Bicyclist hit at problem intersection of Market and Octavia streets 

A German tourist driving a rental car made an illegal right-hand turn and struck a bicyclist Wednesday at a San Francisco intersection that has plagued cyclists and pedestrians since the tearing down of the Central Freeway.

The cyclist was riding toward the Financial District on Market Street at Octavia Boulevard at about 9:25 a.m. when a white Chevy, which was traveling the same direction, suddenly turned in front of him.

The cyclist braked hard but still hit the side of the car, flew over the hood and landed on his back, where he remained until an ambulance arrived. The extent of the cyclist’s injuries was not immediately clear, but police Sgt. Michael Andraychak  said they were not life-threatening.

Cars making illegal turns has plagued pedestrians and cyclists alike at the busy intersection. The City has installed barriers to prevent drivers from making right-hand turns, but vehicles continue to make the turn as a shortcut onto the freeway.

Two state bills had been introduced by both Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and later by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to allow an automated camera to take pictures of violators. Ammiano’s bill passed the Assembly and Senate but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has long lobbied for a solution at the intersection.

“The City has tried different street designs, including a concrete barrier island and soft-hit posts to improve safety and dissuade the illegal right turns, but it hasn’t been enough,” the group wrote in a press release following the veto. “We have long advocated that to improve everyone’s safety, The City should address the source of the danger, the drivers who are illegally turning right onto the highway.”

The woman driving the car in this latest incident stopped and waited with the cyclist offering help. She was visibly shaken and cooperated with police. An officer did not cite the driver at the scene, Andraychak said, but an infraction may be issued later.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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