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Monday, July 13, 2009
  San Francisco bike thief photos
By Yokota Fritz 
Some members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition noticed a guy chopping at a bike cable lock with bolt cutters. One of them chased after the guy while the other one shot photos of the alleged perpetrator. Wonder of wonders, police even responded to their 911 call.

H/T to Murph.


Thursday, June 25, 2009
  "Klunkerz" interviews on on 6/24/09
By Alison Chaiken 


Modern mountain biking was born on the trails of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County in the 1970s. We talk to some of the pioneers of the sport who are featured in a new documentary, "Klunkerz."
Host: Scott Shafer
• Charlie Kelly, creator of the Repack races and founder of the first magazine devoted to mountain biking
• Gary Fisher, founder of Gary Fisher Bicycles and mountain biking icon.
• Joe Breeze, founder of Breezer Bikes
• Wende Cragg, one of the first female mountain bikers and a photographer whose pictures are featured in "Klunkerz."

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Thursday, January 29, 2009
  SF Mayor Gavin Newsom announces bike share
By Yokota Fritz 
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced during his visit to Paris that the City will pilot a bike share program this year.

"Bike sharing will help connect thousands of residents and commuters to their workplaces and shopping destinations by providing bikes that they can easily borrow," said Mayor Newsom.

To get around the court injunction that prevents San Francisco from implementing any bike facility changes, this pilot of 50 bicycles will be funded by Clear Channel Communications with five stations installed on non-city property.

Read more:

City cyclist Colin has organized a Tweed Run of his own for Thursday February 12 in San Francisco. Fun stuff!

Those of you in Silicon Valley know that cyclists of every type and ability abound in the area. Midweterner Gary Boulanger writes about what it's like here.


Friday, January 09, 2009
  SF Streetsblog now live and online
By Yokota Fritz 
After several weeks of work and planning, the San Francisco Streetsblog site quietly went live last Wednesday.

SF Streetsblog editor Bryan Goebel is an experienced journalist and active member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Reporter Matthew Roth is a recent transplant to the Bay Area from New York City, where he directed the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign for Transportation Alternatives.

Fritz welcomes Streetsblog's new presence in The City where Tony left his heart (as Randy the Caltrain conductor likes to say every day).


Thursday, January 08, 2009
  BBC wants to interview senior cyclists in San Francisco
By Yokota Fritz 
The BBC will film and interview cyclists who are over 50 in San Francisco this Sunday, in preparation for the upcoming Senior Games. Any and all who might participate should think about coming if you can. If you'd like your 15 minutes of fame, please meet at the far (eastern) end of the Marina parking lot closest to Fort Mason at 12:45pm.

The 2009 Senior Games for athletes 50 and over takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cycling takes place in and around Cañada Rd in San Mateo County August 8 - 10 with time trials and road races.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008
  Miss January 2009
By Alison Chaiken 

The 2009 Female Mechanics Calendar features New York wrench Susan Lindell (pictured above) in January. The calendar is attractively laid out and nicely produced. Anyone looking for a holiday gift for an independent female could do worse than choosing this calendar.

And, if that weren't enough, there's a Calendar Release Party at the Luscious Garage in San Francisco on Saturday evening, December 13.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008
  San Francisco Sunday Streets
By Yokota Fritz 
The big "Ciclovia" style block party is this Sunday in San Francisco. A big stretch of 3rd Street and The Embarcadero will be closed from 9 AM to 1 PM on Sunday. The T-Third and F-Market Muni lines will be FREE from 8 AM to 2 PM for access to Sunday Streets.

Sunday Streets is modeled after the Ciclovia program in Bogota, Columbia. More here.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008
  NPR Talk of the Nation: Rob Anderson and Noah Budnick
By Yokota Fritz 
Update - Show Notes: Host Lynn Neary displayed a very clear and obvious anti-cyclist bias in this show, labeling cyclists as "arrogant" and "self righteous," accusing cyclists of riding recklessly, causing collisions, getting in the way of motorists and causing road rage. Neary make Rob Anderson's speaking points for him -- she listed the potential problems of San Francisco's bike plan and let Anderson elaborate on them -- while all of her questions toward Noah Budnick were challenges about rude, law breaking cyclists. Neary allowed Anderson to respond to Budnick's points.

For example, Noah Budnick noted that current research that shows accommodating different transportation modes is not a zero sum game, like Anderson claims, but that traffic demand is elastic. Case after case shows that when commuters are given alternatives, they'll make use of those different modes. Anderson was then allowed to respond; he sneered a little about transportation "experts" -- you could almost hear the quote marks in his voice -- and expressed his distaste toward experts and planners who shove their design paradigms down the throats of the public.

Host Neary constantly brought up law breaking cyclists -- I think she was trying to get a rise out of Budnick. Budnick said that studies show that most accidents are caused by inattentive motorists, not cyclists. Noah also pointed listeners to "Why bicyclists hate stop signs" (PDF), but reiterated that Transportation Alternatives constantly reminds cyclists to obey the rules of the road.

Neary then introduced a guest from Seattle (I didn't catch his name), but he was woefully unprepared for the subject and didn't know what was going on with cycling advocacy. Seattle man was clueless about the pioneering work of traffic engineer Hans Monderman. When asked about bicycle education efforts, he lamely responded that cities hand out pamphlets to cyclists -- he was completely unaware that the Cascade Bicycle Club in his own city will teach bicycle safety education to 12,000 students this year.

San Francisco anti-bike crusader Rob Anderson and Transportation Alternatives Noah Budnick were guests today on NPR's Talk of the Nation radio program. The show will be available for online listening later tonight.

You might enjoy this exchange between Anderson and Robert Hurst over at Anderson's District 5 Diary blog.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008
  Rob Anderson says I ride because of political motivations
By Yokota Fritz 
Rob Anderson made the Wall Street Journal!

Rob Anderson is the guy who successfully challenged San Francisco's implementation of a bike plan, by claiming in court that the bike plan must undergo an environmental review just like any other transportation plan. According to the Wall Street Journal, Anderson believes I ride my bike for political reasons!
"Regardless of the obvious dangers, some people will ride bikes in San Francisco for the same reason Islamic fanatics will engage in suicide bombings -- because they are politically motivated to do so," he wrote in a May 21 post.
Anderson claims he fights cycling because of our thought crimes of a "holier-than-thou" attitude and because many cyclists ride dangerously on city streets, zipping by dangerously closely to him and other pedestrians. Anderson is car-free, so I'm a little bemused that he doesn't also criticize motorists for the same attitudes and behaviors. When it comes to entitlement attitudes, dangerous behavior and actual risk, motorists have cyclists beat by a long ways.

Most cyclists in the United States (including myself) are also motorists -- the problem of dangerous behavior is not specifically a motorist vs cyclist problem, but a people problem. Some people are jerks, whether they're on a bike or in a car. Whether you're driving, cycling or walking, please be nice to those around you.


Saturday, August 09, 2008
  Bicycling tourists in San Francisco
By Yokota Fritz 
Headless  Panda on the Golden Gate Bridge
Tourists on bikes delay ferry commutes. Tourists to San Francisco, many of them from overseas, rent bicycles from several locations in The City. They ride their bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, then catch the ferry back to the city.

Because of unprecented bike use, though, the offloading tourists with bikes are delaying ferry service for commuters. From the Marin Independent Journal:
For the past month, weekdays have also become prime time for bikers. While there are fewer problems mid-day, that changes during the evening commute run when Southern Marin residents who work in San Francisco are looking to hop on the ferry to go home.

As dozens and dozens of bikes are loaded in Sausalito, then unloaded in San Francisco, commuters wait and wait.

We have never seen it this busy," said co-owner Elena Sears, a Marin resident, who has run the San Francisco business with her husband for 20 years. They rent the bikes for about $7 an hour. "We are seeing a lot of Europeans. The dollar is weak, the euro is strong. This is a beautiful area to bike."
Read more.


Friday, August 08, 2008
  Bay Area bicycle and transportation news
By Yokota Fritz 
Urban Costume Karaoke Bicycle Brigade: Tomorrow in Dolores Park.

Santa Cruz rail line to be purchased. The Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission agreed yesterday to pay Union Pacific $14.2 million for the 32 mile stretch of railroad from Davenport to Watsonville. County residents already use the railroad right of way for bicycling and walking, and Union Pacific has apparently been worried about liability, while enforcing their property rights results in criticism from the community. The county plans to establish and rail trail along the railroad while operating a recreational rail service along the corridor. The rail trail will become part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network. Union Pacific currently runs three freight round trips each week on this branch line.


Chinese Acrobats at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Watch acrobats perform at the Beach Bandstand area of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk Sundays through Thursdays until August 21. Shows are at Noon and 3pm Monday through Thursday, Noon and 6pm on Sundays. Their gig includes tricks with bicycles. Shows are free.

Caltrain updates, etc.

The Caltrain Joint Powers Board met yesterday. Some quick notes.
  • Some 20+ cyclists showed up to give their input on the Bicycle Master Plan. Caltrain staff proposes adoption of the plan (which doesn't address capacity), but JPB directors seem to "get" the idea now that capacity should not only be maintained, but even expanded.

    San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has taken the lead among Bay Area bicyclist advocacy groups in pushing Caltrain to adopt a plan that better services bicyclists. SFBC published their own Caltrain bike plan online (PDF), as well as a rebuttal to Caltrain's bike program FAQ.

  • SF Examiner looks at the issue of charging extra to bring bikes on board Caltrain. “I’m not crazy about that idea,” Caltrain boardmember Jerry Hill said. “We want to encourage people to use their bicycle, and during peak commute is when people need transit. Many people who ride bicycles don’t have the luxury of having other forms of transportation and I don’t think we should penalize them for doing the right thing.”

  • In other business, the JPB voted to increase Caltrain fares after public hearings. While Caltrain reported record ridership of nearly 12 million riders from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, increasing fuel prices impact Caltrains operating budget. "Even though the ridership is up," says JPB vice chair Don Gage, "it's still not enough to keep up with the rising gas costs."

  • Peninsula cities don't want High Speed Rail and are joining a lawsuit against the California High Speed Rail Authority. Boo to them.

  • VTA Watch examines the proposed 1/8 cent tax to bring BART to Santa Clara. Hurray to Palo Alto councilor Yoriko Kishimoto, who speaks out against bringing BART to San Jose.

  • A 'suspicious device' was reported at the parking garage next to the Sunnyvale Caltrain station late Wednesday night. Officials closed the garage to public access and the Santa Clara County Sheriff closed the Sunnyvale Caltrain station at 10 PM. Caltrain established a bus bridge between Mountain View and Lawrence Avenue. At midnight the bomb squad determined the 'device' was not dangerous and allowed people access to their vehicles in the garage. Caltrain operated normally the next morning.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008
  San Francisco Film Festival
By Yokota Fritz 
The San Francisco Bicycle Film Festival started yesterday. It continues through Saturday. Visit the Bicycle Film Festival site for schedule, locations, and other details. More Bay Area news below...

About 100 San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members held a rally on Monday at city hall, demanding activity on the court-mandated environmental review process. The SF City bike plan was stalled when Judge James Warren ruled that it must go through the same environmental impact reviews required of other transportation projects, but the perception of many cyclists is that the City has not put any priority on doing the work necessary to advance the project. More at KTVU and the Chronicle.

A car free Market Street?
Supervisor Chris Daly asked the city attorney to draft legislation to permanently ban cars on Market Street between Octavia Boulevard and the Embarcadero, an idea that has been floated by various city leaders, including former Mayor Willie Brown, for more than a decade.

Daly said discussion of a proposal by Mayor Gavin Newsom to close portions of city streets, including a large stretch of the Embarcadero, on two Sundays this year prompted his action.

"It's the city's grand boulevard," Daly said. "Why don't we go for the gold?"

Sunday Streets is a proposal to close 4½ miles of streets San Francisco to motor vehicle traffic and open them up to physical activity and play. Some city supervisors, however, have introduced legislation that would require an economic and traffic study before streets can be closed, in addition to approval from the Board of Supervisors.

San Jose says they'll extend Los Gatos Creek Trail to connect Campbell and Los Campbell with downtown San Jose. Currently, the Los Gatos Creek trail stops at Meridian Avenue in San Jose. There's also a small half mile stretch of trail along Los Gatos Creek underneath I-280 and at Azurais Street. There are no plans to connect these two discontiguous stretches of the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

The next San Jose Bike Party: August 15. The theme: Lord of the Flies. The last ride got a little bit of attention from the San Jose Police. More participation in the San Jose Bike Party means more attention and some growing pains. The organizers, for example, are talking about how to limit the involvement of belligerent drunks on the ride.

Other bicycle news

You've probably seen this story: Political columnist Robert Novak, known for his aggressive driving in DC, runs a red light and hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The pedestrian goes up and over the hood into Novak's windshield before sliding off, according to witnesses. Novak zooms off, making this a hit and run. Attorney David Bono was biking to work when he saw this hit and run and chased Novak down. Bono called 911 and blocked Novak's car. Bono's a hero.


Sunday, July 06, 2008
  Bay Area Folding bike festivel
By Yokota Fritz 
Bay Area FolderFest. Saturday July 12, 11am. Ferry Building in San Francisco. Come join the first annual Bay Area FolderFest, a celebration of folding bikes. This is for folding bike lovers who want to meet and check out folding bikes. FolderFest will then ride over to Crissy Field, have a picnic, and have some folder fun, games, and contests. Folders will then ride around the Presidio or over the Golden Gate Bridge. Cost is free -- just bring your own picnic lunch. For more info, contact Alan at 650-726-4909


Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  Leah Shahum on talk radio TODAY
By Yokota Fritz 
Tune in to KALW radio 91.7 FM at 11:00 am TODAY (Tuesday) for Your Call, and join a chat about bicycling in San Francisco. Featuring Leah Shahum (SF Bicycle Coalition), Bert Hill (SF Bicycle Advisory Committee), and Dave Snyder (SF Planning and Urban Research). It's a call-in show, so call your smart talk to host Rose Aguilar at 415/841-4134.


Monday, June 30, 2008
  San Francisco cycling fashion
By Yokota Fritz 
SF Chron Sunday Style section: Commuters ditching cars for bikes, foot power includes several paragraphs on cycling fashionably.
Graduate student Lisa Foster refuses to let the peddling keep her from wearing her pumps. "I really think bikes are made for people who wear heels," she said. "You don't have to walk in them. It's so much better."

Judy B. (her full, legal name), lives in the Fillmore and commutes to her job as a legal assistant in the Financial District. "Short tight skirts are easier to wear," she says. "Sometimes I wear bike shorts or leggings or tights under them. Knee-length skirts blow up and catch the wind like a sail, depending on the weather."

Product Manager Cheryl Brinkman tucks her skirt into a band of elastic that she wraps around one thigh, a homemade garter belt solution, as it were. And, she said, "I always have a small binder clip in my handbag, as well, to keep wrap skirts or dresses closed while pedaling."

Via Soma Fabrications, because the article features a photo of Ms. Brinkman riding a sweet Soma Mixte bicycle. My wife has the same Basil panniers, too. Sanfranciscoize the planet :-)


Wednesday, June 18, 2008
  SF Quake City Rumble July 3-6, 2008
By Yokota Fritz 
The fifth Quake City Rumble benefiting the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association Broken Bones fund takes place July 3-6 in San Francisco. Winners get free travel to the North American Courier Championships in Chicago August 29-31. This link supposedly has more information but there's nothing there at the moment, so look at the Soma Fabrications blog instead.


Friday, May 30, 2008
  San Francisco bicyclist survey
By Yokota Fritz 
If you're an involved cyclist in San Francisco, you no doubt already know of this survey.

The San Francisco Senior Action Network is conducting a survey to understand why cyclists ride on the sidewalk in San Francisco. Sidewalk cyclists who have taken the survey so far say they would avoid the sidewalk if more bike lanes were available, if traffic laws were better enforced, and if there were a separate set of traffic laws for cyclists. In a pedestrian survey, 10% of pedestrians answering the survey indicate they have been hit by a cyclist on the sidewalk in the last two years.

If you're a cyclist in San Francisco, you can take the sidewalk cyclist survey here.


Friday, May 16, 2008
  Twice as many bikes as cars on Market Street
By Yokota Fritz 
There were twice as many bicycles as cars headed downtown on San Francisco’s Market Street on the 14th annual Bike to Work Day. Bicyclists made up 64% of the eastbound traffic at Market St. & Van Ness Ave., while motorists comprised 32% between 8am and 9am today. (The remainder was transit vehicles and taxis). This is a nearly 31% increase over the number of people biking last year on Bike to Work Day. The counts were taken by the Municipal Transportation Agency.

One of those riding this morning was first-time bike commuter and mother of two, Ali Linder, who credits Bike to Work Day with motivating her to switch from driving or taking transit to pedaling from the Richmond District to the Embarcadero. "There were a ton of bicyclists out. It was fun to be a part of it, especially because it was a Spare the Air Day. I felt really good about not being in my car, and I got exercise during the time I'd normally be sitting down. I will definitely bike to work again."

A record number of city leaders bicycled to work including Supervisors Jake McGoldrick, Aaron Peskin, Carmen Chu, Ross Mirkarimi, Chris Daly, Sean Elsbernd, Bevan Dufty, and Gerardo Sandoval, as well as the heads of City departments, including Nat Ford of the Municipal Transportation Agency. They joined San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) members on City Hall steps for a visual spectacle quantifying the financial, health and environmental benefits of bicycling.

“I’m thrilled to see so many people biking to work today. Thanks to growing interest in healthy, sustainable commuting and our efforts with the City to ensure that cyclists feel safe and welcome on the streets, more people are making the switch to biking,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the 9,000-member SFBC.

Local bike shops also report seeing more people switching to bicycling. “Commute bicycling is clearly growing,” says Zack Stender, manager of Mike’s Bikes in San Francisco. “I talk daily to customers about the high cost of gas. People are feeling more comfortable on the streets because there are more people on bikes. There’s safety in numbers.”

[ San Francisco Bicycle Coalition press release. Photo by Bugsmack and used with her permission. ]


Sunday, May 11, 2008
  Bay Area bicycle discussion forum
By Yokota Fritz 
Bikeness is a new bicycle website with discussion forums for casual and avid cyclists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check it out:


Thursday, May 08, 2008
  Separated bike lanes proposed for S.F. Market Street
By Yokota Fritz 
A group headed by the business-backed Market Street Association, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the civic think tank San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association is hatching a new idea to improve Market. The thought is to create dedicated bike lanes, physically separated from vehicles, such as has been done in Frankfurt, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; and closer to home in Eugene and Bend, Ore.

Proponents of that idea have sketched out a primitive design in which sidewalks and traffic lanes would be narrowed along some downtown segments of Market Street to accommodate a dedicated bike path.
Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Despite efforts, Market Street traffic lingers"


Tuesday, April 29, 2008
  Bike newbies on Caltrain
By Yokota Fritz 
As gas prices officially reached the $4 mark in San Francisco, Caltrain reported record weekday ridership of 36,993 for February 2008, a 9.3% increase over 2007.

Full bike car

I'm not as scientific as Caltrain, but I'm seeing substantially more cyclists on the Caltrain bike cars, many of them with shiny new bikes. If you're on the platform with your bike and don't have a clue what's going on, please feel free to ask the other people around what to do. The BayRail Alliance also updated their Caltrain Bike Tips page today. I provided some of the input for that tips page, including the mild suggestion to "the idiot" the train nearly hit yesterday morning.

Today is free ice cream cone day at Ben & Jerry's! Please also don't forgot to do the Cyclelicious survey.



Monday, April 21, 2008
  Bay Area: Bike commuter of the year 2008
By Yokota Fritz 
San Francisco Bay Area: Nominate a cyclist for bike commuter of the year.

Do you know someone in your community who is committed to making every day a Bike to Work Day? Does this person epitomize and actualize the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of bicycling? Please share his or her story with the San Francisco Bay Area Bicycle Coalition.

The deadline for nominations is midnight Tuesday night, so get your nominations in now at Bay Area Bicycle Coalition website.


Monday, March 17, 2008
  Critical Mass in 1896
By Yokota Fritz 
Here's an interesting article [PDF] on "The Great San Francisco bicycle protest of 1896."
Since the 1880’s, riders across the country had lobbied for access to the streets. Increasingly organized, their mission was political and social as cycling became a way of life. Bicyclists demonstrated in large American cities, including Chicago, where wheelmen and wheelwomen held riding exhibitions and mass meetings, forcing the city to withdraw a rail franchise for a west end boulevard.

Cyclists were encouraged to decorate their wheels, citizens along the route to decorate their properties, with prizes offered for the finest display. A few men rode in drag, one “in the togs of a Midway Plaisance maiden,” another as an old maid. Uncle Sam rode in bloomers next to a down-home hayseed.There were meaner stereotypes: Sitting Bull and Pocahontas; a man in bloomers mocking “the new women;” one in blackface; one “imitating a Chinese in silks and slippers.”

Approaching Powell and Market, “the cyclists encountered a surging mass of humanity.” Bells of a dozen trapped streetcars added to the chaos.When the number 21 car got too close to one division, some in the crowd began rocking it, attempting to overturn it.
Read more in this PDF from Processed World.


Thursday, March 13, 2008
  KQED Forum on bicycle safety - show notes
By Yokota Fritz 
Update: See the transcript here. It has pictures! The stuff in this article below is boring and dull.

KQED is the local public broadcasting station in San Francisco. The topic for the 9 A.M. "Forum" show was on bicycle safety.

Guests were
  • Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
  • Sean Co, bicycle and pedestrian planner for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • Sean Comey, spokesman for the AAA of Northern California.
  • Rob Anderson, the blogger who filed suit holding up implementation of the San Francisco bicycle plan.

When I tuned in, AAA spokesman Comey (who says he rides a bike), instructed cyclists to be more careful and "cyclists need to act as ambassadors. You need to follow the rules of the road. Motorists are protected by a ton of steel and latest in engineering and technology, but cyclists are out in the open," he reminds us. "You are very vulnerable. When I ride, I expect motorists to not see me and I watch for the unexpected. I watch for doors and people pulling out." Comey gave some good advice, but it's rich that this spokesmen for motorists tells cyclists to be ambassadors, when he should be doing the same thing on behalf of motorists. There's at least as much bad behavior from motorists as there is from cyclists.

Shahum reminds Comey of this when she reminds Comey and KQED listeners that "drivers of large vehicles have a grave responsibility to take care" in their driving.

Host Michael Krasny asked if road conditions are a factor in safety. MTA planner Co responded that "90% of collisions are due to human factors. If you throw money into improving roads and other engineering, you can only get so much in return. The most important thing is changing behavior."

Rob Anderson joined the show for a short time. Anderson cites the figure from the 2000 Census showing that only 2% of commutes in SF are by cyclists and he said, "I don't see any increased number of bicycles in The City." Anderson doesn't believe that money and space should be given to a mode of transportation that's used by only a tiny minority of the population.

Shahum, though, retorts that "According to Anderson we shouldn't have sidewalks, we shouldn't have transit. That's a very archaic way of thinking." Because of issues with climate change, air pollution, and much higher energy prices, "We have to think about other ways to get around." Shahum also cites figures from a November 2007 study and traffic count showing that "16% of San Francisco adults -- that's 120,000 people -- bicycle in The City for transportation at least once a week." She also makes the comparison that "if you look at one person in a car versus one person on a bike versus 30 people on a bus, motorists take a disproportionate amount of space."

Host Krasny then spoke with Nick Carr of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, asking him about the progress of the city bicycle plan. Carr said, "we're completing the environmental analysis" and that "I've seen very noticeable growth in cycling in San Francisco." He then plugged MTA's work with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in Bike Ed to "teach folks what they need to know so they're not operating a bike in ignorance. Bike Ed is like a driver training class for cyclists. Also Bike To Work Day is coming up so we're starting to promote that." When asked about Critical Mass, "Critical Mass is still out there. We don't hear too many complaints like used we used to. One thing San Francisco has going for them is the exposure of cyclists on the streets, which makes it safer for them."

Krasny started taking some calls at this point.
  • Call John from San Bruno is a cyclist who bikes into the city. "Cyclists really need to obey the traffic laws" and "they need to be more visible." He pushes Robert Hurst's (excellent) Art of Cycling book. Leah's response: "It's the scofflaws you notice, whether its cyclists or motorists or walkers. It's not a bicycle issue, it's a human nature issue and it's applicable to any mode of transportation." In city counts at 30 intersections, Shahum said they count violations as well as just absolute counts, and during these counts the violators are not the majority. 600 people in the Bay Area are killed by motorists every year, so its clear that the main problem is not scofflaw cyclists but scofflaw motorists.

  • Caller Helen complains about cyclists on Cesar Chavez in San Francisco, because the road is there for motorists to get on the freeway. Leah Shahum gets animated, responding that "those lanes are not designated motorists only -- they are for all traffic, including cyclists." Shahum explains the concept of "taking the lane" -- where cyclists ride in the middle of the lane to increase their visibility and protect themselves -- and exhorts Helen to "hang back and give them room."

  • Another caller complains about bike lanes on Guerrero St, how replacing traffic lanes with bike lanes backs traffic up and he ends up taking side streets instead of main boulevards. He advocates instead for bike boulevards (like in Berkeley and Palo Alto) where side streets have traffic calming features that limit motor traffic but allow for easy bicycle access. Shahum notes that in the case of Guerrero Street that it was the local residents who wanted traffic calming engineering, with a median added and a traffic lane removed to discourage traffic on that street.

  • Krasny brought up comments from emails received during the show, of cyclists who blow through stop signs and don't signals, of motorists who do the same, etc.

  • Caller Randall said cyclists should have a different set of laws. "Many laws are created for the convenience of motorists, not for the safety of bicycles," he said.

  • Derek Liecty of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition called in to encourage listeners in the East Bay to attend one of the many bicycle safety classes that teaches people to "ride a bicycle like a car to reduce accidents." He also said every cyclist should read John Forester's Effective Cycling book.

  • Michael is a cabbie in San Francisco and a frequent caller to Krasny's show. He talked about his recent trip to China, where people of all ages and types ride to get around. He compared it to California where, "there are so many pickup trucks and one person SUVs that it's just embarrassing." In 30 years of driving a taxi in The City, "I've never been in an accident with a bicycle. I always watch for cyclists and I always give the right of way. I try to be courteous but even then I still sometimes get the middle finger from some cyclists."
As the hour closed, Shahum mentioned a study from the Netherlands showing that twice as many motorists as cyclists are killed per mile of travel and that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risk of accidental death 20 to 1.

Finally, Krasny asked about helmets, and Comey (the AAA guy) brought up the completely discredited and ridiculous "helmets reduce serious injury and death by 85%" figure, which isn't even used by the helmet lobby anymore.


Friday, January 25, 2008
  More bike riders in San Francisco in 2007
By Yokota Fritz 
The number of San Francisco bike riders rose by 15 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to a report by The City’s bicycle program.

In the study, which will be presented today at the Bicycle Advisory Committee, observers from the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Bicycle Program counted 6,454 cyclists on the streets during sample days in August 2007, which is 800 more than noted in 2006, the first year of the bicycle counting program.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner.


Sunday, January 13, 2008
  VTA: Big route and schedule changes on Monday
By Yokota Fritz 
Remember, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has big changes in routes and scheduling that begin Monday morning, January 14, 2008. While VTA will provide more frequent service on a number of bus lines and convert a number of routes to "Community Bus Service" using smaller buses, several routes have also been eliminated, shortened and combined with other routes. Route 60, for example, will not continue south beyond the Winchester Transit Center, and Route 22 will no longer serve the Menlo Park Caltrain Station. Visit the VTA website (which has been significantly redesigned) for details.

Public transportation to MacWorld

Apple fans heading to the annual Macworld Conference and Expo at the Moscone Center Jan. 14 – 18 can focus on technology rather than traffic and parking by taking Caltrain to The City.

Attendees of the week-long conference will find Caltrain’s 96 weekday trains a convenient way to avoid the city’s traffic and parking hassles. All northbound trains end at the San Francisco Caltrain Station at Fourth and King streets. From there, passengers can either walk to Moscone Center, approximately six blocks away, or they can catch either of Muni’s 30 or 45 lines, which stop right across from the train station on Fourth Street. They can get off at Third and Folsom, and the Moscone Center is just a block away at 747 Howard St.

The last southbound train leaves San Francisco at 12:01 a.m., which leaves plenty of time for the most ardent Mac user to spend a full day at the expo and spend some time sight-seeing or dining in The City as well.

Secure bicycle parking is available at the new bike station at the 4th & King Caltrain Station in San Francisco. Caltrain schedule and fare information is available at Caltrain website. Leave a comment here at Cyclelicious if you have a specific question about riding Caltrain.

BART considers increased bike lockers fees

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system considered increasing the annual locker fees charged at BART stations and introducing an hourly charge for lockers with electronic locks. For details, read the Examiner.

Infrequent BART users should also be warned that BART recently changed its service to SFO Airport. You can no longer head straight to SFO from Millbrae Caltrain, but now must go to San Bruno then backtrack to the airport. Regular travelers to SFO have discovered it's faster to get off Caltrain in Hillsdale then take a bus to the airport.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
  SF Bay Area: rain Rain RAIN RAIN. And wind, too.
By Yokota Fritz 
This is for all of you bicycle commuters who neglect to check the weather forecast (and you know who you are) -- three storms systems are barreling down from Alaska with two to four inches of rain forecast in Santa Clara valley and up the Peninsula into San Francisco beginning Thursday at noon. On Friday, 20 to 30 mph winds gusting to 50 mph are expected throughout the Bay Area and coastal areas. Up to ten inches on rain is expected in the Santa Cruz Mountains (where I live) over the weekend, with snow falling as low as 2,500 feet.

bicycling in the rain
As the storms move east over the Sierra Mountains, the snow is expected to fall in crippling volumes. "They could see up to eight to 10 feet [of snow] by Sunday," Weather Service Meteorologist Steve Anderson. "It's going to be a major winter storm with white-out, blizzard conditions, winds up to 100 miles per hour on the peaks and around 50 miles per hour down on Interstate 80," he says.

Although big swells are expected through the storms in Santa Cruz, surf conditions will be too choppy for it to be any fun.

Before you break out the bikes for your commute to work on Thursday morning, break out your rain gear.

Photo: "Cycling through the rain" by Annemiek van der Kuil. With expected high winds, an umbrella is not recommended this week.

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Monday, December 17, 2007
  Bay Area bicycle blogs
By Yokota Fritz 
Somebody on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition discussion list asked about bicycle blogs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Besides my own Cyclelicious, here are the ones I know about (below the photo).

Market Street cyclist getting the squeeze
I know I'm missing some. What other Bay Area bike blogs are out there? Comment here and I'll add the link to the list. I hope everybody is enjoying the rain today in the Bay Area.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
  San Francisco bike plan rally
By Yokota Fritz 
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and other cyclist activists rallied today on the steps of city hall to protest the sluggish progress of the court-mandated environmental review of the city bike plan.

The city revealed recently that the review would not be complete until 2009, with expected implementation of the bike plan on hold until 2010.

Roughly 100 people showed up as San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum spoke encouraging city leaders to put a larger priority on the bike plan. The SFBC continues to encourage cyclists to contact Mayor Gavin Newsom and the city supervisors to urge them to speed up implementation of the bike plan.

Read more:


Friday, December 07, 2007
  San Francisco bike plan on hold two more years
By Yokota Fritz 
From Left in SF...

Last year, blogger Rob Anderson and his "Coalition for Adequate Review" put a stop to San Francisco's bike plan when he filed suit against the city, arguing that any transportation changes must undergo an Environmental Impact Review. Judge James Warren agreed and completely stopped all new bike projects in the city with an injunction prohibiting any new bicycle facilities of any kind in San Francisco.

Now we have the news that the city does not expect to complete the required environmental review until spring 2009, with re-adoption of the bike plan in the summer of 2009. The city cannot even install bike racks for parking or racks on buses until this environmental review is completed. The San Francisco Bike Coalition urges action and asks San Francisco cyclists to call the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to encourage them to make this a higher priority.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
  San Francisco zombie alert!
By Yokota Fritz 
The Eerie Early Warning System has detected a sudden upsurge in potential zombie activity, according to San Francisco Zombie Mob:
With Professor Grenzfineski’s assistance, a zombie homing beacon has been hastily assembled and installed at the Main Library’s north-western corner on Larkin Street, by Fulton.

This device will be switched on TOMORROW night, Thursday the 11th, at PRECISELY 7:30pm. Once activated, the undead hordes will be unable to resist its pull, and will gather immediately at its base, where we will attempt to neutralize them before they can once again terrorize our fair city.

NOTE: Great care must be taken with this operation, as a San Francisco Mayoral debate will be taking place in the Main Library. If we are unable to contain the zombies, it is highly likely that they will turn their attention to the hundreds of citizens exiting the debate at 7:45, whom, though disenfranchised, are not disembrained, and may thus prove irresistible to the shambling cerebrophiles. (Thankfully, zombies DO NOT attack or otherwise harass innocent bystanders. Their moans and sheer numbers are more than horrifying enough.)
Go here for the gory details.

Contest: Thank you to those who have entered the StreetView contest! Don't forget to enter if you haven't yet.


Friday, September 21, 2007
  San Francisco bicycle film festival continues...
By Yokota Fritz 
The San Francisco Bicycle Film Festival started on Wednesday, but continues tonight and through the weekend. See the schedule of films and fun at


Wednesday, September 19, 2007
  San Francisco considers congestion pricing
By Yokota Fritz 
With average traffic speeds of 10 mph or less on 60% of downtown San Francisco streets, transportation officials are considering congestion pricing to discourage driving and encourage other modes of transportation.

Elsewhere on San Francisco congestion pricing:


Monday, September 03, 2007
  San Francisco limousine
By Yokota Fritz 

Limo stuck on Potrero Hill, San Francisco, CA at 18th & Connecticut. May 2006.


Monday, August 20, 2007
  San Francisco cyclist photos
By Yokota Fritz 

This is Emily at Dolores Park in San Francisco.

The photographer, Pamela "Bici Girl" Palma, is a Bay Area photostylist. She took this portrait as part of a series of photos of San Francisco cyclists for an exhibit at Refried Cycles.

See Pamela's complete set of San Francisco cyclist photos here. Her photo is copyright 2007 and is posted here with her kind permission.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007
  Bay Area Regional Rail plans
By Yokota Fritz 
The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission, BART, Caltrain, and the California High Speed Rail Authority are unveiling a new blueprint for expanding the system of passenger and freight rail in the San Francisco Bay Area. A series of public meetings in the area will show the proposals to move people and freight through the region in the next 50 years and describe how the regional rail network works in conjuction with the proposed California high-speed rail, along with proposed alternatives for how high speed rail will come into the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area Regional Rail website includes interactive maps that describe the regional rail network. See the website for a schedule of open houses and presentations that begin today in Oakland, San Jose, Suisun City, Livermore and San Carlos.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007
  SFPD bicycle training video
By Yokota Fritz 

San Francisco cops tell cyclists to "take the lane" for safety.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Police Department worked to create this outstanding police training video on the rights and responsibilities of cyclists in San Francisco. Cyclists are instructed to ride "about four feet away from parked cars when you're riding your bicycle," to report instances of driver intimidation, and report injury accidents. This video is used at the San Francisco Police Academy and at district stations around the city.

The men and women in uniform tell cyclists and motorists in this video that cyclists should take the full lane, and motorists can be cited for dooring and driving dangerously around cyclists. This video has useful information for everyone on the road, not just police officers and San Francisco cyclists — take a look and share the link! More information at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition website. Via SF Cyclotouring. Direct link to video on YouTube. Please click the Digg and CycleCluster buttons below if you believe this story is worth sharing.

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Friday, August 10, 2007
  Bay Area bicycle news
By Yokota Fritz 
Traffic demand management is a big deal at major events in San Francisco, where parking is at a premium. When locals go watch the San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park, many of them take Caltrain and SF Muni right to the stadium. Bike Valet Parking provided by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is also heavily used. See the Streetsblog video of how it works.

Forbes Magazine reports on the how unhealthy our long commutes are. "It's a lifestyle choice," says David Rizzo, author of Survive the Drive! How to Beat Freeway Traffic in Southern California. "We put our health second. To have a big house, we're willing to put up with smog and a big drive. We sacrifice our longevity for short-term gains."

Warm Planet Bicycles has opened a new bike parking service at the 4th & King Caltrain station in San Francisco. The 1600 square foot facility is provided free to use and has room for up to 100 bicycles. See photos of the new facility in Jym Dyer's Flickr pool.

Longtime bicycling advocacy Alex Zuckermann died in his Berkeley home on Sunday. He was 86 years old. He founded the East Bay Bicycle Coalition 35 years ago to make the Bay Area more bicycle friendly and continued his advocacy until his death. For insights into his life and spirit, see these old letters from the San Francisco Chronicle:
Caltrain has begun a series of bicycle workshops as a part of the Bicycle Master Plan process. Each bicycle workshop is a one-hour tour at a Caltrain station with staff to discuss bicycle parking, bicycle access to and within the station area, and way-finding. To register, contact Celia Chung at (650) 508-6388 or chungc (at) The schedule for remaining workshops are.

Station Date / Time Register By
San Jose Diridon Tues 8/14 6 PM 8/9 Thu
Redwood City Wed 8/22 6 PM 8/17 Fri
Palo Alto Wed 8/29 6 PM 8/24 Fri
San Francisco Thur 9/6 6 PM 8/31 Fri
Hillsdale Tues 9/18 5:30 PM 9/13 Thu
Mountain View Thur 9/20 5:30 PM 9/17 Mon
San Mateo Tues 9/25 5:30 PM 9/20 Thu
Sunnyvale Thur 9/27 5:30 PM 9/24 Mon

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Thursday, May 24, 2007
  Big HUGE MONSTROUS bicycle weekend in San Francisco
By Yokota Fritz 

Just in case you're looking for something to do, there will be lots of fun stuff in San Francisco this Memorial Day weekend: SFist recommends, "Wear a helmet." A camera might be kind of cool, too. I'll be camping in the Sierra mountains with my family so I get to miss all of this action.

More: Read Paul Dorn's comments on Forester's presentation at Google. And don't forget -- Should Real Men wear manpris?


Friday, May 18, 2007
  San Francisco: More bicycles than cars on Bike To Work Day
By Yokota Fritz 

0085 Kate and tribe
Originally uploaded by sfbike.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reported that traffic counts showed more bicycles than cars on Bike To Work Day yesterday. Bicyclists made up 54% of the traffic on eastbound Market Street at Van Ness, compared to 42% for personal automobiles. The 647 cyclists counted at this location represents at 27% increase over last year. This is also double the normal number of cyclists at this location. Read more at the San Francisco Bike Coaltion.

Even Mayor Gavin Newson borrowed a bike from the local rental outfit and rode his bike for a photo op. "You should see the potholes in this town," the mayor said.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007
  San Francisco: The minivan vs critical mass
By Yokota Fritz 
"Critical Mass San Francisco" by Aaron P.

Jerry has already commented on this, but the San Francisco Critical Mass made the news this morning. According to the Chronicle a family from the Peninsula spent the day in The City. They encountered the tail end of Critical Mass. They apparently tried to drive through it. The hooligans on bikes proceeded do $5,300 worth of damage to the minivan. By Wednesday morning, the San Francisco Critical Mass gets some bad press, blog mentions, and rants on Craigslit.

According to several witnesses at the scene, however, the minivan driver "revved and swerved into the bicyclists, and tried to flee after hitting one. Bicyclists surrounded the vehicle while calling 911 to prevent a hit-and-run. One [hooligan] bicyclist smashed the rear window." And unlike the description given in the Chronicle editorial, by 9 p.m. the "Critical Mass" dwindles down to only a couple dozen riders -- hardly enough to create huge traffic jams, and certainly much less of an obstruction than that created by the regular automotive traffic.

It's horrible that this cyclist smashed the van's window with children inside. It's also horrible that this Mother committed assault and attempted hit-and-run with her own children in the van. From tonight's update of the story, the driver "recklessly accelerated into a crowd and hit the bicyclist so hard the bike was lodged under her vehicle." When somebody tries to kill you, then tries flees the scene, it's understandable why the cyclists got a little hot.

In the meantime, Bay Area motorists killed and maimed a half dozen or so people in the Bay Area and inflicted close to a million dollars in property damage. Motorists exchanged words with each other, people flipped the finger and called one another names, sometimes even in the presence of children. There were incidents of road rage, two of which resulted in deaths. Some of these incidents even made the news.

Regarding the actions of the one cyclist who broke the window: I know motorists can sometimes get you mad, but take it easy. You're on the bike to have fun; there's no need to get militant, negative, violent and angry. It's probably a good thing that some of us with rage issues aren't driving a car, because that only gives us the tool to inflict even more damage. Remember that the only behavior you can control is your own. Attempting to change somebody else's actions will only result in frustration.


Friday, March 02, 2007
  San Francisco Police to enforce cyclist sidewalk prohibition
By Yokota Fritz 
Thank you to Sasha for pointing this out.

After a protest organized by the Senior Action Network, San Francisco authorities announced they would step up enforcement of The City's ban on sidewalk cycling, which carries a $138 fine. Only children 12 years old and younger can legally ride their bikes on the sidewalk in San Francisco.

The Senior Action Network protested the presence of cyclists on sidewalks. "For years, pedestrians have been squeezed, shoved, intimidated and injured by bicyclists and motorists. The sidewalk is designated as a walkway, not a parking lot for cars or a bike lane for cyclists," said David Grant, executive director of Senior Action Network, which organized the event.

"Pedestrians in San Francisco have been killed and injured by bicyclists," said Michael Radetsky, injury-prevention coordinator for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Since 2000, he said, there have been three reported deaths and more than 20 people injured badly enough to need hospitalization.

I've occasionally been guilty of this crime, but I totally understand the walkers' viewpoint. I've also been nearly plowed into by rude cyclists on busy sidewalks.

From the Chronicle.

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Friday, February 16, 2007
  San Francisco to require bike rentals at bus shelters
By Yokota Fritz 
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is taking bids to build 1,500 bus shelters. A unique requirement for the bids: Up to 20 of the shelters must have facilities for a new bicycle-sharing program the city is considering. From the Chronicle:

The bicycles would be part of San Francisco's effort to become the first major U.S. city with a government-backed bike-sharing program, something that has caught on in Europe.

For years, San Francisco has had a transit-first policy intended to discourage commuters from driving to work. That's resulted in fewer parking garages, higher parking fees and fines, and new bicycle lanes on scores of streets.

Now comes the next step -- making bikes plentiful and accessible, and available on the same up-front fee model as the city's car-sharing program.

San Francisco resident Jim Greer compares this idea with ZipCar and brings up some good points:

Most people use the bus to commute. So all the bikes would be needed at the same time and place. And if you live close enough to a bus stop for this to be convenient, you’re less likely to need a bike anyway.

Cars are expensive and take up a lot of space. Bikes are cheap and don’t take up a lot of space. So having an elaborate system to rent them and track who’s using one seems pointless.

But then he read about a similar bike rental system in Lyons, in which he learned that 22,000 bike rentals occur daily. "I think something like this could work in SF," Jim concludes.

Jim, by the way, is a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and a member of ZipCar. He also owns Kongregate, an online gaming portal with Web 2.0 community features. Think of it as a Flickr or YouTube for video games.

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