Friday, March 30, 2012

SF Police to 
Crackdown on Drivers and Bicyclists

(SF police officers speaking with Randolph Ang on July 15, after he ran a red light and knocked over a pedestrian who died a few weeks after the collision. Credit: Joshua Elinson, Bay Citizen.)

After reading the vague joint statement from the San Francisco Police Department and Walk SF, a pedestrian safety organization reluctant to criticize dangerous bicyclists, regarding targeted enforcement of traffic laws after a pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by motor vehicle, I had no idea if the enforcement would include bikers.

Walk SF omits bike, bicyclist and biker from the joint statement, which according to Sgt. Daryl Fong of the police media office was the sole responsibility of Walk SF, and I contacted their executive director Elizabeth Stampe for clarification. Was she urging a crackdown on bad bikers?

An automated reply said she's out of town until April 4, and I hope to hear from her upon her return.

My next contact was with Sgt. Fong. I requested that he check with colleagues to determine if bicyclists are included in this crackdown. Here's his reply, with bolding  and underlining added:

In response to your inquiry regarding the joint statement issued by Walk SF in conjunction with the Police Department, the Department will be conducting Citywide enforcement activities in an effort to improve pedestrian safety. These enforcement activities will be carried out in neighborhoods by the District Stations as well as by the Traffic Company citywide. The enforcement will be focused on locations identified statistically as being the highest injury corridors and intersections. The enforcement will focus on the behaviors of motorists including bicyclists deemed as most dangerous: speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and running red lights or stop signs.

The question must be asked why Walk SF failed to mention the comprehensive approach of the enforcement. Walk SF's joint statement, which is not posted to the police department's site, gives the false impression that only motor vehicle drivers are targeted and ought to be immediately amended to reflect the reality of the enforcement.

I believe there is much work to be done among all folks who use the public streets and sidewalks, to keep us all safe. And I'm a slow-biker who contends with cars and buses, other bikers and spacey pedestrians who feels a big matter in need of addressing is the unsafe riding behavior of many bikers.

Just yesterday, a pedestrian was hit at Castro and Market Streets by a bicyclist who may have run a red light and both were sent to the hospital for medical attention, according to a Bay City News story carried by the SF Appeal.

One more reason for Walk SF to not limit its safety and police enforcement perspectives only to automobiles and public transit vehicles.

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