SFPD Numbers Confirm Cops Targeting Bicyclists on Market Street

A cop ticketing a bicyclist on Market Street earlier this year. Photo: ##http://sfcitizen.com/blog/##SF Citizen##

Despite the department’s insistence that officers are not targeting bicyclists on Market Street, new numbers from the San Francisco Police Department confirm that cops are going after people on bikes following two high-profile crashes.

Last Friday, as part of SFPD’s traffic safety campaign [pdf], officers beefed up enforcement at 5th and Market and issued a total of 83 citations, mostly to bicyclists, but not a single driver was cited.

Here’s the breakdown, according to numbers provided to Streetsblog by SFPD:  30 bicyclists were cited for running red lights, 21 bicyclists were ticketed for riding on the sidewalk, 16 were cited for “bikes without brakes,” 3 “skateboarders on the sidewalk” were given tickets, and 1 pedestrian was cited for “jaywalking.” The SFPD said “12 misc. citations” were handed out, but withheld specifics.

Why weren’t drivers given any tickets?

“Because the drivers actually followed the rules of the road during the period that the officers were out there that day,” said SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza.

In an interview with Streetsblog yesterday, Police Chief Greg Suhr insisted that officers aren’t specifically targeting bicyclists. He confirmed that the department has stepped up enforcement in general on Market Street.

“It’s just vehicle code violations, generally. It’s actually the pedestrians too. You know, if everybody’s a little bit mad at me, but it’s safer, then that’s okay. It’s basically who raises their hand that’s going to get called on.”

He added he thought the enforcement was “going well,” and further explained: “We’re trying to get Muni to run on time, and we have had a series of accidents. I’m not casting any blame, but just more enforcement.”

The numbers were troubling to biking and walking advocates because the enforcement did not yield any tickets for drivers.

“This is a failure to focus on the real threat. We need to see police out there ticketing the people who pose the greatest risk to others. That means drivers who fail to yield, speed, fail to stop, or are on their phones — those behaviors cause the serious injuries and deaths we see in SoMa and that’s what the police need to tackle,” said Elizabeth Stampe, the executive director of Walk San Francisco.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Director Leah Shahum also issued the following statement:

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition supports efforts to encourage safety on our streets among all road users, whether people are bicycling, driving or walking. It is the responsibility of everyone using our roads to watch out not only for their own safety but also for the safety of others.

And we encourage the SF Police Department to focus on those behaviors on our streets that are most dangerous. There should be no selective enforcement of the laws on certain road users, but rather equal opportunity enforcement of those actions that are putting others at risk. There is a hierarchy of dangerous types of behavior and those threatening the most people should be prioritized for enforcement.

We will continue to encourage the growing number of people bicycling in San Francisco — from moms to downtown commuters to people taking care of errands by bicycle — to take our free Urban Cycling Workshops, held regularly in neighborhoods throughout the city and to learn about our Give & Get Respect campaign, which encourages safe, respectful bicycling.

The SFPD is continuing to enforce the required right-turn on 10th Street at Market. Yesterday, an officer was seen ticketing numerous drivers who had violated the rule.

An officer tickets a driver yesterday afternoon for violating the right-turn only rule at 10th Street. Photo: Bryan Goebel
  • Anonymous

    Getting off-topic, but holy crap do I agree with you about the damn d-bags and their ridiculously loud motorcycles. One of the biggest — and most under-rated — reasons people move out of cities is the damn vehicle noise:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/21/MN641KON8S.DTL&tsp=1

    And the thing is: it’s so easy to stop: the cops just need to start enforcing the laws and pulling those jerks over. Same can be said for so many other laws which take away from the safety and livability of our cities … of which bicyclists not having the right reflectors is NOT one.

  • SF DRIVER

    I myself am pretty sick of Bicyclists and Pedestrians who don’t follow the traffic laws and am very happy they are finally getting ticketed…. I am sooooo sick of them (Both Groups) running red lights, jaywalking and being uncourteous to drivers in this city, and then getting mad at the driver that has to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting them! Pay attention Losers! Oh and as for flipping me off after I had to slam my brakes on in order to not hit you… Back to ya Buddy! I hope you get 20 More tickets!

  • guest

    You sir, are an ass. I agree with the SFPD ticketing
    cyclists for running red lights. As a cyclist, it enrages me to see fellow cyclist’s
    running lights, stop signs, crossing into crosswalks, and going beyond the
    crosswalks to wait out the light. It’s foolish, dangerous, and gives us all a
    bad name. However, I am pretty sure that you, SF Driver, are no 100% of time
    perfect driver. Therefore, you can take your whinny “loser” prejudice attitude of
    those around you who prefer to walk, ride, or commute by something other than
    their car, and eat shit

  • “I wish that were true — but cycling conditions on some streets are just too dangerous.”

    This is not a good reason to make walking conditions more dangerous.

  • Edward Kwong

    From what I see, driver, biker, pedestrian all don’t follow rules/laws. I consistently see on the daily, bikers and pedestrians care less about traffic signs and drivers who barrel into cross walks regardless of the light and are on the phone constantly. Though I see a lot more bikers ignoring signs than drivers texting. Just this morning on my lyft to work. As we drove down page with about 8 bikers next to us. They didn’t stop at a single stop sign unless it was busier than most like Page and Scott.