Mission Cyclists Rude to Mission Motorists?


This Craigslist post asks why cyclists have to be so rude to drivers (click thumbnail to make larger):

I’m Sick of Non-Law-Abiding, Self Obsessed Bicyclists in the Mission! (mission district)

1. I’m stopped at a 4-way stop at Hampshire and 22nd, 4 cars at each corner. It’s my turn. I start to accelerate, then have to slam on the brakes because a bicyclist jets through the intersection without stopping or even slowing down. To make it even better, he slaps his ass and air kisses me when I toot my horn at him!

2. I’m waiting to turning left onto S. Van Ness from 17th St, waiting for the west bound traffic to clear. My blinker is on. I look in my rear view mirror and see a group of 4 cyclists approaching. 2 cyclists stay to my right, 2 veer to my left and as they’re passing me one yells “hang up your phone.” For one thing I’m not using my phone (hands free or otherwise), and secondly I’m still not clear to make my left hand turn, so wasn’t lounging in the intersection inappropriately. What does this even mean? Why so hostile?

3. I’m sitting at a red light on Bryant, waiting to make a right hand turn onto 16th. My blinker is on. The traffic has cleared, but just as I begin to turn, a bicyclist passes me moving very fast on the right, running the red light. I almost hit him, but he doesn’t seem to care. I’m shaking. What if I did hit him? How would that affect his life? How about mine? How about my kids who are also in the car?

FYI– I am a resident of the Mission. I only drive when necessary. I walk to work and my children use muni to get to school. My autos run on biodiesel and hybrid energy. I respect bicyclists and am one myself. Why such anger, disrespect and dangerous behaviour out there?

Update (Friday morning): Debate is in high gear in the comments section, and it’s grown to include the ol’ bikes vs. pedestrians conundrum too. Meave says: “What, bicyclers, is your goddamn problem, that you are all over the sidewalks?”

Previously on Mission Mission:

Advice to Cyclists

Biking in the Mission Can Be Confusing

23 Responses to “Mission Cyclists Rude to Mission Motorists?”

  1. moderatecyclist says:

    As a daily commuter through the mission, I can totally understand and respect this guys situation. As a cycling commuter I can STILL understand his situation.

    I have had my fair share of moments biking to and from work where I approach intersections and pause on my bike to ensure its clear for me to proceed through only to have either a cyclist come flying through the intersection accross me or from behind me.

    No wonder drivers hate us so much as I am not that big a fan either!

    While I will not blame bicyclists who disobey the law as the only reason that I have to deal with drivers who hate me even when I’m doing legal things, I have to say that I don’t think they are helping the situation.

    I feel like drivers in the mission are some of the better ones to ride near because the streets are winder and most aren’t commuting far distances while on the city streets.

    So as one cyclist to a multitude: please guys, stop abusin ‘the love that is slowly fadin in this great neighborhood!

    Pausing at intersections (you dont even have to stop, just come to a PAUSE!) is not that much of a hassle, even when carting around heavy school books.

  2. meave says:

    As a constant pedestrian, I would sincerely appreciate it if cyclists would get the hell off the sidewalks. And you know, most of the time it’s not even nervous kids with elbow pads, it’s people who look like experience riders who go past me, half the whole time on the wrong side of the street.

    I don’t get it. The bike lanes are wide, and separate from street parking spots. Even in heavy traffic, there is room for cars, bikes, and walkers, but still, I’m dodging bikes sneaking up on me from behind, bikes wobbling slowly against the current — isn’t it difficult weaving in between shoppers with full bags, and adults with strollers full of babies, and couples holding hands, and the tables, and everyone and everything else that belongs on the sidewalk? What, bicyclers, is your goddamn problem, that you are all over the sidewalks?

    Maybe I’m spoiled; I went to school at Davis, the town with more bike lanes than streets, where cyclists (mostly) mind the rules because bicycles rule the town. However, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to obey one teensy little law in a neighborhood where there are decent bike lanes and nice flat streets to ride on. There’s just no reason to ride on the sidewalks in the Mission (especially on Valencia, where it is egregious), and I wish cyclists who pitch fits about cars not respecting their rights to the road would take pedestrians into consideration before hopping up on the sidewalk.

    What is the solution here, besides imagining what’d happen if I poked a big stick in their spokes?

  3. Josh says:

    Word to both comments above.

    Bikes are morally superior to cars because they don’t pullute/encourage sprawl/overburdern DPW budget/the list goes on and on.

    But bikes are *not* carte blanche to be dicks. Riding a bike does not mean nothing you do is wrong.

    As meave noted, many bicyclists (not to generalize) argue that they need special treatment and rules because they are at an inherent disadvantage to cars. But they seem to conveniently forget that what a car is to a bike, a bike is to a pedestrian.

    Bicyclists and pedestrians ought to be on the same side, but it’s hard to keep that mindset when they narrowly miss you in the crosswalk or on the sidewalk.

  4. Josh says:

    And btw, the law says the only bikes allowed on the street are those ridden by 13-year-olds or younger, and not in front of businesses (in other words, the training-wheels set).

    there is *no* exception int he law for trips halfway up the block or on streets where the traffic is one-way in an inconvenient direction :-/

  5. Loula says:

    I am a member of a bike organization, and even MY patience is wearing thin.
    I’ve almost been plowed down by another bicyclist at an intersection wearing what else? An I-pod. The bike equivalent to a cell phone. People! Turn off the ipod and pay attention to where you’re going.
    Call me old fashioned but I’m just not down with bikes blowing through stop signs.
    I’ve seen little old ladies hit, and bike on bike accidents when both have ignored the signs. That one was kinda funny.
    It’s complete bullshit if you ask me. And I don’t know where the smug attitude comes from. You’re riding a bike. Not single handedly saving small countries in Africa from the AIDS epidemic. Stop acting so self important.

  6. Chester says:

    I treat STOPs and red lights as YIELDS, but stop and/or wait my turn if that’s what the situation demands. Including when I’m going uphill and momentum is a precious resource. I’ll ride through the crosswalk when there’s pedestrians are walking through, but slowly and only when there’s enough space to do so.

    Perhaps we need hard and fast rules because that’s the nature of rules and laws, but actual situations are fluid and one need just observe common consideration and decency.

    As for the sidewalk thing…my personal rule of thumb is that you only ride on the sidewalk when you need to (i.e. road is completely jacked or you need to get to a spot mid-block on a one-way road) and, when you do, you ride no faster than a jogger might run. And give plenty of space to peds.

    So long as someone rides on sidewalks like that, I don’t see what the problem is. After all, if they walk their bikes, they’ll just take up 2X the space.

  7. Seven says:

    Forgive me father for I have sinned. I own a car in San Francisco.

  8. mark says:

    Nice, I’m going to adopt that ass slap and air kiss as my own bike to car salute.

  9. WhenTheMission WasScary says:

    I’ve been biking in SF for over 10 years. I’ve gone from angry critical masser in my 20′s to chill and don’t kill me in my 30′s. And I live in the Mission.

    I think it’s lame people blow lights and stop signs – when cars are around. When they’re not – I guess you can’t hear a tree that falls in the forest when no one’s around (like Chester says, it’s all about momentum). Bikers need to exert themselves to move, drivers, ‘exert’ their foot. With that said, I’m not for the behavior displayed by some of my fellow bikers. Some of the stuff I’ve seen is asking for hurt, unfortunately.

    I’m cordial to cars, but they’re no friends of mine. On my daily commute into work downtown, I constantly get cut off (one guy did that to me recently and when I said thanks a lot he yelled back at me I needed to learn how to ride – in the bike lane). I’ve been doored and hit before (after the person never replaced my bike – it was not ridable, he changed his phone number). Luckily no broken bones, but no happy outcomes in the end either. None were my fault and that’s the ‘acceptable’ collateral damage of riding in the city. Cops don’t care much, unless there’s blood.

    I do agree about the pedestrians though. Now in my older, wiser years, I always stop behind the white line. If there are no peds, I get out in front to get a little bit of a start over cars. Whatever gives 190lbs of advantage over 2000lbs, I’ll take it.

    Another unknown – unless you’re a cyclist – is how bad some of the the ‘bike lanes’ actually are. I often think ‘wow, that screwed up section of pavement to a car would be like driving through multiple pot holes, 10″ deep with no way around’. And then there’s dodging glass and various rocks that come from who knows where.

    Sometime chunks of mysterious metal need to be avoided. You ever wonder why you see people swerving around man holes and things (besides avoiding them when they’re wet)? It’s because it becomes second nature, avoiding various bike lane land mines that are a constant. Most road bikes don’t have shocks either, so every crappy road is amplified quite a bit by the time it hits your ass.

    Personally I’d like to see more bike traffic, the bike lanes fixed FIRST, and more/better public transportation. SF is more like an east coast city, but with the bad California ‘I have a right to drive’ attitude. I think people would drive less if the Muni didn’t suck so bad. If there were more bike lanes and less cars, then obviously, more people would ride.

    But of course, none of this is realistic. So I’ll just keep avoiding as much as possible and watch out for all the obstacles. Even with all the perils of riding in the city, it’s still awesome once you figure out your zone and routes.

  10. WagonMonster says:

    Bikes are Morally Superior?

    Oh get off it.

  11. mission lady says:

    As a pedestrian I’ve almost been hit by more cars than bikes. There are more cars on the road than bikes. Both car drivers and bike riders can be careless, arrogant, self-righteous, silly, and lame. Let’s stop blaming the vehicle it is the individuals that are to blame.

  12. jt says:

    I ride with the idea that everyone on the road is trying to kill me, that includes motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians. This perpetual level of terror allows me to ride safely and effectively with minimal confrontation. Why provoke someone with a loaded gun?

    Maybe with the experience of being run over or doored, these kids on bikes with no brakes and knee-destroying fixed gears will slow down and take stock of the world around them. Maybe after plowing over a cyclist when making a right turn without looking in the rear-view will teach motorists to pay better attention. Maybe after being spit at by an angry cyclist for stepping into the bike lane on Valencia to hail a cab will learn to look left before they run into the street or maybe after being run down by a car or bus wile jaywalking they’ll learn to look up now and then. Of course, this is SF, the land of entitlement so may I’ll win the lottery some day without playing – because I get to.

  13. [...] Mission Cyclists Rude to Mission Motorists? « Mission Mission. [...]

  14. James Sakkis says:

    It’s funny, the cyclists I see on the sidewalks most are Cops. The next most frequent would be either tourists on their rentals or homeless folks on beaters.

  15. Pussyhammer says:

    Listen dudes. There are PLENTY of asshole drivers. Should we lump them all together and say “EVERYONE WHO DRIVES CARS ARE ASSHOLES?” I’m sure I have made some annoying decisions when riding my bike, I ride everyday, to and from work, and all around town for fun. No one is perfect. Nor am I. However, I do know the consequences. I am careful for the most part, but I know full well that if I run that stop sign some dude with the full right away in a delivery truck could end my life. Trust me, I think about it everyday. Were all here in this little ol’ town together. Drivers, do be aware that the cyclists pay the ultimate price when a collision occurs, and they should be well aware what their decisions could cost them. And asshole cyclists, don’t fucking flip off an old lady, or a family when you pull some asshole shit. We all run signs and lights, but don’t be a dick. Don’t hold everyone accountable for the few assholes.

    ps- I ride a fixed gear. I love it. Don’t hate.
    pss- I also own a car, and drive it sometimes.

  16. 44yo hipster says:

    mission car driver here. honestly, most of the bikers have been okay. most are alert and are not obnoxious. like on narrower roads when they take the middle (when no cars are around that’s ok), but will move towards the right as i approach. and no, i don’t scare them towards the right.

    i do think, critical-mass bullshit aside, that bikers and cars can co-exist on the road. i try to be patient with them, and usually they sense that and are respectful. as a car driver, you really have to take the higher road (yes, bad pun intended), as it’s completely wrong to use the mass of the car to scare a biker.

    and no, i don’t buy this bike-superior-morality BS. cars pollute. so do all the products you buy. example: i don’t drink, so i don’t buy/contribute to all the bottles/cans/etc. that alchol concumption impacts. if you want to pull a morality play, then you need to look at it in absolute terms. (where’s that monk i met in myanmar? now that dude was low impact indeed.) cheers ya’all!

  17. Yell says:

    I bike all OVER the city, not just in the Mission.

    It’s downright terrifying biking on the street, but absolutely wrong and impossible to bike on the sidewalk.

    I could really go for some better bike lanes. I’m tired of constantly fearing for my life.

  18. Peter says:

    This is one of the more reasonable bikes v. cars discussions I’ve seen on SF blogs lately. My two cents is that by and large Mission Drivers are super courteous, even yielding right of way when they don’t have to. Keep waiting for that kind of attitude in the Sunset or Richmond, you ain’t gonna find it.

  19. Another Peter says:

    I’ve been biking to work for about a year and a half now. I ride through the Mission either down Valencia and Market street or Harrison to Division depending on my mood. Motorists can on occasion encroach on the bike lanes, but I find most cars to behave fairly predictably. Cyclists on the other hand seem to display a lot more character.

    Bike traffic through the mission tends to be pretty light when I ride. Downtown, especially on Market street where lights have long cycles and there is little chance to blow through them the bikes really bunch up. I get a real sense of lawlessness when riding in those groups that makes me feel more vulnerable than riding with the cars does… people pass on the right, jockey to get in front of slower riders, spill over onto other lanes, ride on sidewalks and fill the cross walk while waiting. There seems little curtesy extended to other cyclists let alone any one else.

    I tend to ride following Boise Idaho bike laws ( red lights = stop and cross only when traffic allows, stops signs = yield ). The more I ride the more I appreciate predictability and signaling of intentions in other commuters and try to ride in that style as well.

  20. JimBeam says:

    I ride every day from 26th and Dolores to Kearny and Pine. I find that cars are much more dangerous than other bikers, but I also tend to ride pretty fast and don’t get caught in big groups of bikers. I find Market to be far worse than the Mission, although the scariest moment I’ve had on a bike is when a car tried to pass me on the wrong side of the road as I turned left from 26th onto San Jose.

    The closest calls I’ve had involve people turning right across the bike lane and these people have tended to be clueless, middle aged women.

    I think if drivers paid better attention to their surroundings and used better judgment, things would be safer. Bikers definitely do some stupid shit, but as someone has pointed out, cars kill people, bikes really don’t. But, it also seems like California drivers are incapable of stopping fully at stop signs or using their signals, to things bikers out here tend to do, too. So maybe it’s less bikers or drivers and more Californians.

  21. MissionLatino says:

    Hey. I was raised here in the mission. We never had this problem before. Since the hipsters came to the mission (gentrification) they also brought their arrogant attitudes.Many ride bikes and feel superior to everyone else. I applaud the bikers that respect the neighborhood and other folks. They will ruin it for bikers that I now think they should be ticketed like dirvers for running stops and red-lights. They should also get a license to drive a bike and contribute to the economy.

  22. Mazzy says:

    I agree with this guy. I LOVE bikes and ride a bike and have a car but I slow at intersections when im on my bik. I had someone on a bike jet out of an ally off of 18th street near valencia coming out the wrong way. She, along with two other riders smashed into the rear panel of my car. I pulled over called 911 and as the ambulance approached they all got up and rode away. Big dent I had to fix and pay my $500 deductable. Yes some drivers are horrible but EVERYONE should respect the intersections.

  23. Mazzy says:

    Also please no talking on cell phones or TEXTING while you are on bikes? Maybe hands free like drivers. And I would suggest NO texting by pedestrians when crossing the streets. They are itchin to get mowed down.

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