Monday, April 09, 2012

Punks on bikes 3

The latest incident where a pedestrian was killed by a speeding cyclist has provoked a lot of comment about the behavior of city cyclists. Bad behavior by cyclists on city streets is nothing new. I've been writing about it for years on this blog. Nor is this behavior confined to San Francisco. It happens everywhere, on the roads of Marin County, and on the trails of Marin; and in Berkeley here and here. (And on the streets of New York City, as in the above video.)

More than five years ago, Rachel Gordon wrote in the Chronicle about the problem of cyclists running people down on city sidewalks.

Cyclists themselves admit there's a lot of bad behavior by their comrades on city streets. From the San Francisco State of Cycling Report: "95 percent of frequent cyclists and 85 percent of infrequent cyclists have witnessed unsafe cycling behavior" (page 18).

Who are city cyclists? Mostly young white guys. The above report gives some specifics:

While people of all ages, races, and genders bicycle in San Francisco, frequent bicyclists are more likely to be male, Caucasian and between the ages of 26 and 35...Women make up 49% of San Franciscans, but only 23% of frequent cyclists. Asians make up 32% of San Franciscans, but only 12% of frequent cyclists. African Americans make up 7% of San Franciscans but only 2% of frequent cyclists and Hispanics make up 14% of San Franciscans but only 10% of frequent cyclists (page 16, 25).

Only 24% of the city cyclists are women (page 10), a percentage verified, with slight variations, by other city reports.

Mountain bikers are honest about why they engage in their hobby. It's all about speed and thrills for them. Based on the cyclists I see in my neighborhood speeding down Haight Street, Page Street, Hayes Street, and McAllister Street, a lot of urban cyclists also enjoy a childlike thrill when they speed on city streets.

This behavior is enabled when the Chronicle in effect endorses Critical Mass on its front page as it did in 2007.

Punks on bikes 1

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At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in general are selfish assholes, mode of travel is not an indicator.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Nato said...

As long as biking remains dangerous in the minds of most, then the ranks of bicyclists will be fullest of risk-takers.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Nato said...

Having said that, I'm surprised how often I find myself talking to 40-something white male bicyclists about (for example) not riding their bike on the train platforms when there's lots of people around. I think there's just a ton of people who haven't really gotten it through their heads that bikes are a normal mode of transportation, subject to rules of civility and safety that one must learn unless one is fine with being an asshole.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly Nato:

The 40-something white male cyclists: that's who most of them are.

They ride on sidewalks, thru cross walks, stop signs and lights, cause they are:

Assholes. They are not civil. They care about no one but themselves. I would like to see bike lanes removed from our SF streets because they have shown that they, the cyclists, do not know how to use them safely and legally.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean we can get rid of Van Ness too?


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