Chris Carlsson: anger at Critical Mass "a curiosity"
The quotation above is from a recent Bay Guardian story on bikes in the city:
"There's no doubt we're going to have way fewer privately owned cars in our culture," he said. On the whole, Carlsson said, he believes motorists show more courtesy toward San Francisco's cyclists than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Yet he acknowledged that people still get unreasonably upset when Critical Mass cyclists swarm into the streets once a month. "It's a curiosity," he said. "They're in gridlock before we even start riding."
Gee, why would people trying to get home after working all week get upset when a bunch of bike people deliberately make their commute harder than it already is? And even the city's own studies don't show fewer cars in our future, though it's an article of faith for the bike people that motor vehicles are becoming obsolete.
Like a lot of bike people, Carlsson, one of the founders of Critical Mass, lives in an ideological, anti-car bubble that's seldom penetrated by reality. (He also thinks wearing a helmet when riding his bike is some kind of corporate imposition, not a commonsense safety measure.)
Rebecca Bowe wrote the Guardian story, though Steve Jones usually covers the bike beat for the city's progressive weekly. Maybe Jones is on his way to Burning Man and wasn't available. But I've never seen Jones, who calls cars "death machines," make this concession to reality:
All modes of transportation are not created equal. It's inherently riskier to ride bikes than drive cars that are built to keep their occupants safe in crashes. Yet bikes are a key component in the city's and state's long-range goals of reducing carbon emissions, limiting traffic congestion, and reducing dependency on oil.
Riding a bike can be unsafe? That's heresy in progressive circles but only recognizing the obvious to the rest of us. But, like a lot of progs, Bowe still struggles to understand the injunction on the Bicycle Plan: "The recent court ruling dissolves an injunction that halted the city's progress on planned bicycle route improvements, based on the fact that the city hadn't conducted a full-blown environment impact report on the plan." Let's say it again: the city did no environmental review at all of the Bicycle Plan before they began implementing it on city streets. Hence, the injunction and the court order to do an environmental review of the Bicycle Plan.
Mayor Newsom, the purest opportunist in US politics since Richard Nixon:
"A world-class city is a city that tries to democratize its streets," Mayor Gavin Newsom noted at an Aug. 9 press conference held to celebrate the newly liberated Bike Plan. "This is not the old days when it was about bikes versus cars."
Newsom may be singing a different tune after the city deliberately screws up traffic on behalf of the bike people on Second Street, Fifth Street, Cesar Chavez, Masonic Ave. and other city streets.