Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bike News Roundup #3

Human Streets

Instead of trying to do individual posts about the bicycle fantasy, I'm doing occasional "roundups" with all the items in one post:

"Human Streets," the name of Bryan Goebel's blog, says it all: bike advocates apparently think that people won't be fully human until they start riding bikes and give up using those wicked motor vehicles. Goebel was the editor of SFStreetsblog before Aaron "No Accident" Bialick took over. Since merely reporting for KQED apparently didn't satisfy Goebel's anti-car fervor, he was compelled to do that blog.

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Hoodline's recent traffic story, adorned with the ridiculous picture I wrote about the other day, reads like a warmed over MTA press release (Move Over, Wiggle: More Pedestrian- And Bike-Friendly 'Neighborways' In The Works). Only a MTA source is quoted and MTA information used. Not much difference between the Hoodline puff-piece and the one on the MTA's blog: same silly Wiggle picture, same propaganda about creating "calmer, more liveable streets."

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The San Jose Mercury News confirmed last week what I've been saying about riding a bike, though it emphasizes the danger motor vehicles pose to cyclists, when in fact most cycling accidents are "solo falls." Not surprising that the Merc tells us that commuting by bike in San Jose is not very popular: "Between 2011 and 2015, the percentage of people biking to work increased from 3.8 percent to 6 percent in Mountain View. In San Jose, it climbed from 0.9 to 1 percent, almost a rounding error."

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One of my favorite online photographers is a bike guy. He manages to make the subject almost interesting with When the Bike was King. See also Rip Van Walmart.

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Streetsblog USA gives us Busting the Myth of the “Scofflaw Cyclist.” Oddly, in spite of the hed, even the writer admits that it isn't a myth:

Among people who drive, nearly 100 percent said they exceed the speed limit, text behind the wheel, or break other laws; 98 percent of people who walk admitted to disregarding pedestrian signals; 96 percent of people who bike said they disregard stop signs and traffic lights.

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Short of tearing up the tracks, it's not clear that there are "solutions" to the danger rail tracks pose for cyclists. Surely even narcissistic city cyclists don't expect that to happen in San Francisco. 

This is a hazard well-known to cycling experts:

Ask around among any group of experienced cyclists, and you will find that more than a few have been felled by a railroad track. The most dangerous tracks are of two basic types: wet tracks and diagonal tracks. Railroad tracks that are both wet and diagonal to the cyclist's direction of travel are probably the most unforgiving of all possible forms of surface obstacles. Riders who wreck on such tracks report being slapped to the ground in a split second...Railroad tracks cause quite an ugly brand of fall. The rider doesn't have time to get the arms out or prepare in any way (Robert Hurst, The Art of Cycling, page 53).

An experienced cyclist died on Market Street in 2015 after slipping on streetcar tracks. 

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"The laziest, most ignorant president in history"


Thanks to The Daily Beast.

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Ezra Klein on Vox:

Let’s be clear about what happened here. The American Health Care Act failed because it was a terrible piece of legislation. It would have thrown 24 million people off insurance and raised deductibles for millions more — and the savings would’ve gone to pay for tax cuts for millionaires. It broke virtually all of Donald Trump’s campaign promises, and was opposed not just by Democrats but also by Republicans.

Here, for instance, is what Michael Needham, head of the very conservative Heritage Action, wrote: “It is an awful bill that will impact millions of Americans’ lives and is opposed by nearly every serious conservative health care analyst. This legislation is a policy, process, and political disaster.”

Or take the statement released by Rep. Mo Brooks, a conservative Republican from Alabama. "I will vote against the American Health Care Act because it has more bad policy than any bill I have ever faced,” he said.

Or take David Brooks’s Friday column. "This bill takes the most vicious progressive stereotypes about conservatives and validates them,” he wrote.

This is a failure for Speaker Paul Ryan on many levels. He wrote this bill, and when the speaker takes over the process like that, the upside is it’s supposed to create legislation that can pass. On this most basic task, Ryan failed, and failed spectacularly...

But beyond the legislative and tactical deficiencies, the AHCA reflected a deeper failure of moral and policy imagination. Ryan spent the latter half of Barack Obama’s presidency promising to repair the Republican Party’s relationship with the poor (remember Ryan’s “poverty tour”?). He’s spent every day since the passage of Obamacare saying the Republicans could do better. This is what he came up with? The GOP put their greatest policy mind in charge of the House of Representatives and they got ... this?

Throughout the AHCA’s short life, the limits of Donald Trump’s attention span were on sharp display. He never bothered to learn enough about the AHCA to make a persuasive case for it, which is part of the reason it failed. But perhaps more tellingly, he seemed exhausted by what was, in ordinary political terms, an incredibly fast legislative process. The bill is less than 20 days old, but Trump is already telling reporters, "It's enough already.” That’s what you say after working on health reform for years, not days...

Republicans would be wise to reflect deeply on what happened here. As Jonathan Chait writes, “Republicans have spent eight years fooling themselves about Obamacare. They have built a news bubble that relentlessly circulates exaggerated or made-up news of the law’s shortcomings and systematically ignores its successes.” 

Their attacks on Obamacare have been opportunistic and cynical in ways that made its replacement nearly impossible — having promised better coverage for more people, they were flummoxed by the fact that none of their plans achieved, or even attempted, that outcome...

Big policy change is hard. The modern Republican Party has built itself in opposition. Paul Ryan won fame designing budgets that were never meant to pass, and by criticizing Barack Obama. Donald Trump established himself as a political force through his leadership of the crackpot birther movement. 

This is a party that has forgotten how to do the slow, arduous work of governing. Perhaps it’s worse than that. This is a party, in many ways, that has built its majority upon a contempt for the compromises, quarter-loaves, and tough trade-offs that governing entails. They need to learn from this defeat, or they are doomed to repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it...

See also: Hillary Clinton's Tweetstorm on Obamacare Is A Beauty To Behold!

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