Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More bike feedback

Robert Hurst writes:
To be more clear about what I think about the dangers of cycling, another quote from the book that got skipped: "In general, people seem to be short on respect for the dangers involved in any of their chosen modes of personal city transportation, whether driving, or walking, or riding a bicycle. It's dangerous out there, period. The difference with bicycling is that it brings long-term health benefits and peace of mind that other forms of transportation can't." That's pretty much the size of it.

Re kids riding to school---I think there is plenty of room to sensibly promote kids riding bikes to school, just like I did. Today about 12% of kids ride or walk to school; 40 years ago it was about 50%. You know how they get there now. The status quo involves constant ferrying of kids all over the place, giving them strange ideas and feelings of entitlement, and then putting them behind the wheel of potentially deadly rolling mass at a very young age. Let's be realistic here, we already have a ton of kids on the streets, careening around wildly. If we could get some of those kids out onto bikes, where they would be far less dangerous to innocent bystanders and themselves, and gaining an appreciation of moving under their own power for a change, the world would be a better place. The kids would be healthier in many ways. Your city would be a better place.

But you're right, traffic is no joke and demands to be taken seriously, even by kids. Which of course could be an argument in favor of teaching them just that in classes or a program of some sort. BTW, I admire anyone who can fight city hall. Keep 'em on their toes.

Anonymous writes:
Hi Rob,
I just read the article in the Depressed Democrat regarding your well-articulated stand on a need for an EIR when a major impact to city traffic circulation is proposed. There is a link from activist, aggressive, bike advocates to redevelopment. If you go to http://completestreets.org/ and I hope you do, you'll see a morphing photo. The photo shows an average suburban street without bike lanes and then morphs into a street with them. What else changes? Buildings miraculously appear where there were none before, although you'll notice that the McDonald's stays the same. The bike people are, mostly, unknowing shock troops for developers who have a 'vision' of high rise buildings in place of low rise existing ones. Surprised at the link? Take a look at the Thunderhead Alliance. A fanatical core bicycle group that formed to influence political and social events across the nation, they have training to teach bike riding storm troopers (heads of bike coalitions) 'tactics' on taking over policy in their communities. This group is financed/directed by Enterprise Community Development, a high density developer that gets money through redevelopment. Rob, take a look at "Redevelopment, the unknown government." A lot of this will be clear to you. We are deeply involved in this issue. If you have a way of contacting me directly without my putting my contact info on the blog, please do so. Thanks.

Rob replies:
If you just send me a message via my email address (rmajora@gmail.com), we can correspond, and I won't publish your address. Your line of thought seems plausible to me, since the bike zealots and the pro-development, pro-highrise "planners"---there's considerable overlap between the two groups---here in SF are allied in support of some awful projects, none of which of course will allow developers to provide enough parking spaces for the thousands of new housing units being promoted. Everyone is supposed to ride an already crowded Muni or bikes! Yikes!

Steve wrote:
Just wanted to let you know that I found your blog interesting. I'm a bike commuter in Florida, and a friend gave me an article from the Wall Street journal to read. It was about how you and the pro-bikers are bickering over bike lanes in SF. I started reading your May 18th blog and thought you spoke quite well about the matter. From what I read, it sounds like you're not so much anti-bike as much as everyone has made you out to be. I agree that SF should do things in the proper order. It's the old house built on a bad foundation theory. Anyways, just wanted to let you know that all bikers aren't calling you nuts. Here's a link to my blog in case you need some easy reading (http://www.webbedtogether.blogspot.com/). Have a great day. BTW have you seen how many hits you have on your blogger profile?

Jim Nelson wrote:
Hi Rob,
I read the article in the Wall Street Journal and what you are attempting to do in San Francisco and I just wanted to say thanks. I live in Minnesota, and the last thing I want to see here is a bunch of expensive road construction and rerouting of lanes just to accommodate bikes. What San Francisco does will eventually reach here.

I just returned from Boulder CO where they take their biking very seriously. I certainly did spend more time in traffic because of the many and confusing bike lanes, but more important I felt it was dangerous trying to drive and avoid the bikers. Bikers feel empowered in Boulder and therefore they also seem to be immune from normal traffic laws which appears to be their birthright. It was annoying, confusing and stupid. And all because the city appeases a small percentage of people that ride bikes for transportation.

I am not really sure how to solve the bike problem. I want bikers to be able to bike safely but the primary purpose of roads is to accommodate automobiles. Cities just aren’t constructed to accommodate bikes. Automobile use is growing not shrinking. Thanks again. I really do appreciate your efforts.

Kim writes:
Noticed in a recent sfbg that steven t jones was headed East for the Dem convention and for B'Man. Whoopie...Only he isn't headed that way on a green, sustainable bicycle, jones has rented a Chevy Impala (not even an economy car!). If there is anything that could be called a paen to the internal combustion engine it would be Burning Man! The people there would all be dead if the gasoline needed to run the air conditioners and to get them out of Black Rock suddenly disappeared.

Rob responds:
How true. It's also worth noting that the main means of transportation at Burning Man are bicycles. After Jonesy and all the other burners come back to SF when the event is over, they wonder, Why can't the city be more like Burning Man? Why can't everyone just ride bikes like they do in the desert?

Brian writes from the Mission district:
Keep up the good work!

Bike free writes:
wow you suck!

Ted writes:
People who accept the Green movement as theology (believing firmly in something without accepting, reviewing or even knowing any scientific evidence) are full of pomp and are generally anarchists. In my opinion it is dangerous. I consider these believers in the religion of Green to have no faith in humanity therefore people must be forced into submission, even though many of these advocates never bother to do objective scientific research on their positions. They usually just feel very strongly about something or they eat what others feed them, like Al Gore. Still, I believe cars are damaging our country. I believe a combination of rail and other forms of transportation (including bikes) can help us travel more efficiently. The resources automobiles consume and the out of pocket expense for the average American family justify revisiting our overall transportation. Also, many people die in cars because human error is always a factor. Having lived abroad for about 13 months in Japan, I learned that not owning a car was like having a monkey off my back. The Japanese transportation system is incredible, and it inspired me to rethink how we Americans get around if we applied ourselves to improving the status quo. Although I applaud your efforts to stop the Greenies from throwing another wrench in the system we all live in, I do believe that there is credence in exploring a long-term answer to the crisis that is the never-ending increase in automobiles being placed on the road.

Peter writes:
Hi, i found your blog via the Wall Street Journal, and must congratulate you on being a major source of global warming yourself. The hot air coming outof your fat face has caused more of an adverse effect than anything the cyclists will ever do. I'd figure you didn't have many friends when you started this, but am sure that you will end up with fewer after it. Your name is becoming infamous in the cycling community. I hope you are proud of your achievement. Your reasons for requesting an Environmental Impact Report have no motivation in your personal regard for the environment, just your dislike of cyclists. No, by the same logic, i could easily follow you around and call the cops every time you jay-walk, not because i care about that law, but more for my personal dislike towards you. The thing is, that would be petty, a waste of my time, and would require me to spend my time in sight of your odious presence.
(with a distinct lack of ) Regards

Rob replies:
"Your name is becoming infamous in the cycling community. I hope you are proud of your achievement." If I thought that the kind of feedback I get from nasty twits like you is really representative of the "cycling community"---and I don't think it is---yes, I would be pleased to be infamous.

Michael writes:
We "don't know" that bikes have a smaller carbon footprint? You really must be an idiot or a fool. "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once." (Nietzsche)

Rob replies:
Oh Michael, does this mean you won't dance with me?

Ian writes:
...keep up the good work, this bike mania is infectous & the politicians cave to a few loudmouths. good luck with it. they do NEED an impact review.
yours in the struggle Non nobis solum

Paul Roscelli writes:
Hey I saw the article on you in the WSJ today. Suffice it to say, while i disagree on virtually all your other positions ( i looked you up on the web) you are so right on when it comes the the issue of bikes. Good for you. I would like to donate to your campaign, despite our differences.

Jimmy writes:
I just about how such a pathetic loser you are in the WSJ & Chronicle. Too bad it's too late for you to get a real life.

Anonymous writes:
Mr. Anderson,
Why eliminate bicycle lanes? Looking at your mug here, you could use some time on a bicycle and less time in the car. You appear to be about 20 lbs overweight. Heart disease is no fun.

Anonymous writes:
kudos to you for doing what you can to make our roads safe from stupid bikers! since you already have an attorney on your side, can you please find out what law exempts bikers from having any kind of licensing/identification so we drivers can identify their sorry butts when they refuse to follow the rules of the road. i think they should have to wear something big and easy-to-read, something like a jersey they are legally required to wear that identifies them as easily and uniquely as car license plates identify cars. only, because they zip in and out of traffic so much, the letters would have to be easy to read day AND night AND fog AND rain. the licensing would cost money, since all those bike lanes aren't cheap. there'd have to be a very stiff penalty for not being "licensed" and an even higher one for things like letting another biker use their "license" instead of getting their own. no more freebies for bikers!! no more wanton lawlessness because they can't be identified!!i am sick to death of bikers acting like stupid frat boys when it comes to the serious business of being on america's roads! they don't want to *share* the road, they want to *take over* the roads, and run everyone else *off* the roads we drivers pay for!!thank you for fighting for reason and sanity.

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