SF streets present mean ride for bicyclists

A hit-and-run collision involving a bicyclist and a car early Christmas morning put the bicyclist in a hospital with life-threatening injuries, and police are still searching for a suspect.

An unidentified 24-year-old man was riding west on 25th Street when a gray or silver four-door sedan traveling east on 25th turned north onto Bartlett Street and struck him about 12:20 a.m. Saturday, according to Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak.

The sedan sped off, but left behind evidence at the scene, Andraychak said. And a witness described what happened to police.

The bicyclist did not have a front headlight, which is required by law, according to the police report.

Bert Hill, who teaches a bike-safety class and is the chair of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, has been preaching the importance of using headlights at night.

“At 12:21 in the morning, it’s really important,” Hill said.

The latest report on bicycle collisions in San Francisco comes from the Municipal Transportation Agency and shows a steady increase in injury accidents between 2002 and 2008.

There were 468 injury collisions involving bicyclists in 2008, the most in a decade and up slightly from the 451 recorded in 2007.

“SFMTA Bicycle Program staff has looked at these collision trends in more detail but no immediate cause or factor has been identified,” according to the report, which also points out that the number of cyclists on city streets has increased in the past few years.

“There seems to be an increased number of injuries in the last two years, but it’s hard to tell if that’s a reporting issue or if that’s because there are a lot more bicyclists now,” Hill said.

It is unclear how many incidents occurred in 2010, but there was at least one death and several high-profile collisions.

German tourist Yannick Linke died after he was struck by an alleged drunken driver, Joshua Calder, at Masonic Avenue and Turk Street in August.

In June, four bicyclists were struck within a six-minute period in the Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. Tennis instructor David Mark Clark is currently facing charges related to the alleged rampage.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

 

Dangerous roads

Bike-involved collisions on San Francisco streets:

1999: 429

2000: 364

2001: 360

2002: 307

2003: 311

2004: 316

2005: 343

2006: 343

2007: 451

2008: 468

Source: SFMTA

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