KQED’s Forum today featured a discussion of bike safety, and included the Bike Coalition’s Leah Shahum, along with anti-cyclist suer Rob Anderson and some guy from the AAA. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but you can here the episode on KQED’s site.
Fritz from Cyclicious live-blogged some of it, including this exchange:
Host Michael Krasny asked if road conditions are a factor in safety. MTA planner Co responded that “90% of collisions are due to human factors. If you throw money into improving roads and other engineering, you can only get so much in return. The most important thing is changing behavior.”This last bit agrees very closely with what I wrote yesterday in the update to my post.
Rob Anderson joined the show for a short time. Anderson cites the figure from the 2000 Census showing that only 2% of commutes in SF are by cyclists and he said, “I don’t see any increased number of bicycles in The City.” Anderson doesn’t believe that money and space should be given to a mode of transportation that’s used by only a tiny minority of the population.
Shahum, though, retorts that “According to Anderson we shouldn’t have sidewalks, we shouldn’t have transit. That’s a very archaic way of thinking.” Because of issues with climate change, air pollution, and much higher energy prices, “We have to think about other ways to get around.” Shahum also cites figures from a November 2007 study and traffic count showing that “16% of San Francisco adults — that’s 120,000 people — bicycle in The City for transportation at least once a week.” She also makes the comparison that “if you look at one person in a car versus one person on a bike versus 30 people on a bus, motorists take a disproportionate amount of space.”
Host Krasny then spoke with Nick Carr of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, asking him about the progress of the city bicycle plan. Carr said, “we’re completing the environmental analysis” and that “I’ve seen very noticeable growth in cycling in San Francisco.” He then plugged MTA’s work with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in Bike Ed to “teach folks what they need to know so they’re not operating a bike in ignorance. Bike Ed is like a driver training class for cyclists. Also Bike To Work Day is coming up so we’re starting to promote that.” When asked about Critical Mass, “Critical Mass is still out there. We don’t hear too many complaints like used we used to. One thing San Francisco has going for them is the exposure of cyclists on the streets, which makes it safer for them.”
UPDATE: Fritz also has a complete summary of the show.