Cyclist Critically Injured In Fifth Street Collision

A bicyclist was seriously injured when he collided with the rear of a vehicle in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, police said today.

The collision was reported at 4:04 p.m. near Fifth and Bryant streets.

The 38-year-old bicyclist was riding behind a vehicle heading north on Fifth Street, and rode into the rear of the car when it stopped, according to police.

He suffered life-threatening head injuries and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, police said.

No other information about the collision was immediately available.

Cycling advocates have called on San Francisco to increase safety measures in the city’s South of Market neighborhood, where all four of the city’s bicyclist fatalities in 2013 have occurred.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • Just one question. Was he wearing a helmet?

    • robbyking

      What difference does that make?

      • thomas Jr.

        Because if you’re stupid enough to not wear a helmet while biking on busy urban streets..

        • Ion Feldman

          Bicycle helmets provide a false sense of safety. Bike helmets are rated at best to 15 mph, and will do absolutely nothing in most any collision involving a multi-ton vehicle. It’s been shown that people not wearing helmets take fewer risks and bike safer. Look to Europe where 98% of cyclists don’t wear a helmet. The idea that someone not wearing a helmet gets what they deserve is wrong in so many ways.

          • thomas Jr.

            Who’s riding their bike faster than 15mph on busy urban streets? We’re not talking about flying down the hills in Marin.

          • Better question might be “Who’s moving in traffic that is all moving at 7.5 mph so no collision is greater than 15 mph?”

          • Ion Feldman

            Most vehicles go faster than 15 mph.

        • Jonny Cage

          Blame the victim! Yeah!

    • And knee and elbow pads!

    • Guest

      @ionaderman:disqus – If that’s you’re “one question,” you’ve got a whole lot to learn about traffic dyamics.

  • landtorpedo

    It would seem that the last paragraph of this article re. “Cycling advocates have called on San Francisco to increase safety measures … South of Market … where all four of the city’s bicyclist fatalities … have occurred.” is a bit of a non-sequitur. What kind of safety measure can be improved by the city to prevent the bicyclist himself from not stopping in time to avoid a rear-ender?

    • Sergio

      Bicyclists currently share a lane with motorists on 5th street. Safety measures that could prevent these types of crashes include bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, green pavement markings to alert motorists/cyclists of cars merging to the right to make right turns, bike pockets to the left of right-turn only lanes, etc. Of course, it’s impossible to say any of these would have prevented the crash without knowing more specifics. I’d say the last paragraph is fairly relevant, though.

      • sfparkripoff

        What is the point of having buffered bike lanes, 25MPH zones, and one way streets if cyclists are not even required to wear helmets?

        According to helmets.org

        “Helmets reduce bicycle-related head and facial injuries for bicyclists of all ages involved in all types of crashes, including those involving motor vehicles. Helmets provide a 66 to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are reduced 65%.” 

        Statistics from a recent study by Robert S. Thompson, MD, Frederick P. Rivara, MD, M.P.H., and Diane C. Thompson, MS

        • Upright Biker

          And if pedestrians and motorists were compelled to wear helmets, we’d see even more savings of life and lucre!

          Let’s get real.

          Cycling is not a dangerous activity. A little over 700 bicycle riders were killed last year. Nearly 5000 pedestrians were killed in the same time period. But how much walking and biking do we do? Hard to measure, but it’s pretty clear that the injuries/deaths per mile traveled using these modes is pretty darn low. One cannot eliminate risk entirely.

          Follow the money.

          Even using the statistics from the questionable, helmet-industry-sponsored study above, making everyone wear helmets might save a handful of lives – but it would clearly make a whole lot of money for helmet manufacturers.

          • sfparkripoff

            You bicycle advocates wants the city to redesign streets to prioritize bicycling over driving a car because:

            Bicyclists dont want to wear helmets?
            Bicyclists dont want to follow the rules of the road?
            Bicyclists dont want to obey traffic laws?
            Bicyclists dont want to register their bikes?
            Bicyclists dont want to pay for liability insurance?
            Bicyclists dont want to follow the best practices of bicycling?

            And then you have the unmitigated gall to complain about how dangerous the streets are when a cyclist runs into the back of a car? Maybe there would be fewer bicycling collisions if The San Francisco Police Department took the time to enforce the traffic laws for bicyclists?

          • I’m a bicyclist. I want a pony. Please add that to your list, it’s as relevant as everything else you post.

      • Judas

        Or, maybe bicyclists could pay attention to the car in front of them instead of looking at cross traffic to see if they can run the red before the cross traffic starts to go?

        • sfparkripoff

          Thank you! Good observation!

    • what2
      • landtorpedo

        I think rather than speculate on my sincerity you should direct your attention to Sergio’s well-taken point that “Of course, it’s impossible to say any of these would have prevented the crash without knowing more specifics.” So no, “a separate bike lane” is not “the most obvious answer.” I presume that from the bicyclist-centric mindset, even if cars were banned from the street and only bike lanes existed, then somehow the city would still be responsible for “incresaed safety measures” if a bicyclist couldn’t stop in time and hit a hydrant.

        • what2

          what?

  • Pontifikate

    Sounds like the cyclist was at fault in this one since it was a rear-end collision with the bicyclist probably going too fast. The only time my car was dented was from a collision with a bicyclist who rear-ended me and I was going very slowly on a local street. Maybe the cyclist was otherwise engaged.

    • Jonny Cage

      Oh wow were you there and did you witness this accident?

    • The problem is that it is ALWAYS the driver’s fault no matter what happens. Recently a bicyclist had a head-on collision with my car which, by the way, was stationary and legally parked. He dented and scratched my new car and did not leave a note, probably because he thought it was the car’s fault for being in his way. A neighbor witnessed the accident and did not bother to intervene.

  • Forthright

    How do you make safe stopping SAFER? By watching where one is going

    • Sooneridver

      Make helmets mandatory for the bicyclists!

      • Upright Biker

        And for motorists and pedestrians! We’ll all be safe!

        What nonsense.

      • Ion Feldman

        Bicycling isn’t that dangerous, and for the kind of accidents you are probably worried about, a styrofoam helmet isn’t gonna do much. Mandatory helmet laws have failed around the globe–they reduce ridership without reducing serious injuries. Time for some more innovative ideas.

    • In that intersection I have several suggestions: all vehicles obey traffic laws, follow all lane directions (no turning onto the freeway from the wrong lane) don’t creep-n-pray into the intersection hoping you’ll be able to make it all the way through, don’t block the intersection, stay in your lane, learn how to zipper, etc.

  • SteveofSF

    I wish the reporter would address obvious questions: is there a bike lane (the photo above the story suggests yes), where was the auto (pulled to right?), was the rider wearing a helmet, where did the bike hit the auto (rear bumper? which side?), were there brake lights (out)?

    • mikesonn

      There are no bike lanes, only sharrows. This intersection is a mess every evening as drivers do whatever possible to get onto 80.

      http://goo.gl/maps/byXod

  • Sooneridver

    This should just support the idea that bicyclists should have to carry the same type of insurance, vehicle registration, licensing, etc. that motor vehicles must have to operate on the public roadways.

    If this had been two motor vehicles and the one doing the ‘hitting’ and did not have insurance, license, license plates, seat belts (aka helmets for bikers) the driver would be in a world of hurt. And I can assure you that no one would be advocating for safer roadways for the uninsured, etc…

    • Ion Feldman

      The amount of damage one can cause in a two ton vehicle and a 25 pound bike isn’t comparable. If you want to keep people from riding bikes, then mandating insurance is the way to go.

      • Derek Chadwick Henry

        i’ve seen tens of thousands of dollars in damages caused by non motor cyclist ….. as most people try avoid hitting a animal,or person they often cause severe damage to there own car so ive always said if you pull in front of me and i have the choice of hitting you of hitting another car head on your going to the hospital or the morgue

        • Upright Biker

          Really? Tens of thousands of dollars in damages? Please cite your source and provide evidence.

          Now, what’s incontrovertible, and what all of us have seen, is the horrible aftermath of collisions involving cars and trucks traveling at even moderate (35-45 mph) rates of speed.

          Therefore, those vehicles should absolutely be required to be licensed and insured. Bicycles? Get real. Next you’ll be asking kids to get skateboard insurance.

        • Ion Feldman

          So anyone who could potentially play a role in causing a motor vehicle accident should have to carry insurance? A jay-walking pedestrian could cause a motor vehicle crash resulting in ‘tens of thousands’ of dollars in damages. Should pedestrians be required to have insurance? Cars and bikes are different and should be treated as such.

  • sfparkripoff

    Another RECKLESS cyclist does himself in because he chose to ignore the brake lights of the law abiding, licensed and insured motor vehicle. How much safer would our streets be if the police simply enforced the traffic laws for cyclists?

    Bicycles should be registered per California Vehicle Code and the relevant sections of the Code MUST be enforced with real tickets. Since the bicycle folks are so supportive of “safer streets” we are sure that they would jump at the chance to contribute to society by helping to hire more police officers to enfore the traffic laws. It’s all about fairness. No more entitlement for cyclists to break the law while insisting on a police state against taxpaying motorists.

    Contact your city Supervisor that you want cyclists to conform to the same
    rules of the road that motorists have to follow. This includes:

    1. Bicycle Licensing
    2. License Plates
    3. MANDATORY liability insurance
    4. Front & Rear Lights.
    5. Incorporating bicycle parking meters in areas where they have auto parking meters and where the bicycle parking is on city streets or in city garages.

    The city of Madison Wisconsin has an excellent bicycle registration program
    that would serve as a good template for San Francisco to follow. This information seems to evaded the SF Bike club who has spent a good deal of time lobbying city hall for new bicycle lanes.

    If the Bicyclists put their wheels on the Road THEY SHOULD OBEY THE RULES OF THE ROAD!

    • Mike

      u mad bro

    • mikesonn

      Have you ever been to 5th and Bryant?

      • sfparkripoff

        Yes I drive on that street every day and most of the time the cyclists are moving faster than the cars because they don’t stop at the traffic light at the intersection.

        When cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles don’t follow the the rules of the road they put themselves, and the public at risk.

        • mikesonn

          You drive that stretch every day? Then you are part of the problem.

    • Motor vehicle drivers have collisions all the time, so we should feel just as strongly about them, right?

  • mailorders

    WWJD?

    • Jesus didn’t die from head injuries.

      This thread is about the dangers of riding a bike in SF, but none of the commenters seems to be familiar with the recent UC study showing that it’s a lot more dangerous than either City Hall or the Bicycle Coalition will admit.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23032807

      • Lego

        Thank you, and for those that actually read the link will note that the words City Hall or Bike Coalition are not in it. You have distorted (for yourself? and for others, in the off chance that they listen to you) the purpose and scope of this scholarly article

        • The UC study is about the real danger of riding a bike in San Francisco. The policy implications of this study question City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition and their relentless, irresponsible push to get people on bikes.

          • 94103er

            Streets that are safe for cycling are safe for walking, Rob. We know you’ll never do anything like travel abroad to realize how well designed streets can be, but this is a fact and it is a reality in many cities of the world.

            Oh and also, walking isn’t ‘safe’ by other findings similar to the study you cite, but you do it anyway, don’t you?

          • Not clear why you’re talking about “walking,” since the study being discussed is about the under-reporting of cycling injuries in SF specifically and not about “many cities of the world.”

          • Upright Biker

            Rob, you’re clearly one of those people who should wear a helmet while walking or taking a shower. Perhaps you already do, given your slavish devotion to academic risk management studies.

            But 94103er makes the obvious point that you simply ignore: Fix the streets so they are safe for the most vulnerable users, and the problem goes away.

          • It’s also obvious to anyone who’s read the UC report—or even the summary linked above—that “cyclist-only” accidents are just as serious as the cyclist-and-auto accidents. Bike lanes won’t be able to prevent those or the one described in this article. The “problem” will never “go away,” since riding a bike has intrinsic dangers that City Hall can’t prevent.

          • Upright Biker

            Ride in a well-maintained bike lane, on a well-designed street, and in a well-mannered way, and you’ll likely never end up in the hospital. It’s that simple.

            People don’t just “fall over” on their bikes, or do so rarely. It’s because our current streets are designed for automobiles and are degraded by automobiles that they are more dangerous for bicycle riders.

            As another poster noted, if you’d only travel to a foreign country and see how well designing primarily for street users other than cars works, perhaps you’ll gain an understanding of how society benefits, in both a monetary and community sense, from this kind of enlightened planning.

          • Oh yes, them foreigners are so clever.

            Cycling experts—Bert Hill, John Forester, and Robert Hurst—all tell us that “solo falls” make up the overwhelming majority of cycling accidents due to potholes, rail tracks, equipment, failure, slick pavement, or just plain bad judgment and unsafe behavior. You folks seem to assume that City Hall is obligated to make your risky transportation “mode” safe. That’s impossible and you should really cut the crap.

          • Upright Biker

            Those are _cycling_ experts, Rob. The guys in the spandex with the logos, Rob. Potholes. Rail Tracks. Bad Judgement.

            That has nothing to do with regular, everyday bicycle riders who take few risks, travel at moderate speeds, and obey most of the laws. All that’s being asked is to level the playing field on streets such as where this fellow — I think you’ve forgotten that somebody’s loved one was seriously injured here — ran into the back of a car because there was no bike lane.

            You seem to want City Hall to make your chosen mode of transportation more convenient by _increasing_ the risk and cost to everyone else.

            That, my friend, is the real crap. I will now stop feeding the troll.

          • Lego

            Ummm. To You, perhaps, “The UC study is about the real danger of riding a bike in San Francisco.” (And the perceived con-job by SFBike, etc.)

            To the researchers, and I quote,
            “CONCLUSION: Based on this study, we conclude that trauma centers can play a key role in future collaborations to define issues and develop prevention strategies for CO [Cycle Only] crashes.”

            Do You just scan good research* to (distort and) confirm what You believe, or are you a curious/intellectual-minded person who is collecting and processing varying, relevant ideas from reputable sources?
            In other words, are You intellectually handicapped by Confirmation Bias.. Do You adjust Your beliefs to the evidence or do You adjust the evidence to Your beliefs? Because the evidence by Your comment suggests the latter.
            Curiously Yours,

            *Thinking that it makes Your beliefs appear well-supported and that nobody will actually read/consider your ‘evidence’

          • Nice try but your gotcha attempt falls flat, since the link above takes you to just an abstract of the study, not the study itself. But even that says that “Previous studies have suggested that police reports miss a substantial portion of bicycle crashes not involving motor vehicles…Our objective was to use trauma registry data to investigate possible under-representation of certain cyclist injuries and characterize cost.”

            That’s what the study is really about.

            And that’s what the study found—you can get a copy of the whole study from Dr. Dicker at UC (DickerR@sfghsurg.ucsf.edu)—that cycling injuries have been radically under-reported in SF, since the city has been relying on police reports and ignoring all the cycling injuries reported at SF General, the primary trauma hospital in the city: “From 2000 to 2009, 54.5% of bicycle injuries treated at SFGH were not associated with a police report, revealing that bicycle crashes and injuries are under-recognized in San Francisco.”

            In short, riding a bike in SF is a lot more dangerous than either City Hall or the Bicycle Coalition has been telling us.
            http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2013/10/study-on-city-bike-accidents-its-more.html

          • Lego

            Now that You show your work, You have revealed

            that You posted here irresponsibly and wasted my time. Any apology would be appreciated.

            Furthermore if You assert that riding a bike in SF is dangerous; as a concerned citizen please do what You can to make it as safe as possible.

          • It’s not my “work,” phony. It’s about a UC study that shows that riding a bike in SF is a lot more dangerous than anyone but me thought. Let’s see some of your “work” in coming to grips with the issue.

  • Jonny Cage

    People who aren’t “cycling advocates” have also called on SF to increase safety measures in SOMA. Such as the families and friends of the victims.

  • Jonny Cage

    A bike lane on the street would be a start.

  • Jonny Cage

    Unless the person dies, there probably won’t be a bike lane added to this street.