Woman on Bike Killed by Truck Driver on Folsom: Charges Off the Table?

Photo: Will Tran via ##hhttp://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Bicyclist-killed-in-SoMa-crash-with-truck-4731657.php##SFGate##

An unidentified 24-year-old woman was killed while bicycling on Folsom at Sixth Street this morning when she was hit by a big rig truck driver, according to SFPD and media reports.

The victim is the third bicycle rider killed in San Francisco this year, and each death has involved a truck driver. Although the driver seemed to be at fault in each case, none have faced charges.

Here are the details on this morning’s crash, via SFGate:

The crash happened as the truck tried to make a right turn at 7:07 a.m. at Sixth and Folsom streets, police said.

Both the bicyclist, a woman about 30 years old, and the truck driver were headed east on Folsom. When the trucker tried to turn south onto Sixth, he hit the bicyclist, said Officer Bryan Lujan.

The woman died at San Francisco General Hospital. Neither her name nor the name of the trucker has been released.

The truck driver stayed at the scene and was interviewed by police. He has not been cited. The truck was later towed away.

As police investigated the crash, the woman’s crumpled blue, road-riding bicycle lay at the southwest corner of the intersection. A bike helmet was nearby.

Police have already determined that the truck driver won’t face any charges, according to a tweet from KTVU reporter Brian Flores, who also specified the victim’s age at 24.

SFPD spokesperson Dennis Toomer said he couldn’t confirm those reports, however. “This is still an on-going investigation and I cannot confirm if charges are pending for a later date or not,” he said. Toomer said state law also prevents SFPD from releasing information about the victim or driver at this time.

Leah Shahum, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, called the crash “another tragic reminder of what can happen when bikes and large trucks mix on our city’s high-speed corridors.”

Folsom, a street designed as a one-way, high-speed motorway — common in SoMa — has a painted, unprotected bike lane at the site where the victim was killed. “Folsom Street is one of the city’s few designated bike routes to downtown,” said Shahum. “Still, this street feels intimidating. This core route sees thousands of bike riders every day, yet large trucks travel next to these bike riders — completely unprotected.”

Such crashes might be prevented under a plan to redesign Folsom with a two-way, parking-protected bikeway, as called for in the Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Planning Study (EN TRIPS). The plan would also convert Folsom into a two-way traffic street and remove one of its traffic lanes, creating a calmer environment. However, city agencies have yet to initiate the street redesign.

The Folsom redesign called for in EN TRIPS includes a two-way, protected bikeway.

Shahum pointed out that in Manhattan, one-way protected bike lanes installed on Eighth and Ninth Avenues led to a reduction in overall traffic injuries of 35 and 58 percent, respectively. “San Francisco is woefully behind other cities in adding separated bikeways on arterial streets,” she said.

“Where is [the Folsom] plan?” she said. “Why is there still no progress? It’s time for the city to implement their safety redesign.”

Truck drivers should also be required to have convex safety mirrors, “so drivers can more easily see vulnerable road users,” said Shahum.

She also called on the city to “require that large vehicle operators take safety courses in how to safely share city streets with people biking and walking,” and noted that the SFBC has “reached out to multiple companies to teach bicycle safety classes.”

“It is the responsibility of the city and these companies to help ensure the safety of our most vulnerable street users,” said Shahum. “With more building and development planned for San Francisco, and subsequently more large trucks, it’s imperative that safety measures are put in place to prevent further tragedies like this from happening.”

  • thewrongwizard

    I got hit head-on by a pickup truck in San Francisco. The driver passed a construction truck and into my lane. SFPD wouldn’t come out and take a police report BECAUSE I WASN’T HURT ENOUGH.

    Turned out the the guy who hit me had NO insurance and took NO responsibility for my totaled bike. Thanks San Francisco! Apparently, if I would have been killed San Francisco wouldn’t have cared STILL!

  • no

    I am a bicyclist and am also a driver. I almost got sideswipe by a irresponsible bicyclist. To avoid the hit I have to sway my new Porsche away and me hitting the curb and scrub my rear wheel. Fuck those bad apples !

  • maaaty

    Bless you, Jessie. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry I offended you. I removed the post. I would have done anything to help your daughter. She was breathing and had a pulse but was unresponsive when I arrived. The medics arrived seconds after I did. I’m not sure justice is a logical goal in this incident. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Anonymous

    sad. hatred isn’t the answer

  • Don Marshall

    Well look who’s talking…Mr. Insensitive with his brutal comments that I’m glad you removed.

  • Don Marshall

    That would be cool….(sarcasm)

  • Anonymous

    stop – try to help someone – explain what actually happened – get hammered by the fucking retards in the peanut gallery. fine – lesson learned (for the umpteenth time) fuck humanity – you’re all a lost cause. enjoy your droll existence.

  • Anonymous

    I came late to the party, so not sure what you described – did you actually witness the accident, or just describe in too descriptive terms the details of the poor girl’s final moments before she died? I understand there is cctv footage from across the street ( though the angle may prove useless), but I have’t read anything about eye witness accounts.

  • Anonymous

    and whether the truck driver was at the corner with his turn signal on for an extended period, waiting until it was safe, then slowly moving out when it was safe, then suddenly a bicyclist could theoretically could stupidly come up from behind and try to pass it on the right while the truck has already begun to round the corner. In this case, there is no blame that can really be paced on the driver, as if he was going slowly, he also has a responsibility to look forward and to the right. So, until the video footage is made available, nobody knows for sure who is at fault. However, the sad irrevocable fact is that poor Amelie is dead.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely true, and probably the tragic case here. However, in all honesty, I have seen far too many noob cyclists doing the most insane things that is both dumb, dangerous, illegal. Just saying. We don’t know what happened here (and may never, despite cctv footage, as it was from the kitty corner property), but there are multiple possibilities. Condolences to the family. Hopefully the City will do more to prioritize infrastructure improvements.

  • Anonymous

    This is the same sort of rhetoric that anti-bike folk use to tar all cyclists with the same brush. Stay above the fray.

  • Anonymous

    Or at the very least, the City could place a moratorium on trucks on certain streets during peak hours. This is easy and logical to do.

  • Anonymous

    Stupid comment aside, what is wrong with “toe clips?” 😮

  • Anonymous

    Left turns should be banned throughout the city 6:00am-10:00pm 7 days a week (except one-way streets and left-turn lanes).

  • Anonymous

    What bad law are you talking about? if the cyclist was trying to overtake the truck, it was her responsibility to do so safely. If the other way around, then vice versa. That is the law. Everyone needs to follow it and there won’t be so many conflicts. SFPD needs to be much more vigilant about enforcing these violations.

  • Anonymous

    only the suicidists. Caltrain needs to be undergrounded, especially at crossings. It shouldn’t be so easy for losers to drive up to the tracks and fuck everybody’s day up, just because they feel blue and decide to end their life by Caltrain.

  • mikesonn

    You need to get off the “underground the WHOLE WORLD” kick. It is unreal and, frankly, pretty insane. Stop.

  • Anonymous

    If Folsom and Howard had been undergrounded as I proposed, Amelie might still be alive. Cars could travel legally at 45mph with ewer intersections, while surface streets could either be turned into greenspace, plazas, or reduced to 15mph. It has been done in most civilized countries. Din’t understand what our peculiar opposition to it is.

  • mikesonn

    “Don’t understand what your peculiar opposition to it is.”

    Reality.

  • Bucchere’s case wasn’t about about criminal intent, but about gross negligence. That’s what distinguishes felony vehicular manslaughter from a misdemeanor, which is ordinary negligence.

    It is not in dispute that Bucchere was going too fast, but it has not been determined that he ran a red light — in fact there is material evidence that he did not. This was considered gross negligence.

    Wallace Richardson sped down a hill, through a red light and crosswalk, killed somebody and hospitalized two others. The same D.A. considers this “ordinary” negligence and only pushed for a misdemeanor, and the outcome of this case wasn’t even news.

    The three truck drivers who have killed bicyclists in recent months haven’t even been charged with infractions.

  • CannabisIsNotEvil

    Banning big rigs? That’s not going to happen.

  • CannabisIsNotEvil

    not in SoMa….

  • Anonymous

    true, but on Market, Valencia, Fell, Judah, and others, it would be desireable.

  • Anonymous

    Jail serves little purpose here. A $1 million penalty paid directly to the family would better serve the interest of justice in this case.

  • Anonymous

    Why, because you believe is so inferior to other cities that we cold never achieve any modicum of civil engineering greatness? That our good days ended after the Golden Gate Bridge opened? Completely doable and affordable.

  • Anonymous

    oh no! not your porsche! I hope your porsche is ok! We, the people, don’t want your porsche to get a scratch! It’s better just to mow down a cyclist I guess, right? That porsche is way too important!

  • Anonymous

    Carry a gun next time. That should get SFPD’s attention. haha

  • Elle

    Wow. I’ve biked in this city 10 years and the only accident I’ve ever had was at that same intersection, made by a truck making a right turn also. The only reason I came out unscathed was because I anticipated the truck not seeing me, and pulled forward, so my back wheel and frame were crushed and not me. How very unlucky for this woman, and how scary.

    Bike infrastructure in this city is so cheap, and is heavily utilized. We need more of it.

  • Alex

    This two-way bike lane design should be put on all streets in downtown San Francisco including other busy areas.

  • For those who’ve come across this year-old story somehow, the update is that, thanks to lots of work from activists, the SFPD did forward the case. And the D.A. dropped it:
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2014/05/14/legal-system-fails-again-no-charges-for-trucker-who-killed-amelie/

  • It turns out that the truck in question is a Kenworth T370, which is quite a bit smaller than a semi. Here’s a press release from Daylight Foods, the employers of truck driver Gilberto Alcantar, whose actions killed Amelie:
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10715519.htm

  • GetHubNub

    Sometimes sidewalks are the only option rather than getting hit and I do this sparingly only when absolutely necessary such as at Third and The Embarcadero where suddenly the bike lane ends and the only real safe option is an empty sidewalk.

  • All tractor-trailer rigs in the US and Canada have convex mirrors on both sides of the cab, but the chance that a bicyclist will be seen by a trucker in their blind spot while turning right is virtually nil, especially after the truck tractor has moved to the right of the trailer, as at that point, the driver can only see the side of their trailer in their mirror. When you are turning a large truck in the city there are a dozen other things to look at and ensure the safety of too.

    This traffic-cam photo of a fatal accident between a truck turning right and a bicyclist that occurred in Boston illustrates the issue well. See the bicyclist next to the truck’s passenger-side mirrors?

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/08/07/17/2B2EE08400000578-0-image-a-38_1438965960408.jpg

    I have a solution that will result in a lot less bicycle fatalities when trucks or even city buses are turning right in the city. This same solution is already in-effect in London, England. It is a really simple low-cost-solution that is simple to implement.

    Even though bicyclists often have a painted bike lane they should NEVER try to pass a large truck or a bus on its right side in the US, (or on its left side in the UK) if the vehicle’s turn signal is flashing, and you should NEVER linger alongside such vehicles either, as the driver of such vehicles has an extremely large blind spot on the passenger-side of such vehicles to contend-with and frankly you are not safe insisting on riding in that blind spot.

    In-fact, in the flat non-distorted mirror on the right side of a large truck, the driver’s rearward view is only 6 feet wide at the rear of a 53-foot trailer, and that view narrows to zero at approximately the rear of the
    tractor’s drive tires. The driver can not see you in a non-distorted view period outside of that area. Do keep in mind that the view in a convex mirror is heavily distorted and the view that those mirrors generally provide is worthless beyond 30-50 feet to the rear of the cab.

    Have you ever ignored a truck’s right turn signal and tried to pass in the blind spot, You are lucky that you aren’t dead. I drove 18-wheel trucks for 30 years and I am a firm believer that bicyclists should not get any kind of right of way to pass slowed or stopped trucks or buses in bike lanes if the vehicle’s turn signal is flashing, and perhaps not even any vehicle as small 4-wheel vans and 6-wheel trucks, as they also have a large blind spot on their right side too.

    Any bike rider who assumes that they have the right of way to pass a large truck or even a city bus on its right when the vehicle’s right turn signal is flashing is asking to get killed, it is pretty simple, and nothing short of very-expensive collision-avoidance radar is going to fix the truck or bus blind spot problem either.

    So why not adopt the same law that a city triple the population of San Francisco already has and give large trucks and buses the right of way to turn when they are ahead of you and their signal is flashing? Don’t linger next to trucks either, and if a large truck or a bus is first in-line at a traffic light, do not assume that its driver can see you alongside the passenger side of such vehicles either.

    After all, if you are driving a car you are required to yield to the right-turn signal of a large truck or bus, so why not when riding a bicycle when the chance the truck or bus driver can see you in his right mirror is so low that inserting a bicycle alongside such large vehicles in such a situation is potentially deadly?

    Just my opinion but I do have more than four million miles of fatality and injury-free driving experience too.

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