Thursday, October 01, 2015

Cycling and safety in Europe and SF

Jim Swanson

The Bicycle Coalition and its enablers in City Hall often invoke Europe to convince us of the wisdom of cycling and anti-carism, often referring to Amsterdam and Copenhagen as models to emulate. I wrote recently about the reality of cycling in Amsterdam, where riding a bike is just as dangerous as it is in San Francisco. 

What about Copenhagen? Same story: 33 cyclists died there in 2013, and 70% of cycling accidents in Copenhagen are "single-cyclist" accidents---"solo falls" that don't involve another vehicle and can't be blamed on cars. (That widely ignored UC study calls solo falls "cyclist-only" accidents, which are not only under-counted in San Francisco but can cause injuries just as severe as "auto-versus-cyclist" accidents.)

What about cyclists and pedestrian safety in Europe? In the London Review of Books, Andrew O'Hagan describes trying to cross the street in London:

...The fourth problem is to do with bikes. We’re supposed to believe that cyclists are saving the world. But they often kill themselves in saving the world or injure other road users, caught in their tender spokes. For pedestrians, London bikes are much worse than white vans---at least you can see a white van---and as I stood at the crossing I kept seeing helmetless maniacs raining down like bombs, or bombing through like rain. In the kamikaze theatrics of urban transport, cyclists see everyone as the enemy, especially buses, which stop by the road to pick up the people who really are saving the world...

Sounds like The Wiggle here in Progressive Land.

Speaking of The Wiggle, C.W. Nevius gets it wrong in the Chronicle this morning when he calls it "an up-slope." Not so. When cyclists are heading downtown on The Wiggle, it's downhill through that densely populated neighborhood. He also calls the boorish cyclists a "small, obnoxious group," but the reality is that punk cyclists are a much larger percentage of cyclists who use both The Wiggle and overall in the city where Critical Mass was born.

Of course Supervisor Breed supports the Idaho Stop

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At 9:38 AM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Here's head of the Danish [Copenhagen] Pedestrian Association:
"We call cyclists the plague of the pavement.
"Cyclists ignore traffic lights, go up one-way streets the wrong way or plow through pedestrian areas without dismounting, and sometimes the results of biker misbehavior can be fatal.
“ It happens occasionally that you’ll have an older woman, not hit but surprised and frightened by a bike so that she falls and maybe even dies, he said. Then they say, ‘Is the cyclist to blame because she’s an old hag?’ ”

Sounds just like San Francisco!


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