A bicycle on the ground, under police tape, missing its front wheel
A bicycle missing its front wheel after being hit by a speeding driver. Photo courtesy of Debbie Horn

A man on a bicycle sustained a head injury after being struck by a speeding driver Monday evening at 19th and Capp streets, according to eyewitnesses and police. 

Officers responded to the intersection around 5:15 p.m. and found the cyclist suffering from injuries, said SFPD Officer Kathryn Winters in a statement. 

The driver had apparently fled the scene. The victim is expected to survive. He was given aid on scene and transported by paramedics to San Francisco General Hospital. 

Although the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening, photos of the bicycle after the incident showed the front wheel torn off and nowhere to be seen, and bicycle and street safety advocate Paul Valdez said on Twitter that the victim was “screaming in pain” as he was carried into an ambulance. Debbie Horn, the owner of the nearby Royal Cuckoo Market, said her neighbors who witnessed the crash saw the front bicycle wheel pinned to the front of the car as the driver sped away. 

Horn arrived with her husband during the aftermath of the incident. She said neighbors and witnesses told her the driver had turned quickly onto 19th Street from South Van Ness Avenue and hit the cyclist, who was headed east on 19th Street. 

The police department’s initial investigation appears to confirm this: “The driver of the vehicle made a left turn at a high rate of speed, struck the bicyclist, and fled the scene,” Winters wrote. 

Valdez also noted in his tweet that the car’s license plate was recovered on the scene by police, though the SFPD did not confirm this, citing an open investigation. 

“It was awful,” said Horn. “It’s been getting crazier and crazier, people are getting hit all the time.” 

Mission Local has reported on a series of other, sometimes fatal, hit-and-run collisions this summer: One pedestrian was killed by a driver running a red light on South Van Ness Avenue, a young woman was killed after a Mission Street car collision, and a car collision sent one car crashing into a 20th Street parklet in June.  

“Sadly, our city leaders and agencies move at a snail’s pace when it comes to street projects and improvements, and they unfortunately lack bold courage in their decision making,” Valdez told Mission Local. “Each day that they delay or take their time, someone is going to get seriously hurt or die.”

Horn said she and her husband, Paul Miller, use their bicycles to travel between the two Royal Cuckoo locations, and they are “constantly thinking about” the frequency of collisions in the city. She echoed Valdez’s thoughts that San Francisco needs to do more to ensure street safety.

Just a few months ago, Horn and her 19th Street neighbors organized to support a regular customer, Alex Tamez, who was hit by a driver and went into a coma. 

The 19th and Capp street intersection. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

“Everyone who comes here is already traumatized from that,” Horn said, standing behind her bar on Tuesday afternoon. Within arms’ reach, she had a laminated photo of Tamez with her dog; before the February incident, they could be found at Royal Cuckoo every day. 

Miller said Tamez is nearly recovered now, months later, but noted that, at the time of the crash, “they left her for dead.” 

This is a breaking story and may be updated. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.    

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim over eight years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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  1. For excessive speeding and dangerous driving. SF should impound the car and auction it off, then use proceeds to fund bicycle-friendly infrastructure.

  2. How does one engineer against a driver taking a turn too fast? Could the narrower intersections, bulb outs, mean that drivers that take turns fast end up going into oncoming traffic?

    So long as there are no consequences for drivers, then we’ll continue to see motorist malfeasance.

    To recap: open air drug dealers don’t kill bystanders while miscreant motorists kill bystanders. Why might one get clamor for enforcement while nobody’s holding the SFPD’s feet to the fire for creating culture on the streets of auto impunity?

  3. was it not inevitable that s. van ness would become more congested and crowded leading to more accidents after mission street added red transit lanes? agressive driving and homelessness in ‘The City’ is nothing new yet policies merely push the problems elsewhere. we have safer streets for wealthy sanchez street residents yet none yet after two years for SOMA, TL or even the mission neighborhoods. my neighborhood has none. i am constantly used as a slalom pole when crossing streets by drivers who consider a pedestrian an obstacle to their progress. the walk sf org does nothing for me. just another ngo collecting welfare and likes to sustain it’s leadership. where is the courage ben or brian? maybe aly? (mic drop)

  4. Back in the late 70’s, there was traffic enforcement. The SF motorcycle cops would hide out around problem areas and nab you if you were speeding or rolled thru a stop sign. This is what made me obey the law.

    Today I don’t see ANY cops enforcing any traffic violations. This is the problem in a nutshell. If you let people get away with the little things they figure why should I stop at a stop sign or a red light.

    Bring back traffic enforcement and accidents like this would be much less common place.

  5. Bad drivers are nothing new.
    No signaling.
    Can’t stay in their lane.
    On their cellphone.
    High/Drunk whatever.

    The thing is when will the cops ever intervene?
    The funny thing is so many cops don’t use turn signals, so how would they even know about enforcing that?

  6. Thank you, Eleni,

    Add a scooter getting blasted at 14th and Valencia last month and taken away in an Ambulance.

    The one you just covered is just bad auto driver; the one under my window is due to poor and confusing paint job that sends all one and two and any weird thing using the bike lane coming from Manny’s toward the Freeway out into auto traffic lane then back into bike lane in middle of street.

    You get that ?

    Neither do I nor drivers nor cyclists

    Go Niners !!

    h.