The captain of the San Francisco Police Department’s Park Station is planning a crackdown on bike riders who roll through stop signs on some of the city’s most popular bike routes, saying “protection of life” is his top priority. But bike advocates say police should focus traffic enforcement on the greatest threat to lives: dangerous behavior by drivers.

The comments by Capt. John Sanford were made at a community meeting Tuesday night, according to Hoodline:

Traffic enforcement teams will consist of bicycle officers and marked police vehicles, said Sanford, who reported that district officers have given 38 traffic citations to cyclists between January and May. “I am not too shy to say that it is a problem,” said Sanford, who encouraged attendees to spread the word that a crackdown is in the works. “Tell your friends to slow, stop and obey,” he said.

SFPD spokesman Albie Esparza confirms the department is planning targeted enforcement against people who bike in the Park police district, which includes The Wiggle, Panhandle and Golden Gate Park.

In addition to drivers, “we do see a large number of pedestrians and bicyclists who are also committing violations, and we cannot simply turn a blind eye and just ignore that,” Esparza says.

But bike advocates say SFPD should focus on the top five traffic violations by drivers that cause the most deaths and injuries on the streets.  Police pledged to have those violations account for 50 percent of all citations, as part of the city’s Vision Zero goal to end all traffic deaths by 2024. 

Taking enforcement resources away from the most troublesome driving behaviors is dangerous in itself, says Chris Cassidy, communications director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

“Frankly, we’re concerned about people living in, and going through The Wiggle, Golden Gate Park and Inner Sunset if there’s any diversion of traffic resources away from Vision Zero,” says Cassidy.

A study by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency found drivers at fault in two-thirds of severe and fatal traffic collisions.

Esparza says the department does plan to stay focused on the five most dangerous driving violations: speeding, running red lights, failing to yield to pedestrians, failing to yield while making turns and ignoring stop signs. But he says the department will continue to do targeted enforcement against bicyclists just like it does against people who drive and walk.

“This portion is going to be educating enforcement of bicycle laws to make sure we have people educated, and also enforce the laws to change behaviors, so we can see safer roadways,” he says.

Cassidy says the crackdown would be a change in tactics by Park Station. After receiving complaints, the previous captain would alert the bike coalition so it could increase education efforts.

“SFPD has been fantastic citywide at increasing their focus on the five deadliest traffic behaviors,” says Cassidy. “Recent comments from the Park Station are really an aberration from SFPD’s work towards eliminating traffic deaths.”

Cassidy says the SFBC encourages bicyclists to follow the rules of the road. But Streetsblog San Francisco points out:

The stop sign law in every state except Idaho assumes that bicycles are just like cars, creating the unrealistic expectation that someone on a bike should make a full stop at every stop sign, even when they are clearly not violating anybody else’s right-of-way.

The letter of the law leads to an unproductive fixation on the way that people naturally negotiate stop signs on a bike: by slowing, checking for traffic, and being prepared to yield to others.

Esparza did not indicate when the crackdown would begin.

  • Glad to see this! The police need to start cracking down on cyclists to prevent X amount of death and injury they cause on streets of SF. By the way, does anyone know what the tally is this year?

    • dayv

      zero i believe

      • That doesn’t sound right. I’ll check The National Journal of Anecdata.

        • jamiebronson

          Good luck finding your favorite source of “facts.”

          • Well it’s not easy. Can you tell me how many people on bikes hurt or killed people this year? It’s a simple question. It’s only been answered with RAGE CAPS & “I don’t know and I don’t care”. I really want to get out a powerful message that bicycle behavior needs to change, rather than simply say “it’s illegal” .

          • jamiebronson

            I don’t know of anyone who is currently tracking that data. Injuries are likely under reported. Deaths I am sure are small but then again so are bicycle trips. Accounting for less than 1% of all trips. In bicycle fatalities there seems to be a inordinate amount of bicyclists who were legally drunk (20%) and mostly male (83%). Cars only accounted for 29% of injuries. source: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet_crash.cfm

          • Thanks for this. There’s no firm data in there on how many people bikers kill & injure but we can casually lump it into the harm they do to themselves.

            The pedestrian injuries are listed but I don’t see “hit by bike” in the top six. Even though getting hit by a bike is less than “Tripped on stone” or “Stepped in a hole” it should be cause for alarm and we should crack down on them.

            We should also probably tell pedestrians to stay inside if at all possible, or crawl on the sidewalk with a helmet. But seriously, it’s safer if they just drive a car.

    • baudknight
      • Ah I see how it works! Someone asked me how many people on bikes killed or injured other people this year, but we can just lump hurting others with your bike & getting hurt by your own negligence biking as one in the same.

      • @baudknight – Sample size in that is meaningless, not to mention the short timespan.

  • monicker

    I guess it just goes to show how readily people accept the status quo, no matter how bad it is. People in motor vehicles get away with murder in SF every single day. Bikes, for whatever reason, take an incomparable amount of heat (often from the very people driving those cars). It’d be nice to see SFPD, say, enforce a speed limit or, better still, go after the endless, brazen double parking for the most trivial reasons on every thoroughfare in SF. I see people double parking on Pine Street to get a coffee at La Boulange. Unreal.

    • baudknight

      It’s not always either/or. As San Francisco gets more and more cyclists, it’s getting to be both/and. Just because there are cars doesn’t mean police can or should ignore the dangerous things that cyclists do.

      In certain ways, bike commuters can be *more* of a threat to pedestrians *because* they’ll perceive themselves as less dangerous. This encourages lots of bike commuters (at least as far as I’ve seen) jump sidewalks, ignore crosswalks (which is probably the main concern with rolling stops here), and accumulate insane speeds on hills.

      • @baudknight:disqus – Sample size and short timespan make that source meaningless.

    • Corki C.

      I find it unreal how many bicyclists run stop signs and red lights, blast through crosswalks with pedestrians in them , and won’t yeild to faster traffic even when it would do them no harm to do so. Yes, drivers are thoughtless on ocassion, but bicyclists are reckless and aggressive. Want to use the road? Obey the rules.

      • @Corki C. – Obey the rules, except of course the speed limits, those don’t count for some reason.

      • Michael Xavier Junko

        You might want to actually pay attention to driver faux pas, as well. Nearly everyone who uses the roadways breaks the law. “Some” drivers are thoughtless on occasion, but many are negligent or blatantly reckless and aggressive. Some drivers are jerks, and some cyclists are jerks. If you think the two are comparable in terms of public endangerment, though, you probably also can’t tell the difference between a firecracker and a stick of dynamite.

        • Hata H. Zappah

          How many times does it have to be said. Oh wait, here’s one more–WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO RIDE BIKES.

    • Hata H. Zappah

      But we’re not talking about vehicles, we’re talking about bikes. Always asking us, “what about bikers?” is a distraction tactic that people without a defense for their own behavior try to use to take the heat off of them. In other words, I guess it just goes to show that they don’t take any more heat than they require. But they sure do require a lot. That’s because unless I’m on a charity ride, ALL I EVER SEE ARE ROLLING STOPS. See, what you don’t realize is that “cyclist” is a term you earn. You earn your right to ride by following laws that in place FOR YOUR SAFETY. It’s your part in the SOCIAL CONTRACT! Why is it that the cyclists who roll are never concerned about their safety enough to do something to make themselves safer. No, it’s always got to be, “Imma do whatever whenever and you need to stay out of my way or I’ll piss and moan about it to anyone who will listen for the rest of my life.” NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE!

      • sflifer

        A great way of looking at it – i myself always refered to cars verses bikes verses pedestrians and you’ve made a valid point – its a culture change – we’ve always had all three in this city, but what we havent had is an entitled group of fortunates that think the sun and the moon rise and sit on their behinds – our only problem before was the ignorance of the less fortunate – I dont think theres a responsible driver out there that doesnt fully agree that irresponsiblle drivers should be held accountable – thats logical -and why in the world would the same logic not apply to a cyclist or a pedestrian – contrary to what the “new” cycylist believe the car drivers over all are not out to get them – and stop with the victim baloney – you not the first humans to ride and invent the BIKE”- many of us ol’fogies road them back and forth to school and used them for transportation before it was a trend and amazingly enough are here to talk about it – why? – we were logical – cars weighed a ton and we didn’t take one on – we carefully manuvered around them and off we went -by the way we had to license those bikes back then too and behaving recklessly got ya ticket back then too- as for pedestrians really – now we have to have a walk coalition – as part of my entry into elementary school we had the “WALK. LOOK and LISTEN ” program – every public school at the beginning of every school year schools took resposibilty k-6 to dedicate about 10 minutes a morning for a week to go over the rules of waliking to school and doing it safely. At the same time of the moring when we pledged our allegence and sang God Bless America – Never in that week even at five years old did i ever understand that walking safely meant that i should exspect that a vehicle should be responsible for seeing me -or a bike for that matter- here we go with that logic again – we were taught to always assume they don’t – this is how you will always remain safe – i see walkers step off of center divides from behind plants onto busy streets – my favorite is when a pedestrian steps out from behind a large vehicle parked before a crosswalk on a street where the speed limilt is 35 miles an hour – really? – logic should tell you that there is a good chance a vehicle doing the speed limit won’t see you in time to stop – our good ol fashion way where you STOP LOOK and LISTEN is a logical remedy for that – they gave us a booklet that was about envelope size to take home we colored the contents and returned it signed by our parents that they too went over walk safety with us – those booklets cost about 25 cents tops now theyd be about a buck – i’d rather spend money on that then paying the saleries of those at the WALK COALITION what a joke – another non profit lining tbeir pockets with tax payers money – Our teachers did a fine job but of course that program was a good one so keeping it would mean thinking logically and in this new culture logic doesnt apply – and this my friends is why law enforcement is left to ticket the daylights out of us – unless we bring common sense back into lifes equation get used to it because this is only the begining of what its gonna be like to have big brother breathing down your neck

  • thuggyBear

    let me guess: Sanford is a fat Republican from the outer Bay Area who drives a giant gas guzzling SUV that makes him feel like his tiny, flaccid penis is a big raging man boner.

  • S. Ron Butler

    People oversimplify this debate. Car laws don’t really make sense for cyclists. if SFPD plans to actually ticket dangerous behavior by cyclists, I’m all for it. However the reality will probably just punitive citations against cyclists regardless of if their behavior was dangerous. If every cyclist in SF decided to take the lane and come to a complete, foot down stop at every stop sign or light it would be chaos and the city would spasm with impotent road rage. SFPD should ticket cyclists who don’t stop at intersections where there is actual traffic, or things that are situationally dangerous given other traffic. I’d support huge fines for that, but this issue is usually about punishing people for riding bikes rather than actual dangerous behavior. I once saw a cyclist ticketed for running the light for the pedestrian cross walk across market near City Hall. There was no pedestrian anywhere close to the cross walk. Why bother with the ticket? At 11PM on Kirkham in Sunset, should it really be illegal to not make a complete, foot down stop at every sign when there are no cars in sight? We need to rethink the laws, not bicker about treating bikes like cars, and the Bicycle Coalition’s failure to make this the main point of their lobbying is a ridiculous failure.

    • Dave Raines

      Are you okay with cars not receiving red light tickets when no one else is around? Speeding tickets? Cell Phone tickets? Drunk driving arrests? Please outline what are acceptable infractions for police to ignore when there is no other car, truck, bike or pedestrian near.

      • dayv

        cars kill, thats the difference bike rules should be more like ped rules, if no one is there you can go.

        • SJMatt
          • @SJMatt – There have been 2 pedestrians killed by bicyclists in 27 years, probably longer. Meanwhile, someone is killed by a car every 21 days. 1 of these bike/ped fatalities has received more media attention than all of those car/ped fatalities combined, and sure enough, here’s a commenter pointing it out yet again. In case we somehow missed it.

          • jamiebronson

            How many have been injured and what is an acceptable loss of life or limb to you?

        • jamiebronson

          Oh really? What is an acceptable loss of life to you so that you can avoid traffic laws?

          • dayv

            zero loss of life, and if you understood my comment you would have understood that. Just a little background – I have been riding my bike in this town for 30 years without an accident, ok ive been doored a couple times but even those were in the early 90’s. I have run thousands, millions?, of lights without hitting or even getting in anyones way. This is because I slow, make sure no one is coming and give pedestrians the right of way before crossing. Most cyclists do this, but unfortunately some don’t, maybe 2%. While I would in theory support ticketing these unsafe cyclists, I do not trust police to make the distinction between defensive cyclist and the handful of assholes. This has little to do with safety and everything to do with raising monies.

          • S. Ron Butler

            i totally agree with you except for the percentage of inconsiderate cyclists. i think it is far more than 2%, probably more like 30%. super defensive cyclists seem like an extreme minority in SF to me.

          • VWWV

            what a clown response

          • jamiebronson

            Oh, ok you troll.

        • CJ

          Actually, it’s against the law for pedestrians to cross against the light or jaywalk, so if you say they should be like ped rules, then they have to come to full and complete stops. Even if no one is there, pedestrians are, by law, not allowed to go. They can be ticketed. It’s still against the law.

      • MV

        A greater probability of harm should carry a greater enforcement. 180 lbs does more harm than 3000 lbs. That’s why I want airline pilots to be randomly drug tested, but pedestrians and cyclists, no. It’s also why truck drivers require special licensing. But to answer your question, I have no problem with a cop not enforcing a rolling-stop if no one is around. Same with 65 in a 55 zone. But cell phone tickets? Everyone including pedestrians (crossing the street) should get those.

      • S. Ron Butler

        I think the Idaho Stop is a good place to start: http://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/07/20/bikes-are-not-cars-why-california-needs-an-idaho-stop-law/. Also, right turns onto dedicate bike lanes as a yield rather than a stop are extremely safe and should be allowed. What I think we need is meaningful and severe enforcement of stealing the right of way at any intersection, weaving through moving pedestrians, taking the lane opposing traffic, and riding on the sidewalk unless going as slow as pedestrians. To specifically answer your question, if there is no other car, truck, bike or pedestrian near police should ignore every infraction other than trespassing. I am advocating for severe enforcement of cycling rules, they just have to be sensible rules.

      • scelerat

        Cars grossly outweigh/outkill pedestrians and cyclists.
        They have poor visibility.
        They are very different from bicycles.

  • Warren

    I sure am glad they’re cracking down on those horrible cyclists instead of those nice crack dealers and customers on 9th and Mission. We wouldn’t want those folks to be wrongfully cracked down upon. /eyeroll

    • Hata H. Zappah

      If you want us to focus on “those nice crack dealers and customers on 9th and Mission,” then I suggest you observe your role in the social contract and follow the law that’s in place for your own safety. If you do your part, then the police can then do their part. Simple as that, point blank period, end of.

  • Aaron Peter Gordon

    Must apologize for my biking extremedies…..hadn’t’ ridden in a while. Yours sincerely. Skeleton and roses…skels,& roses……

  • Richard Rothman

    Bicyclist need to follow the law just like auto driver Why should bicyclist be any different. When’d I cross the street I am just as worry about getting hit by a bicyclist and I am of a car. Bicyclist need to stop at stop sign and give the right way to people crossing the street just like cars.

    • Lard Man

      When jogging, do you come to a complete stop before entering the street at a four way stop, even when there is no traffic?

      • DrG

        Sorry, but if someone breaks the law, it doesn’t give you the right to break it as well. Maybe you should take a civics class if you don’t get that idea.

        • dayv

          or maybe the bad law should be changed.

          • jamiebronson

            ding! ding! ding! If you think it’s a bad law then get it changed. In the meantime you are still breaking it.

          • DrG

            Then organize and have it changed. In the meantime, obey the law. I don’t think it’s fair that capital gains should be taxed at less than earned income. But that’s the rule *until it’s changed.* I’m urging my representatives to get it changed. Meanwhile, I can’t say to somebody, “It’s unfair for you to be paying 20% when I’m paying 38% on income.” They’re not breaking any law by doing so.

    • Eric

      “Why should bicyclist be any different.”

      For starters, hundreds of thousands of people in the US aren’t injured killed by reckless bikers every year…

    • @Richard Rothman – I would love to follow the law just like Otto Driver, whoever he is. However, I find it very difficult to go 10-15mph over the speed limit, which is the norm for motorists. Please advise, I sure wouldn’t want not to be like Otto.

  • Sheet Metal Alchemist

    I don’t think the police are very concerned about safety of cyclists. Instead, I think they see cyclists as a new revenue stream for municipal violations to increase department revenue. True?

    • Billy Lipps

      Simply enforcing laws that are already on the books doesn’t seem like a covert mission at all.

      • Sheet Metal Alchemist

        I don’t think its a covert mission. However, when was the last time you saw someone get a ticket for Jaywalking? That’s a law on the books too, and never gets enforced. I just wish the police were more forthcoming with what they are trying to do – increase revenue stream by increasing the number of municipal violations. This has nothing to do with safety.

    • Dahlgren

      I certainly think that all bicyclists should be registered and insured! And yes, it could mean more revenue, but all they would have to do is obey the traffic laws!

      • Hata H. Zappah

        I would also make them swear under oath that they understand that they are as much a danger as any automobile if they are acting unsafely.

        • dayv

          so you want folks to lie under oath?

    • Hata H. Zappah

      If they want special treatment, which they do, then they can pay for it. Tickets are one way of accomplishing this.

      • Sheet Metal Alchemist

        My point here is that if the police want to give tickets, that is fine. Coaching it in safety is nonsense. Its citing safety as a reason you are getting a ticket for doing 5 over the speed limit. Are you unsafe? No. Do the cops want your money? Yes. Just asking for some SFPD honesty here.

        • Good point – going over the speed limit by 5 miles is not a safety issue. I never believed this nonsense.

  • Dave Raines

    Please list the top five fatal and injury bike/pedestrian crash reasons, whoever is at-fault – driver, bike rider or pedestrian.

  • mercury613

    It’s about time.

  • brezina

    Let’s remember the user incentives here. A car driver has zero danger of being hurt when colliding with a bicycle or a pedestrian. However, it is just as dangerous for a pedestrian and the bicycle if the two were to collide. So for all but the most reckless of bicyclists, the incentives are aligned. With cars, the user incentives are not aligned – which is why we need to strictly enforce car driving laws – to protect the unprotected.

    • dayv

      just as dangerous?, not the way i ride a bike, i dont go fast enough to hurt, or even hit anyone….havent in 30 years…

      • brezina

        that too. we clearly can’t physically ride fast enough nor weigh enough to inflict the type of harm as a car inflicts on a pedestrian. But what i was discussing is that in a bike vs. pedestrian accident, both people will get hurt. With Car vs. pedestrian, only the pedestrian is at risk. So we have to enforce car rules much much more strictly because of this

  • Confucius

    I drive more then most in this city as Uber driver and have more than 100,000 miles on my bike (27 year old Ritchey) and I am appalled by the behavior of cyclists in this city. Many do not stop at red lights, most do not have lights on at night, many are arrogant assholes particularly in the Mission. A few have even struck my vehicle with metal objects when I have pulled over to let passengers out Most act like spoiled children. If we all are taxed and need license and insurance, then these assholes must do the same and pay for the privilege.
    Have a nice apoplectic moment…

    • Matt Barr

      Wow an average of 101+ miles a day on your bike really?

      • MGM

        You messed up a zero Matt. That’s actually 10.1 miles (100,000 miles divided by 9,855 days)

  • I am a cyclist. And I for the most part cyclists in the city don’t follow the laws and take advantage, putting others at risks. In Berlin cyclist never move through red lights or don’t stop behind the painted line because if they do, the fines are huge! Simple. I love to cycle and I think most ignore that they are part of the same regulations that other vehicles are… NOW… about those skateboarders!!!????

    • jamiebronson

      Berlin has seriously cracked down on that menace known as the Fixie with no brakes. Something that should also be outlawed here.

  • Billy Lipps

    “They should focus on only one group of people that are breaking traffic laws and definitely don’t make it the group of people that I am part of”

    I’ve slammed on the brakes plenty of times for bicyclists who blow through signs in potrero/mission with them screaming at me for their error before using the pedestrian cross walk on the next block to get around a red light.

    If you want to have cars all follow the laws then then bikers should have no problem doing the same.

    • @Billy Lipps – Your first sentence is the true insight here. The rest of your comment misses its point.

      • Hata H. Zappah

        NOPE.

  • MV

    Yesterday, during rush hour, I saw a group of about 20 cyclists in “the Wiggle”, all individual commuters. So here’s a question for all you angry car drivers: Should each cyclist take an individual turn at the stop sign? Should they do so in the middle of the lane, just as they would if they were a car? Will you patiently wait behind them while they do so? Or should they stay to the right, thereby blocking cars making right turns? If you’re in your car at a 4 way stop, with 4 cars and 4 cyclists all from opposing directions, what right-of-way to go straight does the cyclist have if they stay on the right side of the road? And how many seconds is a stop, anyway? Perhaps those 20 cyclists I saw should all be driving cars – would that make you happy?? All this “they should follow the rules of the road” is a thin veneer for simply hating cyclists. Folks have no idea how painful the traffic would be if every cyclist did what cars are supposed to do (but never do) which is count “3 California” at every stop. I drive a car about 60 miles per week, and I ride a bike about 100 miles per week. Many cyclists are untrained, distracted and annoying. Just like many drivers of cars and trucks – but a car weighs 3000 lbs. There is no doubt that we need traffic reform, and cyclists need to be better trained. But simply sniping (and ticketing) cyclists to follow the rules that aren’t very well thought out (and drivers routinely ignore) is a waste of everyone’s time.

    • jamiebronson

      Ah yes. The break the law cyclist justification. Hey, I understand, you want the rules of the road to apply to you when it suits you (using full road lanes) but ignore them when it isn’t: Stop signs and red lights. Genius!

      • MV

        You’ve answered none of my questions and made an ad hominem – you’re contribution has been astounding.

        • jamiebronson

          No, you failed to read the response. The answer is yes: Bicyclists need to adhere to the rules of the road, Instead of insisting it is your right to break the law why don’t you change it. In the meantime follow the law.

          • MV

            No, I failed to see your response as useful. Still failing to see it. And I’ll assume you’re using ‘you’ as a general term. And please show me where I “insisted on my right to break the law”. In the meantime, 65% of all fatalities in SF were the fault of cars, 20% were the fault of pedestrians (between ’08-’12). So, it seems like 85% of the enforcement and education effort should be placed toward cars (especially) and peds. Bikes come in at 7%.

    • @MV – In my experience, motorists get impatient and make dangerous and illegal maneuvers to pass me when I do that.

      There have been three videos I know of that have addressed the “problem” of bicycle scofflaws/crackdown on the Wiggle:

      1) Anonymous footage during a 2007 SFPD crackdown on bicyclists.
      2) Footage by Scott James in 2009 in support of a Bay Citizen article complaining about bicyclists.
      3) Footage by Stanley Roberts in 2015 to record an event of a bicyclist calling out other bicyclists.

      All of these videos showed more motorists than bicyclists failing to stop at STOP signs. The 2007 footage was perhaps intending to do that, but the 2009 and 2015 videos were attempting to draw attention to the bicyclists. It’s very revealing that neither of the makers of these videos were even aware of the motorist behavior they were documenting.

      • jamiebronson

        LOL!

      • MV

        Indeed they do Jym, and I’ve been known to do the same when I’m driving my car. Car or bike, I avoid the Wiggle these days. There needs to be a complete re-thinking of traffic laws and management in this town. And no, that does not preclude/exclude cyclist education and responsibility in the meantime.

    • Hata H. Zappah

      It’s not a waste, it’s giving cyclists the attention they desire, all while charging them a fee for the privilege.

  • Nic_Jay

    These comments are really good representation for both sides of the “should cyclists be allowed to ignore the rules of the road that have been laid out for cars?” conversation. While I agree that this is an important topic, policing through ticketing isn’t going to do much. The 1 million parking tickets doesn’t stop people from parking illegally and the 130,096 traffic citations written in 2014 (up from 87,629 in 2013) hasn’t stopped people from breaking traffic laws. Two years ago the police attempted this same tactic (http://sf.streetsblog.org/2013/10/22/sfpd-still-targeting-bike-commuters-rolling-stop-signs-on-the-wiggle/) and it doesn’t seem to have “solved” the problem of cyclist not stopping at stop signs. So, for those that want to see cyclist ticketed for this behavior I wonder what your true motive is? I could completely understand the crackdown if there had been an increase of collisions on the wiggle, but the police haven’t identified that as the impetus for the crackdown. Perhaps a better designed roadway system based on the safety of all users would be helpful and safer for both cyclists and automobile drivers.

    • Hata H. Zappah

      I don’t know if it ever changes any rider’s habits, and quite frankly I’m not concerned with getting others to follow the law. So if they can’t and expect special status, fine, they can pay the price for it.

    • jamiebronson

      “1 million parking tickets for parking illegally”
      Uh, no. There is a difference between parking illegally as in double parking and a meter expiring. i haven’t had a parking ticket since pay by phone parking was instituted.

  • Marilyn Ehing

    Thank God. SF worst place for bad behavior bikers. Live in Monterey Peninsula and have lived previously in Sonoma County, near lots of colleges where students ride a lot of bikes, no problems. One of the most effective thing that was put in place years ago here was a bike path that runs along HWY1 for the most part. It goes from Marina, Ca. to Carmel, Ca. I also ran into bikers on HWY 1 at articoke stand, they had just riding from Carmel straight through to Castroville, and were continuing to go down HWY 1 to Bay Area. They encountered no problems.

    • Mark Van Winkle

      Most of tge People who ride their bike on the 1 are doing it for fun. That is a terrible comparison to make of the thousands who ride their bike for their main form of transportation in sf to the old people and tourist taking a nice scenic stroll.

  • Dahlgren

    This is amazing news! I so excited that the California Vehicle Code, which applies to ALL bicycles is finally being enforced. It is rare that a day goes by that I’m not nearly run-down by a bicycle! Which usually entails them going from moving traffic, whipping into the cross walk to avoid the light, and then tearing down the next open avenue all without slowing down, yielding to pedestrian, and blatantly violating the law. I’m far more afraid of being murdered by a bicyclist than being hit by an automobile!

    The CVC states that bicycles must:
    Obey All Signs, Street Markings, and Signals – Bicycle riders must obey the same rules as vehicle drivers. This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs. CVC 21200.

    I’m sure that some will whine and say that bicyclists are being targeted unfairly, but the truth is, we just want them to obey traffic laws! They are a moving vehicle, so they should stay off the sidewalks, because they certainly don’t qualify as pedestrians, and they should obey the moving vehicle laws of our state!

    Thank you SFPD for finally enforcing what is a growing problem and concern for our city!

  • jamiebronson

    Let’s get SFPD to crack down on Critical Mass too. It is insane that the city grinds to a halt because of these scofflaws.

  • jms_mcrae76

    About time we sort out all the self-entitled suburban kids riding through the city with no regard for the rules of the road. MOST simply don’t know the rules and shame on all “bike advocacy” groups for encouraging this. Stand by any junction downtown during rush hour and count the cyclists running lights – its a VAST majority.

    • Hata H. Zappah

      OMIGAWD, I want to take your words and put them on a big plaque, several copies. Then I want to build several shrines, one for each plaque, and I want to pay owners of buildings to place these shrines which will have your words.

    • VWWV

      then compare that number to the number blowing through when cross traffic has the right of way and there’s ACTUALLY someone there to use it.

  • CJ

    YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!

    Absolutely THRILLED about this. Cars have their problems, but as a pedestrian, I’ve had more problems with bicyclists than cars. Cyclists
    assume they can disobey the traffic laws, especially running stop signs and lights, and they can’t. Stop signs are there for a reason. When
    getting off of the MUNI trains, cars and cyclists must allow passengers to safely disembark and move to the sidewalk. This is a HUGE problem in
    the wiggle, specifically when the N Judah first pulls out of the tunnel. Cyclists, who have already blown through the stop sign at Church and
    Duboce, keep going as if there are no pedestrians exiting the train(s). I am SOOOOO glad this issue is finally being addressed.

    Then there are the jerks who ride their bicycles on the sidewalks. There are very few places in SF where this is legal, one of which is along the Embarcadero. But along a busy, crowded Market Street? No. If it’s allowed, there are mixed-usage signs telling you so. If you don’t see
    that sign, don’t ride on the sidewalk. I actually had some cyclist ride up behind me on the sidewalk once and tell me to move aside. I told him
    it was illegal to ride on the sidewalk. He told me it should be illegal to listen to my music while I was walking legally on the sidewalk. Are you kidding me? If there hadn’t been a child around, you can bet I would’ve yelled a few profanities at him. Obviously my music was not loud since I heard him talking to me to begin with. Jerk.

    Again, I get that car operators break laws, and they should absolutely get ticketed when they double park (causing delays, blocking traffic),
    roll through stop signs (possibly causing injury), pull into driveways and just park there (blocking foot traffic, which is especially difficult for those in wheelchairs or with strollers), or park in bus zones (causing MUNI delays). But cyclists need to obey the laws too.

    Oh, and I’m TOTALLY fine with pedestrians being cited for jaywalking, crossing against the red, or otherwise breaking the law. (Personally, I
    think they should be ticketed when a bunch of them stand around blocking the sidewalk as people are trying to walk by. It’s called a sideWALK,
    people, not a sideSTAND.) I received a ticket for jaywalking in Walnut Creek in the 90s, and it was deserved. Pedestrians doing this cause
    delays, too. BTW, when the red hand starts flashing or the countdown begins, it is against the law to enter the crosswalk. That countdown is to let you know how much time you have left to finish crossing if you’ve started. This allows turning traffic to complete their turns before the lights change, which allows traffic to flow smoothly. It is not so you know you have two seconds to cross four lanes of traffic. At least 1/4 of the traffic problems are caused by pedestrians thinking their time is more important than anyone else’s time and they must cross now, rather than wait for their legally allowed time. That’s why there is so much backed up traffic at intersections along downtown on Market Street; drivers trying to turn right, pedestrians trying to run across before the light turns. Drives me crazy, and I’m not even in a car!

    NOTE: I know this does not apply to all cyclists; I’ve some friends who actually do obey the laws. But the problem I specifically mention at
    Duboce/Church, with the N Judah stopping and pedestrians disembarking, is huge. Out of the hundreds of cyclists I’ve seen over the years at
    that intersection, not even 5% stop for the pedestrians.

    • jamiebronson

      well said.

      • CJ

        Thank you.

    • ag

      Certainly bikes should be safely yielding and courteous to pedestrians. If there are specific problem intersections, they should be policed and extra signage added. My bet is that most of the tickets will be written absent any pedestrian traffic. It’s just picking on the weak.

  • Helloo

    This has happened to me far too many times. I’m at a stop sign, no other cars so I start to go. Out of no where a cyclist blasts into the intersection. Luckily I was able to hit the brakes on every occasion, but the crazy thing is the blatant disregard from these people. Not only did they not stop, I notice they don’t even turn their head to look to acknowledge the presence of the much larger and heavier car.

  • I-the-independent

    I ride bike too but does not expect Cops to ignore me if I break the law then why all these other riders expect to do that. Why do you even want to break a red light? Driver is not responsible for hitting you if break the lights

    As driver I am really scared of riders who break the rules and don’t look around while riding. I don’t want to hit anybody but there are many tiles these riders just come from nowhere as they are not following the rules.

  • scelerat

    Observe how many CARS come to a complete stop at any stop sign in the city. Stopped means, wheels are not moving, at all.

    If you pay attention for ten minutes, you will find that number is close to ZERO percent for all vehicles.

    Taking this into account with the facts that people cars are at fault for the majority of injury and fatalities, and that they individually have a far greater potential to injure or kill compared to an individual bicylist or pedestrian, any measure which takes focus away from the overwhelmingly greater health threat should be regarded with much scrutiny.

  • breed7

    Boo hoo. Bicyclists are going to be forced to obey the law. Motorists get ticketed for running red lights or driving in a reckless or dangerous manner, but bicyclists have the nerve to complain about having to follow the same rules. Too bad. Stop blowing through stop signs and follow the same rules everyone else has to.

  • Jeff Henken

    I am highly supportive of cyclists’ rights and believe we need to do more to get people out of their cars. Here in Louisville, KY, cycling is becoming very common and the city is even increasing things such as bike lanes, education, etcetera to support that movement. That being said, this article reads EXACTLY like many of the criticisms I’ve heard of cyclists. In Kentucky, the rules of the road apply equally to bikes and cars. They are both considered vehicles. That means stopping at signs and lights. Many drivers are annoyed at cyclists (some drivers because they’re just annoyed at everything) because there is this tendency to comply with things in cyclists’ favor and disagree/disregard things that aren’t. Can’t have it both ways guys, either cyclists are vehicles with a right to the road or you aren’t…

  • Jason Chappell

    Bicyclists absolutely do not need to follow the same rules as cars…just as pedestrians have the right of way over cars, so do bicycles…good luck enforcing an unenforceable law where I could just ride away from you, and not give you any of my information, because there is no bicycle licensing…I’d love to hear how people think this is going to be enforced?

  • r_c_brooke

    Perfectly legal! As long as police can show they have done a similar crackdown on motor vehicles to the same extent. Otherwise it’s selective enforcement. That said:
    Cyclists ignoring safe cycling on the road should be called out by members of the Bicycle Coalition groups, first. Since that hasn’t worked, if done, the PD does need to get involved. Hate it when a few disrespectful a**holes ruin things for everyone else.

  • djbetten

    I bike in SF everyday and in all most all neighborhoods. I have been biking in SF for many many many years. My observation from being on the street everyday is that most bicyclist do not follow the rules of the road unless they’re in imminent danger. I am not sure why bicyclist do not follow the rules of road…. may be they don’t know the rules, or they don’t care, or they feel entitled, or the rules don’t apply to them, or as one comment below suggests, it should be left up to each bicyclist to decide if the situation is dangerous or not and proceed accordingly. If San Francisco ever hopes of becoming a bike friendly city in the same league as the truly world class bike friendly cities in the world, all bicyclist in SF need to wake up and start following the rules of road. Unfortunately, that wake up call may need to be in the form of tickets. Changing behavior is always an uphill battle, but we can not give up because having a bike friendly community is a quality of life issue worth the fight. Lets stop blaming the motorist and police, and engage in some self-reflection.

  • Patrick Ward

    I wish it was legal to hit them with your car.

  • Jason

    The crackdown doesn’t make sense for cyclist.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5lGKIPlsX4Y

  • Jason

    What a waste of resources. This explains perfectly why the crackdown shouldn’t be happening….. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5lGKIPlsX4Y

Author

Bryan Goebel

Bryan Goebel is a reporter focused on transportation and housing issues. He was previously the editor of Streetsblog San Francisco, and an anchor/editor at KCBS Radio. He's a lifelong Californian and has also worked at radio stations in Barstow, Redding and Sacramento.

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