The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is now throwing its heavy political weight behind a new stop sign law for cyclists.
Announced by Supervisor John Avalos earlier this month, the ordinance would urge the SFPD to make citations for bicyclists who “safely yield at stop signs” a low law enforcement priority.
The bike coalition trumpeted their “unfettered support” of Avalos’ law on its website Monday, urging San Francisco cyclists and its more than 10,000 members to sign a petition to show their support.
The proposal is called the “San Francisco Right-of-Way Policy,” but it mirrors the “Idaho Stop,” an Idaho state law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign if no vehicles or pedestrians are present at an intersection.
For months, the bike coalition held back from taking a position on the possibility of a yield law for cyclists. Addressing the change of heart, coalition spokesman Chris Cassidy said the group’s members led the way.
“The leadership of our members at Park Station really drew our attention to how strongly they felt on the issue,” Cassidy told the San Francisco Examiner, speaking of the SFPD station which announced a “bike crackdown” that ignited cyclist protests.
Cassidy also said, “Promises and comments from the Board of Supervisors show there may be changes on the horizon.”
Before Avalos’ proposal was announced, Board of Supervisors President London Breed told the Examiner she would support a potential yield law. Since then, Breed and Supervisor Scott Wiener signed on as co-sponsors of Avalos’ ordinance.
“Enforcement against minor bike violations won’t make our streets safer,” Wiener wrote in a recent blog post, “but will make it a heck of a lot harder for people to bike.”
Last month, a smaller bicycle advocacy group, The Wigg Party, staged a protest of San Francisco Police Department Capt. John Sanford’s proposed bike crackdown along a popular cyclist commuter route known as “The Wiggle.”
The Wigg Party asked cyclists to obey the letter of the law and come to a full stop at stop signs on Paige Street.
The result of fully obeying the law were traffic snarls as far as the eye could see, as well as unsafe cycling conditions, cyclists at the protest told the Examiner.
The bike coalition said The Wigg Party members, many of whom are also bike coalition members, led the charge on the yield law.