Streetsblog Interview: SFPD Captain Al Casciato, Head of Traffic Company

A bicyclist getting ticketed on Valencia Street earlier this year. Photo: Bryan Goebel

In light of the increased enforcement on Market Street, and stories I’ve been hearing from bicyclists about being targeted for minor infractions, I’ve had a number of questions for the San Francisco Police Department. I decided to turn to the person who heads up the SFPD’s Traffic Company, Captain Al Casciato, who is also a bicyclist.

We talked about a wide range of issues involving cops and bicyclists. Reading the transcript I realized there were some missed opportunities and follow-up questions I should have asked, but I hope it will be part of an ongoing dialogue with SFPD, and welcome your questions for a future interview.

Bryan Goebel: The first question that I would like to ask cuts right to the heart of what some bicyclists feel about SFPD, and that is, does the San Francisco Police Department have a bias against bicyclists?

Captain Al Casciato: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s true. Because we have a lot of officers who are bicyclists, and a lot of us are bicyclist enthusiasts in our off duty time, and the officers you see on bicycles at the various stations and stuff, they’re all volunteers. And when we put the bicycling course out for officers to become bicycle officers there are plenty of sign ups, more than there are positions.

BG: So when an officer goes through training at the academy does he or she learn how to deal with bicyclists?

AC: I don’t know what the academy curriculum is right now.

BG: Let me rephrase the question. What type of training do San Francisco police officers receive to deal with bicyclists?

AC:  Generally, I don’t have an answer to that, because I’m not in the training department. But within traffic we train ourselves, we have our own in-service training, and our liaison officer, Sergeant Pat Tobin, is responsible for keeping our officers on the motorcycles up to date on everything that’s going on with the Bicycle Coalition, and with issues regarding the bicyclists. And he coordinates the programs, like when they handed out all the lights, the bicycle lights, he coordinates those programs. He coordinates the enforcement programs. They do give bicyclists a lot of admonishments. They do cite bicyclists for going through crosswalks and running the red lights, especially with pedestrians present. And they also cite for bicyclists who cut off vehicles, large vehicles, and are driving through traffic cutting off vehicles, because those two violations are what causes the most injury to pedestrians, and the other one is how bicyclists mostly get killed.

BG: The chief has denied this, and I know public affairs has denied this as well, but we are definitely seeing a lot more bicyclists getting ticketed, especially on Market Street. Is there a targeted effort to crack down on bicyclists?

AC: On Market Street it’s a targeted effort to crack down on everybody’s behavior. You see, on August 6th all the officers that remained at the Traffic Bureau, a lot of officers were assigned to the stations, but the officers that remained at the Traffic Bureau became citation-only officers, or enforcement only. Not citation, enforcement only. And what you’re seeing is a greater presence on Market Street, because Market and 6th Street are our target corridors. Market, Mission, 6th Street. And that’s in response to requests from the MTA and the Mayor’s Pedestrian Safety Task Force.

BG: Can you clear up some myths about giving out tickets? For example, do officers have a quota to reach with bicyclists?

AC:  A quota is illegal by the California Vehicle Code.

BG: So none of your officers are under any pressure to go after bicyclists?

AC:  No, no.

BG: We did a story recently that talked about the special enforcement that was done on a Friday, and SFPD has said that it’s not targeting bicyclists, and yet the amount of tickets that were handed out were mostly given to bicyclists, and there wasn’t a single driver that was cited.

AC: That was Southern station’s program?

BG: Exactly.

AC:  Right.

BG: So I guess my question to you is folks like Walk SF and the Bike Coalition believe that the enforcement should be targeted, and that basically, as Leah Shahum said, there should be equal opportunity enforcement of those actions that are putting others at risk. She says there’s a hierarchy of dangerous types of behavior and that those threatening the most people should be prioritized for enforcement. What is your response to that?

AC: I agree. That’s why – in particular to the bicycle, bicyclists putting the pedestrians at risk by going through the cross walks and violating the pedestrian right of way is number one. Number two is the bicyclists who are riding unsafely and cutting off large vehicles and vehicles, and cutting in and out of traffic, and that’s how they get killed, that’s the other violation that needs to be addressed. I think those two – everything else in between is probably admonishable, but I think those two are something that we need to concentrate on, because those are behaviors that put people at risk. Mostly one, putting others at risk, and two putting yourself at risk.

BG: And you said that you ride a bike?

AC:  Yes I do.

BG:  Well, I’m just curious, what do you feel – I mean, there obviously is a big rise in bicycling on Market Street, which is great to see, and I know that as there are more bicyclists that perhaps there may be some period of adjustment?

AC: I agree. I mean, there’s an aggression out there too. I was at Embarcadero the other day, and I walked my bike because there was a lot of people, and I was down near the Waterbar heading up towards the Ferry Building. So I was walking, and some guy about 300 pounds, I mean this guy was in shape, 300 pounds, he’s on a bicycle, he’s flying through all the people. I mean, I could feel his blast of wind when he passed me. And I mean if he hit somebody, especially somebody frail, they’re going to really go down hard. But he wasn’t doing anything illegal because it allows for bicyclists to ride on the promenade. It allows that. But in my opinion he was unsafe because he was going too fast for the conditions.

BG: I hear you there. And I guess as the chief was explaining the idea behind the enforcement is a lot of it is just about getting the word out that you’re doing the enforcement, which can have the ability to change behavior.

AC: Right, exactly. But here what you’re looking at is huge cultural change. I mean, if you think about cultural changes, what has been the major cultural change in traffic in San Francisco in the last ten years? What do you think it is? It’s running red lights. Do you know why?

BG: Why?

AC: We installed the cameras. When we installed the cameras, tickets were left and right. Everybody knew there was a red light problem, because people sped up to get through the red light. When the light turned yellow that meant speed up, get through the red, okay? And we have a horrible number of accidents related to red light violations. And so when we put up the cameras we had thousands of tickets. It was like a money boom. But it isn’t a money boom that we should have or expect. So now what’s happened is when you look at jurisdictions throughout California, people are obeying the law and they’re not running through the red lights. So the camera tickets are really, really down, so revenues are down, and some jurisdictions which were only doing it for the revenue and not for the safety factor are thinking about cancelling their programs because they’re not making any money out of them. But what’s the value of human life?  But here, now most of the tickets that we see on the red light camera are people from out of town not accustomed to the area.  There are not a lot of tickets from the people who reside in the area, or work in the area, because now that they’re used to the red light cameras.

BG: Since you are a bicyclist, let me ask you this question. I really feel personally like the only dignified space bicyclists have in the city are those green protected bike lanes on Market Street, and some of the other areas in the city where it’s either a path or a protected bike lane. Do you agree that as we get more infrastructure like this behavior will change?

AC: I think it will change, but I think – I mean, as a bicyclist I feel vulnerable. And actually the green lanes, those are dangerous unless they’re really painted correctly. Any painted surface, once it gets wet, you’re asking for problems. And we had problems with the first green paintings, now they’ve put some other material on them, and some sand and stuff to try to make them less slippery, especially when the fog comes in. One of the reasons I ride a mountain bike is because I want the larger tires to feel safer because there’s too many other hazards in the city. Especially tracks. So both as a motorcycle officer, and as a bicyclist, and then as a pedestrian, I feel vulnerable because we are living in a city that’s very crowded and has a lot of activity, so that it causes a lot of dangers because you have people who are not paying attention, for whatever reason.

BG: Here’s another question about bias. Last year I wrote a pretty long article about a crash that I stumbled upon in which two of the officers on the scene were talking about how bicyclists and pedestrians were always to blame in crashes. And I wrote a huge article about it, I think something may have happened to these officers, they may have been disciplined, I’m not sure what the outcome was.

AC: I don’t remember either.

BG: But when officers are investigating a traffic collision involving a bicyclist, and this is what I’m trying to understand, very often the driver is not cited, the driver is not charged, and I don’t know if this is true or not, but I keep hearing that the officers have to have some kind of special training in order to properly investigate collisions. Can you clear that up for me, is that true or not?

AC: Some of the officers have special training, especially reconstructionists, that’s why we have a major accident investigative team called MAI (Major Accident Investigation). And they’re trained, and they go out with the total station and they take all the measurements and recreate it, and everything else like that. The reason we normally do not cite is because if you issue a citation you muddy up the District Attorney’s case for issuing a charge of vehicular manslaughter, or something like that, whatever the criminal charge is going to be. So that’s why you don’t issue a citation. And also you don’t issue a citation based on the original facts because you don’t know if the original facts are true or not, and in a lot of them we’ve had situations where what is believed to have been the initial – I don’t want to compromise any cases we’ve got now, but what you believe the initial story to be is not what is the true story once we review it with the coroner. Maybe we might find film, cameras, additional witnesses, the physical evidence when the reconstruction is put together that says ‘this couldn’t have happened in the way it’s said in the first report.’ And that’s why you have a preliminary report. And I’ve been around long enough that you look at them and you go ‘Huh?’ Because if you’ve got an intersection and you’ve got four people, one at each corner, you’ve got four different perspectives, and you have four different stories. Two witnesses said one thing to the officers. They both said the same thing. And when we finished, and then when we found that there was a camera on it, and then when we looked at it and put it back together, the two witness statements were partially correct, but totally – for the accident facts, totally not true. And it was because of perception versus what really happened.

BG: So do you have any kind of data on the books to say this amount of drivers is being charged?  I guess there’s really no way to track all that, is there?

AC: No. I mean, you could ask the District Attorney for all their charging records.

BG: On behalf of the San Francisco Police Department, what is your message to bicyclists?

AC: I would say to bicyclists just follow all the rules of the road. For your own safety and the safety of others. Or reverse that, for the safety of others and your own safety. But I would say follow the rules of the road, and don’t be aggressive. What happens is we get hurt when we get aggressive on a bicycle. Because think of it this way: bicycle hits pedestrian, pedestrian loses. Car hits bicycle, bicyclist loses. Truck hits car, car loses. Train hits truck, truck loses. See what I mean? And it’s the mass. And the biggest factor, what people don’t consider, is speed, that it doesn’t matter. It’s like the runner versus the pedestrian that’s walking. The runner that’s running hits a person walking, it’s that speed that causes great injury. And the factor of speed keeps going up and up, and you see it as the factor of injury rises proportionally to the factor of speed. So I think for the bicyclist it’s really picking out your routes. We have to plan different routes depending on how you’re going to go to work, or whether you’re going to something socially, or recreationally, but I think you have to pick in advance, use your safety equipment, use your helmet. A big thing is the helmet. I mean, we look at so many head injuries that we go ‘Oh no, what a waste.’  Because they could have survived. Or the injuries could have been mitigated in some way, even when they do survive.

BG: Well, helmet use is the most contentious issue in the bicycle community. In Europe they generally don’t wear helmets, and there’s research to support both sides. I mean, I don’t like writing about helmet use because it’s just an endless thread that goes on, and on, and on.

AC: Right. But all it is, is then it’s like personal choice. If you wear a helmet, it’s your personal choice. So when you have an accident and you’re not wearing a helmet and your head hits the cement and you get that type of injury, you got it because you weren’t wearing a helmet. I mean, that’s the bottom line. There’s no real debate there, it just happened, it’s factual.

BG: Do you think there is a misconception among some officers though that wearing a helmet is the law? Because I’ve heard this in New York, of cops citing bicyclists for not wearing helmets, but it’s not actually the law in California.

AC:  No, I don’t know of any citation for not having a helmet, except for those under 18.

BG: What do you think the general perception is of bicyclists among officers at SFPD?

AC: I think most of them don’t give it a second thought. I mean, we’re dealing with so many other things too. You’re going from case to case. I mean, it’s almost kind of a neutral. I’ve ridden on the Critical Mass thing for nine years on my motorcycle, and I’ve been involved, engaged with all the officers who have passed through here on their motorcycles in different things, and then I’ve worked with them, and I’ve been the Captain of Tenderloin, Mission, and Northern stations, besides traffic, and I mean, I hate to tell you, we’re not talking about you that much. <laughs>.

BG: So you’re the head of the Traffic Company, right?

AC: Correct.

BG: So what exactly does that job entail?

AC: We’re part of MTA, and so we work with Cheryl Brinkman and that group, that board. We sit on the enforcement committees, and the statistical committees, and the engineering committee for the mayors, and the Pedestrian Safety Executive Directive. And then we also have the red light cameras here, and we have all the safety programs, and the car seat programs. We also have the report review officer. Oh, that goes back to one of the questions you asked earlier, why we don’t cite at the scene. The reports come into the Report Review Officer, and the report review officer goes over the report, we’ll talk to the inspector, and we’ll talk to somebody else, and cases that are not going to be prosecuted then somebody might get a citation in the mail about six weeks later.  So that’s part of the Report Review Officer.  So we have those functions.  We have Hit and Run, we have the Major Accident Investigation team, which is the reconstruction people, they go out. We have the Commercial Vehicles, who are investigation commercial vehicles, citing commercial vehicles, and some of those citations are like $4,000. We have the Hearing Officers here, and the Court Officers. So we have – for the tows, Tow Hearing Officers, and then we have the Court Officers up in the three traffic courts. Actually four now with the juvenile court out at Woodside, 37 Woodside.

BG: So personnel wise how many people do you oversee?

AC: I would say right now about 50 here, and we have 27 that are assigned to the district stations, motorcycles that are assigned to the district stations, that we also coordinate their activities.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you captain. You hit every point on the nail. Follow all rules for your own safety and for others safety. That’s what WalkSF, SFBC and SF Streetblog should all get behind, road safety for all. And you all should play a role to change the aggressive culture that is so prevalent on the road today.

  • You mean you didn’t ask him about the proclivity for the SFPD cyclist officers to ride on the sidewalk!!! 😉

  • You mean you didn’t ask him about the proclivity for the SFPD cyclist officers to ride on the sidewalk!!! 😉

  • You mean you didn’t ask him about the proclivity for the SFPD cyclist officers to ride on the sidewalk!!! 😉

  • You mean you didn’t ask him about the proclivity for the SFPD cyclist officers to ride on the sidewalk!!! 😉

  • mikesonn

    Does his department deal with cars double parking in bike lanes which can directly lead to “rampant” cutting off of vehicles (especially large ones)?

  • you mean like paratransit vans and cabs on paratransit trips that are allowed to park in the bike lane?

  • The Greasybear

    So SFPD’s top enforcement priorities are targeting cyclists in pedestrians’ right of way, targeting cyclists who are “cutting in and out of traffic” and targeting cyclists who are “cutting off vehicles” because, the captain informs us, “those two violations are what causes the most injury to pedestrians, and the other one is how bicyclists mostly get killed.”

    Do the facts back up the captain’s claims that cyclists are the most harmful road users? Is it really true more pedestrians are harmed by bikes than by cars, or that the primary cause of cycling deaths in SF is due to cyclists “cutting off vehicles”? And if those claims are not supported by the facts, how does SFPD justify coddling motorists while harassing cyclists? 

    I’m also curious whether there will be a single enforcement standard here: will *motorists* who take pedestrians’ right of way, who cut off cyclists and other vehicles, who block bike lanes and who cut in and out of traffic be cited for endangering the public? Or are citations only reserved for San Francisco bicyclists now?

  • mikesonn

    @yahoo-O7O5PZTXGOCIF7RBYAYPHU36XA:disqus  Is picking out the extreme exception (i.e. disabled access) and treating it as the norm the new Godwin’s law?

  • EL

    BG – Perhaps one of your future questions should be to ask AC for a breakdown of how many citations are issued to motorists versus bicyclists versus pedestrians.  Those numbers should affirm / quell the notion of bias or targeting a specific group of road users.

  • mikesonn

    BG: So do you have any kind of data on the books to say this amount of drivers is being charged?  I guess there’s really no way to track all that, is there?AC: No. I mean, you could ask the District Attorney for all their charging records.

  • RichardC

    You’re putting words in the captain’s mouth. He was clearly talking about the top two reasons bicyclists are cited, not the top two overall enforcement priorities of SFPD. That’s why he said “in particular to the bicycle” when talking about what they focus enforcement on. And he never made any claim that cyclists are the most harmful road users, or that they harm more people than cars.

    Obviously, cops should focus enforcement on the most dangerous activities, but I think what’s clear from his statements is he interprets that objective as both preventing activities that are dangerous to other people as well as dangerous to the road user him/herself. So bicyclists could be cited either for endangering pedestrians or for putting themselves in danger by, for example, running red lights at busy intersections.

    I’m not saying SFPD has the balance right, but there have been features right here on Streetsblog covering stings against motorists failing to stop at crosswalks… so it’s not like every cop is just targeting bicyclists all day, every day.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    Well this interview could have been so much more in depth, but the sentiment is all there. It is nice to know that while over the last decade a lot has changed, in the eyes of the SFPD cyclists are now, always have been, and will continue to be viewed as the problem and cause of our roadway problems.

    A big thanks to Captain Al Casciato for being honest, and confirming it is a waste of time as a cyclist to expect better treatment from other road users, or the police. Captain Casciato really should be applauded for pulling the veneer off of the SFPD’s claims that they are interested in protecting all roadway users. 

    The solution is simple for me. I will simply go back to the way it used to be, obey the traffic laws, and let my bike lock mete out justice to those drivers who cannot operate within the same laws.

    How things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    @yahoo-O7O5PZTXGOCIF7RBYAYPHU36XA:disqus Well done. You propped up that straw man, and kicked its ass right proper. 
    I never knew that Minis, Prius, BMWs, Audis, Volvos, and numerous other passenger vehicles were all used as unmarked paratransit vans.

    Who knew?

  • mikesonn

    RichardC, yes and no. I was thinking of giving them the benefit of the doubt, that he’s only talking about cyclists, but a lot of the questions were about the treatment of drivers vs cyclists and he continued to use this interview as a platform to dissect cyclists’ behavior.

    He talked in circles for most of this interview and I found it rather annoying. But when he started talking about speed vs mass, he jumped the shark. There was no next logical step that addressed the responsibility that comes along with operating something with large mass and high speeds. Also, he acted like red light cameras solved the problems of drivers running red lights, which is obviously not a true statement. And this is coming from the guy in charge of the dept that issues those citations.

    And I can, in a very roundabout way, understand why they don’t issue a citation on the spot for crashes, but it was a politico-dance-step type answer he gave. I’m not buying it. And if that truly is the case, then he needs to work with the DA to cut the red-tape BS.

  • icarus12

    I think that was a very good interview.  One gets a good sense of how Captain Casciato thinks about traffic laws, enforcement, bicyclists, cultural changes regarding aggressive use of the street space, etc.  Thank you to both the reporter and the officer for their time and thoughtfulness.

    On a related but different note: after three weeks spent in a transit-rich, bike-infrastructure rich, and calm automobile environment (Helsinki) , I am looking at San Francisco’s mobile culture in a whole new light.  And folks, it’s appalling on every level.  Everybody using every mode, it seems to my eyes, is breaking the law constantly or doing things that are “legal” but very risky.

    In the space of 10 minutes about 8 am in North Beach/Chinatown/Nob Hill yesterday I saw dozens of violations, terrible aggression, and dangerous behavior topped off by hearing people swearing at each other.  Simply awful.  Cane carrying elderly pedestrians in Chinatown endangering themselves by jaywalking right in front of oncoming traffic. A truck purposefully running the flashing red light and menacing a Honda driver because he could.  SUVs and other cars barreling along Columbus at what seemed about 45-50 mph, tailgating, speeding up on Broadway to keep a signaling driver from changing lanes half a block ahead of them.   A male bicyclist going about 30+ in a narrow strip of Broadway next to equally speeding cars straight out of the tunnel with no possible way of stopping or saving himself if one of those cars pulled into his intended path.

    We have got to change, step by step, ride after ride, every driving moment, into citizens and residents who protect themselves and others from harm.  Let’s quit all this talking about rights, right of way, etc., and comport ourselves for the safety of ourselves and others.  We have got to let go of the aggressive way of moving about the city, asserting ourselves over others, because, “Hell, I have the right of way,” or because “I just feel I can get away with it.” That doesn’t mean stopping advocating for design changes and slowing traffic down.  But it does mean taking on the burden of acting as the agents of the change in the new culture we need to create.

  • “…in the eyes of the SFPD cyclists are now, always have been, and will continue to be viewed as the problem and cause of our roadway problems….”

    This is really an unfair statement and I’m unsure what kind of reaction you are attempting to provoke. I’m guessing that SFPD does not have a unified lens through which cyclists (or any particular group) are viewed.

    Yesterday afternoon I was at 7th and Mission heading towards market when I was cut off and nearly hit by a motorist who was getting into the right hand turn lane. Just a few feet away was an officer on a motorcycle. I called over to him, told him what happened, and he pulled behind the car, and turned on his lights/siren to motion to the driver to stop. As  I was pedaling away I could hear him asking for the driver’s license and registration.

    That said I have found SFPD members who are on two wheels (I had a similar incident at a red light while on my scooter last year) seem to be much more receptive to the plights of other two-wheeled travelers. 

    Perhaps bicycle stints ought to be mandatory just so that all of the force experiences the city from both perspectives?

  • Masonic will be the death…

      @ Sean Rea

    ” That’s why – in particular to the bicycle, bicyclists putting the pedestrians at risk by going through the cross walks and violating the pedestrian right of way is number one. Number two is the bicyclists who are riding unsafely and cutting off large vehicles and vehicles, and cutting in and out of traffic, and that’s how they get killed, that’s the other violation that needs to be addressed. I think those two – everything else in between is probably admonishable, but I think those two are something that we need to concentrate on, because those are behaviors that put people at risk. Mostly one, putting others at risk, and two putting yourself at risk.”
    The two biggest safety risks. really? Not speeders, not ALL stop sign, and red light violators. Nope, cyclists.In the middle of a long interview where basically Casciato plays apologist on behalf of cyclists to every other street user, he makes the statement above.  This and he chalks up cyclist accidents to cyclists being overly aggressive, no chance for the cyclist to be a legitimate victim, but rather, at best an equal cause. It is particularly precious how he as a Captain witnesses an aggressive 300 lb cyclist riding in an unsafe manner on the EMB and chose not to take action (like maybe one of those admonishments he talks about), yet then chooses this person and their actions to be a symbolic of cyclists, and by default the dangerous aggressive nature of all cyclists.So cyclists are too aggressive and are therefore the problem, the same old SFPD line.Are pedestrians then to blame for all the car on ped. accidents in this city? I guess that 65 year old man hit earlier today in the crosswalk while walking with the light, by a driver making a high speed right, also with the light, was just walking aggressively, right?I wish I could have one experience in this city with the police like yours. Unfortunately I have witnessed too many times inaction by officers when they themselves are front and center witnesses to an aggressive driver putting others, be it bikes, peds., or another driver at risk by violating law, and do nothing. Be it patrol car or motorcycle. Instead I see by actions (or lack there of) and hear in Captain Casciatos words that although I obey traffic laws, and ride as safely as I can, I am, by association with a minority of cyclists, part of the problem.So a history of inactivity, combined  with the statements above, and the SFPD’s well established past views kind of lay it all out. minority of cyclists to blame for putting people at risk.

  • Anonymous

    Good interview. I think the best way to get SFPD to understand what bicyclists go through is simply to get more (if not all) of the traffic cops on bikes (or foot) regularly. And I don’t mean riding their bike on the sidewalk! I mean, there really is no better way to truly understand what it’s like to be a cyclist. And I’m of the opinion that we’ll never get them to truly understand the plight of the cyclists without being one. Just look at what happened to CW Nevius in the Chronicle after he started riding ….

  • postcar

    As far I understand it, traffic (in)justice issues are a well-established problem that someone, somewhere, I hope, is working on.  I recently presented at a conference, though not of transit planner or policy makers, where I suggested its clear links to the environmental justice movement.  Traffic (in)justice–what I mean–the way in which motorists who hit/injure/kill other motorists are held to a much higher standard of guilt than if they h/i/k other non-motorist road users, where they are often not cited at all.  This is a clear phenomenon, and it clearly starts with police culture.  There are academic and policy papers on this.  If you get a chance to interview this guy again, I’d like to see some hardball questions about this that don’t allow him to just play the ‘ask the DA card.’  Its not convincing at all.  Don’t we want them to stop passing the buck?  I understand its intimidating talking to cops who seem like they represent some basic ‘reality principle’ even though they are incredibly biased and (self-)constructed figments of the civic imagination. 

    -J

  • Repeatedly threatening to commit assault with your bike lock isn’t advancing your cause.

  • thank you for acknowleging that disabled access is important….it isn’t generally a concern of cyclists, I find. @ Masonic, I was refering to legitimate paratransit vehicles, please don’t hit me with your bike lock.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    @yahoo-O7O5PZTXGOCIF7RBYAYPHU36XA:disqus 
    My main cause is simply being able to commute from A to B in this city safely and to be treated safely. I have no agenda of coming on transit blogs and trying to prop up straw men so I can try and discredit reasonable arguments presented by cyclists about the upsetting reality of how we are treated and viewed by the police and other road users.

    I obey the laws, stop at Stop signs, wait at red lights, yield to pedestrians, and simply would like others to do the same to keep all involved in the use of our public ways safe. That is my only cause.

    With respect to the bike lock comment, well, I guess a bike lock is no more scary a tool of self defense than the 2000 lb vehicle that is regularly wielded about as a weapon. 

    How many times have you been hit by an aggressive driver, injured enough to require a stay in hospital, while the driver who blew the stop sign tries to get away without even checking to see if you are OK?

    I guess more appropriately, how often have you used your car to threaten, endanger, or potentially even injured others, but figured they were only a cyclist? It is obvious you have no respect for cyclists by your continued regurgitation of straw man arguments you know carry no weight.

    If you choose to operate your vehicle like a weapon, than I have no choice but to defend myself. Plain and simple. That is not a cause, it is reality.