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    Based on what I’ve heard police officers say and do, my impression is that a sizable number of them believe that people riding bicycles simply don’t belong in the same space as car drivers, and that it’s downright irresponsible for bicycle riders to be on those streets. In fact, they would like to argue that people riding bicycles should accept the fact that they are risking their lives riding next to cars anyway and that it’s their fault for being them where they could potentially get hurt in the first place. This has the perverse affect of allowing the police to write citations for ‘unsafe speed’ or ‘passing on the right’ because they don’t believe the bicyclists should even have been on the road, and if they’d just driven a car or taken a bus like everyone else, this ‘accident’ wouldn’t have happened.

    I think the only way to effectively counter these arguments is to continue to build infrastructure specifically for bicycle riders on high speed high volume arterials, and in residential neighborhoods, design streets to support speeds to near what cyclists already go at, between 15-20 mph.


    Darksoul SF

    N-Judah not going anywhere despite of the improvements… They should stop putting so many money.



    ‘Why is that such a hard concept for [me]’? I am just going to duck out of this conversation before it gets anymore saturated with hubris. Bike lobby doesn’t do itself any favors.



    Not true. We have plenty of mid-block crosswalks that don’t require vehicles to stop, but rather to yield. Why is this such a hard concept for you?



    Yup. Many cyclists can do something called a ‘track stand’ where they have ceased forward movement but remain upright even thought they don’t put their foot down.



    This isn’t about ‘maintaining speed’ or ‘seeing what they want to see’. It’s about being penalized for an infraction that is at worse harmless to other road users. If a cyclists fails to yield then they will still get a ticket for that infraction. This is simply a way to tell the police to focus on infractions that remain dangerous while ignoring people who fail to ‘put their foot down’ and each stop sign.



    No one is saying ‘roll through’. They are saying yield rather than stop. That’s a profound difference. People on bikes are still required to give way if the intersection has pedestrians, motorists, or other bicycles. They are not

    People who don’t like bicycle riders love to make false equivalences, to try and equate the modes as if both are equally dangerous. Continuing to pretend otherwise shows a profound sense of bias. In addition, there is no data which shows that allowing bicycles to yield rather than stop at stop signs increases danger to pedestrians or motorists.



    Streetsblog is THE BEST thing I ever found on Twitter. Thanks for the highly informative articles Aaron. Good luck with your new gig!


    Abe Froman

    OK, how would a bike come to a complete stop without a foot down and without falling over? Perhaps that is not the letter of the written law. But it would seem to be the letter of the law of gravity. Am I missing something?


    Opus the Poet

    So, real world facts don’t matter, gotcha.

    I don’t talk to idiots, good-bye.



    Crosswalks don’t work as a concept if vehicles can move through them without stopping. You know?



    It doesn’t matter. The issue in my mind is that cyclists see what they want to see. They don’t, and won’t yield. It’s easy to not see someone who wants to cross the street, when you are really into maintaining the speed your at. This is what I mean by ‘they don’t know what they don’t know’ – they don’t want to know, either.



    Again, it’s not about cars vs bikes. Cyclists love to talk about this, I get it. I am more afraid of cars, but I am afraid of bikes. What do cars have to do with anything? They can’t roll through crosswalks either! (?)



    Lucky for you, Turk and Larkin both have 5 lanes devoted solely to cars so you can easily speed on over for your “Good Riddance” boozy sendoff to Aaron!


    Bob Gunderson

    I think I speak for all the parking & driving obsessed motorists in SF, when I say that Streetsblog lost a monster.



    Because “It’s the LAW!”.
    If you want to rent out your driveway, change the law, don’t be a scofflaw lessor.



    I wasn’t aware that this proposed law would increase enforcemement of cyclists who do not yield. I thought it merely de-prioritized enforcement of the requirement to always come to a full stop. What cops do with all time they save is not explicitly stated.

    I don’t think many people are concerned whether or not a cyclist puts his foot down at every stop sign. But I think they may be concerned that this change will be seen as giving cyclists less expectation that they need to stop at all. And that might tend to increase the number of times that cyclists ignore the signs, and increase the speed at which bikes travel through intersections.

    The key here is to reduce petty citations for non-dangerous behavior. But it is not a charter for immunity from the requirement to stop at a stop sign, which will remain law unless changed at the state level.

    The other approach is to replace the stop signs with yield signs or traffic circles, so that all road users can avoid stopping if their path is clear. After all, cars roll through stop signs just as bikes do.



    He’s done a couple others, and seemed almost reasonable and human when he rode one of the Ride of Silences on his hipster bike, rolling all the stops.



    You can troll harder than that!



    I disagree with this, a cyclist who is riding in the city should always unclip when at or approaching stop signs as they should be prepared to stop.


    Melanie Curry

    Congratulations on your new gig, Aaron. You’ve done great work at SBSF and set a high standard for your replacement. Good luck!



    They have six as co-sponsors already. Only need two others to overcome a veto from the mayor.



    No one is arguing that cyclists should just ‘breeze through’ intersections. The Idaho Stop still requires that cyclists yield to cross traffic and any pedestrians. What this law does, as many people have already said, is focus on the egregious behavior by cyclists that fail to yield rather than getting hung up on whether or not someone puts their foot down at a stop or moves slowly through at a jogging pace. Once again – you cannot possibly make the argument that a 3 foot wide 180 lbs cyclist traveling at less than 10 mph is in any way equivalent in danger to a 2000 lbs 6 foot wide car doing the same.



    I think the intention isn’t to deflect attention, but rather to direct attention. There is real data that shows that bicyclists cause a miniscule number of injuries compared to motorists. We should direct attention to the reality of the safety problem, not imagined unrealized safety concerns about bicyclists breezing through crosswalks.



    Why is Harrell in the Traffic Company when he does not know any traffic law? This is gross illegal behavior on Harrell’s part and gross negligence by his boss.


    SF Guest

    If it’s true the majority of the BOS backs John Avalos’ proposal they will have the requisite number to defeat the veto.


    SF Guest

    I know it’s become standard practice to deflect attention onto motorists whenever the topic is about cycling safety, but Izsak raises concerns on whether bicyclists should breeze through crosswalks. No one is arguing motorists should be allowed breeze through.



    Motorists don’t realize… that they don’t realize that people are afraid of them. And with good reason.

    They run over, injure and maim dozens every day. And kill at least two a month.


    Opus the Poet

    Let me quote some numbers at you:

    Number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in SF/year = 100 +/-

    Number of pedestrians killed by bicyclists in SF since 1985 (as far back as I could get reliable records on the net) = 2 with records suggesting that the last previous time a cyclist killed a pedestrian was before the Quake, certainly before WW II.


    Opus the Poet

    Except that with clipless pedals it’s more like the engine must be removed and laid on the ground beside the car.


    Opus the Poet

    The law states that vehicles must come to a complete stop. There is nothing on the law stating that cyclists, pedal or motor, have to put a foot down to show they have stopped. This is something that LEO have made up on their own.



    Thanks for all your hard and effective work here! Best of luck.



    “they don’t realize that the city is not on their side”

    We may want more, but the amount of changes for the benefit of cycling that has happened in the city in the past 10 years has been huge. Lee is threatening to veto this legislation but the majority of the Supervisors are backing it.

    A law that a foot needs to go down at a stop sign would be akin to a law saying the engine needs to be turned off in a car at a stop sign.



    If that is the point the article is trying to make, than no wonder we’re confused. Because nobody honestly gives a *** about “anti-bike bias.” It’s not a real thing. It’s like 60’s politics taken to the point of high absurdity.



    I’m sorry, but this is such crap. Pedestrians don’t want to be mowed down by any vehicle, bicycle or car. I have nothing against the cyclists but they don’t realize that the city is not on their side, and they are not likely to win when they go head to head with the majority of the public. If there is no law that technically says one foot has to be down (I think this is what is implied in the article), so be it. But then maybe we need one. And it would probably pass. Because it is against logic that the majority of people would support a law that says bicyclists should breeze through crosswalks, as they have been. Bicyclists don’t realize…that they don’t realize that people are afraid of them. And with good reason. To quote what is by now a cliche ‘they don’t know what they don’t know.’ No number of anecdotes, or accusations of bias against bicyclists is going to change the fact that people need to cross the street, and the only place they have to do this is in a crosswalk.



    True, but I don’t see why someone cannot rent out their own driveway, garage or curb cut in front of their working garage, as long as they are paying all applicable taxes on that income. Both Stop-Yield and driveway parking seem like common sense measures to me.



    please post a photo of your bike.



    That’s backed up by SFMTA data. They have estimated that some 50% of people speed on residential streets where the speed limit is 25 mph.

    The problem is that when you drive a car, and let’s face it all the police drive cars, to many people 25 mph feels slow because we create these raceways between stop signs that encourage them to go faster then that. It’s generally not a great deal faster, perhaps maybe 30-35 mph, but that’s enough to make the streets feel unsafe to be in, particularly if you bike on them. And since it’s “only” 5 mph over the speed limit and as a society we’ve accepted that a ‘buffer’. So police aren’t going to set up speed traps on residential streets. What we really need to speed cameras all over the city. Automated enforcement is the way to really have an effective change in that area.



    i do bike and dont consider myself a hypocrite. my wife and i make sure to stop because we dont want to be associated with majority of cyclists who don’t and are afraid of the road rage that will come down based on the attitudes of the majority of SF cyclists



    Thanks for all you’ve done Aaron. Good luck!



    Thanks for all of your hard work over the past couple years. It has been a pleasure to read your posts. Its sad to see you go, but I’m happy to hear you are moving on to bigger and better things. Welcome, and I Hope to see you around the office :)


    Damien Newton

    What Ben said. Aaron has done a fantastic job at SBSF over the past four plus years. I know all the Streetsblog editors are going to miss him.



    “police also tend to blame bicyclists for “unsafe speed” violations, even when they’re well under the speed limit, when they crash into a driver who violated their right-of-way.”
    At a community meeting where a cop said the deaths of three people hit by drivers weren’t due to speed, the cop told me he often cites bicyclists for unsafe speed…in Mountain View. Mind you, the only hills in town are overpasses and they’re all on 35mph streets. It’s utter crap used to justify all kinds of driver error.


    Nicasio Nakamine

    If you ever encounter the Chron’s paywall, you can just copy the headline and do a search. This has never failed to give me the desired wall-free link as the top result.


    Darksoul SF

    Hopefully they wont pass the law.


    Darksoul SF

    They going ask you to write on their blog.


    Ben Fried

    Here here to four outstanding years from Aaron! I wish I could be there with everybody for the send off. He deserves a fantastic party after all the work he put into this site.

    We’ve received applications from some great candidates for the SF editor job, and I expect to have more news to share soon. Thanks for your patience, San Francisco, and stay tuned!


    Michael Morris

    I think it’s more about the process of charging a person with a crime vs saying “this was an accident”. If everything is just an accident then the police don’t really have anything to do. If a crime was committed and someone is at fault then they actually have a job to do.


    Morgan Fitzgibbons



    It’s been great seeing the work you’ve contributed to Streetsblog SF, I remembered the very first day when you took over as the head editor a few years ago back in 2012 I think? I could be wrong. Boy, does time fly by quickly. Though I skimmed Streetsblog occasionally prior, I didn’t really become a normal everyday reader until you came in. I will totally miss the work you do. Good luck in your future endeavors! :)