Breed drops Twitter after clash with cyclists

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Sup. London Breed abruptly deleted her Twitter account on Sept. 19 after engaging in a clash of tweets with some local activists online. Breed had tweeted comments that were derogatory toward bicyclists and others, after earlier attempting to distinguish between her "private" comments and public role, but now she's given up entirely.

Patrick Traughber sent Breed a tweet reading, "@LondonBreed In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle to creating safer streets for bicycling?" To which Breed responded, "bad behavior of some bicyclist [sic]." Sources say caustic exchanges with other followers then ensued before Breed apparently deleted her feed.

"I suspended my account because I realized Twitter can be extremely time consuming and it's too hard to have nuanced policy discussions in 140 characters. I want to take some time to think about how I use this medium in the future," Breed told the Guardian.

Breed's flip answer about cyclists comes at a time when the Board of Supervisors plans to hold hearings about how the San Francisco Police Department handles bicyclist fatalities, which were recently triggered by the Guardian's exposure of blame-the-victim police bias after a truck driver ran over a cyclist (see "Anti-cyclist bias must stop," Aug. 27).

Breed told us that she has been a strong advocate for bike projects, including helping to fight through opposition to bike lanes on Oak and Fell streets and along Masonic Boulevard, an ongoing project for which "I've faced a lot of fire."

"My point was not that I think bicyclists' behavior should be an impediment to new projects. My point was bicyclists' behavior is the complaint I hear most often from those who oppose the projects. So as a practical matter, those behavioral concerns — whether you think they're accurate or inaccurate, right or wrong — make it harder to get new projects moving, harder to win public and political support," Breed told us.

Her latest Twitter kerfuffle follows another tweeted clash with progressive activists in June, which concluded with Breed tweeting, "Apologies to those I have offended I was just having fun. Although boring I will stay politically correct. I have serious work to do."

Apparently, that strategy wasn't a good fit for the sassy supervisor from District 5, who also ended this latest snafu with an apology, telling us, "It is my fault for being unclear about a complicated topic on an inappropriate medium. That is why I am taking a break from that medium."