Driver Injures Bike Rider at Fell and Lyon Streets, No Citation Issued

Photos: Aaron Bialick

A man was hit by a driver while riding his bike across Fell Street at Lyon Thursday night at approximately 9:40 pm. The victim, 25, appeared to have just entered the crosswalk from a pathway on the Panhandle when the driver, a 30-year-old woman, hit him from the side.

Police said the victim was lucid and his condition was not serious, though he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital for minor injuries. Park Station Captain John Feeney said a citation would not be issued because the victim’s condition was not life-threatening and the driver stayed on the scene and called 911.

According to officers at the scene, the driver said she was driving in the left lane in search of a parking space when the bicyclist appeared in front of her car unexpectedly. The driver and bicyclist gave conflicting stories about who had the red light, and other witnesses were not available to testify. Feeney said the bicyclist would not be faulted and that it would be treated as an “accident.”

Fell, a one-way street that acts as a four-lane residential freeway alongside a major bike route on the Panhandle, is known for its dangerous conditions and high volumes of car traffic. Possible factors in the crash include poor visibility hindered by cars parked next to the crosswalk as well as the driver’s speed. An officer questioning her was overheard saying the size of the victim’s impact on the windshield indicated that she “must have been going pretty fast.”

See more photos after the break.

An officer questions the driver.
  • Anonymous

    Driver hits another car, the driver usually gets cited. Driver hits a bicyclist, doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist most of the time.

  • mikesonn

    Park Station Captain John Feeney said a citation would not be issued because the victim’s condition was not life-threatening and the driver stayed on the scene and called the police.

    > “Well, just make sure you don’t kill ’em!” *wag of the finger, but no slap of the wrist*

  • So it is okay to commit assault as long as we call the SFPD and let them know we did it?

  • mikesonn

    Sure sounds like. Well, that and if you are behind the wheel of a vehicle.

  • Was he riding his bike in the crosswalk?

  • Being somewhat familiar with the area and looking at a map, it looks like the bicyclist was leaving the park paths (which ‘legally’ cross other streets ‘in the crosswalk’) traveling North across Fell.  The auto-driver would have been traveling West on one-way Fell with the park on her left and the T-intersection with Lyon on the right.   StreetView does show a 2-way traffic light, pointed to stop the one-way traffic on Fell, and pointed to stop the Southbound traffic on Lyon.
    So the bicyclist is probably in the crosswalk or between the 2
    crosswalks as if Lyon is a street that continues through the park, but without a traffic light just a crosswalk light. 
    I can see that as being a bad place to be, even if cars drove only 25 mph and alertly there.  I wonder what the lights were at the time, apparently they both claimed to have the traffic/crosswalk light in their favor.
    Bike in the photo has a front light attached, but ‘just appeared’ in front of her.

  • The Greasybear

    The SFPD’s outrageous and indefensible bias in favor of the most harmful of all road users grinds on. Is this special treatment for bad drivers ever going to change?

  • Right, right, I keep forgetting. Handgun or knife, NOT okay for assault. 2-ton metal hunk, OK.

  • asleep at wheel

    One assumes that “crosswalk” means “pedestrian crosswalk” which if one reads the State of California Vehicle codes these “crosswalks” are reserved for pedestrians, not vehicles (which includes bicycles, see the ‘California Drivers Handbook’ p.61 . . . but hey, in those in SF don’t have to abide by the same laws that apply to the rest of the state.

  • MARSupial_possum

    Does “other witnesses were not available to testify” mean there are no witnesses? If it’s driver vs rider with “conflicting stories” how can there be any judgement? It’s possible the driver was inattentive, crossed on a red. It’s possible the rider crossed on a red. Seems like a stablemate sans witnesses.

  • asleep at the pedal

    One assumes that “crosswalk” means “pedestrian crosswalk” which if one reads the State of California Vehicle codes these “crosswalks” are reserved for pedestrians, not vehicles (which includes bicycles, see the ‘California Drivers Handbook’ p.61 . . . but hey, in those in SF don’t have to abide by the same laws that apply to the rest of the state.

  • The Greasybear

    One assumes too much. Cyclists on the Panhandle must necessarily–and legally–use the crosswalks to exit the bicycle path. One is clearly biased against cyclists–so let us chant together: Beloved are the crimes of the motorists, for they bring us such pollution and noise and injury! All the public space belongs only and always to them, because they’re just so bitchin, and never a ticket–ever!–shall be issued no matter the death toll or hospital costs! Amen!

  • Anonymous

    The driver has already admitted to distracted driving. Quit blaming the victim!

  • ubringliten

    there is a good chance the driver is at fault because she was looking for a parking space which could distract her especially on that street.

    they really need to calm that residential highway.  it is ridiculous that a residential area has a one-way thoroughfare which is next to a park.  sometimes i am disgusted at this city planning.

  • Anonymous

    Hm– what do you mean by 2-way traffic light? There are both traffic and pedestrian lights for northbound Lyon, as well as SB Lyon and WB Fell. The only thing that’s missing is a NB light on the east side of the intersection, where there is no crosswalk or paved connection to the Panhandle path, but I don’t think that’s relevant here.

  • Anonymous

    There is a commonsense improvement that could (and should) be made at these intersections: remove one parking space immediately before the crosswalk, so that people coming out of the Panhandle don’t have to contend with what is effectively a blind intersection. Just look at the street-view image: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=fell+%26+lyon,+sf&ll=37.773429,-122.442573&spn=0.007556,0.009205&sll=37.773430,-122.442575&layer=c&cbp=13,261.1,,0,19.68&cbll=37.773445,-122.442461&gl=us&hnear=Fell+St+%26+Lyon+St,+San+Francisco,+California+94117&t=h&z=17&panoid=0SLtShESiLG37OQhfmygIw (and remember that the camera taking this image is well above the eye-level of either drivers or pedestrians). If that SUV weren’t there, visibility would be much better.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s just a few bad drivers that give everyone a bad name.” I wonder who’s paying the medical bills. They won’t be cheap.

  • baklazhan: by ‘2-way traffic-lights’ I meant the Red/Yellow/Green lights.  There appear to be those sorts of lights for 2 lanes of traffic (WB Fell, SB Lyon).  Just as you did, I differentiated that from the crosswalk light just as you did when you referred to the pedestrian lights.

  • Anonymous

    The driver’s insurance company I would expect.

  • As Greasybear has already said, those particular crosswalks are legally used by bicyclists (they include bicycle lights, if I remember right). In mass. Every day. Not illegal at all. The driver should have been paying more attention.

  • Drivers don’t always get cited if they hit another car.  Usually drivers in “fender-benders” just exchange info and drive on.

  • peternatural

    SF Appeal also had a brief story about this:
    http://sfappeal.com/news/2012/01/bicyclist-struck-by-car-along-panhandle-thursday-night.php

    “Police are investigating whether the driver or bicyclist had the
    right-of-way at the intersection. The driver was not cited, [police Capt. John] Feeney said.”

    Citing the driver would be wrong if the driver had a green light. (If police can establish that the driver did run a red light, it would be appropriate to cite her).

    Anyway, just another reminder: Be sure to “look” before you “book” (even if you do have a green light 😉

  • Shmoozilla2000

    There are no signals for bikes at Lyon. It’s a typical pedestrian crosswalk where presumably cyclists should get off their bikes and walk them. The driver wasn’t expecting someone on a bike to dart out, I think.

  • what does it matter if the cyclist “darted out”? There is a traffic light there. If the driver had a red light, the cyclist should not get hit, darting out or not. If the driver had a green light, the cyclist shouldn’t even be walking into the crosswalk.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    because cyclists always stop at red lights, right murphstahoe?

  • mikesonn

    You really missed the point @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus .

    Driver has green: bike/ped/anyone shouldn’t have been in front of her.
    Bike has green: driver should be stopped by her red.

    There is no “darting out”.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    mikesonn:
    “The driver and bicyclist gave conflicting stories about who had the red
    light, and other witnesses were not available to testify.”

    Do you have information that wasn’t included in the story?

  • Shmoozilla2000

    if the driver had green, no one should have been in front of her, that doesn’t mean no one was. I think my point was pretty clear.

  • mikesonn

    @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus  “The driver wasn’t expecting someone on a bike to dart out, I think.”

    “The driver and bicyclist gave conflicting stories about who had the red light, and other witnesses were not available to testify.” 

    Do you have information that wasn’t included?