Breaking News: Cyclist Assaulted on Market

“BBnet3000” posted this video of an assault on a cyclist on Market Street on the Streetsblog website this morning:

The video shows a confrontation between a cyclist and a motorist who parked his car in the bike lane on Market at Van Ness. It’s a disturbing incident and unfortunately all too common. Other commenters are already taking the cyclist to task for being aggressive, but wherever you stand on that question, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s against the law to park in the bike lane, even to discharge passengers. It’s also against the law to drive a car at a cyclist and get out and spit at them. This is a case where SFPD can do something, but they need your help.

Streetsblog has been in touch with Supervisor Jane Kim’s office and the SFPD about the incident. Here’s part of what SFPD Commander Ann Mannix had to say in an email to Streetsblog:

Terrible event. Does the video come from the woman the driver spat at? She would have to sign a citizen’s arrest for the incident then the district investigations can follow up on the incident. The passenger did the right thing to calm the situation…Let me know if she [the cyclist] is willing to sign a citizen’s arrest and then we will attempt to identify the driver (not necessarily the registered owner of the car). I have cc’ed the captains of both the Mission and Southern Stations as the event likely occurred in both of their districts.

So if somebody out there knows the victim, please email

  • farazs

    There is a difference between simply entering a bike land and being parked in it. Stopped and waiting to turn off is not parked. Broken down is not parked. Vehicles attending to an emergency or DPW repairs are not parked – they have effectively commandeered and closed that section of the road-way to other users. OTOH, a delivery vehicle stopped to make a delivery is parked! The law makes NO distinction for ‘government vehicle on official or unofficial business’, irrespective of what the Mayor and the Chief of police feel about it. The local municipality should to be held responsible for not enforcing in those cases.

  • RichLL

    Fair points. Roger’s article refers to this vehicle as being “parked” in the bike lane, but from my perspective the car was stopped, not parked. The driver was with his vehicle and it appeared that the engine was running.

    I’m not saying that distinction affects the legality of the situation. Only how serious it is, and I believe that SFPD and DPT officers do take that into account when deciding whether or not to ticket.

    And yes, a policy of not enforcing certain offenses is a political decision, just like the recent discussion about the bike yield law. And political priorities can be changed.

  • RichLL

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t objecting to the use of cameras to aid enforcement, whether on buses as you cited, or via CCTV, or red light cameras.

    I have a bit more of an issue with speed cameras but that is another discussion.

    But my point here was rather the idea of a “snoopers’ charter” where ordinary citizens can rat each other out. The situation now is that I can call DPT if I see an offense, but I cannot prosecute it directly myself. As you say, we’d need safeguards to prevent abuse. And SF voters recently rejected a “snoopers’ charter” idea at the polls regarding Airbnb. Nobody likes a snitch.

    As for your “citizens’ arrest” idea with cyclists then, yes, we’d probably need a licensing system for bikes, like some other cities have.

  • Jimbo

    if you slapped my car, you would be in in for a world of trouble

  • farazs

    > I’m not saying that distinction affects the legality of
    > the situation. Only *how serious it is*,
    A lot of other people disagree. From an arm-chair perspective, you can argue for technical distinctions. From the functional perspective of a person wanting to use that piece of public space, there is no distinction, just as there is none as per the law. If I were that driver’s psychiatrist or his mother, I might sympathize with him, but it warrants no understanding from the rest of us. Would it be okay to block the cross-walk in a like manner where pedestrians are waiting to cross? How about an intersection where cars are waiting? Would it be acceptable on a one-lane road with a physical divider, because that is exactly what this bike lane is!

    > SFPD and DPT officers do take that into account
    > when deciding whether or not to ticket.
    Yes, we know. That is a problem and it needs to change!

  • farazs

    Licensing for people as well, to snag them evil jay-walkers :D. Retro-reflective forehead tattoos would be most effective.

  • jonobate

    Why? What would you do?

  • the_greasybear

    Defending a bad thing for the environment with vague, macho threats of street violence. Jimbo is so winning right now. Sooooo winning.

  • gneiss

    Are you suggesting that you’d run someone over with your car if they slapped it? You’d go to jail. Just like this young woman did on Bike to Work Day.

  • murphstahoe

    he’d stomp around, scream you f’n bitch, you f’n bitch, then have his female companion pull him off, then spit on a woman.

  • Hodor

  • SF Guest

    If you firmly believe he would retaliate in such a manner why would anyone confront someone with violent tendencies to let him know he violated your right-of-way which is the point he’s making? You clearly don’t relate to someone slapping your car, but perhaps you would relate if someone slapped your bike.

  • murphstahoe

    I don’t relate to someone slapping my car because I watch where I am going and I don’t park in the bike lane so it doesn’t happen. Guess that’s just too much to ask for some

  • Frank Kotter

    Hey Jimbo, I’m entering my late 30’s and have a feeling my testosterone levels are not quite what they were when I was 25. Can I come and hang out with you once in a while with the hopes some of your excess rubs off on me.

    A manly man you are, Jim. Roar!


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