SFPD Increases Enforcement on Wiggle as SFMTA Ponders Signal Priority

IMG_1370.jpgA bicyclist waits to turn left onto Fell from Scott, where SFPD officers have been ticketing cyclists for running the red light. Photos: Bryan Goebel.

It’s no secret that many bicyclists pedaling through one of San Francisco’s most popular bicycling corridors, The Wiggle, often run the red light turning onto Fell Street from Scott. Whether you agree it’s a dangerous move to do so, considering the speeding traffic that thunders down Fell, the intersection has not been designed to give left-turn bicyclists signal priority, even though the SFMTA earlier this year installed a left-turn bike lane and green bike box on Scott. As it stands, bicyclists have 30 seconds to turn left on the green, but only if there’s no southbound automobile traffic.

The fact that the intersection hasn’t been updated to accommodate the dramatic rise in bicyclists, the most vulnerable users of the road along with pedestrians, apparently doesn’t matter to the San Francisco Police Department. According to reports from Streetsblog readers, the SFPD has upped its enforcement along The Wiggle, where increasing numbers of bicyclists are getting ticketed not only for running the red light on Scott, but for rolling through stop signs.

"I’ve lived here my whole life and I never expected to get a ticket on my bike," said Nate Miller, who was slapped with a ticket one evening last month as he was commuting from his job in the Mission District to his home in the Inner Richmond. "He (the officer) was standing in the bike lane (on Fell) so as soon as you hit it he stopped you and you had to pull over."

Miller said he recognized the officer as being one of about a dozen cops who were on hand recently at an Arco station protest. "He could only ticket so many people at a time so he grabbed one and wrote us a ticket and then three minutes after he was done he’d get another person, and he was just doing this rapid fire."

At the same time, Miller witnessed drivers violating the bike lane, something the officer didn’t seem to care about. After arguing with the cop and watching two other bicyclists get ticketed, Miller returned to Scott Street where he began warning other bicyclists. He later encountered a bicyclist with a sound system, and both of them began announcing that everyone pedaling up to the light should stop on the red because there was a cop around the corner. Only one bicyclist decided not to heed the warning, and that person was the only other bicyclist who received a ticket that evening, according to Miller.

"When I was stopping folks and warning them, a lot of people were like, hey, thanks, my friend got a ticket the other day or I got a ticket last week. The guy who had a sound system who was out with me said that in the past week had he had gotten a ticket for running a stop sign on a different part of The Wiggle."

IMG_1157.jpgA bicyclist receives a ticket near Steiner and Duboce on The Wiggle.

Targeted Enforcement

From a ticketing standpoint, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has encouraged the SFPD to follow the Bike Plan, and conduct targeted enforcement for both drivers and bicyclists at intersections that have the strongest history of injuries and crashes. The SFPD has not pointed to any such statistics at Fell/Scott, although it leads to a well-known conflict area for bicyclists alongside the troublesome Arco station, where the SFMTA has recently made changes in an effort to reduce conflicts with drivers.

"We’re very interested to know whether there is a real injury history at that intersection. We don’t want to see anybody turning against red lights, but we do want to make sure that the police are bringing their efforts to those locations that are known to be dangerous, and we haven’t had the police really show us that that area actually has a real record of injuries and crashes," said SFBC Program Director Andy Thornley.

While denying that any kind of a sting focused on bicyclists is underway on The Wiggle, Sgt. Troy Dangerfield, a spokesperson for SFPD repeated what the department has often said: the vehicle code should be applied equally to both drivers and bicyclists, even though crashes involving drivers take a far greater toll.

"If you’re asking whether the police department thinks that targeted enforcement should be done in areas where there are a lot of crashes, I think we can agree to that. There’s no disagreement," said Dangerfield. "But it has to go across the board for everyone."

Dangerfield said the officers who’ve been out stopping bicyclists on The Wiggle could be responding to complaints from residents.

"It may be, and this is speculation, that people are calling and saying hey, all these bicyclists are running the stop sign here and bicyclists are saying there’s no traffic so we can run it, and I know bicyclists feel that way on lights, or stop signs. There’s no traffic in either direction so why should we wait, you know? I can’t necessarily disagree with that if they make sure everything is clear and it’s safe, but again, there are rules and laws and that’s what those traffic enforcement signs are there for."

IMG_1379.jpgA bicyclist and good citizen warns other bicyclists that police have been ticketing for running the red light.

An Engineering Solution

The SFMTA has begun talking about an engineering solution at the intersection, according to Mike Sallabery, a transportation engineer at the agency.

"We’re going to consider some possibilities for giving cyclists protected left turns from Scott onto Fell Street," said Sallabery. "When you’re riding along Scott Street I think the timing could be
really optimized for cyclists. So when you get to Scott Street you could
potentially have a left-turn arrow waiting for you so you don’t have to
slow down."

To start, the SFMTA is going to begin collecting data as early as next week to count the current volume of cars and bicycles at Fell and Scott. 

"We at the MTA are looking at a variety of improvements along
The Wiggle because we recognize that it’s an important crosstown route," said Sallabery.
"A lot of cyclists get funneled into that corridor because of the
terrain."

There have also been rumors that the SFMTA is going to paint the left-turn bike lane green. A few weeks ago SFMTA interns were spotted by Streetsblog doing counts on how many drivers were crossing into the bike lane on Scott.

Now that the bike injunction is no longer a tired excuse, the SFMTA should be emboldened to make changes at Fell/Scott to give bicyclists the priority they deserve.

  • EL

    @ John Murphy – See this report:

    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/rtraffic/documents/Collision_report_2008.pdf

    If I were given the power, I would continue citing bikes and cars for stop sign/signal/turn violations. Note that those 3 violations cause 51% of bike collisions (see Table 11). I would focus my attention on the 4 intersections listed in Table 12. Note that it would be very easy (and justified based on this report) to cite bicyclists that turn right on a red arrow from northbound Valencia onto Market. These bikes turn from a bike lane onto a shared lane that is a very well know Market St. pinch point.

  • @EL – I’m not saying that this is proper behavior. The cops are running a sting on people drinking in Dolores Park too. With limited resources, there are only so many choices we have as to what to do with the SFPD.

    I didn’t ask you if we should or should not cite bikes for violations. I asked if you think it’s a proper allocation of scarce resources. The stats you just linked to show that 51% of bike collisons are caused by those violations. But you conveniently ignore that there were less than 2 non-fatal injury collisons per day, and only 3 cyclist fatalities that year. Meanwhile the Homicide rate was well over 100. Perhaps that would be a better focus of resources?

    27% of injury collisions are pedestrians. 16% are cyclists. Seems like a jaywalking sting would be more valuable.

    “Unsafe speed is listed as a primary cause in 19 percent of non-fatal injury collisions last year.”

    More injuries were caused by speeding motorists alone than all cyclist incidents (some of which are not cyclist-at-fault). Quite simply, getting out there with a radar gun is more useful than this sting. Period. By the facts in the report that YOU cite.

  • noah

    @peternatural, I think that what you propose is legal, though extremely inconvenient. I do not think dismounting is a practical solution to bike-car traffic issues.

    @sean, you won’t get me to debate you on this point. SFPD should absolutely be doing a lot more to make sure cars respect bike lanes, etc. It’s a bit harder with cars, because it’s more of a production to pull them over, but something certainly should be done.

  • Peter Smith

    it’s time to stop it with the bikers-have-to-stop-at-stop-signs gambit — that period of history is over — it’s time to move on to a better place. it’s time for the SF Bike Coalition to change their stance towards one of non-enforcement and new/better/just laws regarding pedestrians and cyclists.

  • I want to point out that my experience is different from what Noah describes. This was a sting operation. I did not argue with the cop, acknowledged that I did run the light. He quickly started writing me a ticket and the only thing that I protested was that I was too broke to pay for one by pointing to a giant bag of half used toilet paper rolls (I had the clean part) that I was crying in my basket to my house. I then watched him give tickets to two more people, the first of which was very argumentative and the second who didn’t say anything. After that, i returned to the corner to let people know not to get entrapped with a $300 pain in the ass.

  • Sean

    @nate

    You weren’t entrapped — that is, the officer didn’t bait you into doing something that you wouldn’t normally do. You got caught running a red light of your own volition.

  • icarus12

    A quick question for the knowledgeable cyclists here: As a cyclist, if you are stopped by the police for a violation, what happens if you don’t have your id with you? I sometimes take a quick ride for exercise and have left with only my house keys, no bag, etc. Will they haul me off to jail if I can’t produce id?

  • Sean-

    Peter’s Point is what I was also expressing to Bryan when we talked.:it’s time to stop it with the bikers-have-to-stop-at-stop-signs gambit — that period of history is over — it’s time to move on to a better place. it’s time for the SF Bike Coalition to change their stance towards one of non-enforcement and new/better/just laws regarding pedestrians and cyclists.

    I think that it is important to push back against rhetoric about how it is unfair that the bike did this, or ‘he stole my turn.’ Bikes and cars are very different. Almost no bicyclist stops at all lights, because if you had to, it would make riding so inefficient that many would not do it. I think that there is a distinction between being reckless and safely riding through a light, and we should push for laws that recognize cyclists as different kinds of vehicles.

    Until then, I will continue to disobey the law (while respecting pedestrians and my own safety) and try to get off on technicalities (as I did for this one.

  • noah

    @Nate,

    That’s interesting. It may be that, after months of giving a combination of warnings and tickets, with no substantial effect on behavior, they are now giving tickets to everybody they stop. I haven’t seen them do this, but I don’t think I was around the last time they were giving bike tickets on that block of Fell.

    Another possibility is that you may not be entirely objective about how you reacted to the police, or how other people did after you got a ticket. I don’t mean to attack you — as I said, I think your response to getting a ticket is commendable. I’m just saying that the cyclists may not have been as cooperative as you perceived them to be.

    A third possibility is that the particular cops out there that day were just jerks. The ones I talked to a couple of months ago were very nice and reasonable, as were most of the cyclists they pulled over.

    And I agree that it’s totally a “sting operation” — it’s just like hiding behind a sign in a place where people speed. That’s the point, to catch the people doing something illegal we know takes place repeatedly and regularly.

    Unfortunately, the changes to make our streets, including Fell, friendly to both bikes and cars are slowing going. It took forever to deal with the Fell-Divis intersection, but I’m pretty happy with the result (as a cyclist and a motorist, it’s still a disaster as a pedestrian). We should keep being vigilant in pushing the city to address these issues, but that’s still no excuse for making the illegal left. A good start (that doesn’t really fix this problem) would be to paint the Scott bike lane green and post a cop to ticket cars who stop in the bike lane at Fell and Scott, and in the bike box at Oak and Scott. And to continue to ticket cyclists who make this illegal left.

  • rocky’sdad

    It’s about time we’re seeing some pushback from people who don’t normally use a bike, but continuing to see the cyclists break all kinds of traffic laws. Many of us are sick of it..and we’re glad the police are beginning crack down on them.

    And no, its NOT a sting operation, murph! you are so wrong. Here’s what you can do. Work hard to obey all traffic laws, and work hard to convince your fellow cyclists to do the same..Then we can ALL enjoy the streets safely and together.

  • Engineering solutions that benefit all road users are definitely the way to go. If we replaced stop signs with traffic circles on bike routes wherever possible, neither bikes nor cars would have to stop and everyone would be better off.

    On the wiggle, why not just one way all the street segments and create a continuous cycletracks along the inside lane, which would then never cross any vehicle traffic and create a ” bike freeway”? A few people would have to shift their route over a block, but speed and stress would be beter for everyone without the constant leftturn conflicts

  • Alex

    @Stuart Chuang Matthews And what happens if you fall? Maybe you get a concussion, break a hip, etc. What if you’re on blood thinners or a hemophiliac? The whole point is that it is not your place to make decisions that may endanger someone’s safety… even if you’re wielding a bicycle at the time.

    @peternatural A car running a red light with nobody around doesn’t harm anyone either. Nor does a car speeding that doesn’t wreck or otherwise hit anyone.

  • Peter Smith

    Just a quick reminder of how riders can stick together — in this particular example, transit riders — but the model is extensible:

    For most who ride the city’s underground illicitly each year, the thrill of Métro hopping is tempered by the threat of being stopped by inspectors and fined up to €72 (£62). For an ingenious minority, however, there is no such deterrent: they pay a small monthly sum into an unofficial insurance fund, or mutuelle, which covers any charges in full.

    As well as saving themselves money – members contribute between €5-€7 (£4-£6) a month to the pot, a snip compared with a €53 (£46) Navigo pass – the fare-dodgers believe they are striking a blow to a capitalist system which demands payment for public transport (the RATP transport authorities estimate losses through ticketless travellers at €80m, or £69m, a year).

    First, we take care of these ridiculous stop sign and red light tickets, then we move on to healthcare, then we elect our own leaders and implement our own political agenda.

    Take that, capitalist pigs! 😀

  • @Alex Yes, I am aware of that. If you’ll notice, I was answering his question about what the difference is between a motorist running a stop sign and a cyclist running a stop sign. The difference is a huge difference in _probability_ of injury or death.

  • I’m glad this bs SFPD sting has been exposed, for there is no better illustration of the bias and hypocrisy favoring cars in San Francisco.

    Just feet from the parade of car drivers intentionally blocking the bike lane *and* sidewalk on Fell, endangering cyclists and pedestrians, the SFPD turns a blind eye, seeking instead to ticket nearby cyclists.

    And far from being merely a matter of official bias, we see examples of the more popular form of bias here in the comments, with one commenter literally suggesting the only thing keeping us all from enjoying safe streets together is cyclists. As if car drivers weren’t responsible for the overwhelming majority of injuries and 40,000 US deaths annually…

    I encourage ticketed cyclists to fight the rap individually and as a group if possible, and I encourage everyone to work even harder to reform traffic design and laws to assist bicycle traffic rather than only to assist car traffic, as we have now. Cyclists don’t follow car-centric laws not because we’re inherently the worst people ever, but because those laws do not take us or our vehicles into account whatsoever.

  • Nick

    Maybe people are so pissed because their $300 ticket costs more than their used bike. How about fining a motorist $10,000 or even $20,000 for blocking the bike lane!

  • JD

    Al said: “The person who suggests getting off and walking across during the red light makes the point for me: there is no safety benefit to getting off and walking across instead of riding across, so why give tickets for the one and not the other?”

    Exactly! That is the point here: the laws that bicyclists are “breaking” weren’t even designed for cyclists. Asking cyclists to enforce laws that were not designed for them, and hence often don’t make sense to them, is silly. There is a reason almost every single cyclist, young or old, finds it natural to coast through a stop sign with no cars around, for example. It just isn’t necessary to stop on a bike which is going slow enough to have enough “dwell time” in the intersection to see what is going on (especially since the cyclist’s hearing and vision is not dulled like those of a car driver).

    It blows my mind that people think cyclists should follow laws designed for 4000 lb hunks of steel whose driver’s slightest actions are over-amplified and whose senses are dulled which in turn diminish the driver’s sense of responsibility. The forces and speeds involved with bicycles compared to cars are just so much lower that they warrant different laws. Expecting cyclists to follow laws designed for cars is like pitting a basketball team against a soccer team and then calling the soccer team for traveling or the basketball team for a hand ball.

  • Nick

    Or heres a practical solution: Mass up with other cyclists at that intersection and take the auto travel lane at 5mph until you reach the Panhandle.

    There’s no law that says you MUST use the unsafe bike lane. If everyone starts to do this, motorists will be the ones demanding a physically separated cycletrack.

  • Alex

    @JD The idea that two wheels is inherently superior to two feet is amazing.

    There is a reason almost every single driver, young or old, finds it natural to coast through a stop sign with no cars around, for example. It just isn’t necessary to stop on a car which is going slow enough to have enough “dwell time” in the intersection to see what is going on.

  • “I hope the police keep ticketing cyclists til some of you get the message.”

    CHP has been handing out speeding tickets for decades. Apparently that message isn’t sticking either.

  • prinzrob

    I am a daily cyclist and am all for amending the law to allow bikes to treat stop lights and stop signs as yields, but at the same time I refuse to disobey the current laws and am constantly frustrated by slower cyclists who I get stuck behind after they leap-frog past me at stop signs, or who cut me off from the side as I start to go through the intersection. I desperately want more motorists to respect bike traffic, but feel that this perception is threatened by cyclists who only obey the laws they find convenient.

    It seems as though if everyone who currently ignores the law instead worked to change it, we would already have a system that makes sense for cyclists. Instead, because of the current apathy and disregard for the law a change will continue to be unlikely.

    That being said, a $300 ticket seems excessive for a bicycle infraction, especially when California law already allows municipalities to fine cyclists at lower rates than car drivers for the same offense, or even simply require them to attend a bike safety class. San Francisco should take advantage of this exception, as it would probably make the police feel more comfortable handing out legitimate citations to actual scofflaws on a regular basis.

    On a side note, I grew up biking in Michigan where left turns on red onto one way streets are legal for both cars and bicycles, and never saw or heard of an accident caused by this.

  • And now the anti-cyclist openly hopes more San Franciscans on bicycles will take a $300 hit to the wallet each–because we, here on Streetsblog, disagree with him in this conversation. Keep it classy, rocky’sdad. You know what else we call “[a] ‘massing’ up with a bunch” of vehicles “to create a dangerous situation for both cyclists and cars”? Car traffic. Motorists do that very thing you decry, at least twice a day, all over the city and region. Double standard much?

    San Franciscans on bikes should stop at stop signs–as the anti-cyclist reminds us, “it’s the law.” But it doesn’t have to be the law. Experience shows it isn’t necessary. Indeed, injuries and fatalities actually *dropped* in Idaho after that state dumped its car-centric old law and began to allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. We can and should change our California law accordingly.

    In the meantime, watch out for SFPD sting operations and those bike-lane blocking motorists who enjoy total immunity from our biased police force.

  • redcatbicycliste

    It’s a $300 fine!!! I posted a comment here, I think, about 24 hours ago. Someone, in reply to it, tried to take me to task, saying that I was accusing the cops of “picking” on bicyclists. That was not the point of my comment. The point was that we have to look at the bigger picture, which is that San Francisco, like many other cities (and states) in this country ain’t got no money (bad grammar intentional)! We are in a recession (a depression, really; but most Americans don’t want to face up to that fact), and all the talk of recovery is spin, poppycock. Cities cannot raise taxes to bring in more money; however, they can hit people with fines to bring in some cash. Bicyclists, because of their inability to get away easily, and the highly likely chance that a bicyclist isn’t going to follow the rules of the road (for a host of good reasons), are easy targets for the cops to issue tickets on a large-scale: A cop can stand on a corner, out of sight, and issue more tickets in a hour to bicyclists than he ever could to a motorist. At $300 a pop, to issue ten, 20 tickets to bicyclists beats, brings in more money than, five $300 tickets to motorists. It is the slowest movers on the road who are vulnerable to this nation-wide money-grab by municipalities: In Seattle, jay-walking tickets are on the increase; all these tickets have fines attached. Don’t be naive and think that the cops are doing this for safety reasons–it is all about the money. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim of this new “tax.” Unfortunately, for all the inconvenience it causes us bicyclists to have to stop and start and stop and start, if you don’t follow the rules of the road — given the economic collapse, and a city’s desperate need for money, and how easy it is for cops to “catch” you compared to a motorist — you leave yourself open to being ticketed with a heavy fine.

  • I have an idea – maybe we could do something whereby riding a bike on a street or driving a car on a street was not a right, but a privilege….then, we could do something like maybe have schools where people would learn rules of the road and to get a license, would have to pass some sort of test, where if they didn’t pass, they couldn’t drive or ride a bike. And if we did this properly, and have special added classes to teach people how to ride a bike or drive in a dense urban area (this is not Oregon or some stupid suburb with 10 lane roads y’know), then maybe, JUST MAYBE we wouldn’t have epic douchebaggery from a percentage of drivers and cyclists.

    I know it’s a crazy idea – I mean there’d be a riot if there was a test you had to take to drive a car, people would call that un American, and cyclists don’t want to be licensed or register their bikes (like we all used to as kids), so it’ll go nowhere. Still, I can’t help but think if we had some way to “license” drivers, it might help.

  • Noah said:

    “5. If you make this turn by going “using the crosswalk” (see comment #6), you are probably not making an illegal turn on red. You are violating the law that prohibits adult cyclists from riding in pedestrian pathways, which includes sidewalks and crosswalks. If that’s how you made the turn, that’s what you should get a ticket for.”

    Actually, this “pedestrian left” is one of two options the official DMV drivers guide gives. There is nothing illegal about making a left turn by going straight to the corner, then repositioning to go straight on the perpendicular road. In fact, it is the recommended turning method for novice cyclists.

    @icarus12, no you do not need to have ID with you in California. You must, however, tell the truth when asked for name and address.

    I am NOT familiar with the law in california concerning nonpayment of the ticket. Usually, it means you cant renew your license…which some cyclists may not even have or care about.

  • “injuries and fatalities actually *dropped* in Idaho after that state dumped its car-centric old law and began to allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. We can and should change our California law accordingly.”

    Maybe Newsome can advocate for this as part of his campaign for Lt. Gov., given his current support for bicycling.

  • Sean

    @rocky’sdad

    Again, I will just say that volumes are spoken by the fact that cyclists taking a left on a red are getting $300 tickets while cars that block the sidewalk and bike lane, creating hazards for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike get a flyer from an intern.

    No offense to the SFMTA interns — I’m sure they’re doing a good job, but selective enforcement of the laws leaves one with the impression that the SFPD is prioritizing road users’ safety inverse to how difficult they are to catch.

  • In my experience traveling around the city daily for the past few years, very few traffic violations by cyclists fall into the “unsafe or rude” category, and nearly all are cases where the cyclist yielded as needed for safety and courtesy (if anyone was present), but still violated the law (rolling through a 4-way stop, e.g.).

    My experience is the same for drivers: for the most part they yield when they ought to and are generally courteous (even if rolling through stop signs is rampant for them as well– it’s mainly done when there’s no conflict).

    A few possible explanations for why my experience differs from what you hear in comments here or on sfgate:

    1. I live a preternaturally charmed life, and strangers on the street are just nice to me (and to others, when I am around to witness).

    2. Online commenters exaggerate a lot. Or they are just repeating what they’ve heard and swear is true, even though they rarely actually get out of the house, and/or don’t even live in or visit SF.

    3. Online commenters who have lots of problems are typically distracted, oblivious, rushed, impatient, rude, lacking empathy, and often cut corners, leading to many tense situations, which are always chalked up to being the other person’s fault.

    A somewhat related incident I observed the other day:

    I was crossing the panhandle (on foot), approaching the bike path, and I could see a bicyclist approaching at a good clip. I could have continued straight ahead and crossed the bike path before the bicyclist, but that would have cut it a bit close for my taste (unless the bicyclist slowed down for me, which he may have done).

    So I slowed down to let the bicyclist pass. A woman approaching from the other direction also arrived at the bike path just then, and she too paused, seemingly to yield to the bicyclist like me. The bicyclist took note that we were both pausing for him, so he proceeded forward, but just then the woman stepped out in front of him and he slammed on his breaks and yelled something like “whoah!” Her reply: “I stopped!”

    Not sure what she meant, but she seemed to feel it was the cyclist’s fault for having a close call. If she was inclined to visit sfgate, she could type up the incident as another case of a crazy reckless bicyclist being wrong. But it looked more like obliviousness and miscommunication to me.

  • From Mr. Roadshow

    “Gary Radnich admitted on one of his programs that he runs red lights when he tries to get home at night. He said he looks both ways and then goes if it’s clear. “

  • Reminder to our commenters, please refrain from personal insults to other commenters. If you have any questions, you can refer to the comment policy here:
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/about/#who

  • EL

    @ John Murphy – See my comment #31. I stated that I think the citations between cars/bikes should be proportional to mode share. So using current mode share #’s, it means citing cars most of the time, and citing bikes once in a while. And when citing bikes, I’d focus on the locations that I described earlier.

  • Nick

    Maybe signage is a good quick fix instead of tickets.

    Sign could say: “Bikes: No left turn on red.” And add a green bike box or something.

  • Boris

    I would say it’s a rare day to see a car come to a complete stop at stop signs in SF – requiring bikes to do so is nothing but ridiculous – especially given the public danger differential.

    Stoping at red lights is different. I think bikes should always follow traffic rules at lighted intersections – but coming to a complete stop (and putting your foot down) makes no sense from a public safety or any other standpoint.

  • rocky’sdad

    It’s the law! How much more clearer in simple english can that be?

  • If I were picking a place to do targeted enforcement – here’s my pick.

    Townsend Street and 7th, AM commute.

    Eastbound on Townsend at 7th, there is a straight/left lane, a bike lane, and a right turn pocket. Cars queue up to turn left in the primary lane, impatient drivers note this and swerve into the bike lane and use it as a through lane. Illegal – and dangerous. You can enter a bike lane to go to a parking spot on the other side or to make a right turn – you cannot use it as a travel lane.

    Cyclists, running late for Caltrain, run the red light. Illegal – and a lot more dangerous than a left off Scott onto Fell against the red onto the left hand bike lane.

    This selection has the added feature that all we have to do is get one of the dozens of cops sitting in the Starbucks at 8th and Townsend to do the enforcement.

  • @rocky’sdad

    The law is a ass. It’s that simple.

    Rolling through stops (by bikes and cars) is rampant and will continue to be. Usually (when done right) it doesn’t impinge on anyone, which is why no one cares, including the cops.

  • Sorry, didn’t realize the a-word was prohibited. I was just repeating a famous quote from Charles Dickens (from the novel Oliver Twist).

  • Sorry Peter, trying to keep it as clean as possible here. This has become a very testy thread.

  • marcos

    The Wiggle is a strategic bottleneck where the cops know they can always lie in wait, ambush, and make their quota.

    At the intersection of Scott and Fell, the way I see it is that very few west bound autos turn left/south onto Scott. So bikes waiting to head westbound become a pedestrian for a moment and then take the bike lane where there are never any autos that close to the Scott intersection.

    We need for the stop signs to be replaced with bike yield signs over the entire Wiggle between Fillmore and Steiner and Scott and Page.

    And we need for advocates to get serious about linking SFPD traffic enforcement priorities to DPH demonstrated health threats.

    -marc

  • @Nick P (22) – It’s not only bicyclists running the stops and the reds. Motorists, motorcyclists, and Muni drivers all feel entitled to roll through them all the time, especially downhill. If you go to other hilly spots around the city you will see the same behavior. The main difference here is that bicyclists are more numerous, yet still seen as “the other” by member of the non-bicycling public. So we get enforcement that targets us out of proportion to the actual number of offenders, and WAY out of proportion to the type of offenders who do the most damage.

  • @Alex (36) – You are making a straw horse argument; there was never a”legalize bicycling while talking on the cellphone” effort. What happened was that Simitian, who authored the original cellphone law, did a very poor job of writing it. Amongst other problems, he applied it to “drivers” of “motor vehicles,” so it didn’t apply to bicyclists.

    So, when he got around to cleaning up his mess and use terminology consistent with the rest of the Vehicle Code, some MSM types decided to write a “man bites dog” story to make it seem as if something else was afoot. You, apparently, fell for it.

  • [Sorry, sent that before it was finished]

    @Alex (36) – I have never seen a priceless comment on SFGate, and this one doesn’t qualify. It is an anecdote, and an extremely nonrepresentative one, at that. This forum generally demands a higher standard of evidence than that.

  • @Murph (85) – You know where I’d like to see targeted enforcement? The street you live on. ;^) As you know, I’m walking with kids around there from time to time, and it’s a prime example of what I wrote about earlier: a place where motorists of every stripe feel entitled to ignore every STOP sign, because hey, they’re going downhill, give ’em a break, get those kids and slow-moving elders out of the way.

    The same could be observed by Rocky’s Dad, whose nearby street is a showcase for the same behavior, should he choose to open his eyes and notice it.

  • cyclotronic

    the best way to handle that spot is to cut over to the other side of the road early so you don’t have to worry about left turning cars. it may be against the rules or whatever, but rules were made by people, and people aren’t very intelligent, especially those with an over concern for rules as opposed to the reason we have them in the first place.

  • DayMo

    It goes both ways and I speak from experience. I drive a car and have a bike and use both at various times for various tasks. There have been many times where I have been crossing the street and have been ALMOST hit by a cyclist thinking they have every right to run through stop signs and red lights. One almost hit a baby in a stroller and I stopped it about 2 feet from the stroller. I had to step in front of the stroller to have him stop. He said: “I paused”, and I said: “buddy, the sign says STOP not PAUSE” he wanted to fight me just because I ruined his momentum, Idiot. That is just one example. Cars do it also with the infamous “California Roll”…point is they are both vehicles and must be in compliance with CA law as well as being enforced equally, without prejudice, by law enforcement.

  • Alex

    @Jym my comment stemmed from the streetsblog comments where posters were indeed defending their “right” to talk on a phone while operating a bicycle.

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