Today’s Headlines

  • BART to Celebrate Opening This Weekend of West Dublin/Pleasanton Station (SF Gate)
  • “Unifying Grievance” on BART Board for Ousting Dorothy Dugger “Remains Unclear” (SF Examiner)
  • 61-year-old Woman Seriously Hurt After Being Hit by a Bicyclist (SF Examiner)
  • The Guardian Advocates Downtown Commercial Tax Assessment for Transit
  • Labor Representation on GG Bridge District Board to Resume (The Appeal)
  • ABC7 I-Team: “Some Muni Riders Irritated by Clipper Card Sounds”
  • Caltrain Switch to Clipper Card to Begin on March 1 (Community Newspapers)
  • New Detours Expected on Bay Bridge as Construction is Completed Early (ABC7)
  • Costly Legal Battle Between SF and Mitchell Engineering (NYT/Bay Citizen)
  • New Ridership Projections Released for SMART (Marin IJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • thielges

    On that fixie rider colliding with a pedestrian incident : granted a skilled and cautious fixie rider can control their bike without needing brakes. But what is the rationale for having no brake ? Are they considered too expensive or too heavy ? A conventional brake seems to be a good insurance policy when you need to make severe emergency stop.

    And I don’t get the comment about back pedaling being a safer way to brake in the rain. I’ve used conventional brakes for years and have no problem stopping with wet brakes. There’s a little lag but once the brakes have scraped the rims dry you’ve got almost full braking power.

  • EL

    Bryan Goebel wrote: “SF Examiner Reporter Casts Fixies as Young, Reckless “Hipsters” Following Ped Crash”

    First off, Bryan added the “reckless” term – not the Examiner. But I “reckless” is appropriate for a fixie with no brakes and who barreled into an intersection even though all the cars stopped for the pedestrian. Second, is it fair to say that most fixie riders are young? Certainly matches my general observations of what’s on the street.

    And why isn’t Bryan advocating for the bicyclist to be issued a citation for violating the pedestrian’s right-of-way (like he would if a car hit a pedestrian)? So what if the bike is impounded for not having a brake? Isn’t that the same as a car having to go to a body shop? And who pays for the pedestrian’s medical bills? The bicyclist or their non-existent insurance policy? Fat chance.

  • EL

    Bryan – Should the bicyclist be cited? It’s a really simple question, that (not so) surprisingly some bloggers don’t want to answer.

    Let’s not forget that this 61-year old woman was in critical condition, and after spending 5 days at SF General, her condition has (thankfully) improved to non-life-threatening. Of course, your focus is on how fixie riders are portrayed, correct?

  • EL – we don’t want to cast aspersions on someone in the hospital, and I’m not going to defend him, but the rider was probably not cited because he was proceeding through a green light.

    Now, California Law as I understand it, says that you can proceed through a green light *when the intersection is clear* – you can’t just barrell through just because you have a green. That’s going to be a bit murky here, because the cyclist might have had a reasonable belief that the intersection is clear. There have been multiple instances lately, that enter into that murky area.

    http://ibikenopa.blogspot.com/2010/02/no-criminal-charges-in-fell-street.html

    The more relevant one is the accident in San Jose where a man was walking through a crosswalk with his son to/from school, and one car stopped, but they were hit by a car in the second lane who didn’t see them behind the stopped car. That should have been very obvious to the offending driver – in the case of the fixie rider the drivers could be asleep at the wheel after the red light cycle, but a car stopped at a marked crosswalk where there is no signalization, should know better.

    If the cyclist was at fault – a lack of a citation is not a big deal from the standpoint of financial compensation.

    As I have found out the hard (for my bones) way, regardless of citation, the pedestrian can file a civil suit on the cyclist – and win. I didn’t actually file suit, the insurance company just paid me off, and there wasn’t even a police report, let alone a citation. If the cyclist owns a car, their motor vehicle insurance does come into play if my understanding is correct.

    If the cops cited him for violating the right of way, the cyclist could get off by pointing out to the right judge that the light was green, blame the pedestrian, and damage the civil case for the pedestrian. This excuse is used all the times by cops for not citing. I have also heard the claim that if an officer does not witness the event, they can’t cite anyone unless they have had “advanced accident reconstruction training”.

    The trouble with this dichotomy is that without a citation or an accident report, no points will go on the cyclists license. If he can’t ride his bike properly, he probably shouldn’t be driving a car either.

  • EL — I think you have a valid point. I’m going to change the headline. The stereotype is not the most important part of the story.

  • There should be consequences for the bicyclist but I don’t know the facts of this case, and I generally don’t trust SFPD’s version of events. What’s frustrating is to see a bicycle-pedestrian crash turned into a judgment against bicyclists in general.

  • the greasybear

    EL:

    You want Bryan to agree the cyclist should be cited, and I want to see you declare the pedestrian is responsible for her own injuries because she ran a red light and failed to wear a helmet.

  • Alex

    EL: This is SF Bike Blog, haven’t you heard?

    Murph: That the cars remained stopped even though the light turned green should have served as an indication. Period. Would this discussion even be happening if the fixie rider had plowed into an ambulance instead of a pedestrian?

    From the way the Examiner article was written, the pedestrian entered the crosswalk on a not-red light. The light changed before the pedestrian finished crossing. AFAIK this is perfectly legal (and potentially reasonable depending on how the lights are timed and whether or not there’s a functioning countdown timer).

  • Alex

    greasy: Except the pedestrian didn’t run a red light…

  • Alex – read it again.

    My point was that if the cyclist convinced a judge that the pedestrian screwed up, he might beat the citation, and if he does, the pedestrian’s civil case is at risk. This is how the cops work re: Citations.

    “From the way the Examiner article was written, the pedestrian entered the crosswalk on a not-red light.”

    Please cite the relevant passage.

  • when i was living in brooklyn, i once raced two kids over the williamsburg bridge, heading into brooklyn. i have a single speed with front and back brakes. neither of them had a brake.

    we raced and i beat them to the top, but never race downhill, so i let them go. they took the super steep south path, instead of the north one for some reason. anyway, they were going at least 25mph, when i saw a bicycle fly about 10 feet in the air. i rode down and saw this kid get up with the bike literally somehow ending up wrapped around him. as it turns out, the idiot’s chain came off and he had no way to stop, before the path emptying out onto bedford, so he put his feet on the ground to try to stop himself.

    he was in shock and had a massive gash in his leg. dude was headed to the hospital. i asked him about brakes and he promptly told me to “fuck off.” what a little trooper. gosh, i hope you have insurance or that your mommy and daddy have enough money to cover your hospital bill, so i don’t have to pay for your stupidity.

    “fixie” bikes were originally called track bikes, because that’s what they are — bikes made to go on an oval track(velodrome) as fast as possible and never need to stop, not city streets with junkies, bad drivers, children and elderly people. i know plenty of responsible fixie riders, but it is inevitable with how many arrogant nubes there are out there and how the media hates all of us bikers already, having brakes will become mandatory.

  • smushmoth

    Having brakes IS already mandatory to ride on the public roadways, as is having front and rear lights if you want ride on them after dark. However the SFPD doesn’t enforce either unless there is an accident or such.

  • It sounds like the pedestrian and bicyclist were both at fault, in a practical sense if not a legal one. If you’re crossing a multi-lane street and the light goes red when you still have one or more lanes to go, it’s a great idea to check that the lane is clear before you step out into it. And like others already said, the bicyclist should have picked up on the clues and been expecting a pedestrian to appear in the lane.

    Running green lights is hazardous in this town (as I’ve learned the scary way). Last week someone died at Geary and Arguello because he ran a green light (in his car) without checking for traffic in the cross direction and got clobbered by someone running the red.

    The moral is: be sure to “look” before you “book” 😉

  • EL

    Bryan – Thank you for changing the title.

    John Murphy – See this quote from the article “In Friday’s accident, the female San Francisco pedestrian was crossing a Silver Avenue crosswalk at Mission Street amid traffic, according to police Sgt. Michael Andraychak. Although the cars waiting to cross Mission had a green light, the pedestrian had not yet made it across, and the cars were apparently waiting for her to complete the journey.”

    Pretty hard to convince the judge that the bicyclist isn’t the one at fault or even that the bicyclist had reasonable belief that the intersection was clear, especially when everyone else stopped for the pedestrian even though the light was green. Don’t you think? Even tougher for the bicyclist to prove to the judge/jury that they were riding with any degree of caution – especially given (a) the absence of brakes, and (b) the speed of the bike to cause such severe injuries.

    Also, looking at Google Maps, it looks like crossing Silver has no pedestrian signals. So it’s very plausible for a pedestrian to have started crossing while the light is green, and to have it change to red before the pedestrian finished crossing.

  • Pauly

    Seems to me this cyclist is clearly at fault. He failed to stop after the accident. He was riding an illegal vehicle. And, according to the report, he was “weaving” in and out of traffic.

    Moreover, all vehicles should be operated in a manner and at a speed where they can stop for unexpected obstacles.

    Looks fairly open and shut to me and, if this had been a SUV driver instead, I doubt there’d be much debate.

  • EL

    Pauly – Where in the article do you see weaving in/out of traffic or that the cyclist failed to stop after the accident?

    If what you say is true, then the case is really a no brainer.

  • My goodness, does anyone read anymore??

    “The bicyclist, described as a 25-year-old white man from San Bruno, phoned the police after the accident and was not charged or cited.”

  • “Moreover, all vehicles should be operated in a manner and at a speed where they can stop for unexpected obstacles.”

    There are plenty of deer living along I-280 on the Peninsula. What speed limit do you propose people should be going on I-280 since deer might show up such that we don’t hit them.

    It does not say that cars stopped for the pedestrian. Assuming the pedestrian didn’t start crossing on red, the pedestrian was crossing on the green, thus the cars had a red light, and that is why they stopped. Nothing in the article indicates how long between the signal change (for the cars) from red to green and the accident. Lord knows every day I hear cars second in line at the light honking at the person in front of the line who is texting instead of watching the traffic light.

    There is not enough factual information in the article for any of us to assign fault – either way.

  • EL

    John Murphy wrote: “It does not say that cars stopped for the pedestrian.”

    It sounds like you’re splitting hairs. The article says that the cars had a green light, but were waiting for the pedestrian to finish crossing. To me, that means that same thing. Maybe not for you. Would you feel better if the article was written to say “the cars were stopped, either for the pedestrian or a red light, and remained stopped to avoid mowing her down”?

  • smushmoth

    John Murphy wrote: “There is not enough factual information in the article for any of us to assign fault – either way”

    That has never stopped anyone here before.

  • Tommy

    El writes:

    “Where in the article do you see weaving in/out of traffic or that the cyclist failed to stop after the accident?”

    Answer to the 1st question – in the first line of the article:

    “A 25-year-old bicyclist WEAVING through traffic on a fixed-gear bike with no brakes sent a 61-year-old woman to the hospital in critical condition after colliding with her last week in a Mission Terrace intersection.”

    Answer to the 2nd question – in the first line of the article:

    “The bicyclist, described as a 25-year-old white man from San Bruno, phoned the police AFTER the accident”

    If he’d stayed at the scene of the accident while the police arrived, why would he have needed to phone the police?

  • Can we block this guy’s IP? A NEW name already? Two in one day? Three in one week? Unreal.

    And just for entertainment sake, you usually call after an incident, not before. Dude hit her, stopped, pulled out his and called the cops. Sounds like he waited for them to arrive too. Then they didn’t cite him. If he left, this would be a hit and run.

  • EL

    Tommy / Pauly – Sorry I missed the weaving part. You’re right about that. But, there’s no suggestion in the article that the bicyclist failed to stop after the collision. The fact that the bicyclist is the one who reported the collision suggests just the opposite.

  • EL

    Btw, anyone see Kiet Do’s (Channel 5) version of the story? No stereotyping of fixie riders. Instead, he focuses first on the collision itself (the light turned red on the pedestrian) and secondly on how fixies with no brakes are illegal and dangerous.

  • Alex

    Murph: Well, no. The fact that he was too oblivious/self-righteous to stop for the stopped cars is a good indication that he is at fault.

    EL: The Examiner didn’t stereotype fixie users, Streetsblog did.

  • Ralph

    El,

    Yeah, the article doesn’t say he left the scene of the accident, and that would certainly have been a newsworthy thing to report if in fact he had ran off.

    I guess it’s just that the article worded it strangely, talking about calling the cops after. Also the description of a white male aged around 25 conjures the idea of a description being given out.

    I think we should give the cyclist the benefit of the doubt on that, although probably not on his culpability for the accident.

    Mikesonn

    Each wifi zone has it’s own IP. So if SB blocks access to SB from every IP that certain posters use, then there’d soon be cafes and libraries all over the city where folks can no longer access SB.

    It doesn’t seem to me there a troll problem here, but better that SB require registration for all users rather than indiscriminantly blocking IP’s without knowing whose and where they are.

  • Or just have some honesty from those commenting. Sadly, that seems far fetched for some. I’d like to think that discussion here can rise above and accomplish an intelligent discourse that will help bring about a more accessible city.

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