Collision with Muni Metro Vehicle Seriously Injures Bicyclist

A collision this morning between an M-Ocean View Muni Metro light rail vehicle and a male bicyclist has left the cyclist in the hospital with serious injuries.

The collision occurred around 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Randolph and Arch Streets, and authorities were still clearing the scene until noon, said MTA spokesperson Judson True. The cyclist, whose name has not been released, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

According to a Muni service alert, the bicyclist was "reportedly travelling southbound (downhill) on Arch Street and struck the right side of the M Ocean View LRV as it travelled inbound (westbound) on Randolph Street through the intersection." The intersection is controlled by four-way stop signs. SFPD and the MTA are investigating the collision.

Service on the M-Ocean View has been restored. We’ll have more information as we get it.

Updated 12:52 p.m.

  • Driver

    Obviously it’s the Muni driver’s fault. He or she should have known bicyclists NEVER stop for Stop Signs in San Francisco

  • patrick

    I have no idea who is at fault, but it is insane that muni light rail / streetcars are still having to deal with stop signs.

    Every intersection that has rails through it should have a stop light with preferential features for the rail vehicles.

  • SFResident

    @Driver – No concern for the injured? No decency to wait until we get at last one eyewitness report of what happened before casting blame?

    Far better to make anonymous snarky comments about the ‘stoopid bicyclists’ on the internet.

    As I read this article I thought to myself “who are the SFgate-commenting mouth-breathers going to blame for this one?” Will it be the “fat and lazy overpaid MUNI union bosses” or the “stoopid outlaw bicyclists.” I guess we have our answer! Blind anti-bicycle range even overpowers blind anti-worker rage. . .

    And I’m with Patrick – no matter who is at fault in this incident, it’s shameful that LRVs have to stop at stop-signs. This could have been prevented with better transportation engineering…

  • Driver

    If the train had hit the bicyclist it might have mattered whether the train stopped at the stop sign. But look at the intersection on Google maps street view. It’s clear if the bicyclist had obeyed the law at the stop sign, he or she would not have slammed into the side of a muni train. It’s just part of the general bicycle attitude in this city that the laws don’t apply to them.

  • Be careful what you wish for. If you replace the stop signs with transit-preferential lights, you’ll probably end up with a pedestrian-hating design like Third Street has now where you have to press a button and wait through an entire green-red-green cycle every time you want to cross the street legally.

  • While I agree that there shouldn’t be stop signs on streetcar routes where there isn’t a stop, this intersection actually is a Muni stop. So having a stop sign there is probably a good thing since it slows traffic and allows pedestrians to cross more easily. The main thing is to take out stop signs along a streetcar line where there isn’t a streetcar stop, like Duboce & Steiner.

  • patrick

    Third street always had lights and has always been unfriendly to pedestrians.

    I’m not sure why you say you have to wait through green-red-green. If it’s green you walk.

    Most of the places where muni has stop signs are fairly narrow, fairly lightly traveled streets, I don’t mind waiting a minute or two to keep people from dying or getting massively injured. Honestly I would probably just jaywalk after looking to make sure nobody was coming, just like most people in SF. Lastly, as we’ve seen over and over, drivers coast through stop signs just as much as bikers.

    Every time I walk I see drivers do the “California roll” or stop well past the cross-walk. I’ve almost been hit several times by drivers who couldn’t be bothered to look before coasting through, even though I had already started crossing well before they needed to stop at the sign, and it is a high pedestrian area. Stop signs don’t keep anybody from getting hit by cars if the drivers gratuitously flaunt the laws.

    As far as stop sign & vehicle/bike/ped interactions go, cars should be required to wait for bikers and pedestrians, bikes should have to wait for pedestrians, pedestrians should have highest right of way. Bikers should be allowed to slow, but not stop if the intersection is clear. It’s very easy as a biker to see if a car or pedestrian is coming as long as you slow down, there’s no need to stop. Other areas have implemented this system and it works very well for all concerned.

  • ZA

    1. M-Ocean has some of the least-developed street infrastructure for any MUNI streetcar line. I shudder at the memory of the 19th Ave mess trying to cross all those lanes of traffic.

    2. “California stop” – I suspect *a lot* of the crosswalk intrusion by cars is related to the long blindspot drivers confront with their engine block and SF’s tight corners. This isn’t an excuse, merely an observation of the poor adaptation of a suburban technology for the urban environment.

  • jwb

    Patrick: when you’re walking down 3rd in the Mission Bay area south of King, there are pedestrian signals which are continuously red, unless the pedestrian presses the button. This is, certainly, hugely annoying to pedestrians.

    If you want to see this style of signal in action the place nearest to downtown SF where one is installed is 4th & Berry.

  • patrick

    I’m in full agreement that those lights are stupid. I work on third st, it’s like that all up and down the street. But that’s got nothing to do with changing stop signs to lights, that’s just bad design. It results in nobody paying any attention to the walk lights and just jaywalking. 3rd st is a traffic sewer that is designed to make it as difficult as possible for people to walk. I hate the stops that require you to push a button.

    There is even worse: there is a stop light on cesar chavez where if you push the button on one side it only affects the light for that side, so if you are trying to cross 2 streets and push for the direction that is red, when you cross the green the other side does not change even though you are assuming that it should give you a go signal on both sides. You wind up being completely confused and waiting through 5 signal changes. It is ridiculous.

  • I’m glad we’re on the same page about the traffic lights. I just get worried whenever people start talking about traffic control changes to help transit, since so often these changes end up being badly designed and hurting pedestrians.

  • ZA

    @Patrick

    Cesar Chavez lighting will probably change radically the next two years when the entire route is remodeled.

  • Boris

    Unfortunately, allowing signal priority for Third St (and others) needs to know whether a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street. For cars, there are sensors under the pavement or above the light to tell if anyone is waiting. For peds, the only way to tell is through the button (well, ok, other ways could work too, but the way that we’ve chosen to do it is through the button). If signal priority were actually used correctly on Third St, these buttons may be worth it, but since it’s not they serve no real purpose.

    They’re now installed on Park Presidio and 19th Ave too, in anticipation of changing those lights from straight timed to adjusting depending on traffic flow (has little to do with transit there, and more to do with moving more cars through).

  • patrick

    My opinion is that those buttons are only there to move cars faster, they are not needed transit signal prioritization, and they are no benefit to pedestrians. The lights could simply be timed and the light rail vehicle given the ability to preempt the light when it comes. The truly ridiculous thing is that the lights take forever to change, but the buttons don’t make that any faster, all they do is cause the walk signal to display, why not just always display the walk signal when the light changes?

    The buttons are there on 3rd st now, and there is no signal prioritization for muni. On a 25 minute ride from Cesar Chavez to Embarcadero station on the T, 5-6 minutes is wasted waiting at stop lights, I’ve ridden & timed it many times. That’s about 20% of the total time, completely wasted.

    Those pedestrian push-buttons are the worst traffic engineering ever.

  • Boris

    “The truly ridiculous thing is that the lights take forever to change, but the buttons don’t make that any faster, all they do is cause the walk signal to display, why not just always display the walk signal when the light changes?”

    The reason (again, if Muni actually used signal pre-emption) is that “walk” signal display time would be of varying lengths. I agree that it would be better for it to simply come on and then start the countdown sooner if pre-emption is being used, but that would be too difficult for Muni to figure out without opening themselves up to liability for the time when the person is used to a walk signal allowing a certain amount of time, it allows less this time, they get stuck in the middle, something happens, and the city is sued for it.

  • Nick

    Concerning the new pedestrian push-buttons on 19th Avenue: they are absolutely terrible for pedestrians. If you cross on the green light without pushing the button… motorists making turns will cut you off, honk, and point to the Red Hand signal.

    Since you are breaking the law (in their eyes), it is ok for them to cut you off.

  • patrick

    I definitely agree that signal preemption for muni would need to be well thought out, but I can’t imagine it’s that difficult. Have islands between the street for pedestrians that can’t make it in time. Time the lights for muni rather than cars so it’s rare that preemption ever actually occurs. Design preemption so that it doesn’t reduce the countdown time, just moves it forward so peds still have the estimated amount of time to cross safely, but muni doesn’t have to wait an inordinate amount of time. Those should make a significant improvement in muni ride time, with little to know inconvenience to peds, and if you get rid of the push-buttons it will be an improvement for peds.

  • Nick, it’s probably time to remind somebody in the Department of Public Works about Policy 25.4 of the Transportation Element of the General Plan:

    POLICY 25.4
    Maintain a presumption against the use of demand-activated traffic signals on any well-used pedestrian street, and particularly those streets in the Citywide Pedestrian and Neighborhood Networks.

    Demand-activated traffic signals favor motor-vehicle traffic over pedestrians, and are relatively uncommon in San Francisco. Where they do occur, the signal must be triggered to secure enough time to cross. Otherwise, only a very short time is allocated — for cross traffic, not pedestrians. As such, demand-activated traffic signals present an inconvenience to pedestrians and should not be used on streets except where there is no significant pedestrian traffic.

    (http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=42913)

    19th Avenue certainly cannot be said to have “no significant pedestrian traffic” so having these types of signals there is a violation of city policy.

  • Lisa

    I live by 4th and Berry and I agree that it’s the most frustrating light ever.

    I am guessing it must prioritize cars because I too see it make the T wait all the time, and for no one.

    Peds just ignore the buttons and signals because the intersection is pretty empty anyhow and pushing the button / waiting for a walk signal makes you feel like a chump.

  • patrick

    Wow, I had no idea that there was actually a segment of the General Plan that points out how pedestrian unfriendly those things are, and they are actually installing them at lights that never had them before! What a waste of money.

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