Cyclist Killed on Howard

Deadly collision with a box truck occurred on block before protected bike lane begins

The woman's GoBike, on Howard near 6th. Photos Streetsblog/Rudick
The woman's GoBike, on Howard near 6th. Photos Streetsblog/Rudick

Update: a People Protected Bike Lane Protest has been scheduled for tonight/Friday, March 8, 5-6 p.m., on Howard between 5th and 4th Street

A woman riding a Ford GoBike west on Howard Street was killed in a collision with a box truck at around 8:15 this morning, just prior to the intersection with 6th Street.

The collision was brought to the attention of Streetsblog and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition by Morgan Bellinger via email. “I passed through the spot where the accident happened before the police got there this morning. I have what I can only assume to be extremely graphic GoPro footage of the aftermath. I certainly haven’t looked. Please let me know if it could possibly be helpful. Otherwise I will definitely be deleting it.”

The victim was run over by this truck
The scene shortly after this morning’s collision

Police at the scene were still conducting their investigation at 10 this morning, but SFPD spokesman Officer Robert Rueca confirmed that a woman was killed and that the police have multiple witnesses and they are currently talking with the truck driver. It also seems likely there is video evidence, given the proximity of a security camera over the area, although Rueca could not confirm that.

Binod Singh was smoking a cigarette across the street when he heard the crash. He did not witness the initial impact, but said he thinks the white car in the lead image opened its door and the cyclist was either struck or attempted to maneuver around it and got caught under the wheels of the truck. It’s also possible the truck was starting to make a right turn and swept over the cyclist, although there’s no way to know until the police share the truck driver’s statement and complete their investigation or video of the crash is released.

Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes Howard Street, was at the scene and spoke with Streetsblog and other journalists. He emphasized that the recently installed protected bike lane on Howard starts on the other side of 6th, and if this infrastructure had simply been extended down the length of the street, it seems unlikely this crash would have happened.

Streetsblog will embed video of the full interview below.

“It baffles me why bike lanes deemed useful on one street or block are suddenly not necessary at the end of a block, so they just disappear right under your wheels,” wrote Devon Warner, who organizes the annual Ride of Silence commemoration for cyclists killed on the streets of San Francisco. “This is what killed Dianna Sullivan. Have we learned nothing??? …We must have protected intersections and bike lanes.”

This latest tragedy comes on the heels of a spate of deaths on San Francisco streets. Walk S.F. puts this year’s count at five pedestrians killed, one bicyclist, and two vehicle passengers. “We have a crisis on our streets,” wrote Walk S.F.’s Jodie Medeiros, in an email to Streetsblog. “We have an obligation to protect people who are doing the right thing by walking, biking and taking transit.”

Earlier this week Mayor Breed called on the police to focus enforcement efforts on speeding, failing to yield in crosswalks, and other dangerous motorist behaviors. She also asked SFMTA to work faster to get quick-fix safety measures installed throughout the city.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog has an inquiry out to SFMTA to find out the official reason why none of SoMa’s newly installed protected bike lanes continue between 6th and the Embarcadero, and will update this post accordingly.

“The SFMTA keeps prioritizing street parking over people’s lives. That is the case here on Howard as well. I’m so mad,” said Matt Brezina, the advocate who organizes People Protected Bike Lane protests to get better cycling infrastructure. “We are going to keep losing members of our community until the SFMTA and our mayor take bold action. Less community meetings, less delay, more protected lanes now.”

Video of Haney talking about the crash, and the city’s lackluster safety efforts on infrastructure, below:

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