A Young Cyclist’s Death Spurs Changes, Lawsuit in Cupertino

An outpouring of flowers and candles were left near the site of the collision last year, where a ghost bike stood in Ethan Wong's memory.

An outpouring of flowers and candles were left near the site of the collision last year, where a ghost bike stood in Ethan Wong's memory. (Courtesy of Anthony Label )

Update, 9/21/15: Last week, the Cupertino City Council decided to make earlier waste and recycling pick-up in the Tri-School area permanent, but will revisit the issue in three to four months.  When asked if the “no truck” signs had been posted, Public Works Director Timm Borden said: “We’ve been putting the signs up just over the last few weeks. So if they’re not all up yet, it’s pretty close.”

Original story:

When Ronald and Athena Wong heard that a young cyclist had been killed near their son’s high school in Cupertino last October, they sent a series of frantic texts begging him to call home. But 15-year-old Ethan Wong was a careful person — who even refused to let his mom handle her cellphone when she drove.

The crash site was nearly a half-mile from Monta Vista High School in a residential neighborhood. Worried parents flooded the school with calls. Hundreds of students pedal to Monta Vista every day.

According to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, the driver of a big-rig hauling gravel was stopped at the light on McClellan Road, waiting to turn north onto Bubb Road. When the light turned green,  the truck moved forward, began to turn and “made contact” with a bicyclist’s handlebars on McClellan Road before a pair of railroad tracks. The young rider “lost control” and was “thrown onto the pavement.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.

That rider would later be identified as Ethan Wong.

His death left his family “broken,” according to a lawyer representing them. It also jolted a community and galvanized a strong push to make the streets safer to bike and walk.

“It was really an inflection point,” said Larry Dean of Walk-Bike Cupertino. “The parent community, especially, was incredibly alarmed, concerned and distraught.”

Nearly a year after Wong’s death, Cupertino has made some progress on its streets, according to safe streets advocates and city officials. But a wrongful death suit filed by Wong’s parents Aug. 27 in Santa Clara County Superior Court alleges that public agencies failed to warn of dangerous street conditions and “caused a trap for students attempting to ride bicycles.”

The suit by the Wongs names the driver, Manvinder Sandhu, of Tracy; his company, Moonlight Express; four companies that “owned and maintained the truck and instructed truck drivers in the use and operation of the truck at issue;” the city of Cupertino; and Santa Clara County.

The crash at 8:18 a.m. on Oct. 27 occurred in a neighborhood with five schools, including De Anza College, where Sandhu was headed to deliver gravel, and Monta Vista, where Wong was a sophomore.

A spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County coroner said Wong, who was wearing a helmet, died of cranial cerebral injuries, or head trauma, due to a “bike accident” with “unclear circumstances.”

No Charges

After reviewing the case, including video surveillance, prosecutors said they were unable to determine fault in the fatal collision, and declined to file vehicular manslaughter charges against Sandhu.

“We decided that there just wasn’t sufficient evidence to determine the driver was at fault, and that this was anything more than a tragic accident,” said Assistant District Attorney Brian Welch, who added that Sandhu was not cited for any traffic violations.

The lawsuit alleges that the 44-year-old driver made several cellphone calls while driving and was “engaged in a telephone conversation” during the crash. The Wongs’ attorneys, Anthony Label and Steven Kronenberg of the Veen Firm, say that information was contained in the police report, which indicated Sandhu was using a hands-free device, which is legal under California’s cellphone law.

The suit also claims Sandhu violated California’s Three Feet for Safety Act. That law, which went in effect a month before the crash, requires drivers to maintain a safe distance of at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist. If street conditions don’t allow enough safe space, the law requires drivers to slow “to a speed that is reasonable and prudent,” and only pass when it is safe to do so.

The Wongs’ attorneys believe it may be one of the first lawsuits in California to claim a violation of the 3-feet law in a wrongful death case.

A woman who answered the phone at a number believed to be Sandhu’s residence said he wasn’t available to comment. Attempts to reach Sandhu at his business were also not successful. A Mercury News report quoted a Sheriff’s Department spokesman who described Sandhu on the day of the collision as “shocked that he was involved in an accident” and cooperative with investigators.

Truck Regulations

Sandhu had to be flagged down by witnesses, and reportedly said he never saw Wong, who was riding westbound in the McClellan Road bike lane, which narrows before the railroad tracks, according to the Wongs attorneys.

The driver told sheriff’s investigators his GPS system directed him to travel onto McClellan Road, which is not a designated truck route. However, the city’s truck route restrictions make exceptions if another route is the most direct to a destination. The suit claims Sandhu’s route was not the most direct, and that the driver should have taken Stevens Creek Boulevard, the most direct route that is also designated for truck traffic.

Had signs been in place that said “no trucks” allowed, and if the city had done something about the dangerous conditions, the crash could have been prevented, the suit argues.

“McClellan Road where the collision occurred was and continues to be an inadequate, unsafe, and dangerous trap for both bicycles and motor vehicles,” the suit reads. “Long before Ethan Wong was killed, the city of Cupertino … could have warned of or repaired these dangerous conditions at low cost.”

The suit alleges the city ignored an ordinance passed in 1977 that requires signs to be posted warning drivers with large trucks that weigh 3 tons or more that truck travel is allowed only on designated truck routes.

In the wake of Wong’s death, the Cupertino City Council strengthened the ordinance in March to restrict truck travel near schools between the hours of 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. However, as recently as a few weeks ago, the signs had not gone up, which means the ordinance can’t be enforced, Cupertino public works director Timm Borden said in a recent interview. He did not say why the signs haven’t been posted, and city officials would not comment on when the signs might go up.

The city also approved a pilot program that required garbage and recycling pickup at 6 a.m. in certain neighborhoods to prevent bins from obstructing bike lanes. The hope was that residents would retrieve the bins earlier “to increase safety on our streets for pedestrians and cyclists.” The pilot ended in June, but on Tuesday the City Council will consider making the early pickup permanent.

Borden would not comment on the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the Cupertino city attorney also declined comment, saying the suit has not been reviewed.

A ‘Broken’ Family

Ethan Wong, 15, was killed by a truck driver while riding his bike to school on October 27, 2014.
Ethan Wong, 15, was killed by a truck driver while riding his bike to school on Oct. 27, 2014. (Courtesy of Ronald and Athena Wong)

Ethan Wong loved to tell jokes but was also quiet and shy, his father wrote in an email. Anthony Label, the family’s attorney, said Ronald Wong and his wife, Athena, were too distraught to do an interview. He described their family as “broken.” Ethan was especially close to his mom, Wong wrote, and even though going off to college was still a few years away, he had already fretted about leaving her.

A pianist who completed advanced classes at 14, Ethan loved to play Beethoven and pop. He had taken a recent interest in running and cross country and was active in the Boy Scouts. He had been working toward becoming an Eagle Scout and was planning his last outdoor adventure requirement, a trip he never got to take. His father and his only sibling, 12-year-old Gavin, plan to take it in Ethan’s honor.

The morning he died, he ate a Swiss cake he liked. A presentation he’d be doing the following week — tied to a book about Julius Caesar he was reading for his English class — had been on his mind for days.

“We heard him practicing in his room often the week before and during the weekend,” wrote Ronald Wong.

Label said the Wongs described the teen as a “safe and cautious” bicyclist, who taught his younger brother “to be careful when riding his bike around town.” The whole family would sometimes go on rides together.

“Ethan Wong was an amazing and talented young boy who was doing nothing more than riding his bike to school that morning,” said Label. “Many people failed Ethan that day, and on behalf of his family, we intend to make sure that everyone who failed him is held responsible.”

Wong’s death left many parents and students in the tight-knit community shaken, said April Scott, principal of Monta Vista High School. Thousands of students at other schools wore purple and yellow, Monta Vista’s official colors, in Wong’s memory and hundreds of students attended a memorial.

“His death certainly was an emotional time for all of us,” said Scott. “As a community you just immediately project, ‘This could have been my child, this could have been my neighbor.’ ”

The bike racks at Monta Vista High are often full, Scott said. About 400 of the school’s 2,450 students ride their bikes to school daily while hundreds walk. The school district’s facilities coordinator says he’s gotten requests for more bike racks at other schools.

Safe Streets

Cupertino has added green paint to a number of its bike lanes.
Cupertino has added green paint to a number of its bike lanes. (Courtesy of Larry Dean )

Cupertino, the home of Apple headquarters, is a quiet suburb of mostly single-family homes with a population of 60,000. City officials say there has been a “steady increase” in bicycling,” due in part to Apple’s encouragement, and new infrastructure that has gone in. The city encourages students to bike to school.

After Wong’s death and a community meeting that drew 400 people with more than 200 ideas to improve safety, the city hired its first Safe Routes to Schools coordinator, said Borden, the public works director.

“It was definitely a tragedy, but the good that comes out of it is, it has lit a fire to get some of these things done that we wanted to do for long time,” said Borden.

In the last year public works crews have painted a number of bike lanes green, and added buffers along bike lanes near some schools, filled in gaps in the bike network and other improvements. In March, the city updated its bike plan and is now working on a long-term strategy that could include protected bike lanes.

“While we’re a long ways away from a leader community, I would say that we’re catching up quickly, and making some very good, quick progress,” said Borden.

Larry Dean of Walk-Bike Cupertino agrees the city has been making progress, but he still can’t describe the streets as safe and friendly.

“It basically hasn’t been safe to ride, or a lot of times, to walk in the community,” said Dean, who founded the safe streets organization after witnessing the aftermath of another collision involving a young bike rider.

In the last two years, there have been 46 collisions in Cupertino involving bicyclists, including the crash that killed Wong, according to Borden. Thirty-three resulted in injuries. During the same period, 27 pedestrians were hurt in crashes.

City officials and safe streets advocates say communication among the schools and city agencies has dramatically improved. The city has also been working with safe streets advocates, including the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, to increase bike safety education.

With new developments in the city, including Apple’s headquarters expansion, there is a growing demand for a bicycle-and-pedestrian-friendly environment, said Dean.

“I think there’s a great deal of room for optimism going forward, as long as the community and the city executes on all of these initiatives,” said Dean.

For Ronald and Athena Wong, their hope now is to prevent another fatal collision like the one that killed their son.

“They really want two things,” said Label. “They want to know who is responsible for their son’s death, and they want to help make sure this never happens to another family.”

According to Ethan‘s father, his parents didn’t get a chance to talk to him on the morning that he died.

The last time they saw him was the night before, around 11 p.m., when he came to their room, gave a hug and kiss to his mother, and said, “Good night. I love you.”

Athena Wong told her son: “Good night. I love you, too.”

Edited by David Weir, Patricia Yollin and Dan Brekke.

The original version of this story has been clarified to reflect that the crash happened before the railroad tracks, not at the intersection. 

  • The moral of this and many other such stories: However fashionable it may be now, riding a bike has intrinsic dangers its advocates—and the media—often refuse to acknowledge.

    Not a single local media entity, for example—including KQED—has even mentioned that 2012 UC study that found that San Francisco has systematically failed to count many—more than 1,300 by my reckoning—serious cycling accidents in the city between 2000 and 2009, especially what it called “cyclist-only” accidents that didn’t involve another vehicle (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23032807), which means that improving “infrastructure” is not the solution that is always mentioned in these stories.

    Mr. Goebel’s previous employer, SF Streetsblog, has also failed to write a single story about that study, though Streetsblog is supposedly dedicated to making our streets safer for cyclists. The New York Times, on the other hand, thought it was newsworthy:
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/how-safe-is-cycling-its-hard-to-say/?_r=2

    That NY Times story included a link to the Centers for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/index.html) that takes us to this paragraph:
    “While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do. In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries. Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.”

    It’s just irresponsible for governments, schools, and parents to encourage children to engage in this risky behavior.

    • gneiss

      I can’t even begin to understand why you would post this response on this article when it isn’t even tangentially related to the issues at hand, but let me point out a couple of things:

      1. This crash did not occur in San Francisco, but in Cupertino. You reference of the 2012 UC Study is therefore not relevant to this community
      2. This crash was not a solo collision and separating truck traffic from bicycle traffic would have prevented this crash from happening, as has been shown in many communities, such as Davis California where an extensive bike lane network exists to reduce these occurrences
      3. Your CDC link is broken.
      4. You mention that people riding bicycles are at a higher risk of crash-related injury, but fail to mention that the leading cause of death in this country for people aged 5-34 is from motor vehicle crashes, not from bicycles: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/overview/data.html
      5. The person in question here was fifteen years old. Since this young man would have been eligible to get a provisional drivers license at sixteen, you can hardly use his age as a reason to argue that he should not have been using a vehicle on the road.

      • Flayer

        Rob Anderson’s points are very good and you should re-read them. The PC crowd and the schools continually push for kids to bike to school, even hosting “bike days,” and such. Then to,their horror there

        • Alicia

          However, why try to blame the trucker.

          Because he started to drive forward without checking for pedestrians or bike riders, that’s why he’s to blame.

          He is also experiencing a horror of his own
          Yes, let’s let everyone who is responsible for a child’s death off because they are experiencing a horror of their own. Medical malpractice? No big deal. Day care worker or nanny lets a kid drown or otherwise die? They’re experiencing a horror of their own – no need to investigate!

          even if perfectly innocent, he is asking himself if there was anything he could have done.

          And the answer is that he could watch for pedestrians and bike riders before proceeding forward.

          just last night a young girl crossed the street in front of me late at night, no street lights (and why is that?), wearing black and not even one reflector on her or on her bike.

          Totally irrelevant anecdote when we’re talking about an incident that happened in the daytime (shortly after 8 am).

          but suing the truck owners and driver will NOT bring them the peace they are seeking.

          No, but it may take a careless driver out from behind the wheel of an above-average sized vehicle.

      • The link I provided works everywhere but here. Maybe KQED has a problem.

        1. The UC study I linked shows that riding a bike in SF is more dangerous than City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition have been telling us, especially solo falls that don’t involve motor vehicles. That’s a reality that applies everywhere, not just in SF.

        2. As long as cyclists share roads with motor vehicles, this kind of accident is inevitable.

        Governments see cycling as a green, win-win deal, since it marginally helps them with traffic congestion and they can also trumpet their environmental credentials.

        Instead of over-selling cycling like they are now, governments should at least issue some kind of consumer warning about the real dangers of riding a bike—for children and everyone else.

        • Yep there’s nowhere in the world where this model works, nowhere.

      • dat
        • Finally, someone acknowledging the study. Remember the study? The City government really needs to let people know of the dangers of biking in the city. Don’t look any farther than that. There’s nothing more dangerous than a bike in a small condensed city. All bikes, and only bikes, should come with a surgeon general’s warning, like cigarettes.

          • You inadvertently raise a good point. Instead of simply encouraging people to ride bikes, inform would-be cyclists of the real dangers involved.

          • Glad you agree! If there’s one form of transportation in the city that should come with a warning label it would be the one that kills & maims the most in the city, bikes.

          • No, there were only three cyclist fatalities last year—all due to the cyclists’ own recklessness, by the way—but cycling causes as many injuries to cyclists as motor vehicles.

          • But how many bikers killed or injured others? Was it around 20 deaths and 900 injuries?

          • Alicia

            all due to the cyclists’ own recklessness, by the way

            Allegedly, according to cops on the scene. Those judgments are pretty questionable, though.

            http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/12/18/trial-begins-in-wrongful-death-suit-against-driver-who-killed-bicyclist-amelie-le-moullac

  • The elephant in the room is we have a mode of transport that is more deadly than getting shot with a rifle. A 2007 AAA study showed that motor vehicles cross the fatality threshold of small arms (9% fatal) between 22 and 23 MPH, and get exponentially more deadly (asymptotically, there is a limit on how many times you can get killed in one wreck) as speed increases, with 40% of cyclists and pedestrians hit at 30 MPH expiring from their injuries rising to 80% by 40 MPH and 95% by 50. An SUV at 60 MPH has the destructive power of a 155mm Howitzer (or for those shooting from a ship a 6″ 50 naval rifle).

    However fashionable it may be, a motor vehicle is still the most destructive device most Americans have control over in their lives. 35,000+/- bodies every year attest to that.

    • Actually, traffic fatalities in the US have been going down even as we drive more:

      http://www.newgeography.com/content/004892-is-suburbia-crashing-suburban-traffic-myths-refuted

      • Only for people inside the motor vehicles, pedestrian and cyclist deaths have been level or increasing. That’s because since 2006 passenger cars have to be capable of running into a concrete wall at 35 MPH, and everyone in the car has to be able to open the nearest door and walk away from the wreck. There has never been a US standard for people getting killed or injured outside the car. Look at the pedacyclist and pedestrian stats from year to year, a fluctuating average of 700 cyclists and 4k pedestrians killed every year.

        • Flayer

          My friend, a very athletic young man, hurt himself terribly – almost lost an eye – when he fell from his bicycle making a simple turn at a corner. Nobody to blame and nobody to sue. Those solid green cycling lanes are quite slick when wet – I hope the city isn’t sued when someone skids and falls while on the green paint.

          • Yes, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons—they know something about head injuries—says that cycling causes the most head injuries in the US—even more than football.
            http://www.aans.org/Media/General%20Press%20Releases/2008/May/Using%20Your%20Head%20Can%20Help%20Prevent%20Potentially%20Life-Altering%20Summer-Related%20Sports%20Injuries.aspx?sc_database=web

          • Flayer

            Then there is this danger:
            “San Francisco Cyclist to Get Probation, Community Service in Pedestrian Death
            By Jon Brooks
            JULY 23, 2013

            San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced Tuesday a plea deal with Chris Bucchere, the Marin County bicyclist who notoriously ran over and killed 71-year-old Sutchi Hui at Market and Castro streets in March, 2012. Bucchere agreed to a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter, but will avoid jail time with a sentence of three years probation and 1,000 hours of community service. The Chronicle is reporting that Bucchere could potentially have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor…”

          • There you have it! The only transit related death in the past 2 years, complete with the offender’s name. Ban bikes, now.

          • Cycling is “transit”? No one is talking about banning bikes.

          • Alicia

            No, you’re just talking about encouraging people to be afraid to use them based on studies that are contradicted by other data, per the links you yourself provided.

          • Alicia

            Note: you have to go back two years to find an example of a bike rider killing someone in SF. You only have to go back nine days to find the last time a car driver killed someone in the Bay Area:

            http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/09/09/bay-area-jazz-blues-icon-killed-monday-in-alameda-traffic-accident/

          • Flayer

            Alicia, this is getting tiring and nothing I say and no evidence or facts will convince you of any other position other than the negligent driver killed the innocent child, there is plenty of evidence that whenever a car and a bike collide, biker looses, no matter who is at fault. And sometimes there is no fault because it was unintentional and thus an accident. There is plenty of evidence that whenever a biker and pedestrian collide the pedestrian looses. There is plenty of evidence that bikers injure themselves all on their own with nobody to blame except slick road surfaces or momentary loss of balance. I will not falsely accuse a driver of negligent homicide. That doesn’t mean I do not have the deepest sympathy for a parent who has lost a child. I am more concerned with the criminals who purposely kill innocent citizens and why they are out on the street. Perhaps – just a suggestion – you direct your energy and anger in a more productive direction, to the number of multiple felons allowed to live amongst us who wreak havoc on truly innocent citizens.

          • Alicia

            Alicia, this is getting tiring and nothing I say and no evidence or facts will convince you of any other position

            Well, considering you haven’t provided any evidence or facts, I’m not sure how that statement is relevant.

            There is plenty of evidence that whenever a biker and pedestrian collide the pedestrian looses.

            There is also plenty of evidence that there are ways to prevent the confrontation in the first case.

            There is plenty of evidence that bikers injure themselves all on their own with nobody to blame except slick road surfaces or momentary loss of balance.

            That’s not more relevant in Ethan Wong’s case than your complaint about bikers riding after dark with no lights. There was no rain. He was not riding in the dark. Et cetera. I’m not blaming car drivers for bikers injuring themselves independently. I *am* blaming them for instances when they injure bikers like Wong with careless driving habits.

            Perhaps – just a suggestion – you direct your energy and anger in a more productive direction, to the number of multiple felons allowed to live amongst us who wreak havoc on truly innocent citizens.

            I’m sure you’re content with the fact that over 30,000 people get killed in traffic incidents every year, but I consider trying to bring that number down a very productive use of my time. Felonies, by definition, are acts that are already punishable by stiff jail sentences. The law provides a recourse for victims of those acts. There’s not as much legal recourse for people who get killed by bad drivers.

          • Ethan Wong was riding his bike on a road he shared with trucks. There’s still no evidence that this truck driver was at fault, but you insist on making this a morality tale. Someone must be the Bad Guy! As long as cyclists are sharing roads with motor vehicles—that is, forever—then accidents like this will happen.

          • Alicia

            Ethan Wong was riding his bike on a road he shared with trucks.

            On a road that is not designed for trucks, and where trucks are discouraged from going by law. That’s part of the problem.

            As long as cyclists are sharing roads with motor vehicles—that is, forever—then accidents like this will happen.

            What “accident”? Yet again, you continue to ignore the difference between accidents and negligence.

          • Yes, you’re really dealing with a religion here, and people get upset when you challenge their religion. Ideological cyclists live in an impenetrable bubble of belief that protects them from reality. That’s why they hate it when I bring up the UC study and the NY Times story. It reveals their ignorance and their ideological blinders, and how can it be that Rob Anderson, the anti-Christ, seems to care more about the safety of cyclists than they do?

          • Alicia

            That’s why they hate it when I bring up the UC study and the NY Times story.

            On the contrary, I’m happy you reminded us of the NYT article and the CDC data that it references. It just goes to show how you didn’t read the NYT article carefully.

          • How so? Specifics please.

          • Alicia

            See my other comment in response to the NYT link.

          • Flayer

            Seems that way, Rob. I mean I’m scratching my head at the vitriol and anger and energy directed at a trucker who was investigated and observed on camera to be innocent of negligent homicide, yet Alicia wants a head on a stick and it is,going to be the trucker, facts be damned. G-d help us if she’s ever on a jury! Some of these people need an intervention or de-programming because I wouldn’t call it religion – which would be respectable – but cultish.

          • Alicia

            a trucker who was investigated and observed on camera to be innocent of negligent homicide

            The video was not released publicly. Why are we supposed to take it on faith that the local prosecutors made the right decision?

            Are you familiar with this case? The government declined to prosecute after seeing the video of the incident. But you know what? When the family brought a lawsuit and showed the actual video in court, the jurors disagreed with the prosecutors and decided that the video demonstrated negligence. The family was able to obtain a judgment against the driver. The facts of the two cases have a lot of similarities. It’s quite possible Wong’s family may prevail in their lawsuit.

          • I really don’t know why they can’t view bikers as the #1 menace on our city streets. It’s like they’re deranged or something. Bikers cause over 35000 deaths & 2.5 million injuries a year but they act like its nothing!

          • Yes totally a religion! Despite the fact that ~insert # of bike inflicted injuries & deaths~ they still put their blinders on. Can you imagine a mode of transit that induces more injuries & deaths yet ideology buries them in the sand? I certainly can’t

          • Alecia – how much anecdotal evidence will it take from us to convince you that the worst possible thing to have on our roads, is bikes?

          • Alicia

            Unfortunately, these
            types of activities seem to be far more common than people playing it safe.

            Confirmation bias at work. He sees the guy riding a bike and using a cellphone; he does not see the ten people riding a bike without doing so. He sees the skateboarders doing flips. He doesn’t see the ones who are riding along on a flat surface trying to get where they need to go. If you start out with dramatic, unquantified claims about how people engaging in dangerous behavior is more common than “playing it safe,” and don’t back it up with quantified data about, say, how many bikers use cell phones when they ride, you’re making things up.

            says that cycling causes the most head injuries in the US—even more than football.
            I wonder why you’re citing a statistic that is not adjusted on a per-capita basis. Oh, wait. Actually, I know.

          • Their information is based not on a per capita number but on how their patients get their head injuries.

          • Alicia

            Their information is based not on a per capita number

            Exactly my point. It’s raw numbers of injuries. It does not take into account the relative numbers of people who participate in each activity, and so it doesn’t indicate the relative risk to the participants in each activity (biking, football, or anything else on that list.)

            In other words, the fact that you’re citing those numbers to prove that biking is more dangerous than football is dubious at best. But that’s what you’re good at.

      • Tom

        Not true recently. “Traffic fatalities in the U.S. increased by 14 percent through June of this year compared to the first six months of 2014, and serious injuries jumped by 30 percent, according to the National Safety Council.” This greatly exceeds what could be accounted for by VMT increase alone.

        http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/08/18/confounded-by-spike-in-u-s-traffic-deaths-and-injuries-look-around/

        • Okay, let me put it this way: if that kid hadn’t been riding his bike to school, he would be alive today.

          • Alicia

            And if the trucker had watched where he was going, the kid would be alive, too. Why your desire to let him off the hook?

          • Flayer

            Alicia – You are quite angry and making a whole lot of assumptions about the driver, none of which was found to be true. There was an investigation and the driver was not found at fault. I seem to remember that the investigation found that Ethan lost control of his bike and fell just as the truck correctly pulled forward. They think he got too close to the back of the truck and his handlebar came into contact with the truck. He died because of the fall and the head injury – perhaps the parents should sue the helmet manufacturer as well? Nobody can predict a pedestrian or bicycler running into you at the rear. You are accusing the driver of negligent manslaughter and that is just plain wrong. This was an ACCIDENT and the victim is not always blameless.

          • And those who encourage children to ride bikes on busy city streets must also bear part of the blame. City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition are encouraging parents to allow their children to ride bikes to school even though it’s not safe for adults to ride bikes in the city. Shockingly irresponsible.
            http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2013/04/getting-children-on-bikes.html

          • gneiss

            Rob, this is Cupertino, not San Francisco. Again, why bring up a topic that is not relevant for this community? Also, once again, this young man was 15 year old, less than a year away from being able to drive an automobile. His age is totally irrelevant in this case. How is it irresponsible to let a 15 year old ride a bicycle? Are we to keep our kids in doors and off city streets until they can vote? What a ridiculous concept.

          • The intrinsic dangers in riding a bike apply everywhere, not just in San Francisco. If this kid hadn’t been riding a bike to school, he wouldn’t have been hit by a truck. That kind of accident happens everywhere to people of all ages. I walked to school when I was a kid. Some kids take the bus, and others are driven by their parents.

          • Synaesthesiaa

            >The intrinsic dangers in riding a bike apply everywhere

            The intrinsic dangers of driving, you mean. When bicyclists manage to kill over 30,000 people a year or even approach more than 5 to 10, then you can harp about how dangerous cycling is. You’re attempting, miserably I might add, to shift the blame from the operator of deadly machinery onto people who can be hurt by it. I don’t imagine you’d blame someone who died because of medical malpractice or because someone pointed a gun at them.

          • No, you’re just changing the subject from bicycle injuries to driving injuries, a common tactic in this kind of discussion. Most cycling injuries are “solo falls” that don’t involve other vehicles and don’t kill cyclists. The UC study I cited above found that solo falls cause injuries as serious as those that involve motor vehicles.

            Bike messenger and author Robert Hurst:

            “Is cycling dangerous? Yes. Yes, it is. Deadly, no, but definitely dangerous. This is actually a controversial thing to say. There are those who bristle at any suggestion that cycling is dangerous, because they fear it will scare noncyclists away from ever ditching their cars and trying a more healthy form of transport. This is a good point, but it doesn’t change the fact that cycling is dangerous. This is not some urban legend that needs to be debunked. It is reality, and we need to embrace it” (The Art of Cycling, page 69).

            Obviously Hurst thinks the risk is worth it, though he makes his living on a bike. His book is all about how cyclists can reduce the risks of cycling, but he still admits that it’s dangerous.

            Hurst thinks encouraging children to ride bikes in the city is a bad idea:

            “While [John]Forester claimed that even children could ride safely on busy streets using the vehicular-cycling principle, our way is unquestionably for adults…The streets demand from us an awareness and maturity that would be very rare in a child.” The Art of Cycling, page 66.

          • Synaesthesiaa

            Call me when drivers stop killing 30,000+ people every year. Until then, your driver apologism is meaningless bleating.

          • Call me when you can stop changing the subject.

          • Alicia

            Says the person who tries to derail a discussion about road biking by bringing in injury stats that include mountain biking.

          • Synaesthesiaa

            A driver killed someone.

            Drivers kill 30,000+ people every year.

            Drivers killing people is the point of this article.

          • Please, everyone, focus on one mode of transit. There’s no need to compare it to other forms of transit. Rob, tell them how many people bikers have killed & injured in the last year. That aught to scare the daylighting out of them.

          • The topic here—and the topic of the article we’re commenting on—is the risks involved in cycling. No surprising that you mock and ignore my references to the UC study, since it shows how the city fails to count many serious cycling accidents that have nothing to do with “other forms of transit.”

          • Alicia

            That kind of accident happens everywhere to people of all ages.

            How do you know it’s an accident and not negligence on the part of the trucker.

            I walked to school when I was a kid. Some kids take the bus, and others are driven by their parents.

            And some kids walk, and some kids bike. All of them should be able to do so safely.

          • Obviously the truck driver didn’t intentionally hit that kid, which makes it an accident.

            Children can’t really safely ride a bike to school—or anywhere else, for that matter.

          • Alicia

            which makes it an accident.

            Causing someone injury because of careless actions is negligence, not an “accident.”

          • Some people argue that that the biker in SF a few years ago didn’t intend on killing anyone either. Was that an accident!? I certainly don’t think so…

          • gneiss

            Flayer – the investigation only examining whether or not the driver of the truck was criminally responsible, not whether or not he was at fault. That is why the family is pursuing a wrongful death suit. In a similar case in San Francisco, the driver and the shipping company were found responsible for the death of a young woman even though the DA declined to prosecute a case against the driver http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/01/15/verdict-in-wrongful-death-suit-against-driver-who-killed-bicyclist

            I’d also like to point out that using the word ACCIDENT in this context means that we shouldn’t even try to determine a cause or solution to prevent these types of incidents from happening. Would you ever call it a plane ACCIDENT, or a constructions ACCIDENT, or maybe factory ACCIDENT? In each of these cases, we look for the cause and figure out a solution to prevent those incidents from happening again. Why is it that we can’t assign culpability and determine solutions for car and truck crashes? What makes them any different from other industrial incidents where we do make full investigations and come up with solutions?

            As for suing the helmet manufacturer, bicycle helmets are not designed (nor are the marketed) to protect against crushing blows from vehicles. They are designed to protect against falls from height. To suggest that the parents sue the makers of the helmet shows a shocking lack of understanding of what bicycle helmets are designed to do, which is not to protect you in case of collisions with vehicles.

            Finally, your last statement about “running into your rear” is totally irrelevant. You have no knowledge that is what happened in this case.

          • Flayer

            You have made perjorative statements like “crushing blow.” He lost control of his bike and FELL
            OFF. There was no “crushing” as was initially reported by witnesses. But you go on and try to destroy a possibly innocent truck driver.
            You don’t Know if Ethan was negligent as well. How will suing the companies who OWN the truck do anything for Ethan except – yes – bring a big payday for Ethan’s family, meanwhile destroying a truck driver. Not all KIDS automatically blameless. Not all bikers are automatically blameless. Not all victims of accidents
            are innocent. I wish wasn’t just so much invective directed at the driver. This does NOT autatically make you a compassionate person. I makes me think
            of ignorant mobs with pitchforks.

          • Alicia

            You have made perjorative [sic] statements like “crushing blow.”
            That’s not “pejorative” to anyone.

            He lost control of his bike and FELL

            Read the portion of the article I quoted again. The article clearly states that he did not “lose control” until after the truck “made contact” (hit) his bike. Why are you so determined to jump past the fact that the truck hit his bike to the statement that Wong “lost control”?

            How will suing the companies who OWN the truck do anything for Ethan
            except – yes – bring a big payday for Ethan’s family, meanwhile
            destroying a truck driver.

            Are you a truck driver? Or maybe a friend or family member of the defendant? I’m not sure why you are so determined to let him off the hook and why you have more empathy for the truck driver than Wong and his family. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

          • Flayer

            I thought I already expressed my deepest sympathies to the family on the loss of their son. And no, but good try on something else irrelevant – I do not have anyone in my family who drives a truck, although about 30 years ago I knew someone in high school whose father was a long-distance truck driver, if that counts. Why are you so determined to convict a man who may be perfectly innocent, especially since the investigation cleared him of any criminal action? You are making up all kinds of things about the driver as well as the young man. I can just as easily create a fantasy in which the driver was criminally negligent. Why was he so close to the truck that his handlebar would hit? He should have been farther away. Was the boy distracted? Waving to his friends or trying to catch up with them? We do not know. The only thing we know is that it was a tragic accident in which a boy possibly got too close to a truck as it started to move, lost control, hit his head in such a way that he died immediately. My friend’s brother stepped off a train, fell and hit his head. He was dead before he got to the hospital. Head injuries are like that. (In case you are wondering, the family of my friend’s brother did NOT sue the train station, train company, the manufacturer of the train, the concrete company, his shoe company or the other passengers. His family mourned with dignity. It was a tragic accident – why he tripped and fell and why he hit his head in such a way that he did not survive is a mystery. Perhaps he should have been wearing a helmet or not riding a train or being more careful when he stepped off the train.

          • Alicia

            I thought I already expressed my deepest sympathies to the family on the loss of their son.

            But you have no sympathy with them trying to seek justice for his death. When it comes to that, your sympathy lies with the truck driver who killed him.

          • Flayer

            They are seeking a payday. What does suing the multiple owners and maintainers of the truck have to do with “justice”? Why not sue the handlebar manufacturer or the store that sold the bicycle or the helmet manufacturer? Yah, justice indeed.

          • Alicia

            They are seeking a payday.

            That’s the best they can do, since criminal prosecution is off the table.

            What does suing the multiple owners and maintainers of the truck have to
            do with “justice”? Why not sue the handlebar manufacturer or the store
            that sold the bicycle or the helmet manufacturer?

            Nice job copying talking points from some of your other posts. By the way, someone else explained to you why they aren’t suing the helmet manufacturer.

          • Flayer

            Oh, “someone explained.” That settles it. Crushing blow was the words used. Was there a crushing blow? What is a crushing blow? He lost his balance after his handlebar “came into contact” with the back of the truck when traffic started to move forward when the light changed.

          • Alicia

            That settles it.
            Glad you agree.

            when traffic started to move forward when the light changed.

            “When traffic moved forward”? Why the impersonal language? How about “when the truck driver started to drive forward?”

          • Yes, we know about the semantic attempt to redefine reality on our streets. The word “accident” describes a collision that is unintended, that is, the truck driver in this case of course didn’t mean to hit that cyclist. There are some things that can be done to make our streets safer, but there’s no “solution” to human nature. Sometimes people will do unsafe things and make unwise choices. The Vision Zero slogan—and that’s all it is—implies that by this semantic slight of hand we can somehow prevent accidents and fatalities on our streets.

          • Alicia

            Of course I’m angry about people who try to excuse careless drivers who kill or severely injure people. Any responsible person should be similarly angry about these incidents.

            As far as Wong “losing control” goes, let me refer you back to the article above:

            When the light turned green, the truck moved forward, began to turn and “made contact” with a bicyclist’s handlebars on McClellan Road before a pair of railroad tracks. The young rider “lost control” and was “thrown onto the pavement.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.

            Wong only “lost control” after the truck “made contact” (i.e. hit) his bike. The trucker was making a turn without checking for pedestrians or bicyclists before starting to turn. He saw the green light, and he probably just went without thinking.

          • Synaesthesiaa

            >This was an ACCIDENT

            Hitting something with your vehicle is not an accident. It’s because of careless operation. Stop excusing drivers for causing over 30k deaths every year and start focusing on how you can prevent it.

          • Unless you can change human nature itself, some accidents will happen because some people will be negligent and/or take unwise risks—not looking before darting into traffic, not looking before making a turn while driving, trying to beat a traffic light, etc. No matter how well-engineered streets are some people will do something dumb with injury and death as a result.

          • Alicia

            some accidents will happen because some people will be negligent and/or take unwise risks

            Negligence and accidents are two different things. Trying to pretend they are the same thing is different.

            You hit a pothole and lose control: Accident. A deer runs in front of your car and causes you to swerve: accident. You drive drunk, text while driving, run red lights, proceed through a crosswalk without checking for pedestrians, et cetera: negligence, not “accidents.”

          • Synaesthesiaa

            They’re not accidents. Negligence is not an accident. Taking an unwise risk is not an accident. Not looking before you make a turn is not an accident. Trying to beat a traffic light is not an accident. These are all deliberate decisions made by drivers that put their live and everyone else’s on the road in danger – and not even just on the road, but people in adjacent structures such as the child who was killed in Orlando when a driver’s negligence caused their vehicle to plow into a day care.

            Hitting someone with a car or truck requires negligence in its operation in all but the rarest of circumstances. You are responsible for operating your vehicle safely. If you cannot do so, you should turn in your license and get off public roads with motorized vehicles.

          • Flayer

            And you are asserting – with no evidence – that the driver was negligent. I can equally assert with. I evidence that Ethan was distracted or uncoordinated or careless. But I won’t.

          • Alicia

            I can equally assert with. I evidence that Ethan was distracted or uncoordinated or careless. But I won’t.

            Too late: You’ve already implied he was careless, and you’re attacking his family for seeking the only form of justice available to them.

          • Synaesthesiaa

            The driver of heavy machinery is responsible for not hitting things with it.

            The article clearly states the truck hits the cyclist, causing his death.

            If you can’t drive safely (AKA driving without endangering others), turn in your license. You’re unfit for that privilege. Which is what it is: a privilege. Driving is not a right.

          • Flayer

            Not clear at all. “Made contact,” is what it said.

          • Alicia

            Not clear at all. “Made contact,” is what it said.

            I would love to know what you think the meaningful difference between “hit” and “made contact” is. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that “made contact” is meant to be a euphemism for “hit.”

          • Flayer

            Why are you so certain that the driver was careless and not the bicycles? Wow! Have you SEEN the bad biking? You are accusing a person of negligent manslaughter with NO evidence and a completely fantastical interpretation of the known facts. Nasty.

          • Alicia

            Have you SEEN the bad biking?

            What “bad biking” are you talking about that has any relevance to this article?

          • Flayer

            Same relevance as assuming the trucker should be looking behind him toward back of his truck as he starts to move forward. Or that the trucker was to blame and negligent. Anyway the owners of the trucks and those who maintain it will pay because they had a lot to do with everything, right?

          • Flayer

            Bikers who swerve unexpectedly toward your car as you pass, biker groups who clog the free flow of traffic, bikers who wear black clothes and no reflectors at night, bikers who cross u expectedly in front of you with no warning and no signal, bikers who run stops, bikers who swerve between cars, bikers who bike under the influence…all I have experienced. And I love to ride my bike on a nice day!

          • Flayer

            I have no desire to blame anyone for an accident. Why you do is apparent.

          • Alicia

            Yes. It’s because I don’t want people killed by bad drivers.

          • Flayer

            Me too! I also don’t want good drivers blamed for negligence when there wasn’t any. That would be bearing false witness, dear.

        • Flayer

          Is the fatality rate higher because DC and green lobbyists have been designing cars that are lighter due to more plastic materials in order to meet the mandated mileage requirements? Thus when there is an accident the driver is now less protected by being surrounded by plastic and balloons rather than metal as were the older, heavier cars.

          • Alicia

            Is the fatality rate higher because DC and green lobbyists have been
            designing cars that are lighter due to more plastic materials in order
            to meet the mandated mileage requirements?

            No. No such requirements were introduced between early last year and early this year that could possibly be a reasonable explanation for the jump in fatalities.

  • Oh a child was killed in a Cupertino, outside of San Francisco? Time for me to pull out some tangential topics about cycling in SAN FRANCISCO and the city hall peddling this idea that moving around a densely populated city in a small, nimble vehicle like a bike is the most horrible thing ever. 2 ton, fast moving metal combustible contraptions are the way to go, my friends! And I’ll also take this opportunity to talk specifically, and only about the dangers of biking. Don’t worry about any other form of transit, especially cars. You all need to read the study. Have you read the study? Read the study. The. Study. Let me plague the comment section with a link to my blog, again and again, and again. http://dearestdistrict5.blogspot.com/2014/11/city-of-san-francisco-finally.html

    • Synaesthesiaa

      Also, let’s ignore the fact that drivers legally get away with killing 30,000 people every year! But it’s bicycling that’s the REAL problem!

    • Flayer

      My dear Bob. Please chillax a bit. This is not meant to start a feverish battle between bikers and non-bikers. Many is us both drive and ride bikes. What I object to is the smugness associated with some bicyclers who seem to think that they are INHERENTLY superior, entitled and never present a traffic or safety hazard. The radical proponents of biking seem to ignore the facts – that if a bike tangles with an auto, biker loses. This does not make the auto driver a villain nor the biker an automatically innocent victim. My position is that biking, while pleasant and good exercise, has a few ticks in its negative column. I grew up living on my bicycle with my gang of friends. It was never a smug. politically correct movement. It was just a bicycle, for goodness sakes, and mom told me “Be careful. Watch out for cars.” which we didn’t do of course, being kids who think they are omnipotent. And yah, we terrorized more than a few drivers but managed to live into adulthood. Nobody made it a Movement. Nobody cared enough about how the neighbors chose to transport themselves as we had choices and used them all, without hysteria and without smugness. So, bikes are nice but so are cars ( especially in the rain and snow and cold wind). Do the bikers want to pay taxes to fund their special bike lanes? Doubt it. They demand it all “for free.” Because they are better citizen and all? Hahaha. No. Some bike out of necessity cuz they can’t afford a car, aka “the poor,” or they are not of age to drive, aka “the children.” As a driver I have been more than once terrorized by bikers weaving into lanes, darting in front of me without signaling, appearing at night wearing fashionable black attire with not one light or reflector. My response now is, “Thank G-d I didn’t hurt the idiot because he/she was a child and I would be automatically assumed guilty until proven innocent years and mucho diners later. The Concerned mob will show up at my doorstep with their pitchforks and accuse me of negligence and hatred of children.” Way to go, guys. Let’s just get back to biking as a choice and not a “movement.”

      • Alicia

        What I object to is the smugness associated with some bicyclers who seem
        to think that they are INHERENTLY superior, entitled and never present a
        traffic or safety hazard.

        Straw man arguments: the mark of a great thinker.

        The radical proponents of biking seem to ignore the facts – that if a bike tangles with an auto, biker loses.

        That’s assuming a confrontation happens in the first place. If the law starts taking bad driving seriously, then you won’t have to worry about autos tangling with bikes as much.

        I grew up living on my bicycle with my gang of friends. It was never a
        smug. politically correct movement. It was just a bicycle, for goodness
        sakes

        I never thought biking was political, either. Then I learned that the simple act of riding around to get where you need to go makes some people angry and resentful, and that they take their anger to city council. Therefore, I need to be there, too, to present a contrary voice.

        Do the bikers want to pay taxes to fund their special bike lanes? Doubt it. They demand it all “for free.”

        Who says bikers don’t pay anything to fund bike lanes? You need to acquaint yourself with the concept of property taxes.

        Let’s just get back to biking as a choice and not a “movement.”

        When people like you and Rob Anderson stop making excuses about careless drivers who kill other people on the roads, then it can stop being a “movement”. Until that happens, it is a “movement” out of necessity.

        • Synaesthesiaa

          lol he has to be trolling at this point. “Bike lanes are demanded for free!” Yeah bro, and so are roads. We all pay for that, too. Including those of us who prefer to keep our cars at home, or people who have no car. Everyone pays for roads – so stuff the entitlement argument. Drivers are entitled to the point that their entitled attitude is ingrained into their very core – while they cry about bicycle lanes being added.

          • Alicia

            I would like to think Flayer is merely trolling, but there are some people who are truly confused enough to believe that roads are completely paid for by gas taxes. He doesn’t really come across as trying to troll, to me. Maybe you’re right, but he comes across as really believing his nonsense.

            (And Rob Anderson, of course, is a lobbyist – I’m not sure if he’s a professional lobbyist or a dedicated amateur, but either way, he’s staked his reputation on being pro-car-only planning.)

          • No, I’m just a blogger, who, by the way, also writes about other issues. (If General Motors wants to send me some money, that’s okay with me.) Since I live in San Francisco—aka, Progressive Land—my criticism of the great bike revolution gets the most attention. I haven’t owned a car in 30 years and get around the city on foot and on Muni, which is the real alternative to driving in SF, not cycling.

            The issue in SF is not only about safety but about the limited space on city streets. To make separated bike lanes, you have to take away parking or traffic lanes on busy city streets, which is dumb when only 4% of all trips in the city are by bike. http://district5diary.blogspot.com/
            http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-masonic-avenue-derangement-syndrome.html

            I also do media criticism on my blog, like about how that UC study that Gunderson apparently thinks is such a joke hasn’t even been mentioned in the Chronicle, the Examiner, or KQED, for that matter. Why is that? You would think that you bike advocates would be concerned about the safety of cyclists in your own city. The NY Times did a story on the study two years ago:
            http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/how-safe-is-cycling-its-hard-to-say/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=4

          • Alicia

            The NY Times did a story on the study two years ago

            Thanks for the link! I find this part especially informative:

            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps statistics on deaths and emergency room visits resulting from bicycle accidents. The yearly death rate has ranged from 0.26 to 0.35 per 100,000 population, with no particular pattern; in 2010, the agency says, there were 800 bicycle fatalities, about one-fortieth of all road deaths.

            “There is no trend,” said Linda Degutis, the director of the agency’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, who added that bicycling seemed no more dangerous than other sports.

            So the CDC, which keeps national info, disagrees with UC-SF, which focuses on one city. I’ll go with the national estimates, since they draw on much more data.

        • No one is making excuses for careless drivers. Folks like you are in denial about the dangers in riding bikes. Ethan Wong would be alive today if he hadn’t been riding his bike to school. It’s flattering to parodied by “Bob Gunderson,” but it’s embarrassing that the attempt is so witless. The “study” that Gunderson refers to showed that San Francisco failed to count more than 1,300 serious cycling injuries between 2000 and 2009, more than 40% of which were solo falls that didn’t involve motor vehicles. Gunderson stalks me on these forums when I bring that up, but he needs to explain why that’s some kind of joke.

          I’m not saying that people shouldn’t ride bikes but that they should be informed about the real dangers of cycling, instead of assuming it’s simply a green, win-win deal for everyone.

          • Alicia

            No one is making excuses for careless drivers.

            Except for you and Flayer, here.

            . Ethan Wong would be alive today if he hadn’t been riding his bike to school.

            He would also be alive if the trucker was looking where he was going. Yet you seem to be determined to ignore that point.

          • Flayer

            Both statements might be true. Also I will add – “Ethan might still be alive if he didn’t run – excuse me, make contact with the back of a moving truck.” Also a true statement. Perhaps you are safe, Alicia, because you stay in your own basement and never come out. Anyway I am reluctant to falsely accuse someone of homicide, but apparently you aren’t, and the inevitable resolution is a big payday for the victim’s family. Oh and yes, there is a difference between the words, “make contact” and “hit.” Use your big girl dictionary.

          • Alicia

            Ethan might still be alive if he didn’t run – excuse me, make contact with the back of a moving truck.”
            The local police department doesn’t characterize it as Ethan “making contact” with the truck, but the truck making contact with him. Once again, you’re making up claims out of thin air to try to suggest Wong was careless.

            Oh and yes, there is a difference between the words, “make contact” and “hit.”

            Telling you don’t seem to be able to explain what that difference, which you seem to think is obvious, is.

            Anyway I am reluctant to falsely accuse someone of homicide
            “False” is unclear. Also, you’re eager to accuse Ethan of being careless and his family of being merely out for a payday. (Was Amelie Le Moullac’s family also looking for a “payday” for disagreeing with local prosecutors and suing the trucker who killed her?)

      • Right on Flayer! Your amiable, insightful, blanket comments about cyclists are sure to lend itself to a healthy discourse. I’m certain you’ve read the study.

    • Not “tangential” at all, since cycling and safety is a national problem, as that CDC quote I provided below acknowledges. Still waiting for an explanation of why the SF media has ignored that study. The answer: because it undermines the city’s GroupThink about the significance and safety of bicycles in San Francisco. We already know that cycling is an insignificant part of the city’s transportation system, and now we know that it’s also unsafe. Hence, it’s hard for City Hall to justify redesigning city streets on behalf of your small minority. Better to ignore that reality instead and continue on the present PC path. The only casualties will be the unwary cyclists injured on city streets and making traffic worse for more than 90% of those who now use city streets.

      • It’s really a shame the truth you spew isn’t widely accepted anywhere in the United States, or the world for that matter. It’s really a shame that cars are labeled ‘ death monsters’ just because over 30,000 people die, and 2.5 million are injured each year because of them. Why your conclusion of the UC Study isn’t shared by anyone else is just baffling. Keep fighting the good fight knowing we’re on the right side of history!

    • Gezellig

      “city hall” is peddling

      Peddling pedaling!

  • Flayer

    Final post from me directed at those who are hanging judges:

    “After reviewing the case, including video surveillance, prosecutors said they were unable to determine fault in the fatal collision, and declined to file vehicular manslaughter charges against Sandhu.”

    “…including video…”

    • Thank you Flayer for being the unbiased voice of sanity in this whole heap of comments. We can always trust the PD to give us a fair and factual account of what happened. They’ve never, recently, proved us wrong. And when have we ever personally experienced impatient or reckless divers in CA? I for one have never. It’s only been reckless bikers.

      • Flayer

        I am unbiased. And as I wasn’t a witness and neither were you we will need to rely on the report given by witnesses and cameras. Yes, ALL could be wrong because according to Alicia the truck driver was a killer who failed to look BEHIND him when the light changed and traffic started to move ahead. Doesn’t EVERYONE look way behind them as they start to move forward? But I am also not looking to put a head on a stick as many here seem to be, no matter what the facts are. I love biking but know that it is hazardous. You takes your chances in life, not being a bubble girl.

        • Alicia

          I am unbiased.
          Hah, that’s a good one. If you’re “unbiased,” why all the attempts to make excuses for bad driving choices?

          the truck driver was a killer who failed to look BEHIND him

          Wong was next to him at the moment the truck “made contact” (a euphemism for “hit”) his bike.

          Doesn’t EVERYONE look way behind them as they start to move forward?

          Any cautious driver does. That’s why they have rearview mirrors installed.

          • Flayer

            Hey, hello, Alicia. Still at it I see. Haha. Hang ’em high! Or, failing that make the companies who own and maintain that truck enrich the Wong family and their lawyer. If a car hit me from behind it is automatically the fault of the driver in the rear. Good luck with your life. I hope you are never falsely accused of murder or negligence because you certainly wouldn’t want someone like YOU on the jury. Hey, with any luck, it might me me!

          • I thought it was your final post? And here I trusted you?..

          • Flayer

            Cheers, Bob. My near miss last night with an “innocent victim” on a bike at night on a dark strreet wearing black and not one reflector either on her body or on her bike moved me to reengage in the “conversation” about “negligent homicidal children-hating drivers.”

          • Shame on her- she really should have been paying attention to the 2 ton machine you chose to drive.

          • Gezellig

            Yes! Always remember…the speeding 2-ton machine you choose chose *you*–there’s no other way you can go, ever.

          • Alicia

            And there’s no such thing as headlights or rearview mirrors on a car that help you see people on the road. Streetlights aren’t a thing, either.

          • Flayer

            Ya, I tried mightily to put my 92 year old mother on the back of my bicycle but she kept falling off and dropping the groceries.

          • Alicia

            So once again you prove you can’t tell the difference between someone riding a bike at night and someone riding after 8 am in the morning. Your lack of bias is clear as the midday sun!

          • Alicia

            Good luck with your life. I hope you are never falsely accused of murder or negligence because you certainly wouldn’t want someone like YOU on the jury

            Or maybe you’ll get hit by a car while out taking a walk and someone like you bends over backwards to invent implausible reasons why you, and not the careless car driver is responsible for the fact that you’re permanently in a wheelchair now. (They saw a guy staggering around drunk outside a bar the other day, after all; therefore they assume pedestrians are at fault!)

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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