Skip to content

Recent Comments


    Karen Lynn Allen

    To increase safety on the streets of San Francisco, the most effective thing the SFPD could do is to ticket drivers and bicyclists who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. The three most effective things the SFMTA could do is daylight all intersections next to crosswalks, reduce travel speeds on all non-arterial streets to 20 mph, and add speed humps to most residential blocks to keep mid-block speeds under 20 mph. (Currently, San Francisco drivers love to accelerate to speeds up to 40 mph in between stop signs and then slam on their brakes.)

    If San Francisco were serious about increasing street safety, this is what would be implemented. Instead, San Francisco focuses on controlling what an older generation views as anarchistic bicycling behavior that annoys them. The issue is not safety, it’s about an older generation controlling the behavior of a younger one, of car drivers insisting the streets should serve them above anyone else. Both our traffic laws and our streets were created for car convenience, not the realities of bicycling. Enforcing car laws that are nonsensical to bicyclists is the same as enforcing car (and generational) dominance.


    Richard Rothman

    Yes there have been a number of sting of not giving the right of way to pedestrian in the Richmond.


    Richard Rothman

    In reference to the report for the police can you post a a list of what station the letter refer to Thanks


    alberto rossi

    Daly City BART is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly places around, almost impossible to walk to. Then they give tickets to the few who show up and Stanley craps on them for “behaving badly”.



    Stanley Roberts has rode along for many of these stings, including in SF (Sunset I believe), frequently in Daly City (including a pretty asinine one near Daly City BART)



    I hear about how so many cyclists roll through, by the thousands. If only nine times out of ten this was successful, there would be no more cyclists – we’d all be dead.



    I give him credit for wanting a dialogue. Let’s hope he can refocus on effective solutions, not petty harassments.



    I noticed that Captain Sanford readily understood the value of deploying his officers in an ad hoc fashion as the situation demands, instead of using a one-size-fits-all managerial style. But he had a harder time understand applying this principle to bicycling. I thought the two situations are remarkably similar. There are safety risks in being too hide-bound in either. As many people have pointed out, sometimes stopping at a stop sign is the most dangerous thing you can do. I think people’s survival instincts in general are pretty strong, and we will naturally make choices based on that. When you limit our options, you can actually make us less safe. This is what concerns me the most about Captain Sanford’s approach.


    Mountain Viewer

    The Mountain View Police department has a pedestrian decoy program to enforce such right-of-way. In this video, a car was the culprit but the law most likely applies to any vehicle.



    As the law reads if there’s any pedestrian anywhere in the crosswalk, no one, not even 3 lanes away, is allowed to drive or ride across said crosswalk. Never seen any level of pedestrian right-of-way sting or enforcement uphold ‘as the law reads’.



    A key justification for the crack-down is the assertion that ticketed behaviors are universally unsafe. That simply was not the case. This is why it’s critical we support Avalos’ proposal so it can serve as a demonstration of the efficacy of an Idaho stop law at the state level, at least for stop signs if not red lights.



    That’s not why they chose to use cylindrical wheels. You’re boiling down a very complex engineering topic into some nonsense. If you’re that concerned about train wheels maybe try studying up on them so you can be more educated than your know-nothing modernists that built the infrastructure you use every day.

    Cylindrical wheels use less energy because with conical wheels theres an oscillation that generates the friction that keeps the train on the tracks. Unfortunately, that wheel profile is also very noisy. I’m not saying one choice was better than the other, but in the late 60s some engineers discussed the topic, argued it’s trade offs, and went with a cylindrical design.

    Regardless, the noise issue will be solved with the new trains coming soon. They’ll have doors and windows that seal out the noise.



    That was supposed be a joke, making light fun of myself. Guess I should have used a winkie git ;-)


    Donovan Lacy

    jd_x I am impressed. A fact based and rational response response, with out any disparaging remarks. If only it were effectively on this particularly type of pest.



    Feeding with facts is still feeding.



    I do find it pretty shocking that we’re expected to take one driver’s test and then we’re considered good to drive for the rest of our lives. We have no reliable way of ensuring that people know the *current* laws. This also seems to severely limit our ability to innovate better ways of managing our roads – we’re forever stuck with the status quo because that’s what people know. The concept of continuing education for drivers or driving tests every 5 years or so could go a long way toward keeping everyone up to speed (no pun intended) on what the current laws are.



    Maybe they just smoked too much pot, giving us a non standard rail gauge that means we continue to run ancient vehicles. The cost to replace these and other specialized equipment is a drain in which millions of dollars are flushed down.



    “That’s very interesting, because, of course, we’re told to yeild to
    cyclists riding on the right. Typically, when I approach an
    intersection to turn right, I get as far left as I can on the assumption
    that I’m being accommodating to cyclists–who, of course, are riding on
    the right!”

    That’s very interesting. I’m not sure who tells us that, because it sure as hell wasn’t the DMV, because this diagram is not some fantasy of the SFBC, it’s written into the California Vehicle Code. Goes to show how poor our licensing procedures are – yet another argument against licensing cyclists, why would the state be any more competent at licensing cyclists than it is drivers.



    While I am fully aware it’s pleasing to point this out, it’s not a very effective troll removal policy.



    Not true. Ear drum pressure has a lot to do with it. It may not be all but it most certainly is a huge part of how sound can effect us: your favorite piece of music which you could listen to all day at 40 dB blasted at 100 dB would most certainly annoy you greatly.

    Good study on the noise on Bart here:



    If you haven’t understood why you are a troll, your comment perfectly illustrates why you have earned this title: the crosswalk shown in the Examiner article is where the Panhandle bike path crosses Masonic and hence *exactly/legally* where the bicyclists are *supposed* to be:



    “Why do SF cyclists not campaign harder for more dedicated bike lanes?”

    They do: it’s the number one priority of the SFBC, California Bicycle Coalition, League of American Bicyclists, and almost any other bicycle advocacy organization. And for regular commenters here and other like-minded blogs.

    There is no doubt that how to handle intersections is taught poorly. Like caryl and Donovan Lacy, I too am constantly frustrated by how both motorists and bicyclists don’t know what to do with a non-buffered/protected bike lane at an intersection when the motorist is turning right. And as a bicyclist, when I come up to such an intersection and the car(s) in front making the right turn hasn’t merged into the bike lane, I’m in a crappy position: either sneak by on the right side hoping (praying!) they see me and don’t right hook me, try to get to the motorist’s left but since they are in the lane this forces me way out into the middle of the road and forces me to cut in front of the car behind the motorist turning right, or sit there and wait (while usually other bicyclists go by me making one of the previous two choices) which is completely silly. Our driver’s ed sucks, and we really need to raise the bar especially when it comes to how to operate a vehicle around pedestrians and bicycles. But it must also be complimented by enforcement. As long as the motorist isn’t making a sudden turn or not using their blinker (which even more complicates and makes more dangerous the situation), I think SFPD should give warnings when motorists turn right across the bike lane instead of in it; I don’t think a ticket is warranted because it is admittedly not taught well. SFBC has actually been making some effort recently to educate bicyclists that the car is supposed to be in the bike lane when turning right since some bicyclists get pissed when the car (correctly) takes the bike lane to turn right, but obviously they can only reach so many bicyclists.

    Of course, the real solution is separated/protected bike lanes with Dutch Style intersections (


    Karen Lynn Allen

    Urban infill continues apace in San Francisco, replacing low value, one or no story car infrastructure (parking lots, auto dealerships, gas stations, auto repair shops) with high value multi-story housing and commercial space. This phenomenon has spread to other cities attractive to millennials and will continue to spread, increasing urban population densities, which will in turn result in higher rates of walking and biking and lower rates of urban car use across the nation. This prognostication and more in “Eleven Groovy (or Not So Groovy) Disruptive Technologies Coming to a Future Near You.”



    In the Examiner article about Masonic Avenue the cyclists in the picture are riding in the crosswalk. Scofflaws!


    Donovan Lacy

    I think it is a question of additional education on both sides.

    I routinely call out cyclists when I am cycling and motorist when I am driving for not handling this interaction correctly. It is one of the most dangerous and least understood exchanges on the road. Even with a dedicated bike lane, you still have to make that smooth “cross”.

    Maybe SFPD could help educate cyclists and motorist on this activity. It is consistent with Captain Sanford’s goal of making the streets safer for everyone.

    To reiterate what caryl’s point, SFBC has been fighting for dedicated lanes for years with some success over the last several years, but it is a question of money and of course everyone’s god given right to park my car on the road for free (that is definitely my bias showing).



    SFBC has been fighting for dedicated bike lanes for years and while significant progress has been made (see Fell, Oak, Market, etc), it is always a battle (see Polk, Masonic, etc). I actually think money is the least of the problem, as bike infrastructure is about as cheap as it gets. The problem is the space, since adding a bike lane often requires removing a travel or parking lane. Also, dedicated bike lanes do not solve the problem of right-hooks because you still have intersections.



    Thanks for the explanation. We’re much more on the same page than I first thought. From what I’ve read here on SB, most cyclists are in favor of ticketing people who steal others’ right-of-way or otherwise endanger people. However, that wasn’t what the ‘crackdown’ seemed to be about. It was about getting people to make complete stops, which just pointed out to me how ridiculous our laws are when it comes to bicycles. We focus on stopping when we should be focusing on proper yielding. So for me, the crackdown didn’t make me want to stop at every stop sign, it just made me want to stop riding entirely. I just didn’t trust that I wouldn’t be pulled over for some nitpicky thing. Just being on a bike had somehow put a target on my back, no matter courteously I was riding. It seemed particularly unfair given how many cyclists (and yes, motorists) truly do deserve a ticket for endangering others. It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to just focus on them.



    To jump on the correction bandwagon, noise is a very much a psychological phenomenon. It depends on how fast the decibel level changes, the frequency, how many frequencies and what the pitch difference is between them. Likely dozens of other factors.

    Actual ear drum pressure has very little to do with it.


    The Colonel

    That’s very interesting, because, of course, we’re told to yeild to cyclists riding on the right. Typically, when I approach an intersection to turn right, I get as far left as I can on the assumption that I’m being accommodating to cyclists–who, of course, are riding on the right!

    The problem with that graphic above is that it contemplates that at some point, the rider and the driver are going to “cross” paths to allow the car to get on the inside. That’s all good and well when you’re dealing with 1 car and 1 rider, but in SF, it’s 50 cars and 50 riders. Trying to smoothly “cross” like that is sure to end in a shouting match.

    Why do SF cyclists not campaign harder for more dedicated bike lanes? That would seem to be the ultimate solution to so many of these problems–though I guess that, as with everything not related to tech, the City doesn’t have money for that?


    The Colonel

    Right on, you too.

    “I cannot shake the fact that SFPD is for whatever reason unable to achieve their goal of 50% of their citations being written for the five most dangerous violations.”

    Of course, my expectations are very rarely met by the SFPD, and I guess I should couch my comments by saying that I wish the SFPD would police the Lower Haight more, period. In terms of reckless cyclists, weird lurkers,criminal activity and everything else. It’s a bit of a no-man’s land for the SFPD, in my experience.


    Donovan Lacy

    Thanks. Anyone have an email address for Captain Ann Mannix? A google search came up empty.


    Elias Zamaria

    Do you have a source for the statement that the BART engineers were “know-nothings full of hubris”, or that the belief that BART was temporary would make them decide to use a particular kind of wheel?

    Also, how is noise not a psychological phenomenon? The amount of annoyance and harm caused by noise depends in a complicated way on several things including loudness [], the amount of perceived loudness depends in a complicated way on several things including actual sound pressure [], and the amount of sound pressure depends on several environmental factors including the amount of power in the sound. I would imagine that it taking a survey might be better at determining whether the train is subjectively quieter than measuring it with a microphone.


    Donovan Lacy

    That is a great point on the inside passing by cyclists. Both cyclists and motorists are regularly oblivious to what to do at intersections when a car is taking a right turn.

    It used to drive me nuts, but then I went back and re-read some literature on the SFBC page regarding the correct way to take a right. Here is a good link.

    When driving I always get as far right as possible, making it virtually impossible for a cyclists to get right to the right of me and when I cycle and I am going straight, I take the lane.

    We all need to be careful coming to intersections, and just about everyone on the road needs to do be more respectful.


    Donovan Lacy

    I can understand your personal perspective. It is clear that this is a highly emotional issue for you. You use words like suffer, threatened and battle lines when you describe cyclists and your interaction with them. I am truly sorry that you feel victimized by cyclists.

    I am not suggesting that SFPD should not be citing reckless cyclists in the Wiggle. If a cyclist is endangering pedestrians or anyone else they should be cited, but I cannot shake the fact that SFPD is for whatever reason unable to achieve their goal of 50% of their citations being written for the five most dangerous violations.

    Stay safe and I look forward to your moonwalk protest.


    The Colonel

    “I’m curious, would you be ok with the SFPD prioritizing their ‘crackdown’ on bicyclists who violate others’ right-of-way? Aren’t those the ones we’re ALL concerned about? Or is it important to you that bicyclists come to a complete stop regardless of the situation?”

    Definitely the former. Indeed, I don’t even need the SFPD to “prioritize” a crackdown on Wiggle cyclists, I just want them to police the Wiggle _at all_. As I’ve said elsewhere this page, I’ve lived near Steiner and Waller for seven years, and I’ve seen cops only two or three times.

    I honestly have no problem with cyclists doing rolling stops at unoccupied intersections. But that’s almost never the case at my intersection–there are ALWAYS cars and pedestrians lined up at Steiner and Waller, but cyclists barrel through on a very regular basis.

    Obviously, the safety of my family is my primary concern. I appreciate that you are a conscientious non-stopper, but far too many cyclists are not, and, in fact, many of them seem to ride with a chip on their shoulder (perhaps deservedly so) that causes them to be willfully obnoxious in buzzing us at close range, assuming my kids are going to continue walking at the same pace (note: they aren’t!) and otherwise causing us to feel threatened in the crosswalk. C’mon, we’re in the crosswalk, please don’t make us shit our pants, lol.

    But it’s also bigger than that. Far too often, probably at least once a week, I’m in my car, have the right away to proceed, and then as I move into the intersection BAM! here comes Lance Armstrong rocketing past a stop sign. He’s at fault, but I’M going to be the mofo who accidentally kills him! So often we read about cyclists in this city getting hit by cars, but how many of those times were because the cyclist was riding reckless and didn’t stop (or tried to turn on the INSIDE of a turning car; etc.). One day I was stopped to turn right, and when I went to turn a cyclist (who must not have seen my turn signal) decided he would run the stop sign–ON MY RIGHT! If I hadn’t slammed the breaks, that dude would be jacked up right now, and people would have been criticizing ME.

    I don’t have a problem with cyclists rolling through unoccupied intersections, proceeding through stops as a pack or doing any of the other very many SAFE things that might not follow the letter of the law.

    But the problem along the Wiggle–the problem of cyclists disrespecting everyone else by disobeying traffic laws and common decency by not respecting the right-of way–has got to stop. The Lower Haight, in particular, is getting gentrified like a mother, and those people are bringing two things: (1) kids, and (2) money. That’s bad news for the reckless cycling status quo.


    Nicasio Nakamine

    I don’t know if anyone has reached out for the data, but the person he was referring to was Commander Ann Mannix.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Replacing the tracks in the tube might be necessary for some reason but it cannot and will not do anything about the noise. BART noise is caused by BART’s weird, unique wheel profile which was designed by mid-century know-nothings full of hubris. They thought that BART was a temporary necessity until we all had supersonic flying cars. Worshiping the future and ignoring the past, they gave BART cylindrical wheels. Every other train has conical wheels. The cylindrical wheels (along with the unique, idiotic wide gauge) also explain BART’s distinctive nauseating yaw oscillation.

    Anyway I can’t imagine why they are taking a survey about the noise. You measure it with a microphone. It’s not some psychological phenomenon.


    The Colonel

    Except that nowhere in here have I ever said what other people “should be concerned with”–in fact, I’ve repeatedly said that I fully support the cause of improving safety for cyclists, but that MY cause, the thing I’M concerned with PERSONALLY is reckless cyclists along the Wiggle.

    But the same token, nowhere have I said what “cops should not focus on.” I only hope they have at least some time to enforce traffic laws along the Wiggle, which in my seven year experience are woefully under-enforced, to the worry of me and others that live around me.


    Michael Morris

    not to mention people that take McCallister or Grove to Market, they still use Market everyday but don’t pass the counter.


    Anthony N

    Initial a RECALL JOHN AVALOS campaign now!


    Mountain Viewer

    Do you have a link to the data from your book-reading event? My own observation from having lived in Europe, is that in urban areas, traffic lights are typically used in lieu of the US-type 4-way stops. In rural (or even suburban) areas, you would see yield signs or at times no markings at all. Note in absence of any signs/markings at an intersection, a vehicle/bike coming from your right has priority and you should yield. So even without any markings, there is a default yield rule.



    The activist protest movement was brilliant because it worked within the law to successfully draw attention to an issue that needs fixing and energized a group of people to take action. This bit of political pandering falls flat. Avalos isn’t just an activist anymore, he’s an elected politician who’s papering over an issue when we need actual change. Who’s in charge here? Clearly not this guy.



    Oh man, you really nailed that one. How astute.



    I’m curious, would you be ok with the SFPD prioritizing their ‘crackdown’ on bicyclists who violate others’ right-of-way? Aren’t those the ones we’re ALL concerned about? Or is it important to you that bicyclists come to a complete stop regardless of the situation?

    The reason I ask is that when I ride the wiggle and see pedestrians, I tend to slow down well in advance of the intersection and nod to them so that they know I am yielding to them. I developed this approach because as a pedestrian, I hate when cars slam on their brakes stopping their car inches from the crosswalk I’m in. It’s apparently legal behavior (they did stop after all), but it’s really intimidating as a pedestrian. When I’m biking, this approach often has the added benefit of allowing the intersection to clear before I even approach it and thus I very rarely come to a complete stop (much as happens naturally when bicyclists and pedestrians interact on multi-use paths). I am also going fairly slowly at this point and am therefore able to react quickly if someone else approaches the intersection. While I almost always get positive reactions from pedestrians and motorists using this approach, I am technically breaking the law, regardless of how courteous I am being. Should I be getting a ticket? I’m genuinely curious what your thoughts are on this and am trying to understand your perspective.



    Cyclists, scores of them, working in the building where the meter is installed almost always turn onto 10th St to enter the garage. So they are never captured by the meter. In other words, the milestone has most certainly been passed a while ago.


    Donovan Lacy

    Captain Sanford did not have all of the statistics on citations for the Park Station at the meeting. He mentioned an individual within the city government that would be able to provide the data. Did anyone get the contact information for that individual or better yet, has anyone gotten the actual data?


    Donovan Lacy

    No kidding. Still didn’t see you out there and I had plenty of time to look for you, what with stopping and putting a foot down at every stop sign to and from the meeting.



    Tell ‘em about the Twinkie.


    Donovan Lacy

    And speaking of data, the “Focus on the Five” program, was created to focus SFPD’s attention on the the five most dangerous activities by drivers:

    1) speeding;
    2) running red lights,
    3) running stop signs,
    4) violating pedestrians’ right-of-way in crosswalks
    5) failing to yield to pedestrians while turning

    The goal is to issue at least 50 percent of traffic citations for the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries.

    Care to guess what the percentage is for SFPD issuing citations in the Park Station? According to Captain Sanford it is the high 20% and he has apparently set his own goal of 37%-38% (I forgot to take notes).

    So he is no where near the stated goal, but has time to focus his attention on other violations.


    Donovan Lacy

    Just to boil it down for future reference, your argument is:

    (1) People should not be concerned with the most dangerous threats to their health statistically speaking, but should focus on what I perceive to be the most dangerous threats; and

    (2) Cops should not focus their attention on the most dangerous threats to their safety, but rather they should focus their attention on what I perceive to be the most dangerous violations, regardless of what the data actually shows.

    Sounds reasonable.