Wednesday, March 13, 2019

More bike puffery by the SF Chronicle

USA Today

Years ago the SF Chronicle joined the bike/anti-car movement with a front-page story lauding Critical Mass. They evidently assumed that's the way the wind was blowing and didn't want readers to leave it behind on the new party line.

Like the Examiner and the SF Weekly, the Chronicle also refused to do a single story on that UC study back in 2012 that tried to tell us that riding a bike in San Francisco was a lot more dangerous than City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition had been telling us.  

Hence, this paragraph in a recent story about the death of the cyclist the other day was no surprise:

These opponents[of bike projects]have always been loud and vigorous. Yet in recent years they’ve butted heads with an equally passionate crowd — the growing population of families, students and tech workers who commute through San Francisco by bicycle.

Simply untrue that commuting by bicycle is "growing." The opposite is true. According to a 2017 survey (page 5) for the SFMTA, commuting by bike is down to 2%, which is the same percentage way back in 2000. See also the US Census Bureau which has the same percentage.

More from the Chronicle story:

“Seeing all these parents ride around in the city with their kids on bikes — you never saw that 20 years ago,” said [Cheryl]Brinkman, recalling a past era when cycling was dominated by Spandex-wearing athletes, sinewy bike messengers and participants in Friday night Critical Mass rallies.

Bullshit. Brinkman has always been an anti-car bike crackpot. That's why she was appointed to the MTA board in the first place.

More from Brinkman:

Officials, meanwhile, are caught in a bind. Every project runs through a long gantlet of community meetings, hitting resistance from merchants and residents who don’t want to see traffic lanes removed and parking stripped out. 

By the time a street redesign gets to the city’s transit board for a vote, it’s been delayed and sometimes modified. “The reality of making street changes in San Francisco means we get bogged down in these fights,” said Cheryl Brinkman, a board director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Yes, those pesky community meetings where City Hall has to at least pretend to listen to what people think about losing traffic lanes and street parking in their neighborhoods to make bike lanes. Proposed anti-car projects are even "sometimes modified"!

Of course this issue has never been on the ballot where it can be debated and decided by city voters, even though there's growing evidence that these projects are unpopular. From the 2018 City Beat public opinion poll: "Removing traffic lanes in various locations around the city to install bike only lanes: 47% support, 46% oppose."

Brinkman and the bike lobbyists hate it when their projects are "bogged down" in the democratic process. 

The reality: riding a bike can never really be made safe, and its irresponsible of the city to promote cycling to unwary young people who are eager to be with-it and cool here in Progressive Land.

See also Cyclists: "Cannon fodder in the war on climate change"

Former Chronicle columnist, C.W. Nevius formed a more realistic idea of how risky it is to ride a bike in the city: Nevius gives up riding his bike.

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At 4:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for finally writing about >"More bike puffery by the SF Chronicle"
<Liked it!


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