Biking of Divisadero: Dick Move

I've always found biking along Divis to be quite nice, actually.  It's got a vibrant street life, only a semi-spoiled array of shops and businesses, folks hanging out at the Mojo Bicycle Cafe parklet, traffic moving at a seasoned commuter's pace—plus, it's one of the flatter ways to get to… Lower Pac Heights?

But, see, Divisadero doesn't have a bike lane. So the nay-saying rabblerousers at the SF Weekly aren't so down, writing that while intentionally running over a cyclist marginally inconveniencing Divisadero's traffic is illegal, that rider is committing the very worst of all bro crimes: a dick move.

“So if I'm driving down Divisadero,” [my dumbass friend] said, setting the scene from her previous afternoon, “And there's a bicyclist pedaling in front of me, and she's going really slowly along the entire length of the street, and there's a line of cars forming behind me, and there's traffic speeding by to our left, and the bicyclist has planted herself in the middle of the lane, and there's a perfectly good bike lane just a few blocks over — it still my fault if I accidentally run her over?”

I like to think of myself as a fair-minded person and, in any event, I am conflict-averse above all. So, after careful consideration, I responded to her question as dispassionately as possible, with one of my own:

“Do you mean, legally or morally?”

Damn.  I was thinking “You're a goddamn psychopath! Go surrender your license to the authorities! Seriously, I'm downgrading you to 'acquaintance' on Facebook” would have been a slam dunk.  Then again, not everyone spent their formative teenage years spitting at Hummers that carelessly edged them off New England's narrow roads.

But our fair-minded SF Weekly columnist gently explained—as to not upset his jumpy friend—that, no, you can't just (legally) drive over a person riding a bike.  But he did concede in the court of public opinion:

Obviously, I don't know the cyclist who was slowing down my coworker. Maybe she had a perfectly good reason to be moseying down the full length of one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city. But given that she had the alternative of a quieter street with a bike path within a few blocks ride and given that there was a line of cars cropping up behind her waiting to get by, I will join my coworker in pronouncing that choice to be both absolutely within a cyclist's legal rights and kind of a dick move.

And now you know.

[Photo by Gavin Newsom | via Streetsblog]

Comments (43)

How is the photo related to the interesting article you pointed out?

Gavin Newsom and some guy with infamous grip strength are announcing an improved livable Divisadero while a cyclist rides in the background?

Also, it’s a bike on divis?

I live at Golden Gate and Divisadero and have the “pleasure” of riding up Divisadero every day on my way home from work.

Setting aside everything else that’s wrong about this article, the idea that Steiner and Divisadero are reasonable substitutes for each other is ridiculous. Anyone who rides through that area knows that the only way to get north without grinding up a huge hill is to take Divisadero. The only substitute that could make any sense is Broderick or Baker.

But besides: if the car has a problem with traffic on Divis maybe THE CAR should take another route.

A cyclist is fully within their rights to take the entire lane, and it’s important to do so in a situation like Divisadero to avoid getting doored on the right or tempting someone pass within inches of your left elbow.

Cars: ten seconds of inconvenience is not worth putting someone in the hospital.

Please stay safe and keep riding your routes. These car-loving “bicyclist” people annoying as all hell but they can’t and won’t stop the movement

I’ve been biking in this city for 6 years now and it still baffles me why anyone would take Divis? Its absolutely terrifying for a cyclist, and just plain stupid. Not to mention, yes it is a dick move to cars. Remember its “share the road”, not “own the road”. Why not take Scott? If you think Scott it too much of a hill, then you really shouldn’t be biking in San Francisco.

Nice try, gas station attendant

Yeah. Those gas station attendants are really worried about this bike movement hurting their lucrative racket. Fortunately the cyberwarfare arm of the gas station attentants union is on it, secretly commenting on local blogs.


I think the cars are a little like recent history with cigarette smokers, They used to think it was okay to take up all the space, but times have changed, and more healthy choices have support, same will happen with cars vs bikes in urban areas, with time the more healthy choice will have greater support.

It sounds like the bike rider was disrupting the flow of traffic which is illegal per the Ca. DMV handbook ” Are legally allowed to ride in the center of the lane when moving at the same speed as other traffic”

Divis isn’t wide enough for bikes to ride on the side of a lane safely due to parked cars. One person’s “center of the lane” is another’s “substandard width lane”. The lanes on that street are definitely not wide enough to avoid the door-zone as well as allow cars to pass in the same lane.

If you parse the English, it does not say it is illegal if Bikes ride faster than the traffic, or slower than the traffic . It only says that for sure it is legal when they ride the same speed as the traffic. Which is typical between lights and stop signs, but not so much in the middle of the block.

I tried posting this to The Snitch when that post ran, but their comment function is about as useful as their tirade against Sunday meters. So, lest that electronic complaint turns into a fart from not being expelled out into the world, here it is:

“It’s certainly not a “dick move”. And I’d like to list a few reasons why.

Divis is unfortunately the most gradual grade over the ridge between Alamo Heights and Anza Hill. Even just one block east on Scott, you’re going to get a wallop coming up to Alamo Square Park (the same wallop you’d get on your Steiner route). Just one block west of Divis on Broderick you’ve got a wild ride skirting the Anza Vista neighborhood. And both are a marked elevation jump just to get to them from Divis between Geary and Fulton or so.

Also, I live on Divis, and it’s not just me on the road. The Divisadero Corridor is chockablock full of shops, bars, and restaurants. And all those storefronts have residences above them. People need to get to all of these places. I’ve been yelled at by a fair share of peninsula, bridge, and tunnel barreling through my own neighborhood and making the Divis-Fell intersection one of the most dangerous for pedestrians in the entire city. I get that they’re trying to make it to the freeway, but they’re not there yet. They’re in a busy commercial neighborhood. They need to act like it.

In fact, whenever biking down Divis, cars do not beat me anywhere. Every single car that passes me, middle finger wagging or no, is sitting at the next traffic light waiting when I get there, too. Divisadero is just not the drag strip you’re making it out to be.

So before you suggest we bikers go up to 8 blocks or more out of our way down and up a hill that was never on our route just to get home every day, why don’t you head drivers with wanton disregard for life over to Masonic. In a car, the few blocks over will be effortless, I assure you. And you can enjoy some of the beautiful Victorians on the way. Just mind yourself to come to a complete stop at each stop sign, and open your car door so you can touch the pavement with the sole of your shoe signifying a legal stop.”

I’m a driver here in SF. There. I don’t bike. I love my little Honda with all my heart. I get it, I’m an asshole. If you got to know me, I’m sure you’d like me though. That said, I’ve done my fair share of driving in this city and I think I can rightly say that driving on Divis is terrible. With traffic, with buses, with left turns, with bad drivers, it fucking blows. In my opinion, make the right lane a gigantic bike lane. Cars can figure it out! Go down Fell to Masonic, or God forbid take Webster. Geary will pick up your pieces! Not that big of a deal. Just give it the the cyclists, they’re the ones who are actually working to get somewhere. Plus they don’t even have a stereo. Not to mention they’re keeping my shit clean. Thanks dude.


Would Divisadero work better configured like Valencia Street? Probably.

I strongly believe it would.

This is why the Cesar Chavez renovation is so sad. Divis is broken because the space that could be allotted for bikes is instead allotted to a concrete median. We’re making the same mistake now on Cesar Chavez, putting in bike lanes and a concrete median instead of a protected cycle track for cyclists. And we’ll live with that mistake for 30 years.

Webster from Grove to Oak is one of the crappiest bike route sections in the city. You have a nice bike lane that disappears right where two lanes merge for cars. You then have to bike uphill while cars pass you aggressively so they do not have to be behind you where that left turn lane is shoe-horned into the street to allow turning onto Oak.

If I am driving, I tend to take Franklin across town in one direction and Van Ness to Gough for the other.

What if, god forbid, your final destination is actually on Divisadero? GASP! I guess, based on this article, I should bike four blocks out of the way to Steiner and go up that wonderful hill, and then cut back a few blocks later to reach my destination. I guess it’s worth the extra time and energy to make sure the people driving home to Pac Heights aren’t delayed 5 minutes due to the audacity of me riding on Divisadero.

Every time I think the residents of SF can’t get more self-entitled (you want ME to share the road with a cyclist?!?), I read something like this and just bury my head in my hands.

Why wasn’t this asshole driving a car taking the bus? I mean, they have routes that go everywhere in the city right? If you have homicidal impulses, please take MUNI.

TIL there are some lazy, self-entitled cyclists in this city…

Just move here yesterday?

Dress slacks use to look better when men wore them around their natural waistlines(more towards the belly button). They just look sloppy now.

I don’t think this photo is really by Gavin Newsome.

The liberal idea of tolerance is more and more a kind of intolerance. What it means is ‘Leave me alone; don’t harass me; I’m intolerant towards your over-proximity.

As a regular cyclist on Divis I can attest that most of us aren’t actually going anywhere, but rather were hired by local businesses to slow down traffic to a crawl so motorists would perhaps get so frustrated they would stop and patronize one of the area’s many businesses. Now with big money Tooker and Bi Rite riches on the street, expect to see many more of us hired guns slowing down your commute. Just give in and stop for a coffee and some expensive cheese.

As a car driver, it’s pretty much a no brainer…masonic is for cars, and divis is for bikes. At least until they fuck up masonic in the coming months.

car drivers are the biggest entitled assholes on the road, HANDS DOWN! if you’re on a bike and take a lane out of concerns for your safety, they will blast their asshole horns at you for slowing them in their race to the next red light or stop sign. these assholes should be grateful for every person on a bike that they see because it means one less car eating up space on the road. it’s stupid to think that bikes should follow the same rules as cars. when bikes weigh thousands of pounds and congest the city, maybe then i’ll reconsider following their rules. until then, i will continue to ride on sidewalks when traffic is too threatening, & blowing stop signs & red lights at vacant intersections. anything to put space between myself and the killing machines.

Nobody besides kids should ride on the sidewalk.

tell that to the dead lady on king street.

How many pedestrians would be injured or killed by bike riders on the sidewalk?

Scum: Well said. Grownups should absolutely not be riding on sidewalks.

if you two are in agreement, then i’m positive i’m on the right side of this argument. let’s compromise & say that cars shouldn’t drive on the sidewalks. the occasional bike isn’t killing anyone. probably saving the rider. the sidewalks are in no threat of becoming bicycle highways.

scum is a very good sheep. why don’t you qoute me some bible verses while you’re at it.

blah blah blah.

this reads like every other comment you’ve ever made.

Mmm-hmm. Yep, *I* am the one spouting nonsense. Sure thing, sparky.

your reading comprehension is improving (if only negligibly).

Oh yeah, DEFINITELY. heh.

Ok pal, I think this refers to you.. 2 Peter 2:16
King James Version (KJV)
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

I’m totally ok with bikes riding on the sidewalk if cars can, too. Seems fair.

Oh look there’s an A-hole in the background. Not the cop.