Monday, October 28, 2013

Riding a bike in San Francisco


A comment to last week's post on the UCSF study on cycling and safety:

Makes sense, thanks Rob. No matter what terrible traumas doctors witness in the ER from automobile accidents, nothing could put them off from driving, since bike accident traumas are always worse.

The UCSF study showed that riding bike in SF is a lot more dangerous than anyone but me thought, since cycling accidents have until now been systematically under-counted. The comment tries to change the subject to cars and ignores this from the Centers for Disease Control:

While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do.

The CDC must be anti-bike, right?

Last month I asked the MTA when their latest Collision Report will be published, since it's overdue. They eventually responded---after I asked 311 and the Sunshine Task Force to help me get an answer---that they're waiting for more data used to compile the annual report.

The annual Bicycle Count is also due to be released.

My suspicion: In both reports, the MTA is scrambling to digest the UCSF study while at the same time touting the great bike revolution in San Francisco. 

City Hall sees getting a lot more people on bikes as an important---and inexpensive---way to deal with the city's traffic congestion. 

The UC study confirms what I've been saying here for years: riding a bike is a lot more dangerous than either City Hall or the Bicycle Coalition are willing to admit. 

It's simply irresponsible for the city to encourage what is essentially a very risky transportation "mode." They're even urging the city's children to ride bikes on city streets! 

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16 Comments:

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UCSF study showed that riding bike in SF is a lot more dangerous than anyone but me thought, since cycling accidents have until now been systematically under-counted.

We have 2 choices.

1) Ban cycling
2) Make cycling safer

The City has chosen #2. I know you dislike the Democratic process which has elected a Mayor and Supervisors who have made that choice, and they appointed people like Ed Reiskin to implement those choices, but that's tough. This is a Democracy. Quit whining about it.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Speaking of democracy, the city can put the 8 Washington issue and the prescription drug issue on the ballot but not the Bicycle Plan.

Nobody has ever proposed banning cycling in SF.

"Making cycling safer" in this context means redesigning city streets on behalf of 3.4% of the city's population against the interests of more than 90% of those who use city streets.

The UCSF study shows---citing the large number of "cyclist only" accidents that don't involve other vehicles---is that riding a bike in SF involves inherent dangers that can't be avoided.

Of course the MTA and Ed Reiskin see getting more people on bikes as an inexpensive way to mitigate the city's traffic problems, which means convincing the unwary that riding a bike in the city is a green, win-win deal for everyone.

Instead, it's grossly irresponsible, luring a lot of well-intentioned people into engaging in a risky activity.

Ed Reiskin is a True Believer who took his five-year-old child on his bike in city traffic, which should disqualify him from making any decisions on city traffic policy.

 
At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The City" did no such thing. Citizens of the city or their elected Supervisors put those things on the ballot, as is their Democratic right.

It is not anyone else's responsibility to put something on the ballot for you.

You have the right to try to get the Bicycle Plan on the ballot just like anyone else. That's Democracy. If you refuse to take part in the democratic process, that's your own problem.

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

The city has always wanted to skirt an actual, difficult to get done, solution to our transit issues. Cycling is and always will be a minor percentage of commuters. Say what you will about the Central Subway, I think it is a step in the right direction. It adds real throughput to the transit system rather than taking it away in the form of traffic lanes lost via bike lane conversion.

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

The city chose option #2 for disingenuous reasons. Easier to get done than other options. Serving the wishes of a small, vocal, politically active constituency. Not because it actually works for lessening congestion. More and more, the Bike Plan has been turning roadways into parking lots. The theory of "mode shift" is a complete myth.

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city chose option #2 for disingenuous reasons. Easier to get done than other options.

good point, banning cycling would be unconstitutional, so it would in fact be pretty difficult.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More and more, the Bike Plan has been turning roadways into parking lots.

The primary parking lots in SF are the access points to the Bay Bridge because of backups from the bridge. There are no bike facilities on the Western Span of the bridge - you can't blame those parking lots on the Bike Plan.

 
At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"'Making cycling safer' in this context means redesigning city streets on behalf of 3.4% of the city's population against the interests of more than 90% of those who use city streets."

Why do you assume that redesigning the streets to make them safer for bicycling is "against the interests" of people who are in cars, buses, trucks, and on foot?

If 3.4% became 20%, that'd mean fewer trips by car and bus, which means less vehicle congestion and overcrowding on MUNI.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Why do you assume that redesigning the streets to make them safer for bicycling is 'against the interests' of people who are in cars, buses, trucks, and on foot? If 3.4% became 20%, that'd mean fewer trips by car and bus, which means less vehicle congestion and overcrowding on MUNI."

If pigs had wings they might fly. Nice touch throwing in the "on foot" bullshit. Cars, trucks, buses, and bikes all use the same city streets. If you take away more than 50 traffic lanes and more than 2,000 parking spaces---as per the Bicycle Plan---you're going to make traffic worse for 96.5% of those who use city streets.

The EIR on the Bicycle Plan told us that it will delay a number of Muni lines and increase traffic congestion.

And the city's Extended Parking Meter Study told us why a shortage of parking damages the environment:

"More parking availability means that drivers will spend less time circling in search of parking spaces. Circling reduces safety, wastes fuel, and increases greenhouse gas emissions. Less circling will reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the quality of life in San Francisco's neighborhoods." (page 27, Extended Meter Hours Study)

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

"You have the right to try to get the Bicycle Plan on the ballot just like anyone else. That's Democracy. If you refuse to take part in the democratic process, that's your own problem."

Yes, I have the right to put issues on the ballot, but of course that right is limited to the rich and well-funded organizations, since getting an initiative on the ballot takes tens of thousands of dollars (see Citizens United decision).

But the mayor can unilaterally put something on the ballot, and it takes only four supervisors to put something on the ballot.

They won't put any of the bike bullshit on the ballot because they understand that it would lose.

 
At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I have the right to put issues on the ballot, but of course that right is limited to the rich and well-funded organizations, since getting an initiative on the ballot takes tens of thousands of dollars

Bullshit. If 97% of the City were against the Bicycle Plan, as you tell us, it should be trivial to get enough signatures yourself, just by planting your lard ass on Market Street for a couple of days with a card table.

You either have to be rich, or you have to be "not lazy". You - are lazy. Good for us.

 
At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They won't put any of the bike bullshit on the ballot because they understand that it would lose."

Typical dictators - afraid of the people and their right to drive freely. If only there was some way to replace the Supervisors. But sadly, they are appointed for life just like the U.S. Supreme Court.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"If 97% of the City were against the Bicycle Plan, as you tell us, it should be trivial to get enough signatures yourself, just by planting your lard ass on Market Street for a couple of days with a card table."

Why are so many of you bike assholes remedial readers? I've never said that 97% are against the Bicycle Plan, only that it's likely that it wouldn't get a majority if it was on the ballot.

My understanding is that to get an issue on the ballot you have to get signatures of 10% of the number of voters in the last election. Since 364,875 voted in SF in November, 2012, that means I would have to get 36,487 signatures to get the Bicycle Plan on the ballot.

That's clearly impossible for one person to do, which is why initiative measures are always backed by well-heeled organizations or individuals that can hire people to get signatures.

 
At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think the population of San Francisco will be in 2020? How about 2030? 2040?

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's clearly impossible for one person to do, which is why initiative measures are always backed by well-heeled organizations or individuals that can hire people to get signatures

ENUF seems pretty well-heeled, get them to do it!

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

In response to my question about this issue, the Department of Elections sent this:

Rob,
Thank you for contacting the San Francisco Department of Elections.

In order to qualify for the ballot, proponents for a proposed ordinance or declaration of policy must gather at least 9,702 valid signatures of registered San Francisco voters. This number equals 5% of the entire vote cast for all candidates for mayor at the last preceding regular municipal election (November 8, 2011). To qualify for a special election, proponents must gather at least 19,405 registered voters and submit an explicit request that the signatures are for the purpose of a special election. This number equals 10% of the entire votes cast for all candidates for mayor at the last preceding regular municipal election.(S.F. Charter ยง 14.101)

You can find more about filing initiatives in our online guide.

Please note that we will post a guide for 2014 in the coming weeks.

 

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