or On the Perils of Living in California: item #23
So I was reading Derek Powazek’s Ten Tips on How To Be A Driver in San Francisco, and while I agree with what he says for the most part*, there was something to which I simply had to take exception:
- Bikes are our friends.
I love how San Francisco has gotten so bike-friendly over the last few years. There are a lot more bikes on the road now than there used to be, and I think it’s rad. So be a good driver. Really look around for bikes. Note where the bike lanes are (they’re not always where you think they are). Stop when a bike is approaching. Smile and wave to let them know that you’ve seen them. You’ll often get a smile in return. That kind of brief moment of pleasantness can fill my sails all day.
OK, not to put too fine a point on it, but are you fucking kidding me?! Bicyclists in San Francisco are a scourge upon the face of the earth. The vast majority of them are rude, share the amusing misconception that they are indestructible, and in general display a troubling lack of regard for the safety of those they share the road with, to say nothing of their own. They can’t just be people who need to ride a bike to get from point A to point B because it’s convenient and inexpensive, like in most other cities. Oh, no. Not here in San Francisco. Because you can’t do anything here without turning it into a political statement.
And nowhere, nowhere, are bikers worse than in the neighborhood I used to live and still visit often: the Mission. These fedora-wearing hipsters on their idiotic single-gear bikes put the rest of the SF bike maniacs to shame. Let me tell you a little story. Now imagine the scene, if you will:
I parked my car for the day just past the corner of Valencia and a mid-block side street, and I’m just getting ready to leave so I can head home. An enterprising driver has noticed I’m leaving and is waiting behind me so he can pull in as soon as I leave. I put my car into reverse and start backing up, looking in the rear view mirror to make sure I don’t accidentally hit the guy behind me, and that’s when a biker decides it’s a great time to squeeze between my still-reversing car and the car parked just a few feet behind.
Seriously?! I mean, think about it for a second. Who’s going to win that contest? The…foolhardy…biker, or the two two-ton steel vehicles she’s sandwiched between, where the gap is narrowing? She’s—grrr…flames…heaving!
And don’t even get me started on the SF coalition of bicycle lunatics who shut down Market Street at regular intervals so that they can, with a fricking police escort, alienate and enrage beyond reason the drivers of San Francisco. Jesus.
Well, one thing is quite clear. Derek Powazek is a much nicer person than I am. Also: rad?
* “1. Chill.” I agree†. The bare fact is that traffic on the streets of San Francisco just does not move quickly. The sooner you cultivate a zen attitude, the better it’ll be for everyone.
† OK, I agree when bicyclists aren’t involved. When bicyclists are involved, I get angry, and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Other times I’m pretty mellow. Really.