Driver Hits Cyclist

The intersection of 22nd St. and Dolores, where a cyclist was hit by a driver.

At 7:30 p.m., a cyclist was struck at the corner of 22nd and Dolores streets. Officers were quickly on the scene, and the cyclist was evaluated by medics.

The cyclist, a young girl police estimated to be in her 20s, was fine, according to Officer Gary Bruckner. He was unable to specify her injuries.

The driver was making a left turn onto Dolores Street from 22nd when she hit the cyclist, who was biking east on 22nd Street. The driver’s white car was dented and remained in the middle of the intersection with an ambulance and a police car. The driver cooperated with officers.

“She’s very upset,” Bruckner said, referring to the driver. “She obviously didn’t mean to do it.”

Bruckner said the cyclist was wearing a helmet and using lights, though they were not bright enough. He said that in the 20 minutes following the accident, he had seen a handful of bikers who he thought needed brighter lights.

The Dolores and 22nd intersection is particularly dangerous for cyclists, he said.

“It’s downhill and bikes get very into that speed, they lose common sense of safety and try to blow through the intersection,” Bruckner said. “It’s one of those risky intersections for bikes.”

Filed under: Bikes, Today's Mission, Trouble

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  1. Valenchia

    Hmmm… who do we think was at fault here? How often do you see cars making left turns on red? How often do you see bikes ignoring traffic signals because they don’t want to lose their momentum?

    • This article was updated at 11:06pm to correct that the driver was making a left turn onto Dolores St from 22nd St, not the other way around, while the biker was coming down 22nd in the opposite direction. Both the car and the cyclist both had green lights, and the cyclist would have had the right of way.

      • Valenchia

        OK. Thanks. It sounds like the cyclists had the right away. Who knows whether the light was bright enough or what cause of the accident was. I do think cyclists tend overestimate how visible they are to others.

        • Michael Treece MD

          A bit like drivers overestimate their own reflexes and ability to respond to rapid changes? I ride my bike to work daily, and watch as more than half of the motorists ignore the speed limits. Most fail to come to anything like a complete stop at stop signs, as well.

  2. Sc

    Me being a ex cyclist and now a driver of a vehicle it annoys the crap out of me the way 90 percent (being generous) of cyclist ignore stop signs, red lights and don’t bike on the right. When they get hit people like to look at drivers as if it was our fault.

    By no means am I saying this was the cyclist fault.

    • JRH

      As an ex-driver and now a cyclist, it scares the crap out of me how 90% of drivers ignore stop signs, speed, and don’t signal.

      In this instance, if the facts of the article are correct, this was definitely the driver’s fault.

      • Valenchia

        90% of drivers ignore stop signs? I think not.

        • Sc

          I know right?!?! Just stand at any corner in the mission that has a four way stop sign and watch how many bikers run the stop sign. Ever get a biker to stop at a stop sign because they were scared to get hit then be nice and let them go first? The thank you I get is a dirty look because I made them pump the pedals to get going again.

  3. Fran Taylor

    Even though the driver seems to be at fault here, by not turning into the cyclist who had the right of way, note how the cop blames the cyclist (lights not bright enough), shows empathy for the driver, then lectures on how dangerous cyclists are. Cops don’t serve cyclists or pedestrians at all. They take the driver’s side, no matter what.

    • Kevin

      I’ve seen this repeatedly from our cops. Something is going to have to be done about it, they can’t continually treat bicyclists the exact same way they’ve historically treated racial minorities.

  4. Fran Taylor

    Correction above: “by turning into the cyclist…” shouldn’t say “not.” Sorry.

  5. Kevin

    Then why are you making this comment here? What’s the relevance? Did you even read this article?

  6. sfmissionman

    Fran Taylor wrote: “Cops don’t serve cyclists or pedestrians at all. They take the driver’s side, no matter what.”

    This is an outrageous, false charge. The cop is merely pointing out that, in his professional opinion, the bike’s headlights were insufficiently bright to meet the legally required standard set by the California Vehicle Code. My observation is that MOST bikes, if they have lights at all, do not meet the Code, and therefore are inviolation of the law. Pointing out a violation of law is the cop’s job. It’s not “taking sides.” The most obvious way to reduce the number of accidents involving bikes would be to insist that bikers obey the law.

    • John Murphy

      The cop is merely pointing out that, in his professional opinion, the bike’s headlights were insufficiently bright to meet the legally required standard set by the California Vehicle Code.

      That is not what is stated here. He says “they weren’t bright enough”. He makes no mention of the Vehicle code. You make the statement that MOST bikes do not meet the code? Can you tell us what the code is without using Google?

      • The code isn’t very strict on how bright a light is needed. The lights merely need to be visible from 300 feet, not illuminating to any specific distance. Unless the batteries were virtually exhausted, any modern light would hit this threshold:

        21201(d)(1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.

    • Penny

      I am a cyclist and I ride with a niterider 350 (bright ass light) and even with that cars try turning into me constantly and I live in San Diego . The cop saying the light isn’t bright enough really doesn’t a car have two sets of head light and should have seen the cyclist even with low lights in front of them.

      Come on cars common sense yes we have light so you can see us but you have bright head lights to see everything in front of you. Pay attention, your distraction can cost a cyclist life, a cyclist distraction can cost their life. Is it really fair.

  7. Skip

    The comment from the Police officer is unneccesarily inflamatory. Since this intersection has a stoplight, not a stop sign and the opposing driver was turning left (which meant the two vehicles both had a green) ‘blowing through the intersection’ doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation, which is ‘cyclist had right-of-way’ on a green light.

  8. =v= Those occasional news articles based on CHP “data” claiming that bicyclists are usually at fault in collisions are compiled from police reports, and those reflect the bias exhibited by the officer in this story. Police with a windshield perspective, like some of the commenters here, are not immune from observer bias, in which the wrongs of “others” are overemphasized while one’s own wrongs don’t even rise into awareness.

    More reliable measures, such as incidents where there was an actual investigation, “accident” reconstruction, or independent witnesses, tell a different story.

  9. Zouaf

    In cases like this, I always like to imagine – what if the cyclist had been a driver? How would we be telling the story then?

    It’s pretty obvious – the cyclist had right of way and if she had been in a car, this DEFINITELY would have been blamed on the driver making a left. It’s taken for granted that drivers will see other cars… if you don’t see a cyclist and hit her, clearly it’s the cyclist’s fault for having been there in the first place!

    • the bill

      I hear your point (and like your thought experiment) but just to play devil’s advocate, what if the oncoming driver had improper lights and was travelling at an unsafe speed?

      This one is most likely the driver’s fault, but assigning blame isn’t much use when a friend is being carted off to the hospital. Regardless of ‘fairness’, bicyclist have more to lose from an encounter and must exercise a much higher level of awareness and safety. I know this from many years of motorcycle use in the city.

      I hope the cyclist can walk away from this one with just some bumps and bruises.

  10. David Melamed

    Automobiles continue to cause vast amounts of carnage to people and to what’s left of our planet. That police and other motorists manage to maintain their endless moral indignation toward people who get around by bicycle is a wonderful testament to the human powers of self delusion.

  11. end

    Funny how the article mentions all the details about what the bike rider was doing but, doesn’t answer the most important question – did the driver use a turn signal when turning left?

    Even if a car driver isn’t looking carefully, a bike rider at least has a chance to avoid the car if it has a turn signal.

  12. notblind

    Use a dim light, get smacked by people that can’t see you. Gamble that you live to argue about who’s fault it is.

  13. jd

    Unbelievable that the cops can be so blatantly biased against cyclists and actually try to blame the victim who was 100% following the law and had the right of way. This cop, like just about every SF cop, needs to start having at least a month or so each year patrolling on bicycle to understand what it is like to be a second-class citizens on our roads. As mentioned on, the SFBC needs to start working with SFPD to educate them about how cyclists are different than cars and how they are continually marginalized and treated as second-class citizens. It’s really sickening to sit here, yet after another cyclist is hurt by a careless motorist, and listen to the damn cops try to make excuses for the oh-so-poor driver who is “really upset” while the “scofflaw” bicyclist can go to hell even though they are the one who was actually hurt and who was the victim of a society completely addicted to cars.

  14. Why is the cyclist described as “a young girl police estimated to be in her 20s?” That is pretty demeaning. If the cyclist were male, would we also say “a young boy police estimated to be in his 20s?”

    Come on, now. The cyclist is a woman. An adult, not a child.

  15. randolph mortimer

    it’s amazing how visitors to this site only seem to care about stories involving bicycles

  16. RW

    Agreed, there is nothing more self righteous, more self absorbed than an SF cyclist. A bike will always lose in a collision with a vehicle, so ride your bike accordingly- Obey signs, wear a helmet, make sure lights are bright.

    • Sc

      If u continue you to complain about how drivers are horrible and how most of us can’t drive maybe you guy should get off your bike and find other means of transportation or deal with the risks of biking.

  17. RW

    People that ride bikes and share the road with other vehicles should have to take a test to get a bicycle license.

    • Sc

      I agree 100% and you know how the cities always complain about not having money? Just have police officers hiding out catching bikes breaking the law. Problem solved!

      • Michael Treece MD

        Or you could, y’know, actually ticket drivers for speeding or weaving or running lights.

        • Sc

          Trust me there are more bikers breeaking the rules than drivers.

          • Michael Treece MD

            Statistics say otherwise. Fatalities aren’t even close.

          • nandro

            Actually Michael, statistics don’t say otherwise. Comparing bicycle-caused fatalities and automobile caused fatalities is not a fair comparison given the obvious confounding variables (weight/size difference between bikes and cars, the number o automobile trips in SF versus bicycle trips, etc.) Additionally, there is no known correlation between rule violation and traffic fatalities across vehicle classes, so really it doesn’t tell you anything.

            Based on my anecdotal observations as a bike commuter, it is quite obvious that we break more laws on average than the average driver (particularly stop signs and stop lights). I still don’t agree that bicycles should be registered though.

        • RW

          Consider yourself enlightened Mikey.

          You’re welcome!

  18. Chris

    Both car divers and bicyclists need to drive / ride defensively.

    Stop lights and signs are there for everyone’s protection. Cars and bikes running them are a danger to others and themselves.

    In this case the bicyclist had the right of way. The driver either didn’t see the bicyclist or thought that she had enough time to make the turn. The bicyclist either thought the driver was going to make the turn or wasn’t able to slow down / stop.

    Should the bicyclist have to have slowed down or stopped, No. But when you’re the vulnerable one, it makes sense.

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