Watch: “People Behaving Badly” Consults Streetsblog on Bike Lane Safety

Stanley Roberts asked me to come out yesterday for one of his “People Behaving Badly” segments and help explain how drivers should legally make a right-turn, since CBS 5 didn’t get it quite right. Roberts still didn’t touch on the point that CBS got wrong — drivers can’t just jump in front of people on bikes because they got to the intersection first — but it’s good to see him devote attention to the issue.

Hopefully, I’ll have fewer jitters the next time I’m in front of a camera.

  • Sprague

    Good job, Aaron, for advocating for safer streets (on the web and on air) and for explaining a state law that is apparently widely misunderstood.

  • Mario Tanev

    One issue both bicyclists’ and driver’s mind may be belief that bike lanes are inviolable. A driver would never drive on the sidewalk after all, and bike lanes are also special (sure, many drivers violate that all the time even outside of intersections). We need education both for drivers and bicyclists that violating the bike lane is bad UNLESS it’s the only safe thing possible, such as taxis dropping off passengers or intersections. Of course the best solution is to truly change bike lanes to be more like sidewalks – never interacting with traffic, and having their own signal.


    Well said. It’s amazing few people realize this is the correct way to make a right turn.

  • Andy Chow

    I think that there ought to be demonstration videos of how to do it right. If you plan to do one I may lend my vehicle to help.

  • Mary

    At 1:50 there’s a notable example of another problem, however. A cyclist passes the right-turning traffic on the right-hand side even though the vehicles were clearly signalling to turn right.

    Yes, the cars didn’t move to the right as they should. But equally the cyclist did not hold back seeing those vehicles clearly intending to turn right, but rather ploughed ahead assuming that those right-turning vehicles would see him.

    I suspect that is exactly how two cyclists have recently been killed by right-turning vehicles. Those drivers already have to look left, straight ahead and right before making the turn. Asking them to simultaneously look behind them even assuming there is no blindspot is a big ask.

    The cyclist was technically correct, but being right and dead doesn’t count for so much. Why didn’t he hold back until all the traffic had turned?

  • Anonymous

    why does a driver have to look left (or even straight ahead) on a one way street before turning right on a green?

  • Mario Tanev

    Very frequently drivers don’t even signal their intended right turn, or they make the decision to turn at the last moment (when a cyclist cannot even see their signal anymore). So I wouldn’t assume that the cyclist ignored the truck’s turn signal.

  • mikesonn


  • Coming up on Streetsblog…

  • Anonymous

    I guess I don’t understand the concept being a “big ask”. When I drive, I am aware it is a large vehicle. I don’t stop at stop signs to satisfy the law, I stop, to look for hazards – the point of the stop sign. It really should not be a big ask to a pay attention when driving – it should be standard operating procedure.

  • mikesonn
  • “By parking my squad car here I’m educating cyclists while also creating an unnecessary dangerous condition for them.”

    It’d be more educational to ticket drivers making a right turn there for not being as close to the curb as practicable.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s see, the officer’s playbook here was:

    1) Eliminate 100% of the bicycle facility (and all intended safety benefits) underneath the wheels of his parked cruiser

    2) In order to deliberately scatter bicyclists out into heavy, fast car and truck traffic

    3) at the very same location where a cyclist was killed last week by a truck driver

    4) at the very same time an organized rally is underway to highlight that killing

    5) Argue with the Bicycle Coalition over this one-man co-optation of their rally

    6) Maintain the SFPD practice of blaming the non-motorist victims while shielding the most harmful road users from the natural consequences of their bad decisions

    This OUTRAGEOUS display of the SFPD’s total and complete disrespect for San Franciscans on bicycles shows, in a nutshell, how the SFPD currently does more harm than good when it comes to bicycling in San Francisco.

  • Sean Rea

    Drivers who think being asked to drive in a safe and cautious manner is a “big ask” should not be driving.

  • 94103er

    Sure, I can think of many many rules of the road that should be clarified via video (stop-sign rules, anyone??)…but then what? Hope they get picked up by local blogs, or mainstream news stations?

    Educating professional drivers is feasible with videos–like you own a shuttle company or something, right?–but getting the message out to the most ignorant of road users–private-vehicle owners–would be challenging.

  • Andy Chow

    It can be challenging but it is also worthy. Videos can be shown at driver education classes in high schools and traffic schools for those who got a ticket. You also want people to change attitude. So you want a positive attitude to be portrayed in the demo video.

  • mikesonn

    Maybe we can make it a cartoon. Don’t want to hurt any feelings!

  • KL

    However, the cars that were signaling did not merge into the lane as they should have.

    If the word cyclist was replaced with driver/vehicle, would the outcome still be the same? Since the bike lane is considered a travel lane, cars do have to merge into it to turn. If the cyclist was a driver/vehicle, that right turning driver would still be in the wrong lane to turn right.

    Looking behind them is something that should have been done 100 feet before the intersection during the merge. Similarly, merging in vehicle traffic, drivers are suppose to check behind before merging in regular vehicle lanes. The bike lane is no different.

    Cyclist are not expected to be on the sidewalk, so California law requires cyclist to follow the California vehicle code, which puts them closer to vehicle then pedestrian. However, most drivers/vehicle do not consider cyclist to be vehicles, which creates the problems. Cyclist are stuck in between, neither pedestrian nor vehicle.

  • Upright Biker

    If motorists don’t understand the bike lane merge law, and bicyclists don’t understand the bike lane merge law…why do we have the bike lane merge law?

    Has it been proven to be safer? (Asking this in earnest. No need to flame me. Data, please!)

  • Anonymous

    Videos can be shown at driver education classes in high schools

    That is – if they still existed…

  • Anonymous

    Yes. Reference an earlier thread on the Folsom incident including a post from Bob Shanteau who consulted on the law.

  • Guest

    It’s so great to hear your voice for the first time

  • aai534


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