Man on Bike Killed by Garbage Truck Driver at 16th and South Van Ness

A Recology garbage truck driver ran over and killed a man on a bike at 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue this morning at about 6:45 a.m., according to the SF Chronicle:

A witness said the truck, which was paralleling the male bicyclist on eastbound 16th, tried to make a right turn onto southbound South Van Ness and collided with the rider.

The garbage-truck driver continued a short distance South Van Ness after the crash, said the witness, 29-year-old Jorge Marquez of San Bruno, but stopped after people on the street yelled and alerted to him what had happened. He drove the truck around the block and parked back near the crash site, Marquez said.

The bike was dragged for one block. It was found mangled on the corner of 17th Street and South Van Ness.

The driver was cooperating with investigators, police said. They said drugs or alcohol were not suspected factors in the crash.

Of course, most of those who tweeted about the story – including Ellen Huet, the Chronicle reporter – didn’t call for safer streets, or ask why the truck wasn’t equipped with convex safety mirrors, or talk about the extra care that truck drivers must take to not run people over when making right turns (the driver may have violated CVC 22100, which requires drivers to make right turns “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway”). Instead, the attention centered on the report’s mention that “it does not appear that the bicyclist was wearing a helmet.”

But as Mark Dreger noted in his response to Huet, ”A helmet is not going to protect you from being run over by a garbage truck. Separated bike lanes, maybe.”