News Jan 23, 2013 at 4:00 am

A New Poll Finds that Seattle Loves Cyclists, Wants Protected Bicycle Lanes, and Thinks Recent Anti-Bike Rhetoric Is a Load of Crap

Comments

1
They polled a whole 400 voters? Seems legit.
2
@1 How many have you polled? 400 is, indeed, a legit number for a scientific poll. And they gave the margin of error.
3
@1) A poll of 400 to 500 voters is pretty typical for polling in a city. For instance, the Elway poll typically surveys about 400 and SurveyUSA typically interviews about 500 on city matters.
4
It's confusing to the non-pollster how 400 (appropriately selected) people can accurately represent a city. So here's some background.

Basics of polling and how sample sizes work:

"Public opinion researchers liken it to making a big pot of soup β€” to taste-test the soup, you don't have to eat the whole pot, or even a whole bowl's worth. You only have to try a bite. The same is true of public opinion."

http://www.publicagenda.org/pages/best-e…

Build your own sample size:
http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

5
Just got back from visiting Vancouver, BC for the weekend with my girlfriend. Separated bike lanes everywhere. It was amazing and we felt safe the entire time, even at night. This is one of the many things that make the city to the north considered a world class city with the highest quality of life in the world and not us. We could learn a few things from them.
6
Bicycling was very popular in Seattle prior to the advent of the gas wagon. It is actually the car that edged the cyclists off the roads - WAR ON BIKES!!!

http://www.bikingpugetsound.com/article_…
7
Won't more bicycling improve the local economy, by reducing the car-traffic gridlock that this city suffers all too regularly? Save the roads for commercial traffic, and get commuters into light-rail, buses, & onto bicycles. So much more efficient, in so many ways.
8
I just want to jump in with a little something extra. As Tom at Seattle Bike Blog noted last August, a community survey by the city asked some of the same questions. One of their results says that only 49 percent had access to a "working bicycle" in 2011 and 40 percent last year. That's substantially lower than the 71 percent figure in this FM3 poll. I'm not sure why the city's survey swings so much from year to year, or why it differs from this poll by FM3, but I suspect it has to do with two things: (1) The city's survey was a poll of city residents as young as 16, not just registered voters like the FM3 poll, so the city had a very different sample group; (2) The city's survey asked if folks had access to a "working bicycle" instead of simply access to a bicycle. I imagine that plenty of people said no, they didn't have a working bike (perhaps they had one that needed repair). That could have tweaked the results. Again, not certain why there's a difference, but these are just my shooting-from-the-hip assessments of the polls' different methods and questions.
9
@2 They gave the margin of error.

Hah! Sorry if I think that polls of negligible sizes paid for by a particular agency are a bit recockulous. Have I done a poll on this topic? No. But I do talk to people outside this echo chamber of a newspaper.

Of course, I also don't swallow everything fed by this paper, especially where it concerns Mayor McGinn worship, as this definitely is.
10
@8 I'll give you a hint to why there are differences. It's close to the same reason there were discrepancies in surveys and studies regarding the tunnel.
12
its funny i used to do reclaim the streets stuff all the time and look where it got me. i miss that shit.
14
@1, @9 - I love your insinuations. They reveal that you have no about statistical sampling and confidence intervals.

"Only 400 people!?" Yup. That'll give a 95% confidence level for a population of Seattle's size (~621k). Adding 200 more if you want 99% confidence level.

95% is quite sufficient for measuring this sort of sentiment.
15
TheMisanthrope - the whole point of polling is to get a representative sample of the populace, instead of relying on the skewed sample of people you talk to.

So, you perceive reality a certain way, different from this actual poll.

But until you go do a poll - with a highly respected polling firm - of a representative sample of Seattleites, you're talking in your microcosm.

We're talking actual evidence, instead of the anecdote.
16
A similar political scenario played out in Vancouver BC in the run-up to the Nov 2011 civic election. One party (the NPA, a legitimate contender) played the "anti-bike" card, among others. They ended up getting trounced at the polls.

They, and their tame newspaper, both had relied on the "angry-old-white-men-who-love-their-cars" demographic. This demographic, the NPA party and the newspaper are sinking fast.

Meanwhile, similar pre-election voter polls showed similar levels of support as in Seattle for both cycling and the then-new downtown separated bike lanes. This prompted one wag to say: "The bike lanes are more popular than the NPA".
17
@15 Its been shown time and again that polling is skewed by any number of factors: question phrasing, sampling size, time of day of sample, weather, age of sample, etc.

Doing a whole fucking article about one fucking poll that is paid for by a biased group and finishing it off with sucking the cock of a shitty mayor is hardly journalism. If anything it is a free press release for McGinn.

But, you know, all that is anecdotal. Go on with your bad self believing in one poll of a supposed sampling size paid for by a shill group published by a biased newspaper that can't even figure out why people are voting for Eyman initiatives against their recommendations.
18
I'd ride more year round if we had protected bike lanes but from November to the end of February I only bike on the weekends when the sun is out.

Commuting on bike in the winter scares the crap out of me the older I get (ten years ago I couldn't careless or it just didn't phase me). But biking from NE Seattle to downtown in the evenings along Eastlake scares the shit out of me. As does biking in downtown Seattle with most of the drivers who don't give a fuck about anyone except themselves and who they are on their cell phones with.
19
As the bizarre inequality of car & bicycle lanes through Seattle has gotten more increasingly dangerous, it's only one of many reasons why I have opted not to drive through the city anymore. It's sad to read about all the cyclist injuries and fatalities!! Hopefully something can be done soon to make Seattle a safer urban community to drive, walk, and bike through again.
20
"find" => "fund"?
21
Intellectual honesty isn't your strength, Dominic. In your zeal to rag on the Times, you make all sorts of cheap leaps.
Your quotes from the Times, which you attribute to "editorial writers," come from a single 2010 Joni Balter column. That would be writer-singular, in case you're counting. You also leave out this quote from said column, which talked about budget priorities:
"As an avid runner, and occasional biker, I bear no deep-seated opposition to more recreational or commuter space for each and every group. At least theoretically. As a taxpayer, I say hold your spandex bike tights on a minute."
The rest of your blather is equally overstated. A search for "war on cars" in the Times archives yields 18 hits. Some are duplicates. Four are letters to the editor. One is a guest opinion by a developer, which prompted some letter-writing pushback.
One hit is a column by Westneat, debunking the war-on-cars myth. Another is a post by the Times librarian, also debunking the myth and tracing the origin of the term to a conservative think tank.
Two actual news stories pop up. One quotes Councilman O'Brien dismissing war on cars talk. The other examines the influence of the Cascade Bicycle Club in the wake of McGinn's election - a perfectly legitimate topic.
As for the Times deriding the mayor with the McSchwinn label, you could stand to be more accurate. Most of the time, the nickname comes from columnist Ron Judd, the outdoorsy guy who used to write for Outside Magazine - you know, a real bike-hater.
22
But, but ... old white folks who answer land line phone calls during the daytime from blocked numbers say there is a War on Cars, and have the tax subsidized car-only roads to prove it!
23
@17: What a humorous observation, Chris! We can file it under "MY GOD I DIDN'T REALIZE PEOPLE AND CERTAIN NEWSPAPERS WILL ADVOCATE FOR THINGS USING DATA SETS THAT I DIDN'T APPROVE OF"

So shocking :-/
24
@17: But it hasn't been shown in this case, because you can't.

These findings are not that different from another poll conducted by that evil pro-bike lobbying group PEMCO Auto Insurance that says that the overwhelming majority of Washington residents favor pro-bike legislation, or this other one conducted in 2007 by WSDOT that revealed that 76% of non-cyclists would like to make it easier for cycling.

http://www.pemco.com/about_us/Pages/Bike…

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/E09…

Of course, those groups probably have an agenda whereas you're some guy who's upset about something. Who to believe?!
25
@21: Bravo.
Did you see his post Monday attacking the Times for not being fair to McGinn? He had actually tried to take credit with getting the Times to change a story, when it truth it was changed long before he even posted his complaint.
I pointed out why he was wrong, and he stood by it, updated the post and argued back in the comments. Then I pointed out why he again was further wrong, and he suddenly disappeared without comment. Sadly, there are plenty of people who believe what he writes as truth, but if he keeps doing this he's going to lose credibility even with them.
26
Also, the evil Seattle Times has the same poll pretty high on its homepage right now. But it doesn't fit Dominic's agenda to point that out.
27
#21 - I read the times coverage of local transportation religiously because I read all local coverage of transportation issues religiously. Dominic's representation of the Time's slant is dead on. It's a slant that runs deeper than what you could suss out from a quick web search.
28
@24 Where in that Pemco study does it say that the overwhelming majority of Washington residents favor pro-bike legislation? Stop lying. Even their informal poll says nothing about pro-bike legislation. Moron.

And, where in that WSDOT study do you find 76%. The only places 76% is mentioned as a figure is as the percentage of non-bikers saying that they would recommend more biking facilities as a way to make it easier to bike. No other statistic is 76%. In fact, at the highest, 70% said they supported making it safer for bikers if AND ONLY IF there were no new taxes. While that figure drops to 45% if there are new taxes. Also, the survey failed to ask what funds they would like to see funds be diverted from, as a follow-up.

Basically, stop lying.
29
@27 - Fair enough. Where are the examples? Don't generalize. If the slant runs as deep as you suggest, shouldn't they be easier, not harder to find?

The point is that Dominic uses cheap and distorted snips to draw lazy conclusions. You're blaming me for a quick web search, but you excuse Dominic for greater indolence as long as his rhetoric suits your worldview.

My quick search found Times writers debunking the war-on-cars myth. I see no evidence that Dominic even tried that hard. Just the opposite. He characterizes one writer's column as the work of "writers," while conveniently leaving out the context of the discussion (overall budget issues) and omitting the writer's self-penned caveat. Do you suggest that's honest? If so, tell me why.
30
Aww.

Poor @28 is realizing their days of tax-subsidized roadways are coming to a close.
31
@29 except the Times posted that quite a few hours after Dominic posted his. Check the timestamps.
32
@31, I think you misread the two posts. I'm not talking about the poll results.
33
@32 Just ignore WiS. he's either a shitty troll, an idiot, or drunk. I haven't figured out which.
34
@28: Well, that's what I get for speed-googling while making dinner. There's plenty of good research out there with a more nuanced look at these things (not least of which is that 70% figure you mentioned), but that ship has sailed.

But to the original point, I'm sorry nobody asked you about your feelings before conducting this poll. But that doesn't make it wrong.
35
How about any studies showing that bike lanes mean more safety for cyclists?

As a long-time bike commuter who shares the road with cars, I call BS on bike lanes making my commute more safe.
36
Weird, just about this poll on the Times, then come here to read that the Times hates cyclists. I guess this is proof of their bias?

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/fyi-guy/20…
37
#33...care to say why you think the anti-cyclist sentiment is higher than that?

Other than the fact that, for whatever reason, YOU seem to hate cyclists?

(I'm not a cyclist myself, just can't understand why anyone would have it in for them. No city has ever been made worse overall by being made more bike-friendly, and there's no way Seattle would be a better city if the bicylists were told to fuck off and die.

Don't drivers pretty much have everything they need from the city as it is?)
38
I read about the poll on the Times site too, then ssw this. Uh, Dominic, the "city's daily newspaper" made an ass of you. Of course, you need your fans to think the Times is evil. That narrative serves you so well.
39
Regarding the year-to-year differences in the "access to a bike" number:

If you follow the links through and read the reports, even the 2012 SDOT survey the troll mentions the "volatility" of this particular number year-to-year.

Regarding sample size: 400 people is a more than generous sample size for the City of Seattle, and well within norms. Most of the statewide polling done for the presidential race last year used a sample size of 400-600, with the most rigorous ones (usually the ones that PPP performed) having sample sizes around 1000 and MoE around 3%.
40
FM3 -- firm run by Howard Dean's pollster. No link to the full results, or the questions. Bottom line: Typical "progressive" propaganda, probably financed by Chris Hansen on behalf of his suck buddy Mike McGinn.
41
Are you assuming that no "lunchbox Democrats" ride bikes?

Bicylist doesn't equal "anti-worker elitist" y'know.

42
I ride almost every day in Seattle, and I've almost never experienced driver hostility. In fact, when I raise my arm to signal right, drivers will often smile & wave back...
43
@37 Tell me where I have said anything negative about cyclists and cycling in general. Mostly I've wanted cyclists to wear more lights and lighter clothing because darting around in fall/winter colors without lights and reflectors is a death wish. But, I wouldn't construe that as cyclist hate. Except the Critical Masstards. They're idiots.
44
@38) Nice try, but I broke this story yesterday morning and the Seattle Times followed up.

@40) This article appeared in print, not on Slog, so it couldn't include a file with the full polling results. But I've since posted the full polling memo on Slog.
45
Bikes are great, BUT we need clearer Rules of the Road for Bicyclists. Neither Rules of the Road for vehicles or for pedestrians seem to apply to Bicyclists. Some sort of voluntary rules promulgated by the Cascade Bicycle Club sure seem to be in order. Rules regarding stop signs, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, signaling for turns and staying in lanes are some of the situations that need to be addressed. How about it, Cascade, before we have to ask the City to take action?
46
I have to agree with @42. I ride a lot and the vast majority of drivers are curteous to me. I'll add, though, I think it partially depends how and where you ride.

If you stick to streets with little traffic (e.g. residential) or streets with plenty of room for drivers to pass (e.g. center turn lane or two lanes in each direction), drivers won't be stuck behind you as much.

If you're cranking up a steep hill, you might consider the sidewalk. If you're barreling down 2nd downtown, take the middle lane.
47
@ 9, 10, 17, 28, 33, 43--For a guy who considers this paper worthless, you spend a lot of time reading it, studying it, and commenting.

And Will is none of the things you say. Among other things, he is a member of the 36th District precinct organization.
48
@47 I challenge that this is the closest to a progressive newspaper with a wide-ish circulation, but their journalists have a tendency to navel gaze and act as McGinn's cocksucking press dept. Oh and Goldy sucks for thinking he's progressive when really he's just a democratic whore who hasn't met a tax he hasn't loved, fuck it if its regressive.

Dominic could be a better journalist if he stopped being a press release dept and started thinking critically. Also his revisionist tendencies are terrible sometimes, especially regarding cycling (yes, Dominic, nobody has forgotten that Critical Mass politicized cycling).

But, oh yeah, we're not supposed to be critical of the paper we're reading, right? Don't analyze shit! Just go with it. Fuck. If you can't be critical of things, your voter card should be taken away, conservative or liberal.
49
@47 p.s. just because somebody participates in something doesn't mean they're not an idiot, a troll, or a drunk...or even a hypocrite or a shill. Please see Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Jennifer Granholm, Bill O'Reilly, Mike McGinn, etc etc etc.
50
Last I checked bikes on the road actually reduced the speed of traffic, thus making everyones commute longer. Doesn't that equate to more pollution and gas consumption?

Bikes snarl traffic. Sucks but true. Until there is infracstructure that gets them out of the way and gives them their own lane I dont buy that they're saving the big picture environment, theyre just slowing the commute.

And to say almost 80% of Seattle is pro bike is bullshit, that doesn't pass the smell test.
51
If Seattle really was pro-bike, bike lanes would be safe, and we taxpayers wouldn't be shelling out our grandchildren's college funds for a tunnel to nowhere.
52
I've got nothing against the bicyclists/bike lanes, especially in the car congested downtown area. However, when I'm driving in Renton on Logan Ave and I see bicyclists not utilizing the bike lanes but instead cycling in the middle of the road -- well, I'm not so nice. If it's provided to you, PLEASE use it.
53
Hey, riding bikes are fine, I do it all the time. But you know what. The sidewalks are usually pretty empty. You won't get hit there, and when you get home to your car (yes almost all of you including me have one). You can actually drive your retired mom and your kid around. Get real, Seattle, quit taking away lanes and creating traffic!
54
#52, they really don't give a shit about anyone but themselves. Do us all a favor. Step on the gas and run 'em over.
55
@53, You're kidding, right? Or are you speaking only of 4am when there are no pedestrians out? To ride on the sidewalk you have to go about one quarter the speed and yield to all pedestrians, might as well just walk at that point.

Also, almost all of us do not have cars. You in your car are the one creating traffic, not me on my bike.
57
#50 yes all of those bikes out there on I-5,90, 405, Hwy 99 are completely and utterly slowing traffic down. I said this earlier but take away the bike lane and I'm sitting in traffic with you driving incredibly slowly and recklessly like every other Seattle driver.
58
The problem is not bicycles. They're pretty cool machines. The problem is the belligerent bearded assholes who ride them on public roads. We should simply not allow them on public roads, especially since they are unregistered to begin with, and make them ride in dedicated parks or abandoned parking lots. Problem solved.
59
A lot of the hate for bikes stems from people who are jealous of cyclists ability to cut through traffic without polluting while they sit ion traffic in their overpriced gas sucking vehicle. Just sayin.

The teabaggers who read and operate the Seattle times are lower than whale shit but still need to get over their hate and show some respect by giving 3ft space when passing bikes.
60
supertrain!
61
They forgot to mention they polled 400 cyclists.

Parking was removed from my street to create bike lanes that go unused 24/7. These lanes changed traffic patterns and have made them now dangerously crazy. But McGinn gave jobs to people who paint useless lines on city streets, so I guess that's something.

No love for cyclists where I live (but then I don't live on Capital Hill or in Fremont or Ballard).
62
Well Puurl if drivers could slow down and give 3 ft of space when passing cyclists there wouldn't be such a need for bike lanes and lines on the road. Sounds like your neighborhood needs to reduce the speed limit and slow down the traffic if its such a hazard to navigate the bike lane where cars used to be parked anyway. Or maybe you should get a bike and use those empty bike lanes!
63
Well ST, if bicyclists would just commit suicide, we'd all be so much better off. We could drive faster, and we wouldn't have to put up with your shit.
64
OMG,
Did the 400 in the sample complete this survey at their CASCADE Bike Club meeting.
SKEWED...They should be skewered.
65
Bicyclists aren't victims, they just don't like to wear seat belts.

Please wait...

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