Monday, October 16, 2006

San Francisco, the Netherlands, and bikes

Mr. Tender-Nob comments on "Newsom Should Call The Healthy Saturdays Bluff":

I realize that it's rather late to chime in, but I agree with Rob Anderson's comments. We live in a democracy. If the the SFBC wants to change policy that affects countless thousands of people, they can put their plans on the ballot and see where the majority sides. My guess is that residents would vote the same way they did twice before -- to reject park closure. That ought to be the end of the issue. I am all for the use of bicycles where they're appropriate, and using other alternatives to cars. I recently lived for a year in the Netherlands, and it was a joy to be able to cycle anywhere I wanted to go, on safe fiets-pads (dedicated bicycle streets). 

But San Francisco is perhaps the least sensible city in the US in which to cycle. Our hills, weather, traffic congestion and poor street condition make it far too difficult, inconvenient, unsafe and uncomfortable to ever win over a significant percentage of the population. That's a simple fact that the SFBC and its supporters seem to ignore. Until they can flatten the hills, change the weather and repave the streets (and stripe off bike lanes on every one), they will NEVER get even a significant minority of San Franciscans on bicycles.

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At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's your idea of a significant minority?

It's very easy to ride around the hills; you don't have to ride up them. It's not a problem.

SF has a great climate for cycling. It gets rainy a couple months out of the year, but people ride anyway.

The real difference between here and a place like Amsterdam is is not that one is more flat; it's about 35 years of public support (policy, infrastructure)for bicycling.


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