August 20, 2008, - 10:33 am

Amusing: SanFran Activist Fights PC, Anti-Car Cyclists; Do Bike Lanes Cause Pollution?

By Debbie Schlussel
While San Francisco activist Rob Anderson was once a draft dodger, I find his opposition to San Francisco’s anti-car, pro-cyclist plans, very amusing. I think you will, too. (And, as for the draft-dodging, at least he served prison time for it–13 months, whereas draft dodging chickenhawk Ted Nugent made millions rocking and never served a day.)
While I like riding my bike when I can and am for doing anything that bankrupts our oil-rich Muslim “friends” around the world, Anderson has some good points and his successful legal challenges to the City of Open Closets by the Bay is fun to watch:

New York is wooing cyclists with chartreuse bike lanes. Chicago is spending nearly $1 million for double-decker bicycle parking.
San Francisco can’t even install new bike racks.
Blame Rob Anderson. At a time when most other cities are encouraging biking as green transport, the 65-year-old local gadfly has stymied cycling-support efforts here by arguing that urban bicycle boosting could actually be bad for the environment. That’s put the brakes on everything from new bike lanes to bike racks while the city works on an environmental-impact report.
Cyclists say the irony is killing them — literally. At least four bikers have died and hundreds more have been injured in San Francisco since mid-2006, when Mr. Anderson helped convince a judge to halt implementation of a massive pro-bike plan.(It’s unclear whether the plan’s execution could have prevented the accidents.) In the past year, bike advocates have demonstrated outside City Hall, pushed the city to challenge the plan’s freeze in court and proposed putting the whole mess to local voters. Nothing worked.
“We’re the ones keeping emissions from the air!” shouted Leah Shahum, executive director of the 10,000-strong San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, at a July 21 protest.
Mr. Anderson disagrees. Cars always will vastly outnumber bikes, he] reasons, so allotting more street space to cyclists could cause more traffic jams, more idling and more pollution. Mr. Anderson says the city has been blinded by political correctness. It’s an “attempt by the anti-car fanatics to screw up our traffic on behalf of the bicycle fantasy,” he wrote in his blog this month.
Mr. Anderson’s fight underscores the tensions that can circulate as urban cycling, bolstered by environmental awareness and high gasoline prices, takes off across the U.S. New York City, where the number of commuter cyclists is estimated to have jumped 77% between 2000 and 2007, is adding new bike lanes despite some motorist backlash. Chicago recently elected to kick cars off stretches of big roads on two Sundays this year.
Famously progressive, San Francisco is known for being one of the most pro-bike cities in the U.S., offering more than 200 miles of lanes and requiring that big garages offer bike parking. It is also known for characters like Mr. Anderson.
A tall, serious man with a grizzled gray beard, Mr. Anderson spent 13 months in a California federal prison for resisting the draft during the Vietnam War. . . .
In 1995, Mr. Anderson moved to San Francisco. Working odd jobs, he twice ran for a seat on the city’s Board of Supervisors, pledging to tackle homelessness and the city’s “tacit PC ideology.” . . .
That year Mr. Anderson, who mostly lives off a small government stipend he receives for caring for his 92-year-old mother, also started a blog, digging into local politics with gusto. One of his first targets: the city’s most ambitious bike plan to date.
Unveiled in 2004, the 527-page document was filled with maps, traffic analyses and a list of roughly 240 locations where the city hoped to make cycling easier. The plan called for more bike lanes, better bike parking and a boost in cycling to 10% of the city’s total trips by 2010.
The plan irked Mr. Anderson. Having not owned a car in 20 years, he says he has had several near misses with bikers roaring through crosswalks and red lights, and sees bicycles as dangerous and impractical for car-centric American cities. Mr. Anderson was also bugged by what he describes as the holier-than-thou attitude typified by Critical Mass, a monthly gathering of bikers who coast through the city, snarling traffic for hours. “The behavior of the bike people on city streets is always annoying,” he says. “This ‘Get out of my way, I’m not burning fossil fuels.’ “
In February 2005, Mr. Anderson showed up at a planning commission meeting. If San Francisco was going to take away parking spaces and car lanes, he argued, it had better do an environmental-impact review first. When the Board of Supervisors voted to skip the review, Mr. Anderson sued in state court, enlisting his friend Mary Miles, a former postal worker, cartoonist and Anderson Valley Advertiser colleague.
Ms. Miles, who was admitted to the California bar in 2004 at age 57, proved a pugnacious litigator. . . . She . . . convinced the court to review key planning documents over the city’s objections.
In November 2006, a California Superior Court judge rejected San Francisco’s contention that it didn’t need an environmental review and ordered San Francisco to stop all bike-plan activity until it completed the review. . . .
Meanwhile, Mr. Anderson . . . continues to blog from his apartment in an old Victorian home. “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.
“In case anyone doubted that you were a wingnut, this statement pretty much sums things up!” one commenter retorted.

I can’t speak for the wackjobs in cross-dressing Frisco, but my politics is all about bankrupting the Islamic fanatics and their oil-rich Gulf nation (and other Islamic nation) benefactors. While bicycling is a minor way to do that, a far more impactful way to do it is to start drilling offshore, in Alaska, and all over America.
Anderson is right about one thing: the politics of the San Francisco cyclists is PC and anti-auto. They’re green extremists, not lovers of liberty and freedom. It’s not the same politics as yours or mine.
***
I’ve looked at Rob Anderson’s blog, and even though he’s a liberal Democrat, he is to be lauded for decrying the PC far-left fringe that’s taken over his own party and for constantly fighting the PC-crowd.
Based on a cursory read, he sounds like he’s a relative voice of reason and moderation in what is so far off the deep end in San Francisco.

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8 Responses

She has a METAPHOR mounted to the back of her bike? Only in SF! (and keep it there, please)

dm60462 on August 20, 2008 at 11:44 am

If these anti-car psycolists really cared about the conservation of the environment, then they would stop polluting it with their global warming crap that Gore put out on the table for them.To come to think of it, the escalating gas prices may be an environmentalist conspiracy.

American Sabrah on August 20, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Debbie asks: Do Bike Lanes Cause Pollution?
Yes they do, they pollute the streets with scrawny elitists in clown outfits. This paragraph sums it up nicely:
“The plan irked Mr. Anderson. Having not owned a car in 20 years, he says he has had several near misses with bikers roaring through crosswalks and red lights, and sees bicycles as dangerous and impractical for car-centric American cities. Mr. Anderson was also bugged by what he describes as the holier-than-thou attitude typified by Critical Mass, a monthly gathering of bikers who coast through the city, snarling traffic for hours. ‘The behavior of the bike people on city streets is always annoying,’ he says. ‘This ‘Get out of my way, I’m not burning fossil fuels.'”
It’s a treat to pull up behind a bicyclist who has drifted out of the bike lane and watch them jump when treated to a hearty blast of my car horn…even when the rest of the lanes are open and there’s room to easily drive around them.
Streets are the domain of the automobile. Bike in them at your peril.

GymRatAZ on August 20, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    You are the exact kind of asshole that makes America the laughing stock of the world.

    Duck on July 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Anderson. Bike riding can be fun for recreation & health, but many of these people, like the post said, view it as some kind of PC quest — that they are beter because they ride bikes. They dart in front of cars, and almost run over pedestrians. Many of them do not wear helmuts, and I think some municipalities make the demarcation of bike lanes as confusing as possible so they can give traffic tickets and raise more revenue for the illegal aliens and other misfit victims.

c f on August 20, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Everyone must obey the traffic law equally. If you have a problem with bikes not obeying the traffic law, you should act on that legally rather than breaking the law yourselves.

    Duck on July 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm

HEHE while I like biking, I hate anyone who is holier than thou

mindy1 on August 20, 2008 at 9:37 pm

The ‘environmentalist’ movement was at its inception populist, healthy and even bi-partisan. For a brief while it was one of the most exciting and fresh movements in American history and could have taken us out of oil dependence and to better lives all around, combining American know-how with our traditional idealism. It was quickly taken over by neo-Marxists, feminists and radicals who destroyed the popular base, alienated and confused most Americans and used ‘green’ as a bludgeon again ‘evil big industry’ and ironically against working class America.

poetcomic1 on August 21, 2008 at 10:00 am

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