Bicyclist Involved in SoMa Crash Dies

A white plastic bag covers a pool of blood and one of the victim's shoes. Photo: Bryan Goebel

A 25-year-old bicyclist who was involved in a crash with a delivery truck in SoMa yesterday has died from her injuries, the San Francisco Medical Examiner has confirmed. Nancy Ho of San Francisco was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital shortly before 11 last night. She is the first bicyclist to die from a collision with a vehicle on San Francisco streets this year.

San Francisco police said she was traveling eastbound on Mission Street yesterday around 8:04 a.m. when she was hit by a Berkeley Farms truck while making a left turn onto Fremont Street. Lt. Troy Dangerfield said the left turn is prohibited except for buses and taxis, and blamed Ho for causing the crash.

The first word of Ho’s death came on Streetsblog last night, when a friend decided to respond to some critical comments:

“Some of you guys speak so heartlessly as if we deserve to die for any mistake we make. Well… my friend made a mistake and she passed away tonight at the hospital. Grow a heart.”

We don’t know much about Nancy Ho, but we hope to hear from some people who knew her.

  • Anonymous

    “bicyclist think they don’t have to follow the same rules of the road” – [citation needed]

  • I lived in SF for about seven years near GG Park. Many times I’d see Mr. or Ms. Tattoo/Body Piercing  flying down the street on a bike and completely ignore stop signs and the like. The real irony is that sometimes I’d be walking in the crosswalk (when they had a red light) and the cyclist would cruise right on through and shoot me a look that said, “Um, could you please stop inconveniencing me and get out of my way?”  Yeah, it’s hard to have any sympathy for cyclists in general (I don’t mean their deaths) when they act like such selfish, ignorant jerks. Also, let’s not forget to mention the behavior of some of the morons that take part in Critical Mass. You’re on a vehicle on the streets, so follow the traffic laws–period. End of discussion.

  • Seriously?

    I live near SF and every time I go in to the city and try to walk across streets when I have the green, cars still buzz me while drivers yell at me saying “Um, could you please stop inconveniencing me and get out of my way?” Yeah, it’s hard to have any sympathy for every driver ever when a few act like assholes. Hmmmm, dumb way to think, or dumbest way to think?

  • nn

    I know Nancy well. She was such an amazing person, smart as hell. This incident leaves me incredibly sad. Thank you, Lt. Dangerfield for blaming Nancy for the crash. Did you entirely miss the point that a beautiful young girl lost her life?

  • maaaty

    Pretty sure steve g is a joke.  That’s art right there.

  • maaaty

    My god I love you, ZA_SF.  Beautifully put. 

    Honestly, we should have “behave exactly as though we are driving cars day” and take full lanes and not do any of the common-sense maneuvers that anyone who’s ridden a bike in the city for even a day knows to employ.

  • maaaty

    It still shocks me that this is/was an open-shut case because bikes were not listed on the left-turn sign.  Thinking about particular vehicle restriction signs in other jurisdictions, bikes are almost always granted access.  I’m thinking of Berkeley’s bicycle boulevards (emergency vehicles and bikes) as an example.  The sign was already wordy.  Isn’t it possible that bikes were omitted from the sign but legally permitted by the underlying ordinance/rule? 

    Moreover, why is the driver of a truck coming from the other direction excused from driving at a safe speed and braking in time because a sign he cannot read says some classes of vehicle may not turn left here, but others may — especially when the purpose of the sign is not to reduce dangerous crossings but, god forbid, to prevent any impediments to the flow of traffic.  Policy-wise, why does allowing a taxi to go but not a bicycle make any sense at all?

    In summary:

    Truck hits a left-turning Chrysler — no investigation.
    Truck hits a left-turning Chrysler Taxi — investigation.

    While the collision may have been the result of poor judgment on the cyclist’s part (meaning, that truck is driving in our city at a speed that will wipe out life — raising the issue of why we tolerate this in such a congested area), the quick rush to final judgment reveals a lack of intellectual vigor.

  • EL

    It’s terrible that Nancy lost her life.  But in defense of Lt. Dangerfield, she didn’t die on-site.  Plus, his job is to investigate the collision and he has a responsibility to do that investigation from a scientific standpoint with an unbiased point of view.

  • EL

    No.  If the exception isn’t listed on the sign, you are not included – the exception being emergency vehicles that have the sirens on.

    Also, the truck driver doesn’t appear to driving too fast.  If you look at the stopped point of the truck, it’s still in the intersection.

    Truck hits a left-turning Chrysler — no investigation (if there’s no injury)
    Truck hits a left-turning Chrysler Taxi — no investigation (if there’s no injury)
    Truck hits any vehicle or pedestrian and there’s an injury — investigation.

    Should a bus should never operate at any speed that will wipe out life, especially in any congested area?

  • JimBee

    ZA, You’re always free to break the law. You just can’t blame anyone but yourself if, by doing so, you cause an accident.

  • Ptmission

    Peapod, Is there any evidence here that  the driver did not take care to avoid hazards”? I haven’t seen anyone claim he could have avoided the accident.

  • PatG

    Maaty, if every driver drove only at a speed where he could stop in any and every conceivable eventuality, then the speed limit would probably have to be set at 5mph, and the city would grind to a halt.

    On some level, we all rely on other road users to drive or ride within reason and within the law.

  • PatG

    Maaty, if every driver drove only at a speed where he could stop in any and every conceivable eventuality, then the speed limit would probably have to be set at 5mph, and the city would grind to a halt.

    On some level, we all rely on other road users to drive or ride within reason and within the law.

  • caliny

    Nancy and I went to high school together.  She helped me get connected with the rest of our graduating class so that we could have our 5-year reunion in 2009.  She was spirited, always smiling, and very well liked.  We’ll all miss her tremendously.

  • Dutch-style infrastructure that would have saved this young woman’s life:

    As a bicyclist, she would’ve been on a physically-separated section of the road that would have guided her to a separate, distinct part of the intersection just for bikes. With a separate phase of the traffic light just for bicycle crossing, she wouldn’t have been tempted to turn left as a car would, illegal or not. With this type of road design, the left turn for bicyclists is made in two parts, but the second phase is coordinated with the first phase so there are no long wait times for turning left and no incentive to turn left with cars.

    Good bicycle infrastructure reduces conflicts between bicyclists and cars.  Good bicycle infrastructure reduces accidents and deaths of bicyclists to a fraction of the US rate.  Good bicycle infrastructure makes it far more difficult to make dangerous mistakes. When the Dutch assert that their bicycle infrastructure is safe enough for their children (without helmets, no less!), they’re not kidding.

  • mikesonn

    @aab6d03eb78119ada48b049629f44938:disqus What happens if a private auto gets in a crash on Market after going pass one of the forced right turn signs?

  • You’re being a jerk.

    Now is not the time to make a point about the need for better road manners among bicyclists.

  • EL

    mikesonn – First, it’s legal for any car to turn from Polk or 6th onto Market (and 9th, and 8th, and 7th) so Market is not car free just beyond the forced right turn signs.  Second, if a vehicle on Market violated the forced right-turn and got into an injury crash just beyond the sign, yes there would be an investigation.  That investigation would identify which party is more at fault for that specific collision, which is not necessarily the party that violated the forced right-turn on Market.  It depends on the specific circumstances.  The violation of the forced right-turn could be a contributing factor though.

  • mikesonn

    @aab6d03eb78119ada48b049629f44938:disqus 
    So many cars blow through those forced right turns that to say we should be shaking our fists at this cyclist is ridiculous. Unless of course you being shaking your fist at all those drivers as well, which I have failed to see any evidence of that.

  • EL

    mikesonn – Can you point to where I “shook my fist” at Nancy Ho?

  • mikesonn

    Ok, I guess I couldn’t see you shaking your fist while you typed these, but your usual tone could well imply such action.

    “This wasn’t a failure to yield situation.  This was an illegal turn situation.”

    “Even if the turn was legal, the bike/bus/taxi is required to yield to the oncoming truck.  The relevance of the “illegal turn” is that the cyclist wasn’t even supposed to turn here all.”

    I don’t recall you pointing these things out when the car blew a red light on Masonic and hit a jogger or when the UCSF shuttle blew a red light as well.

  • Anonymous

    We are not here to talk about hypocrisy, we are here to talk about scofflaw cyclists. GWTFP Mikesonn.

  • mikesonn

    Murph, my humblest apologies. Back to the regularly scheduled BS.

  • Phil

    Nancy, you were such a beautiful person and spirit. Your NYU friends will miss you dearly.

  • Jerk, really

    I really don’t think I’m being a jerk…sometimes the truth hurts… if now is not the time to bring up better habits or manners among bicyclist when is a better time?  When another bicyclist pays with their life?  Or how about a pedestrian?  I do believe this is tragic for both people one will never know what it is to grow old while the other will never forget what it is to take a life accidentally and will have to life with that for the remainder of their life.  Once again no one wins in this story…   

  • soswarm

    I’ve read most of the comments but can’t help but wonder how this happened.  Surely the parties saw each other!  The only explanation is that Nancy misjudged vehicle speeding towards her.  The driver may have been distracted.  Will the truth ever be known?

    Also, I can’t help but wonder who this young lady was.  She was obviously going to work.  She was loved that clear from the beautiful tribute a bike pained white locked to a pole at Fremont and Mission, with flowers…  RIP NH.

     

  • Anonymous

    RIP Nancy.

  • Guest

    RIP

  • Really

    IF now is not the time, when is a good time? When another bicyclist gets hit? Really? Now is the time, when it is still fresh and everyone still remembers…

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