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    old mission

    Here’s another example–traffic is going 20mph on crowded Cesar Chavez, and I blink to turn right. I look in my rear view mirror, & see a bicyclist in the bike lane on my right, 50′ behind me. I can’t yet tell if I will need to stop for peds in the crosswalk. There is no way to know if the cyclist will notice my blinker, and go around me on the left. They often don’t. I slow down enough to let the cyclist pass me on my right, then pull into bike lane to turn right. I think this is better than risking hitting someone, but the driver behind me shows disapproval by tailgating & honking.
    Send drivers & cyclists back to school to learn rules, so most of us are on same page?


    While I understand your frustration with the current statutes and how they apply to those traveling by bicycle, scofflaw activity is not a mechanism to improve the cycling culture in a motor vehicle dominated society, and only serves to color every other cyclist with the same brush in the eyes of the motoring public.

    Improving infrastructure and access and changing statute comes about through lobbying and organization of the people through a systematic and cohesive strategy. Laws can change. So can infrastructure. But stamping our collective feet in the form of tantrums that are borne out by reckless behavior that puts everyone at risk is not productive.

    Yeah, I know… stopping at EVERY stop sign at EVERY block in the city is a PIA. But getting mowed over by a two-ton killing machine operated by a person with enough just skills to crack an egg could end your ability to get your point across to anyone.



    If you read one of the other comments in this thread you realize that the City has pushed most of the bicycle riders on to certain limited routes. If every bike rider on those limited routes (Oak and Valencia, Caltrain?) complained there would be a large spike in the “data” for the police and parking to respond to. I’m not sure who would complain more but this story appears to say that focusing complaints to certain areas caused a response.



    “When I get into a car, I feel blind and trapped. You can’t see. You can’t maneuver. You need all these laws and signals to move your vehicle with a clear conscience.”

    Driving a car to get around a city is like a brain surgeon using a chain saw to do his surgery. If you just look at a motorist, they are banging into things (from massive accidents to bumping the car behind them when parallel parking), honking and yelling at each other, slamming on breaks, and just in general getting angry. It’s just utterly amazing to me that we as a society cannot just realize that, like the chain saw and the surgeon, the car is the wrong tool for urban transportation.



    Total agree. Been realizing this the last few years. Bicyclists are killed and injured all the time in this country and the cops do not even come close to treating them as equals in their investigation/report of the incident. And when it comes to prevention and enforcing rules for motorists that protect bicyclists, the cops are nowhere to be found. And City planners/traffic engineers have only recently even begin to consider the bicyclist in their urban design. This is exactly the definition of bias.



    The last week I’ve been spending time in a state where it is still legal for someone to use a mobile phone while driving. Not surprisingly, I’d say that probably 3 in 4 of drivers that I’ve observed have a phone plastered to their ear. Every time I see this now, though, it completely shocks my sensibilities, because I’m so used to how state law in California and the public messages from law enforcement and the State that are broadcast this have made it now socially unacceptable.

    It made me think about how quickly established social norms can change the way we view people around us. I’d say that Captain Sanford is likely suffering from this kind of shock, where he’s seeing two things – first, many more people riding bicycles in his district then when he was posted at Taraval Station, as it represents a major corridor from the western neighborhoods to downtown and SOMA, and second, that many of those riders roll through stop signs. To him, rolling a stop sign is taboo, akin to seeing someone with a cell phone on their ear. It just goes to show how arbitrary our traffic laws are, and how little we are using data objectively to make decisions about which laws make sense and which do not.



    Don’t feed the trolls. This one is particularly hungry.



    This nonsense is not about complaints or actual safety concerns: this is simply about an incredible bias against cyclists due to the fact that SFPD do not use bicycles on the job nor in their own personal lives and hence have zero understanding of nor empathy towards bicyclists. I actually believe that most cops think of bicyclist the same as petty criminals. Which is to say, in the cops’ minds, bicyclists shouldn’t be on the streets and are a bunch of hoodlums causing trouble (“grow-up and get a car!”); they certainly aren’t choosing a legitimate form of transportation but are just trying to be a thorn in everybody’s side. Once you have that mindset, it’s easy to see why they would divert resources into something that, from the outside with an unbiased perspective, is clearly ridiculous.

    In fact, this is a very recent revelation for me and I have only recently been able to verbalize it. It’s not just that this crusade is a corrupt abuse of power (since it is clear denial of the statistics as well as official City policy), but it’s the fact that SFPD thinks of bicyclists as second-class citizens at best and petty criminals at worst. I mean, as a bicyclist, nearly every day I am honked at, yelled at, buzzed within inches, cut off (usually right hooks), or nearly doored and I’ve never *once* even heard of (let alone seen) a cop bust a motorist for this. Not once. Hell, even when a bicyclist dies because some motorist screws up, the cops usually still won’t even cite the driver. And don’t even get me started about double-parking in the bike lane ….

    It would be one thing if SFPD was cracking down on bicyclists while simultaneously cracking down on motorists who routinely jeopardize bicyclist safety (though still a misuse of limited resources) … this way, I would at least feel like they care about bicyclists and just have a distorted sense of what actually creates dangerous conditions on our roads (motorists). But no: I feel as a bicyclist that the cops do not give one damn about my safety. If I am ever hit by an inattentive or intentionally vicious driver, I have no faith that the cops will approach the situation with a clear head and give me fair consideration. And that is a crappy feeling to know your own police force suddenly doesn’t care about you because of the method of transit you choose to use (and this is especially crappy given that more people bicycling instead of driving makes the city safer, healthier, quieter, and less polluted). SFPD will do everything they can to repress bicyclists but they never once turn around and stick up or look out for bicyclists. It’s just bias through and through.

    But I’m really glad to see SFBC and Streetsblog calling out this BS. Keep up the pressure.



    You may not realize it, Jimbo, but the way that you’re using the word ‘entitiled’ is the same as another word which has much more historical context – ‘uppity’. It’s a way of dehumanizing people you see riding bikes by subscribing motives that you have no way of knowing. Many people here have said that they roll stop signs and go through red lights to get ahead of car drivers they believe to be driving dangerously. Why assume that they are acting “entitled”?

    You claim that people riding bicycles are creating drama because they want to create their own rules. That’s actually only an ancillary goal. What’s more important, and what SF Streetsblog and the SF Bicycle Coalition really are pushing for, is to have Captain Sanford recognize that bicycles are not cars and focus his officers on the sources of traffic injuries and death in his district, which can almost all be attributed to drivers of motor vehicles.

    SFMTA has shown that 50% of drivers speed on streets with 25 mph speed limits in the city. The chances of survival from getting hit by an automobile rises dramatically between 20 mph and 30 mph. Where you have a 95% chance of survival if a car is traveling at 20 mph, you only have a 55% change of survival at 30 mph, and at 40 mph, the survival rates drop to 15% Given this data, don’t you think it would be more important for the police to focus on speeding cars on Masonic and Oak and Fell first before going after people riding bikes?


    Mario Tanev

    There is a chicken and egg problem here. As a bicyclist I give drivers and pedestrians their right of way. However, I try to avoid stopping completely due to the effort and time penalty to start again. Sometimes drivers try to wave me through, even though it’s their right of way. However, I may not be able to see their signaling and for safety sometimes I have to assume they aren’t. That causes me to stop completely, slowing both of us down.

    Or, sometimes drivers start violating my right of way, but realize and stop mid-intersection. Well, I perceive that as a close call, and just to be sure I hit the breaks. This again, slows both of us down.

    I think the only solution is creating bike-friendly infrastructure and rules. That would create more certainty about who’s right and who’s wrong. Bicyclists often have to do maneuvers that are illegal on paper, because they enhance safety. Until that is no longer the case, it is very hard for me to accept rants against bicyclists, even though I myself get very frustrated by impatient bicyclists who buzz me from both sides when I am waiting for the left turn at Fell from the Wiggle. I think it would be a lot more productive to advocate bicyclist etiquette (give the right of way, don’t pass on the right, announce yourself, etc.), than to keep hammering about the CVC.


    Mario Tanev

    Let’s look at your reasoning here. We know that African Americans are prosecuted more often and more harshly for the same or less serious crimes as other Americans. But why are people complaining? If they don’t commit any crimes, then no problem, right? Unequal enforcement is wrong, even if in an ideal world, no violations happen so enforcement would not be an issue.


    City Resident

    You make a very compelling case (that holds true for many minority groups). However, some minority groups do experience oppression in the modern age.



    10% of cars dont come to a complete stop.

    Nope, the number you are looking for is 100%. I’ve sat at Muni stops bored on many occasions and counted the number of car drivers who actually bother to stop. I have yet to count a single one.


    Mario Tanev

    I know you’re a troll (judging based on your other posts and based on categorizing my post arguing for recognizing the bigotry against cyclists as “sick”), but I will address your comment in earnest.

    There is no comparison in the degree of bigotry or its historical impact on any of the aforementioned minority groups. Women were never systematically lynched for being women. Homosexual men, have never been enslaved and on average enjoy middle-class existence. Neither women, homosexuals or citizens of any race are in danger of deportation or exploitation the way undocumented immigrants are.

    However, the pattern of lack of empathy for a minority group, and outright hostility, dehumanization, endangerment, and protection of the privilege of the established majority exists to some varying degree in every case. Cyclists have been killed by angry people, either directly or by policies that make them vulnerable. Because the bicyclists (and pedestrians for that matter) rights movement comes in a modern age, in a society where bigotry has become fairly subtle (women earn less than men, but can vote and are fully in the workplace), it also experiences a much subtler bigotry than historical.

    For example, I do not have a driver’s license (I have a California ID), and was not allowed to rent a bike in Santa Monica. In most of America I have to press a beg button at a crosswalk to wait to cross for minutes on end, even if motorists cycle through much faster than that. When I am on a bus with 50 people, we’re all equal to one person in a vehicle in terms of rights to the road. And I have been derided with immense hostility (that NO other minority group, other than perhaps politicians gets in this day and age) at public meetings for speaking for pro-transit policies. Even politicians who nominally support bicyclists tend to scold them all the time (see London Breed), while not doing the same regarding motorists.

    Are bicyclists oppressed? No. But neither is any other minority group in the modern age. We’re talking about modern bigotry which biases the scales in favor of the established majority in different degrees, and sweeps injustices (large or small) under the rug.

    You just happen to be in the established majority on this issue, and you act (troll) accordingly.



    Are you Captain Sanford?

    1) both African-American
    2) both have horrendous grammar
    3) both hate cyclists




    [citation needed]


    City Resident

    There does seem to be a double standard: expecting bicyclists to comply with all laws of the road while it’s widely accepted, and even expected, that motorists speed (a few mph over the limit on city streets and say 5-10 mph over the limit on the freeway) or roll through stop signs, stop in the crosswalk, or speed into the intersection as the light’s turning red… Visitors from elsewhere remark about how aggressive San Francisco motorists are. Aggressive driving is so commonplace around here it’s become acceptable and routine.

    Of course I’d rather not see bicyclists blow through stop signs, although this rarely occurs (and when it does occur the bicyclist nearly always is checking for safety before doing so) – if for no other reason than because of the negative backlash that this provokes. If only motorists were held to the same standard! I think we’re all in agreement that truly unsafe bicycling should be cited.



    you must be joking. im black and you ahve no idea what bigotry is if you think cyclsits are or have ever gone through anything like black people. get a grip. this was the most entitled, misguided and sick post ive read in a long time



    10% of cars dont come to a complete stop. 0.00001% of cars completely blow through stop signs.

    99% of cyclists dont come to a complete stop. 50% blow through without even slowing down.



    97% of commuters are not on bikes, and they complain about you a lot. you would need to get a robocall algorith going to match their complaints.



    why are people complaining? the guy jsut said he is going to crackdown on the people who run red lights and stop signs, cars or ikes. Whats the big deal. Just stop at the stop signs and lights and there is no problem. cyclsits are creating drama out of this because they want to create their own rule. Too much entitled behaviour. this reaction is just making cyclists even more unpopular to the other 97% of commuters



    I wondered the same kind of thing. If enforcement is complaint driven can we start a movement to call Parking every time a bike lane is blocked (Oak Street “separated” bike lanes ??). If enough complaints are generated do we get enforcement??


    Michael Smith

    Ah yes, the bitter irony of it all. For years we collectively have succumbed to the tyranny of the majority. The majority would complain about the minority. And of course the majority of the complaints come from the majority! That has led to rather distasteful things such as racial profiling and attacks on the voting rights of African-Americans. Bigotry, plain and simple. It isn’t pretty.

    And now an African-American captain is succumbing to the same kind of bigotry. Somehow I don’t think he yet appreciates the irony of it all.


    StrixNoctis .

    Not at the Mission station. The many complaints about drivers parking in the bike lanes on Valencia Street always fall onto deaf ears.


    StrixNoctis .

    I don’t know about the Park station, but complaints certainly don’t dominate traffic enforcement priorities at the Mission station or many drivers would be receiving citations for blocking the bike lanes on Valencia.


    old mission

    Walking & driving around SF, I yield to all bicyclists, because I can’t predict which ones will roll through stop signs. I have been rear ended in my car when I stopped at stop sign, by both a driver & a bicyclist. Both said they didn’t think I was going to stop. What to do?



    To be fair, complaints — not data — still dominate many enforcement priorities, all over the city.



    Are you saying that bikes are the same as cars, and therefore should no longer be banned from highways?

    Because that would be great!


    As a cyclist, I don’t condone rogue behavior on the roadways. Blowing through stop signs and other traffic controls does nothing to promote our cause. In fact, it has the opposite effect. However, the biggest complainers of cyclists’ behavior are likely to be the same motorists who are constant violators of the Top Five.



    Or for horrendous grammar in a form letter!



    Focus on the five pedestrians who had close calls with bikes!



    I rest my case. Car drivers speed and claim that they are entitled to break the law because there will be no enforcement but that cyclists must obey the law 100%.

    Of course speeding by autos kills 10s of thousands a year while cycling violations of right of way kill a dozen at most.



    You have never actually driven in America have you? Americans would just ignore the paint.



    Captain John Sanford should be fired or demoted for insubordination.


    City Resident

    In agreement that bicycle lanes are sorely needed in this area. As it is, California Drive is a major north-south feeder route to the station and there appears to be room for a two-way protected bike lane along the eastern side of California Drive. El Camino Real also has room for protected bike lanes.

    It’s all about priorities. Downtown Millbrae is cute and very car friendly. Parking meters are non-existent and street parking is free. Driving is the way to go, despite close proximity to mass transit. The area near the station and along El Camino Real is flat. BART and Caltrain parking can be pricey. Safe bicycle routes to and from the station would be well received and should be built.



    Google maps allows you to measure distances by right-clicking on the overhead image. All the intersections mentioned here seem very similar at 65-70 feet wide.



    The size of the intersections, verge/sidewalks included, seem to be the same at 65-70 feet squared for both McAllister and Napier. You can check it on Google Maps.



    I would argue that the larger irony is that most people driving cars don’t bother coming to a complete stop at stop signs in SF, yet somehow it’s considered an issue when someone on a bicycle does the exact same thing.


    Mario Tanev

    There is a paradox: people who can produce good cogent arguments are always at a disadvantage: they are rational and open to others’ arguments YET their counterparts are never receptive. So, whatever reasonable arguments the reactionaries can muster DOES impact the progressives (we can appreciate the plight of the low-income driver who’s been suckered into automobile-dependence). But the reverse is never true. There is NO argument, no matter how sane, that you could make that affects the reactionaries’ world view.

    So reactionary behavior and resistance to even reasonable arguments of the other side is the way to advance any cause.



    What’s ironic is that the same haters that say “oh cry me a river you stop sign running cyclists” have a near 100% intersection with complaining about the cameras at fell/Masonic.

    Maybe we are framing this wrong. We should be joining our 4 wheeled brethren in complaining about this CLEAR REVENUE GRAB!


    Mario Tanev

    I don’t understand while anti-bicycling bias is not viewed as bigotry akin to racism and homophobia. The main difference is that bicycling is a choice, but it’s similar in many ways, including in the fact that it’s an existential threat (dangerous condition leading to death).

    The key marker is that you have some part of society (drivers, whites, men, heterosexuals) who have no idea what it is to be in a specific minority (bicyclists, blacks, women, homosexuals, immigrants). They judge minorities through the prism of their world view (bicyclists should obey driver laws, black people should just get ahead by working hard like many white people, women should just pay for their own contraception just like men pay for shaving cream, homosexuals should just marry people of the opposite sex, immigrants should just go the legal route). They avoid the minority (drivers wanting bicyclists to just disappear, whites don’t want to live in predominantly black neighborhoods, men would rather women just keep quiet, and homophobes feel offended by the very existence of homosexuals, immigrants are criminals even after serving their sentence and are banned for life).

    And what’s most striking to me is the disproportionate coverage and the way language is phrased in these cases. Immigrant criminals are covered way more than other criminals for much smaller crimes. Offended sensibilities of religious people are more serious than the lack of rights of homosexuals. Enforcement of black criminals is much more severe than their white counterparts. Women are criticized in the media and in society a lot more often for similar actions as their male counterparts (“too bossy”). These are subtle or even not so subtle biases. We as society need to recognize all of them, because they are all bigotry. Not many people say these things out loud, but they are deeply ingrained in their psyche. Our politicians need to be deeply aware of them and not play to them.

    While cycling is a choice for many, so is religion, which is protected (and rewarded). Some bicyclists cannot afford other means of transportation. Others make a conscientious choice to live a healthy life, that’s good for the environment, and that respects and engages their community (instead of driving through at high speeds past local businesses on the way to Costco). A life without this ability is an incapacitated, inferior life. Our politicians/bureaucrats cannot in the same breath claim to encourage cycling, and display such outright bigotry.


    Mario Tanev

    There are two problems: geometry and bigotry.

    Geometry because due to lacking bike infrastructure, there are very few bicycle corridors. They tend to funnel large amounts of bicyclists through the same spot. Thus complaints are targeted to that spot. Drivers are a menace everywhere, so complaints per intersection seem a bit pointless.

    Bigotry, because just the presence of a lot of bicyclists is cause enough for motorist anger. Many people (including a lot of or politicians) FUNDAMENTALLY in their heart believe bicyclists do not belong on the street or on a sidewalk, and that adults should never ride a bicycle outside of recreational setting or the gym. The intersection that doesn’t have bicyclists is deemed good, and the one that does is deemed bad. The bigots will always find legitimate sounding pre-text to complain.

    The city should recognize both problems and act accordingly. Bigotry should not be rewarded (i.e. complaints should be viewed as potential expressions of bigotry) and geometry (infrastructure) should be seriously expanded to make bicycling a normal activity.


    Scott Mace

    SamTrans bus service to the station has been gutted since it opened. This won’t change that.


    Bob Gunderson

    You’re a hippy biker dirtbag gentleman, and a scofflaw scholar.



    Bob, Bob, calm down. Don’t get all worked up. No one wants to see you and MP go on a multi-post tirade.

    I’m going to give myself a flat tonight riding home in the hopes that that’ll soothe you a bit.


    Bob Gunderson

    Glad to see Captain John Sanford take a firm stance on this. If we start citing & basing laws on vehicles differently based on motorized/non-motorized, weight, velocity, risk factors and crash statistics, San Francisco is done for.


    Upright Biker

    Data to support your point of view?



    It is amazing they can’t put in some sidewalks and bike lanes. So much useful stuff, besides transit is in that 2 mile radius.


    David Marcus

    I don’t follow. Is there any standard design that combines stop signs with a roundabout? And if so, why?



    the mayor is one of Leland Yee’s minions, and Millbrae in general has always been at the forfront of shitty development, so don’t expect any miracles here. It’ll be more shit, expensive, and tax subsidized.