Bike Backlash from Boulder to Long Beach But a Big Day at SF City Hall
Video via Russ Roca @ BikeCommuters.com.
You would think that car drivers would be happy that cyclists reduce the number of vehicles they have to grapple with, but it just ain't so. The more bikes on the road, the safer it is for cyclists, but also the more an "us versus them" situation that builds up between car drivers and bicyclists, and also it must be said, between scofflaw cyclists going too fast and hapless pedestrians. The result of this pressure is seen in Boulder County, Colorado, where anti-cycle activists are planning to blockade a portion of the Sunrise Century ride using their cars as the obstructionist devices; meanwhile in Long Beach the first bright green sharrows have some residents up in arms (the video shows an irate citizen starting the bike/car 'dialogue') and lastly, nearly four years of anti-cycling activism in San Francisco comes to a head today.Decision Day in SFThe San Francisco SFMTA (Municipal Transportation Agency) will today vote on a bike plan that has been held up for years while an environmental impact report was drafted after an irate activist citizen filed an injunction against the city for not doing the impact assessment prior to putting in any new bike lanes or other bike infrastructure. If the vote is in favor, San Francisco could start improvements that would increase lanes by 75%.
The SF Planning Commission on Thursday approved the environmental impact report, and on Friday the bicycle plan is supposed to get the blessing of the MTA. If that happens, 34 miles of bike sharrows will begin to be painted all over the city, and nearly 50 bicycle-related projects will be put into motion. Critics of the bike plan have said they will appeal the Planning Commission's approval to the SF Board of Supervisors. One down side for motorists - if the plans do go forward, a whopping 880 parking spaces will be removed.
Meanwhile, in Boulder and Long BeachThe tensions between cyclists and well, non-cyclists in Boulder County are supposedly mounting as the summer cycling season is upon us. The anti-cyclists printed a flyer that has circulated around the region where the three-year-old Sunrise Century ride takes place.
reads a portion of the flyer.
"On July 25, in celebration of driver's rights, many cars will use the Left Hand Canyon Road, drive slowly and many may break down unexpectedly, blocking areas to the cyclists on the return leg of the 'Sunrise Century,"
Colorado is a relatively bike-friendly region, but narrow mountain roads and a new law going into effect in August, Senate Bill 148, which requires drivers to give cyclists three feet of space when passing and makes throwing objects at cyclists a misdemeanor, may be sharpening tensions.
In Long Beach, bright green lanes and sharrows or shared lane markings, are being painted to remind cyclists not to ride on the sidewalk and to remind motorists to share the right lane with bicycles. They are also supposed to protect the cyclists from car doors opening from parked cars. Studies show that sharrows are a traffic-calming device, which is precisely why they make some drivers irate. Long Beach collected 'before' data and will now collect some 'after' data to see whether the sharrows are actually calming anyone.
Read more on TreeHugger about bike safety and anti-cycling rageFor Bicyclists, There is Safety in NumbersVirtuous Cycle Video Highlights Washington D.C.'s Cycling InitiativeBoulder, Colorado Achieves Platinum Biking StatusModern Sport of Cyclist Harassment Now Against the Law in Missouri