Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Cyclists versus "motorheads"?

Streetsblog photo

The great thing about Streetsblog, once you wade through the twisted logic and misinformation, is that they're clear about where they stand: cars---actually all motor vehicles, except maybe electric bikes---are wicked and bikes are good when discussing any transportation issues. That's the assumption underlying everything you read in Streetsblog---that and "smart growth," because once people are herded into residential highrises, they won't need cars or have to worry about Muni. They can ride bikes.

They hate the idea of the "balanced transportation" initiative that we hope will be on the ballot in November (see where you can sign the petition below).

Streetsblog's latest attack (Many Motorheads Backing Measure to “Restore Balance” for Cars) made me laugh: "Motorheads"!:

The backers of the ballot initiative to “restore balance” on San Francisco’s streets are beginning to emerge. The “balance” they speak of would enshrine free parking and give over large parts of streets to cars.

As if those of us who object to City Hall's ridiculous anti-car policies have some kind of motor vehicle fetish. I haven't owned a car in 25 years, but I understand that there are more cars registered in the city now than there were back in 2000; more than 35,000 motor vehicles drive into the city every workday; and millions of tourists---tourism is our largest industry---drive into and around the city every year. Hence, it's bad public policy to keep putting the squeeze on people who drive in the city, since it only makes traffic worse for everyone, including passengers on Muni, which has 700,000 boardings a day.

And making it more difficult and expensive to drive in the city while redesigning city streets on behalf of a small minority special interest group---cyclists, who make only 3.4% of all trips in the city.

Streetsblog is bitter that City Hall has dumped both Sunday parking meters and raising vehicle license fees in its desperate attempt to placate increasingly restless voters and get the $500 million bond passed in November.

Streetsblog lists the names of those of us who have signed on in support of the initiative, as if doing so would intimidate or shame them. My name is on the top of the alphabetical list, and this is appended to demonstrate how bad I am: "Held up the SF Bike Plan for four years with litigation over environmental review."

Oh, what a bastard that Anderson is! How could any right-thinking person worry about redesigning city streets---taking away more than 50 traffic lanes and thousands of parking spaces to make bike lanes---on behalf of a small minority without doing any environmental review? And what was Judge Busch thinking when he ordered the city to do an environmental review of the 500-page Bicycle Plan? He and Anderson must be some kind of Tea Party Republicans! Actually, we're both registered Democrats.

Ted Lowenberg---who's a cyclist---is tagged with some typical Streetsblog misinformation: "Sued over Fell/Oak bike lanes," though he was only one of those who opposed the Fell/Oak bike project and appealed it to the Board of Supervisors. There was no litigation:

Since the vast majority of San Francisco’s street space was devoted primarily to moving and storing private automobiles, all for free, over most of the 20th century, most San Franciscans can probably see that more “efficient to use” streets won’t involve more of the same approach.

Well, maybe. November's election may clarify things. Of course the people of San Francisco have never had a chance to vote on the Bicycle Plan and anti-carism in general. Maybe the more than 96% of city residents who don't ride bikes to work will think they don't need "storage"---aka, parking---for their cars and trucks. Maybe city residents who drive don't really mind that, while the city is eliminating parking spaces and traffic lanes, they are a major source of "revenue" for a bloated MTA bureaucracy of more than 5,000 employees. And maybe I'm the Pope from Rome.

The main thing now is to get enough signatures to get the restore transportation balance petition on the November ballot.

Below are some dates and locations where you can provide your signature:

June 7th/8th: Union Street Fair (Union Street between Gough and Steiner)
June 8th: Haight Ashbury Street Fair (Haight Street between Masonic and Stanyan)
June 14th: Taste of West Portal (West Portal between Ulloa and 15th)
June 14th: Juneteenth Celebration (O’Farrell between Fillmore and Steiner)
June 14th/15th: North Beach Fair (Green Street and Grant)
June 14th: Noe Valley Summer Fest (Noe between 24th and Elizabeth)
June 28th/29th: Pride Celebration (Civic Center)
June 28th: Pink Saturday (Castro and Market
July 4th: 4th of July Celebration (Aquatic Park, Fishermans Wharf, Pier 39)
July 5th/6th: Fillmore Jazz Festival (Fillmore from Jackson to Turk)

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At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bike nuts continue to waste money on lanes nobody uses:


At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be sure to set up your tables close to the parklets that you want to close, and let people know that you're trying to rip them out. That will go over well.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Publicly publishing falsehoods about citizens who sign petitions is a dishonorable and shameful tactic. Can't say I'm surpised though. Even when they're winning the cyclepaths usually seem to be expressing themselves in an adolescent tantrum.

They appear to be running scared. Of what I'm not sure. This initiative doesn't bind the city to any specific action or policy. Its favorite auzillary verb, repeated over and over, is "should".

Maybe they fear that when the citizenry is given the opportinity (for the first time) to engage in direct democracy on surface transportation policy it will remind our public servants of whom the serve, and how the plurality of their sovereigns transport themselves around town.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It turns out NYC is also under reporting crashes


“Out of 8.75 million trips, we’ve had about 100 crash reports, of which about 25 warranted a trip to the ER,” Citi Bike spokeswoman Dani Simon told me. “To my knowledge there have been zero fatalities to date.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is that they're clear about where they stand: cars---actually all motor vehicles, except maybe electric bikes---are wicked

Wrong. High speed rail kicks ass.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Kicks the taxpayers' ass, that is.

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Out of 8.75 million trips, we’ve had about 100 crash reports, of which about 25 warranted a trip to the ER,”

Incredible that anyone would consider biking safe when even a City Bike spokeswoman admits that almost .0003% of City Bike trips result in injury. This is the dangerous reality that the bike nuts are trying to hide.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? HSR would cost more over 10, 20 years than the cumulative costs drivers pay to drive the same route?

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes. Flying will be cheaper than high-speed rail, too.

"Incredible that anyone would consider biking safe when even a City Bike spokeswoman admits that almost .0003% of City Bike trips result in injury. This is the dangerous reality that the bike nuts are trying to hide."

Instead of New York, where neither of us live and which I don't write about, why not focus on San Francisco where we do? Why not comment on that UC study that's about cycling accidents in San Francisco? The full text of the study is behind a paywall, so I've even transcribed it for you. I look forward to your comment.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, bike nuts will never admit how dangerous the UC study proves that biking is. Instead they'll try to deflect to non-scientific studies like http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/the-first-major-academic-study-of-protected-bike-lanes-in-the-u.s.-is-out which prove nothing.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Instead of New York, where neither of us live and which I don't write about, why not focus on San Francisco where we do?"

But as we know, bicycling is inherently dangerous - it shouldn't matter much which city you're in. We should expect to see the same high accident rate of 0.003% here in SF. (In fact, 0.003% may be an undercount due to dishonest representation by the City Bike spokeswoman; the actual percentage may even go as high as 0.004% or even 0.005% depending on which part of New York is being counted).

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Which means you refuse to even try to come to terms with that UC study about the city we live in.

At 5:01 PM, Anonymous James said...

You're such a joke, Rob. You constantly site other cities when you're bashing bikes and bike plans, yet someone hits you with a question you skirt around it. Why do you think the injury count is so low in New York?

This study is from 2009, and we don't know what the count is now. WE DONT KNOW. We also don't know how many people were biking, as it only gives a percentage and only counts commuters. Do you really think all the people who got into accidents were just commuters? Is this an appropriate comparison?

It really only says that more people are biking and medical facilities need to be aware of it and give appropriate care.

The article says nothing about what these people were doing, what their age was, just that they were biking. There are riskier things to do on a bike that cause collision and injury. Judging from the New York study, a commute isn't it. It is an excellent test case and shows what the true situation is. It also shows that people who actually knew nothing about it made a lot of stupid statements. I see a lot of similarities to you idiotic rants about bikes. There's some evidence to suggest that the more people bike the safer it is for everyone.

Wow, Rob, you made a point that travelling can be dangerous. I didn't even mention the possibility of comparing this to other forms of travel, because you would cry foul.

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chance of winding up in the Emergency Room while riding a City Bike in New York is 1 in 50,000,000. For comparison, the chance of being struck by lightning in a given year is even worse - 1,100,000 (source: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/lightning/lightning_faq.htm). This is why I never leave the house - too dangerous.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Flying will be cheaper than high-speed rail, too.

Right. Jet fuel is just going to down in price, you freaking bike/train nuts.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Still waiting for one of you guys to discuss the UC study.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, creating protected bike lanes does nothing to increase safety, despite bike-nut infested studies like:



At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob you have a creepy obsession with the UC study. It's bizarre. Anyway, the UC study gives data on bike injuries and we all wish they were lower. Most believe the solution to this problem is to build better bike infrastructure so cyclists don't get killed by cars and trucks (which every dead cyclist in SF has been killed by in the last 6 years). Most being basically every big city mayor and government in the United States. You, however, have a minority view that the solution is to get people to stop riding bikes. As long as you keep that view, you're in for a lifetime of frustration. But yes, keep bringing up the UC study because raising the issue of bike safety is continuing to lead towards more and better bicycle infrastructure.

Let me guess, you're next comment will mention solo falls.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

What a phony! It's obvious you haven't read the UC study---or even the abstract. Not everyone is as dishonest as you. The implication of the study: we don't really know how many cycling accidents have happened in San Francisco, since the city has been relying on police reports and ignoring a lot of cycling accidents treated at SF General Hospital.

That raises an important question: If the city has been radically under-counting cycling accidents, has it also been under-counting motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents? Exactly how safe/unsafe are our streets? We don't really know the answer to that question, and we won't until the city has corrected the way it counts accidents on city streets.

Another finding of the study: The most under-counted type of cycling accidents were "cyclist-only" accidents that don't necessarily have anything to do with "bike infrastructure" but were just as serious as "cyclist-versus-auto" accidents.

I have never advocated getting "people to stop riding bikes." I of course don't ride a bike because I think it's too dangerous. Others should be free to do so, however, especially if they have a realistic sense of the dangers involved.

I have basically two objections to how City Hall is encouraging cycling: it's remodeling city streets for this tiny minority special interest group against the interests of 90% of those who now use our streets; and encouraging people---even children!---to ride bikes as if it's simply a green, win-win deal for everyone, which is grossly irresponsible given the dangers that even the Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning about.

Got it? I'm surely not the only reader who's noticed what a phony you are, but phonies often assume that everyone else is a phony, too.

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Gregski said...

" I didn't even mention the possibility of comparing this to other forms of travel, because you would cry foul. "

Well, first of all, you did just mention it. I don't see Rob crying foul.

I would love to see a serious comparison of utility cycling with other popular means of surface transportation, on a per-passenger-mile or on a per-urban-trip basis.

My wager is that, with the possible exceptions of horseback riding, rollerskating and skateboarding, no mode will be more dangerous than cycling.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CDC also issued warnings about walking, but the walk nuts continue to encourage this dangerous activity, even by children. When will the anti-car madness cease?

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Nice try, phony. The CDC in fact recommends walking.

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, whomever the person(s) are that refuse to read the studies you reference, reminds me a of the Bike Coalition and Streetsblog nuts who post on regularly on SFGate, Socketsite, and other forums as well. Facts don't matter to the anti car crowd because they have reached their conclusions emotionally not intellectually. (Cars are "bad", bikes are "good") In a way, their refusal to look at evidence reminds me of religious fundamentalists. They see their transit choice as a moral decision, and speed, safety, distance etc. are not allowed to enter into the equation.

With the coming introduction of self driving cars that can be a shared private service similar to what taxis were, what will the car haters do then? 40 years from now the majority of vehicles will be green electric cars with safe collision avoidance self driving systems that can be shared and allow mobility for everyone. I predict while cars get greener and safer, bike riders will get more reckless, dangerous and obnoxious and demand more dedicated road space and refuse to obey any traffic laws. They think they are the future when they are actually already the past.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nice try, phony. The CDC in fact recommends walking."

The CDC recognizes that walking is a dangerous activity:


"More than 4,200 pedestrians were killed in traffic deaths in 2010, and another 70,000 were injured.2 With numbers like these, it's critical that you understand the risks and learn how to stay safe."

"As pedestrians, children are at even greater risk of injury or death from traffic crashes due to their small size, inability to judge distances and speeds, and lack of experience with traffic rules."

The CDC's advice that walking is healthy is strictly for adults, not children or the elderly. The same concerns apply as for the biking fad: yes, if you are an adult, fully aware of the risky behavior you are engaging in, you may consider walking on occasion.

And yet the walk nuts at SPUR and Streetsblog still encourage vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly to walk. Unconscionable.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Har har. While on the subject of the Centers for Disease Control, here's what it says about children and bikes:

"Compared with adults, younger persons are at increased risk for TBIs with increased severity and prolonged recovery...Overall, the activities associated with the greatest estimated number of Traumatic Brain Injury-related ED visits were bicycling,football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer. From 2001 to 2009,the estimated number of sports and recreation-related TBI visits to emergency departments (EDs) increased from 153,375 to 248,418, and the estimated rate of TBI visits increased from 190 per 100,000 population to 298. The two most common sports and recreation activities associated with ED treatment for TBI were bicycling and playing football."

But that won't stop City Hall from encouraging children to ride bikes on city streets, since even the city's children are now accessories to the goofball bike fad.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Another try at a functional link for "encouraging children" above.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I refuse to read the study.

At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob what % of cyclists killed in SF in the last 10 years were killed by cars? And if you don't know the answer, why aren't you surprised that no one thinks your arguments are worthy of consideration

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Fatalities are relatively rare, averaging less than two a year, according to the last Collisions Report (page 23). Your ignorance---typical among you bike zealots---makes your comments unworthy of serious consideration. Since there were 630 injury accidents in the last year in that report (page 22), you can calculate the very low percentage.

The problem with these numbers is that UC study found that between 2000 and 2009 the city has been seriously under-counting cycling accidents treated at SF General Hospital. Hence, there have actually been more cycling accidents than were noted in that last Collisions Report, though it's not clear that the city also failed to count any fatalities.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Here's another try on the link to the Collisions Report.


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