Video Shows Driver Attempting to Ram SFSU Lecturer on Bike

Last night, Anthony Ryan was biking home from his job as a lecturer on fine arts at SF State University when he was nearly rammed by a motorist on Phelan Avenue. Ryan says the driver tried to door him and run him over multiple times. He posted footage taken by another driver showing the end of the encounter, when the assailant attempted to back up over Ryan.

The assault occurred outside City College’s main campus. According to Ryan, the aggression began as he was riding in the left-turn lane from eastbound Ocean Avenue on to Phelan. Ryan, who previously had a more violent run-in with a reckless driver in the area, relayed his account in a series of tweets:

A still from the video showing Ryan after he jumped off his bike to avoid getting struck.
A still from the video showing Ryan after he jumped off his bike to avoid getting struck.

I was controlling the lane from Ocean onto Phelan, driver drove up behind and gave a horn blast, pulled alongside me on the right and tried to open his door on me. I went to the opposite side of the street to evade him and he crossed the double yellow line to ram me. He sped off and was stopped at a red, I followed to get license plate, he reversed and tried to hit me again. Then he was behind me in the bike lane. I crashed my bike into a parked car and leapt onto the hood to take cover. He sped off.

Ryan says he attempted to record the driver’s license plate number when he was stopped at a mid-block red light on northbound Phelan. In the video, you can see the driver of a white sedan back up into the bike lane, then drive toward Ryan, then flee.

Ryan is seen at the end of the video standing up after having jumped off his bike. He said on Twitter that he was left only with “some scrapes.”

Ryan said a witness caught the license plate number. He “dealt with CCSF (City College) police […] they were great.”

Ryan was less fortunate several years ago, when he was hit at high speed by a driver who ran a red light at an intersection on Ocean, leaving him in the hospital for three days and requiring his jaw to be wired shut. The police blamed Ryan for the crash, as he explained at a 2013 City Hall hearing focused on entrenched anti-bike bias at the SF Police Department.

“I sometimes think doing all the legal things (helmet, lights, hi vis, controlling lane, stopping at lights) makes you more of a target,” Ryan wrote in a tweet today.

When a Twitter user asked about his emotional state, Ryan responded, “It drives home how vulnerable we are when someone intends us harm.”

  • gary

    Stuff like this should carry a attempted murder charge. But boy am I dreaming that’ll ever happen in this city.

  • the_greasybear

    If only San Francisco had some sort of organization that would patrol the streets and go after the very worst road users when they attempt to murder bicyclists and pedestrians…some group that could maybe “police” the streets and make them safer…

  • Mesozoic Polk

    As you know, SFPD is Very Busy doing other things, such as: not collecting readily available video evidence at crash sites, conducting bicycle stings at the Wiggle and citing jaywalking pedestrians that are a real menace to polite automobile-driving society. With such a full schedule, there is no time leftover to do things like protect human health and safety.

  • The only way to combat this is with video. Helmet cameras are inexpensive, and they make a huge difference when vehicular assaults happen. As we all know drivers routinely get away with killing cyclists if they stick around after the killing and claim it was the cyclist’s fault. Buy a camera, mount it to your helmet, and record every ride all the time. Video if the only way drivers ever get convicted in these types of crimes. I hope they find this guy and I hope this attack was documented by the police.

  • hp2ena

    I used to bike through there myself. That intersection is nuts. I’ve almost been run off the road multiple times – come to think of it, I think the same SUV was trying to do that every week – just by trying to navigate the mess of an intersection to get to a class there. But I approach the intersection from the gas station pocket, whereas the SUV was making a right from Ocean onto Phelan. However, trying to cut through that intersection from the gas station pocket is even more dangerous, especially since when traffic from that pocket is expected to yield to traffic coming from Phelan onto Ocean or Geneva, and by the time the traffic ceases, the lights turn red again.

  • jd_x

    This isn’t the only way to combat this. The others are: protected bicycle lanes and creating a police force that isn’t biased against bicyclists so that these criminals are severly punished for their violent behavior.

  • yermom72

    Uber issued a statement detailing its new policy of paying drivers $5 for every bicyclist they run over, because their butts should be in ubers, not on bikes.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Did the police end up arresting this guy? Were any charges filed? Perhaps we should all email the Captain of the Ingleside station and ask him what is going on here.

  • thielges

    “I sometimes think doing all the legal things (helmet, lights, hi vis,
    controlling lane, stopping at lights) makes you more of a target,” Ryan
    wrote in a tweet today.

    Not sure about the other items but every case of assault or harassment I’ve experienced over the last decade has occurred while taking the lane. That’s why I avoid routes requiring controlling the lane whenever possible. Taking the lane is safe and legal and though the majority of motorists are tolerant you will eventually encounter a hothead who feels that you’re doing it wrong and need to be taught a lesson. My most recent experience was four days ago and I regret not getting the license plate and driver description to the police.

    This is why vehicular cycling cannot be the only answer. Not everyone is willing to be a target for violent unreasonable drivers.

  • neroden

    Violent unreasonable drivers need to be executed by firing squad. But 20-to-life in prison might be a reasonable compromise with the anti-death-penalty crowd. 😉

  • twinpeaks_sf

    This story made the local news (NBC 3). Besides the repeated use of “bicyclist”, I think it’s a pretty fair and informed report. The video tells no lie as to what happened. Lot’s of rage out there – people need to take a chill pill.

    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Bicyclist-Says-Driver-Tried-to-Run-Him-Over-Multiple-Times-in-San-Francisco-303190941.html

  • StrixNoctis .

    For me, it’s the opposite. The time a driver in a white mini van or small SUV deliberately attempted to side swipe me (after honking at me from behind), I was heading North on Mission Street toward Caesar Chavez blvd, and there wasn’t a bike lane there. Then the second time a driver got aggressive toward me was when I was on Mission Street downtown at night. A driver in a white pickup kept tailgating me & revving his engine behind me at every red traffic light stop for several blocks. At some point he also honked at me (and I reactively flipped him the finger. Shouldn’t have, but it’s become a reactive habit due to aggressive drivers). I eventually rode aside into the bus-only lane to let him pass.

    Only one time have I had an incident with an aggressive driver when I was in a bike lane, and it was just a driver merging into the bike lane at the last minute to make a right turn. I didn’t realize he was planning to merge because he didn’t use his blinkers. He aggressively drove into the lane and I was forced to lift my bike to the curb to avoid getting pushed by his car. He had his eyes on me & a scowl on his face as he did that, and his passenger, maybe his gf or wife, looked embarrassed.

    However, I have been nearly right hooked by numerous drivers who failed to merge into the bike lane prior to making their right turn and failed to use their blinkers, but after I learned to always turn my head like an owl to look behind me & to the left when approaching every intersection and to never approach an intersection with a motor vehicle directly on the left side of me, I haven’t had near right hooks in a long time.

  • StrixNoctis .

    To get a clear video of the license plate in the situation that happened in the video would require a camera facing the rear of the bike.

    I have one camera I mount at the front of my bike, but I’m thinking of instead mounting it facing the back or to get a second camera (although I hate having so many accessories on my bike).

  • Mario Tanev

    It’s a treacherous intersection with Muni tracks, and having to merge through a car lane from the bike lane. The city should create a two phase turn.

  • This shouldn’t be dreaming. This is an assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Its exactly the same as if he’d pulled out a gun and started shooting. The fact this probably won’t be treated as attempted murder should be unacceptable in our society, yet somehow, we don’t care. Utterly ridiculous, if you shoot someone, you’re doing it wrong, run them over instead, and might not even get a ticket. Its the legal way to murder people.

  • Rogue Cyclist

    Expect the unexpected. Don’t take for granted that other people will see you.

  • Same thing happened to me in North Beach the other day. I got the license plate and called SFPD. They sent two cops to my door to get a statement. No idea whether they will follow up on it, or that the guy will ever get caught/charged, but the cops were at least very responsive.

  • Don’t put the driver in jail, just crush the car. And every other car he gets caught driving.

  • Picky

    This is an clear example of road rage. Of all the cyclists who don’t obey the traffic laws, the driver has to take out his anger on the one who does.

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A pedestrian was struck at Phelan Loop/Ocean yesterday evening. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Pedestrian Hit at Ocean/Phelan Loop

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Yesterday evening around six I was waiting on the Ocean and Lee K-Ingleside inbound Muni platform, looking east, when I saw a man dash across Ocean from the direction of the Phelan loop. He was struck by an SUV, propelled some five feet into the air, and landed on the streetcar tracks about a car's length from the point of impact.