What Happened to the Term “Allegedly” When it Comes to Cyclists?

Press Tries and Convicts Bike Rider Without Evidence after Collision at 24th and Guerrero

Peter Bagain, owner of a deli just north of the intersection, pointing at the dried blood still on the street. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Peter Bagain, owner of a deli just north of the intersection, pointing at the dried blood still on the street. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Tuesday morning at around 11, a cyclist collided with a motor vehicle that was heading north on Guerrero at the intersection with 24th.

Peter Bagain, the owner of Jump Start Coffee and Groceries, across from where the collision occurred, “heard what sounded like two cars hitting each other.” He ran outside and saw the aftermath. “I saw the guy on the ground, blood gushing.”

He didn’t see the crash, so he can only speculate about who was at fault.

But the press seemed to know already. Here’s the Examiner’s headline from yesterday:

Examinerheadline2

How did they know the cyclist ran the red light? A couple of paragraphs down, we see the word “allegedly” and the phrase “according to police.”

But with that headline, the damage was already done.

Our friends at Hoodline wrote in the body of their story that a “…bicyclist ran a red light [emphasis added] at the intersection of Guerrero and 24th St. and struck a car.” That bit of information wasn’t even attributed to anyone.

The intersection, looking north, during a rare break in speeding traffic. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The intersection, looking north, during a rare break in speeding traffic. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

As Streetsblog has reported previously, police have a bad habit of writing one-sided reports based on interviews with the motorist, since the cyclist is usually incapacitated, at best, and incapable of giving a statement. That’s a systemic problem and if the mainstream press doesn’t want to go there, fine, maybe that’s our job–but they should at least stick to attributing information to police statements rather than stating them as absolute.

Or, as Mike Skalnik posted on the San Francisco Bike Ride Crew Facebook page, “Maybe wait for more details to come out before shaming the dude in the hospital.”

For the record, here are more details about the crash: Luis Sanjose, the manager of Fiore Cafe on the southeast corner of the intersection, showed Streetsblog some security video that captured part of the intersection at the time of the crash. He said that nobody else has seen his video. Although the impact occurred outside of the frame and the bicycle was not visible, the traffic light is visible, along with cars stopping and people looking (towards the sound of an impact presumably), standing, and running towards something across the intersection. And yes, going by that video evidence, and some consistent hearsay about witness statements, it seems likely that the cyclist ran a solid red light.

Either way, Sanjose said he’s seen six crashes since 2010 and he wants something done to make the intersection safer.

“People get off San Jose and continue driving like this is a freeway,” said Bagain, pointing at the cars on Guerrero street, all clearly going faster than the 25 mph posted speed limit. “If I were a cop I could stand here all day writing ticket after ticket.”

He also said he can’t get the sight of all that blood, plus the sound of the cyclist’s labored breathing, out of his head. “Nobody deserves that, even if it was his fault.”

  • basenjibrian

    As always, you autosexuals miss the main point: the car run down by said car travelling at 45 mph on a narrow city street is certainly not experiencing safety. How dare he or she get in the way of Motor Man!

    But then, everything revolves around catering 100% to those ensconced in 4,000 pounds of steel and plastic.

  • basenjibrian

    It’s called “common sense”. Autosexuals, addicted to the power and isolation of their vehicles, don’t typically worry about such a concept.

  • basenjibrian

    Denial of the law of physics. Give me convenience and give them death. (h/t Dead Kennedys)

  • Harris

    It’s OK, we get it, you want laxer laws for people like you and stricter laws for others.

    Guess what? We all think that.

  • Harris

    Ah yes, the old “us and them” class warfare, co-opted for anti-car zealots.

  • Harris

    You miss the point. 45 mph can be perfectly safe in a city while, in another part of the city, 25 may be too fast. Over-generalizations are rarely helpful

  • Harris

    Glad you admit that they skew the news to suit their bias.

  • Harris

    Citation required.

  • ROZA

    Er… I am both ride a bike and drive a car. But because I understand both physics and can read I know that in 2015 5,376 pedestrians and 818 cyclist were killed by drivers. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety How many were killed by cyclists in 2015?

  • ROZA

    That is a logical fallacy. I was pointing out that driving a car is inherently dangerous due to the size and speed. Bicycles are not capable of the same harm as cars. Just a tidbit, cyclist are in most states are held to the same standards, not in every state however and it works just fine (Idaho). Everyday I see drivers running red lights, speeding, not stopping at stop signs, and with 5376 pedestrians and 818 cyclists killed by cars in 2015, I don’t think drivers can claim moral superiority.

  • Harris

    I never said drivers have moral superiority. Drivers should obey all the rules too, as should cyclists. We don’t give cyclists a pass when they break the la just because someone, somewhere is doing something worse.

  • Wow. Next name change, I suggest Stretch Armstrong, or maybe some famous historical contortionist.

  • Harris

    So again, you can provide no more evidence that i have multiple accounts then that you do not?

    You throw out wild allegations without seemingly feeling under any obligation to furnish evidence to support them.

  • Is that what this is about? You’re faster than a ping-pong ball, hard to tell what you’re on about right now.

  • Harris

    OK, as usual, when you are refuted, you become obtuse and opaque.

    You made claims (multiple ID’s, “mistakes”) and then when asked to provide evidence or proof, you obfuscated.

  • Round and round the mulberry bush…
    You’re good with the non sequitur argument in dismissive tones…

  • Harris

    No, I merely asked you to provide a basis for your claims. And that drove you to obfuscate, indicating that your allegations are unfounded, as I suspected all along.

  • As should be quite clear to all that is not the path of this thread.

  • Harris

    You would say that given that you are desperately trying to wriggle out of your lies.

    Again, where is the evidence of my alleged multiple accounts and where is the evidence that i have ever made a “mistake”?

    Take your time.

  • Again, where is the evidence of a claim?

  • Harris

    Your own words. You claimed I had multiple accounts. You claimed you did not. You claimed I had made mistakes.
    No evidence was presented for any of these claims, indicating that you were lying, bluffing or both.

  • Stuart

    I find that people with guilty consciences often read general statements as accusations against them. Have you noticed that too?

  • That? Ha! I took a swipe and you too it personally.
    Guess I did hurt your feelings.

  • He wants to chase his own projector, he’s welcome to do it.

  • Harris

    How could making baseless claims hurt anyone? My entire point was that you tried your luck and when I called you out on it, you ducked and demurred.
    See, when you take a shot, at least have something to back it up beyond blind prejudice and ill feeling. Because otherwise you will be humiliated at every turn.

  • Harris

    “Roy” backpeddled like a bat out of hell as soon as I called him on his BS. It’s almost no fun with him because he always obfuscates when he is losing a debate, conceding an easy victory.
    At least you put up a fight

  • OOOOOOOH.
    That is SOO ADORBS! Wittle HarryWichill got his cutey-wootie feewings hurted. Now he’s all pouty-wouty!
    We just wanna sqweeze those wittle cheeks!

  • Harris

    So given that obfuscation didn’t get you off the hook for your lies, you now regress to a mental age of seven in a last desperate attempt to save face.
    Next time, just think before you spew unsubstantiated verbiage – it will do your credibility the word of good. If it’s not totally shot already of course.

  • Ohhh, did the bad bike man hwurt your feewings?
    You stand up and give him an “Actuawwy…” and show him “your big pointy-wointy.”

  • Dat’s wight honey. Everybuddy knows the winnah of the internet is the won that declares der own widdle victowy. You’re such a cwever widdle wabbit!

  • Harris

    No, I merely crushed the three claims you made, and reduce you to puerile responses. I’ll take the win.

  • Harris

    When the other guy reverts to second grade gibberish, I know I have won the debate.

  • Harris

    I didn’t win the debate. You lost it by trying to make it personal.

  • Harris

    That’s certainly what you do, so yeah, maybe.

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