Saturday, October 17, 2015

"How did the bicyclist become such a divisive symbol?"

C.W. Nevius wonders about something he should know while answering a question we all know the answer to---yes, of course it's wrong to put nails on a road in Woodside frequented by cyclists:

It’s not entirely clear how the bicyclist---eco-friendly and healthy---became such a divisive symbol. Drivers honk at cyclists, pedestrians yell at them, and the angry, militant cyclist flipping everybody off has become a cliche. It seems there’s anger on all sides (Guerrilla war against cyclists in Woodside is wrong tack).

Like most "moderates," Nevius likes the "all sides" usage, since it absolves him from taking a close look at an issue; he can simply split the difference intellectually without doing any real analysis, like when he fussed about the failure to find an imaginary "middle ground" on the Bicycle Plan.

But there's no pretense when there's an important policy or issue at stake: He always supports City Hall.

Sometimes he can't bring himself to split the difference between two equal and imaginary positions, like when he wrote that the Great Recession was "everyone's fault"!

The "angry, militant cyclist" may be a cliche, but it also happens to be true. Even though Nevius was working on the Chronicle's sports page at the time, he must know that San Francisco is where Critical Mass was born. Before that, scofflaw bike messengers were seen as the ultimate in cool by middle class, would-be cyclists who were looking for a hip way to work out their Mommy and Daddy issues on the streets of the city.

Then came the merging of the great bike revolution with the dumb "smart growth," new urbanist ideas. They then saw themselves as not just a bunch of assholes on bikes but part of a larger, planet-saving environmental movement.

Nevius on the Idaho Stop and the Wiggle:

It isn’t the slow-mo roll through stop signs that has everyone up in arms. It’s the psycho-bikers, the ones who roar through intersections, barely missing pedestrians, challenging cars and generally behaving like morons...That small, obnoxious group is fueling this entire controversy. They are the reason pedestrians are angry. And they are the reason the police are out trying to enforce the state stop sign law.

Anyone who spends any time on city streets knows that the punks on bikes are not a "small group." It is in fact the dominant ethos of cyclists in San Francisco and elsewhere. They fancy themselves as rebels and social/political visionaries who think they are morally superior to the rest of us.

The punks-on-bikes behavior has gotten a lot of support over the years from the media and our "progressive" political leadership. Former head of the SF Bicycle Coalition, Leah Shahum, had her life-changing bike epiphany during Critical Mass. The Chronicle in effect endorsed Critical Mass during its most violent phase. Then-Supervisor Mirkarimi endorsed Critical Mass, as did the Bicycle Coalition. The now-defunct Bay Guardian and the barely alive SF Weekly have always supported the bike movement, with the sole exception being Matt Smith's column knocking Critical Mass way back in 2003.

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At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice spew.

What is your position on the intentional attempt to murder cyclists on Kings Mountain Road?

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

My position is in the first sentence of the post: I'm against it.


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