Scooterist Severely Injured on Embarcadero

It's been over a year since Kevin Manning was killed... and now another vulnerable road user suffers the consequences of inaction

A security guard provided video of the aftermath of the latest causality of the Embarcadero's sub-par infrastructure.
A security guard provided video of the aftermath of the latest causality of the Embarcadero's sub-par infrastructure.

A scooterist was severely injured Monday afternoon at the intersection of Bay and the Embarcadero after a collision with a cement truck.

A security guard who works at a building nearby said he saw the aftermath around 1:20 p.m. The scooterist, a woman the S.F. Examiner reports is 69 years old, was apparently riding a Lime scooter. The security guard said she was conscious and communicative.

Details are sketchy, but going by video obtained by Streetsblog of the aftermath (although not of the crash itself) the collision occurred southbound where Bay Street merges with the Embarcadero, near the point where the cyclist is seen riding in the image below. One thing seems certain: the grossly inadequate infrastructure played a role. The paint-only bike lane, which ends abruptly in the intersection itself, throws cyclists and scooterists into a mess of cars merging at high speed. The angle of the intersection makes Bay more like a freeway on-ramp. Some kind of curb extension is desperately needed to slow turning cars. And right-on-red should be banned here (and probably everywhere, but that’s another matter).

A cyclist navigating southbound with not so much as a drop of paint through the high-speed intersection with Bay. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
A cyclist navigating southbound with not so much as a drop of paint to protect them through the high-speed intersection with Bay. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Back in July of 2018, Streetsblog reported on advocate demands for safety improvements in this area, just one block from where Kevin Manning, a pedicab operator, had been killed. Although paint and posts were added to that particular corner–at Sansome and Embarcadero–other equally dangerous intersections have been left as is, including Bay, where the scooter-rider was hit. Moreover, the basic configuration of the street, with no protection for vulnerable road users, is unaltered. Adjoining streets that might serve as an alternative to riding on the Embarcadero received some sop paint, as part of a severely watered-down safety project, but also no real improvements (those who take issue with this statement should click here).

Another look at the dangerous intersection where the collision occurred. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Another look at the dangerous intersection where the collision occurred. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Advocates, furious at the lack of progress in the area, have demonstrated for safety improvements, but to no avail. “The Embarcadero Enhancement Project,” which would add protected bike lanes, has festered for six years. Advocates blame the Port and SFMTA for the foot dragging. “The Port sees [that] goods movement and industry, maritime, fishing supplies are all still there and are needed,” said Diane Oshima, Deputy Director, Planning & Environment for the Port, in a presentation at SPUR from last summer. “Sometimes that gets forgotten in the transportation discussion; it’s not only about bicycle and pedestrian access.”

But with so much carnage outside Port operations, why can’t the Port take the measly step of creating a bike lane on the promenade, as Vancouver did with its seawall? It’s unclear how that would interfere with maritime industry. Furthermore, cyclists are already permitted on the promenade, where they would be safe from cement trucks and other heavy vehicles, but there are no markings to segregate cyclists and pedestrians so riding on the multi-use path can be impractical.

Meanwhile, the Examiner is reporting that the Embarcadero Enhancement Project will be seen by the Port Commission after the SFMTA board reviews it next week.

A rendering of the two-way bike lane planned for the Embarcadero. Planned, but still far from construction. Image: SFMTA
A rendering of the two-way bike lane planned for the Embarcadero. Planned, but still far from construction. Image: SFMTA

“First and foremost, we wish the injured rider a speedy recovery,” wrote a spokesperson for Lime in a statement sent to Streetsblog. “We will continue to work with the City and SFMTA to support increased infrastructure, such as protected lanes, to ensure bike and scooter riders are safe.”

An official for the company added that a customer survey shows the majority of Lime riders rank protected bike lanes as the most important feature for safety on the streets.

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