While the bicycle commuting behaviors of those living downtown might not have shifted much from 2000 to 2010, bicycle commuting across San Francisco is on the rise.

The US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) shows a 66% increase in bicycle commuters in San Francisco from 2002 (2.1% of work trips) to 2010 (3.5% of work trips), third in the nation behind Portland, Oregon (6%) and Seattle, Washington (3.5%) in ridership among major US cities.

Other local surveys also reflect increase in bicycle use. San Francisco MTA’s annual bicycle counts have more than doubled between 2006 (4,862 riders) and 2011 (10,139) at sampled locations.

Additionally, local surveys and traffic modeling estimations show about 75,000 bike trips are being made each day out of over 2 million total trips by all modes (3.7%).

As such and as part of the San Francisco Bike Plan adopted in 2009, a proposed ordinance would amend San Francisco’s current Planning Code to increase bike parking requirements for new residential and commercial developments and expand bike parking requirements to include “schools and colleges, general retail, offices, grocery stores, manufacturing, medical services, childcare, cultural centers and so forth.”
The proposed ordinance would also establish a bike parking fund into which developers could pay an in lieu fee of $500 per required bicycle parking spot to be administered by the SFMTA and fund on-street bike parking in the vicinity of projects paying the fees.
The State Of San Francisco’s Downtown: Property, People And Parking [SocketSite]
San Francisco Bicycle Transportation Plan Ordinance []
Initiation of Planning Code Amendments for Bicycle Parking []

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Big V

    This is awesome news! Every step towards more bikes and fewer cars is an improvement and helps ensure that our city can continue to grow in the future.

  2. Posted by lol

    If bikes are there to take the place of cars, then I think it is time to impose better cycling practices. The current “everyone sets his own rules” system that works 99% of the times will transform itself into a big mess.
    And yes, it means (gasp) respecting the driving laws.

  3. Posted by anon

    Perhaps at that same time as implementing lol’s suggestion, we also implement a policy designed to impose better driving practices. The current “everyone sets his own rules” system that works 99% of the time is already a giant mess.
    Or maybe I’m just pissed about almost being run over several times this week from morons making right turns on red without actually fully stopping or looking for pedestrians (once with a cop stopped at the intersection who did nothing but spin up his siren once and then continue on his way without ticketing the driver – BS).

  4. Posted by lol

    Of course anon, rolling over stops, not stopping before a right turn, etc, happen all the time.
    But I see a car deliberately running a solid red light maybe once a day. I am on Market every day and the “zoom by the useless red light” is standard practice on Market and 12th, Market and Mason. I feel like I am the idiot from out of town when I do stop and wait for the light to turn green. I even got hit once by a track bike with no brakes because he didn’t expect me to stop at a red light.
    A bike is not a toy of a fashion statement. I see 20-y-olds with not much experience of the road doing crazy stuff and thinking they know what they are doing. With 30 years of bicycle commuting in crazy cities, I am still stopping at all red lights. Call me stupid.

  5. Posted by Rillion

    And I see far more pedestrians ignore red lights or even cross mid block then I see bicyclists running red lights.
    Ultimately I do not have issues with cars rolling stops/bikes running stops/pedestrians jaywalking as long as they are doing so safely. Since cars are the deadliest, they have the greatest burden on doing it safely. As we have seen bikes can be deadly as well so they should not be doing it in interesections where pedestrians or cars are present.

  6. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    For those of you that didn’t hear about it at the time, from the Los Angeles Times in mid-June, Gears of rhetoric ratchet up in San Francisco’s car-bike debate:

    The bicyclist was zipping south on Castro Street at the end of his twice-weekly ride to the Marin Headlands, blowing through red lights and stop signs.

    But the Market Street crosswalk was filled with pedestrians, and Chris Bucchere, 36, allegedly was riding too fast to stop. So he aimed for the least populated spot and plowed on through.

    The man he hit, Sutchi Hui, 71, died four days later. Bucchere was charged Thursday with felony vehicular manslaughter…

    Post-crash commentary, angry and profane, didn’t just call for Bucchere’s head, although there was plenty of condemnation for him and the rest of the Lycra-and-toe-clips set. Instead, the conversation became a fight about who owns public space – a scarce resource in the second-most dense city in America, where bike use is soaring and many motorists decry a war on cars.

    “There’s a thinking now that the public realm should be for people to be in, not just to drive through,” said Ed Reiskin, San Francisco’s director of transportation.”…as cycling has increased and our infrastructure has not kept up, there are conflicts and tensions. …I’m no cyclist hater. But there’s a lot of bad behavior out there.”

    Exhibit A: The death of Hui, the second pedestrian killed by a bicycle rider in downtown San Francisco in less than a year.

    “Mr. Hui was in the crosswalk legally,” Dist. Atty. George Gascon said in announcing the charge. “It does not appear that Mr. Bucchere was attempting to stop.…He was trying to beat his own record in complete disregard for the safety of anyone else.”

    So while I think lol’s comments were correct in general, it’s not just twenty year-olds on fixies that think a bike is a fashion statement who are the bad apples.
    We need aggressive policing of bicyclists so that everyone obeys traffic laws.

  7. Posted by anon

    It sounds like you should report the intersections where you’re seeing this law breaking, lol.
    However, I’ve constantly called the police on cars double parking in front of my building and seen nothing ever happen, so it’s probably a lost cause I agree.
    I’m just baffled by all of this hostility towards bikes that comes up every time we talk about laws of the roads (and I don’t even own a bike).

  8. Posted by Dan

    More bike parking and more secure bike parking is very welcome– and necessary infrastructure if we are to increase bike commuting. More bikes and fewer cars helps everyone– including those still driving into the city.

  9. Posted by Robb

    “I’ve constantly called the police on cars double parking in front of my building and seen nothing ever happen”
    You should probably call DPT. Ticketing and towing is their job, not SFPD’s.

  10. Posted by lol

    Rillion, I do see the rationale and believe me I do agree that some rules should be changed for cyclists. Like rolling stops: as long as the cyclist is taking his turn in a 4-stop situation, and always giving way to a pedestrian, I think the rules should be a bit relaxed. But what’s common sense to you is just another degree of uncool to someone else.
    Simply put yourself at Market and 12th between 8AM and 9AM. Maybe 25% do slow down or even have their hands on the brakes. 10% will actually stop. Why is that?
    Remember our kids are watching us, even when we do not know it. That 8-year old is going to be put on a bike on his own one day and what he’s seen will count as much than what his parents have told him.
    I always try to think what’s happening in a kid’s head when he’s holding his mom’s hand waiting for the green pedestrian light, and I just simply jaywalk because nobody’s in sight. I do it less and less.

  11. Posted by Big V

    while there was massive news media coverage of the pedestrian fatality by a biker, its worth noting that since then there have been multiple fatalities where bikes were killed by cars, with almost no news coverage. And in the case that I read about personally, the biker was following all the rules at the time. So, the reason that Mr. Hui’s death caught so much attention is exactly because it is so rare for a bike to cause a fatality. Since cars kill people ALL THE TIME, its not worthy of news coverage.
    Rillion’s point is accurate: because cars are the most deadly, they must carry the heaviest burden of safety and compliance. If you are fuming in your car about how unfair it is, consider that the price you pay for the privilege of consuming scare public resources (space on the roads) with your mechanical death machine.

  12. Posted by lol

    I hear you. I just think of all the times I had a brush with a truck, bus or car doing something unexpected. Most of the times I had a defensive exit strategy. Sometimes I didn’t and I got really lucky, like a driver pulling into FLAX parking with no warning doing 25MPH and throwing me to the side. Someone with little experience and breaking rules will often not think about the “what if”. Doors popping out, split-second lane changes, unexpected right turns. They happen sometimes and luck is not the only thing that can save you.

  13. Posted by mayor bee

    This is one of those situations where it seems the city is trying to reinvent the wheel.
    What can we learn from other cities that have a large biking culture? Let’s look at Amsterdam and Copenhagen for examples. Portland as well.
    Other places have already worked out the bugs.

  14. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Wow, this thread quickly veered into finger pointing about traffic behavior. Since the subject is actually about parking I’ll try to stay on topic.
    Looks like the city is taking a reasonable step in the right direction. Bike parking has been required in residential and office developments for quite a while already and that covered a big portion of bike trips. Expanding to more building types will make it easier for cyclists to find a secure and convenient parking spot. Having good bike parking at grocery stores will be a big help. Supermarkets are notorious for providing bike racks, but the old style wheelbenders that were fine for elementary schools but not for adults.
    I used to oppose advocates who wanted parking to be a higher priority when spending bike funds since there were so many parking meters and signposts on the street it was easy to find a secure place to U-lock a bike. But now those informal parking spots are getting used up, especially in the Mission.
    So bring on more bike parking, it is easily 10X more efficient than car parking.

  15. Posted by lyqwyd

    It’s as simple as this to me:
    Cars are the most dangerous, therefore should have the highest burden of responsibility, and highest level of enforcement. Once cars are properly regulated, then I’ll be worried about bikes and pedestrians having the rules enforced.
    When 50% of people can’t even be bothered to signal a turn, I think it’s a long way before we need to worry about bike rule enforcement.
    I drive almost every day, am a pedestrian every day, and haven’t biked in over a year. The last time I did was in Golden Gate park when no cars are allowed.
    I’m far more worried about what my fellow drivers are going to do than what cyclists and pedestrians are doing.
    I may get irritated occasionally when I’m stuck behind a slow cyclists going up a hill, or they start a couple seconds before the light turns green, but then I get a grip and realize that there are reasons for it and it’s not the end of the world for me to be slow for 30 seconds.
    The reality is that the vast majority of cyclists act responsibly and do not blatantly and irresponsibly run red lights. There are a few locations where it happens, but there is usually a reason for that. As the signal change on Scott and Fell has shown, if the roads are designed with the needs of cyclists in mind, then the majority of people will follow the law.
    Hooray for more cycle parking! As a regular driver and pedestrian, but very infrequent cyclist, I know it will benefit me as well as those who regularly cycle, and the city in general

  16. Posted by lol

    It’s a whole package, MoD. More bikes must come with more parking and more cyclist friendly zones, which will in itself bring out more cyclists. We need to live with more cyclists and we need to adjust to their “critical mass”.
    The best bicycle parking option in town today is often parking meters with a U-lock. I think they should put more of them 😉

  17. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Big V, if Bucchere was driving a car at the time, he would have stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk. But he wasn’t.
    He decided, because he was riding a bike, that he had some kind of special super immunity from normal traffic laws and decided to plow through it.
    The point isn’t which vehicle type is statistically more likely to kill someone or which vehicle type generates more media coverage. The point is, which vehicle type is more likely to engender in its operator more frequent contempt for traffic laws?
    I’d say bikes, and I’m a frequent bicycle commuter. I went out a few years back and bought a city bike just so others, including motorists, would dissociate me with the Lycra-and-toe-clips set. I’m out there trying to get to and back from work.

  18. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Interestingly, Chicago (with an existing 170 miles of bike lanes) is tackling all the concerns related above as the roll out 33 miles of new bike lanes this year, part of a plan to create 650 miles of bike lines by 2020.

    Chicago’s newest protected bike lane will run along Dearborn Street in the Loop and will include red lights for bikes.
    In protected bike lanes, bicycle traffic mostly runs along the curb, protected by skinny plastic pylons. Where automobile parking is allowed, cars park next to the pylons, several feet away from the curb, providing additional protection to cyclists.
    Chicago is also using buffered bike lanes, which use pavement markings to provide a wider distance between bikes and cars.
    The new protected lane on Dearborn will have bicycle signals. Bikes also will have to halt when motorized traffic when gets a right turn arrow, which prevents turning cars from hitting cyclists.

    But doing things right comes with a cost …

    The cost … is about $140,000 a mile.

    Why does Chicago think the cost is worth it?

    “It will help us recruit the type of people that have been leaving for the coast. They will now come to the city of Chicago. The type of companies that have been leaving for the coast will stay in the city of Chicago.”
    Emanuel cited a recent meeting with executives from the hot Internet startup company GrubHub who told him that when they recruit engineers they show the new protected bike lanes which Chicago has been installing since last summer.

    Combine this with Chicago’s world class cultural institutions, access to some of the best univeristies (NU, U of C, DePaul U), major financial players, legendary music scene, liberal (but practical) policies, incredible food, one of the greatest skylines in the world (where things actually get built) and low cost of living the Bay Area might (might) start to see some loss as people making “high paying tech salaries” decide their salaries go a lot farther in the Mid West than on the West Coast.
    Of course the serious downside to living in Chicago is the blazing hot summers and freezing winters.
    But when you are paying 350k for a high end 2 bed 2 bath condo is a prime downtown neighborhood you can afford to travel to better weather when you need to.
    source links.

  19. Posted by sf

    Yeah but you can never change -30 degree winters and no access to a real beach.

  20. Posted by lyqwyd

    “The point isn’t which vehicle type is statistically more likely to kill someone or which vehicle type generates more media coverage. The point is, which vehicle type is more likely to engender in its operator more frequent contempt for traffic laws?”
    First I would say the point most definitely is the vehicle that’s statistically most likely to kill people, and that is clearly the car, which is the number one cause of death for Americans 1-30 years old.
    Second, do you have anything to support your claim that the bike engenders more frequent contempt for traffic laws?
    But back to bike parking… It’s good to see there will be more options available for bike parking in the future, it’s a welcome change although I’d rather see it a requirement and skip the in-lieu fee unless there are very strict requirements about what the city can do with that money.

  21. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    sorry, didn’t mean to turn my post into a pro chicago rant, was just highlighting how other cities are handling the increasing desire for better access to bikes, the amounts they are spending, and why they are willing to invest 140k per mile in cycling infrastructure.

  22. Posted by Davester

    Oh like San Francisco has real beaches!

  23. Posted by LD

    Why aren’t bicyclists licensed and insured like other two wheeled vehicles? I have a motorcycle license from way back and that skill set has made me a very safe bicyclist. I even get complimented by car drivers from time to time while riding around town.

  24. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Q: Why aren’t bicyclists licensed and insured like other two wheeled vehicles?
    A: F = ma

  25. Posted by lol

    I agree with LD. Except bicycles do not have any relevant system of identification and there’s no license to cycle. But the goal is to bring people out their cars. Apart from the existing rules of the road, I don’t see what else needs to be enforced.

  26. Posted by anon

    Why aren’t bicyclists licensed and insured like other two wheeled vehicles?
    The same reason that there’s more paperwork and regulation around guns compared to slingshots. Both slingshots and bikes have some of the same risks to others as guns and cars, but we’re talking orders of magnitude difference in the potential damage. For every one person killed/hurt with a slingshot/bike, there are literally thousands with guns/cars.

  27. Posted by ForeHand

    Actually, bikes *are* licenses and registered through DMV. You will get two metallic stickers for your bike — red/blue for registration/license.
    It’s just that SF doesn’t enforce it. Try that in Davis, CA. Get pulled over by cop for running stop sign w/o license and registration for your bike? Impounded instantly. Run a red light? Same ticket amount as car citation, and goes on your driver’s license with same points.
    SF, just follow Davis’ lead if you want safe cyclists.

  28. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Thanks for sharing. I feel like an idiot too for following the law and stop at red light. All other dudes pass me left and right and I am just like an obstacle. Good to know I’m not the last cyclist to stop at red light.
    Back to the main topic our building recently remodeled the bike locker room to double its capacity. I don’t know if they do it proactively or if it is to meet any requirement. But kudos to them it was a huge improvement to the packed locked room before.

  29. Posted by lol

    DMV licensing bikes? Good grief. Next time I want to waste 4 hours of my precious life I’ll know what to do.
    Davis, just like other UC campuses, have strong bicycle enforcement. The reason is that no UC campus can afford to have one car per student. Therefore they have great bike paths which come with rules. UCSB’s CSO impounds unregistered bikes or bikes improperly parked. Many new kids think it has been stolen and the bikes end up on the auction block because they assume a stolen bike is lost forever (it’s not always true).

  30. Posted by ForeHand

    Hehe, sounds horrible but actually the licensing is done at the local police stations. Instead of going to DMV, you simply take your bike to police station and they handle everything.
    Last thing I need is a smog check for my road bike…

  31. Posted by R

    Completely off topic, but lol if you are spending 4 hours at the DMV you’re doing it wrong. Get an appointment online a few days beforehand, and it’ll be 15-30 minutes in and out even for complicated transactions.

  32. Posted by lol

    Just an hyperbole about the DMV. I do online bookings every time, but there’s always a very long line for the people who didn’t or who are in a urgent situation case.

  33. Posted by Rillion

    “As the signal change on Scott and Fell has shown, if the roads are designed with the needs of cyclists in mind, then the majority of people will follow the law.”
    Argh, I hate that intersection now when traveling southbound on Scott Street (I live 1/2 block off Scott a few blocks north of Fell). It has caused the traffic to back up on Scott as during the evening hours the southbound light is not long enough to let everyone that is waiting make it through the intersection. Since they did not want to mess with the timing of the lights on Fell, they just took all of the time required for the protected arrow out of the southbound traffic’s green.
    While it annoys me, I have learned to avoid the intersection by heading up the hill and crossing Fell at Pierce, which never has any traffic.

  34. Posted by Alai

    To bring it back on topic:
    Let’s have less of this:
    And more of this:

  35. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    @ Big V: hahahahahahahahahahaha

  36. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    That robotic bike silo is cool Alai though it is one of those things that might not work as well in the USA. In Japan you can tell your users that the machine only works on bikes meeting certain dimension constraints and that you need to remove anything that can detach from the bike before storage. Japanese users will gladly comply but in the USA we must have our individuality!
    As soon as a fancy robotic bike silo is installed in the USA its gonna jam up when someone’s Hello Kitty basket falls off. In the USA the owner of that bike will loudly complain that a service tech needs to get down there right now and recover the lost accessory. In Japan the cyclist will apologize profusely for jamming the machine.
    And in the USA there will be a loud vocal group of riders of recumbants, extracycles, bakfiets, and all manner of nonconforming bikes demanding that the storage silo machine accommodate their machines.
    Its a cultural thing and explains why in Japan you’re never far from a vending machine serving hot tea even late at night but in the USA you’ll need to look hard to find a soda vending machine and when you do it will heavily armored yet still vandalized.

  37. Posted by lol

    This type of parking is a nice demonstration of what can be done when bikes are put first, but I think this is a bit of an overkill. The price per bike must be staggering, probably a multiple of the value of the bikes themselves.
    It goes a bit counter the traditional bike culture: economical, flexible, non-invasive, individual. I think it scores a low rating on all fronts. But it’s an incredible piece of technology.

  38. Posted by Alai

    It seems simple enough to have the machine check the dimension constraints with some detectors, and refuse to take a bike if it trips them.
    And I don’t think it’s overkill. The cost is obviously an issue, but “a multiple of the value of the bikes themselves” isn’t really a barrier– it’s true for car parking garages too.
    If you look around some of the central train stations in cities where biking is popular, bicycle parking is a serious problem, and land is at a premium.

  39. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Alai – yes, the machine could reject bikes that are out-of-spec. My point was that the out-of-spec bike owners will complain and raise a stink an demand accommodation that would raise the cost 3X. I guess that’s not really an issue as various transit agencies in the bay area have successfully deployed bikes-on-board systems that only accept “normal” bikes.
    But don’t discount the cavalier idiocy of American’s vs. Japanese when it comes to gumming up the works via either negligence or intent. If such a parking silo were deployed here you can bet that soon some drunken buffoon will try to “ride” the silo. Not that Japan has any shortage of drunken buffoons, just that their hijinks are limited to patting the hostess on the tush and/or puking in the street.
    And then there’s just plain old vandalism which is common here and rare in Japan.

  40. Posted by futurist

    The amount of passion and discussion about grown men and their little bikes is both amazing and hilarious.
    I love my car.

  41. Posted by lyqwyd

    I see my car as a useful tool that gets me where I want to go, but I will happily replace it when I like, I place no emotional attachment to it. I reserve love for things that are important to me and irreplaceable. Generally living things, mostly people.

  42. Posted by lyqwyd

    Sounds like a perfect solution for those driving north, and a very easy and minor change to your routine.
    On the other hand it shows quite definitely that when the roads are designed for cyclists, the majority will follow the rules.

  43. Posted by lol

    futurist’s take on “grown men” is exactly what this is all about.
    There’s massive resistance from people who are still in the old mindset of unlimited open spaces unlocked by cars. In the 50s or 60s you’d get your trike, then 2 wheels, then a hand-me-down beater car, then a car you paid yourself. You were considered adult when they allowed you to drive. Cycling was for kids or the poor. No middle class person over 18 would ever be seen on a bicycle until the late 70s early 80s when mainstream cycling started to pick up in the US.
    Today it’s becoming the total opposite. People who do long commutes are often (warning – no flaming – I said “often”) people who cannot afford to live next to an attractive job center. Many workers in the SF FiDi are people who come from the EB, sometimes way too far to even be able to cycle to BART. They spend 2 hours in commuting. Well paid people now live more and more in the City and can walk or cycle to work.
    Time is THE new luxury.
    Thinking it’s for the poor or for kids is typical of both fly-over and third world mindsets. Either they don’t know/see better or they are locked in an older social format.

  44. Posted by futurist

    Of course I was poking a little fun with the grown men/bike comment. I’m not “resisting” urban biking at all.
    But let’s be clear: it is enjoyed and used by a very small percentage of San Francisco residents, most (not all) are young while males; most routes (not all) are flat areas located in the Mission/Castro/Upper Market/Duboce corridors leading to downtown. All well and good. But it’s not really becoming a “total opposite”, it’s becoming a small opposite. It works for some people. But, ever see a lot of bike commuters from Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, The Outer Sunset, The Excelsior or Hunters Point? No. Too many hills.We have hills..ALL over.
    And yes, urban cycling is largely used by well paid young urban professionals, who live and work in The City.

  45. Posted by lyqwyd

    “most (not all) are young while males”
    I do not believe this, and I’ve seen no evidence to support these claims. I’d agree if you said the annoying / irresponsible cyclists are mostly young white males, but overall there are more cyclists that do not meet that description than do.
    I work in the mission and drive through the wiggle/ panhandle area, two of the highest bike traffic areas, so I’m pretty confident that I’m seeing a fairly good cross section of the general bike population.

  46. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I think it is wise to be careful about stereotyping cyclists as it leads to dehumanizing detachment in an already anonymous environment. Anyone who’s biked a lot on city streets has encountered hatred driven road rage, sometimes leading to dangerous behavior on the part of motorists. I’m sure other full time cyclists reading this have had experiences with people shouting “get off the road and onto the sidewalk” or “Hey! I’m trying to get to work here” (um, I am too). Those shouts are often joined with dangerous actions like honking very close or buzzing by without much of a margin. That’s really unsettling to a cyclist riding legally and using the best and safest practices.
    I don’t think that anyone means malice on this thread but please be careful when asserting that cyclists aren’t serious traffic. It might be just enough to goad someone into a tragic road rage incident.

  47. Posted by futurist

    Ok, so how am I supposed to react when just last Monday a cyclist flew thru the stop sign riding east at Haight and Scott? I was driving south on Scott, I stopped at the stop sign and then proceeded thru: other cars were waiting their turn on Haight to go west. I saw the cyclist and EXPECTED him to stop; he didn’t but I did, in the middle of the intersection. Had he hit my car he would have been seriously injured.
    So I yelled out thru my window to him: “Next time obey the stop sign.”
    He kept on riding and gave me the finger as he continued on his illegal style of bike riding. So where exactly was the rage coming from, in this case?
    So, help me out with this one.
    And, btw, this goes on a lot all over the city.
    Until we have some serious discussions about rules of the road for all cyclists, this kind of behavior will continue to happen, and will not garner any kind of public support for more integration of cycling and cars on our city streets.

  48. Posted by lol

    ^^^ What MoD said. Cyclists do not want a road grab, simply their fair share in traffic.
    SF drivers are immensely more careful about cyclists than many I see outside of SF. Exposure to bicycle traffic (dos and donts) does certainly help. Many drivers are cyclists too, and this helps.

  49. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I have to agree with futurist when he writes: And, btw, this goes on a lot all over the city. Some of the things that I see cyclists do on these streets as a matter of course make me cringe as a fellow cyclist.
    The cycling traffic scofflaws make things worse for the rest of us, cyclists and motorists. Trying to self-justify your flouting of traffic laws by saying that cars are more likely to injure/kill someone isn’t going to sell, people. Stopping for stop signs and/or red lights isn’t going to hurt you. Practice your track stand.

  50. Posted by anon

    @futurist –
    That cyclist was obviously in the wrong. What is your point?
    I was driving home from Ikea last Sunday when a driver cut me off on the Bay Bridge and almost made me swerve into another car. I honked. He flipped me off and sped away. This kind of thing happens all of the time, but I’m certainly aware that the majority of drivers are not like this. Are you seriously implying that more bikers break rules than drivers?

  51. Posted by futurist

    Good comment Brahma. I appreciate it very much. Your comments were right on: and I will even go so far as to say I see MORE cyclists flying thru stop signs and lights than I see drivers. Yes, drivers “roll thru” a lot of signs, but cyclists are notorious for flying thru, in my example.
    In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a driver fly thru a stop sign and THEN give the other driver the finger. But cyclists do this regularly. I think it’s deeply embedded in a sense of entitlement; that bikes are just not subject to all the road rules, and maybe a dose of urban anarchy and hipster immaturity. (yea, I know that’s a mouthful).
    But anon. My point was pretty simple and direct; How do we get a dialogue going about cyclists obeying basic traffic laws. Yes, this was one real time example of a cyclist exhibiting that (once again) arrogant behavior.
    And then you bring up a driver behaving badly in the next breath. This is the kind of constant volleying and wanting to keep score that will never allow us, as a city, to come to some common terms to integrate cycling with cars, and create more respect on both sides.

  52. Posted by lol

    I suggest you grab a chair, put yourself at a 4-stop crossing on Page or Scott or any other flat-ish route and do a count of cyclists who do not even bother to slow down. Also count cyclists who will not wait for their turn on the 4-stop.
    Better, do the same at Market and Mason, or Market and 12th. Count how many bikes stop, how many don’t. Then how many cars. Then come back to me with some brilliant explanation why cyclists couldn’t stop.
    Nothing justifies blatant cyclist abuses.

  53. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    From Reuters’ Felix Salmon last week, Why it’s not OK for cyclists to run red lights, money ‘graphs:

    There are cases where flouting the law can be the ethical thing to do, but those are generally cases where following the law, or standing idly by in the face of something which is clearly wrong, cannot be ethically justified. In this case, stopping at a red light and waiting for it to turn green does no harm to anybody, and there’s no morality I know of which would frown on such behavior.

    It is important to cyclists that we get the full respect of drivers as fellow road users, with just as much right to be riding down the street as they have…developing a relationship of mutual respect between drivers and cyclists is the most important thing we can do to improve cyclists’ safety, and to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on the streets. And cyclists will find it much harder to earn that respect if they visibly flout the law every time they reach a red light.

    As they say in the blogosphere, go read the whole thing.
    Salmon’s responding to a piece by Randy Cohen, the NYT’s former Ethicist columnist, failing in an attempt at an ethical defense of running red lights on his bicycle.

  54. Posted by futurist

    Excellent! thank you.
    I’m sure the SS editors feel we are veering off topic, but I do APPRECIATE the chance to have this dialogue here.
    Try having this same discussion over at Streetsblog and you will repeatedly get shouted down; there is little acceptance over there for other opinions.

  55. Posted by lol

    Yes, I read the same article Sunday in the NY Times:
    I saw a lot of responses, mostly negative.
    Cyclists rationalizing bad behavior is almost too funny. The reality is
    1 – I’m lazy and doing it once
    2 – Nobody’s telling me anything, it’s fun
    3 – Look I’m in the counter-culture!
    4 – There has to be a deeper meaning in my actions
    End results: cycling and douching.

  56. Posted by futurist

    You could add:
    5-I’m really lazy and I do it all the time.
    6-I never get caught so what’s the problem?
    7-I’ll show those evil cars who’s in charge of the road.
    and on and on and on and…

  57. Posted by lol

    The other day I was almost hit by a cyclist texting with both hands and cycling.
    Douche-ing, cycling and texting. It’s hard to beat that.
    I was cycling too.

  58. Posted by GaryFolsoma

    I commute on my bike every day… and I despise the vast majority of other bikers I come across on the road. They’re hipster dufusses, straight from Critical Mass. I’d love the SFPD to come down hard… but they won’t.

  59. Posted by lol

    There’s nothing really wrong with the Critical Mass event. It’s just that what’s happening during the ride, like running lights and showing off of force towards drivers, can be accepted in the context of Critical Mass.
    But when the riders go back into the real, they mostly re-adjust. A few try to keep their CM buzz alive which can be a problem with actual traffic.

  60. Posted by anon

    I suggest you grab a chair, put yourself at a 4-stop crossing on Page or Scott or any other flat-ish route and do a count of cyclists who do not even bother to slow down. Also count cyclists who will not wait for their turn on the 4-stop.
    Funny you should mention this, lol. During high school (way back in the mid-90’s), I had to do a traffic study for my driver’s ed class. That required sitting at a corner and counting the number of cars that:
    A. Crossed after the light turned red
    B. Didn’t come to a complete stop to make a right turn on red
    C. Outright ran a red light
    The numbers were baffling. Now, again, I’m not excusing cyclists from breaking laws, but every conversation like this seems to imply that cyclists in the aggregate are worse about it than drivers in the aggregate. I’ve never seen any data to prove that to be the case. Personally, I drive much more than I bike, but I see many, many more laws broken daily by drivers (a frustratingly high number, in fact).

  61. Posted by futurist

    The SFPD and the Mayor’s office are basically held hostage by the SF Bike Coalition.

  62. Posted by lol

    According to statistics, there are 20 to 30 more commutes by car than by bike.
    But, please humor me and try the experiment I suggested. Count bike vs cars in these spots and how they respect priorities and red lights.
    When I have to stop on the red light at Market and 12th, I have to look over my shoulder before I pull over otherwise I’ll be hit by kids zooming by.

  63. Posted by anon

    Again, not doubting that there are oodles of bikes breaking the law. Just seems odd that we’re focused on that instead of cutting down on the lawbreakers in cars.
    I’m also amazed at the rage that some people have toward bike lawbreakers compared to auto lawbreakers, even when neither situation actually affects them. I’ve got friends who will shake their fist and be angry for several minutes after seeing a bike run a stop sign without causing them delay, but won’t even notice the car that blew past them on the freeway doing 90.

  64. Posted by anon

    Mostly I just want all laws to be followed, regardless of mode, and I happen to see many, many, many more being broken by cars.
    I’d probably just feel better if some of my friends that constantly flout driving laws ever got a ticket.

  65. Posted by otheranon

    That’s ridiculous. Look around. I see 50 bicyclists breaking the law in SF for every car that does.

  66. Posted by futurist

    And I’ll bet I see 75 every day who break the law for every that does.
    @ anon: Our discussion, in this particular thread, is about the behavior of cyclists. No one is doubting the fact that drivers also break the law, but it gets tiresome when the “drivers are also bad” rant comes up as a retort to the cyclists.
    This is exactly what the Bike Coalition does, every single time. Serves no purpose and doesn’t keep the discussion open as to solutions.

  67. Posted by lol

    Agreed nobody will waive their fist at a car passing them at 90MPH. Gotta keep Ur hand on the steering wheel first…
    The difference of behavior between cars vs cars and cars vs bikes is that cars know they can do great harm to bikes. A car hits a car at a stop sign, it’s an insurance issue. When a bike breaks a rule and puts himself in danger, he can put the driver into a tricky situation. Who’d gonna say the cyclist ran the stop sign? Who’s looking apart from the cyclist and the driver themselves?
    If the cyclist is reckless enough to do that, he’s also likely to be dishonest about his disregard for the law. It opens a whole can of worms and it’s unfair for the driver who was probably respecting the law.

  68. Posted by lyqwyd

    ‘Yes, drivers “roll thru” a lot of signs, but cyclists are notorious for flying thru, in my example.’
    The roll thru is just as illegal as a cyclist flying through, but far more dangerous (that whole f=MA thing posted earlier).
    Your bias is clear, but you only make it worse when you complete disregard the illegal activities that can be seen at every single.
    And to anybody who claims that cyclists are more frequently violating the law than drivers is clearly so jaded by the frequency of illegal activities committed by driving that they no longer even notice them. But they are still happening, and orders of magnitude more frequently than cyclists in total numbers of violations.

  69. Posted by lyqwyd

    “But, please humor me and try the experiment I suggested. Count bike vs cars in these spots and how they respect priorities and red lights.”
    I’ve already done that experiment. A few years ago there was an article in the SF version of the NY times about how cyclists frequently failed to stop at stop signs. A video was included of about 20 minutes of commute in the wiggle and the author counted the number of cyclists that stopped and didn’t. What the author didn’t do was count the same instances for cars, so I took it upon myself to do the same. Turns out cars failed to stop just about the same rate. People love to categorize cyclists as scofflaws, but the reality is they are no worse than cars, although cars are much more dangerous.
    “A car hits a car at a stop sign, it’s an insurance issue.”
    Cars also hit cyclists and pedestrians at stop signs, which is a life and death issue.
    I’ll point out again, cars are the number 1 cause of death for Americans from 1-30, and one of the top causes for those over 30.

  70. Posted by Forehand

    Wow, thread still alive!
    I commute from Ocean Beach to Potrero Hill 3 days a week. I stop at all 4-ways. I find that most drivers try to be courteous when they get there first, in fact almost too courteous sometimes when they wave at me to let me go first. When this happens, I gladly oblige in order to keep things flowing, and wave my hand in appreciation. I think this is the best outcome for cars and bikes. When you have some visual agreement on who goes first, go for it. Otherwise, wait your turn like a good sport.
    For safety, I now have a Planet Bike Superflash Turbo tail light and 280 lumen front light. I don’t care if cyclists in back of me are annoyed, they need to slow down and stop behind me. Safety first. 🙂

  71. Posted by lyqwyd

    “Our discussion, in this particular thread, is about the behavior of cyclists”
    No, it’s not, it’s about bike parking, and then some people decided to make it about how cyclists should be held to a higher standard.
    I don’t think I’ve seen anybody here saying cyclists should be able to flaunt the law. Drivers make the same irresponsible and illegal behaviors, but some people seem to think it’s OK when a driver does it, but not when it’s cyclists.
    I have absolutely no problem with cyclists being ticketed, as long the same is done for the same violations by drivers. If that were to happen the police wouldn’t even have time to ticket cyclists with the number of tickets they’d be giving to drivers.
    If you think the topic is about the behavior of cyclists, then please demonstrate how it is any worse than that of drivers.

  72. Posted by Forehand

    Uhhh, I commute 3 days “by bike” above. Silly me.

  73. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Almost every car driver speeds. I know, I do it when I drive too. Speeding kills way more people that running stop signs does.
    Get on 280 sometime if you don’t believe me.

  74. Posted by lyqwyd

    So as I drove home to work today I paid extra attention to cyclist and driver behavior. The result:
    No red light running by the cyclists, but I did see a driver run a red light, and another driver illegally cut me off taking a left turn in front of my right turn. I did see one cyclist riding on the sidewalk. Lots of speeding by drivers, and a few talking on their cell-phones. Not much signaling by the drivers either. In summary there were numerous violations of the law by drivers.
    I’ll admit I took a route that didn’t have many stop signs as I did not go directly home, so I’m sure it’s not entirely representative of cyclist behavior, but it is certainly representative of driver behavior.
    The reality is that you cannot drive more than a few blocks without seeing numerous driver violations of the law.

  75. Posted by futurist

    @ lyqwyd:
    Yes, roll-thrus are just as illegal for cars, but bike fly-thrus like the one I mentioned specifically that happened to me are far more dangerous. The cyclist made NO attempt to acknowledge the stop sign or me. He didn’t want to.
    Just like the cyclist Chris Bucchere who killed the pedestrian in the crosswalk at Castro and Market.
    He could have stopped. He didn’t WANT too; the worst, most egregious reason of all. And I sincerely hope he is charged with manslaughter in this particular case.

  76. Posted by lyqwyd

    Sorry futurist that is simply untrue. Cars have about 10-20 times the mass of a bike, and a car can kill going 1 mile per hour by knocking down and crushing. And of course cars also fly thru stop signs and lights.
    Sure the guy in your anecdotal story should have stopped, and I don’t think anybody is saying that type of behavior is OK.
    Bucchere killed somebody because he was an irresponsible jerk, not because he was a cyclist. How are his actions any different than the same by drivers that cause the same result?
    One jerk on a bike does not make all cyclists jerks any more than one jerk in a car makes all drivers jerks.
    Here’s an interesting article on the different responses based on the cause of pedestrian deaths:
    A few choice quotes:
    “The actions and Loggins [MUNI driver] and Bucchere [cyclist] stirred up considerable debate — the latter prompting a slew of media exposes — but Wilcox’s [auto driver] story generated little notice”
    “Last year, 17 pedestrians were killed on city streets, and 14 of them died after being hit by private autos. Two were fatally struck by Muni vehicles, and another died after a collision with a cyclist”
    “There was massive internal self-policing from cyclists after the incident on Castro and Market… But with drivers, there is a long history of lack of accountability.”
    Both cycling and driving can cause deaths, but the fact is that cars do it far more frequently, and enforcement of driver illegal activities is at least as important as it is for cyclists.
    You make a lot of statements about how cyclist behavior is worse than driver behavior, but provide no evidence to support your claims.

  77. Posted by Anon1

    The thing is, you cannot hijack these discussions into “why don’t cars get ticketed” ? Because they occasionally WILL get a “failure to stop at a 4way” ticket. Yes, there is bad behavior by both motorists and cyclists. And yes, there is no repercussion for cyclists. There is a, albietly small, one for motorists. Be real for five seconds, cyclist apologists. You freaking know what’s going on among many within your ranks. Don’t pretend you do not. Most of you guys run red lights and four ways and are jerks about it. It is a fact and you’re lying if you deny it. Cars will gun it and run thru yellows that have gone red. Bikes will run reds that are in the middle of green the other direction . Don’t lie for chrissakes.

  78. Posted by lyqwyd

    You can’t hijack the conversation by saying “why don’t cyclists get ticketed” ? Because they occasioanlly WILL get a “failure to stop at a 4way” ticket.
    “And yes, there is no repercussion for cyclists.”
    False, cyclists get tickets too. They jerk referred to previously who killed an elderly lady is being prosecuted and likely going to jail. I’d call that a repercussion.
    “Most of you guys run red lights”
    False. Most cyclists stop at red lights. I challenge you to provide some evidence to the contrary.
    “Cars will gun it and run thru yellows that have gone red.”
    Yes, and that’s illegal. It’s called running a red light, and it’s particularly dangerous because traffic that gets the green is just beginnging. It’s also one of the most common causes of accidents at intersections.
    And it’s not the only type of red light running by drivers. I was almost run down earlier this year by a driver who blatantly ran a red light. It was well past the point when somebody could claim they were simply trying to beat the light as I was already into the second lane. I had to jump out of the way to not get hit. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention or misread the light, but it doesn’t matter, I almost got killed. When you are operating a multi-ton vehicle it is your job to pay attention.
    Like I said before, I’m a driver not a cyclist, so yes, I do know what’s going on in my ranks. It’s people like you who consider the exact same behavior to be fine when it’s a driver, and terribly wrong when it’s a cyclist. It’s people like you who think that the exact same behavior by a cyclist is somehow more dangerous than when a driver does it. The numbers, and basic physics, put the lie to such ridiculous, but sadly common, claims.
    Sure, there are bad cyclists, just like there are bad drivers, but I’ve never feared for my life by the actions of a cyclist, but I can’t remember a year of my life where I didn’t have my life put in jeopardy by a driver. 30,000 – 40,000 people die per year by auto in the U.S. How many die by bycicle?
    “Don’t lie for chrissakes”
    Several of your claims are provably wrong, and some have already been contradicted in this thread alone. If you are unable to support your claims with real evidence, then it is you who are lying.

  79. Posted by futurist

    I do fear for my life due to the actions of cyclists. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have entered a crosswalk on Valencia St. (ground zero for hipster bike anarchy) and been almost run over.
    They really don’t care. They really do think they are above the law, ALL laws.
    Period. Done.

  80. Posted by lyqwyd

    I walk on Valencia and other streets in the mission every day. Cars are far more of a problem. I’ve been yelled at because I was legally crossing the street at a crosswalk by a driver, but never by a cyclist.
    I don’t pretend to know what’s going on in somebody’s head, I just know the reality of their actions.
    The reality is that every complaint you can make about cyclists is also valid for drivers. When you ignore the fact that drivers do it, and they are operating the more dangerous vehicles your prejudice becomes clear.
    Cars are more dangerous than bikes, and their violations are at least as bad.
    Period. Done.

  81. Posted by Anon1

    Hold up, let me hack the CCTV cameras at Valencia and market …,, wait for it … Wait for it .. Fake Internet arguing lame.
    Whatever, liar. Go be a bikey nutjob strident freak in somebody else’s Internet.

  82. Posted by lyqwyd

    So basically your entire position is based on insults and fabricated information.
    Good luck with that.

  83. Posted by Anon1

    Nope, your internet arguing guy false summation is whatever, or “meh” in netese. Anyway, just about all bikers blow through stop signs and or run reds in this town and saying otherwise is patently false.

  84. Posted by lyqwyd

    I have no idea what you first sentence means.
    The question is not whether cyclists violate the law, but if they do it any more frequently than drivers, and more importantly if they are more dangerous.
    The reality is that:
    1) Drivers break the law just as frequently on a per trip basis (or about 100 times more frequently in total numbers)
    2) Driver violations are much more dangerous than cyclists violations.
    For about the 5th time I’ll point out that nobody has suggested that cyclists should be immune from the law, only that they should bear no more burden than drivers.
    If you think I’m lying feel free to provide actual evidence to the contrary that supports your position, otherwise all you’ve provided so far is insults and fabricated information.

  85. Posted by anonanon

    @ lyqwyd,
    “1) Drivers break the law just as frequently on a per trip basis (or about 100 times more frequently in total numbers)”
    I highly doubt that. Most drivers abide by CVC 22109 simply by having working break lights. What percentage of bicyclists do you think bother to use hand signals when breaking?

  86. Posted by lyqwyd

    Please! For every law you can point to about cyclists breaking there are many more that are broken by drivers on a daily basis.
    How many cyclists double park? How often do you see a bike parked blocking the entire sidewalk? Red light cameras were not installed to catch cyclists. The “California roll” wasn’t coined about cyclists.
    And for about the 6th time now, the discussion is not about whether cyclists should be ticketed. It’s about whether they should have higher expectations than drivers. If any group should have higher levels of enforcement it is drivers as their violations are more dangerous.

  87. Posted by anon

    Traffic laws were designed to deal with the traffic of large, very heavy, powerful vehicles. They were not optimized for 30lb, 0to15MPHin10sec bikes and there is no reason to believe they are the optimum for bikes. If you were to start from scratch with a system designed entirely for bikes, you would have different rules. Bottom line, because of simple physics, bike-caused fatalities are nowhere near the number of fatalities caused by cars, they are completely different animals and not surprisingly should be governed by slightly different rules. This mindless chant that all bikes must adhere strictly to rules designed for high acceleration multiton behemouth vehicles ignores physics and pragmatism. Bikes are somewhere between pedestrians and cars in the lethality of their momentum. To all that complain about bikes not following the rules by seizing the right of way and rolling through stops at a perilous momentum of 5mph * 200lbs of mass, would you be happy if the rules made it legal for bikes to do so? What if the rules said, “bikes get the right of way at stops, they can roll through stops. Bikes will treat red lights as yields.” Let’s change the rules then.

  88. Posted by lol

    1 – I can do 0-15MPH is way less than 10 secs. More like 5-6 😉
    2 – The city being as it is, We have to live with the roads we have, not the roads we wish we had. And this means sharing the same resources. Which implies obeying the same rules.
    Until we get a cyclotopia built, that is.

  89. Posted by lol

    Yeah, it’s useless yelding at tumbleweeds. ID’s density = 19.2/sq mile. SF is 1000 times that. Just kidding, this does apply I think.
    Start a petition, then. (I’ll sign it, I think it’s a great rule).
    A key sentence was:
    The problem, Boise Police Sgt. Doug Kraemer noted, is that “You can’t design laws for the skilled minority.” Addressing that same concern, former rolling stop supporter Jack Gillette observed
    We have to make laws for the lowest common denominator, and the lowest common denominator is still a kid.

    But please let’s keep the red light laws and get them respected. I see cars zooming on the yellow all the time just 2 seconds after all was quiet. Had I run that red light based on my judgement 2 seconds before, I’d be history, and I consider myself skilled, with daily bicycle commutes in London, Paris, SF and more.
    Just this AM, I saw a kid on Market running the red on Gough. Not even yellow or almost green. Plain middle of the red. Then 3 other kids were behind and followed, without looking. Unfortunately Darwin will not always take the most stupid.

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