Exploring Cycling in SF

I have a hankering to start exploring San Francisco by bike. To wit, I’m starting with some Internet research and a tourist bicycle tour.

Here’s what I’ve found:

Curbed SF: Biking in San Francisco: A beginner’s guide – this guide is mostly cheerleading and safety information, but led me to two pieces of interesting and valuable information:

The SF Vision Zero High Injury Network – i.e. places to be careful or avoid

and The SF bike network map – i.e. places other riders have decided are less risky with a lower chance of dying

The beginner’s guide above contains a sentence that I fundamentally disagree with: “If there’s one fundamental rule to operating a bicycle, it’s this: You can do whatever you want, as long as nobody else is inconvenienced.”

This is incredibly wrong. Drivers don’t rule the road. Inconvenience the hell out of drivers by just going about your business. Being meek and subservient to drivers just emboldens them. Get in the way when you need to. Take your turn when it’s your turn. Make drivers take their turn when it’s their turn. Don’t wave thank you to drivers doing what’s required of them by law.

Here’s a supporting quote from John Lewis: “When you see something that is not fair, not right, not just, you must have the courage to stand up, to speak up and find a way to get in the way.”

It’s also wrong with this one: “If you’re going right, still using your LEFT arm (because people on your left, where they are supposed to travel, don’t have a good view of your right) angle it into a 90-degree, L-shape symbol of determined movement.”

This signal was invented when drivers needed to declare a right turn from the left seat of a car or truck with no indicators. It makes exactly zero sense on a bicycle, which is symmetrical and you can just as easily extend your right arm and point right to indicate a right turn. The L-shape arm thing is just dumb for cyclists.