Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fell and Masonic: The Big Lie succeeds

Photo by Jim Herd, the anonymous blogger at SF Citizen

Poor reporting by the Examiner in today's story on the latest accident ("Bicyclist struck at troublesome San Francisco intersection") at Fell and Masonic that injured a cyclist. To show that the intersection is "accident prone," the reporter links a previous Examiner story ("Neighbors pushing to slow traffic on Masonic Avenue in San Francisco") about accidents that happened nowhere near the Fell and Masonic intersection.

The Bicycle Coalition's long Big Lie campaign about that intersection has succeeded in establishing as fact the falsehood that the intersection is dangerous.

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At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crash happens, "still safe".

You are nuts.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And you're too dumb to even try to make a sensible comment. I know that intersection well. Cyclists and motorists routinely rush to beat the traffic light there. There's nothing inherently dangerous about that intersection. It's the behavior of cyclists and motorists that causes accidents there. Besides, the city's latest "collisions" report (page 16)shows that the number of accidents at that intersection have remained at a steady average of only six a year for ten years. Considering the volume of traffic there, that's not very many.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cyclists and motorists routinely rush to beat the traffic light there...

The problem is Rob - they have separate light signals. The accidents are happening not because of motorists trying to "beat" a traffic light - they happen when motorists patently ignore a red left turn arrow.

This happens a lot. Sure - that's "bad motorist behavior" but that's the whole point of traffic engineering, to identify situations that are confusing to road users and change the conditions. As it is, it appears a RED TURN ARROW is just too confusing for San Francisco's motorists.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

There's nothing in the city's reports that places blame only on motorists for accidents involving cyclists at that intersection. In fact those reports consistently show that cyclists are often at fault in causing their own accidents.

That the signals are now separate doesn't make any difference when it comes to rushing to beat the light. Motorists and cyclists routinely do that at that intersection. "Traffic engineering" can only do so much to make people safe. Human nature often trumps good engineering.

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can a motorist rushing to beat the light on Fell hit a cyclist on the path? How? Please do tell?

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

We're talking about an intersection here, not the path on the Panhandle.

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living at one end of the panhandle and working at the opposite end, I commute through this intersection quite a bit on bike. I have seen countless motorists and cyclists turn or cross against the red. Cyclists do it exclusively when there are huge stretches of space between any oncoming traffic, which makes sense considering how lethal a risky cross would be. When a motorist turns against their red arrow, it is not a measured action taken in consideration of the risks in the environment--it's out of ignorance of their environment. Ignorance of the red arrow, of oncoming bike traffic, etc. I have had personally and seen many close calls, and don't necessarily believe we should only count full-on crashes as proof it is a dangerous intersection.

Like the time a car turned, then stopped in shock right there on the crosswalk lines while the waves of cyclists trying to take their green came up. I ended up having to swerve around them, bumping into a curb with enough force to bend my forks back and render my bike unrideable. yes that sucked for me, but if they hadn't stopped when they did there was a high chance of someone further into the intersection getting hit.

This was just one of many instances of me literally fearing for my life as I lawfully ride my bike through one of the most beautiful commutes in the city. It is counted in no statistics, as the car was out of there much faster than I could get my bearings and check their license plate. I've had other friends hit, even while walking. Pedestrians and cyclists have a lot more "skin in the game", skin that we fear may get dragged across the pavement. And not without reason. From what I've seen in the small fractions of the day i'm crossing it, I know it's dangerous and I know the most dangerous variable are the cars crossing against the red. I cede to the previous point made regarding traffic engineering. I don't think we should have to wait for X numbers of accidents to finally occur to recognize the danger for our city's more vulnerable commuters.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So "when cyclists do it, it's OK"?

Not paying attention to the traffic signals is dangerous, wrong, and stupid, whether you're a cyclist or car driver.

If you don't pay attention to the rules of the road, why should anyone else?

I particularly like how the cyclist above appears to be complaining about how he wrecked his bike by following too close.

If I run into the back of someone else or smash into something because someone did something unexpected, that means *I* messed up as a driver. People always do unexpected and/or dumb things. Plan for it. Leave space.

NO driver or cyclist wants to hit anyone, and no driver or cyclist wants to get hit.

The easiest solution here is to park a few cops to write tickets for a week or two. Make the signs clearer if you have to.

The continued positioning of cyclists as saints who would only cross illegally when it's "safe", while car drivers are clearly just bastards is ridiculous.

Transportation choice is not virtue, and just because someone bikes or rides a car doesn't change anything about them.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"X number of accidents"? It's typical that you ignore the links I provide that tell us exactly how many injury accidents happen at that intersection. In the latest San Francisco Collisions Report on page 16, you find the tally from 2000 to 2009, which is an average of 6 injury accidents a year.

This in spite of more cyclists and the normally heavy volume of traffic at that intersection.

Of course in any conflict with a car, truck, or a bus cyclists are going to be injured, which is why I would never ride a bike in traffic.

But it's simply untrue that there is some kind of bloodbath routinely happening at that intersection.

The Bicycle Coalition and its fellow travelers in City Hall have repeated that untruth so often that it is now established as fact. Since both the MTA and I have shown conclusively that it's not true, it's fair from now on to call the claim a lie.

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting you use the word "again" in the title, but then you go on to say this never happens.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

What is it that I say "never happens"? Poor reading skills---again---Anon. Accidents of course happen at that intersection due to reckless and unsafe behavior by motorists and cyclists. In fact, as the city report I link shows, all the hysteria about that intersection is unwarranted.

I use the word "again," because I've posted on this intersection a number of times, with the first post way back in 2007.

Another in 2008, and one in 2010, and the one earlier this year on the city's collision report (another is due out soon).

I've accused the Bicycle Coalition and City Hall of lying in their campaign to convince the public and Judge Busch---who was conned by the city---that the Fell/Masonic intersection is a serious safety problem, but none of you bike/anti-car folks have replied? Gee, I wonder why.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Conned"? Oh, for fuck's sake. Because no reasonable person could ever disagree with your opinion?

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, it was deceit on the part of the city, since their own numbers show that the number of accidents at that intersection have remained steady for the last 10 years.

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By your thinking, since there has been no terrorist attack in the US since 2001, Al Qaeda is no longer a threat.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Lex said...

"By your thinking, since there has been no terrorist attack in the US since 2001, Al Qaeda is no longer a threat."

I am stunned that you didn't manage to work Hitler into your post.

There's a long running theme with bike people. Because they think their on the side of the angels they think it's OK to make stuff up. That's what zealots do.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The city based its claim about the Fell/Masonic intersection on the number of accidents that had already taken place. Since their own numbers didn't show an increase in accidents over the years, there's no reason to think that there would be a future problem.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One... is one too many.

If you don't have data that says "zero accidents" then the intersection needs improvement.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

There are very few intersections in the city that have "zero accidents." The point is the city and the SFBC's campaign whipping up hysteria about that intersection was not based on the facts that they city already had in their possession, which makes it a lie.


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