San Francisco police are investigating allegations that a driver sideswiped a bicyclist — and then charged directly at the victim.
Maxwell Wallace said he was cycling down Fulton Street near Divisadero Street around 11 a.m. Monday. He was riding in the bike lane, along one of the most heavily trafficked bike commuter routes in San Francisco.
Construction blocked the bike lane, Wallace said, so he circumvented it briefly by sharing the side of the road. A vehicle came up on his side and side-swiped him.
But the incident didn’t end there, Wallace claims.
The car stopped, and Wallace walked around in front of it. The driver didn’t get out of the car to check on Wallace, who then pulled out his phone to take a photo of the driver’s license plate.
“He sees me there trying to take a photo, and he guns it, accelerates, and I jump up quickly,” Wallace said. “I land on the hood of his car, and he continues to drive. I hit the windshield and I’m holding on.”
Wallace was carried a hundred feet, he said. Witnesses took photos, including one that showed Wallace’s head over the top of the car, as he held onto the windshield.
Eventually the driver stopped, and Wallace got off. The driver sped away. Wallace suffered injuries to his wrist and hands.
“I was really shaken,” Wallace said.
Officer Carlos Manfredi, and SFPD spokesman, said who was at fault in the incident is still unclear.
“It’s not sure if the person deliberately tried to run him over,” Manfredi said, “or the cyclist went on the hood. We have one side of the story, we don’t have the other side of the story.”
Manfredi did confirm the driver would be charged for a hit and run because he fled the scene, as well as for failing to give Wallace’s bicycle a 3-foot buffer zone, as per traffic code. The case is now in the hands of hit and run investigators, he said.
The incident happened amid a frenzied debate over a new bike yield law at the Board of Supervisors and discussions of mitigating traffic deaths on city streets.