Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The bike movement as "hate agenda"?

Since I'm the only consistent media critic of the bicycle fantasy in the city---Matier & Ross are Johnny-come-latelies---people might think I'm pretty much alone in my opposition to this goofball ideology and its practitioners, especially after reading Rachel Gordon's puff-piece---and hit-piece on me---on Critical Mass in last Friday's SF Chronicle. But it seems like I'm speaking for a growing number of folks in SF who find the behavior of the bike zealots exasperating. Below are some messages of support from that usually-silent majority:

* Does anyone realize how crazy an anti-car agenda is in San Francisco? San Francisco has lots of big hills and WIND. Only an athlete who doesn't care about sucking in a lot of polluted air and who doesn't have passengers or freight and who has a bicycle with a lot of gears could hope to use bicycles as serious transportation. Oh, and it would help if he doesn't want to go anywhere or go too far--especially into any dangerous neighborhoods. Does Critical Mass ride up the real hills or past the housing projects in Hunter's Point? Of course not. Let's restrict the Critical Mass ride to a course which takes it up all the biggest hills in the city and down all the most dangerous streets. Does anyone realize how anti-disabled, anti-senior, anti-kid, and anti-fat people the anti-car agenda is? It's so discriminatory it could be considered a hate agenda.

* Cyclist manners? What a joke! I have personally experienced how rude and freaking demented bike people are. One was speeding on the sidewalk and nicked my 96 yr old grandmother. She walks with a cane and nearly lost her balance. The bicyclist stopped and gave us a dirty look then got back on his bike and took off. One morning I was waiting for light (on Arguello) to turn so I could turn right onto Geary Blvd. A biker was hiding in my blind spot...actually 2 bikers. When the light changed and as I began to make my right turn, the 1st biker shot ahead forcing me to slam on my brake. He then stopped and gave me a dirty look. As I attempted to finish my turn the 2nd biker threw his water bottle at my car. I guess I should have felt their presence and sat in my car waiting at the corner till they passed me before making my turn...or not be allowed to turn right at all so bikers have exclusive right turns on the road...I am a supporter of sharing the road with pedestrians, animals, bikers, other cars. I understand Pedestrians have the right of way. I do stop to allow pedestrians to cross the cross walk even when they sloooow down and glare at me. What I do not understand is how bikers can demand special treatment on the road when they don't obey the traffic laws...

* I grow tired of the shrill complaints of an overly zealous SF bike lobby. I am an avid walker, take mass transit whenever possible, and use my car only when I need to leave the BART area. However, I am persistently confronted by bikers riding on the sidewalks of San Francisco, going the wrong way on roads, or in other ways acting completely disrespectful toward both car drivers and pedestrians. After nearly being hit by unapologetic bikers in violation of traffic laws on numerous occasions, I have no patience or sympathy for bike riders in this city: get a car, use mass transit, or walk.

* The Bicycle Coalition Questionnaire that you gave a response to has some rather specious wording, viz, "An estimated 4% of San Francisco adults (30,000+ people) currently commute regularly by bicycle." Where is this data? (rhetorical question, but hey maybe they go by a different route that no one sees.) And further, 'would you actively support an official city goal that 10% of commute trips...be made by bicycle by 2010...?' Does the 'Plan' include a fallback for when this fantasy goal is not met? That is, does it budget for reversal of the changes in year 2011 when the bicycle fad is over and nowhere near 10% of the commuters are on bikes? Or will people be forced to ride bikes to meet the quotas?

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