BREAKING NEWS: SFPD Hits Cyclist in Bike Lane

This video just came in via the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Bike Ride Crew. It’s truly nuts. An SFPD cruiser apparently parked in the right-turn pocket suddenly pulls out, swerves left and hits a cyclist.


Streetsblog will post more information as it comes in, but apparently the cyclist is Tim Doyle, and it seems he suffered some pretty bad injuries, although he was discharged from the hospital after 10 hours in the emergency room.

Here’s Doyle’s description of the crash on a related thread about a different collision between a driver and bicyclist that occurred yesterday, on Market Street.

I got hit by a SFPD car at 5:45pm at 2nd and Mission. At Least I got hit by a cop who didn’t try to flee. He called an ambulance for me. But I did see that a bit of a lie trying to be put into the report that the lights and siren were on. Not true. The cop car was in a parking space alongside 2nd street and without looking or seeing me just pulled out into my lane as I was doing 25mph and I t-boned the cop car. I flew 15 feet through the air and landed flat on my back. Spent 10 hours in the SFGH Emergency Department and was discharged with a few cracked bones and a gnarly right leg wound.

Thank goodness he’s alive. And thank goodness for video so there’s no question of fault. Doyle confirmed directly in an email to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that he was released from SF General at 4 a.m.

  • Maurice

    SFPD doesn’t care about bikes or pedestrians. Not like a bit.

    But I’d also say that this “left turn from the right turn lane” is a new epidemic in SF. Maybe invented by ride sharing drivers swooping around to pick up fares across intersections.

    It’s an epidemic, and again SFPD doesn’t give a rats ass about vision zero. Welcome to SF.

  • I was impressed with how the SFPD car had its right turn signal on just prior to its pulling left.

  • deuce_sluice

    I think one of the biggest problems with modern policing in general, and SFPD in specific, is that they don’t get out of their damn cars and walk around often enough.

  • So glad it was caught on video. Makes it more challenging to blame the bicyclist, although I’m sure someone will make the attempt. Paint does not create safe bicycle infrastructure. Period. Cities that take bicycling seriously don’t constantly put cyclists at risk of being mowed down even by their own police cars.

    Our current streets are designed for driver convenience, not the safety and convenience of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. As San Francisco gains population, if the densest parts of our city are not redesigned, injuries and deaths from collisions with cars will inevitably increase.

  • jd_x

    Wow, is this a first for BTWD: two major incidents where bicyclists were severely injured by motorists where the motorists were clearly at fault and happened to get caught red-handed on video or by witnesses? Mayor Lee and has pathetic inability to think past his anachronistic car-centric world is maiming people on the very day that is supposed to highlight all the progress SF is making towards bicycling. Pretty sad. And so frustrating that our leaders continue to support (free or deeply subsidized) street parking over making our roads safe for bicyclists and pedestrians.

    I hope these cops are punished, but I’m highly skeptical it will be anything but the police chief making some token announcement about how it was accident and coming up with some excuse for the officers who will likely see no punishment, let alone a punishment that is fair given how bad of a mistake they made.

  • thielges

    Yesterday made a convincing case for helmetcams. The Market street case probably doesn’t need video evidence since there were plenty of witnesses. But the police car case could have easily devolved into the officer’s word against the victim’s word. Video objectively clears up a few key facts.

    In Taiwan and Russia (and probably other countries) it is now common for drivers to have dashcams running all the time. They do this to support their position in the event of a crash.

    As helmet cams become cheaper, we’ll see more and more evidence that no, the bicyclist didn’t really just swerve in front of the driver. A decade from now someone will analyze crash reports and see a change in fault determination over the years due to better video evidence.

  • njudah

    Police officers in SF have taken time during work to protest bike riders demonstrating for bike safety, and they know they can get away with it. For all the talk of SF being “liberal” it sure likes its police officers and their union no matter what.

  • Ibe Gort

    Watch the Traffic Light. It goes from Green to Yellow before the biker even got to the intersection. Had the biker continued the would have run the Red light. As it was he could not have stopped in time. He showed no effort to slow down. The Officer also made the mistake of pulling into the bike lane. Biker assume drivers can see you. Car have blind spots. Had the bike lane been installed on the far right this accident would not have happened.

  • mx

    What? The collision happened while the light was yellow, a substantial way back from the intersection. I see nothing in the video that indicates he couldn’t have stopped on time, nor does it matter, because he was riding straight in the bike lane and the officer cut across the bike lane suddenly without signalling or looking.

    The bike lane doesn’t belong on the far right, because the far right is a right turn lane. If you put the bike lane on the far right, then right turning motorists would hit cyclists going straight. Unless you happen to have a fully protected intersection (which we don’t), the basic rule of not passing on the right still applies, and a design on 2nd that encouraged such a thing would be inherently unsafe.

  • Chris J.

    That argument is absurd: arguing that someone would break the law in the future. By your logic the driver of the police car “would also have” run a red. Not only was the driver not slowing down, he was accelerating. This isn’t Minority Report.

  • Justin

    With the video evidence there’s almost no chance to blame the unfortunate bicyclist for the collision. I hope that the police officer involved and the police department is held accountable for this, like seriously!

  • jd_x

    “Biker assume drivers can see you.”

    What? You know what bicyclists assume? I would argue that most bicyclists know damn well that many cars don’t see them, but what are they supposed to do? This “suicide lane” setup (and for that matter, any non-protected bike lane) gives a bicyclists absolutely zero choice no matter what they “assume”. You can do your best to pay attention and anticipate, but at the end of the day, you rely on motorists to pay attention, and when a car moves *that* fast *and* with their other turn signal on, you can’t possible anticipate that (from a cop no less). This is why we need protected bicycle lanes as this crappy infrastructure (with crappy enforcement to boot, even when it’s not the cops illegally smashing into the bicyclist) puts bicyclists at the mercy of motorists paying attention (which is at an all-time low thanks to cell phones).

    And I love how you are implicating the victim in some future crime. And even if you’re right: it’s okay for motorists to run over a bicyclist over if they think they *might* run a yellow/red light? What sort of twisted world do you live in that you think this is just?

  • jd_x

    Yes, at the end of the day, unless this city will actually start doing proper protected intersections
    http://www.protectedintersection.com/

    bicyclists are just screwed. This “suicide lane” setup is just nuts and I dread them every time I have to use them. And putting it at the right means you are much more likely to get right-hooked which is an even bigger problem.

    But at the end of the day, given this unsafe infrastructure for bicyclists, if we at least had SFPD cracking down on motorists violating bike lanes and otherwise making dangerous and illegal lane changes as well as enforcing speed limits and distracted driving, we might actually minimize the adverse effects of such poor infrastructure. But as you can see, that can’t happen when it’s the cops also contributing to the carnage (and trying to get away with it).

  • jd_x

    For those who don’t know, this is how you design an intersection to protect bicyclists from motorists:
    http://www.protectedintersection.com/

    The motorist (in this case, SFPD) must take responsibility when they mess up and hit a bicyclist and be punished accordingly (it’s not an “accident” when you don’t check your blind spot and make a sudden, aggressive turn when you’re the lane to turn the other direction and your turn signal indicates you will indeed be turning the other way). But so must the city take some responsibility for designing stroads
    http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2013/3/4/the-stroad.html

    and then refusing to put in proper bike lanes let alone perform proper enforcement of dangerous motorist behavior that increases the odds of collisions. I don’t know how our leadership in City Hall, e.g. Mayor Lee, can live with this on their conscience. In this city, it’s clear that Lee prioritizes motorists (free or deeply subsidized) street parking over bicyclist safety … which is absolutely insane.

  • bigluis

    Reminds me of a particle accelerator, eventually a collision should occur. Most bicyclists seem to me to feel entitled, they break every single traffic law and don’t give a damn about others. But, too bad for this guy, hope he was not hurt.

  • mx

    Exactly what is entitled about riding straight down the center of an officially marked bike lane and expecting other people, city employees no less, not to suddenly accelerate halfway across the roadway into you?

  • Yep. But you have to look quick because you can only see the cop’s car from 0:05 through 0:08 when he hits the cyclist. The first 4 or 5 times through I missed the turn signal flashing because of watching other things.

  • Kolo Jezdec

    Guess the cop was just being proactive in preventing the cyclist from running a red light. Or maybe the cop is a bad driver who almost killed a cyclist lawfully using the road?

    I’ll go with the latter…

  • Chris J.

    You should try riding a bicycle in the city sometime, and maybe you’ll get a better perspective of what bicyclists are like and what they have to deal with.

    And in terms of entitlement, what’s your opinion of drivers who park in a bike lane with their blinkers on? Basically blocking another mode share’s dedicated travel lane by using it as their personal parking spot / loading zone. Does that seem like entitlement to you, too?

  • bigluis

    Open up your eyes REALLY big, look around, bike riders break almost all traffic laws, they believe they are entitled, jerks who can afford $ 1000 bikes, but I don’t wish them any harm, too bad when they’re smashed by a vehicle out weighing them by 4000 pounds, who pays for the roads anyway?

  • Kolo Jezdec

    Everybody pays for the roads. About 50% of funding for local and state roads comes from general tax revenue, including sales tax and property taxes. So all citizens, whether they own or operate a motor vehicle are subsidizing motor vehicle operators. Did you really think that roads are funded solely by people operating 4000 lb vehicles.

  • Kolo Jezdec
  • Kolo Jezdec

    “Since 1947, the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets has exceeded the amount raised through gasoline taxes and other so-called “user fees” by $600 billion (2005 dollars), representing a massive transfer of general government funds to highways. ”

    “Highways “pay for themselves” less today than ever. Currently, highway “user fees” pay only about half the cost of building and maintaining the nation’s network of highways, roads and streets. -”

    See more at: http://www.frontiergroup.org/reports/fg/do-roads-pay-themselves#sthash.jRfQZQQv.dpuf

  • Kolo Jezdec

    “Most walking and bicycling takes place on local streets and roads that are primarily paid for through property taxes and other general local taxes. -”

    http://www.frontiergroup.org/reports/fg/who-pays-roads#sthash.Mw98bWvu.dpuf

  • Kolo Jezdec

    “We need to dispel the myth that user fees are paying for the building and maintenance of our road network. The reality is that these funds are barely covering a fraction of the cost,” said Gabe Klein, SVP of Fontinalis Partners, and former Commissioner of Transportation for Chicago and Washington, D.C. “The highest return on investment is on bike, pedestrian and transit projects,” he said.

    ” Regardless of how much they drive, the average American household bears an annual financial burden of more than $1,100 in taxes and indirect costs from driving – over and above any gas taxes or other fees they pay that are connected with driving.”

    http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/who-pays-roads

  • Cookie23

    Oh you’re on of those people.

  • Kolo Jezdec

    Not that I expect any of the info below to change your perspective that you own the road. Happy reading.

  • mx

    Obviously you do wish cyclists harm, because you keep saying they’re “entitled” when they expect not to be run over. And once again, this particular cyclist was not actively breaking any traffic laws; he was just trying to get down 2nd.

    And if someone who spends $1000 on a bike is a jerk, what do you call someone who spends $500+/month on a car payment?

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    TWO WRONGS MAKE A RIGHT, bigluis?
    Next time you are caught speeding, try telling the cop “but officer, others are driving fast too!”. DOES NOT MATTER b/c it does not defend your behavior. THINK before you speak. America has enough stupid people already. Join the smart side – we need more recruits.

  • Gallups Mirror

    “Open up your eyes REALLY big, look around, bike riders break almost all traffic laws,”

    Please.

    Motorists speed, run red lights, roll through stop signs, fail to use directionals, tailgate, don’t pay attention or break other traffic laws virtually every time they drive.

    These are factors in 94% of all automobile crashes, which cause 10 million casualties, 30,000 deaths and billions of dollars in property damage, medical care and lost wages every year.

    Scofflaw motorists are a deadly threat to everyone around them; scofflaw cyclists pose little threat to anyone but themselves.

    See:
    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/812115.pdf

  • Thanks to the well meaning encouragement to watch out for my own safety, I’m going to be extra suspicious of vehicles that indicate they are turning right and make sure I don’t ride my bike into them when they go “psych!” (or possibly “sike” depending on where you grew up) and suddenly veer left instead.

  • THANK YOU!!! Someone needed take this article as opportunity to bash bikers and also win Bike Cliche Bingo!

  • escalinci

    Surely SF has money for segregated lanes on larger streets like this? Keeping motor traffic separate except on low-speed streets is the only thing that really mitigates against user error, and hence makes people feel safe enough to cycle, since I don’t think the average person wants their health to be subject to another’s momentary inattention.

  • neroden

    Has the SFPD officer driving the cruiser been identified? Reckless driving resulting in injuries: the officer is civilly and criminally liable. The police chief needs to arrest the criminal officer. Will he?

  • neroden

    Arrest the criminal cops. That’s the only way things will change.

    I don’t know the exact city ordinances in San Francisco. In New York I was interested to discover that the Mayor and City Council personally have the power of arrest. I wonder whether the Supervisors have the power of arrest in San Francisco?

  • neroden

    I’d say you could get the driver’s license REVOKED for that SFPD officer, given the evidence of reckless driving.

    …if you could get the corrupt SFPD to actually prosecute him. Maybe go direct to the DA?

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