I spent Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco, and two things left a lasting impression on my memory. The first was the number of safe, convenient alternatives to driving. The biggest difference between San Francisco and Columbus was the state of the sidewalks. Not only were there sidewalks on every street I used in San Francisco and Berkeley, but they were in good condition, didn't have utility poles in the middle of them, didn't have plants growing out of them, and were extremely wide. San Francisco also has several different methods of public transit and the metro area has several different bus companies to take you anywhere you need to go in the Bay Area or beyond. Of course, I also noticed the sheer numbers of bike lanes, the people who rode for transportation rather than athletic training, and the safe way in which bikes and cars shared the road, which leads me to my second point.
The other big thing I noticed on this trip was the respect that all road users showed toward one another. As a pedestrian, not once did I have to walk around a car that had carelessly stopped in the crosswalk. I saw no one stop at a stop sign past the painted line on the ground. Never did I feel as though I had to yield my right-of-way at a stop sign/crosswalk combo to a cyclist for my own safety. Not once did I see a car cut off a bike; if there wasn't room to pass, the motorist simply waited until there was, a concept that seems to be very difficult for Central Ohioans to grasp. I only wish I'd had a bike with me while I was there. I will definitely be going back.