California Autos Examiner

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bikes = Pollution?

The above video is tangentially related to this post because it features San Francisco's chapter of Critical Mass, a monthly gathering of bikers who ride through the City in the name of raising awareness for their cause.

So how could bicycles cause more pollution? One political gadfly in San Francisco reasons that additional bike lanes would cut down on the amount of space for cars. Less space would mean more congestion and traffic jams. Those traffic jams, with hundreds of idling cars, would equal more pollution.

So who is this arch enemy of bicycles? None of other than Rob Anderson, a sometimes candidate and blogger who loves nothing more than to stir up a fuss. Mr. Anderson and his partner in crime attorney Mary Miles successfully sued for an environmental impact study of the proposed plan which would give San Francisco more bike lanes and better parking. That plan was first unveiled in 2004 and only now in the fall of 2008 is the first draft of the environmental review set to be unveiled.

I love cars, but I also enjoy riding bikes. A bike lane doesn't have magical powers, but it can make you feel a bit safer when navigating city streets. On the other hand, some fellow bicyclists can be aggressive and that can turn motorists sour on the whole idea of improving conditions for their two-wheeled counterparts.

The whole Rob Anderson debacle seems to be a waste of funds. I don't know how much has been spent on court battles and environmental studies, but I'm sure it has been significant. Couldn't some middle ground have been found? Perhaps converting a few streets where bike traffic could be most improved and then monitoring how it impacts traffic? In the end I suppose its more about egos and principles than really helping either motorists or bicyclists.

You can read the full WSJ story on Rob Anderson by clicking here.

Mr. Anderson's blog
San Francisco's bike plan
San Francisco Bike Coalition

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