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Driver in custody after fatal collision with bicyclist

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A bicyclist was killed in a collision at Turk and Taylor streets Tuesday night. A suspected drunk driver who allegedly fled the scene was arrested. (Photo courtesy of Alex Gaesser)

A driver was arrested Tuesday evening after a bicyclist was struck and killed in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

The 41-year-old male driver, who was traveling west on Turk Street in a silver BMW, allegedly struck 65-year-old Gregory Blackman in the area of Turk and Taylor streets around 5:45 p.m. and then fled the scene.

Blackman was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The driver was later located and arrested.

Jail records show that 41-year-old Michael Smith was booked Tuesday night on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving under the influence causing injury. He remains in custody with bail set at $750,000.

The area where the collision occurred is the intersection of two known high injury corridors, the 13 percent of San Francisco streets where 71 percent of severe and fatal collisions occur, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The high number of one-way streets in the Tenderloin encourage speeding and make the area particularly dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“No one deserves to die simply because of where they live and how they get around,” Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier said in a statement. “As a city, we owe it to people who live and bike in the Tenderloin to do more, faster to reverse a history of traffic violence.”

SEE RELATED: Turk Street gets new protected bike lane

Bike lanes were completed on Turk Street between Mason and Polk streets earlier this year, but are not fully protected. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is developing plans for safety improvements on Taylor Street, but the design for the project is not expected to come up for approval until this fall.

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