Man on Bike Killed by Garbage Truck Driver at 16th and South Van Ness

A Recology garbage truck driver ran over and killed a man on a bike at 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue this morning at about 6:45 a.m., according to the SF Chronicle:

A witness said the truck, which was paralleling the male bicyclist on eastbound 16th, tried to make a right turn onto southbound South Van Ness and collided with the rider.

The garbage-truck driver continued a short distance South Van Ness after the crash, said the witness, 29-year-old Jorge Marquez of San Bruno, but stopped after people on the street yelled and alerted to him what had happened. He drove the truck around the block and parked back near the crash site, Marquez said.

The bike was dragged for one block. It was found mangled on the corner of 17th Street and South Van Ness.

The driver was cooperating with investigators, police said. They said drugs or alcohol were not suspected factors in the crash.

Of course, most of those who tweeted about the story — including Ellen Huet, the Chronicle reporter — didn’t call for safer streets, or ask why the truck wasn’t equipped with convex safety mirrors, or talk about the extra care that truck drivers must take to not run people over when making right turns (the driver may have violated CVC 22100, which requires drivers to make right turns “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway”). Instead, the attention centered on the report’s mention that “it does not appear that the bicyclist was wearing a helmet.”

But as Mark Dreger noted in his response to Huet, “A helmet is not going to protect you from being run over by a garbage truck. Separated bike lanes, maybe.”

  • Anonymous

    I also have a right to walk through a hot bed of coals… doesn’t mean I should!

  • Anonymous

    The eyewitness in this story reported that the bicyclist “ran a red light, wasn’t paying attention [He was] in a hurry to do something and he got hit and killed.”

  • i’m skeptical of eyewitness reports, generally, but even moreso from anyone who sounds overjoyed at watching someone be killed.


  • 94103er

    I think it’s perfectly appropriate here to be outraged at our city (and country)’s continued blithe disregard for the dangers that trucks present to us on OUR streets. Go right ahead and start a memorial blog on your own, if you want to.

  • 94103er

    No, U-Haul is a huge pain to use; and as to the claim that you can get in and out for only $20 after taxes etc? Yeah, I think not.

  • 94103er

    Also, you must not have read my above comment in which I acknowledged that the cyclist apparently ran the red. But he probably wouldn’t be dead if the driver hadn’t been negligent in some way.

  • 94103er

    The only thing obvious here is that you need to figure out a better analogy.

    Death by user error is tragic. Death by negligence during a necessary sharing of space demands calls to action. Think of pedestrians walking near a construction zone, being in a car crossing the train tracks, or your kid walking past your neighbor’s pit bull. If any tragic conflict happens in those cases, it’s big news and everyone is keen to make sure it doesn’t happen again and people rarely assign blame to the victim.

    Because danger in our lives is unavoidable, we have laws regarding liability. How did the balance between the liable and the vulnerable get so out of whack on our roads?

  • SiX

    So when your house is on fire, you want the fire department to ride over on bikes with one bucket of water at a time? Or maybe if your family member is having a heart attack the medics can give her a lift to the emergency room on their handle bars. Come on dude, be realistic.

  • not sure what you have against bikes — they’re already a part of fire and police departments around the world, and they’re getting more popular all the time.

    your fear and ignorance of bikes is really astounding.

    there’s no need for a GARGANTU-ambulance to race up and down city streets — their racing has proven dangerous/deadly. we can get better/faster service from much smaller vehicles precisely because they’re smaller, especially in dense urban environments.

    my guess is bicycle ambulances are available and used often and to great effect in much, if not most, of the world.

    exceptions exist in the world, so if we decided we needed gargantuan firetrucks, we’d be able to keep them — it’s really up to us and General Motors. we still have people trying to use QR codes, after all.

    my guess is that the only reason firetrucks will ply the streets at all in the future is mainly because of a new breed of global warming-instigated fires. that said, most cities are pretty good about chopping down all their trees, so who knows? given that firefighting is a socialized cost that the 99% pay for and the 1% benefit from, firetrucks will probably manage to stick around for a while longer. and the third world-ization of the US economy could mean more-lax building standards going forward – thus the increased need for GARGANTU-firetrucks.

  • How do you presume I get to destinations on 16th?

  • reduce reuse.

  • Sprague

    Sanfordia113 You are mistaken, 15th Street does not have a bike lane. I agree that 14th, 15th, and 17th may appear to be safer to cycle on than 16th, but the advantages that 16th provides to motorists (ie. a lack of intersections regulated by stop signs and what seems to be a green wave in a westbound direction) are as attractive to cyclists as they are to motorists. Importantly for many cyclists, 16th Street has a BART station. I am guessing that you are seeing the issue of bicycles on 16th Street from a windshield perspective.

  • Eddie

    16th and what? If it was 16th and SVN you’d take the bike lane on 17th and turn onto SVN. If you thought that last block was too dangerous to ride a bike, you would dismount and walk it along the sidewalk for the last 80 yards or so.

    You might as well ask how you get to 17th and SVN by bus. You take the 14, 22 or 33 and walk the last block.

  • Anonymous

    Just need to correct this because it always bugs me as being unnecessarily verbose: it’s not a “high rate of speed”, it’s just a “high speed” (cops talk like this all the time too). A “high rate of speed” would be a high acceleration, which obviously was not the case since the power of your quad muscles clearly doesn’t lead to high accelerations.

  • I presume you are staunchly defending the removal of parking on Polk Street because people can just walk from the other streets where there is parking?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, @p_chazz:disqus, that is true. But by the same token, it is true that not everybody needs a car for *everything* they do. It drives me nuts when someone advocates for doing something by bicycle and then somebody else chimes in, “Oh yeah, well what if I need to move A COUCH! How you gonna do that on a bike, smarty pants?!” The inanity of this sort of comment is half the reason is why it’s so damn hard to affect positive change in this country. If the only reason people were using cars was when they actually *had* to (like moving a couch), then our problems would be solved and there would hardly be any cars on the road. The problem is not that cars aren’t useful but that they are *abused*, that is, the vast majority of the time they could easily be replaced with bicycling, walking, or public transit.

  • Eddie

    Re Polk, if the equivalent amount of parking was merely being relocated by one block, then I doubt that the merchants would object so much. But of course it is being removed which means that in practice the walk may be considerably further.

    My point was more to the idea that a bike lane always get you to within a block of your 16th Street destination.

  • my point is that “You can’t use that road” is bullshit

  • Eddie

    Murphstahoe, I wasn’t saying that you or anyone “can’t use” any particular street. What I was saying is that IF you want to travel along bike lanes, THEN you can get within an easy one-block walk of any location on 16th Street. That’s pretty good.

    You are obviously free to use a busier, more stressful and dangerous street to get there if you wish to. But all road users sometimes choose different and even longer or slower or quieter routes sometimes just to save hassle, stress and, in some cases, danger.

  • davistrain

    A 4-meter couch? This is the USA–we still measure things in feet and inches. That dad-burned metric system is OK for “furriners”, but us real Americans stick with our traditions!

  • Anonymous

    Actually, parking has been removed from many parts of 17th St in the eastbound direction, so it is actually much better than you may remember it. Regardless, 16th St is insane and no cyclist should be riding there.

  • Anonymous

    As I said elsewhere, “should never be more than half a block away from a 17th street route cross street.”

  • Anonymous

    Eastbound on 16th from Van Ness to Potrero is inhospitable to cyclists. This is where the guy died. I do not own a car, fyi, and I live, eat and work along he 16th/17th street corridor, going back and forth between the Castro and Potrero Hill. What is YOUR relationship to the street?

  • Anonymous

    Totally separate issue. Bikes have a right to the full use of the lane. They also have the responsibility to pull over if not driving the speed limit and at least 3 cars are following them. Rules of the road. As a cyclist, nothing irks me more than idiot cyclists who seem to have no purpose in their cycling endeavor, other than to create chaos and break the rules of the road. I wish SFPD would cite these scofflaw cyclists, so the rabid anti-cycling interests would no longer have their villain.

  • If I think that block is too dangerous to ride a bike on it, then I advocate to have that fixed instead of sticking my head into the sand like an ostrich.

  • Sanfordia – again you misinterpret the CVC. You have to pull over if you are impeding traffic, which has nothing to do with the speed limit. Otherwise, US-101 would be nothing but cars pulled over to the shoulder to let the cars behind them pass because they aren’t following the speed limit.

  • “it is a street designed for car & bus throughput”.

    So was Valencia.

  • AX

    are you fucking retarded?


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