Today’s Headlines

  • Car-free Fun in the Streets of Oakland as the City Celebrates Oaklavia (SF Gate, Oakland Local)
  • Matier & Ross: "Big BART Fare Rollback Gets Whittled Down"  
  • BART Board Member Lynette Sweet Wants Tasers Removed from Police Force (ABC7)
  • More Troubling SFPD Bias Against Bicyclists (BIKE NOPA)
  • Complaints that Some Drivers Unfairly Targeted in Placard Abuse Enforcement (SF Examiner)
  • San Joaquin County to Widen Some Roads to Install Bike Lanes (Manteca Bulletin)
  • New Bay Bridge Tolls Set to Take Effect Thursday: "Changes May Lead to Tie Ups" (SF Gate)
  • U.S. Racks Up Largest Bill for Unpaid London Congestion Charges (Associated Press
  • EIR on Stanford Med Center’s Expansion Identifies 44 "Significant Impacts" (Palo Alto Online)
  • BP Buys Off Boycotters With Cheap Gas (NY Daily News)
  • Things Are Tough All Over: PRT Dreams Shattered From Minnesota
    to Abu Dhabi (Biz
    Week
    , Avidor)
  • Vacant Lot in Downtown Bolinas to Become a Community Park (Marin IJ)
  • marcos

    “More Troubling SFPD Bias Against Bicyclists (BIKE NOPA)”

    Like I said, prioritizing activism on SFPD enforcement is critical, both for the suburban values the SFPD brings to the table in enforcing the CVC against cyclists, and with the suburban values the SFPD brings to the table in declining to enforce against motorists.

    -marc

  • patrick

    @marcos, definitely agree with you 100% on this one. It’s going to be hard to make lasting growth in cycling & safety with the SFPD blaming cyclists for being hit by drivers making illegal turns while driving recklessly.

  • Mushmouth

    Bias? I don’t know about that. The question is whether the barricade makes the section of Arguello entering the park no longer a “highway” according to CVC. The police seem to imply that it would not be considered a street.

  • So the only way something is a street is if cars are allowed on it? And the SUV driver hit the biker because he wasn’t paying close attention and made an illegal turn, it could have easily been a pedestrian or another car.

  • marcos

    That sure balances out, cyclists get all of the burdens and responsibilities of being a vehicle like a car, but enjoy none of the benefits.

    About six months ago, a cop on a motorcycle ignored a woman running a red light on her bicycle at Broderick and Fell while I track stopped in the bike lane waiting for the light

    On the next block, when I shouted at him as he was preparing to cut me off by turning left onto Baker across the bike lane, he wrote me a ticket for something, anything, in this instance “following too closely,” even as I stopped on a dime to avoid a collision when he cut me off.

    Upon going to the HoJ to fight the ticket, after an hour in line, the clerk informed me that the violation only applied to motor vehicles. Apparently a license plate was required to fill in the form to set a court date, so the clerk dismissed it as not appropriate for the modality.

    Forcing cops to enforce the vehicle law equitably by modality and in accordance with state City policy goals of transit first will pay all sorts of benefits.

    -marc

  • EL

    Gotta love the SF Examiner. Couple (who is disabled) gets busted for using a lost disabled placard, and somehow they’re griping about being unfairly targeted for placard abuse, rather than getting a legitimate placard to begin with.

  • mushmouth

    Lastly, it is questionable whether the left turn was illegal from the middle lane as according to CVC 22100(b) if there are 3 marked lanes for traffic (which there are at that intersection as the bike lane becomes a right turn lane 50 feet from the intersection) it is legal to turn left from the middle lane.

  • That still doesn’t change the fact that a street is now considered to no longer be a street if cars aren’t allowed to use it.

  • mushmouth

    @marc,

    I don’t see what that has to do with this case. Being a smartass to cops will get you cited, if you are on a bike or not. I have a very straight edge friend who worked in the Public Defenders office get arrested and held cuffed to a wall in a cell for 16 hours for “public drunkenness”. What did he do? Talk back to an SFPD officer. He wasn’t on a bike. Needless to say the arrest record disappeared.

  • marcos

    @mushmouth, without a bell or a horn, you gotta communicate with someone about to kill you somehow. Only for a cop is it a proportionate response to write a bogus ticket when a cyclists calls you on breaking the law and putting another vehicle at risk.

    All the more reason to bring public scrutiny and political oversight to the “work program” of each cop, restricting their options by law to enforcement actions that make the cut during tough budget times. No other city employee with a supervisor would be allowed to dabble in inconsequential minutae like the cops are. We can no longer afford to allow the cops to waste our tax dollars according to their suburban ideology.

    The SFPD is corrupt and those of us who help elect people to local public office need to get a handle on that.

    -marc

  • Of course a bicycle isn’t a vehicle. It even says so on the sign: “Welcome to Golden Gate Park! It’s a car-free day. ROAD CLOSED TO VEHICLES.”

  • mushmouth

    It’s true, however one with a motor is a vehicle which means that Ebikes are very likely officially illegal to be ridden in the park on the closed roads and on sunday street closed roads. DUI penalties are also different with an Ebike vs a solely human powered cycle.

  • @mushmouth – as annoying as it is that you “wonder” if it’s legal to turn from the middle lane when you could find that out in about 30 seconds, I will do your homework for you.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=arguello+and+fulton,+san+francisco&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=52.418008,68.642578&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Fulton+St+%26+Arguello+Blvd,+San+Francisco,+California+94118&ll=37.774463,-122.458377&spn=0,0.008379&z=17&layer=c&cbll=37.774555,-122.458386&panoid=5vu1ORx8rXROq_PK-LszkQ&cbp=12,189.64,,0,10.88

    Wow! A left turn arrow in the left lane, and NO LEFT TURN ARROW in the center lane.

  • Mushmouth,

    You are entirely incorrect, as a quick examination of the California Vehicle Code will tell you. As long as an electric bicycle has fully operative pedals, a motor under 750 watts, and can’t be propelled more than 20 mph, by law it is considered a bicycle, not a motor vehicle in this state. In addition, neither electric bicycles nor regular bicycles are considered vehicles for California DUI law, so neither would incur penalties for violating it. However, the California Vehicle Code does stipulate that it’s illegal for anyone to ride any kind of bicycle on a highway under the influence of drugs or alcohol. (There appears to be no restrictions for any other kind of street.) So in this instance, electric bicycle riders would be treated exactly the same as regular bicycle riders.

  • But really, we can’t accept that the SFPD views this street as closed. It is still a 4way intersection when they block it to cars.

  • Nick

    It almost seems like the officer went out of his way to find a way to place the blame on the cyclist.

    One thing that could help: Zip tie all the corners of the “Road Closed” signs. Most of the time they are flapping in the wind to the dismay of motorists. That 2 second lapse in attention often causes problems at the the main entrance at JFK and Fell.

  • patrick

    @Mushmouth

    another section from the CVC: “21755. The driver of a motor vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety.”

    Clearly that was not the case, so illegal.

  • smushmoth

    @taomom,

    please refer to cvc 21207.5, and I’d suggest refer to a lawyer with respect to DUI laws.

    as for the 750 watts and under 100 lbs, that is federal law with respect to safety equipment, which also states that electric bicycles are not allowed on federally funded walking/multi use paths.

    @mr murphy

    The lack of a left arrow is not a “no left turn” sign, as cvc 22100 only states “the driver of a vehicle in the middle lane may turn left into any lane lawfully available to traffic moving in that direction upon the roadway being entered.” Not that there needs to be a marking to states as such.

    You guys can stick your head in the sand and play the victim card, but understanding the law goes a long way to getting changes you want actually enacted. What the bike NOPA article fails to understand is the the reason Arguello is considered an Alley or Private Property, is likely because the road was barricaded, and thus not open to Vehicle traffic.

  • Well, the vehicle code, though a little convoluted, is not all that hard to understand.

    VC Section 21209

    Motor Vehicles and Motorized Bicycles in Bicycle Lanes

    21209. (b) This section does not prohibit the use of a motorized bicycle in a bicycle lane, pursuant to Section 21207.5, at a speed no greater than is reasonable or prudent, having due regard for visibility, traffic conditions, and the condition of the roadway surface of the bicycle lane, and in a manner which does not endanger the safety of bicyclists.

    Motorized Bicycles: Prohibited Operation

    21207.5. Notwithstanding Sections 21207 and 23127 of this code, or any other provision of law, no motorized bicycle may be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane established pursuant to Section 21207, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, ***unless*** it is within or adjacent to a roadway or ***unless*** the local authority or the governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over such path or trail permits, by ordinance, such operation.

    “Unless” is a powerful word. Reading the vehicle code correctly, electric-assist bicycles can be used on a) roads, b) any bike lanes or trails within or adjacent to a roadway, and c) any bike lane, path or trail not adjacent to a roadway that has been approved by the authorities having jurisdiction over said bike lane/path/trail.

    As far as road closures for Car-Free Days in the Park and Sunday Streets go, if bicycles are allowed on the roads, then electric-assist bicycles meeting state and federal definitions as bicycles are also allowed. And why shouldn’t they be? Many, many regular bicyclists routinely ride at speeds over 20 mph. I am constantly passed by them. Why is an electric-assist bicycle so darn threatening?

  • smushmoth

    You need to now demonstrate where the exceptions for Sunday Streets, the Panhandle, and the Golden Gate Park for electric bicycles are in the city code.
    I can’t find them.

  • smushmoth, you can continue to think that the road is not open to vehicle traffic, but you are also sticking your head in the sand. Bikes may enter and exit through Arguello meaning it is still open to vehicles. Also, this driver did not take due caution when passing, legal or not, the other car taking a left. This is similar to the incident on Fell (?) when a driver was stopped to let a pedestrian pass and another driver went flying around them and hit the pedestrian. Caution needs to be displayed when anyone is stopped in the road and not automatically assume they can pass freely and quickly.

  • Shushmouth is correct that the way the street is marked right now you could legally turn left into the #2 lane on Eastbound Fulton or right into the #1 lane on Westbound Fulton, or go straight from the center lane. It certainly isn’t particularly safe to make either of these turns at that intersection and I think the street simply was not marked properly – if it’s supposed to work as it seems the engineers intended there should be a straight arrow in the center lane (it is already implicitly illegal to go straight from the shared bike/right turn lane, but it would be good to put a combined lane marking there too).

    But the officer should have simply cited the driver for one of the most common offenses which they should all have memorized:

    21801. (a) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or
    to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or
    private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all
    vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close
    enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning
    movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the
    approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with
    reasonable safety.

    You cannot arbitrarily define a bike-only street as an Alley, because the CVC explicitly defines “Alley” in a way that excludes Arguello Blvd from being one, and you cannot define it as public property because “public or private property” does not include public streets (which are not part of any lot), whether they are closed to traffic or not:

    110. “Alley” is any highway having a roadway not exceeding 25 feet
    in width which is primarily used for access to the rear or side
    entrances of abutting property

  • smushmoth

    Except that road (south spur of arguello) is not open to “vehicle” traffic on sundays, and is marked as so. Think about it? The cyclist “boogied (sic)” past a barricade from a clearly closed road. What if it was a motorcycle coming from the park and the cyclist was turning left? Do you expect oncoming traffic to judge that the opening of the barricade is wide enough for a cyclist to come out of? No the road was closed.

    Yes there is liability here, most likely that of the city for not putting up a stop sign and shutting down the lights.

    Bottom line is be aware of your surroundings and realize you are fragile.

  • Bottom line is the driver pulled a stunt, legal or not, and hit someone. What if it was a pedestrian? That person would have been hit.

    And that street is open to vehicle traffic. Those barriers are used so that bikes/peds can easily pass through.

    I don’t see us coming to any sort of agreement – we are looking at the road from two different vantage points, yours from behind 2,000 lbs and a sheet of glass.

  • The barricade is only blocking the auto lane, while leaving the bike lane completely clear; they didn’t have to go around anything!

    I do agree that the cyclist could sue the city for failing to have adequate traffic control devices, and they should do so and see if it gets any action taken about the intersection!

    And of course what is legally required is always very different from what is practically advisable; you should definitely always be aware of your surroundings before entering an intersection whether you have the right of way or not. But when an officer is preparing a report they are only supposed to be looking at the law.

  • smushmoth

    There is no bike lane on the south side of Fulton.

  • smushmoth

    Or I should say on Arguello south of Fulton.

  • smushmoth, there is one, just going south, not north.

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=37.7741,-122.458141&spn=0.000629,0.001397&t=h&z=20

    And they had to of used those blockades with bikes in mind. They leave the sides of the road unobstructed so that bikes can pass.

  • So for the purposes of validating a left turn from the “center” lane – a bike lane is a lane. But the bike “lane” on Fell Street – not so much a lane that we need to be concerned about keeping clear.

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