Bicyclist Killed in Collision With Garbage Truck

Photo of bike near the scene of the May 23 accident, taken by Twitter user terrapin_sf.

Photo of bike near the scene of the May 23 accident, taken by Twitter user terrapin_sf.

Update: The cyclist was identified as Dylan Mitchell, of Clayton, and was 21 years old, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office said. The garbage truck and cyclist were traveling east on 16th Street toward South Van Ness. The truck driver made a right-hand turn onto South Van Ness, colliding with the cyclist. The cyclist was traveling at “a high rate of speed,” police said.

Police reported that at about 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, a male bicyclist collided with a garbage truck near 16th and South Van Ness Streets and died at the scene.

The truck driver stayed in the area and cooperated with law enforcement. Police said they do not suspect that alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident.

The driver of the truck did not realize at first that the rear of the vehicle had struck the cyclist, police said. The truck dragged the bike between 16th and 17th Streets.

Police are currently investigating the incident.

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18 Comments

  1. Disgusted

    If any motorists wonder why cyclist often blow off red lights, well, here’s you answer.

    For a cyclist waiting for a red at the shoulder, the moment the light turns green is the moment of maximum danger: a driver can turn right and crush him, or a driver can make a quick left from the opposite direction and ping-pong him.

    By proceeding against the red light when the intersection is clear, the cyclist has at least a few seconds of relative safety.

    Obeying the law may well have cost that unfortunate cyclist his/her life.

    I suppose if a terrorist had killed that person, it would be a big deal and thousands of national security personnel would be examining specks of evidence. But since it was a motor vehicle that did the killing, it was “just an accident”.

    • ridiculous argument

      Your argument is ridiculous! So you really think that allowing bicycles to “blow off” red lights is actually going to make things safer? What a crock! What if the truck was going to make a right on red thinking that the bicyclist was going to follow the law and not bolt on a red. I think your proposition would cause many many more tragic accidents than it would prevent.

    • spike

      not advocating blowing thru a red light, but once stopped and sure no cars are coming, i definitely feel safer getting a head start to cross the intersection before the light turns green and the death machines/cars start up.
      i’ve been in so many close calls: someone backed out of their garage into the bike lane on 17th, then chased me down screaming at me that i should share the road… another time, also while riding in the bike lane, at 17th and valencia, a couple jaywalked mid block pushing their kid in their pram into the bike lane, almost causing an accident of bike v pram. he, too, felt the need to chastise me for getting in his way, although i did nothing wrong. the hatred for bicyclists, who don’t pollute, and don’t usually hurt cars when/if they collide, is beyond me. no one seems to get so angry at a pedestrian who doesn’t wait for the walk light, and jaywalks when the coast is clear… i don’t get it.

      • ProBike Motorist

        Spike – your comments make perfect sense.

        Caution for bikes over cars/trucks – almost always makes sense.

        The “almost” circumstances, of course, will always be a problem.

        Also, too bad courtesy is not human nature!

        Signed,
        a car owner (who likes bikes, too)

    • Jim

      There’s life lost every day on our roads & freeways.
      How do equate that to a terrorist killing?
      It’s terrible that the biker lost his life today, but both drivers and cyclist’s are at fault. There’s bad drivers and bikers that think they own the road.
      Poor comment.

    • mike

      You should pick your arguments more carefully. Every report I’ve heard says the cyclist was in motion and traveling fast. Sounds to me like he was careless and barreling into the intersection, didn’t see that the dump truck was taking a right turn and ran into the side of it. For the record I am a bike commuter who is sometimes accused of not being the most cautious person on two wheels. I take liberties with stop signs and the occasional light, but I do it defensively. I agree that there are times that following all the rules 100 percent on a bicycle creates more risk than bending the rules, but I don’t think this was one of those cases.

    • Puck Rainey

      In a perfect world, bicyclists would be entitled to all the same rights as cars on the road yet be required to obey none of the laws which govern traffic and common sense. They are all streetwise, on-the-move coffee achievers who cannot be expected to “stop at intersections” or “stay off the sidewalk” or “yield to pedestrians” because they have to practice getting to work as quickly as possible in preparation for the day when they actually manage to find someone who is willing to employ their smelly asses.

      I walk to work every day and have been hit by idiots on bikes trying to show off their retarded clicky shoes and Chrome bags way more times than I’ve seen garbage trucks making any sudden, unexpected moves. Your utterly meaningless lifestyle choice does not impress anyone, nor does it entitle you to one iota of sympathy when the easily predictable outcome of your idiocy gets scooped up off the pavement into little baggies.

      • Mike

        Nice attempt at illustrating what douches cyclists can be for simply being cyclists… by being a complete douche yourself.

    • CWWSF

      sorry, couldn’t resist… if cyclist follow your advice there will be more dead cyclist because if it..

  2. Yuppie mission cyclist bad person

    Sad. I ride to work daily, and every day I see cars race through lights that are blatantly red. Red before they even get into the intersection.

    The only safe way to go I think is to actually wait until a few seconds AFTER the light turns green to make sure you don’t get hit by a car running the red in the other direction.

    With a few exceptions (there are always exceptions and people love to point them out), when cars break the law people can and often do die. Cyclists are no less responsible for obeying the law than are motorists. But carelessness on a bike rarely kills another human. Carelessness behind the wheel can kill or paralyze easily, and common illegal behavior that can do those things (running red lights) isn’t really prosecuted.

    Whatever happened here (and I’m not suggesting the truck driver broke the law, it could have been the cyclists fault, and is tragic and will affect the driver regardless I’m sure) – whatever happened I hope it reminds people that it’s worth paying attention when you’re driving a car. A driver can kill a cyclist trying to save 30 seconds by running a light. Hardly seems worth it, but it’s a realistic scenario and the opportunity presents itself every day.

  3. Yuppie mission cyclist bad person

    Sad. I ride to work daily, and every day I see cars race through lights that are blatantly red. Red before they even get into the intersection.

    The only safe way to go I think is to actually wait until a few seconds AFTER the light turns green to make sure you don’t get hit by a car running the red in the other direction.

    Cyclists are no less responsible for obeying the law than are motorists. But carelessness on a bike rarely kills another human. Carelessness behind the wheel can kill or paralyze easily, and common illegal behavior that can do those things (running red lights) isn’t really prosecuted.

    Whatever happened here (and I’m not suggesting the truck driver broke the law, it could have been the cyclists fault, and is tragic and will affect the driver regardless I’m sure) – whatever happened I hope it reminds people that it’s worth paying attention when you’re driving a car. A driver can kill a cyclist trying to save 30 seconds by running a light. Hardly seems worth it, but it’s a realistic scenario and the opportunity presents itself every day.

  4. Weird Comments

    Weird comments –
    1) There are no facts about whether the Cyclist was stopped or moving at the time of the collision. the advocacy of breaking the law feels like a Troll actually.

    2) there’s an assumption that the “Law” matters in the real world. Defensive Driving/Riding is the only rule you should follow because I’d rather be safe than “in the right”.

    3) Yuppie is the only one with great advice – NEVER be the first person/bike/vehicle in the intersection. the first second after the light turns is the most random/unpredictable moment on the roads.

    be safe out there.

  5. Dave

    Three people have been killed on South Van Ness this year in traffic accidents. There have been countless accidents as well.

    SVN is dangerous to cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. There is a way to slow this street way down to make it safe.

    It is time to do so.

    • mike

      I ride my bike everyday but also drive a car. I don’t agree that every single street in the city has to be made “bike safe”. yes I agree South Van Ness is not the safest bike street. that’s why I don’t ride on it. I pick another street that is safe. There are at least three or four other streets very close to there that run parallel that are much safer for cyclists. Pick one of those instead. same thing goes for fell and Oak Street. Bikes don’t belong on them. every time you add bike lanes you take away car lanes and slow traffic down which is already bad enough in the city.

      • Dave

        The problem is that too many other major streets in the Mission have been slowed down, in effect, making South Van Ness Ave faster and more dangerous than ever. This fatal accident is horrible and something needs to be done. The rate of non fatal accidents is off the charts on this street as cars travel at 40mphthe plus regularly.

  6. Adrian

    I work for the city and am on foot working the streets everyday. In the last month I have seen a car on car collision, a car on pedestrian accident, and an accident involving 3 bikes colliding with each other. I see countless people run red lights, jay walk, and go way too fast in cars AND on bikes and motorcycles and scooters. Too much speeding and too much “me first” attitude.
    As a car driver, motorcycle rider, and bike rider who has had plenty of close calls, my advice is ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings, NEVER assume someone else will see you and/ or do the right thing, and PLEASE be considerate of others on the road.

    • Tina

      Thank you Adrian!
      I was born and raised in the Mission and spent 20 years in Hawaii. Upon my return, I have seen the changes that have occurred. I owned a car and rode my bike to work daily back in the “olden days”. I am appalled at the “me first” attitude, especially by bikers. in a collision, who do you think has the momentum advantage? A car or a bike? Duh! Everyone needs to drive/bike with Aloha and common sense. I’m sorry about the loss of the 21 year old kid, but perhaps it will remind everyone of what really matters and people will ponder their own road behaviors, eh?!…

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