Reducing, or not even getting, tickets

Police on bicycle in San FranciscoBig changes afoot for traffic violations for cyclists.

In San Francisco, an ordinance co-sponsored by city supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar appears poised to pass. This ordinance will change stop sign violations by cyclists to the the lowest priority of the police department. Functionally, this will create a similar situation to the Idaho Stop law, but within the city boundaries only. In the state of California (unlike some other states) an actual change in the law would have to take place at the state level.

At this time,  6 of the 11 supervisors support the ordinance. Those currently in favor are Avalos, Breed, Campos, Kim, Mar and Wiener. According to KQED, supervisors Christensen, Cohen and Farrell are currently undecided

Supervisor Malia Cohen has not yet taken a position on the issue, said aide Yoyo Chan. “We are still continuing to hear from all perspectives,” Chan said in an email.

— “Majority of S.F. Supervisors Back ‘Idaho Stop’ Proposal for Cyclists” KQED.

That is the majority required to move the ordinance along to the mayor. However, support of Mayor Ed Lee is still unclear, and it would take a vote of 9 supervisors to override his veto should it occur.

This shift has come about in no small part due to a recent “stop in” demonstration on the famous Wiggle of San Francisco.

By Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg: Nancy Pelosi derivative work: Tktru (Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At the state level, there was another change. Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law creating a means to allow cyclists and pedestrians that have received a traffic citation to have their fines reduced by attending traffic school. These diversion programs would be set up and run by the local jurisdictions. This is similar to the system already in place for motor vehicle moving violations. As the BikingInLA blog points out, the provides more than just a reduction in fines. Instead, it creates a unique opportunity to educate. And there are certainly enough folks out there that could do with a little bit of that.

Ed Lee photo credit: By Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg: Nancy Pelosi derivative work: Tktru (Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nifty Ten Fifty ride

What’s a 50 mile ride if it doesn’t also have 10,000 feet of climbing? Called the Nifty Ten Fifty, this East Bay, California ride has strung together some of the steepest, longest, and most grinding climbs to pack mountain-like levels of climbing into a short 50 miles. The pitches – some of which are over 22% – dwarf even the famous Death Ride in intensity.

The very thought says ouch…

11 year old speaks about cycling to school

A recent Town Hall style meeting regarding the Rowana Road Diet brought some unexpected advocacy statements from a unlikely perspective – an 11 year old child. It is easy for many of us out there “fighting the good fight” to forget that not everyone that rides a bike to where they need to go is an adult.

Portland’s bridge to the future

Tilikum_Crossing_Jan_2015

Portland, Oregon continues to demonstrate their dedication to multi-modal transportation options with the September 12, 2015 opening of the Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River. No worries about how cars and bicycles will interact on this bridge – cars aren’t allowed. This bridge is all about transit, shoes and pedals.

Keep reading →

Andy Schleck is copying me

DSC01843I’ll admit that I was a bit… preoccupied… when Andy Schleck originally announced his retirement. At that time, I was eyebrows deep into launching a local independent bike shop paired with a cafe. During our unfortunately short run before total, catastrophic collapse (you could say we ‘bonked‘) I was understandably out of the pro-cycling happenings. Knee-deep in trying to ensure there is enough money to keep the lights on from day to day (there wasn’t) you don’t find yourself with a lot of time to keep up with the pro peloton. One thing I learned during this process – you need a fair amount of up front capital (runway to use business parlance) to keep a cafe/bike ship afloat until business builds up. Keep reading →

Again with the tax nonsense

idiotic_pollSomehow I missed this one when it was posted, and it took one of Biking in LA’s great posts to bring it to my attention. Continuing this month’s trend of bashing media outlets, SFGate has given me more targets with their latest “weekly poll.”

Is it time for bicycle riders to pay to use the roads just as motorists do through vehicle license fees and gasoline taxes?

This assumption that our roads (the ones cyclists actually ride on) are funded entirely by gas and vehicle registration taxes is just plain wrong. In fact, it would be wrong to say that even a majority of the funding is coming from these motor vehicle specific sources.

The truth is, if you compare the amount of road surface I take as a cyclist, add in the amount of damage I do to the infrastructure resulting in the need for maintenance costs, and compare that with a car, you will find that as a cyclist I am not only paying my fair share, I am actually subsidizing the very group that is demanding increased taxes from me.

What Lois Kazakoff should have had in her survey was another line item:

No. Cyclists already pay more than their fair share. Instead, bicycle related products should be exempt from state sales tax to compensate for this disparity

 

“Perfect” suspect in Critical Mass incident

090715-kgo-ian-hespelt-imgI swear you can’t make this stuff up.

Pictured right is Ian Hespelt. The 31 year old cyclist has been arrested in connection with a recent Critical Mass incident involving a U Lock and a Zip Car. According to an ABC7 article on the story, neighbors were “shocked”, saying “…he’s not a violent person.” Well, the actions caught on film which he is now being accused of enacting sure are violent.

Could this guy seriously be a more perfect stereotype for the Critical Mass cyclist gone amuck? Keep reading →

NPR Has this one wrong

national-public-radio-npr-logo_100318079_mI seem to be spending a fair amount of time being frustrated with cycling stories in the media lately. I was hot off of my rant about the Jeff Jacoby opinion piece when this NPR article popped up in my social media. The article’s title clearly indicates the slant of the article: “As More Adults Pedal, Their Biking Injuries And Deaths Spike, Too.” Yet another title geared to perpetuate the myth that cycling is inherently dangerous. Or at least that was my take on it.

OK. So on the surface, you take an activity that occasionally results in some injuries, get more and more people doing it, and logically you’ll get more people getting injured. Simple, right?

Sure – until you then go and try to show how it somehow more than that.

Keep reading →

Jeff Jacoby doesn’t want you riding on his roads

According to Boston Globe Opinion Columnist Jeff Jacoby, you have no business being on the road on your bike. His latest opinion piece reuses tired old (and factually inaccurate) arguments to explain why efforts to increase bicycle access and utilization in our cities is, in his words, “irresponsible and dangerous.” But it is an opinion piece – right? I mean, he’s just stating what he thinks, not any actual facts.

Except for the things is cites as facts – that actually aren’t.

Keep reading →

The Critical Mass has passed

I’m annoyed. I’m sick of it. I’m pissed. I’m speaking only of San Francisco – and I may be digging my own stick-a-frame-pump-through-my-front-spokes kind of grave, but I do not believe that Critical Mass has any place, relevance, or purpose in the city of San Francisco any longer. (Caution: Strong language to follow)

Yet another unfortunate incident has taken place during a Critical Mass ride, and as per usual these days there is video, and it found its way to You Tube. Keep reading →