Bicycle Coalition Says Anticipated SFPD Crackdown on Cyclists Won’t Save Lives

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is pushing back against an anticipated crackdown on bicyclists who flout the rules of the road from the San Francisco Police Department’s Park Station officers.

Park Station, which covers an area including the Panhandle, the eastern most parts of Golden Gate Park, as well as neighborhoods such as Cole Valley, Haight-Ashbury and the area North of the Panhandle, has stated that their officers will be on the lookout for bicyclists in violation of the rules of the road.

A recent July newsletter states, “Park Station Officers will be watching for bicycle scofflaw violators in the District.”

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition opposes the anticipated crackdown and has launched a petition to the “significant departure from the SFPD’s Vision Zero Commitment” that “risks lives by diverting resources away from the deadliest traffic violations.”

Vision Zero was adopted in San Francisco in 2014 and aims to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities by 2024.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s communications director, Chris Cassidy, said that the San Francisco Police Department has focused its efforts on enforcing laws most likely to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe on the city’s streets, but that Park Station’s impending crackdown undermines data-driven enforcement and would mean a diversion of resources away from the enforcement of the most deadly behaviors.

Cassidy said the San Francisco Police Department still has a long way to go until they reach their goal of issuing 50 percent of their citations for the five deadliest traffic behaviors identified by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency as: speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, running red lights, running stop signs and violating turn restrictions.

In the second quarter of this year, the total SFPD citations focusing on the five most dangerous violations climbed from 25 to 32 percent of SFPD traffic citations, still short of the department’s goal of 50 percent.

Cassidy said it’s “puzzling,” why the Park Station would consider overlooking data that shows motorist violations lead to injury and death and are instead focusing on bicyclists’ behaviors.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Cassidy said, is committed to all people following the rules of the road and conducts numerous safety classes each year.

He said that in 2014 the coalition taught roughly 5,000 bicyclists and motorists how to abide by the rules of the road.

Cassidy said the crackdown would be at odds with Vision Zero, which is why the bicycle coalition has launched a petition to stop the Park Station from moving forward with it.

Cassidy said, as of today, the coalition has collected over 500 signatures and plans to deliver them to Park Station’s captain soon.

“Any shift of SFPD resources away from these deadliest traffic violations is dangerous and unacceptable,” the petition states.

The online petition is available here:

The coalition will also be collecting signatures Thursday at Baker and Fell streets between 5 and 7 p.m., according to Cassidy.

The coalition will also be handing out free bike bells Thursday as part of its “Bike Politely” campaign, Cassidy said.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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  • No Hate

    Every week I see an adult carrying a toddler in a handlebar mounted baby seat simply blow right through a stop sign. Where is Child Protective services when you need them? This child did not choose to be the point of impact in a pending car crash. Idiot parents. When I honk, hoping to attract any police attention, the riders always flip me off, like they are perfectly right in this horrible behavior!

  • JeanSC

    Those cops can come to Chicago and crack down on bike scofflaws! I’m a bicyclist as well as a pedestrian and motorist, and am plagued daily by bike scofflaws. Here, it’s illegal for over-12 bikers to ride on the sidewalk, along with the standard moving violations. Bike violators refuse to yield to pedestrians and sometimes hit us with bikes and fists when we don’t waive our own right of way. The main reason more pedestrians aren’t hurt by bikers is that we’re more maneuverable. The Rules of the Road exist to reduce the chances of fatal traffic encounters. They shouldn’t have to wait until people die to be enforced. I have also been endangered, while riding my bike, by other bicyclists who did not follow right-of-way rules.

  • EvilTed

    Just drive from The Mission to Japan Town via 17th street and be amazed at the suicidal behavior of some cyclists. They are a menace and deserve to be jailed for their “we are above the law attitude”. I’m sick and tired of having to treat cyclists as special citizens that can run through red lights and worse, make left turn right across the front of me as the light turns green and I’m going through. Complete mindless idiots and symptomatic of what’s gone wrong with this city. Good on the police for finally doing something about this. The laws apply to everyone and cyclists need to either obey them or pay the consequences, which may sadly be someone else’s life…

    • RBR

      The Mission to Japantown, via 17th Street?

      • EvilTed

        Yeah, go up 17th Street and cut across Market @ Sanchez…

  • JohnLewpi6

    Hit and run cyclist in June, but Cassidy kept relatively quiet:

  • Dave Raines

    “Focus on the Five” focuses on the top five vehicle violations, but does not include any of the pedestrian or bicycle violations that lead to collisions.

  • RBR

    Why doesn’t SFBC post members at the intersections of Duboce & Steiner; Steiner and Waller, and Waller & Pierce. Urge cyclists to act responsibly. Let SFPD ticket cars and trucks. Work WITH the police instead of taking a contrary stance.