Speeding Cyclist Blows Red Light and Nearly Kills 60-Year-Old Woman

Categories: Crime, bikes
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Bus bike crash 014.jpg
A crash that doesn't involve a car
UPDATE: The SF Bike Coalition responds to last week's accident. Read after the jump.

Original Story 1:30 p.m., Friday, July 15: This morning traffic was backed up on the Embarcadero after a cyclist ran a red light, hitting a pedestrian. According to police, the victim, a 60-year-old woman, remains in the hospital with a life-threatening head injury.

So often cyclists and pedestrians lament San Francisco drivers' carelessness behind the wheel. However, it's not uncommon to see cyclists using bad etiquette, or even breaking the law, like blowing through a stop sign.

So it begs the question: How often do police cite cyclists for running a red light or blowing a stop sign?

"I do know officers conduct traffic stops on cyclists, but in a congested city like San Francisco, you're not always going to light up your siren and chase down a cyclist over an infraction," Officer Albie Esparza tells SF Weekly.

So there is your answer. If it's convenient to pull over a crazy cyclist, then cops will do it; otherwise, it's conventionally viewed as a low-risk infraction.

Except perhaps today. At about 8:30 a.m. the victim was walking across the Embarcadero crosswalk with a green light when the cyclist, who was headed northbound, collided with her at Mission Street, Esparza says.

SF Weekly contacted the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, but we've not heard back yet.

"They are not exempt from the rules of the California vehicle code book -- they are considered a motor vehicle, with the human being the motor," Esparza says. "But there is that appearance that there's no risk for them blowing a red light."

The cyclist, who was not injured, has not been cited or arrested for the infraction. Esparza says police will determine whether to file charges pending the outcome of the investigation.

Update: Leah Shahum, executive director with the SF Bike Coalition, told SF Weekly that she didn't have full details of what happened Friday morning. "I encourage folks not to make assumptions until an investigation is complete," she said. 

Meanwhile, she noted that her organization offers several bike education workshops, that among other things, helps adult cyclists understand the rules of the road.

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF
My Voice Nation Help
34 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
bicycle accident claims
bicycle accident claims

Bicycle accidents can be different  in their cause and severity. Uneven roads are a regular problem for cyclists,like an accident can leave you injured and it can leave your bike in serious need of repair. Sometimes you  need to have your bike repaired or completely replaced, and have to pay for medical treatment. If this is the case, then it’s likely that you will want to make a claim then you can reach the professional solicitor.

Lex
Lex

I'm not saying the bicyclist had the right of way, but Northbound on Embarcadero is somewhat of a straightaway since there are no intersecting streets as it goes along the water. Just reiterating what was said in the article, we don't quite know all the facts from this (blatantly biased) article.

But as a daily commuting cyclist, I will add, about half of my close-calls are with other cyclists, I do feel like some cracking down would help. 

Rawjrdawgr
Rawjrdawgr

I was in the intersection when the unfortunate accident happened. The cyclist swerved from the no.3 lane into the far left no.2 lane and striking her down onto the pavement.  It wasn't like she was in the path of the bike lane...and it was his red light.  He was completely in the wrong.  As I understand, the woman died later in the hospital due to complications. 

CeeDee Padilla
CeeDee Padilla

I ride the streets of San Fran like I care about my safety and safety others - that includes in cars or pedestrians. If some driver has to swerve to avoid me, they might it another car, or a pedestrian. Vice, versa these are simple kindergarten-like rules.Safety is more paramount - not my convenience or the effort I have to expend (stopping is more work for the rider - awww, boo-hoo!). If you can't be a considerate human being while on a bicycle then don't ride. Either way don't complain or try to rationalize what rules applies, shouldn't or don't to bicyclists. If it is too much time or effort for you to fully stop at every stop sign or red light take the muni or walk.

guest
guest

I do not own a car and walk everywhere in San Francisco. I am as terrified of cyclists as I am of the cars in this city. I have almost been run down several times by cyclists as I am crossing the street in crosswalks. I completely agree that many, not all, have very entitled, arrogant attitudes as they speed through intersections acting as though we should get out of their way!

Cjm
Cjm

Anyone who actually bicycles knows that since your engine is a fraction of a horsepower knows you have to maintain momentum when you can.  SF is hilly and dangerous in any event.  Bicycles need to be treated differently than cars but that does not justify recklessness.

Guest
Guest

I assume you are human, so your "engine" is the brain.  I agree that your engine is a fraction of a horses.  Why don't you go get some momentum and collide with a cement truck.

bikewad
bikewad

Whenever this topic comes up, its always as if every cyclist who doesn't obey the letter of the law 100% is reckless, idiotic, and constantly endangering the public and themselves. And of course, everybody else obeys the letter of the law 100%. Not all motor vehicle laws make sense for bicycles, and that's why cyclists don't obey them. Of course we shouldn't be blowing through red lights at top speed without any consideration for whatever obstacles might come up. That IS reckless and idiotic, and not all cyclists who are breaking the law are being reckless and idiotic. Some of us use common sense, like looking both ways and making an informed decision about whether it's safe to cross the intersection or not. Stopping at every single stop sign regardless of whether there's cross traffic, especially when they're at almost every cross street (like on a certain stretch of Harrison), just doesn't make sense, and frankly, is a huge pain in the ass.

I got a ticket for running a stop sign on my bicycle at 14th and Harrison (a.k.a. the Best Buy parking lot entrance) at 7:30 in the morning. As with most of those stop signs along Harrison, there was no cross traffic and there usually isn't. If there is, I stop for it. I stop for all red lights and usually wait for it to turn green unless the streets are totally empty, then I see no logical reason to wait. I observe a lot of cyclists using this same tactic, because it makes the most sense. I've been doing so for about 15 years, using my eyes, ears, brain, and common sense, and I've never once hit anybody or been hit.

Since getting my $200 citation for riding past an empty parking lot with a barely-visible stop sign in front of it, I've been diligently stopping for every stop sign. And I've noticed not only that it's a huge waste of time and energy, but also that I'm the only cyclist doing it. For all the people on here claiming to be 100% law-abiding cyclists, I haven't ever seen a single one stop at a stop sign unless there was cross traffic, so I find that a little hard to believe.

I think every state should follow Idaho's lead in adopting a "stop as yield/red as stop" bicycle law, recognizing that bicycles and cars are different and should have different duties regarding traffic signals. Here's a good article on that law: http://www.bicyclelaw.com/arti...

It would do nothing to stop idiots like the one that hit this old lady, but the rest of us who are behaving responsibly and aren't hurting anybody wouldn't have to worry about getting bullshit citations. Plus maybe everybody would STFU already about "arrogant, scofflaw cyclists." Well, probably not.

Lothar
Lothar

Same dreary story here in the Pacific Northwest.  By the way, that use of "granny" in the headline is soooooo flippant and inappropriate.  Seriously -- who's editing these things?

Eamonn
Eamonn

Stand by for the sanctimonious motorists lecturing cyclists about how we need to obey the law. Half of them will be posting their sweeping generalisations while driving above the speed limit after having just pulled a "California stop" at a four-way.

Grizzlygilson
Grizzlygilson

I am a cyclist and have been for some 20 years. I follow the law and expect every other cyclist to do the same. I hope that if he is found at fault during the investigation that he is arrested and prosecuted.

Doug
Doug

In general, the police won't ticket a motorist either unless it's convenient, the infraction is particularly heinous or they're specifically out there to enforce traffic laws.  In my experience, running a stop sign in front of a cop is approximately as likely to earn you a ticket on a bicycle as in a car -- your odds aren't good in either case.

Also note that bicycles are *not* considered "motor vehicles".  They're considered "vehicles".  Most traffic laws apply to any sort of vehicle, but some only apply to motor vehicles, and those that do don't apply to bicycles.

Goodgulf
Goodgulf

They actually aren't even considered "vehicles" by the CVC.  They are their own class.

Goodgulf
Goodgulf

We really would benefit from a traffic liability setup of "strict liability" as many European nations have.

Goodgulf
Goodgulf

"They are not exempt from the rules of the California vehicle code book -- they are considered a motor vehicle, with the human being the motor," Esparza says.

This is incorrect information.  Not only in CA are bicycles not classified as motor vehicles, they are not even classified as vehicles.  They are explicitly exempt from many of the regulation for both motor, and non-motor vehicles.  That beings said, the *majority* of the CVC items that apply to automobiles also apply to bicycles.

AWQ
AWQ

Well, you know what they say --- cyclists make excellent hood ornaments..

Jason
Jason

Well, you know what they say, you are an amazing douche-bag.

Tony Finch
Tony Finch

At the least, an insensitive byline. But the elderly, the overweight and the "bridge and tunnel crowd" are all groups for whom certain San Franciscans feel comfortable openly critizing or treating with a certain silent contempt. Probably related to the fear that they themselves will inevitably come to be a representative one group, if not all three eventually.

phillyrunnergirl
phillyrunnergirl

The victim here is a friend of mine.  I can assure you that she is not elderly, overweight or anyone who should be treated with contempt.  She is vibrant, full of life, and travels the world.  And, did I mention beautiful??  The early reports that she is a 40 year old woman show just how young and vibrant she is.  So, the headline not only is offensive, it is inaccurate. 

wickedant
wickedant

she's a friend of mine too, and you are so accurate about who she is.  praying for her survival.

Floristsupreme
Floristsupreme

SF bicyclist, on the whole, are self entitled jerks. I rarely see them stop at stop signs or obey any traffic laws. But, God forbid you call them on it. I made a comment out of my car window and the jerk spit a hocker on me. I always watch out for them and give them right of way because if I hit one it's going to end up ky fault somehow. Aggravating!

Guest
Guest

What I can't stand is when I stop on my bike at a stop sign and the motorist at the other sign looks annoyed and aggravated when I don't just go through. I've even been yelled at by a man in a car for stopping. Really, theres nothing bikers can do to please drivers. We're too slow, too fast, too reckless and too cautious and when we get hurt, everyone uses it as an excuse to rant about how entitled we are to alleviate guilty consciences. If you're in your car, you know you a bigger than both pedestrians and bikers. You can kill anyone with a mis-judgement or an ill-timed text. Period. 

Guest
Guest

way to generalize!

josh
josh

yeah, the headline is very inappropriate and shows how elementary your thinking is

Jacke
Jacke

Unabashed age-ism

Alisa Dichter
Alisa Dichter

I am not surprised. I always see cyclists breaking the law. In fact more often than not they do break the law--they never stop for stop signs and whenever possible they go through traffic lights.  I always say something when I am in ear shot and I have gotten dirty looks and yelled at but this is a good example of why they need to follow the law.  Not to mention the fact that it is there to protect their own safety. 

Goodgulf
Goodgulf

Really, "always"?

mrf
mrf

Not true, I once saw a cyclist in San Francisco stop at a stop sign when she wasn't forced to by traffic. I was so surprised I mentioned this solar eclipse like event to the person driving with me.

geniusnowblog
geniusnowblog

let me say this gently. Your headline sucks and it's offensive.

Joan1973
Joan1973

Oh you silly homo-erotic genius! God loves you too!

Richard H
Richard H

I'm kinda glad it offends you.

BettyBlueEyes
BettyBlueEyes

Last week in Capitola, a skateboarder killed a woman crossing the street. When are these people going to realize that they are riding a vehicle and they should obey vehicle regulations?? I have a bike. My son-in-law rides to work on a bike. I have nothing against bikes. But damn... I've also avoided a collision with bikes, I've nearly hit riders going through stop signs, and I've listened to my cycling friends brag about breaking the law while riding.

Don't cyclists realize that they are also endangering themselves when they act unpredictably in traffic? In a crash between a cyclist and a pedestrian, the pedestrian will be injured or killed. In a crash between a cyclist and a motor vehicle, the cyclist will be injured or killed. Either way, it's not worth the risk. If cyclists want respect as they use the road, they must follow the law AND they must pressure their fellow riders to do the same.

Kt
Kt

Bicyclist acting like vehicular laws don't apply to him? In San Francisco? No way....

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...