Tag Archives: evidence

Team Presentations on Tuesday 9/19/2017

students on bicycles riding in bike lane on John F. Kennedy Drive
Sunny bike ride in Golden Gate Park.

On Tuesday, we heard some great team presentations of evidence about the Panhandle area. Links to videos and slides below.


  1. Teams are finding great stuff — very interesting and often very thorough observations.
  2. Generally good work explaining your goals and methods.
  3. Great use of a variety of kinds of evidence (numbers, photos…)
  4. Very nice job generally with transitions, Carl Kwan style!
  5. Slides were generally very good — we’ll talk more in the future about slide design best practices and pitfalls.

Weaknesses (biggest weak points had to do with delivery, not with content):

  1. As I mentioned, conclusions were generally weak. Refer to this Canvas page for important advice about conclusions.
  2. Confidence: you discovered something interesting — now stand up there and own it!

TEAM 1: Users of the Shared Path    VIDEO    SLIDES

TEAM 2: Bike Helmets   VIDEO    SLIDES

TEAM 3: Pedestrian Path Users   VIDEO    SLIDES

TEAM 4: Roadway Users    VIDEO     SLIDES

TEAM 5: Speeds on the Shared Path    VIDEO    SLIDES

Class slides from 9/19 (look here for homework for 9/26).

Panhandle Debates

slide showing photos of the path and users, indicating unauthorized use and poor pavement conditions
Slide presenting evidence about the pedestrian path in San Francisco’s Panhandle.

We’ve been studying the Panhandle, and it turns out other people have been studying it too.

Over the past 100 years, the Panhandle has changed from a parkway for automobiles to a car-free extension of Golden Gate Park. The streets bordering the Panhandle, Fell and Oak, have changed from quiet neighborhood streets to wide, high-speed expressways.

Now there are plans for further changes–but what should those changes be? Like our class, different groups have been trying to collect information that will help us make the best decisions.

Read this post on Streetsblog San Francisco about the controversies that have arisen. Post a comment here — thinking particularly about evidence, how would you address this problem?


Tandem Scofflaw Dad on the Panhandle

We watched this video in class on 2/28. The video demonstrates a few issues we’ll talk about over the next few weeks:

What are the challenges involved in a re-design of the shared-used path in the Panhandle (the video shows some of the different users and differences in speed)?To what degree do/should cyclists

To what degree do/should cyclists strictly obey traffic regulations (the video depicts a cyclist with a child running a red light)?

How has new cycling-specific infrastructure changed San Francisco’s streets (the video depicts construction of a separated bike lane on Oak St. and a bicycle traffic signal at Oak and Broderick)?

We can talk more effectively about these challenges if we collect evidence– through interviews, surveys, observation, counting, and measuring.

Using Evidence

For the next few weeks, we’ll focus on evidence.

Presenting the right evidence for your audience and purpose, and presenting evidence in the right way, is essentially for your credibility.

Additionally, we want people to base important decisions on evidence. When a doctor treats me, I want the treatment to be based on evidence (as opposed to tradition, belief, opinion, or superstition). When a new bridge is built, I want the engineers to make decisions based on evidence rather than gut feelings.

As we’ve discussed in class, there are heated debates about the use of bike helmets. In many US states, helmets are required for children, but no US states require them for adults. The primary purpose of bike helmets is to reduce fatal injuries, and there is good evidence that they reduce fatal injuries. However, new knowledge about traumatic brain injuries such as concussion has raised concerns about helmets and non-fatal head injury.

Watch three videos and write a post about the use of evidence in arguments about bike helmets. The first video is about effective communication of technical or scientific ideas. The next two are arguments about bicycle helmets (pro and con).

Don’t hesitate to google these speakers to find out a bit more about them.

Melissa Marshall, “Talk Nerdy to Me.” Marshall is a scientific communications consultant and faculty member at Penn State.

Mikael Colville-Andersen, “Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet. Colville-Andersen is a designer and urban planning consultant.

Fred Rivara, “The Importance of Bike Helmets.” Rivara is a physician and professor of pediatrics in Seattle.



For further thinking (optional), watch this video about a new kind of helmet, which is essentially an airbag for your head:

Here’s the site of the Swedish company developing the airbag helmet: http://www.hovding.com/how_hovding_works

Finally (and again optional), consider this opinion piece by Eben Weiss, US author and cycling advocate, who argues against mandatory helmet laws in the US:



To Do for Class Day 16 (Thursday 10/13/2016)

There are 2 main tasks to complete for class on Thursday.


In Module 3, we’re focusing on analysis for decision-makers. For class Thursday, read these two articles from the New York Times. One, “If Kant Were a New York Cyclist,” by Randy Cohen, addresses the ethics of cyclist behavior from a philosopher’s point of view.

Optional: in this 3-minute video, Randy Cohen talks about the ethics of driving.

The second, “Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?” by San Francisco writer Daniel Duane, examines the consequences of collisions–his focus isn’t so much the behavior of motorists, but rather the attitudes represented legal decisions about consequences for drivers.

Optional: You can watch Dan Duane talk about learning to cook in this 3-minute video. And here, he’ll show you how to open a beer with a carabiner. These have nothing to do with bicycles, but are linked her to show spoken communication.


After you read the two articles, write a post for your blog.

Your post should include your thoughts about the two articles (one or both). Include in your post some connection to your own knowledge or experiences (as both Cohen and Duane do).

And, as always, a relevant image. Here’s my image:


According to these metrics, Bicycling magazine considers Chicago to be the best bike city in the US, with San Francisco in 2nd place.

Oops, one more image:

consequences of ill-fate curb bunny hop attempt
consequences of ill-fated curb bunny hop attempt

Be careful out there, folks!

Class Report for Day 10 (Thursday 9/22/16)



three students standing before a powerpoint slide with information about interview subjects
Interview team presents results

In class, we saw some great presentations. Teams of 3 presented findings from our expedition to the Panhandle last week. The teams looked at:

  • the Panhandle soundscape
  • the Panhandle landscape
  • the shared-use path (north side) and its users
  • the pedestrian path (south side) and its users
  • people in the Panhandle (interviews)
slide showing photos of the path and users, indicating unauthorized use and poor pavement conditions
Slide presenting evidence about the pedestrian path in San Francisco’s Panhandle.


We discussed a couple of key issues in public speaking, mainly focusing on the pros and cons of working in groups.


Following the system of Carl Kwan, we practiced transitions between speakers in a group presentation.

Areas for Improvement

A key area for future attention is the conclusion or ending of presentations. Conclusions are weird: it’s not a move we usually make in our everyday conversations. But to make an impact on an audience, a public speaker really needs to nail the conclusion.

This involves at least two aspects:

  1. bringing the energy back up for the closing moments, rather than tapering steadily toward a low-energy closure
  2. ending with a clear, strong statement of key ideas or “take-aways”