Today’s Headlines

  • SFPD Crack Down on Uber Blocking Traffic Lanes (Kron4)
  • Muni Bus Rear Ended (SFGate)
  • SFMTA Van Ness Improvement Project Updates (Hoodline)
  • Oakland Cyclist Killed (EastBayTimes)
  • Hayes Valley Site Approved for Skinny Apartments (Socketsite)
  • City Attorney Sues Millennium Tower Developer (SFGate, Curbed)
  • City Grapples with Short Term Rentals (SFExaminer)
  • Report Shows Demand for 60k More Apartments in Peninsula (DailyJournal)
  • FBI Raids VTA Paratransit Contractor (SFGate)
  • Commentary: Businesses Get that BART Bond is Essential (SFExaminer)

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • mx

    “SFPD Crack Down on Uber Blocking Traffic Lanes”

    Pinch me. Can this really be happening??

  • Stuart

    If it were a dream, there probably would have been at least one mention of bike lanes in the segment. But this is reality, so it was only about blocking *real* lanes; you know, the ones for cars.

  • SF Guest

    SFPD crackdown was broadcasted on Stanley Roberts segment People Behaving Badly on yesterday’s KRON 4 10 pm news, and reportedly inspired by numerous complaints. Many if not all of the rideshare drivers appeared clueless or ignorant of the law. These violations are so frequent a cop was shown thanking one of the few drivers who pulled over to a parking space to let his ride disembark.

    Tune in tonight at 10 pm if you want to see what drivers think.

  • RichLL

    It often amounts to the same thing. Just this morning I saw a construction truck blocking the traffic lane, not the bike lane. Very thoughtful of him.

    Except of course the traffic stuck behind him all passed to the right, taking the bike lane to do so.

    As a cyclist, I’d rather deal with a stopped vehicle in the bike lane than deal with a moving vehicle.

  • Stuart

    > As a cyclist

    “you won’t ever see me on a bike”
    – RichLL

    Maybe you meant to say, “As someone who sometimes imagines what urban cycling might be like while I sit in my car”.

  • RichLL

    I used to ride a bike. I don’t any more. But I rode a bike enough to know that things that move hurt me more than things that don’t move.

  • farazs

    I wonder if operators offer legal representation to drivers. If they were to bank-roll a legal push-back, contesting every ticket, the traffic courts would grind to a crawl. The operate smoothly only because very few people contest their citations.

    On the flip-side, they want to have as little as possible to do with the drivers – to enforce the contractor vs. employee distinction.

  • RichLL

    I fight every ticket and generally score above 50%. I will engage in a ridiculous amount of effort to get off. Often the officer doesn’t show up at court which is an easy win.

  • SF Guest

    If I recall correctly blocking a traffic lane citation is a moving violation. It’s been to my very limited experience moving violations are very tough to challenge in court without solid evidence because basically it’s the driver’s word against the citing officer, and the Judge will always take the side of the officer over the citation issuee.

    Many citation issuees opt to take traffic school knowing they have little chance at winning a contested citation; however, there are those willing to take a chance to protest it with the officer present knowing if the officer no shows the citation is automatically dismissed.

  • SF Guest

    I suggest you use the term “As an ex-cyclist . . .” next time.

  • mx

    Maybe you should try obeying the traffic laws and then you won’t have to go to a ridiculous amount of effort at all.

  • Drew Levitt

    That certainly sounds like an unfortunate circumstance. But it also sounds like a fairly unlikely one: a vehicle double parked close to the edge of the bike lane would not leave enough room for many vehicles to squeeze between the parked cars and the double-parked vehicle. (The average car is more than six feet wide; the average urban bike lane is not more than six feet wide; that’s either no room at all or a veeeery tight fit!)

    On the (sadly rare) occasions when I’ve observed a vehicle double parked in a car lane adjacent to a bike lane, I’ve seen people in cars making their way tentatively to the left of the vehicle, and people on bikes making their way tentatively to the right of the vehicle.

    I think we’d both agree that double parking creates problems (of safety and of convenience/comfort) for all road users. Especially as Uber/Lyft and online shopping continue to grow in popularity (buying things online = more freight deliveries), we need to think about a comprehensive approach to loading and unloading in cities. That sounds like a win/win – but then again, it might involve converting some parking spaces into loading spaces…! (cue angry protests)

  • Stuart

    But apparently not enough to understand that any situation where a bike and car traffic are forced to merge are fundamentally similar to a cyclist in practice. Both involving merging with moving cars, driven by people who may or may not pay attention to the presence of cyclists and who will come out a lot better in any collision, regardless of who is merging into whose lane.

    Either way, you are dealing with moving vehicles. Unless of course you follow one of the RichLL-approved™ methods, like stopping before the choke point and waiting however long it takes for the obstruction to clear, or getting off your bike, finding the nearest sidewalk, walking around, getting back on, and then continuing.

    You’ll probably say that from a legal point of view or a liability perspective they are totally different, but it turns out that unlike armchair cycling experts online, actual cyclists are primarily concerned with not being seriously injured or killed.

  • Stuart

    The official position of the TNCs is that they expect their drivers to follow all laws, and if you report any of their drivers for violating traffic laws they are shocked, shocked to discover that traffic violations are taking place! Safety is very important to them!

    Funding a large-scale ticket contesting campaign that would be very likely to be noticed and then tracked back to them would be a PR mess, and have no real upside for them.

  • RichLL

    mx, is that the advice you give to cyclists who blow through stop signs and lights?

    Didn’t think so.

  • RichLL

    As previously discussed, upon encountering an obstruction you have three main alternatives:

    1) Stop and wait
    2) Dismount and walk around
    3) Riskily swerve into traffic without looking

    Ask me how much sympathy you deserve if you take (3)

  • RichLL

    Immaterial to the point being made, unless circumstances for cyclists have somehow magically changed in the last few years, which I happen to know for a fact that the have not.

  • RichLL

    Well, I guess the truck could have parked sufficiently far to the right to prevent traffic passing via the bike lane. But then traffic would have backed up for blocks.

    So the driver is damned either way, right?

  • als

    Gee, I took that as “advice” to you in particular, not some population in general. If you, RichLL, obeyed traffic laws you would not have to “engage in a ridiculous amount of effort to get off”. You sort of admitted to being in violation of the laws, that sort of means you are wrong, that sort of means you have no platform to comment on others behavior, that sort of means you need to get off your high horse about others (cyclists), sort of….

  • Drew Levitt

    In my experience, it is almost always feasible for traffic to pass double parked vehicles on the left – irrespective of whether they’re parked adjacent to (or in) a bike lane.

  • RichLL

    Except of course that just about everyone here breaks laws as well. The specific laws may vary but the principle of law-breaking is endemic, and that includes cyclists and even pedestrians (jaywalking).

    And yes, they’re all entitled to fight those tickets, regardless of guilt. That’s your constitutional right.

    People in glass houses, and all . .

  • RichLL

    Depends on the street and how much oncoming traffic there is. Point being that a car or truck needs a lot of width to pass a blocking vehicle, and at least in the example I cited, that was only possible by moving into the bike lane

  • @Stuart – In his car, behind the keyboard, whichever. One hopes it’s not both at once, but given the hundreds of write-only/absorb-nothing comments he posts here, one has to suspect multi-tasking.

  • @SF Guest – As a daily Market Street commuter I find that the hailing app drivers are willfully ignorant of the law. Or know when to launch into the “I need to feed my family” sob story whenever they endangered someone else’s family with their actions.

  • SF Guest

    I saw Stanley Roberts’ follow-up edition asking rideshare drivers why they let riders off in a no-stop zone and several of them claimed they had no control over riders getting out of their vehicle since they simply get out with or without permission of the driver. That didn’t stop SFPD from issuing citations, but as Stanley Roberts pointed out none of the riders who illegally disembarked were cited.

    There probably are legitimate cases where a rider ignored the driver and disembarked without their permission, but SFPD is holding the driver totally responsible. I doubt any Judge would side with the driver as well.

  • @SF Guest – Sounds like another prefab sob story.

  • Chris J.

    upon encountering an obstruction you have three main alternatives:

    This shows your ignorance about cycling. The obvious alternative and one you didn’t list is to bicycle around the obstacle safely (e.g. slowing, glancing back, etc). I can’t remember ever having to do any of the three options you list, and I’ve ridden nearly every day for years.

  • farazs

    If PD does this kind of enforcement regularly, then 18 months without a ticket would be difficult for one whose main employment is driving. You take the traffic school once, then you don’t have that option. The points rack up, the license gets suspended and find yourself out of work, or risk driving with the prospect of arrest at the next traffic stop.

    Given that ride share popularity is only increasing, the city should be swapping out more parking spaces for loading zones. I am not arguing to let anyone off, but simply focusing on enforcement without considering the full picture is stupid.

    From what I’ve read, the TNCs are quite happy to argue that they don’t have a stake in the issue. If the city could pass a local ordinance to cite passengers as well – specially for the pick-up location which they can control, that would be one way of making the TNCs sit up and take notice.

    The driver is definitely the main culprit, but passengers need to share part of the blame.

  • Jimbo

    not only do they park in bike lanes, they also doublepark in fast car lanes like those on fell and oak. they need to be ticketed there. in all honesty, there needs to eb a restriction on number of drivers uber permits in SF.

  • dat

    Don’t change the subject. He’s talking about you not obeying rules of the road, not people on bikes. Can you refute his argument or not?

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