Freewheeling Two-Wheeling in San Francisco (Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move)


Good Morning:

Has the rest of America’s major cities committed so strongly to two-wheeled transportation as San Francisco? Personally, I don’t know; over the past few years, acting and writing projects have kept me tethered to the Bay Area, so I have not had the chance to see for myself.

But San Francisco has invested heavily in making over itself into a green city, and two-wheeling has become a part of that. I look forward to seeing how/if this will continue and perhaps grow in both San Francisco in particular and America as a whole. Ten, twenty years from now, how might our cities appear? What might the car/bicycle ratio become?

I have my own very crazy idea for how we might make human-powered transportation more palatable & popular: the tricycle. An grown-up adult version, of course. The greater width of the tricycle vs. the bicycle will make it possible to add at least a little bit of storage, something the bicycle sorely lacks:

DSCN2843 DSCN2852

I did say it was a crazy idea, didn’t I?

Those green squares (middle, right edge of picture) plus green stripes indicating bicycle-only lanes, appear everywhere in the city, and I hope they have proven helpful in making commuting safer. However, you don’t necessarily have to ride a bicycle to take advantage of them.


While bicyclists enjoy (and deserve) new-found influence in setting City policy, I think some of them might be pushing things a bit far in terms of their road etiquette. While car-slapping has not yet become a favorite pasttime, I saw another example on Friday at the intersection of Grove and Polk. Only two bicyclists this time, navigating their green lane, which might explain why the driver of the white car didn’t see them before he attempted to turn right from Grove onto Polk, nearly hitting the first rider. He shouted, “Not cool, man!” and continued on his way, but the second biker added, “Yeah, man, totally not cool!” and slapped the car.

I still don’t approve of this; a driver doesn’t need a gun to act out road rage on a biker.

One more, then it’s off to the Civic Center Farmers Market for yours truly.


Vonn Scott Bair


One response »

  1. “I still don’t approve of [car slapping]; a driver doesn’t need a gun to act out road rage on a biker.”

    And if bicyclists and pedestrians don’t speak out, nothing will change for the better in terms of drivers. I’ve been car-slapping (and never thought of the term), mostly as a pedestrian, for a couple of decades at least. So far, i have refrained from key scratching, but it has come close.

    The last 3 times i have almost been killed (over the past year), on my bicycle, riding on wide suburban side streets (25 MPH with stop signs) very close to my home in east Pasadena, California, i have used loud yelling instead. There’s a particular 4-way stop (Mountain at Martello) which for some reason a lot of people like to blow through going westbound on Mountain. I’m usually northbound on Martello, going uphill on the alluvial fan. I’ve done my stop, and am starting up again, and can only move so fast. Several people *have not even slowed down*. The last time this happened, it was a “soccer mom” in some sort of SUV-ish vehicle, looking at her technology device instead of the road. She came scary-close to hitting me, and i yelled at a volume nearly able to raise roofs on nearby homes. I kept going. She stopped suddenly on the *other* side of the intersection and sat there for the better part of a minute. I hope she was taking stock of her life and her priorities.


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