Wednesday, July 29, 2009

San Francisco car fires

Somebody's setting cars on fire in San Francisco. This morning's San Francisco Examiner dead tree edition had this big, end-of-the-world headline on the front page: "CAR BLAZE VANDAL TERRORIZES CITY".

Sure, it's a big inconvenience to lose your car, and I realize some people depend on their cars for their livelihood, but are people in San Francisco really cowering in fear at the risk of losing their automobiles?


  1. Fritz,

    I agree that we're all against this automobile phenomenon in America. Look, even I don't drive a damn car. But posts like this are a little obtuse. After the events of 9/11, I'm hardly surprised if a group of people or even a city are alarmed if there's car set ablaze. What if this was a suicide bomb? You must be living in fancy if you think this country is invincible.

  2. Property loss is bigger news than gun shot wounds and deaths...

  3. This article is daft. Just because you don't like cars you don't think people should be worried about big metal boxes full of gasoline burning in random spots around the city?

    No wonder regular people don't pay much attention to "bicycle advocates."

  4. I noticed in Hollywood California cars burst into flames all the time during almost any crash. I think it must be those special air quality gasoline blends they are using there.


  5. First, we don't "all" hate cars. Some people who like bikes and belive in them like cars too.

    Second, a big fire is a big fire.

    Third, for most people a car is one of the most important assets they own, so the possible financial loss is large.

    And as "Anonymous" said, this kind of extream post doesn't help bicycle advocacy with the general publice.

  6. Concern, certainly, and maybe even alarm. (And I acknowledged the potential loss of livelihood in my post.) But "TERRORIZES CITY"?

    Nobody thinks a reaction like that is a bit much?

    Last winter somebody was burning up portable toilets all around San Francisco, which is pretty alarming too, but I don't think anybody equated this to a terrorist attack.

  7. I don't think their use of the word "terrorize" equates the pyro with terrorism.

    I can just as easily imagine a headline reading "Rabid dog terrorizes neighborhood." Certainly that headline would not suggest that the dog is a militant with an extremist political agenda.

  8. I agree with Anonymous and Bryan Williams, it certainly doesn't help bicycle advocacy in fact it's driving people when we should be trying to bring them around to our point of view...

  9. It wasn't until this year that I realized that most of America, even atheists, worship the Car as God.

  10. =v= This alarmist news just makes me hungry for hot sauce and start humming a disco tune.

  11. I doubt anyone is cowering in terror, but this is a very strange thing. Especially with 4 more cars last night.

    My first thought when I saw the story- Please, please, please, don't be a psycho bike guy!

  12. Adrienne: I kinda had the same thought.

    From this morning's news, police say they're looking for a link between this and the portapotty firebug.

  13. =v= In all seriousness, I think "Anonymous" and Jarvik are way over the top in their remarks about bicycle advocates. Fritz is quite rightly pointing out that the coverage is overwrought. A car operated normally is a far greater threat, even to drivers themselves.

    A sober appraisal of these realities is what everyone ("driving people" included) is what's most sorely needed here.

    If folks can't handle that, then maybe they should just stick to reading the funnies.

  14. A car operated normally is a far greater threat, even to drivers themselves.

    Dear Jym,

    Put yourself in the shoes of a cyclist and try arguing bluntly that cycling is dangerous when done "normally". You will be accused with spreading scare tactics. (hey been there)

    Same thing in case of cars. It is blunt to suggest that a car driven normally is a threat. Threat to what? Where is that threat specifically coming from?

    It makes more sense to suggest that car operated normally is a threat to one's physical health or it can be dangerous when your text and drive, in the same way saying you riding a bicycle normally maybe dangerous to the rider because the brand of bicycle you ride has been known to fail in operation. A sensible person driving a road vehicle is not to be bluntly classified as a 'threat'.