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.

  • justin

    Simply full of empathy for friends and family of all associated with this tragedy.

  • Sfgrl78

    how awful. i hope the commenters here really pay attention to her friend’s words and think about how you would feel if this was about someone you love. 

    when a car kills a person it’s called an “accident”, but when a cyclist is to blame all these trolls jump on it in a heartbeat. it’s a shame.

  • icarus12

    My heartfelt sympathy to the family of Nancy Ho.  Please know that I have taken that exact same turn off Mission many times, as I’m sure most of us have.  As a bicyclist, Nancy was not doing anything out of the ordinary.  She simply didn’t see the oncoming truck or misjudged its speed, or perhaps slipped in her gear or something fouled up her progress.  A terrible accident ensued, but nobody should blame Nancy for doing what most of us do all the time.

  • icarus12

    My heartfelt sympathy to the family of Nancy Ho.  Please know that I have taken that exact same turn off Mission many times, as I’m sure most of us have.  As a bicyclist, Nancy was not doing anything out of the ordinary.  She simply didn’t see the oncoming truck or misjudged its speed, or perhaps slipped in her gear or something fouled up her progress.  A terrible accident ensued, but nobody should blame Nancy for doing what most of us do all the time.

  • icarus12

    My heartfelt sympathy to the family of Nancy Ho.  Please know that I have taken that exact same turn off Mission many times, as I’m sure most of us have.  As a bicyclist, Nancy was not doing anything out of the ordinary.  She simply didn’t see the oncoming truck or misjudged its speed, or perhaps slipped in her gear or something fouled up her progress.  A terrible accident ensued, but nobody should blame Nancy for doing what most of us do all the time.

  • icarus12

    My heartfelt sympathy to the family of Nancy Ho.  Please know that I have taken that exact same turn off Mission many times, as I’m sure most of us have.  As a bicyclist, Nancy was not doing anything out of the ordinary.  She simply didn’t see the oncoming truck or misjudged its speed, or perhaps slipped in her gear or something fouled up her progress.  A terrible accident ensued, but nobody should blame Nancy for doing what most of us do all the time.

  • It doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, nobody deserves to have this happen to them.

    With that said, let this be a reminder and lesson to all of us cyclists: when riding on city streets, treat all motorists as if they are TRYING to kill you! This is something that is taught to motorcyclists, and will make you a better/safer cyclist.

  • Although my heart goes out to her friends and family in this time of loss, this is a perfect example of why mandatory state registration and insurance is so important for motorists and bicyclists.  In the original article, Bicycle Defender commented, “Maybe she was going to a building there and that is the only way to cross a street…”   Crosswalks are not bike lanes, wait at the light like everyone else! Plan your route before hand and approach every intersection with safety in mind.  Personal responsibility could’ve saved a life, but convenience and arrogance killed Nancy Ho. That’s how an elderly woman was critically injured by a bicyclist this week near the Embarcadero, by a bicyclists making their own path to their destination with little concern for who’s in the crosswalk or sidewalk. Dismount at the curb!  

  • Not liking that photo.

  • Tofutart

    I stop at every stop light, and slow down to almost stopping at every stop sign; BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO DIE OR INJURE SOMEONE ELSE.  Not everyone does “…what most of us do.” Ya’ll might be the same douche bags that ride without brakes/helmets. 

  • JamesF

    Nobody is “trying to kill you”. That’s paranoia. But you can reduce your chances of being involved in an accident by not doing what Icarus below is saying is reasonable, and NOT breaking the law, NOT making illegal turns, NOT blowing through red lights and generally riding in a conservative and cautious manner.

  • 2345william

    you should not be taking that turn, thats why motorists hate bikers, too many of us, like you, constantly break the rules. grow up and learn to follow signs.

  • Alex

    When a car kills someone, people certainly pile on the blame here.  When it’s a bicycle vs automobile incident happens people /here/ can’t do anything BUT blame the automobile.  When people point out that there’s clear cut evidence of the bicycle rider’s judgement being faulty, they’re called trolls.  

    When someone is DUI and injures someone, legally, that’s not considered an accident.  There’s the whole concept of vehicular manslaughter.  Nice straw man argument though. BTW, it’s nice to see that sf bikeblog follows up on these injuries and deaths as long as they’re not pedestrian vs bicycle.

  • Alex

    Why?  If you’re doing something unsafe, perhaps this is a good indication you should rethink your behaviour.  Just because it’s common or socially accepted within some circles (e.x. smoking) doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

    We all take risks, but some are more worthwhile than others.  Again, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate that.  As long as “you” can stick your head in the sand and blame everyone else for not being sympathetic enough, nothing’s going to change.

  • Sprague

    “Arrogance” killed this young woman?  Were you there?  Do you know her?

  • Anonymous

    In the physical reality of traveling through road space not designed for us, we all have to decide how we want to navigate it and what values we want to live by doing that.

    For my part, my hierarchy of values puts My Safety first, Good Relations second, and the Law third. We’ve all been in a time & place when the assumed alignment of these 3 values isn’t possible. Just be honest about what *you* choose to do, and don’t use the rest of us as a veil for your personal responsibility.

  • Nearby cyclist

    If she was pronounced dead at 11pm at SF General, why is there a photo here of what appears to be a body under a sheet in the middle of an intersection?

  • Sfgrl78

    alex, if you hate the coverage on this site so much, why do you even bother reading it. you are an annoyance and the pure definition of a troll.

  • mikesonn

    It was covering the blood spot and a shoe. She was already taken away to the hospital.

  • JamesF

    Sfgrl, i think many of us would prefer to see a more balanced and neutral set of views expressed here than just a mindless, kneejerk reaction of always blaming cars.

    In this case, the cyclist only hurt herself. But what if the truck had seen her, swerved to avoid her, and killed another person? That’s where sympathy for this cyclist would quite reasonably turn to blame.

    If you’re trying to argue in favor of cyclists being allowing to break the traffic laws with impunity, then you’re backing a loser and can reasonably expect to be called out on that.

  • JamesF

    ZA,

    So in other words, you justify law-breaking because of “your values”? How would things work if everyone used that excuse?

  • I’m not saying motorists are actually trying to kill cyclists, just that it’s the mindset you should have – its the basic training every motorcyclist receives in the state of California.  Think of it as defensive driving for cyclists.

  • Sfgrl78

    i am not defending breaking the law. in fact, i am not commenting on anything to do with any news story. call me out on whatever you feel necessary, i have no idea who you even are and could care less about your opinion.
    the people who comment on these articles seem to forget that people who die are human beings with families who read these comments. and they should think about how they would feel to have them said about their sister or husband, etc. i rarely comment on articles, i rarely read them. and that is because the things people say in this anonymous space are usually hateful, ignorant and mean. it’s always the same people, don’t you have anything positive to contribute to a discussion? or anything better to do than argue in a comments section of a blog?

  • JamesF

    Sfgrl, I did in fact make a number of “positive” suggestions in the wake of this tragedy, including mandatory testing and licensing of cyclists, more enforcement of cyclist infractions, and the introduction of licenses, registration and insurance for bikes and their users.

    What’s important here is that Nancy did not die in vain.

  • Anonymous

    So sorry, may she rest in peace.

  • Anonymous

    Squirrels act as if everyone’s out to kill them.  It doesn’t work.  Better to assume vehicle drivers don’t want to hit you and therefore act as predictable as you can, but try to leave an out just in case.

  • The overwhelming majority of bicyclists– and pedestrians and car drivers and passengers– get through intersections safely the overwhelming majority of the time.  This was an accident.  Please don’t take this young woman’s death as an opportunity to get on a soap box.

  • Alex

    @1313ca73bbaa56a0598c426dd532af2a:disqus Someone died, and that is tragic.  But Nancy’s death does not make her a saint, nor does it make her actions any more correct.  By labeling people as trolls and refusing to learn anything from how she died you’re doing quite a bit to perpetuate “hateful, ignorant and mean” discourse.

    An acquaintance of mine got behind the wheel, drunk, drove the wrong way down 101, and ended up killing himself and seriously injuring someone else.  He left behind his wonderful girlfriend, sister (both of whom are good friends of mine), mother, father, and numerous other friends.  His death did not and does not make him a better person, and in fact serves as a vivid reminder about why one should not drive when intoxicated or highly emotional.

    Death is tragic, and when people I love have died, I can only hope that everyone else can take the tragic circumstances and use them to make positive changes in their own lives.

    Don’t use Nancy’s death as an excuse to blurt out statements like “when a car kills a person it’s called an “accident”, but when a cyclist is to blame all these trolls jump on it in a heartbeat. it’s a shame.” because that’s a load of crap.  In bicycle vs automobile collisions covered here automobiles are the default guilty party (talk about hateful).  Playing “the other side is a bunch of trolls” game only encourages dysfunctional discourse and gets us where we are today.

    And please, stop playing the “ZOMG won’t someone think of the poor helpless cyclists” game and start playing the “what can cyclists do to keep themselves safe” game.

  • @djconnel:disqus : Treating motorists as if they’re after you doesn’t mean jetting around like a Squirrel.  This cycling tactic isn’t separate from riding predictably.

  • DukeLaw

    Alex,

    Let it go.  You made your point.  Someone’s dead so no need to endless pontificate on this thread.

  • Anonymous

    We would not get so defensive if we saw even one iota of your ire directed at people like Joshua Calder. Where are James F’s “positive suggestions” to deal with the problem of drunk drivers? Nowhere.

    After a while it becomes clear the trolls really are that. Just trying to get a rise out of someone. Sadly it seems to work.

  • Sfgrl78

    as if alex knows any other way.

  • JamesF

    Murph, trying to paint anyone who disagrees with you as a “troll” does nothing but demonstrate the poverty of your position.

    If you lack the skill, logic and facts to refute another poster here, then it is highly unlikely that insulting them will persuade anyone either.

    We’re not talking about drunk drivers here because NOBODY is claiming anyone was drunk in this incident.

    We’re talking about how this cyclist died because she did what many cyclists routinely do and ignore the law and common sense. Maybe if you could understand why that’s an important issue, rather than trying to deflect the topic, this poor girl will not have died in vain. But already, it seems, you’ve learned nothing from her tragic death because your vision is too blinkered.

  • Anonymous

    Everybody is talking about Nancy, but what about the truck driver?  Imagine being in his place, driving at the lawful speed when suddenly a bicycle comes hurtling in front of you too quickly for you to stop.  I saw the driver sitting on the back bumper of his truck after the accident and he looked absolutely devastated.  He is going to have major issues because Nancy Ho was in too much of a hurry to obey traffic laws.

  • Anonymous

    That wasn’t a body.  I was told it was a blood stain, but it looked like there was something under the plastic.  Maybe part of her bike or something she was carrying.

  • icarus12

    I think it is sad that so many commenters who dislike bicyclists in general pretend to being perfect navigators of the streets themselves.  We all make mistakes.  We all on occasion break rules and laws.  Who among the high and mighty commenters has never jaywalked, for example? Or made an illegal turn when driving?  And when having crossed on foot mid-block when there was no traffic appearing to be close, has afterwards given themselves a mental tongue-lashing for not walking that extra part of the block and back to get to his/her destination?  No one, I assume.  But you wouldn’t know it from the seamless sanctimony of Alex, 2345 William, JamesF and others. I don’t believe a word of your cant.

  • Anonymous

    You know, you’re right. You did in fact make a number of “positive” suggestions in the wake of this tragedy, including mandatory testing and licensing of cyclists, more enforcement of cyclist infractions, and the introduction of licenses, registration and insurance for bikes and their users.

    Since you are not a troll, please contact Ed Reiskin immediately and volunteer your services.

  • mikesonn

    @c5025cd2fcd80e8fcd4641a55d4da036:disqus  you’ve been here for a while under many other names, notably JohnB (which is why I frequently refer to you as such). Your arguments are circular and you work to distract from the topic at hand and to steer the conversation towards the unproductive.

    One of my favorite things about Streetsblog is that the regular commenting community is well informed, willing to learn, and concerned about the current inequitable division of our city’s (and country’s, for that matter) ROW. I feel articles that touch on topics like this often bring in others who only wish to point a finger of “I-told-you-so” at cyclists in hopes that, actually I don’t know what they hope to accomplish besides inciting anger. Yes, people often make mistakes on the roadways, but would you rather that person be operating a 2-ton vehicle, a 20-lb bike, or walking?

    And at the end of the day, as has been stated many times, we are all on the same team. We all want to get from A to B; and we all want to get there safely. I just worry the anger shown here translates into inappropriate anger on the roadway that will end up putting all of us in harms way.

  • Kit

    Yes. True. Now can we please stop making someone’s death a contentious issue and instead treat it as a reminder that driving, riding, and walking can all be dangerous activities, and that we should all look out a little extra for ourselves and others? Can we at least agree on that instead of disrespecting the lives that have been negatively affected by this accident?

  • Kit

    Yes. True. Now can we please stop making someone’s death a contentious issue and instead treat it as a reminder that driving, riding, and walking can all be dangerous activities, and that we should all look out a little extra for ourselves and others? Can we at least agree on that instead of disrespecting the lives that have been negatively affected by this accident?

  • Kit

    Absolutely. And the key here when you look at disadvantaged roadway users is this: If the roles had been reversed, and the truck had made an illegal left turn in front of the cyclist, who’s dead and who’s alive would be exactly the same as it is now.

    Motor vehicle users bear a greater responsibility than bicycle users, just as bicycle users bear a greater responsibility than pedestrians. Nancy’s mistake cost her her own life. Were Nancy driving, it could’ve cost someone else’s.

    Insulting someone who died tragically by pointing out that she made a mistake is despicable, and those of you taking advantage of this situation should be ashamed of yourselves. This is not a platform for your distaste of cyclists, this is someone’s life.

  • Kit

    Absolutely. And the key here when you look at disadvantaged roadway users is this: If the roles had been reversed, and the truck had made an illegal left turn in front of the cyclist, who’s dead and who’s alive would be exactly the same as it is now.

    Motor vehicle users bear a greater responsibility than bicycle users, just as bicycle users bear a greater responsibility than pedestrians. Nancy’s mistake cost her her own life. Were Nancy driving, it could’ve cost someone else’s.

    Insulting someone who died tragically by pointing out that she made a mistake is despicable, and those of you taking advantage of this situation should be ashamed of yourselves. This is not a platform for your distaste of cyclists, this is someone’s life.

  • It is interesting to see this banter of bicyclist bashing politics, called “these trolls”.  Rather than malicious intent, some believe that this political viewpoint is hardwired in the brain.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8228192/Political-views-hard-wired-into-your-brain.html

  • It is interesting to see this banter of bicyclist bashing politics, called “these trolls”.  Rather than malicious intent, some believe that this political viewpoint is hardwired in the brain.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8228192/Political-views-hard-wired-into-your-brain.html

  • Peapod mom

    “What’s important here is that Nancy did not die in vain.”

    Oh, because you think this is going to advance some totally illogical cause of yours? Because this will give all drivers pause and take care to avoid hazards?

    No, in “JohnB”‘s world, only the former applies. Somehow all stars will come into alignment if we slap unnecessary bureaucracy on carbon-free transport. He’s come out of the woodwork again (I was really hoping he’d gone away, this time) to show us the light there.

    And all the while trivializing someone’s death. Wow. Just, wow.

  • Peapod mom

    So what this is basically saying is there’s an underlying pathology? Certainly makes sense to me.

  • MARSupial_possum

    I am sorry for the loss of a young SF resident and look forward to reading more about the person named Nancy Ho and her contributions to society during her short life.

    In the meantime, the incident and her death is a reminder that we’re not perfect and it’s something we should all acknowledge and that nobody should proclaim self-righteousness such as those who comment in an online publication that rhymes with hate. 

    In fact, I rode on the sidewalk today, albeit slowly, right in front of Police Captain Keith Sanford who was at a cafe and talked about pedestrian safety. I recall yesterday I might have jaywalked across a street. And when I last drove I’m certain I did a rolling stop or two. None of these have an impact unless a tragedy transpires or somebody is inconvenienced. But self-centered people say they never do these things and that Ms. Ho deserves what she gets for being the only one who did something wrong.

    In other words, the guano is deep.

  • It’s very human to seek to place blame when tragedy strikes, but sometimes an accident is an accident.

    I came upon the scene not long after the accident, and I’m still reeling from it. My heart goes out to Ms. Ho’s friends and family, and my heart goes out to the driver and his friends and family.

  • Anonymous

    @JamesF – not an excuse at all.

    Here’s just one example of how the lawful act is not inherently safe. The delivery truck parked beside a bike lane next to a line of parked cars. The law indicates that the cyclist should pass the delivery vehicle on its left, even entering the next lane of vehicle traffic. That’s absolutely enraging to drivers in the faster middle lane, and is probably equally hazardous as being doored by either a parked car or the delivery driver. The politest act is for the cyclist to break the law and keep to the lane between these parked vehicles. 

    Here’s another. A 4-way intersection with a 4-way pedestrian crossing light. The law says the bike should wait for a green light and proceed as if they are a vehicle, even if that slows right-turning cars behind the cyclist, even if that cyclist has to then cross multiple lanes of traffic to their next turn at speed. The politest & safest course is to proceed during the pedestrian crossing light, yield to crossing pedestrians, and move ahead of the vehicular wave into position for the next turn, where they are most visible.
     
    Question your assumption that lawfulness is always safest.

  • really

    I agree accidents are accidents but I don’t like it when bicyclist think they don’t have to follow the same rules of the road and make illegal maneuvers in traffic.  Not to mention not wearing a helmet, that is asking for trouble especially in traffic as heavy as SF morning commute traffic.  I give the same courtesy to everyone on the road but I feel that some individuals take and don’t return the favor.  It is a tragedy when it involves the loss of life but maybe it is a wake up call to bicyclist making them fully aware of the road.  No one even cares about the driver of the truck, he must feel terrible about the whole thing too.  Grow a heart well have compassion for everyone no one wins in this story.

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