At approximately 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, a motorcycle collided with a black Chevrolet Suburban at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Street and South Van Ness Avenue. The person on the motorcycle was killed.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the Chevrolet was making a left turn from Cesar Chavez Street onto South Van Ness. A large dent in the passenger-side door suggests that the motorcycle struck the side of the car.

The driver of the Suburban sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

S Van Ness Ave

At approx. 9:30 a.m.,

the motorcyclist was

travelling west along

Cesar Chavez St.

South of Market

The driver of a black Chevrolet

Suburban turned left onto

South Van Ness Ave.

Cesar Chavez St

Mission

The motocyclist collided

with the side of the car.

Bernal Heights

S Van Ness Ave

At approx. 9:30 a.m.,

the motorcyclist was

travelling west along

Cesar Chavez St.

The driver of a

black Chevrolet

Suburban turned

left onto South

Van Ness Ave.

Cesar Chavez St

The motocyclist

collided with the

side of the car.

Mission

Bernal Heights

Map by Will Jarrett. Basemap from Mapbox.

Several officers and fire department personnel remained on site at noon, documenting the wreckage. The intersection remained blocked off with police tape.

This marks the 31st traffic death in the city so far this year, the highest number since 2016, according to city data. Cesar Chavez Street is a part of the city’s high injury network, a series of roads that the city has identified as particularly dangerous.

There are traffic lights at the Cesar Chavez and South Van Ness intersection.

The victim was identified as an employee of San Francisco Harley-Davidson. Their store has confirmed, via Instagram, that they are closed today due to unforeseen circumstances.

This is a developing story.

Police vehicles blocked the intersection at noon. Photo by Anna-Luisa Brakman.

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  1. As a motorcyclist of over 25 years and someone who is familiar with this intersection at this exact time of day, I cannot imagine myself riding though this intersection at a speed that would result in a fatality.

    1. As a bicyclist I have the same reaction when I hear of someone getting doored. I think I’m too experienced to let that happen to me. But it’s a bias in our brains, attributing our own good fortune to skill, our bad times to bad luck, and the opposite for other people. It could be you or me easier than we think.

  2. So sad – all of these traffic measures (no left from Cesar Chavez to Mission, no turns from Duncan to Valencia, one lane each direction on south Van ness) it’s leading to people waiting to make a left at South Van Ness. South Van Ness is down to one lane in either direction with the center lane for turning. This causes massive backups, double left turns, and people doing all kinds of erratic driving. Auto zone, homeless pedestrians, people getting stuck by the daycare/ preschool near the grocery store. It’s not ideal. I can see someone thinking they could make the left and getting stuck blocking traffic so senseless!

    1. I’m a big fan of Van Ness reduction. People used to drive crazy there. Much better now, if slower. Traffic backup at CC is indeed bad and i wish they would have left it two lanes on that block alone. But seems unlikely as a cause of this accident. WB traffic is usually stopped when that happens. Left turn on green makes sense as a cause.

      I’m with you on Mission NB though. Doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.

      Love and respect for the deceased and his family. Heard that they’ve been advocating for safety. I ride an ebike with my son in this area and I appreciate your efforts.

  3. I drove by as they tried to revive him. The medic was relentless in her attempt to bring him back. I’ve been thinking about him since the accident. May his memory be for a blessing.

  4. One of the infractions the Police Commission is proposing to eliminate and not be able to stop or ticket is a failure to signal a turn within 100 feet of the corner. This fatality was caused by a person making a left turn in front of the motorcycle. It would be good to know if the turning SUV was signaling the left turn. I think the Police Commission is wrong not enforcing signaling. You should email the Commission if you agree.

  5. That left turn is light-controlled with a dedicated left-turn lane. Both drivers could not have had a green light at the same time. People regularly run the red to make the left. Either that happened or the motorcyclist ran the red. Experienced motorcyclists, as this person apparently was, do not run red lights for obvious reasons. I hope the police sort out what happened and act appropriately. This was not another “accident”.

    Very sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you.

      He was taken too young. We keep his memory alive for our entire family, especially his children.

    2. I was mistaken. The left turn is “Left Turn Yield on Green”. So the SUV is responsible for the accident as he did not yield. I don’t want to hear about “sun in the eyes”. Can’t see? Don’t go. I hope the SUV driver gets charged. And yes, I ride this stretch of road on a motorcycle every other day.

      Street view https://goo.gl/maps/g8NK1sMHLpKdYyoVA

      1. There is a green left-turn arrow, but the arrow is not displayed when both directions have green rounds, and that is when the “left turn yield on green” sign comes into play. The arrow is only green when westbound and southbound traffic has red.

        I mentioned the sun as the suburban driver was traveling straight east on a sunny day at approx 9:20 a.m. I alluded the incident was the fault of the driver and not the rider; mentioning of the sun was meant to be objective, not an excuse. The sun is very intense on Cesar Chavez in the a.m. – some may be well unaware of that.

        Stop throwing your opinions and misbeliefs around as facts. Know what you say.

  6. It was a terrible accident. I was there at the time of the accident. I agree there needs to be measures and driver education for everyone regardless of what they drive or ride. It is heartbreaking what happened; I am still in shock. My sincere condolences to the family

  7. Eternal rest grant unto him, oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. There was sorrow felt all around after this death.

  8. There indeed is a dent in the side of the SUV. That’s where my Nephew’s body smashed into it. Thank you, for pointing it out to me and my family.

  9. just awful! unfortunately there is no measure which could avoid those crashes EXCEPT driver education and severe punishment when breaking the rules.
    SFMTA can declare it a “high injury network”, establish left-turn prohibition, etc., it won’t help!
    as a motorcyclist i have been run over several times in my lifetime, once here in SF by a red-light runner. almost weekly i encounter exactly this same situation where a ‘cager’ thinks he can make the left turn. that’s even the case when the motorists sees me as my motorcycle has a flashing headlight (legal headlight modulator).
    so many car drivers are totally oblivious, stupid, distracted with texting, looking at their cellphones, aggressive, speeding, etc..

    1. Why do you assume it is the driver who was at fault here?

      Looks like the motorcyclist hit the SUV and not the other way about.

      1. if they both had green light then it’s the car driver’s fault, he cut off the motorcyclist by making a left turn in front of him (opposing traffic).
        if the driver was waiting on the intersection and then proceeded as the light turned red and the motorcyclist tried to make it and blasted through the red light then it’s the motorcyclist’s fault.
        at that point we don’t know which scenario happened.

      2. As the sign in the intersection states, left turn is to yield on green. It is plausible the operator driving into the sun didn’t see the rider approaching. Who hit who is not indicative of fault.

    2. well, when i wrote the above comment i just assumed the car driver was at fault. and that’s because of my daily experiences as a motorcyclist.
      re-reading the article, it doesn’t say who caused the crash.

  10. Left turns and u-turns are extreme hazards for motorcyclists. I was glad to see u-turns pulled from the list of proposed banned pretext police stops because this is what can happen.

    My friend was killed on a motorcycle on Cesar Chavez in 2012; my sincerest sympathies to this rider’s family and friends.

  11. Easy to figure out, all of this b/c SFMTA found it unnecessarily necessary to frustrate drivers by diverting traffic off of Mission St., down Chesar Chavez and forcing the left turn onto Van Ness.

    1. I believe you have a valid point, by not allowing cars to cross Mission St at Cesar Chavez they force vehicles to make a right on CC then either a left or U turn on S. Van Ness to continue North. I still have no idea why SFMTA stopped cars from crossing Cesar Chaves at Mission.

      1. The prohibition on cars crossing Chavez reduces traffic on Mission and speeds up buses. We need to embrace policies like this and further discourage large personal vehicles from urban roads where they lead to tragic events like this.