[Updated] Driver Injures Cyclist in Midnight Crash at Market and Octavia

A man riding a bicycle was seriously injured by a driver at Market Street and Octavia Boulevard at about midnight last night, according to police and two witnesses.

Market and Octavia. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sftrajan/6820234722/##sftrajan/Flickr##

The bicyclist was sent to the hospital after the crash at 12:05 a.m., said SFPD spokesperson Michael Andraychak. He said more details won’t be available until the police report enters the department’s system.

[Update:] Christopher Schroeder said he witnessed the crash, and that the man on the bike ran a red light:

I watched from my bike at my red light as the cyclist ran his red light at the freeway entrance of Octavia and Market and was hit by the car. After his body hit the car grate it rolled up onto the hood, over the roof and flew 4+ lanes approx. 20 feet before it hit the ground and rolled three times to stop just steps for me. As I pulled out my phone I had seconds to decide whether I run into the intersection to stop his body from being ran over by another car or whether that put myself at too much risk. Luckily the car behind stopped which gave me a chance to run to him, protected from traffic. He was not conscious. He did not move. 911 immediately responded. While the ambulance was in route the cyclist started to sputter and spit. An off duty nurse came to hold his neck and suddenly he started talking. Not in a normal voice but in a high pitched daze. “I’m fine. I need to get up. Please let go of me. Please. I’m fine. Please.” The paramedics say his neck is not broken and he should recover. The police have my number. I gave my statement assuring them the [driver] was not at fault. It never could have seen him. He ran the light to a freeway entrance.

Streetsblog reader Scott Siegel sent in his account:

Last night, around midnight, I was driving west on Market Street in SF. I reached the intersection of Octavia and Market. I heard a big thump. Looking to my left I saw a cyclist down who looked severely injured. In fact, I thought he was dead. There were two bikes sprawled across the intersection that looked completely bent [Schroeder said the other bike was his, and was not bent]. I saw what I thought was a taxi parked right next to the fallen rider. Later another car came zooming through the intersection, maybe hit something, and then stopped at the entrance to the freeway [Schroeder said this “was a car of off duty nurses who stopped to help stabilize the rider’s neck”]. In the car in the lane next to me, a young looking man stepped out from the passenger side and went to assist the fallen biker. It looked like he and someone else already on the scene were contacting 911.

No update on the man’s condition yet. Market and Octavia, a Central Freeway entrance, sees more injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians than any other intersection in the city, with ten reported last year. The vast majority of bicycle crashes are caused by drivers making illegal right turns on to the freeway across the eastbound bike lane.

We’ll update with more details as we get them.

  • Wait, there’s ANOTHER Scott Siegel in San Francisco? REVEAL YOURSELF.

  • Davistrain

    Maybe it’s my long-ago background in journalism, but an observer who says “the car was not at fault” forgets that a car is a machine, and it’s the driver who is “not at fault”.  Given the circumstances, I shouldn’t be too hard on the person reporting the collision, but I do notice the subtle difference.

  • Guest

    I am going to have to say I’m a cyclist too, so maybe it’ll deflect a few haters.

    Biker totally deserved it.
    Stop running red lights foo. 

  • mikesonn

    Stop running lights, yes. Deserving to be hit and nearly killed, never.

  • Is saying “I’m a cyclist too” the relevant equivalent of saying “I have black friends” right before saying something profoundly racist?

  • Guest

    So very close to an impartial report. It’s like you got to the end and just had to yell “CARS SUCK”

  • CARS SUCK

    There, I feel better.

  • @bdd403e43d684fa0f94bba27ff0e3432:disqus  By providing factual context about the intersection…?

  • Guest

    The only facts were that there had been 10 accidents and 2 specific cases of accidents where the car had made the right turn. It’s not clear if those two were part of the 10 as they came from different sources. Other than that it’s all conjecture.

    The whole thing would have made more sense if they had allowed cars to make right turns with a light that would allow bikes through and cars not to turn at time. But then as we see, we can’t always count on bikes to obey red lights, can we? The rider might spill his latte.

  • The information about the intersection was added before I had Schroeder’s account, with no clues as to how the crash occurred, so I provided what background I could.

    Perhaps someday, bicycling in San Francisco will be safe enough that people will actually bike with lattes… (and yes, hopefully some day people will not dangerously run red lights).

  • “But then as we see, we can’t always count on bikes to obey red lights, can we? The rider might spill his latte”

    May I refer you to this…

    http://road.cc/content/news/70594-abuse-cyclists-almost-racial-discrimination%E2%80%9D-claims-aa-president

  • Guest

    You didn’t add “context”. You added conjecture and opinion. You’ve got a great journalism career ahead of you on Fox.

  • mikesonn

    You previously said the cyclist deserved to be nearly killed.

    “But then as we see, we can’t always count on bikes to obey red lights, can we?”

    We can’t always count on PEOPLE to obey red lights. I’d rather they be on a bike or walking when they do that than behind the wheel of a 2-ton vehicle.

  • @bdd403e43d684fa0f94bba27ff0e3432:disqus From the SFMTA’s 2009-2011 collision report:

    Market Street and Octavia Boulevard
    2009-2011 injury collisions: 30

    Primary Pattern: Eastbound Market Street illegal vehicle right turns to freeway on-ramp colliding with eastbound bicyclists travelling in bicycle lane.

    Engineering Changes: Intersection completely redesigned as part of Octavia Boulevard project (opening date September 2005). City has taken a number of enforcement, signage, timing, and channelizing measures to improve compliance with right-turn restriction on eastbound Market, most recently adding another “No Left Turn” sign (October of 2011). Crosswalks markings will be upgraded in 2012.

    Collision Trend: Increase in collision totals since 2005. The intersection had the highest collision total for San Francisco in 2011 (13 injury collisions), with nine of these being vehicle-bicycle collisions.

  • Timothy Mallon

    Here’s some news: you can’t count on drivers on to obey red turn arrows. They often don’t at Duboce, and cut through the bike lane when through traffic has the green. I’ve experienced it, and treat it as (another) hazard to be aware of on that stretch.

  • Tahoe

    Not a red turn arrow – NO RIGHT TURN – period

  • Guest

    Tahoe: I understand there is no right turn right now. I think there should be. There are far more people who would benefit from it than the relatively small number of cyclists, and done correctly it could be safe.

    Timothy: I’m absolutely positive that the percentage of cyclists out and out running red lights is higher than that of drivers. Drivers often illegally stretch the lights at the beginning and end, but don’t typically blaze through dead reds. Of course there are exceptions, but percentage wise I’m sure cyclists do it more often. I’m also pretty sure most of the time that drivers run red arrows is because they don’t realize it. That’s not an excuse but maybe it can be fixed through better signage.

    Aaron: That was decent data. If it had been provided in the first place I wouldn’t have commented.

    mikesonn: That was a different “Guest”. I never said, nor do I think that the rider deserved to have been nearly killed. I do think that people underestimate the mental impact of hitting someone, even if it couldn’t have been reasonably avoided. When cyclists ignore traffic rules they not only threaten themselves and pedestrians but put drivers at risk of having to ask themselves for the rest of their lives if they could have done something to avoid the accident. While that’s not as big an impact as a negligent driver can have on others, it’s also not zero. 

  • @bdd403e43d684fa0f94bba27ff0e3432:disqus

    “That was a different “Guest””

    This is why we ask comments to create a username. It can be anonymous, but users need to be able to differentiate between one another.

  • @bdd403e43d684fa0f94bba27ff0e3432:disqus  who says…There are far more people who would benefit from it than the relatively small number of cyclists, and done correctly it could be safe.

    As the wikipedians say “citation needed”. It’s established that Market Street has the largest cycling population in the city, roughly the same as the number of private vehicles using the road. How many motorists now approach that non-access to 101 who are headed to 101, as opposed to points further into SoMa, given there are other accesses to 101 in the area (upstream is the Duboce access, from the West you can approach via Octavia). I doubt that more vehicles would use that right turn than there are cyclists currently using that stretch. And the benefit they obtain is marginal for most.

  • Guest

    murphstahoe: Citation needed. The idea that the same number of cyclists as private drivers use that section of Market just doesn’t pass the sniff test. Especially if you look at it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, rain or shine.

    The no right turn results in
    a) extra driving to get to the next entrance, which bogs down both Market and Duboce
    b) safety risk because drivers reasonably expect there to be a right turn so many do it anyway. I bet many don’t know where the next entrance is. I’m not saying this is ok, I’m saying it’s a reason. If there was a clearly marked arrow, with reasonable timings it would be clear what you’re supposed to do as a driver.

    The impact on cyclists is marginal at worst. If there was an arrow it would just mean they have to wait a bit longer to proceed.

  • The SFMTA bike survey, 2011.

    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/rbikes/documents/2011BicycleCountReportsml_002.pdf

    Page 5 – 1274 cyclists through Market/Valencia (1 block away from Octavia) per day, from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.

    http://www.sfbike.org/?market

    There were twice as many bicycles as cars on Market Street during rush hour on Bike to Work Day in both 2008 and 2009. Not surprisingly then, MTA counts show that bicycle ridership on Market Street increased by a whopping 30% between 2007 and 2008.

    Do not fall into the trap of thinking that a bike cannot be ridden at night. Or in the rain.

    You also ignore the fact that the motorists currently using Market are not all headed to 101 (at that intersection most are not) and would suffer a *detrimental* impact of the increased traffic that the entrance would produce. Those cars would either need to wait for passing cyclists or cyclists would have to merge over into through traffic, either way this disrupts LOS for all groups. Is the benefit to motorists who would be entering 101 worth the detriment to ones who are not?

    I’m citing stats – you are citing your nose. Find me some stats.

  • Guest

    These numbers are all pretty tiny. 1274 cyclists at peak for 2 hours doesn’t seem like a large number. Bike to work day is irrelevant for counting. That’s like counting floats during a parade. 

    Of course I know that bikes can be ridden at night or in the rain. But you would have to admit it’s less likely, while car traffic isn’t affected. It probably even increases on rainy days.

    It’s true that not everyone is going to turn. The question is whether people are more impacted by those who would turn by them waiting to turn or travelling further down Market to get to Duboce and then clogging up Duboce. Given the way Market works it probably wouldn’t draw people there who were headed already to Duboce. I guess it might be a wash. It’s more about making sense. People expect an entrance there so because there isn’t one it gets all messy.

    Frankly I would be happy if we turned Market over to mass transit and cyclists, at least from 11th down, if it meant we were able to exclude bikes from other routes.

  • mikesonn

    Google doesn’t expect an entrance.

    http://goo.gl/maps/mtu3M

  • 1274 in 2 hours is 10.6 riders through there a minute. How many cars through per minute? Remember that half of that minute the light is red – so how many cars through that intersction in a typcial 30 second interval?

    Why would there be more cars on a rainy day? Because people decided not to bike on that day? Careful – that implies that people decide to ride their bikes on days that aren’t raining….

    Speaking of 101, cyclists are already excluded from that route. So you get your wish. Let’s close market to cars.

  • Guest

    What I meant was transit rider or walker is more likely to drive on a rainy day than bike. So the number of cars on those days could even go up, while there are probably cyclists who decide to take transit or drive on those days. Obviously I don’t mean there aren’t counter examples, but in general I bet the percentages of rider / driver / walker / transit riders shifts away from rider and towards drivers on rainy days.

    It would be interesting to measure but I don’t see it being difficult for the number of cars through that intersection to be more than 10. Also cars on average carry more than 1 person, not much more, but still more. I know bikes can carry more than one too, but the average car load is probably bigger than the average bike load. And again this is at the peak of bike riding. 24 / 7 / rain or shine all move in the direction of cars. I know people ride bikes at night but the percentages shift.

    Anyway it doesn’t really matter. The bike lobby won and it is a no right turn. They will keep winning because they make people feel guilty about driving so that a relatively small number of people get a disproportionate use of our streets. Maybe one day we’ll have a vehicle propelled by self righteousness.

  • Guest – I would take that wager.

    First thing Sal Castaneda says on a rainy day is “be careful out there and only drive if you have to”. The amount on cars on the freeways indicates that people listen. Commuting to work may be the majority of trips, but it’s not all trips. Discretionary trips plummet on bad weather days.

    Cars on average carry more than one person. In San Francisco during peak hours that average is made greater than one primarily by parents driving children to school.

    “a relatively small number of people get a disproportionate use of our streets”

    3 percent mode share for cyclists. Far less than 3 percent of the road space in SF is dedicated to bikes. More road space in San Francisco is devoted to *empty* cars in the form of parking spaces, than is devoted to bike lanes.

    I’d love to get 3% of our roadways painted for bikelanes. And if we are going to start talking about proportions of people getting usage of streets, then 40 percent of our roadways need to be made transit only!

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