Apparently even San Francisco has its limits, and the Critical Mass debacle the other day seems to have pushed the limits button. How else to account for this fiery editorial at the notoriously liberal SF Chron, decrying the CM phenomenon:
THE VOLATILE clash between the Critical Mass cyclists and a Redwood City family in a minivan was all too predictable. The only surprise is that something like this hadn’t happened sooner. It was a blessing that no one was seriously injured in the confrontation.
For too long, the pack of rude and sanctimonious bicyclists who call themselves “Critical Mass” have been tolerated in San Francisco. The police have looked the other way and elected officials have been afraid to confront a determined political force in this city.
But as the flood of responses to a SFGate.com blog indicate, plenty of residents and visitors have been gritting their teeth as Critical Mass bicyclists flood the streets and run traffic lights with impunity, and then respond with hostility to any pedestrians or motorists who dare to challenge their demonstrations.
It’s time to make them respect the law. The assault on Susan Ferrando’s minivan, with two terrified daughters inside, is only going to escalate tensions on the street. There should be zero tolerance for such lawlessness.
The more militant of the bicycle advocates fail to recognize that they are undermining their cause with their open provocation. Yes, San Francisco is precarious terrain for bicyclists, with its hills, narrow streets and concentration of people and cars in 49 square miles. It’s also a difficult city for motorists, pedestrians and the many residents who must rely on the Municipal Railway to get around.
The way to make this compact city work for all modes of transportation is for San Franciscans to share the streets with civility, humility and adherence to the rules of the road. The Critical Mass rides contain none of the above.