Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New San Diego Reader Article Does SD Bike Movement Justice

Today, the San Diego Reader published a front-page story that does the San Diego bike movement justice.

It seems that the weekly publication that once employed a man--Josh Board--who admitted to assaulting a cyclist by hitting him/her w/ a rock, then premeditated vehicular assault against cyclists and lying in court to cover it up, has come along way.

San Diego Reader writer Bill Manson has provided an accurate representation of San Diego's progressive bike world. Mr. Manson rode Halloween Critical Mass, interviewed SANDAG Bike Planner Chris Kluth, bike shops owners from Coronado to La Mesa to South Park, SD Bike Polo, and lawyers who represent cyclists in crashes. Mr. Manson even addressed the issue of violence committed against cyclists by some motorists, intentional attacks on cyclists, distracted drivers who kill cyclists, road rage, and seems to truly sympathize w/ the bike life struggle on roads dominated by motorists.

And it looks like Mr. Hanson found his way over to Bic Control at some point. Note the 9th paragraph down in the first section that reads:

Back in 2006, SANDAG (the San Diego Association of Governments) estimated that only .03 percent (point three of one percent) of San Diego county commuters were bike commuters. Compare that to Copenhagen, where nearly 40 percent bike to work. Then again, in ’06, Critical Mass attracted only about 35 riders… So something’s happening, folks.

Compare that to the Bic Control mission statement excerpt which reads:

According to SANDAG’s 2006 Transportation Model data, only .3 (point three)% of commuters in SD were bike commuters. Something is seriously wrong here. One of the purposes of this blog is to find out why. While it’s true that ridership in SD was pathetic in 2006, this bike community has transformed into one of the most progressive communities in USA. For ex., Critical Mass has grown from 35 people in October ‘05 to 1,300 people in July ‘09.

Mr. Hanson didn't site where it is that he got those numbers. I'm assuming it's from the Bic Control mission statement. I'm actually honored that he chose to focus his article's thesis around the mission statement of this blog. Mr. Hanson didn't just regurgitate info. To find out why the SD bike world is the way it is, Mr. Hanson dug deep--he rode rides for himself, tried things that weren't normal for him such as playing bike polo, raced down the strand on a high-end road bike, ventured across dangerous sections of SD w/ respected bike planners, interviewed many, and probably (based on the above comparison) read this blog.

Cheers to Mr. Hanson for great journalism. And check this cover!:

So good. Nice ode to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington who originally came up w/ the "Carlane" image. It'd be perfect if it said 'These roads are our roads, too.'

The original article is available here: here


  1. Manson's piece is misinformed and inadequately researched. There are a number of factual errors and misconceptions that will unfortunately be parroted by uninformed readers. It's too bad; this could have been an opportunity for an excellent article. It does go to show how arcane cycling still is in the eyes of the average person.

  2. Thanks for the comment, eggman. I think one of the appeals of the article is that it's written by someone who doesn't know that much about cycling. I read articles by experts all the time. It's nice to read one by a beginner or "outsider" (if you will) who has the propensity to learn what SD bike life is about. I was impressed w/ the amount of people he spoke with and w/ the facets of bike life that he covered.

    What are some of the factual errors and misconceptions that you're referring to?

  3. I'm laid up for a couple of weeks recovering from surgery, so I'll probably have a great deal of time on my hands to putter about the house as long as I don't lift anything heavier than 4kg. I've had similar inquiries from others who have read the article and will undoubtably go back through it and identify the misconceptions, many of which could easily have been avoided with proper research and by contacting the right people. In doing so, I realize I will probably set myself up for more of the ad hominem on-line attacks that my previous assertions brought on.
    Everett's post following the piece on bikesd comes close to summarizing the problem, but I plan on going into more detail.

  4. Don't worry. I don't think you're going to be 'under attack.' It's just a conversation. Wanted to learn more about what you think about the article. That's all.

    I did see Everett's comment on BikeSD. I was a bit surprised by it to be honest. Everett is a great guy and I respect his opinion. But his comment about the 'misconceptions' lacks specifics.

    Hope you recover quickly and healthily from your surgery so you can be on two wheels again!