Friday, July 31, 2015

To ticket or not to ticket

Ed Reiskin, London Breed, Noah Budnick

Sorting out the sense from the nonsense in the ticketing cyclists kerfuffle, I have to admit that a comment to Streetsblog last year by Upright Biker stated the issue succinctly:

Bicyclists should always yield to pedestrians. The problem is that some cyclists' interpretation of "yielding" is calculating how they can continue at speed and confidently swerve to avoid a collision. This of course makes pedestrians feel unsafe, which is why it should be a ticketed behavior. Now, ticketing failure to stop completely at an empty intersection? That's a ridiculous burden on both the bicyclist and the police (emphasis added).

Yes, well put. But if the city is really concerned about pedestrian safety on places like the Wiggle and the north path of the Panhandle, it should put city cops there to ticket cyclists who actually endanger pedestrians.

Ticketing cyclists for rolling through stop signs when there's no danger from motorists or to pedestrians may be legally correct, but you quickly get into Javert/Les Miserables territory if you insist on rigidly enforcing the letter of the law. 

On the other hand, it's hard to protect cyclists from themselves if they engage in risky behavior. Recall that the three cyclists who died on city streets last year did so because of their own negligent behavior. Ditto for 50% of the city's 2014 pedestrian fatalities.

Recall too that most cycling accidents are "solo falls" that don't involve other vehicles, and that those accidents can be just as serious as being hit by a motor vehicle.

In the beginning of his regime, Mayor Lee probably thought that supporting whatever the bike lobby wants to do to city streets was a safe political move, but the apparent growing unpopularity of the city's bike people is giving him second thoughts.

With their unerring sense of bad PR, cyclists jam up traffic on the Wiggle to only confirm for the rest of us that, yes, a lot of cyclists are buttholes.

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At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Buttholes just because we impede automobile traffic?

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes. That demo the other day only showed what we all learned years ago, that you folks can bring enough people together to jam up traffic for everyone else, and there's nothing the city can do about it. Why those creating a mini-Critical Mass on the Wiggle would help their cause---promoting the Idaho stop idea---is a mystery. Instead it showed that many in the bike community live in a bubble of smugness and self-righteousness that impairs their cognitive function.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Thank you for this demonstration of why cyclists should stay to the right and not be allowed to block motor vehicle traffic. Please repeat this often until lawmakers change the laws and reduce the excess greenhouse gas emissions caused by bicyclists delaying motor vehicles!

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can just 3% jam up traffic? That's not enough percentage - in your opinion - to justify remaking our streets, yet you say it's enough to jam up traffic.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The Mode Share Survey of 2011 (page 5) found that 3.4% of all daily trips in SF are by bicycle, which works out to 73,071 bike trips per day. It only took a few dozen cyclists to jam up the Wiggle the other day. Critical Mass often has thousands of participants and routinely hundreds. The city's bike community can always call on enough cyclists to bully the rest of the public by jamming up city streets.

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This morning a pedestrian was hit by a cyclist on the PEDESTRIAN path in the Panhandle. Stanley Roberts has a tweet about this with pictures of the victim being loaded into the ambulance. Of course, on Streetsblog, they are now campaigning to remove a car lane for a dedicated bike path so that "this will not happen again". Unbelievable

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

I got blacklisted from streetsblog without explanation. The comment that woundn't post was on the danger to pedestrians of protected bike lanes:

At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Gregski said...

RE: Mark Kaepplein's link

Place a bike lane between the sidewalk and parked cars, so drivers have to step across the bike lane in order to feed the parking meters and then step back to place the meter tickets in their cars. What could possibly go wrong?

It's only a matter of time before a similar accident occurs in those idiotic bike lanes on JFK Drive.


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