Eyes on the Street: SFPD’s Ingleside Bicycle Beat

1st_cop_small.jpgIngleside Station's bicycle beat. Photos: Matthew Roth

Mission Street from Cesar Chavez to Highland Avenue is a vibrant commercial and pedestrian strip, though it also suffers from a good deal of speeding traffic. The strip is also notorious for the noise from motorcycle owners gunning it up the hill and along the long blocks just south of Cesar Chavez.

Since the middle of May, however, Captain David Lazar of the Ingleside Station (the same captain who does regular stings on drivers who don't yield to pedestrians) has deployed a consistent tandem of bicycle officers that patrol the street and very often make stops of vehicles like this one above.

I have to admit there is something very satisfying about seeing a bicycle with flashing lights pulling over a multi-ton vehicle, especially when it has been speeding on the street.  According to Captain Lazar, I'm not the only one who feels that way about the beat.

"We get great feedback from the public; they love them," he said.

Yesterday, while working on our beloved blog, I happened to see a stop out of my window and snapped this photo.

both_cops_2.jpgThe citing officer's partner spots a driver on his cell phone and crosses the street.
The driver of the car pleaded his case and gesticulated grandly, but to no avail. While the first officer was issuing a summons, his partner, who had dismounted and stood next to his bicycle, saw another infraction and crossed the street to stop the driver.

From my window I could hear the officer ask the driver, "Why are you talking on your cell phone and driving? Don't you know that's illegal?"

By the time I got downstairs, the officer was issuing the citation for driving and talking on a phone to a driver who gave me pretty evil stink eye for thanking the officer for their presence in the neighborhood.

Here's hoping other captains are paying attention to the good work of their peers in Compstat meetings and they try similar approaches to calming our neighborhood streets.

2nd_cop_small.jpg