Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pothole Injury Slows BIKE NOPA Posts

Another pothole-related bicycle injury

Since BIKE NOPA started in late June of last year, there have been almost daily posts. This last week my pace has slowed due to a bicycle injury. Last Saturday morning I hit a pothole and lost my grip while biking on Mississippi Street. (The hole was one of those smooth dips in the pavement, a not readily noticed depression). I fell and in the process fractured my right elbow. I'm fortunate that it is a simple break, likely to heal in a few weeks. But I'm also right-handed and that makes writing difficult. My orthopedist advises fifteen minutes at the keyboard followed by long breaks. I'm learning to write faster.

A bit of irony about my pothole-induced injury: it occurred while I was riding with other cyclists who volunteer with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Good Roads Campaign. For the last two years a group of us has undertaken monthly "pothole patrols" throughout the city to identify and report the many cracks, holes, utility cuts, and sunken manholes that appear on bike routes. To date, we've reported more than 1,300 of these surface defects. But new potholes appear and the temporary repairs wear away. Biking in San Francisco is safer and smoother as a result of the Good Roads work -- and the usually quick repairs by the Dept. of Public Works -- but too many hazards remain and too many injuries and liabilities are the result of insufficient funding for our streets. Cyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of our roads, and their safety must become a higher priority, even in difficult economic times. You can help increase safety for everyone -- pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists -- by reporting potholes to 311 by phone or online at And be ready to support later this year the best proposals to finance safer streets.

For the next ten days or so, my fifteen minute stints at the keyboard will limit me to a BIKE NOPA post every other day. This week and next look for news of NOPA's new bicycling group, a feature on the Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage, updates on the Fell Street/ARCO traffic mess and those still-standing SFgo freeway-style signs, and a call to pledge "Pedestrians First."

A special thanks to the Good Roads crew who helped me through last week, the SFBC staff for all their support, friends and neighbors for good cheer, elephant-shaped cookies, walnut applesauce bread, cherries, grapes, cake and ice-cream. See you on the streets -- not soon enough for me.


  1. Sorry to hear of your crash. Good luck to a speedy recovery.

  2. Hope you aren't in too much pain and heal quickly!