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San Francisco prosecutors are deciding whether to file charges against a cyclist who recently struck a pedestrian in a fatal collision. While bike accidents leading to pedestrian fatalities are rare, this is the second such incident in the past year. With more and more cyclists taking to Bay Area streets, we take up the issue of bicycle safety.

Guests:
Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian advocacy organization
Bert Hill, chair of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, which considers bicycle transportation projects and policies and makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and other SF city and county agencies
Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Al Casciato, captain in San Francisco Police Department
Herbert Weiner, San Francisco resident who has gone before the SFMTA board to discuss his concerns about Muni, transportation issues and cyclists

  • Polk

    Is it just bicyclists who are the problem? I’ve heard of bike messengers being intentionally hit by MUNI buses, MUNI buses killing pedestrians, MUNI trollies slamming into cars that are trying to get off the tracks, and MUNI buses driving straight past wheelchair-bound riders rather than pick them up.

  • Rrothma

    It’s time to license bicyclist and bikes. Bicyclist need to obey the law encluding stoping at stop signs

    • Sigmarlin

      We are not a monolithic group so stop generalizing.  PS cars are lethal. Especially the ones that race ahead to turn right in front of bikes or even parked obliviously and opening their doors without looking behind them…but I’m sure you’ve never done either.

  • Keith Joseph

    Saturday morning a young man irresponsibly driving
    West  on Treat Blvd. in Concord lost
    control of his SUV, jumped the curb and struck a dad with his two young
    daughters (12 and 9 years old)  riding
    bicycles on the sidewalk.  The dad and 9
    year old  died at the scene.   The 12 old was hospitalized with injuries.   

  • guest

    Statistics show that 3 people a day are hit by cars in san francisco. If we want to make the streets safe for everyone, we must focus on ALL the dangers on our streets instead of finding a scapegoat. My question is why does the media jump into action when there is a cyclist/pedestrian collision, but there is rarely any coverage at all with the others? 

  • As a 60 year old cyclist, I am a pedestrian, a cyclist and a driver everyday. I make the same judgements that the young cyclist in this accident made, all the time. As a cyclist, I watch out for pedestrians and cars every day. As a driver I watch out for pedestrians and cyclist every time I drive. As a pedestrian, I watch out for drivers and cyclist constantly.

    From the young man’s own written story, he ran a light with lots of pedestrians waiting to cross. I don’t routinely stop at lights because I become a sitting duck for vehicles that can’t/don’t see me. But I always slow down for pedestrians, whether they are waiting to cross or not.

    In 50 plus years of cycling I have never been hit by a car or hit a pedestrian. May it ever be so. I ride, walk and drive defensively. As a cyclist part of that includes not sitting at stop lights if it is safe to go.

    Steve Cropley
    Sheridan Wyoming 
    (on the Montana Wyoming border)

    • djconnel

      There’s no proof he ran the light, and he claims he did not.

  • Eamonn

    People die in their thousands every year at the hands of motorists without any controversy, but as soon as one person dies at the hands of a cyclist it becomes front page news.  Inattentive drivers and motorists who fail to yield are the leading cause of pedestrian deaths in San Francisco. 3,619 pedestrians were treated for injuries in the city between 2004 and 2008, almost all of them the victims of motorists. Do we just accept killer drivers as an acceptable part of life? The same old double standard never ceases to amaze me.

  • wooac

    How about enforcing traffic laws for bicyclists?   It’s not just running lights but flat out reckless driving.

  • Eric

    Automobile traffic in the Mission District has been insane for years, as drivers routinely exceed the speed limit with impunity.  The same thing now seems to be happening with bicyclists.  I routinely see bicycles going 20 to 30 hours on sidewalks yet the police seem unwilling to do anything to curtail this reckless behavior.  Two weeks ago I was almost run down on a sidewalk near 16th street and Mission by a bicyclist who acted like he owned the sidewalk. 

  • Karl

    Would cobble stones help to reduce speed of both cars and bicycles?
    I hate driving and riding over them, but they look nice and they are a natural speed reducer.

  • I can’t believe a forum guest just warned of bicyclists being pulled off their bikes and beaten up. If you see a reckless vehicle (bicycle, auto, etc.), contact the police, maybe take a picture. 

    Safe and respectful bicycle rider and proud San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member.

  • Joanroos

    As a little old lady I am petrified of bikes and skate boards that speed down SIDEWALKS.  Are these guys going to pay for the person who has to help my broken self to the bathroom?

  • Jared

    It always seems like cops/politicians are more concerned with citations rather than the root of the problem: Insufficient driver education.

    I’m personally a motorcyclist, the only time I’ve almost been hit is when a car doesn’t understand right of way.

  • Washington irving

    With all due respect, the  gentleman at the beginning threatening violence on bikers (but of course he wouldn’t do it, but others might!) is a disgrace to Forum’s civil discourse.

  • Erin

    There should be more awareness and enforcement about safety in crosswalks and that pedestrians have the right of way as soon as they step one foot in the crosswalk, cars and bicyclists should yield to that pedestrian. Perhaps painting them brighter colors and including traffic signs that remind drivers/bikers that it is a state law to yield to pedestrians.

  • Clairetterose

    If cyclists were required to wear vests with visible license numbers, we would have fewer incidents of cyclist hit and runs as well as the everyday and pervasive scoffing at rules of the road by reckless and irresponsible cyclists. Trust me, they exist. Cyclists are unidentifiable and many fail to follow the rules of the road, despite the sugar coated comments by bicycle advocates. Critical Mass is a civic horror — an example of the public and police being held hostage by a wild mob.

  • wizardofx

    I see many bicyclists riding with a militant attitude, as if they have to follow no rules.  Let’s remember one thing-  Streets were designed for cars, NOT bikes.  

    • guest

      All the more reason to redesign the streets. The number of bike commuters is growing so the streets should be adapted to factor that in.

    • Bob S

      Streets were designed for all lawful traffic, including cars and bicycles and ox-drawn wagons and ridden and herded animals.

  • Eliza

    I notice so many bicyclists riding at night with no lights, dark colored clothing.  More tragedies waiting to happen.

  • John Cate

    How about all those “track” bikes with no brakes? They should be outlawed. The people that ride those are particularly unable to stop quickly. A bike without brakes is no different than a car without brakes. 

  • Nancy

    We put together a podcast about this topic: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2011/11/29/what-are-berkeleys-rules-of-the-road-for-cyclists/

  • Karl

    Regarding Critical Mass:

    In Paris, France, they have mass roller skate rides one day every month that take over the roads along a predefined route. Guess what? The French give them police escorts to ensure that motorists don’t try to create a conflict.
    Maybe Critical Mass in SF could use an escort as well.

  • Every morning, as I walk to the Caltrain station (4th & King), I see a handful of cyclists blaze through red lights. There are a lot of respective bikers, but how can one be of help in stopping this inconsiderate subset of persons? I’m a biker (just not for my weekday commute) and I am annoyed by these people as much as anyone else.

  • Nancy

    RULES of the ROAD is a podcast we put together that was published in Berkeleyside:http://www.berkeleyside.com/2011/11/29/what-are-berkeleys-rules-of-the-road-for-cyclists/

  • arinave

    When I drive, I find bikes very irritating.  That said, when I bike, I find cars equally irritating – as well as pedestrians.  When I am walking, of course cars and bikes suck.  So, when we talk about wars, we are failing to account for the design issues.  It is not about the different populations- but about the modalities of transportation themselves and the failure of the ecosystem to accommodate them together well. 

  • Karingj

    I would REALLY like to see a requirement that bicycles be licensed and cyclists be registered.  Maybe even require an exam such as is required to get a driver’s license.  And require cyclists to use lights at night, as well as, of course, to follow the rules of the road.  I recently was driving at night in Dogpatch area, encountered a cyclist with no lights, and said to him that he must use lights.  He said, oh I have them; they’re in my backpack…..Such lack of concern affects all of us–drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists.  We need to treat riding in the City as a serious responsibility.

    • Sigmarlin

      I would really like a law that requires drivers to ride a bike for a year so they understand the hazards and learn to be less self-absorbed while driving. Number one being opening your door without bothering to look for bikes behind you.  Also racing ahead to make a right turn in front of a bike.

  • Jjoan gallagher

    I think that the Department of Motor Vehicles should require everyone to pass a bicycle safety exam as part of the license renewal process so that both drivers and cyclists can be educated about the importance of sharing the roads responsibly and respectfully.

  • guest

    I live just off the corner of Castro and Market, and I see cyclists run the lights there almost daily, and have nearly been run down myself there while walking in the crosswalks. In regards to the recent fatal accident there, if police can confirm the cyclist ran a red light, why would the city decide NOT to prosecute him?

  • Liz in SJ

    I’m an occasional bike commuter in San Jose, and I usually don’t run traffic lights because it is, if nothing else, downright suicidal.  But it can be pretty frustrating dealing with a light controlled by traffic loops, when the light won’t change no matter how long one waits.  And I agree that bikers need to have more respect for pedestrians.  After all, they are also using a mode of transportation that Does Not Pollute.

  • Aggarrett

    Why is it that when I enter an intersection, motorists rarely run red lights or stop signs but bikes rarely obey them?

    Is the only reason bikes are safer because they near miss easier?

  • Nxttogo

     The statement that pedestrians never hit cyclist is false. I have been hit by a pedestrian who stepped off the sidewalk and into the bike lane. Pedestrians also often force bicyclist out of the bike lanes and into traffic. There are plenty of runners and walkers using bike lanes especially in the Persidio. Yesterday I saw a woman with a stroller occupying the bike lane and there was a sidewalk right next to the bike lane. Pedestrians will often stand out in the street at traffic light corners when the clearly have the do not walk sign. This happens a lot in downtown.
    I use all three modes of traffic and I can tell you that car drivers break more laws and are more dangerous. The focus should not be on the mode of transportation but better driving by all. Good drivers anticipate problems ahead  and are able to make adjustments to other peoples mistakes.
    Mark Sullivan

    • Then it is your responsibility to clink your bicycle bell and inform her that she is jaywalking. If you run into her, it is still your fault.

      • Deb G.

        Is it not her responsibility to act legally and in accordance with the laws that are meant to protect everyone sharing the roads? Bicycles should not be on the sidewalk because of the potentially dangerous combination of bikes and pedestrians. Would you agree that when walkers venture out into the area, meant specifically for bikes, they are acting irresponsibly? I think the point is not about fault, but about sharing the responsibility and acknowledging the rights of all to transport him- or her-self by their chosen mode.

        • I absolutely hate when they do it. I scream at them and clink my bell. I would prefer that cops issued $1 citations for walking in a bike path, or $10 for driving in a bike lane. Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact that nobody is allowed to strike another person, regardless of their location. If there are pedestrians walking near the bike lane, you need to slow your speed down enough so that if a toddler were to suddenly crawl into the bike lane, you could stop or otherwise avoid hitting or killing the baby.

      • JS

         Joseph, your understanding of the California Vehicle Code is incomplete, at best. In fact, the code is quite clear in stating that pedestrians are not to step out onto a roadway in front of moving vehicles (CVC Section 21950). In any event, no statute can change the principles of physics. Any pedestrian who steps onto the road without looking, and I’ve seen many instances of this, fails to understand that the momentum of another body (car, truck, bicycle or little red wagon) will not magically change because a different light bulb was just switched on. As a cyclist who will often stop for pedestrians whom I see approaching the road (not just those already on the road), and who has seen two instances of illegal pedestrian entry causing injury to cyclists legally operating on the road, I can say that your comments are inflammatory, and only serve to poison the dialogue.

  • Andrea

    When they educate people about bicycle safety, do they talk specifically to bicyclists about motorcycles? I ride a Vespa and it seems like bicyclists want to treat me like another bicyclist when I’m riding. They ride way too close, dart in front of me, etc. I’m going as fast as a car, so this is extremely dangerous for both of us. I’m often worried that I’m going to get into an accident because a bicyclist simply isn’t thinking of my scooter as a motor vehicle.

  • Amo Online

    I am both a pedestrian and cyclists and occasional driver. I moved to the Bay Area 7 years ago, and since I’ arrived here, I have been surprised at the general negative attitude people have towards other modes of transportation that get in their way: pedestrians against against cyclists and cars, cyclists against pedestrians and cars, and cars against cyclists and pedestrians.  I’ve sensed a general sense of self-entitlement from each community–pedestrians don’t look while crossing streets or just step in front of cars; cyclists run through traffic calming devices; and cars honk unnecessarily at cyclists and pass them way too fast and close in dangerous situations (such as in the hills where roads are narrow and there is little visibility).  While the laws and protections for cyclists and pedestrians are some of the best in the country, the attitude between all three modes of transportation are not. Don’t you think everyone needs to be more responsible about their own duty in each form of transportation to be curteous towards once another?

    • Ken

      You are right.  Most people in San Francisco using any mode of transportation wouldn’t last long where I’m from.

    • Adam1235

      Amen brother.

    • Pedestrians DO have the right of way. Anyone acting different is ignorant of the law. The best situation would be that there be more CCTV video cameras deployed, so the offending motorists or cyclists could be caught on camera and sued for damages in court. Same goes for motorists vs. cyclists. Anytime a vehicle seeks to overtake another vehicle, it is on the burden of the overtaking vehicle to do so only in a safe manner. Most motorists do NOT do this. They should be sued and ticketed when acting illegally.

      And the same goes for bicyclists against motorists when passing on the right at stoplights or roll+through at stop signs. This illegal should be cited, and sued for damages, if causing physical harm to persons or property.

      • Keithb

         Joseph, the world you describe sounds awful. People being ticketed and cited and sued all over the place. (I also see that you have posted comments of a similar tone on a number of posts on this board.)

        • You seem to lack an understanding of human behavior. When there are consequences to offensive behavior, people avoid engaging in named behavior. In Scandinavia, where you lose your license if you hit a pedestrian and where a pedestrian is allowed to walk anywhere they wish, the drivers are respectful of pedestrians. Nobody is ever hit by cars, because cars are aware of their surroundings.  Compare to USA, where motorists believe they are king of the universe.

          • jj

            1984 anyone? 
            No thanks, Joe.

          • being prosecuted for killing or injuring a person is like 1984? You must be a GM or Ford spinmeister.

          • jj

            You know very well what i mean. No, not ”
            being prosecuted for killing or injuring a person”.

            Planting cameras all over the city, getting all ‘big brother’, that is.

    • Neighbors@yahoo.com

      Back in Vermont, we all yield to cyclists to make sure they are safe. Seldom have I seen drivers even slow down to make sure they are safe. More respects for cyclists since we or our kids might be one of the cyclists at some times.

  • Xoarsman

    Does it matter what mode of transportation a person chooses? Everyone traveling on our roads must be mindful of the safety of others. Be cautious, be courteous, know and obey the rules of the road, and share the space that all of us have to use every day.

  • Justice

    Bicyclists are notorious for not obeying the same traffic rules as cars. Bicyclists routinely disregard stop signs and stoplights then they get furious when there is a close call by a car who cannot respond in time or is taken by surprise. They are able to do this because they have no accountability. A car could never plow through an intersection without someone taking down their liscense plate and calling the police, bikers however,  have no identification and therefore can readily put themselves and others in danger by doing illegal stuff like that. How about making it a law that bikers must have a liscence plate and be held accountable for their actions? They wouldn’t be as reckless if they could get caught and fined.

  • Felicity More

    I am a bicyclist, pedestrian, motorcycle and car driver. I try to be courteous whatever mode I’m in and find I’m most rude as a pedestrian with my phone out. Countless times I’ve seen pedestrian step off the curb into oncoming traffic staring at their phones. Everyone needs to slow down and look around.

    • cars need to slow down if there are pedestrians. If a kid wanders into the street and gets killed by a motorist, the motorist is guilty of manslaughter and should be face civil liability of several million dollars. 

  • John Tweed

    It seems like road safety features are still in the dark ages here compared to Europe.  Where are the bicycle safety zones in front of the cross walks?  These help to protect both pedestrians and cyclists.  Why are there so few all-way stops for pedestrian crossing ?
    The most egregious act recently has been the Joe Simitian bill to squash Red-Light cameras.  People who run red lights deserve tickets.  How many people will die because of this selfish act.

  • D. G. Lister

    If cyclists have all the responsibilities of a driver, why don’t they also have to have liability insurance.

  • Karusso

    I do a lot of biking and walking (bike commute from Oakland to UC Berkeley everyday and I walk my dog and jog) and the number one problem I have is with motorists making a right on red or a yield left on green. They watch for other cars which have the right of way, but as a pedestrian/bicyclist, it seems that I am invisible to them, even in broad daylight. 
    I’d also love to see more bike lanes in the east bay, especially on Shattuck. 

  • RC EssEff

    I was run down in the crosswalk by an aggro cyclist at Bush & Kearny while I was 8 mos pregnant- if i hadnt grabbed his bike seat he would have taken off-
    The cyclists in San Francisco should be required to have a license like a car or motorcycle- they should be required to take a class on roadsafety & urban cycling.
    I also think the rules for sharing the road safely with bikes should be included in the driving exam (maybe thats been added since i got my license)

  • Codesusy

    I lved in Portland, or for 6 yrs b/n 02 and 08, and I’d ride my bike to work, along with at least 50% of my coworkers, and i learned a ton about the rules and etiquette of biking safely as a commuter both thru my co workers and for being cited and thus being required to go to traffic safety school (designed for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians) for breaking traffic rules on my bike.

    Also, there was a ton of publicly available materials for safe and responsible biking, such as bike route maps.

    It seems like there needs to be a multi pronged campaign to improve infrastructure, education, enforcement and cultural pressures for people to be safe and responsible on bikes and in cars.

  • Liz in SJ

    HEY WAIT A MINUTE I WEAR STREET CLOTHES WHEN I BIKE COMMUTE.  AND I WEAR A HELMET AND HAVE LIGHTS ON THE BIKE.  NO WAY AM I PAYING $100 FOR A PAIR OF UGLY-ASS SHORTS!

  • Jano

    I agree totally with the fellow who just called in.  I used to commute to Rockridge by BART and twice I was nearly knocked down in the crosswalk by a cyclist when I crossed College Ave. with a green light but, heaven forbid, they would not stop for their red light.  I’ve also noticed that cyclists who ride unsafely are usually the ones without helmets.  If they won’t stop their bike, they shouldn’t be on the road – go dirt biking in the hills where you can only hurt yourself!

  • Aaron

    I spend a lot of time in Golden Gate Park, as a driver, runner and walker. My best guess is that 30-40% of bikers run the stop signs. Those who do stop often do so only when it becomes obvious that it’s their only choice to avoid an accident.

    I also see a large percentage of bikers not wearing helmets. These same riders often bang hoods and shout at drivers/pedestrians who don’t honor right of way or get too close to the bike.

    My concern is if a certain biker is so arrogant about his own safety that he’s running stops and not wearing a helmet, I don’t want that person yelling at me or other non-bikers for some infraction, real or imagined, that puts the biker at risk.   

    I feel that the “everyone blames the bikers” mentality on display among the bike community today is related. I think every rational person realizes that cars are vastly more dangerous. I think everyone gets that most bikers are safe and respectful. I also think that the bike community’s unwillingness to admit how obnoxious many of its members come across is problematic. Just saying that you accept that irritating biker behavior underlies some of this would win you a lot of goodwill.

  • pablo_skils

    The problem is structural. The ideal is to have segregated bike routes, but for most city routes that’s more of an ideal than a real prospect.The road laws are not a good fit for cyclists and they encourage scofflaw behaviour among cyclists, particularly younger riders. Rather than clamping down on cyclists, which will encourage subversive behaviour, the change should be to give them some more room and respect. To this end, adopt the Idaho solution, which is that Stop Signs have Yield Sign status, and Stop Lights have Stop Sign status. This will have a huge moral effect on cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. I believe this will improve communication, because cyclists will be be working with a more functional set of rules and will look to pedestrians and motorists when negotiating a junction, rather than sneaking through. Also it will relieve aggravation among motorists since cyclists will not be breaking the law so frequently.

  • rockhugger

    alot of extreme factions of cyclists are very arrogant and self-righteous, even millitant in their attitude. Worse case examplified by the guy who killed the pedestrian. I think most ppl are pretty safe cyclists. but yes there’re a group that are pretty angry.. it might be a good idea to issue license and start siting cyclist more.. they are part of the traffic and need to play along with others.. this antagonistic attitudes can’t last. and i’m a cyclist too..and drivers too need to be educated about driving around cyclists more too. and urban planning need to build more bike dedicated lanes. truth is it’s sometimes harder to stop on a bike esp. when there’re so many downhills in san francisco.

    • oh great, even MORE government!

  • Jacwx

    These two bicyclists purposely made the concious choice to run lights that resulted in two deaths within a short span of time. 
    When you hit a person or object at the speed 10-15 mph and factor in the mass of your bicycle weight- think about the physics involved and the damage you are going to do when you collide with a person.
    It’s a shame but the time for bicyclist to be licensed and insured like vehicles is long overdue to stop the lawless nature of rogue bikers!

  • Adam1235

    Lack of consideration of others on roadways is endemic to this area and not just limited to bike vs. car. Jon stewart talked about merging on a New York highway and described the beauty of the ‘zipper’ merge, where there is a seemless cooperation for a moment at the merge, its you, then me. This dosent happen here. There is no cooperation at a merge or anywhere else. When was the last time someone kept right to let you pass? So many times I see people passing on the right at a merge just to get aheqd a few cars, and at the same time causing the traffic that they are trying to cheat.

    But the single most responsible party involved here is the Police. Being from the east coast, I can say there is a huge difference in police presence/activity. On the roadways back east, the cops own the roads and the people for the most part drive with that in mind. If people thought that their actions would have consequences more often, they’d be less likley to be inconsiderate.

    With people refusing to work together on a massive scale combined with a minimum of enforcement, the strife being highlighted in this forum as a bike vs. Car problem will not go away.

    And to eamonn, I’ve seen pedestrians pushing strollers walk right into an intersection without even looking, as many peds in california do. Peds have the right of way on the east coast too, but they also had mothers slapping their childern upside the head telling them to look, left, right, left before they cross. The mentality here is: Step into the street, they’ll stop.

  • Brakeless fixies are illegal! Best news of the day.

  • Annbmelamed

    We need to emphasize that if you kill or severely injure another person, whether by car or by ,it will affect YOU for your whole life.  You will carry it with you every day.  That’s how I taught my children when they were learning to drive….

  • Johanna Haag

    I bike, walk and drive in the city and Although there are certainly plenty of carless drivers I am shocked at how many BOBs we have! Loved that comment about bozos on bikes. People in SF love to demonize cars, but the truth is way too many bikers in this town blow through stops signs, traffic lights and go way too fast on bike paths. We ALL need to obey the laws, walkers that run out into the streets against thhe lights, bikes that fly through lights and cars that turn without looking and blow through yellow and red lights is why SF has such a problem on our streets.

  • Charloose1

    One of the big issues in SF is its geography. Bike riders are trying to carry momentum to climb hills and get up long and extended gradients. However, they must comply with the rules of the road or it will be… critical mass.

  • Fascism4all

    Dear Pedestrians and Drivers:  Let’s put a bike lane on each and every street, and each time a car or pedestrian enters or stops in a bike lane, the pedestrian or driver will be stopped, cited and have points added to their license.  Fully enforce that move, and I guarantee a huge drop in ‘bicycle-related’ accidents.

    Additionally, according to another person’s logic, each human being crossing a street should be educated on traffic safety, be tested, have to earn a license, and wear a license plate for easy-identification of jay walkers. 

    Also- 100% enforcement of NO pedestrians crossing outside of marked crosswalks, and NO pedestrians crossing on other than a full green light.

    • Aaron

      I think your attitude is childish. Everyone else is wrong, you are right, etc…

      • Fascism4all

         Um… It’s called Irony.  As in, I was posting IRONICALLY to point out how ridiculous this attitude and approach would be. However, if it gives pause to the next pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block, rather than within a crosswalk, or a motorist who stops inside of a bike lane to make a right-hand turn, then the posting will have been worthwhile, and might save a life.

        i·ro·ny1    [ahy-ruh-nee, ahy-er-] Show IPA
        noun, plural -nies. 1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
        2. Literature . a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated. b. (especially in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.
        3. Socratic irony.
        4. dramatic irony.
        5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

        • Eamonn

          Motorists are required to merge into the bike lane to make a right turn. The dotted line on the approach to an intersection indicates where they may do this.

          • Fascism4all

            Not all intersections with a bike lane have a dashed white lane separating the car lane from the bike lane. That is generally for where there is a right hand turn lane present. To validate this point I just walked outside down 3 blocks and found that there are streets where a car may make a right hand turn but the bike lane white line is not broken. Are you now saying that all motorists are required to enter and stand stopped within a bike lane whenever making a right hand turn?

          • Bob S

            Please see the vehicle code couplets 21717/21208(a)(4) (bike lane) and 22100(a)/21202(a)(4) (no bike lane) about motorists’ and cyclists’ movements at intersections where right turns are authorized, also 22107 about merging safely and signaling for a lane change.

  • elladaddy

    Educating everyone, cyclist, pedestrians, car drivers, all need to be courteous and educated.

    The accident involving a cyclist vs pedestrian was a tragedy.

    However, let’s be clear, a bicycle is not a car. A car has the potential to do THOUSANDS

    of times more damage than a car. “Different levels of responsibility” indeed!.

  • jack hodges

    I walk along the recreation path on the bay between Coyote Point and the San Mateo Bridge. The people who bike on that path have a pretty uniform attitude that ‘they’ have the right of way, when in fact they are the fastest, most maneuverable on the path. If bicyclists understood the general rule of [all] roads, that the least maneuverable entity, be it a pedestrian, or someone carrying a large and uncontrollable device like a kiteboarding kite, has the right of way, then maybe they would be looked upon as more human.

    And from my experience it is the ‘jersey pros’ who are the worst offenders among bikers.

    • Bob S

      You’re thinking of maritime and aeronautical right-of-way rules.  On roadways (which doesn’t include that path), right of way is determined by movement.  Please see CVC 21800 through 21809 on this topic.

  • Patrick

    In Japan, bike laws work why not here.  Bikes are registered and not stolen, police
    on bikes specifically watch bikers, bikers who break the law receive heavy
    fines, and hence there is almost no friction between bikers, pedestrians and
    autos.

    • and in Japan, bike thieves are tracked and prosecuted. In USA, the police don’t care about this rampant crime, even when there is forensic and video evidence. If you care about this, contact Mayor Lee and request SFPD carry out frequent bicycle larceny sting operations with bait bikes, like done in Sacramento, as seen on YouTube:

  • elladaddy

    Educating everyone, cyclist, pedestrians, car drivers, all need to be courteous and educated.

    The accident involving a cyclist vs pedestrian was a tragedy.

    However, let’s be clear, a bicycle is not a car. A car has the potential to do THOUSANDS of times more damage than a bicycle. “Different levels of responsibility” indeed!.

  • Norbert Scully

    Agreed that we need to respect every group in transit issues, but our systems and infrastructure do not. They, on average, respect only cars, with minor concessions for peds and cyclists. Until the design of public interfaces like roads, sidewalks and thoroughfares radically changes to respect pedestrian needs first, while also putting downward pressure on the cars, peds are gonna feel slighted and threatened.By the numbers it seems that the problem for pedestrians is not the cyclists, but rather douchebag drivers and the cities we design for cars as primary users of public space. If you dig into the history of bike activism, cyclists have done a lot to improve the quality of the pedestrian experience in their own efforts to improve safety overall.

  • Justinv

    I agree there are aggressive, dangerous bikers out there.  But it is crazy to expect bikers to follow exactly the same rules as drivers, esp. coming to a complete stop at ever stop sign.  If you want us to follow the exact same rules of the road, we can also take the complete lane in every road.  We usually do not do this out of courtesy to drivers.  But it would be safer for us to take the full lane of every road, every time we drive.  Do you want us to do this?

  • pablo_skils

    We are in a time of social change. Transportation modes are changing and there is friction. All road users should try to be tolerant of each other and accept that sometimes people do silly things. ‘People’ being those on bicycles, on foot and in motorized vehicles. All groups are equally culpable. Motorists are the most dangerous since they are in control of the biggest, fastest vehicles, and arguably they need to be the most responsible but this is a moot point. Changes to the infrastructure and the law are needed, and these are coming and lots of good people are involved in the process, but it is an ongoing process that moves more slowly than most would like.

  • Jane G Williamson

    Start with rebuilding and redesigning the DMV.  Include motorcycle & bicycle training.  We all agree that drivers need better education. I have a class M license and as a result of 35 years of motorcycling, I’m a much better driver, too.  As was mentioned on the radio, bicyclists are most vulnerable when stopping and going.  This is true for motorcyclist, too.  the difference is we have 400-500 pounds to balance and uncertain surfaces to place our feet (slippery fluids on road surfaces change the dynamics of balance).  
    Offer the education at the start before you allow someone to drive or ride.

  • PJ

    I agree with Amo online.  Everyone here seems to have the attitude that whatever mode of transport they’re using is the only acceptable form.  Bikers blow through intersections, sure, but what about all the jaywalking pedestrians or cars who do the Mission U-Turns (U-turn in the middle of a four-way stop)?  These incidents go largely unticketed.  With every group of transit being somewhat at fault, we need to be better at looking out for each other and ourselves.  Walking?  Look both ways before crossing the street.  Biking?  Maybe you should use your brakes (and if you don’t have brakes, maybe you should learn how to slow down or stop properly).  Driving?  Have you considered moving to San Jose or East Bay?  Kidding (sort of).  As a driver in SF, you must understand that you’re in a major metropolitan area where you’re in the minority.  Don’t try and beat the yellow lights and for Christ’s sake yield to pedestrians/cyclists.  You shouldn’t be in THAT big of a hurry trying to get across our tiny city.

  • K Online

    There is absolutely no need for bikes to come to a stop for “every” stop sign or red light.  All this does is slow down the bicycles & the cars behind them.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84eB0N-LG6M

  • Nospam

    Hi, I listen to your show every day from SW Florida (Naples) via Sirius Radio. Since you now broadcast to a market WAY outside your local SF news market, please give more descriptive and detailed info on the background of the local stories you are discussing.  Today’s show was presented in a way that assumed all of your listeners knew about the bicycle vs pedestrian accident that claimed the life of the senior citizen at Market and Castro.  Everyone in my car today could not figure out whether the bicyclist killed the father and 9-year old daughter, and/or the senior, or what role the Cadillac Escalade played in this accident (the Escalade in Concord).  You guys have to be much clearer about the details since your show is going to millions of people outside the SF news market.  Thank you.

  • TheyMightBeGiants

    Traffic laws apply to all traffic (automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboarders, pedestrians, *everyone*). There is a person in Santa Rosa who, as a pedestrian, was severly injured by a hit and run bicyclist. Police routinely ignore bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians. To believe otherwise is to live on Pluto; to say otherwise is to show one’s own bias (as well as confirm one is indeed Plutonian). Until the police face the fact of their own responsibility in the equal apllication of *justice,* all law enforcement probles will continue unabated. Unjust application of legal codes is the nature of corruption. Although this statement may seem unnrelated, justice is the bottom line in handling all legal and social matters.

    • elladaddy

      Should there be equal application of legal codes when comparing, say, the handling of firecrackers to the handling of TNT?

  • Able_Dart

    Nice to know that fixies w/o brakes are illegal. Technology is certainly an issue with bike regulation, b/c everyone still acts as if people are still riding Schwinns.  Modern road bikes easily break the 40mph mark. Speed indicators should be mandatory – that would be a first step toward making cyclists more mindful generally of their impact on traffic.

    It would be nice however if we also broke the political power of the bike coalition as well – they’re a duplicitious, single-issue pressure group which have held a disproportional sway on the political class for far too long. That said, more aggressive signage and enforcement towards all vehicle operators and pedestrians is necessary to make all of them more mindful of who is crossing the street and when.

    • Eamonn

      The surface of our cities are dominated by highways, road space for cars, parking spaces and parking lots. But yeah, bicyclists have “too much influence.”

  • Able_Dart

     Your position is ridiculous. If a bike hits a ped and kills them, that’s just as bad as when a car does it.

    Bicycles also have similar impacts to cars in terms of congestion and sprawl incentives, that is to say relying on distance between destinations. bikes do save on parking and emissions, but they aren’t saving the world and they don’t deserve a free pass. Shame on you.

  • Able_Dart

     Your position is ridiculous. If a bike hits a ped and kills them, that’s just as bad as when a car does it.

    Bicycles also have similar impacts to cars in terms of congestion and
    sprawl incentives, that is to say relying on distance between
    destinations. bikes do save on parking and emissions, but they aren’t
    saving the world and they don’t deserve a free pass. Shame on you.

  • Larry Cable

    bicycles and bicyclists are subject to a set of laws as are drivers and pedestrians; if they violate them they should be treated accordingly.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have encountered cyclists that ignore stop signs and cruise through them, if a driver did this they would be
    prosecuted.

    The existing laws should be enforced, regardless of the number of wheels or the power source, I know its inconvenient to stop, but its the law, and it contributes to overall safety.

  • jj

    No, but coating the city in CCTV sure is.

  • adam a

    a video demonstrating a city full of whizzing bicyclists: in the netherlands.  Note that even there, a small percentage of cyclists flaut the law, but its impossible to escape notice how safe that (extremely busy) section of street appears to be.  Perhaps those concerned about safety would do well to slow themselves down (by getting out of their car).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-AbPav5E5M&feature=player_embedded

  • djconnel

    There’s no evidence he ran the red light that I’ve seen.  He claims to have entered on yellow, which is allowed by law.

  • jd_x

    Great to see this issue getting attention. Some points though that must be kept in mind.

    1) All the different ways of moving ourselves fall on a contiuum in terms of the kinetic energy (which is proportional to their mass and the square of the velocity) they carry, and the kinetic energy is in turn proportional to how much damage and destruction is caused in an accident. Therefore, kinetic energy is a good way of measuring how “dangerous” a method of travel.

    The key is to understand that the two big factors are mass (weight) and speed. On urban streets, at the lower end you have the pedestrian and at the upper end you have the car (technically, the bus/truck, but we’ll ignore that for this argument). To get an idea of the scales involved here, the energy in a pedestrian moving about 3 mph is ~70 J. A car with 1-2 people on board, on the other hand, weighing ~4000 lb (the average in the US) and traveling say, 35 mph, has ~222,000 J (222 kJ) of energy; that’s 3000 times (yes, three thousand!) more energy than a pedestrian. Now take a cyclist who, together with their bike weighs about 200 lb and travels at say 12 mph. That corresponds to ~1300 J (1.3 kJ), or ~18 times more than a pedestrian.

    So step back and put this in perspective:

    Kinetic Energy
    ———————
    Pedestrian at 3 mph: 70 J
    Cyclist at 12mph: 1300 J
    Car at 35 mph: 222,000 J
    (for comparison, a car at 55 mph is 1/2 million J and a bus at 35 mph is 1-2 million J)

    On the continuum, a bicycle is much closer to being a pedestrian than it is to a car. A bicycle is certainly not a pedestrian, but the point is that the amount of damage it can cause in a collision is drastically less (by several orders of magnitude) than that of a car just by physics alone. Even if a cyclist were to go really fast at, say, 30 mph (which is ridiculously fast for any cyclist, unless bombing down a big hill), it’s kinetic energy is ~8000 J, still much closer on the continuum to a pedestrian than a car. Of course, this is why a car needs an engine with hundreds of horsepower while a pedestrian and bicyclist can get by with just human power.

    2) Higher kinetic energy isn’t the only thing that leads to more and worse accidents; also important is the ability of the vehicle to move/stop (agility/nimbleness) and how intact the senses of the operator are. Again, on the continuum, the pedestrian is at one end being the most nimble (pedestrians can move in all three dimensions, i.e., by jumping, whereas all others are stuck moving in the plane of the ground) and whose senses are the least dulled because there is nothing blocking their vision or their hearing (sure, they can wear headphones, but the point is there is a best case where, without wearing headphones, they can hear *really* well). On the other end of the continuum is the car who is the least agile and whose operator has all their sense impaired by the structure of the car (the car blocks the view so much you need multiple mirrors, and it dampens sounds so much that cops and emergency crews have had to develop enormously loud sirens and cars ridiculous loud horns just to penetrate the aural seal of a car). Further, the motorist has many more distractions than either the pedestrian or the cyclist: stereos, other passengers, air conditioning/heating controls, GPS, and now they are even talking about adding Facebook into the dash. So again, we see a bicyclist, though it can’t stop or move as quick as a pedestrian, can do so much more so than a car and in fact, on the continuum, is again much more like a pedestrian than a car.

    3) Regardless of the two points above that show that a bicyclist is in every way more like a pedestrian than a car, we as a society insist on treating bicyclists like cars since they are subject to essentially the same laws, and usually the same physical space, as cars. This is the source of most of the conflict between bicyclists and everyone else.

    In urban design, it was recognized when we first starting redesigning our cities for cars 100 years ago that the pedestrian was on the opposite end of the continuum as the car in all characteristics. And so the infrastructure reflected this: pedestrians were given sidewalks which are physically separated from car traffic (via a curb and often landscaping, utility poles, etc) and even separated traffic signals (the “walk” or “do not walk” signals at intersections). This makes sense, as you need to protect pedestrians from cars.

    But bicycles were ignored and instead lumped into the “car” category and told to follow the same rules as cars. They were given none of their own dedicated infrastructure until recently, and until even a few years ago and then only in a few select locations (cycletracks), this was nothing more than the scraps of urban design, literally putting a line down on the shoulder where cyclists are squeezed between parked cars with doors opening and fast-moving cars on the other side. Imagine if we took a road with this sort of bike lane and told the pedestrians: “You are going to change places with the cyclists. You will use the bike lane as your sidewalk, and the bicyclists will use the sidewalk as their bike lane.” Can you guess what the reaction would be? Outrage. And understandably so: why would you put a pedestrian right next to fast-moving cars? That would be ridiculous.

    Yet that’s exactly what we did to cyclists, even though they are just as vulnerable to cars as a pedestrian. Further, even though cyclists do not have hundreds of powers of horsepower to accelerate and are literally as vulnerable to cars as pedestrians (sitting atop 20 pounds of steel does nothing to protect you in an accident, and can even make things worse since you know fall down as well as getting knocked parallel to the ground), cyclists were somehow excepted to act just like a car.

    But as I’ve shown above, they are nothing like a car. In fact, they are more like a pedestrian than a car (although different enough that I, and most others who actually try to cycle on our urban roads, quickly realize that they need their own unique needs met with separate infrastructure and laws from both pedestrians and motorists). So is it really any wonder that cyclists have developed a mentality on the roads that is different from cars (and pedestrians)? They were literally ignored and their own safety was trumped for the convenience (being able to move quickly, lots of (usually free) road parking, etc.) of the motorist. Anybody that would ride in such conditions would either get seriously hurt or killed and stop riding, or would adapt different behavior from cars or pedestrians in order to survive in this harsh environment. That is why we are left with the fact that, those that do cycle have adapted a different way of handling the streets. It comes across as aggressive, but it’s really the natural thing *anyone* who doesn’t want to get hurt or killed will do when thrown into such a dangerous environment. (It should be noted that, as bicycling infrastructure has improve in the last 10 years, cyclists are having less and less reason to be aggressive in order to survive, and hence you are seeing this mentality drastically changed … but we still have a long way to go).

    Once you realize that bikes are *not* cars, it opens a whole new world to how to design our roads. For example, there is nothing gained by having cyclists stop at an intersection with stop signs when there is no one else present. In fact, this is exactly how pedestrians operate: they don’t have to stop at intersections — they just cross. You have to remember that the purpose of a stop sign is to determine right of way. That is it. There is no reason that people actually need to stop. That only came along with the car when it was quickly realized that they have too much mass, too much power, and their drivers senses are too dulled to determine right of way safely without stopping. But bicycles, again being more like pedestrians than cars, don’t have the same problems. This has already been adopted to great success in Idaho and is now known as the Idaho Stop Law (http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2009/07/28/a-stop-sign-solution), and many in CA are trying to get it passed in this state.

    But this is just one example of how bicyclists unique needs can be accommodated in our future urban design. Other examples include more obvious things such as separated infrastructure from cars (cycletracks), their own signals at intersections with traffic signals (see Amsterdam or Copenhagen for how this can work), and laws that recognize that bicycles are *not* cars and should be punished differently when breaking laws. That means that the fines for breaking laws (assuming those laws have been designed for bicycles, not for cars and then inappropriately lumping bicycles in as “cars”) should be lowered, compared to a car, since the bicycle causes much less damage when abused due to the reasons outlined above. That doesn’t mean that bicyclists who act negligently and seriously hurt or even kill somebody (as rare as this is) shouldn’t be punished fully. Not at all. What it means is that there is no need, for example, to expect cyclists to stop at an empty intersection, or come to a perfectly complete stop if there are cars there as long as they yield properly (you can “almost stop” enough to determine right of way … remember that stopping is not only just inconvenient for a cyclist, but it is less safe since they have little control at slow speeds when they are wobbly), etc.

    The point of all this is simply this:

    Bicycles are not cars.

    They should have their own infrastructure, own laws, and their own punishment for breaking their own laws, just like we have for pedestrians.

    And of course, none of this even gets into the bigger-picture issue that cycling is a *huge* net benefit for society because of the massively-diminshed environmental footprint, increased health benefits, and increased contribution to livable, humane, and quiet cities to which bicycles ultimately lead  ….

    • jsallen

      You cloak an unscientific conclusion about collisions in scientific language. The seriousness of an impact is proportional to change in velocity, not to the ratio of kinetic energy of the objects that collide. By your logic, a collision with the earth — a fall — would vaporize the bicyclist. No matter how massive a vehicle colliding with a bicyclist, an impact at the same speeds results in no more than 4 times the energy dissipation as one with another bicyclist.

      Your broad-brush advice on facilities is naive: for example, separate signals decrease the green time for everyone  and increase the temptation to run red lights; inappropriate segregated facilities increase conflicts at intersections. I do agree about rolling stops.

      • jd_x

        @google-2048233442d2736b03a62dea24d8018a:disqus You are confusing what I am saying. The point is that, the more massive and faster a vehicle travels (which exactly corresponds to a higher kinetic energy and hence is the reason talking about kinetic energy is so useful), the more force it exerts on whatever it hits. It’s just that simple. (And, as a side issue, though no less important, higher kinetic energy also means its harder for the vehicle to stop or maneuver around an object so that it can prevent collisions in the first place.) Kinetic energy is a useful way to quantify how dangerous a vehicle is. It quantifies what we already qualitatively know … for example, why getting hit by a semi truck going 65 mph is worse than getting hit by a sedan going 65 mph is worse than a sedan going 35 is worse than a bicycle going 15 mph is worse than getting hit by a pedestrian going 3 mph. I was trying to give numbers (not obfuscate the issue) so that people understand the scale of the numbers involved because I think that’s very important. There seems to be this perception that bicycles are somehow as bad, or more dangerous than, cars, but this is nonsense just based on physics and the magnitudes of the numbers involved, which is what I was trying to show.

        But sure, there is one more thing (and only one more thing) besides kinetic energy that determines how much force is imparted on somebody in a collision: how quickly the vehicle stops or slows down due to the impact. The more quickly the vehicle stops (decelerates) after hitting an object, the more force it imparts to that object (and, by reaction, to itself). For example, consider a car traveling at 50 mph. It has some kinetic energy. Say it hits a brick wall and goes from 50 mph to zero in a 1/2 second. Because it decelerated from such a high speed to zero so quickly, by Newton’s second law (F = ma), a high force is exerted on the wall and hence itself. But now take the same car hitting an enormous, 20-ft thick, heavy duty mattress covering that same brick wall that more gradually slows the car down so it goes from 50 mph to 0 mph in, say, 2 seconds. Since 2 seconds is 4 times larger than 1/2 second, Newton’s law tell us the imparted force is 4 times as small, which matches our intuition that it’s much safer (lower force) to hit a padded wall than an unpadded wall.

        However, it is true that the collision between a car and a brick wall is not the same as that between a car and a pedestrian. In the case of the brick wall, since the car is *completely* stopped by the wall, *all* its kinetic energy is lost (to deformation of the wall and car, heat, and a little to sound). In the case of the pedestrian though, not all the kinetic energy is transferred to the pedestrian. For example, in the horrible case when a car is going 35 mph and it nails a pedestrian just standing there without braking at all, the car will only be going a little bit slower afterwards (and hence having only a little lower kinetic energy). The difference in kinetic energy is how much energy is transferred to the pedestrian (by giving them kinetic energy (sending them flying) and deforming parts of the car and parts of the pedestrians body), and clearly it’s much less energy than is lost in the case of the collision with a break wall. So, in a collision, you need to consider not just the kinetic energy but the “softness” of the parts that are in contact in the collision. This is exactly why cars have crumple zones: the car is effectively slowed down in a longer time during the collision (the crumple zone is like a spring), maybe 1/2 second instead of a 1/10th of a second, which means lower forces imparted to the car (and hence passengers) as well as whatever the car hits. But this doesn’t change the fact that, the higher the speed the car the has right before the collision and the higher its mass — so the higher its kinetic energy — the worse it is for all involved.

        “By your logic, a collision with the earth — a fall — would vaporize the bicyclist.”

        What? Not at all. If somebody falls 8 feet compared to 2 feet, they will be traveling much faster (twice as fast) the instant before they hit the ground. That means that they need to go from a higher speed (twice as high) to zero in essentially the same amount of time (the split second it takes for the ground to decelerate them), which corresponds to a higher force. That is the reason it hurts more the higher from which you fall.

        “Your broad-brush advice on facilities is naive: for example, separate signals decrease the green time for everyone”

        What? Do you mean for cars? I think you misunderstand me: I am *not* concerned about decreasing the convenience of drivers. For too long, the convenience of drivers has trumped the safety of cyclists (and pedestrians). It’s high-time we trade in some motorist convenience for cyclist/pedestrian safety, and if that means motorists need to wait 5 seconds longer at traffic lights, so be it.

        “and increase the temptation to run red lights”

        For cars or cyclists? I’m very confused what you are talking about. Maybe you can be more clear.

        • jsallen

          JD_X: A bicyclist getting hit by a truck doesn’t suffer a worse impact than a bicyclist being hit by a car, all other things including speeds and as you correctly mention, softness, being equal, because the car is already so much more massive than the bicyclist that it hardly changes speed due to the impact. Almost all of the change in speed in either case is the bicyclist’s. Faster matters. More massive doesn’t, if the vehicle is already much more massive than the bicyclist. The relationship isn’t proportional.
           
          As to the decrease in green time with separate signals, it could be mostly for bicyclists, or for motorists, but in the USA, usually motorist interests dominate and it is for bicyclists. Have a look at the videos here and see an all-too-typical example:

  • Cyclists are hardly a statistically significant hazard to pedestrians.  Drivers are the real problem.

  • This story has gotten a lot of air time because a cyclist killing a pedestrian is so rare. Plus, the cyclist seemed so clueless about the severity of his action. But traffic safety is mainly about controlling drivers of motor vehicles. First, because there are so many of them. Secondly, because they drive two to three ton vehicles.

    That’s not to let this cyclist off the hook. He did the crime, he should do the time. If you don’t take vehicle operation seriously, you should not be operating a vehicle, whether it is a bicycle, car, or eighteen wheeler.

  • Eamonn

    I drive at the speed limit on the freeway and feel like a snail when doing so. I drive the speed limit on city streets and get honked at regularly by the impatient motorists behind me. I always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks when driving and I almost get rear-ended every time. The day when sanctimonious motorists start obeying the law will be the day when they can start lecturing others about the rules of the road.

  • Beth

    On the week ends we get lots of week end bike riders here in the Sierras. Most are from suburban areas and they have NO idea what rural winding roads are like in mountain areas where on week ends we have residents who are on the road with horses, or going with kayaks down to the local rivers to enjoy the day. Or bike riders who think nothing of using our property as their bathroom, and garbage dump for food wrappers.

    So I have a LOT of sympathy for city residents who have to deal with bike
    riders who either don’t know the rules of the road or don’t care. So its NOT just city bike riders that can be a problem.

    Sadly its a bad FEW bike riders who leave a bad impression on non bike riders, which isnt fair to ALL the good bike riders that statistically are the majority.

  • Christine Halamka Kudija

    Shortly after listening to this morning’s Forum, I drove south along Buchanan from Lombard. There are four-way stops on all the intersections all the way to Japantown, save for a few signalized intersections. As I proceeded after stopping on Green or Vallejo, paying attention for cyclists, a helmeted and spandex-clad cyclist blew through the intersection in front of me, completely ignoring not only the stop sign, but my Corolla. I wanted a louder horn. I’m an occasional cyclist, and understand the problem of coming to a full stop at an intersection. But geez – had I not been on the lookout for bikes, not to mention being sensitized by Forum, there might have been one more biker in the hospital this afternoon.

  • Richard

    How come there was no one on the show from the Pedestrian Safety Task Force on the show

  • H Weiner

    I am grateful for the opportunity to be on Michael Krasny’s program about bicycle safety and pedestrians.
    As I noted on Michael’s program, the problem has come to a head with two dead pedestrians who were run over by cyclists.  When Leah sat on the MTA Board, I attempted to bring this problem to the Board’s attention without success.
    In the past, the Bicycle Coalition has supported members of the Board of Supervisors and MTA itself. They have protected the Coalition,  but now their luck has run out.
    To their credit, the Coalition now educates their bikers not to crash the red light.  These efforts should be brought to the attention of the public.
    The solution is not impossible to balance the rights and needs of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.  In Europe where bicyclists are many and the bicycle is a legitimate means of public transportation,  pedestrians are respected without the incidents that have occurred in the last two years.
    It also seems that European bicyclists realize their rights and responsibilities.
    If bicyclists wish to have the same status as motorists, they should have like obligations which includes accountability before the law and public. If a biker injures someone, they should lose their biking priviledges for at least a year. They should be required to have a license (a sliding scale based on income would be appropriate)  and pay parking fees.
    Now, some cyclists claim that they are not polluting the environment. But they do pollute the intersection at times to the endangerment of those crossing with the green light.
    Not all bikers are bad. But at least 1000 out of the 10,000 members of the Bicycle Coalition crash the red light and, when challenged, respond with an obscene gesture,  despite the city rolling out a red carpet for them.
    To avoid further tragedies and potential violence where cyclists are pulled off their bikes and beaten up for crashing the light,  it is time for all concerned parties to work out constructive  solutions.
    We owe it to the memories of those who died tragically in the intersection during the past year.

  • BYU2001

    This post raised an interesting question.

    http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2012/04/06/did-strava-com-help-kill-pedestrian-sutchi-hui-whats-your-time-on-the-castro-street-descent-aka-castro-street-bomb/

    I think Strava does help promote some competition. Is this tragedy a case of unintended consequence?

    What do you think?

  • Biodieselmillan

    Here’s a solution we can all get behind, and it’s very easy to maintain once they’ve been installed. 

    ROUNDABOUTS!

    Yep, roundabouts would increase safety for drivers and bicyclists alike.  They virtually eliminate head on, and serious collisions in intersections, and additionally they save fuel, decrease emissions, and reduce traffic.

    Go support or build a roundabout at a corner near you… 

  • Pedcycle

    I appreciated the forum and am both a pedestrian and bicyclist in SF.  I was disturbed by Herbert Weiner’s comments about “people might just want to beat up cyclists”. One, I can’t believe that was allowed to be aired as it has an air of incitement, and two,  that Michael Krasny did not call him on it!   To suggest violence is unethical and irresponsible. We have got to find a peaceful solution to our transportation issues. 

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