“Park police target scofflaw cyclists,” The City, July 17
More reader reaction
Thanks for the recent article about the Park Police Station and cyclists. I appreciate your organization bringing this topic into spotlight, and it prompted much discussion. With limited resources, I believe the SFPD should focus on what can get the most results — that is, to have drivers with heavy vehicles, traveling at high speed, with the potential to do much harm to themselves and others, drive safely.
It is very disappointing to see that SFPD chose to ignore the groundwork done and data collected by grassroots organizations such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Let’s face it, with Muni services the way they are, private cars and bicycles are not going away in San Francisco. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if SFPD and the bike coalition can work together?
Mei Kuen Liu
Focusing precious enforcement resources on the five most dangerous traffic behaviors is necessary to eliminating traffic deaths.
Safety should be the top priority at SFPD’s Park Station, and data-driven enforcement is the proven way to protect everyone who bikes, drives and walks. Our traffic enforcement should be focused on all road users, particularly those most likely to injure or kill someone in a crash.
SFPD’s Park Station should partner with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which trained over 5,000 people on how to bike and drive safely last year. The bicycle coalition has a history of cooperating with the prior leadership at Park Station and is dedicated to making our streets safer for everyone.
As a longtime San Francisco resident (35 years), a bike rider and car driver, I would like to make a comment about pedestrian safety and bicycles.
I have spent some time reading the various studies on pedestrian injuries and deaths, both in San Francisco and other cities around the world. The statistics are quite clear: A pedestrian is significantly more likely to be killed or injured by a motor vehicle than a bicycle.
Consequently, it seems reasonable to allocate finite police resources to enforcement of automobile laws which will result in the most effective way to minimize pedestrian injuries and deaths.
As one who is both a bicyclist and a pedestrian, I believe that a big part of the recently expressed anger pedestrians have toward bicyclists has been caused because The City’s bicyclists fail to understand how they appear to pedestrians.
First and foremost, there is absolutely no excuse for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, period. Second, when riding on the street, be aware of the effect you on your bicycle have on pedestrians.
Imagine that you’re walking across the street when suddenly another person strides quickly toward you and swings his fist in the direction of your face. He’s still a few feet away from you, and in fact doesn’t come close to actually striking you, but the suddenness of his unexpected movement causes you to reflexively react to an apparent physical threat.
When a bicyclist zooms past a pedestrian at close range the effect is the same. The bicyclist focuses solely on the space required to ride by without considering that his or her speed and height will trigger an uncontrollable response to unexpected danger. And as we know, after someone has been scared by another seemingly thoughtless stranger, the next reaction is often anger toward that person.
Riley B. VanDyke