Saturday, August 07, 2010

Let the gloating begin!

A bike guy was disappointed that I didn't already have a blog post Saturday morning in reaction to Judge Busch's rejection of our challenge to the Bicycle Plan's EIR. He couldn't wait, so he made his gloating comment on the Judi Bari item:

wow, no posting on how the injunction was lifted yesterday? Depressed? Or just don't want to talk about your defeat against what is obviously an inevitable movement away from cars in big cities across the globe....Its called the movement of time....Things change...Get over it....

As an old guy, I'm increasingly familiar with "the movement of time." It may be disappointing news to my critics, but apparently I'm not the depressive type. The anonymous commenter expresses the confidence many bike zealots have that they represent a great historical movement away from motor vehicles and toward, presumably, bicycles. I think that's very unlikely but only the Movement of Time will show us who's closer to reality.

Streetsblog was so happy Friday night it posted two items on the decision. In a comment, Katherine Roberts compared the bike movement to a moving train, which I inexplicably threw myself in front of:

I'm just pondering what Anderson actually accomplished by throwing himself in front of a moving train like that, besides forcing it to slow down a little. Hardly seems worth spending over 5 years on. Just think of all the positive things he could have done during that time, not that he would've. But still, it's a puzzlement.

I haven't been idle in the intervening years, since I've been writing this blog since December, 2004. There aren't enough hours in the day to track all the delusions of San Francisco's progressives, with the bicycle fantasy among the most prominent. One might also question how Roberts used both her time and her money in the unsuccessful attempt to stop the construction of the garage under the Concourse in Golden Gate Park. And then, oddly, trying to deny doing that.

Marc Salomon's comment rightly complains about the dereliction and folly of the Bicycle Coalition's leadership and their enablers in City Hall:

This is not a win until the process moving forward is informed by the lessons of this debacle and the next round of bicycle improvements after the 1997/2004 network are approved. There must also be accountability for those in government and advocates who chose the short cut which led to the four year delay, otherwise there will be no disincentive for any future comers to do it correctly.

Salomon wants to punish the people responsible for the foolish attempt to push the Bicycle Plan through the process before doing any environmental review, but he's unlikely to get his wish. Being a progressive in San Francisco means never having to say you're sorry or that you're wrong about anything. Salomon talks about what he sees as the price cyclists paid for that incompetence:

How many cyclists were injured or worse over the past five years due to this error? Is that to be accounted for off [the]balance sheet?...What is really shameful here is that the SFBC's membership has doubled over the interval of the injunction. When incompetence is rewarded instead of punished, when a decade of denial doubles membership, then that bodes ill for safe cycling on the streets moving forward.

What's "worse" than being injured? Salomon presumably means fatalities, which are rare for cyclists in SF, averaging only 1.8 per year between 1998 and 2008. 

Yes, the SF Bicycle Coalition's membership has supposedly grown over the years. It seems like their membership grows by 1,000 every time Leah Shahum provides a soundbite to the media. And, if the city's numbers are to be believed, the overall number of cyclists in SF has also increased. 

But the city's studies also show that over the years our streets have actually become safer for everyone, motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. The moral of the story: the city's inability to implement the Bicycle Plan has had little impact on either the popularity of cycling or the overall safety of city streets.

And there's this information, which is not surprising to the rest of us but that the bike people try to ignore: the city has found that the reckless and scofflaw behavior of cyclists is responsible for 50% of their own injury accidents.

City progs should remember that answered prayers are often the worst kind, that what happens next on our streets represents a political danger for the great bicycle movement, as the city begins taking away street parking and traffic lanes on busy streets to make bike lanes. There are signs that the natives are getting restless in the neighborhoods over the city's anti-car, anti-parking policies. If there's a limit to how much city residents are willing to allow the bike fantasists to screw up their streets, we're going to find out what it is.

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