Murph. We're talking about children and bikes, not cars.

 
At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Henry Ford's Ghost said...

Reliance on automobiles is a potentially crippling factor in cities like San Francisco with little space to build new automotive infrastructure—unless you think that the city's population should never increase. You can't grow the economy without more people. And if everyone is as reliant on their cars as you think they need to be, then we can't really fit anyone else in San Francisco. So if somebody moves here with a car and discovers that it's logistically or financially untenable to keep it here, what do they do? If Muni sucks and there aren't any other practical transportation alternatives, they will leave. We need those other modes of transportation to keep people here, and to nourish and grow the economy.

What is it about going to a restaurant, a play, or really anything that generates real value that necessitates driving there, anyway? Most of that money leaves the city almost instantaneously, flowing straight into the coffers of oil barons, foreign automobile manufacturers, out-of-state parking conglomerates, and the overseas producers of cheap goods. You want to facilitate commerce and support the local economy? Take the bus. Ride a bike. Fucking walk, or take a taxi if you really need to. But you're kidding yourself if you think that driving a car does anything to help San Francisco.

You want to invest in a local economy that's sustainable in the long term? Demand that the city build a better public transit system, improve pedestrian and cycling facilities, and provide people with safer and more efficient alternatives to private motor vehicles. Not everyone (especially the people working most of the service jobs in this city, like waiters and hotel attendants) can afford to own and operate a car here, and insisting that the city favor automotive transportation over public transit and cycling actively hurts these people. Muni doesn't function because the city streets are clogged with a totally unnecessary amount of cars. People don't ride bikes because they (rightly) perceive drivers to be inattentive or reckless and lack adequate facilities. They don't walk to work because our sidewalks are too narrow and much of the city is downright hostile to pedestrians because we've dedicated so much of their space to cars.

2,000 is 0.4% of the city's 441,541 known spaces. Hell yes we should take them away! That's a waste of much-needed space that would better serve many more people—even if it were dedicated to the 6% of the city's residents who bike.

An anonymous simpleton asks,

Why do I get the feeling that there aren't many "bike people" actually doing anything substantive to drive the economy in SF?

And the answer is this: Because you're a bigot. Thousands of young Hispanic men ride their bikes to service jobs in the Mission every day. I see people wearing suits riding to work every morning. I do probably 90% of my shopping by bike. Who the hell are you to imply that none of us are doing anything "substantive" to drive the economy? And just what makes you think that anyone who drives necessarily is?

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Your words will fall on deaf ears, Mr Ford. They are wasted on a man who is so deluded that he believes that most tourists who come to the city drive and park here.

By the way, the International Jew was a shitty read. Sorry, but it was.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Most people rely on cars in SF. That's the reality that you bike people ignore. And all of our goods are delivered by truck. There are more than 1,000 Muni vehicles and 1,500 taxis on our streets. Millions of tourists drive into SF every year to spend money at our hotels, restaurants, and theaters. None of these things can be done on a bicycle.

Many city residents are too old, too young, or too disabled to ride bikes. If you have a family, it's impractical to do serious grocery shopping on a bike. There are 461,797 motor vehicles registered in SF, and many folks have garages and parking spaces for their vehicles. In case you haven't noticed, the city is gentrifying, thanks in part to our "progressive" political leadership. Most people of means have cars. Do you really think someone who lives in, say, Pacific Heights is going to walk or ride a bike to dine at one of our many upscale restaurants? You may choose to live like a Chinese peasant, but that's not likely to be the choice of a lot of people.

The 6% number comes from the city's annual bicycle count, and supposedly represents the percentage of all trips made in the city, not the percentage of people who ride bikes. Injury accidents to cyclists have steadily declined over the years even as the number of cyclists on city streets has increased, if you believe the city's numbers.

I, along with thousands of other city residents, already rely on Muni, which is the only serious alternative to driving for most people, not riding a bike. I haven't owned a car in more than 20years; I walk or take Muni everywhere. But when I had a young family, I found that a car was absolutely necessary for shopping and getting through the logistical hurdles that family life presents.

Muni is actually functioning pretty well now, though the looming service cuts will damage the system's reliability.

I walk all over the city and don't find that it's hostile to pedestrians at all. You're just constructing a prosecutor's case for bikes, and your bias is obvious.

You must be a new commenter to this blog, since we've been over these issues many times here.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Your words will fall on deaf ears, Mr Ford. They are wasted on a man who is so deluded that he believes that most tourists who come to the city drive and park here."

Yes, Michael, I recall the exchange. I presented facts and you offered nothing but bullshit.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

You know who else presented facts?

That's right, the Nazis.

QED

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a great quote about the mindset of car drivers:

"Not only is the lifestyle unchanged, its premises are totally unchallenged. The car is a basic right as well as a necessity – it is part of one’s personhood, especially one’s manhood. To play “car wars”, tailgating and intimidating in your pickup truck or SUV while racing to your minimum wage job, is the only form of freedom psychologically left for tens of millions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a terribly dangerous, joyless war of survival fought in choking traffic that perpetually drains life-energy, health and your bank account. It’s an extension of your physical body. To be separated from the vehicle is profound trauma, loss, the end of freedom."

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Bottom line, cycling in this city is pretty dangerous on almost any street, except for Sunday in GGPark..

and you want kids to also ride in the streets?

Cyclists in the city are by and large one small category: young, single, male, and renters. Yes, some are older and female and house owners, but not a majority.

When these cyclists get older, by and large they will tend to move away from cycling and buy a car or take muni to get to work in their suit and nice slacks. It just happens.

Who, in their right mind, is going to get dressed up for dinner downtown with some friends, say friday nite at 8pm, and hop on their bike from Noe Valley and ride down Valencia then to Market St. say to a waterfront restaurant, have a great dinner and drinks, and then leave about, oh say, 11:30 pm only to ride back in the wind and dark, home on their bike?

Seriously, who does that?

 
At 6:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No one, that's who.

 
At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Dad's Rock said...

The 6% number comes from the city's annual bicycle count, and supposedly represents the percentage of all trips made in the city, not the percentage of people who ride bikes. Injury accidents to cyclists have steadily declined over the years even as the number of cyclists on city streets has increased, if you believe the city's numbers.

So, even if the bicycle count was inflated, and assuming that not even cyclists make every trip on a bike, it's safe to say that more than 6% of the people in the city own bikes and ride them every once in a while. So really what we're talking about is turning 0.4% of space that serves (optimistically assuming 2 people per car) 4,000 people, when occupied, into space that could more flexibly serve at least 50,000. Thanks for clarifying that.

You didn't answer any of my questions either. Where will all the new cars go if San Francisco's population is to increase? I've not suggested that cars should go away, nor do I think they will. But you're insane if you think that the city can accommodate the same proportion of automotive transportation (relative to other modes) and grow its local economy at the same time. Seriously, where will all the new cars go if everyone insists on driving?

Rocky's Dad, your straw men are really pretty ridiculous. One could easily walk or ride their bike part way and get on BART if they didn't want to do the whole thing. And it's not unheard of for people who live within a mile or two of nice restaurants to dress up and ride their bike to dinner because it saves them time. Some people even find it fun to ride. (But I wouldn't expect somebody who drives their bike to the park to understand that aspect, so I'll cut you some slack.)

You've illustrated a pretty important point, though: It's problematic that so many people live so far away from the places they spend money. If they didn't "have to" drive they could be spending more of their money on things that matter rather than their cars. Perhaps if more of us could walk or bike to dinner there would be fewer cars on the road slowing down public transit and holding up all of those delivery trucks.

Giving up my car was, ultimately, liberating; and I think a lot of other people would feel the same way if they were to give it a shot. Maybe it's not practical for families with small children, those who work in areas that are inaccessible by public transit, or older folks with bad knees. But those very same people seem to get by just fine in other cities without cars. The question you should be asking yourself is what San Francisco can do to help those people get around without resorting to an expensive (in many respects) and fundamentally inefficient mode of transportation that also just happens to be primarily responsible for the destruction of our natural environment.

Bikes are just a piece of the urban transportation puzzle. Cars are one, too. Public transit is another. A balance needs to be found between all of them if the city is to grow sustainably and equitably. Insisting that private automobiles should be given preference is counterproductive, short-sighted, and irresponsible; and I'm thankful that the people making these important decisions are smarter than you.

 
At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So the 94% of folks who don't ride bikes---taking the bike people's estimate of 6% of trips by bike"

This is flat out wrong.

50% of residents could ride a bike once a week and still account for 6% of trips.

Or, to put it another way, 100% of residents could take 6% of their trips by bike.

I dont know what the numbers are, but to put it the way you did is wrong and misleading. I'm not saying that 100% ride a bike obviously, but to say 94% dont is just as wrong.

 
At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, we shouldn't ever shop or eat at a store or restaurant that's more than an easy walk, or bike ride, from our home. Guess we also need to be sure we don't have any friends who live outside our neighborhood, since getting together with them might force us to break that first rule.

And I've heard the bike crazies actually espouse that everyone should live close to where they work, too, so that they don't ever need a car. If you work in the south bay, you need to live there, too. That should free up lots of nice SF apartments for the crazies to squat in. What an interesting city we'll have when none of us ever has to leave. We won't be bothered by those annoying outsiders with their silly new ideas.

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Your comments are ludicrous. I'm so glad you're liberated, murphstahoe.

You can't hide.

Get this: Cars are a major form of transit for many people..muni is a second, walking is a third, and biking is probably a distant 4th.

Cars are not going away, despite what you bike nuts think. Streets are here to stay, primarily for cars and public transit. Get used to it.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

I will not rest until there are no streets left.

VIVA LA REVOLUCION

SI SE PUEDE!

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Who, in their right mind, is going to get dressed up for dinner downtown with some friends, say friday nite at 8pm, and hop on their bike from Noe Valley and ride down Valencia then to Market St. say to a waterfront restaurant, have a great dinner and drinks, and then leave about, oh say, 11:30 pm only to ride back in the wind and dark, home on their bike?

Seriously, who does that?"

I do.

"Honestly John, can you ever make a comment without getting personal and throwing in a dig about the group that does not agree with you"

For example, telling someone they are not "in their right mind".

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

and no, rocky's dad, that prior comment was not mine, and I'm not searching out your real name on google - though you can feel free to call me John. I thought I knew who that was and said "that's not good form", and they said "Wasn't me".

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Well, there are people who are not in their right mind. Bike nuts for one.

Biking will always be a minor way to get around town here. It will serve an extremely small amount of people. They are certainly free to enjoy it, but they should learn to not be "holier than thou" and push their agenda on others.

I will continue to use my car, like many others do. I will do it safely and respectfully. I will not drive in bike lanes and I will watch out for cyclists, and I will obey ALL laws, especially stop signs and traffic lights. when the cyclists want to start behaving responsibly also, and accept the fact that their mode of transit is a minor mode, then we may begin to make some progress here.

Driving over this morning to a lumber supply house to pick up some doors, I watched a cyclist on Cortland Ave. fly thru EVERY stop sign, once narrowly missing an elderly woman in a cross walk; at times the cyclist rode up on the sidewalks then back to the street to simply keep moving fast. I see this behavior day after day, constantly, on streets all over the city. It never ends. They continue their antics. They continue to break the law, and give us the finger if we confront them.

Until that behavior changes, many of us will NEVER support cyclists and more bike lanes in this city.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

The problem with your anecdotes about scofflaws on Cortland is every day I can pick up the paper and throw back 3-4 examples of "driver did blah". That guy on Cortland sounds like a complete loser to me. So does the driver who slammed into 5 cars in SoMa, then drove her car directly at a police officer, who shot her.

That incident does not make rocky's dad a loser, just like the person on Cortland does not make me a loser. The plural of anecdotes is not data.

I need to take a break from this, I have other things to do like drum up support for the change to Conditional Use permits for new restaurants on 24th St. rocky's dad, if you love new restaurants (and I'm guessing you do) as much as you dislike scofflaw bike nuts, please email Bevan about the restaurant changes on 24th. Speculate if you will as to whom is trying to stop it. Hint: Not the people with the pink stickers.

details blog moi.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Yup, every time someone, me or others, brings up one more story about a cyclist gone crazy...murph brings up yet another story about a driver gone crazy...

clearly, it's not about the issue, it's about keeping score...

and it gets boring.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The big lie by the bike people is that cyclists are unsafe on city streets because of cars---or Death Machines, as Steve Jones calls them---even though the city's own accident reports show that cyclists themselves by their own reckless behavior are responsible for 50% of their own injury accidents, as I pointed out in a recent post (http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2010/03/city-wants-to-screw-up-masonic-ave.html).

The idea that they are now passing on this ethos of recklessness and victimization to the next generation is bothersome,as is the constant anti-car propaganda eminating from their websites and blogs.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Akterton said...

Suck my dick Rob. I'm been pretty patient about you over the years, but this post really crosses the line and shows you are a realy stupid fuck. I will now pray (to all available gods) that you die soon. You really are a miserable little shit. I urinate in your general direction. You are truly non-human.

 
At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Akterton said...

Rocky's dad:

"Seriously, who does that?"

I'll tell you who - legitimate people who deserve to live her. Dogs who need to "drive" simply don't deserve to live here. That's the end of the debate. I urinate in your general direction.

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

what a stupid, cowardly, immature thing to say...

 
At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Dads Rock! said...

Get this, Rocky's Dad: Cars are so popular in San Francisco because their infrastructure has been heavily subsidized and their effects on human health and our natural environment haven't been accounted for in their operating costs. Gas is artificially cheap in the States. The roads on which you drive are heavily subsidized, and few even come close to paying for their own upkeep. Private automobiles are the primary cause of delays to public transit and the transport of goods. One of the reasons that housing is so expensive in our city is that so much of the city's physical space has been ceded to automobiles. You can call these statements "ludicrous" all you want, but they're all true to some extent.

Rob, do you want to guess what percentage of automobile accidents are the drivers' fault? Given that there are, thankfully, so few auto/bicycle accidents here, I don't find it very surprising that the fault is split pretty evenly between the two parties. That doesn't really say anything about the inherent safety of cycling, though, or illuminate the potential danger that automobiles pose to cyclists and pedestrians (who account for nearly half of all traffic fatalities). What's lost in those statistics is the sense of safety. Rocky's Dad says himself that cycling is too "scary" for him to even ride his bike to the park. I just can't believe that you don't see that as a problem worth solving.

Cars beget cars—people have this sense of needing to protect themselves from speeding metal boxes by wrapping themselves up in one of their own. That is a cultural problem that needs to, and can, be addressed.

Clearly nobody has an answer for my question, or they'd have responded at this point. It's worth asking again, though: If San Francisco is to grow, where will all the new cars go? You can continue parroting your "cars are here to stay" line all you want, but the reality of the situation is that there isn't any room for them in this city. People desperately need alternatives—because, as I've pointed out, many of the people working in the very service industries San Francisco relies upon so heavily simply can't afford to own a car here—and automotive transport stands in direct opposition to every single one of them.

A city that values and nourishes a variety of transportation modes encourages healthier lifestyles for its residents and makes everyone's lives better in the long term. A city that favors cars necessarily neglects public transit and other perfectly practical means of transportation. Nobody is suggesting that everyone give up their cars this instant. But if we don't evolve eventually the system is going to render us extinct. I don't expect people like you to care because you'll be long gone when it happens, but my generation has an obligation to change the way we live. We don't have the luxury of defending the status quo because we have to deal with the consequences. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. So, please: Unless you've got workable solutions, kindly shut the fuck up and step aside.

 
At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

I have no idea who "Akterton" is, but anyone that would wish (or pray) for someone's death simply because they disagree with the person's views, is a pretty sad and pitiful human being. It seems to further the oft-expressed belief that many of the urban cyclists are like petulant children, unable to handle a world in which they don't always get their way and not everyone agrees with them.

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger Lex said...

Rob, comments like Akerton's nad Baehr's "Nazi" shot are clear evidence that you're doing the Lord's work. Keep it up.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

I really had a good laugh at all the silly and useless comments made by dadsrock!

I'm not a betting man, but I'd swear the rhetoric sounds pretty very similar to that tahoe guy..wonder if they are related?..:)

But the anger and animosity clearly came thru his comments. The potty mouth spewing from him doesn't seem to help the issues either.

No comment here about any of his comments. Not worth any of our time, if that attitude continues.

I'm sorry that others also choose to rant such hatred and violence directed toward Rob here. It serves no purpose.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, people get upset when you challenge their religion.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Is that why you've stopped hanging out at Cafe Abir, Rob?

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I get my coffee to go now that my mother is on her deathbed.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Hoozar T'yerro Aub Krayse said...

Hey shit fucker! Have you seen the new reality?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/14/bicycle-policy-ray-lahood_n_536791.html

You're a simpleton bob! You're officially no longer welcome in San Francisco.

"I urinate in your general direction" - this is my new favorite quote and I echo it enthusiasticaly.

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Dr. Dip said...

I hope your fucking mom dies soon asshole. You are not worthy of her presence. Me bike shit dance!!! Yokkkkoooo!!!!

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Docky Is Rad said...

I really had a good laugh at all the silly and useless comments made by dadsrock!

Hey, great! I get a good chuckle out of your idiotic comments, too.

I'm not a betting man, but I'd swear the rhetoric sounds pretty very similar to that tahoe guy..wonder if they are related?..:)

I have no relation to "that tahoe guy".

But the anger and animosity clearly came thru his comments. The potty mouth spewing from him doesn't seem to help the issues either.

Oh gosh, I'm really sorry if my use of the word "fuck" offends your delicate sensibilities. I shouldn't be surprised that someone who's too afraid to ride a bike to the park is also frightened by "potty mouths".

No comment here about any of his comments. Not worth any of our time, if that attitude continues.

I'm sure you'd comment if you had anything intelligent to say, so it's safe to assume that this is not the case. But my attitude will certainly continue, and it's only going to get worse for you people—and better for everyone else who can't afford a car or just doesn't want to drive one. I just hope I live to see the day when your lazy, arrogant, selfish kind flees our cities to escape us and makes room for people who can see the forest for the trees. It'll be a lot easier to make a better life for ourselves and future generations without your pitiful asses clinging to the status quo and dragging us down in the process.

Rob, I'm sorry to hear about your mother, and I hope you know that some of the ruder visitors' comments here don't reflect the opinions of everyone who disagrees with you. That said, you're horribly wrong and I think that your bigoted attitude toward cyclists is totally unwarranted and distracts from the objective aspects of this discussion that deserve to be debated. Calling anyone who disagrees with you a "jihadist" is just lame. Stop it.

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rob - best wishes on the Mother front. Not so much on the bike plan front, but best wishes on the Mother front.

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

LOL...just wondering Rob when the kids found your site and started playing with it. they are pretty silly, aren't they.

But I continue to look forward to your intelligent commentary regarding the bike nuts and the anti car nut bags...they are fun to listen to I admit.

Keep up the good work.

 
At 8:46 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

oh, one more thing. I love the power we seem to have, including me, to get some of these commenters so wrangled and upset that they rant on and on...

about basically nothing.

 
At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you mean the bike *culture*?

Because certainly culture transmits from one generation to the next.

As for bike riders being a cult, well-- I gotta say that sounds a little crazy.

 
At 9:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, I seem to be stuck with the anti-bike franchise here in Progressive Land, but someone has to do it. I actually don't find them very interesting, just like I don't find religious fundies of all stripes very interesting. To many bike people, it really is like a religion, which is fine until it spills over into public policy and we're supposed to redesign our streets for these folks.

One commenter actually suggested that the bike trip is like a hate crime when taken to the extremes like a couple these commenters. Some of them seem to have contempt for those of us who don't ride bikes. I assume that they aren't necessarily representative of the city's bike people.
http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2007/05/bike-movement-as-hate-agenda.html

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Phrazy said...

Holy cow. The comments have really hit the roof around here.

Still, I really can't blame 'em.

"To many bike people, it really is like a religion, which is fine until it spills over into public policy and we're supposed to redesign our streets for these folks."

This is why you create so much anger. Actually, bike improvements very much SHOULD be in public policy and will be a bigger part of public policy for a long time to come.

It's a good thing. I'm really puzzled at your anger about this. I hate annoying mission hipsters as much as anyone, but sorry dude, more bikes is a good thing.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

naaaaaaa, phrazy: you got it all wrong.

the latest dump comments have all been the same person, just ranting, prob off his meds..pay no attention to the bike nut behind the curtain.

bikes will be ok for some, a small minority in SF..that's ok I guess. they enjoy their bikes, that's cool.

for lots of others, however, we prefer other modes of transit, such as our cars and public..that's our choice.

be careful you don't try to push YOUR choice onto us.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Pushing bike on the rest of us is exactly what they have been trying to do for years. Trying to push the Bicycle Plan through the process illegally was their big move, and we managed to at least delay the city's attempt to eliminate traffic lanes and street parking all over the city to make bike lanes.

Of course the people of San Francisco will never get a chance to vote on the bike stuff. Their enablers/collaborators in City Hall will make sure of that. The bike people represent the worst traits of progressivism: they know what's best for everyone, Whether We Like It Or Not!

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Phrazy said...

I'm not sure I understand how the "bike nuts" are pushing anything other that some infrastructural changes that seem pretty reasonable to me. I'm only an occasional biker, but having lived in Berlin, I have seen the benefits of decent bike lanes and so on.

I feel like this is more about being annoyed by hipsters than bikes. In Berlin, everyone bikes - kids, men, women, young and old. I'm not sure why anyone would say this is a bad thing. Why wouldn't you want to encourage it?

When you sue the city to derail what, according to most who've really read it, is a pretty modest bike plan, you're going to create a lot of anger.

People are not angry because you disagree on bikes. They are angry because you got in the way of what most (biker and not) agree is a pretty sensible plan and cost the taxpayers a huge amount of money.

It's an odd, and paranoid task.

Please don't waste any more of my money on these silly lawsuits. The city wastes enough already.

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

phrazy...you STILL got it wrong. I've been to Berlin and I've been to Amsterdam...not EVERYONE bikes, yes a lot do. but there are still plenty of cars on the streets of Amsterdam.

What you don't get is this: encouraging bike riding is one thing.

But trying to IMPOSE it on all of society is wrong. It becomes your mantra: The only way to live is MY way.

In Amsterdam and Berlin, and London and other Euro cities, both modes of transit exist without either side becoming tyrannical about their choice for transportation.

That's something the bike culture here has not learned yet.

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Ray Terrerio said...

Phrazy - you're absolutely right, but still, some people are getting out of line in the comments.

Rob - I think Phrazy's comments is on the money. You have held up what is obviously a good, cost effective, thing for San Francisco simply because of hatred of Hipsters.

The irony is that if we get better, safer bike infrastructure, then NON HIPSTERS will take to biking and things will get a hell of a lot more civilized (ie, road rage, running lights, etc...)

I too have spent time in Europe and it's just amazing how normal it is to bike everywhere, there's no hipster attitude at all, it's just normal. YOu should go to Amsterdam some time, one of the world's nicest cities!

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This post was about the wisdom of encouraging children to ride bikes on the busy streets of a major American city. Interesting that none of you address that issue.

You guys are coming in late for the wider discussion of bikes in SF and don't know what you're talking about. We're not talking about Germany or Amsterdam; we're talking about the streets of San Francisco, the Bicycle Plan, and the EIR on the Bicycle Plan. Of course you guys give no indication that you are familiar with these documents.

I've written a lot about these issues over the past five years, and the notion that Bikes are Good and Cars are Bad, to the extent it even exists as a serious idea, has been thorougly expounded and explored in years past. Except for the True Believers and the willfully ignorant, that's not the issue here in SF. The issue: should the city take away traffic lanes and street parking on busy streets to make bike lanes on behalf of a small minority to the detriment of more than 90% of those who use city streets? And by doing so screwing up traffic for that majority, including slowing down Muni buses? I say that's a dumb thing to do. It not only makes it more difficult for residents to move on city streets, it also risks damaging our economy, which is dependent on tourism and the ability to move on city streets.

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Ray Terrerio said...

Nah, I read the point, but was drawn here by the ruckus. There's value judgement in your statment:

"The issue: should the city take away traffic lanes and street parking on busy streets to make bike lanes on behalf of a small minority to the detriment of more than 90% of those who use city streets? And by doing so screwing up traffic for that majority, including slowing down Muni buses?"

Should be rewritten as follows:

"The issue: should the city take away traffic lanes and street parking on busy streets to make bike lanes on behalf of a SIGNIFICANT AND GROWING GROUP to the BENEFIT of more than 90% of those who use city streets? And by doing so IMPROVING traffic for that majority, including SPEEDING UP Muni buses?"

Kids should also be encouraged to bike, assuming the infrastructure is built to permit it.

I think that's the real deal.

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Nah, I read the point, but was drawn here by the ruckus..."

I don't know what this is supposed to mean, but evidently you haven't read the EIR of the Bicycle Plan, since it says that implementing the Plan will slow down Muni on a number of city streets. The percentage of city residents who commute via bike is down around 2 percent according to the city's own numbers. The percentage who ride bikes for other purposes of course is higher, but it's not clear what that number is. Even assuming it's twice the percentage of commuters, it's ridiculous to redesign city streets on behalf of that small minority.

"Kids should also be encouraged to bike, assuming the infrastructure is built to permit it. I think that's the real deal."

The "real deal" is you're full of shit.

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous eg said...

Rob, your hypocrisy is mind boggling. Your absurd one-man campaign has wasted millions of dollars and many years in a shameless abuse of the environmental review process. Talk about a minority -- essentially you -- making life worse for the majority!

The city is moving toward becoming more pedestrian, transit and bicycle friendly despite you. When all's said and done, you will be remembered as a footnote in the transportation history of San Francisco for your wasteful -- and I would argue hateful -- obstructionism. I get the feeling you relish this prospect. Keep up the good work.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

It's pretty dangerous for adults or kids to bike on many of our streets.

Aside from Golden Gate Park on sundays, or Sunday Streets, I dont think it's really safe anywhere to bike. Doesnt mean one can't do it.

But, I really wonder how many of these hardcore cyclists who may have children would really allow them to bike alone on any given public street.

My guess is none.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Rob, your hypocrisy is mind boggling."

"Hypocrisy" refers to someone who doesn't act in accordance with his/her expressed beliefs, which means it isn't the word you want here.

"Your absurd one-man campaign has wasted millions of dollars and many years in a shameless abuse of the environmental review process."

Wrong again! It's the city that has wasted all the time and money by not following the law and doing an environmental review of the 500-page Bicycle Plan in the first place. We warned them five years ago and were dismissed contemptuously by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The City Attorney's office has committed malpractice by not admitting early in the process that, yes, according to the law the city must do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan. If our litigation was nothing but "a shameless abuse" of the process, why have two judges agreed with us in ruling that the city hasn't followed the law?

Yes, I understand that you bike nuts think criticizing your religion---BikeThink---is a hate crime. Funny that it's some of your comrades who are the ones indulging in hateful conduct, with ugly comments to this blog and misbehavior on city streets.

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But, I really wonder how many of these hardcore cyclists who may have children would really allow them to bike alone on any given public street."

Says the man raising a cat...

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

whatever, but thanks murph, once again, for one of your stupidly insane comments.

 
At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Derek M. said...

Has anyone commenting here actually looked at the website that Mr. Anderson is addressing? YBike.org? After reading most of these posts it seems the conversation has drifted. (To preface, I am not a 'crazy' or a 'cultist...I own a gun for hunting and I voted for McCain) I think this program looks great!

As an occasional cyclist (one who follows the rules of the road after taking on of the Bike Coalitions free classes) I feel that what the YMCA is doing here is a great thing. Mr. Anderson, you brought up injury statistics in one of your comments. Don't you feel that what this program is doing will bring those statistics down? And do you really think that this program is forcing this on the kids? Or are you all speaking more of infrastructure issues? I would much rather these kids learn about bike safety in a controlled environment then go out there on there own because that is why many cyclists don't respect rules. I also would much rather these kids be engaged in an activity like this than running around getting into trouble. I would bet almost anything that these programs are very popular in the afterschool programs that they exist within. DO you agree? If so, should we force these kids to NOT be interested in bicycles?

Also, with the city cutting drivers education in high schools for lack of funding, don't you think that having bicycle education in PE is a decent substitute? Isn't a student that is learning the rules of the road on a bike going to be far more aware of his/her surroundings and ultimately become a better driver? (I have been a professional driver for many years and I honestly feel that going through a 'bike education' course has made me a better driver.) And isn't it a good thing that PE is teaching something that is actually useful (some of the crazies out there might actually call this cycling 'thing' a life skill). I mean, I love football and badminton, but really, are you playing those when you get into your 50's-60's? My 68 year old mother still rides her bike. I would feel a lot better about that if she had some training in high school.

I may agree with some of things you say Mr. Anderson et al, but frankly I believe that this program is a decent picture into what our future looks like. Why fight change? And while we are here, do bike lanes really make you all that mad? As a driver and a cyclist, I appreciate them. The way I see it...more bike lanes...more people feel safer on bikes...more bikers...less traffic. As a professional driver (cab/delivery trucks in the past) I want more bike infrastructure and more training for people. More training...Less 'crazies'

Just my humble opinion. If this ever makes it to the eyes of the Ymca program, I say keep on truckin' And Mr. Anderson, I respect your opinions, keep doing what you do sir.

 
At 1:38 AM, Blogger John G. Spragge said...

Rob, I find it amusing that your own source claims that bicycles injure more kids than any other consumer product except for cars. Suppose we deny our kids the joy of cycling, make them dependent on a technology that promotes an inactive lifestyle and all the painful, debilitating, and life-shortening conditions that go with it. After all that, guess what? We still haven't made them safe.

To answer Rocky's Dad: thanks for warning me about the dangers of San Francisco Streets. I'll certainly make a point to avoid such a lethally hazardous city. If you don't have any streets safe for cycling, you obviously don't have too many places to walk or drive safely, either (the deaths of over 40,000 Americans in car crashes every year bears witness to the impotence of the supposedly "protective" features of cars).

Fortunately, where I live, I can quite safely allow my kid to bike freely in our neighbourhood, and I do.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

@john: I'm glad you can allow your kids to bike safely in your neighborhood. And I suspect what you mean is a small neighborhood, residential, with quiet side streets and not much traffic. That is all well and good. I'm all for that.

But let's be real. Many streets in your large city of Toronto would not be safe for your kids to bike on. I am saying the same thing here in San Francisco. Yes, there may be SOME small side streets here where it's safe, but by and large the traffic here is dense and congested. Most of the streets are simply not a safe place to bike..for adults or kids. I wish it weren't so, but it's reality. Even with bike lanes on some of our busy streets, a cyclist and car colliding is not good news for the cyclists. You're really distorting my comments when you seem to think that walking ON SIDEWALKS is also not safe..sort of a ridiculous analogy.

My basic comment, in large, was about the lack of safety almost anywhere when bikes and cars come together on streets and roads. It's going to be inherently dangerous..hopefully not a lot or all the time. Doesn't mean one shouldnt do it, but with young kids, I guess they need extra protection and caution.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Mr. Anderson, you brought up injury statistics in one of your comments. Don't you feel that what this program is doing will bring those statistics down? And do you really think that this program is forcing this on the kids?"

The entire post you're supposedly responding to is about children and cycling injuries. Yes, in effect these adults are "forcing" bikes on small children, who might never have much of an interest in cycling without all these programs. My assumption is that they can have a completely normal and healthy childhood without being indoctrinated in BikeThink.

"I would much rather these kids learn about bike safety in a controlled environment then go out there on there own because that is why many cyclists don't respect rules."

Bullshit. Many cyclists in SF "don't respect rules" because they are punks and assholes. They know perfectly welll what the "rules" are.

"I also would much rather these kids be engaged in an activity like this than running around getting into trouble. I would bet almost anything that these programs are very popular in the afterschool programs that they exist within. DO you agree? If so, should we force these kids to NOT be interested in bicycles?"

No, I don't agree. It's not a matter of forcing kids "to not be interested in bicycles." Just leave them alone to be kids. Some of them will have an interest in riding a bike, and some will not. These parents are in effect pushing their children into what can obviously be a dangerous activity.

"Why fight change? And while we are here, do bike lanes really make you all that mad? As a driver and a cyclist, I appreciate them. The way I see it...more bike lanes...more people feel safer on bikes...more bikers...less traffic. As a professional driver (cab/delivery trucks in the past) I want more bike infrastructure and more training for people."

There is good change and there is bad change, Derek. I think it's irresponsible for PC parents to push their children onto bikes in SF. Bikes don't make me mad. In fact I'm not mad at all. The real issue here in SF---which, typically of so many commenters, you know nothing about---is the Bicycle Plan, which will take away 56 traffic lanes and more than 2,000 parking spaces on city streets to make bike lanes. The EIR on the Plan tells us that doing this will make traffic worse all over the city, including slowing down a number of Muni lines. That's what I call bad change, since it will screw up traffic for the more than 90% of the population that don't ride bikes.

 
At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The real issue here in SF---which, typically of so many commenters, you know nothing about---is the Bicycle Plan, which will take away 56 traffic lanes and more than 2,000 parking spaces on city streets to make bike lanes."

Operative word - "will". "Will take". Have you conceded defeat Rob?

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No, since the hearing on the adequacy of the EIR on the Bicycle Plan doesn't take place until June.

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

anon: you're playing word games. IF the bicycle plan is implemented, it will, in fact take away traffic lanes and parking spaces, as noted.

 
At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Nayosso Ty said...

Well, I hate to say it, but I agree. Rob, I hope you leave this city. You really have no right to be here.

I echo! And Urinate in your general direction!

Rocky's Dad - sound's like rocky must be mentally retarded. Poor kid.

I also urinate in your general direction!

 
At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Derek M. said...

Mr. Anderson, I think that you may be off in your idea that parents are forcing bikes on these kids. It has been my general experience that kids really actually enjoy riding bicycles...some might say it IS part of kids being kids. My nephew has a bike club in his school in Colorado and enrollment is always limited to 10 kids. There is always a waiting list and these kids sign up themselves...his father (my brother) has nothing to do with whether or not he signs up for the bike club. He is 12 years old and has been riding his bike to school solo, after much practice with adults, since last September...'one less car' I believe the Bike 'crazies' say. Have you been to any of the schools in San Francisco that provide this service? It seems that most of these folks work is in Middle Schools (making the kids 10-13). I don't believe that this is the age when kids are doing everything their parents tell them to do. It seems very unrealistic to me that the kids are forced into these programs. Maybe we will just disagree on this issue.

When it comes to these 'a##holes' breaking the rules...Yes, there are some very disrespectful cyclists out there. I do NOT condone what these people do. Are they all like that though? That is like the left saying that all hunters are gun-totin hicks that want every man woman and child to own a gun...Yes, those people exist but most hunters are respectful, safe, kind people that just want to eat some fresh venison. You can't look at one biker run a red light and cause a ruckus and then be angry at the next one. It is not like these people get together and plot to make drivers and pedestrians angry. I have yelled at bikers running red lights before because it is unsafe and makes the bike 'cult' look bad to nice folks like you and me. One doesn't pay attention to bikers respecting the rules as much as one pays attention to bikers who are being disrespectful road users. It is sort of like the folks commenting on here about urinating and killing and such...not really productive...definitely not the average biker. Concur Mr. A?

I think the Bike Coalition in San Francisco does things to address these folks. They certainly do a fair share of education. They also ran a 'give respect, get respect' campaign with the MTA if I recall correctly trying to get the 'crazies' to not be so crazy...or at least think about how they affect other cyclists. This is a hard job. But I really do believe that a youth program will help kids respect rules more than these a##holes out there. I think you are assuming the worst of the kids by saying that they will turn out the same. I also think that you are assuming the worst about the people that run this program.

I don't mean to heat up sir, I just wonder if your ideas about this situation (the ybike thing) have any wiggle room? The great bloggers out there can admit when an idea of theirs may be off...after further reading of your extensive work, I'm not sure you are one of those folks. I'll be on my way now Mr. Anderson.

And please, all you bikers and drivers, respect the rules of the road so that we can all work together to not be so pissed off when we are moving ourselves around out there :)

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"I just wonder if your ideas about this situation (the ybike thing) have any wiggle room? The great bloggers out there can admit when an idea of theirs may be off...after further reading of your extensive work, I'm not sure you are one of those folks. I'll be on my way now Mr. Anderson."

Jesus, what a windbag! Seldom has so little light been shed on a topic after so many words. No, I'm not likely to change my mind based on your blather.

 
At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Schlocky Blanderson said...

You're never going to change your mind because you lack a fundamental capacity for logical thinking. You're just a bigot with an uninformed opinion blathering on your stupid because the internet is the only place where you can find the approval of other similarly delusional simpletons.

Cyclists do not, by very nature of riding a bike, form a "cult". Nor are cyclists generally engaged in a "jihad" against cars. Everyone is competing for their own self interest, and that is a consequence of our deliberately preferential treatment to automotive transportation in this city. The cognitive dissonance you people exhibit is astounding! Rocky's Dad talks about congested, dangerous streets in one breath, then suggests that pedestrians are safe from harm when there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this couldn't be further from the truth.

If you want streets to be safe for everyone, especially pedestrians, you have to slow and/or remove some cars entirely from the road. There is simply no other way to do it. And if you think that the supposed "convenience" of drivers should be preserved at the expense of everyone else's safety, I would say that you're an even bigger asshole than that cyclist you saw running a stop sign the other day.

Rob, you talk about how dangerous cycling is one second, then express your bewilderment that parents would want to teach their kids how to ride safely. That's just idiotic. You talk about how replacing car lanes with bike lanes will "screw up traffic", but you scoff at the myriad ways in which traffic screws up everyone else's lives on a daily basis—e.g., delaying their bus commute, running them over, being noisy, and polluting our environment. You bitch and moan about how the Bike Plan will hurt Muni, but refuse to entertain the notion that the very congestion caused by cars is what's slowing buses down. And you refuse to acknowledge the fact that the city cannot grow with the same proportion of automotive to public and non-automotive transportation without giving up any more of its precious physical space. There is no more room for parking or roads. Bike lanes and dedicated space for public transit provide people with the options they need to become less automobile-dependent—not necessarily car-free, as you just assume is the goal of everyone who disagrees with you—and that is an utter necessity if our city is to grow healthily. Congestion will only get much worse if we continue to give preference to private automobiles; and, as I'm sure you would agree, that congestion is a serious hinderance to growth.

There's probably no sense, though, in arguing with a mean old bigot living on a government stipend and a snobby architect who obnoxiously refers to himself as his cat's "dad". I'm letting this go now, and I would suggest that nobody else waste their precious time trying to have a rational discussion with these losers. They're obviously uninterested and incapable of doing so.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Well put, but wasn't me, despite CatDad's protestation otherwise. I'm too busy getting a plaza put into Noe Valley, surprised Rob hasn't weighed in on that one.

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Thanks for yet another fact-free, bike nut diatribe. I go to the trouble to read all the city's and the SFBC's documents on bikes---their counts, their accident reports, their status reports, etc.---but you folks don't feel obligated to do the same, because you already have The Truth, right?

My "government stipend" is Social Security, which I now get after working for 50 years.

The notion that you bike people really give a shit about pedestrians is laughable, based on the behavior of so many cyclists on city streets. Get out of their way, they aren't burning fossil fuels!

"Rob, you talk about how dangerous cycling is one second, then express your bewilderment that parents would want to teach their kids how to ride safely. That's just idiotic."

How so? Of course it's dangerous to ride a bike in any American city and it's shocking that you morons encourage your children to do the same. That you bike nuts resent that reality just shows how narcissistic you are. It's all about you and your bikes! The fact is cars and buses are the preferred transportation "mode" for most people in the city, and that's not likely to change any time soon. It's just a jerk-off trip to expect the city to make the streets perfectly safe for your juvenile, PC hobby.

As someone who hasn't owned a car in more than 20 years and relies on Muni and walking to get around, I don't feel at all unsafe on city streets. I of course am careful when crossing the street and, unlike you bike people, don't expect the city to make it perfectly safe for me when I walk.

"And you refuse to acknowledge the fact that the city cannot grow with the same proportion of automotive to public and non-automotive transportation without giving up any more of its precious physical space. There is no more room for parking or roads."

Exactly, which is why it's particularly stupid to take away street parking and traffic lanes to make bike lanes in SF. You don't explain exactly how doing that---and thereby creating gridlock---would help the city "grow." It's not traffic congestion, by the way, that could hamper growth in the city but a shortage of affordable housing, another issue the city's progressives have failed to deal with.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"I'm too busy getting a plaza put into Noe Valley, surprised Rob hasn't weighed in on that one."

Why don't you put a plaza in your ass, Murph, and then park your bike there.

 
At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seriously think murphe is behind some of these recent wacky names and offensive comments. Why? he has a history of name calling on the Noe Valley blog...and he has an angry streak in him. He doesnt seem to know how to have a civil, decent conversation regarding Noe plazas or bikes..

He is a classic verbal bully, and I wish he would stop also.

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Rob, I think you are doing an excellent job in researching and discussing some of these very important issues for The City. Some of these are hot topics, I guess. I didn't realize how heated the bike issue was til I began reading more of your blog..and following comments.

Basically, I think you are right on. The bike culture people simply want to push their values down our throats. They rant and rave about biking being the only way, and the RIGHT way to live. They cannot accept or understand that biking here and in most American cities is a very small minority who use this mode of transit..and all along, we say, yes there is nothing wrong with biking. We do say it does not represent very many people, and it will not take over as a major form of transit for most.
Creating more bike lanes is only making the streets more congested for cars and buses.
Most of us will continue to use our cars and public transit for getting around. That's not going to change, very much.

The other point: I really would like to hear from some bike people as to what age they would let their young child ride alone down Valencia St. in the bike lane. That is a scary thought, in my mind.

As for the disgusting, nasty verbal attacks you receive here, I'm sorry. I wish they would stop. I suspect it's the same person. Have you thought about simply blocking those comments once you review them? Would that work?

Anyway, good luck. keep up the challenging and good work.

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger John G. Spragge said...

Rob, you've made this old discredited argument about the "dangers" of cycling for kids at least once before. At least once I made the effort to assemble an array of sources which make it clear that some very simple precautions render cycling considerably safer than most alternative activities, and the health benefits of cycling far outweigh any risks.

This post doesn't have much new engage with, just the same old discredited arguments. Just one new thing: Derek M. tried to engage with you respectfully, and you gave him nothing but insults.

I'll let your repetitions, your refusal to engage with either facts or respectful disagreement, as well as the single-digit percentages your runs for office have garnered, speak for themselves.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You and Derek make the same cult-like arguments we've been hearing for five years on this blog and I'm supposed to "engage" with them? Like you Derek completely ignores all the evidence in my post about the dangers of cycling for children. To you cult members, of course you have thoroughly refuted all my arguments about children and everything bike-related, but the rest of us remain unconvinced.

And, the dangers of cycling aside, neither of you know anything about the real issues facing SF over the Bicycle Plan and the EIR on that Plan.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger John G. Spragge said...

The argument for cycling as a "cult", aside from its inherent absurdity, creates a classic "closed" system of thought. Calling cyclists a "cult" offers a spurious justification for rejecting any evidence in favour of cycling. In fact, an impressive array of evidence clearly establishes the health benefits of cycling, and your own sources establish that, first, motor vehicles cause more child deaths than human-powered vehicles, and second, that relatively trivial safety measures eliminate most of the risks involved in cycling.

As for the San Francisco cycling plan, I have no brief for or against it, except my own relief that I live in a country which effectively discourages judges from making policy. But as long as you persist in reckless smears against cyclists, and worse, against parents who encourage their children in activities which promote life-long health, I reserve the right to demolish your arguments.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"As for the San Francisco cycling plan, I have no brief for or against it, except my own relief that I live in a country which effectively discourages judges from making policy."

Judges don't enforce the law in Canada? Judge Busch had to make the city do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan because it was obvious that the city was violating the law by not doing so. We had no way of enforcing the law without litigation.

"But as long as you persist in reckless smears against cyclists, and worse, against parents who encourage their children in activities which promote life-long health, I reserve the right to demolish your arguments."

I stand by the information presented in the post about the dangers to children in riding bikes, which includes the danger of life-long brain damage. You have only demolished my arguments in your deluded, cult-addled mind.

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Derek M. said...

First, Thank you John. Mr. Anderson, I stumbled upon this blog and found some interest in your words. However, it is apparent to me that you do not have any interest in listening. I said nothing to deserve the 'windbag' title. If you prefer to converse with folks who consistently insult you, then I will leave and not return. You had an opportunity to make a semi-ally out of myself and actually ended up turning me the other way. I myself, admitted that I know nothing about the EIR...which is why I came here in the first place. It appeared this was a place to discuss issues...I was wrong.

One more note...Rockys Dad...I saw a group of students with bright yellow vests riding on Valencia near 19th a few weeks back on one of my shifts. They were riding better than other cyclists...and traffic around them was VERY alert to their presence...they seemed to be very much enjoying themselves. If I had a child I would allow them to do this solo by the time they were 14 or so (highschool). After all, they are driving at 16...there are far more automobile accidents for people this age.

I refuse to banter with you Mr. Anderson. I'm sorry that you had to be so rude.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, Derek, you are clearly too sensitive for this blog.

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Derek: stop whining or go somewhere else. Nobody attacked you.

Sure, kids can ride all they want on Valencia or anywhere else. yellow vest, helmets and all.

But if a car hits them, accidentally..it would be tragic all around. Those little vests and helmet won't do much good.

Yea, I know that biking is healthy and fun..But in SF, and most other big cities, there is increased danger on the public streets riding a bike.

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I'm saying that it's a mistake to regard children as simply little adults, that all you have to do is show them how to ride safely on the streets and give them a helmet and they will be fine. By definition children are immature and often impulsive. Once they are out of their parents' sight, off comes the helmet and all the safety stuff is out of their heads, kind of like a lot of adult cyclists. Getting hit by a motorist isn't even the biggest threat to children on bikes, since it doesn't take that kind of accident to inflict a brain injury. A simple fall will do that.

The hardcore cyclists in SF are schizo about safety. On the one hand they agree with the SFBC that the city should go to any lengths to make it safer to ride on city streets, while on the other they argue, in the comments on my blog, that riding a bike in the city is a safe and sane way to get around. Which is it? I'm saying that riding a bike for anyone---especially children---has intrinsic dangers, so why program your children to take that risk? Because riding a bike is so exciting and enjoyable in a childlike way for these adults? Because cyclists aren't burning fossil fuel and this PC self-righteousness should be communicated to your children?

 
At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why we let these people practice their dangerous hobby on streets full of cyclists.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Jon Spangler said...

Rob, Your anti-bike hit piece conveniently omits any discussion of the need to properly educate and train ALL cyclists (and motorists) on how to ride a bike - and drive a car - safely.

It is obvious to all of us who are cyclists (whom you denigrate and dismiss as "cultists," as if we were perhaps sub-human? Come on!) that proper training is a key to survival on the streets of any city, including San Francisco. And the proper training is based on the League of American Bicyclists' time-tested and successful curricula which saves lives.

have you ever actually ridden a bicycle or taken an SFBC bike safety course? I challenge you to get on a bike and take one of SFBC's class before you write another error-filled and incomplete blog post about something on which your ignorance is obvious.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're a True Believer, Jon. I would never ride a bike in SF or anywhere else, for that matter. It's simply unsafe and not just because of cars. Most bike accidents are what the experts call "solo falls" that have nothing to do with other vehicles. As the links I provide in the post you're commenting on show, riding a bike is the most dangerous recreational activity children engage in. Here in Progressive Land, the children of bike zealots are merely an accessory to their goofball, PC hobby and I think that's irresponsible and contemptible.

 

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