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Monday, July 18, 2011

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

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 12:35 PM

click to enlarge A crash that doesn't involve a car
  • 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.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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