Justice for cyclists

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(54)

OPINION

It was heartbreaking to hear their stories.

Sarah was hit while riding her bike. Then she was wrongly faulted for the collision, despite multiple witnesses' testimony and photo evidence to the contrary. A police officer verbally harassed her after the incident.

"The crash was awful," she said. "But the way I was treated by the police ... absolutely compounded the trauma. I was treated, at every turn, like a criminal."

Dorie was hit from behind while biking in Golden Gate Park with her son in a rear child seat. Thankfully he was fine, but she was injured seriously enough to spend two weeks in the hospital. She was blamed for the incident, despite witnesses' statements claiming otherwise.

And after Sandrine was hit while biking, she was treated with hostility by police officers while she lay in pain at the hospital. She was shocked to learn witness statements were not included in her incident report, which faulted her. Thousands of dollars in debt later, Sandrine says she is "disheartened and completely disgusted with the attitude and bias of the police" toward people on bikes.

Nearly 40 people spoke up last Thursday at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing into the SF Police Department's response to traffic incidents involving people biking and walking.

The spotlight is on the SFPD after it botched an investigation last month of a 24-year-old woman who was hit and killed while biking to work on Folsom Street. Police failed to look for video footage in the area, and a police sergeant blocked the bike lane at the memorial to publicly blame the victim for her own death, while forcing bike riders into high speed traffic.

I'm sorry to say that I was not surprised by the sergeant's "blame the victim" attitude in that recent tragedy. Nor in the dozens of cases people shared at last week's hearing.

Sadly, we regularly hear about experiences like these: people refused incident reports, despite injuries. Reports being taken inaccurately or incompletely, time and time again blaming the person biking, despite witness statements to the contrary. And officers being ignorant of the law, such as not understanding that people can leave a bike lane to avoid an obstruction or to make a turn.

I believe our police chief when he insists that all road users should be treated fairly, but that message is not being heard by all in the force.

The chief needs to make certain that all collisions resulting in injuries are fully and fairly documented; that training is significantly stepped up to ensure officers' understanding of bicyclists' rights and responsibilities on the road; and, finally, that the SFPD uses a data-driven approach to focus limited traffic enforcement resources on the locations and behaviors that are most dangerous.

We are not asking for special treatment for the growing number of people on bikes, but rather fair and equal treatment for all road users.

Leah Shahum is executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Comments

Now, i might be OK with that except that you remained silent when Bucchere slaughtered an elderly cyclist while crossing a crosswalk not so long ago. If he had been driving a SUV, you'd have been all over him. But he wasn't - he was riding a bike. And your silence was deafening.

A few months before that another pedestrian was killed by a cyclist. Again nothing from you.

In fact, cyclists now have such a bad image, both thru Critical Mass and a widespread disregard for the law, that London Breed recently had to inform you that the number one reason you are not getting more bike infrastructure changes is the "bad behavior" of cyclists.

So here is your challenge, Leah. what are the top ten things you are going to do to ensure that cyclists become better citizens? Instead of just asking what other people can do for you?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

Leah didn't have to say anything about the Bucchere case. Bucchere was prosecuted.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:18 am

The other cyclist case was years before, not weeks, and both were prosecuted. Meanwhile, motorists have killed three cyclists this year and none are being prosecuted. And it's simply not accurate to say Leah was silent on the Bucchere case. Both the SFBC and the Guardian were quick to condemn his negligent behavior, and I even broke the news about his appalling online comments. But cyclists do have equal rights to use the roads and we're demanding equal treatment under the law.

Posted by steven on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:32 am

be held to the same standard as drivers, and get tickets for traffic infractions.

The case on the Embarcadero was in 2011, unless you know differently. What was his punishment? Probation? I'll bet Brucchere won't get time as well.

But so what? Demanding revenge via convictions for what is in the end an accident is misguided. I do not rob banks because I can get caught. Nobody decides not to mow down a cyclist just because he might go to prison. There is no criminal intent in 99% of cases.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 10:05 am

(for repeating the same fucking thing several times on the blog)

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:52 am

Steven would the CSAA, an advocacy group for motorists and autos, call for equal treatment of motorists and cyclists by the authorities?

A quick search of their web site indicates not. Why are advocates for cyclists in effect giving the SFPD a green light to bust cyclists on "no harm, no foul" technical violations of the law?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

subjective, and laws reflect social values which demand that such transgressions be enforced and punished.

The CSAA is a polite, genteel and civil organization - far from the bizarre and self-serving histrionics of the SFBC

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

Is your name Steven? Responding to a post for Steven when you are not Steven is bizarre and histrionic.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

The SFBC has conducted programs like this, aimed at promoting good behavior: http://www.sfbike.org/main/thanks-for-biking-politely-in-the-wiggle/ She and the SFBC aren't asking what can be done for them, just asking for equal treatment in the case of incidents. You know this, stop trolling and use your common sense.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:26 am

inconsiderate and selfish and law-breaking behavior of cyclists in SF, even the D5 supervisor?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:37 am

(winner of the Goebbels prize for repeating the same bullshit over and over again in hopes that it will be believed)

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:54 am

"The strawman argument occurs when someone misrepresents his opponent’s position and then attacks the misrepresented position – in other words, he builds a strawman that he can attack. By defeating the misrepresented claim, he creates the illusion of having defeated the opponent’s original claim – but in actuality, he hasn’t."
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/the-makeuseof-toolkit-against-online-trolls...

Posted by Jeremy on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

are more often false than true - it's a lazy way of trying to gainsay a point without providing any substance.

And in fact many so-called straw man arguments are valid i.e. show that the disputed premise leads to a conclusion that is ridiculous and then you have refuted the original premise.

It's called a reductio ad absurdum and we've known about it since Aristotle. Google it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

"We are not asking for special treatment for the growing number of people on bikes, but rather fair and equal treatment for all road users."

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

I hear you. You're right. Really, you're right. But you know what's going to happen as a practical matter as a result of your crusade? Cops are just going to give cyclists more tickets, because they feel like you're stepping on their toes. And you're right to step on their toes. They're doing a shit job, and we have every right to tell them to do it better. But that's not how they see it.

Bike crashes may not be investigated as thoroughly as they should be, but the flipside right now is that bikers both commit far more infractions, and get away with far more infractions, then car drivers. You know this. I know this. Cops know this. Everybody knows this, so I might as well be honest and tell it like it is.

But now the cops are going to be out for vengeance, as Steven's other article on this points out. And that makes me feel very unsafe on my bike. The stupid drivers I already know about. But if I have to stop at every single stop sign (which is every corner out in the Sunset and the Richmond even though there's no traffic), because there might be a cop waiting for cyclists to ticket, on streets where they otherwise wouldn't bother patrolling because there's so little car traffic... well then I might as well not ride my bike.

If this is the way it's going to be, I think I'll be driving more and biking a lot less, because I don't want to live in fear of the police every time I get on my bike.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

the cops don't have the manpower and hours to vastly increase ticketing of cyclists

Posted by racer x on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

They can also be less "helpful" to any cyclist who seeks their help.

While Leah enjoys her whine-fest, there is also a large number of ordinary people who are getting sick of cyclists, their sense of entitlement, their endless carping, and their refusal to obey the traffic rules.

The politicians know this as they hear it all the time, and Breed went public on it recently. So if SFPD do crack down more on cyclists, they will know that they have the support of the public.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 3:58 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:00 am

Bring in cops from other jurisdictions, in exchange for a cut of the ticket revenue.

Posted by Reality barrier! on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 4:26 am

at least partly, for a cut of the revenues.

There are a sufficiently large number of cyclist traffic infractions during the day that the only thing that would limit how many tickets I could write and serve is how fast I can write.

At $100 a pop, I could probably serve 20 citations an hour, that's $2,000 an hour. Split that 50/50 between me and the city, and everyone wins, including the people who get safer streets.

Just to show I'm not just down on cyclists, the same probably applies to parking infractions as well.

I'd support a partial outsourcing of the PCO's in order to boost revenues and enforcement of the rules.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 4:55 am

I don't know what's more offensive -that you LE types are so corrupt, or your smug attitude that you're somehow doing us a favor with your corruption.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 8:48 am

is that it's not going to happen

please stop arguing with these stupid jackasses so we can use this blog for intelligent conversation

Posted by racer x on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:02 am

average cyclist. Cyclists have an image problem right now, and Leah's in-your-face aggressiveness will backfire on her.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 3:59 am

Actually, I think it's the angry cyclist haters who have the image problem, and that Leah and most cyclists are actually being quite reasonable and measured in their arguments. Cycling is an increasingly important part of the modern transportation system in big cities all over the world, get used to it.

Posted by steven on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:42 am

transportation overall, and even you limited that claim to "cities".

99% of the US is not a city and bikes are fairly useless in most of that space. So cycling will only ever be a marginal transportation solution.

It might work in parts of SF, but the real city here is the Bay Area, which is 100 by 100 miles and a bike won't get you far.

Maybe it is you who needs to "get used" to that and accept that SF will still be full of cars in 2113, although they may be smaller, electric and driverless by then.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Speak for yourself.

My bike can take me to the ends of the earth and back.

Sorry to hear your options are so limited.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:26 am

Your bike will get you there, right?

How about NYC tomorrow?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:36 am

(winner of the golden idiot prize for actually believing that he can fool people into thinking that bikes are not used in non-urban areas in the united states)

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:57 am

Sorry, I got a job. I'm busy.

Even if I wasn't why in the world would I want to meet a cranky old fart like you?

On the other hand, you want to make a wager?

I'll leave SF Civic Center on my bike and you take a car and $50 says I get to Walnut Creek 1st.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

Refuting your earlier "point", oh homeless one.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

(winner of the even bigger idiot prize for actually engaging one of the stupidest troll assertions ever made with a response)

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:58 am

Increased enforcement on cyclists, and diligent investigation and prosecution of people at fault for injuring of killing cyclists.

Yes, I'll take that tradeoff. Of course, in practice what we might get is increased enforcement on cyclists and the status quo on investigation and prosecution.

Posted by John Murphy on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:20 am

Could one say that the infractions cyclists are making are on rules made for a world where motor vehicles are the only vehicles on the road?

Posted by Dan on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

For example, cyclists often swerve through traffic or "take the lane" for their own safety, they often treat stop signs as yield signs in order to conserve energy, etc. It's understandable why they do this, and these actions would not be considered infractions if the laws were made with bicycles in mind.

Posted by Dan on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

As a cyclist and a driver, trust me: you don't want equal treatment by police.

When on bikes we get away with so much in this City. Cyclists would be screaming for blood if the laws were equally enforced.

Posted by RobCF on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:02 am

maybe 1,000 times more tickets, and they are more costly. but the bike mob are never happy.

Oh, and how about training, testing licensing, registration and insurance for bikes and riders?

They don't want equal rights. They want an uneven playing field where they get more road resources dedicated to them, less prosecution by police and no bureaucracy governing them.

Well, gee, who wouldn't?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:08 am

How about training, testing, licensing and insurance for 'guest' blog posts?

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:30 am

poster is capable of maintaining a home for himself.

If he cannot even manage that, there has to be a question mark over the value of his commentary.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:38 am

@RobCF - Speeding is the single most dangerous road behavior. It is correlated with more death and serious injury than DUI, or distracted driving. Nearly every motorist speeds as fast as possible, as often as possible, and police guidelines ensure that this prevails most of the time. The number of motorists who do not drive this way is statistically insignificant.

Set aside the fact that the laundry list of bicyclist infractions are also committed by motorists (as often as they can get away with them). Add up all those bicyclist infractions that everyone incessantly whines about and they don't even come near the impact of this one near-universal motorist practice.

Despite its heavy toll, the privilege of routinely breaking this law is so taken for granted, so rarely even bubbling up into conscious awareness, that people can actually write about how enforcement of traffic laws would come down more heavily on bicyclists than motorists, and even expect to be taken seriously.

Posted by Jym on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

slaughtered a pedestrian on a crosswalk and bragged about it on the internet?

The overwhelming consensus of SF'ers that I talk to is that cyclists in SF are out of control, have no respect for the law, consider that many traffic rules simply do not apply to them, and whine and bleat like crazy that they are being victimized.

And rather than address those concerns, you repeat the very behaviors that led even Supervisor London Breed to recently decry the bad behavior of cyclists in this town.

Jeez, man, do you ever listen instead of talk?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

And that overwhelming consensus consists of you and your 3 crotchety cronies at your care facility.

The overwhelming consensus I see, every single day, is more and more people riding bikes on the streets of the City.

Face it Guest, you lose.

Now you are going to dismiss what I say as nothing since it somehow got stuck in your cranium that I'm 'homeless'.

That's all you've got.

I win!!!!

Again!!!!

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 6:52 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

I haven't heard any Cyclists whining.

Maybe that's cause the whining of motorists drowns it out though.

I'll give you that, gramps.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:10 pm
Posted by anon on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

traffic rules for cars are written to protect cars and pedestrians. they have nothing to do with bicycles. new laws need to be written that acknowledge cycling as a mode of transportation that is A) more vulnerable, and B) much slower, all while sharing the roads. Until those laws are in place, bikes exist in a car-focused world and have little to no protections to help them ride safely. following the laws that apply to cars is NOT SAFE for a bike, nor is it convenient. This is why bikes break rules very often, not to be a-holes, but to be safe. Granted, there are a-holes in the world that cut you off (cars do it, motorcycles do it, people block the road all the time)...people get in our way. Labeling a culture as "out of control" is just scapegoating. it's much more complicated than that. bikes, en masse, are still farily new the urban streets and need better representation. until then, it's going to be messy. please, everyone just ride and drive safely. that should always be the bottom line...not who is right or wrong.

Posted by al on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

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