Sunday, May 04, 2008


"Thanks for speaking up!"
Hello Robert Anderson:

I saw your name in 4/30 SF Chronicle's article on the "Fell Street bicycle plan OKd." I, too, am fed up with the automotive hostility in this city and the almighty influence of bicycles. I'd like to help put a stop to this. Most of us do not drive for pleasure cruising--we have errands and work to do that require a car. I'm 58, do home tutoring, and cannot do this on a bicycle and cannot carry a trunkload of school texts and supplies on the bus or bike. Yet the bicyclists do not think about this nor do the city politicians and planners. How can I help? I appreciate your efforts VERY MUCH. Thanks for speaking up!


"I don't understand"

From reading your blog it seems that you think it irresponsible for me to ride my bike and teach my son to ride a bike. That if I teach him proper rules have him always ride with a helmet. Have him ride only on designated bike paths with no cars i am being a bad parent for teaching him a inherently dangerous thing. I don't understand. My son and I use the multi use path in the panhandle to access the park. We never ride our bike across the intersection, we always walk and only when we have the right of way yet three times in the last few months we have almost goten hit by someone taking that turn with no regard for the cross walk or who did not see Julian walking even though he was wearing a neon vest a flashing light had his bike has a flag. It is for this reason i believe we need to change the traffic light at Fell St. If I understand your argument correctly the fault lies with me for even teaching him that using his bicycle is too dangerous a activity?

If we go by this argument going out of my house is a inherently dangerous thing. What I don't understand in reading your blog is why it is so venomous. I think you obviously are a intelligent man. I support some of your stands on certain issues but it appears by your argument that you should call child protective services on me. Please explain your objection to changing what I think is a dangerous intersection adjacent to a park and recreational area to be more safe. I would understand this argument even if i did not agree if it was not adjacent to the park.

FYI I own both a car, and a bike and use MUNI whenever I can so I am not a "nut" by your standard. I am open to your ideas but please show me why I shouldn't consider you a "nut" for opposing what i think is a change that could make my experience with my city and my family safer and more enjoyable.

Thanks in advance,
Robert Birnbach

Most bike accidents don't involve other vehicles

Obviously you are trying to be responsible. My point is that cycling has inherent dangers no matter how careful and responsible you are, whether you are an adult or a child. Regardless of what the city now does at that intersection, it's inherently dangerous, given the speed of the Fell Street traffic. This is true of many intersections in the city. You can do everything right as a cyclist and still get hit by a car, a bus, or a truck that doesn't see you. Hence, I think it's dangerous and irresponsible of the city to encourage children to ride bikes to school. And it's shockingly irresponsible for cyclists to haul their children around on those little canvas trailers. And please consider this: even the SFBC's own safety expert, Bert Hill, tells us that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" that have nothing to do with other vehicles. Leah Shahum, executive director of the SFBC, tells us that the condition of city streets is also a great danger to cyclists. What's "nutty" is disregarding these realities and insisting that the city redesign city streets on the assumption that cycling in the city can ever really be made safe enough to be adopted by a significant number of people.

Speaking of Masonic and Fell, the city is now considering taking away a traffic lane and/or street parking on Masonic to create bike lanes. Given the volume and speed of the traffic on Masonic, I think this is completely nutty. No one with any sense would even want to ride a bike on Masonic Avenue.

Rob Anderson

Labels: ,