Bike to Work Day marred by another Wiggle police sting UPDATED

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Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, SFBC head Leah Shahum, and Mayor Ed Lee on Bike to Work Day.
Courtesy of SFBC

City officials and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition hailed yesterday’s Bike to Work Day as a success, with the official SFMTA count finding 76 percent of vehicles along Market Street during the morning commute were bikes. But a pair of motorcycle cops ticketing cyclists that afternoon on the Wiggle put a damper on the celebration.

As we reported in this week’s paper, cycling has come to enjoy almost universal support in City Hall, at least in terms of political rhetoric, although the Mayor’s Office and SFMTA have committed only a small fraction of the funding needed to meet official city goals for increasing ridership. And yesterday’s bike sting on the Wiggle, a key east-west bike corridor in Lower Haight, felt like a slap in the face to the SFBC.

Since another series of police stings targetting cyclists on the Wiggle last fall, SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum has been working closely with the San Francisco Police Department on its goal of focusing traffic enforcement resources on intersections with the most collisions, none of which include the Wiggle (the SFPD’s Focus on the Five initiative pledges traffic enforcement resources to the five most dangerous intersections in each police district and the five most dangerous traffic violations).

On Wednesday night, Shahum was even at the Police Commission hearing discussing the issue, and she says that Police Chief Greg Suhr and other top brass in the department have offered their assurances that such arbitrary stings on the Wiggle weren’t a good use of SFPD resources.

After recent hearings on how SFPD officers have refused to give citations to motorists who hit cyclists, Suhr and the department have also pledged to do so. But Shahum said she also heard from a cyclist on Bike to Work Day who was the victim of a hit-and-run by an impatient, road-raging motorist on 18th Street, and he told her that police refused to take a report even though he took down the license plate number.

Shahum said she’s disheartened by that story and those of the half-dozen cyclists she heard from who were ticketed on the Wiggle for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign on the Wiggle.    

“I’m not confident the commitments from the chief and the commission are making it down to the officers. They are still pursuing very outdated traffic enforcement policies,” Shahum told us.

Shahum said she spoke to Capt. Greg Corrales, whose Park Station precinct includes the Wiggle, and Cmndr. Mikail Ali, who heads traffic enforcement, and both said they had no knowledge of any enforcement stings on the Wiggle. We left a message for SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza, and we’ll update this post if and when we hear back. [UPDATE 5/12: Esparza just told us these citywide traffic enforcement officers were there based on citizen complaints about people running stop signs, but that the timing on BTWD wasn’t intentional: “It was a random thing they happened to be there that day.” He also noted that just 1 percent of traffic citations from April went to cyclists, and 93 percent to motorists, but he said officers can't ignore traffic violations. "We cannot say as an agency do not cite pedestrians, do not cite bicyclists, that would be selective enforcement," he said, while also agreeing that if officers that day on the Wiggle ignored motorist violations to focus on cyclists, that would also be selective enforcement."] 

One of the cyclists ticketed on the Wiggle yesterday wrote this account to Shahum: “I suspect you will be hearing from a lot of cyclists in the next few days regarding the 2 cops who decided to hang out at Waller and Steiner Sts. yesterday to nail riders ‘running the stop sign.’ I was there at 4:51pm yesterday and I approached that intersection as I always do everyday braked with my right hand and signaled with my left arm to make that left turn onto Waller. I know for a fact I stopped as there was a car opposite me heading south on Steiner and I had to make sure which direction it might go. Once I made my left turn, there to greet me was a man in blue telling me to stop and present my driver’s license to him. He said that I failed to stop and I quote ‘your pedals were still moving at the stop sign.’... So,  a great 20th anniversary of bike to work day turned out to be a real downer for myself and I would guess for dozens more of riders. What a scheme to do this on a bike to work day with so many more riders out there.”

At the Bike to Work Day rally outside City Hall yesterday morning, where a broad cross-section of local political leaders and city officials spoke after riding their bikes to the event, Chief Suhr talked about the importance of making the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists: “We are all in this together. Under the leadership of the mayor and the supervisors, all the department heads, we are committed to Vision Zero that in 10 years there are no fatalities in San Francisco.” 

Mayor Lee, who also rode to work, said: "I was proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bike to Work Day by riding this morning from my neighborhood, Glen Park, accompanied by a growing number of bike commuters, including families, who are taking advantage of the benefits of a fun, healthy, affordable way to move around our City. With innovative bikeways like the new contraflow bike lane on lower Polk Street that connects Market Street to the Tenderloin and City Hall, we continue to improve and enhance our City’s bike network to connect our residents, neighborhoods, and businesses. But in order to do even more to make our streets safe, we must invest in our aging transportation infrastructure.” 

Comments

More than half of the time motorists at 4 way stop signs just wave me through.

Posted by marcos on May. 10, 2014 @ 10:38 am

...as I speed through the stop sign without slowing down.

Posted by Marcos on May. 10, 2014 @ 11:08 am

The pedestrian was in my way. I'm a tech worker, condo owner and Mission gentrifier, so I'm a member of the most important groups that support Ed Lee and the status quo. Since I'm so smart and important, everyone else should stay out of my way. Besides, tech workers are known to have autistic tendencies that elevate their own self-importance and prevent true empathy for others. When SF decided to embrace the tech industry it should have known it was getting a lot of selfish workers. So stay out of our way.

Posted by Marcos on May. 10, 2014 @ 12:06 pm
LOL

A car driver is going to complain about someone else being entitled and selfish? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

The pedestrian was in my way. I'm a car driver, so I'm a member of the most important group that supports Ed Lee and the status quo. Since I'm so smart and important, everyone else should stay out of my way. Besides, car drivers are known to have autistic tendencies that elevate their own self-importance and prevent true empathy for others. When SF decided to embrace the automobile it should have known it was getting a lot of selfish assholes. So stay out of our way or we will run you the fuck over. Or bomb you and steal your oil. I shoot you. Or kill you with our exhaust fumes.

There, fixed that for you.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 11, 2014 @ 10:53 pm

Thanks for that GPD.

That type of attitude is the exact one why lots of people in San Francisco hate bicyclists. You help out (primarily) bicyclists as much as Fred Phelps helps out Christians.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2014 @ 11:01 pm

75% of San Franciscans support cycling and think it is good for San Francisco. You entitled car drivers are a dying breed.

Good luck winning elections with 25% support.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 12, 2014 @ 6:47 am

I just took your words and replaced bicyclist with motorist. It is hysterical that you think that makes me look like an extremist, I just repeated your words back to you.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 12, 2014 @ 10:00 am

80% of all statistics are made up. Even if it were true, how many of those 75% are willing to give up their cars for bicycles and take the majority of their trips on bicycles rather than cars? How many car trips are taken daily versus the number of bike rides? 100-1? 1000-1?

I support owning pets too but that doesn't mean I'm going to go out and get a dog.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 10:55 am

About 4% of all trips are made by bicycle in San Francisco and 50% by car, so the real ration is about 12:1. MTA plans are to move the ratio to 2:1 by 2020, which is pretty optimistic. They should get there sometime in the 20's though.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:40 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2014 @ 11:31 am

I agree. Motorists should have to open the door and put a foot down also. That way we can all be sure.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

Have S.F.'s finest given out any tickets for drivers who come within three feet of cyclists who are in a bike lane?

It's easy to believe that they aren't even looking out for such behavior because it happens all the time--and moreover I think on many of those occasions it is done with a malicious disregard for the safety of the cyclists.

So if cops can decide to not prioritize the state law mandating a safe buffer zone then why can they not decide to ignore bicyclists who make prudent "rolling stops"?

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 09, 2014 @ 4:51 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

The quite practical meaning of the law is that a motor vehicle drivers must pass bicyclists who are in a bike lane at the maximum distance from that lane; the same way a non-reptile driver would pass a person changing a tire in the road.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 10, 2014 @ 6:41 am

OK to ride too close to vehicular traffic or otherwise impede it.

As if instant death was not a sufficient deterrent.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2014 @ 9:41 am

by DUI's and public intoxication tickets.

Irish, and faux Irish bar owners complain.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

yes, cycling it has a lot of advantages. cycling will be more scenic, good for health, not cause environmental pollution and not occupy much space.
-------------------
Yepi 4 | Huz 2 | Ebog 3

Posted by Yepi 4 on May. 09, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

yes, cycling it has a lot of advantages. cycling will be more scenic, good for health, not cause environmental pollution and not occupy much space.
-------------------
Yepi 4 | Huz 2 | Ebog 3

Posted by Yepi 4 on May. 09, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

I think she's taking this whole "cycling" thing a little too seriously.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

The cops don't just stage a sting on Bike to Work day. Visibly enforcing these laws on that day is a message sent to civilians that the cops do what they want to when they want to if they want to and nobody else gets to set their agenda.

Posted by marcos on May. 10, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

First off, stop with the dramatics. This wasn't a sting. The police weren't setting out a trap for bicyclists. They didn't put out a bicycle for a robber to steal. They didn't send in a minor to buy booze at a store. Those are stings. This was simple traffic enforcement. I remember before they put in a stop light on 11th and Geary. Every so often a bunch of cops would sit there and pull over anyone who didn't yield to pedestrians or was speeding. This is the exact same thing. The cops just sat there and stopped anyone who chose to run stop signs.

Second, this wasn't a "slap in the face of San Franciscans". Most San Franciscans are fed up with the self-righteous attitude that a lot of bicyclists have and that you and Steven exemplify. That's why you don't see any public outcry about this. Other than that of asshole bicyclists who feel that they don't shouldn't have to obey any traffic laws.

Third, that was the perfect day for the SFPD to increase enforcement. Some people who might not normally ride to work were doing so. They also might not be aware of their responsibilities as a bicyclist or even worse, learning the rules of the road from jerks like you. The article didn't say how many got tickets and how many got warnings. If this was anything like the last time, most people were given warnings. Even when they acted like a indignant jerk like Steven did.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

75% of San Franciscans think that bicycling is good for San Francisco. 2/3 want more bike lanes.

It is only a few self-righteous holier-than-thou arrogant selfish car drivers that believe that they are the only ones who should be allowed to use public space. They speed everywhere, talk on their cell phones, pollute the planet and are a general nuisance to the overwhelming majority of San Franciscans who are environmentalists.

Your days are numbered fool. You are a dying species and don't even realize it yet.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 11, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

Just because people support cycling doesn't mean they want to give up their cars (I'm even dubious of that 75% number. Source?).

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 11:01 am

95% of Americans think eating vegetables is a good idea and 85% support people eating more vegetables. That doesn't mean people are going to become vegans.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 11:17 am

http://old.sfbike.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DBR-SF-Voter-Trans...

"About three fourths of voters believe bicycling is goo for San Francisco"

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

About three fourths of voters believe bicycling is good for San Francisco and that bicycling in the City should be comfortable and attractive to people of all ages, from small children to seniors.

http://old.sfbike.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DBR-SF-Voter-Trans...

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

David Binder is a hack that no one believe or listens to. Every one of my friends drives a car and we all hate those horrid bicyclists. I am certain we will cruise to victory in November.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

If you need any more proof about how much San Franciscans love their cars, just look at how unpopular Sunday meters was.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

So it was a sting and a slap in the face to cyclists, thanks for admitting that.

Posted by marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 11:36 am

It was still neither.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

"First off, stop with the dramatics. This wasn't a sting....The cops just sat there and stopped anyone who chose to run stop signs."

So it was a sting.

"Second, this wasn't a "slap in the face of San Franciscans"...Other than that of asshole bicyclists who feel that they don't shouldn't have to obey any traffic laws."

So it was a slap in the face to San Franciscans who ride bikes.

"Third, that was the perfect day for the SFPD to increase enforcement. Some people who might not normally ride to work were doing so."

So it was a sting that was a slap in the face to San Franciscans carried out on a day of political significance to cyclists.

Thanks for confirming that.

Posted by marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

Here's the definition of a sting: "a complicated and clever plan that is meant to deceive someone especially in order to catch criminals." Was there deceit in any way? No. Two police officers sitting on their clearly marked SFPD motorcycles in their SFPD uniforms at an intersection (not hiding behind anything) watching for people to blow through a stop sign is in no way a clever plan to entrap lawbreakers. The only people who consider it a sting are people who would normally break that law anyway (like you and Steven).

Enforcing traffic law is not a slap in the face of San Franciscans. If the cops set up at an intersection where the people getting pulled over were cars you wouldn't have called it "a slap in the face of San Franciscans". You would have called it "good traffic enforcement". No one else is getting bent out of shape about this except for a few people who feel that since they're bicyclists they should only have to obey whatever laws they choose to.

Did SFPD write them all tickets? No. There were probably less than a handful that the police issued that day. Bicyclists aren't exempt from traffic law just because they think they should be. Your position on bicyclists is clear. You don't think they should have to follow traffic laws because they're bicyclists.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

Enforcing minor bicycle violations on the wiggle on bike to work day is a political slap in the face to civilian political authority in San Francisco by the SFPD.

A cop just came by on someone else's call about homeless and told us that "we" really did not have the resources for the cops to be dealing with the homeless.

But the cops apparently have the resources to set up sting operations for bicyclists going through stop signs in the wiggle on bike to work day.

Posted by marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

Which part of "not a sting" do you still not understand?

Just admit that you think you're entitled to ignore traffic laws because you're a bicyclist.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

Cops enforcing this law in that place on that day is a sting and it is another data point confirming that we can not afford to entrust the SFPD with enforcement discretion.

Posted by marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

Did they ticket the cars that roll through the stop signs on the Wiggle? Every time I ride through the only times I see cars stop completely is for pedestrians or other cross traffic. Coincidentally, that's when I do a complete stop (not a rolling stop) as well. It's like we both have the capability to assess the intersection and determine if we have the right of way and will be able to pass through safely. Imagine that.

Posted by other guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

Wow, this paper attracts the most hateful, selfish people and drivers. Do the advertisers know this?

Posted by Nicholas on May. 12, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

Since most of the SFBG online advertisers these days appear to be strip clubs, I doubt that they care.

Posted by Marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

Looking forward to the all-nude oil wrestling at Centerfolds!

Thanks, SFBG, for clueing me in to this important San Francisco cultural activity!

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

I got followed to work today by one of Park Station's finest. In order to avoid citation, I stopped and put my foot down at every intersection, which not only slowed me down, but held up other vehicles behind me or waiting to go through since it took me longer to get going after each full stop. Meanwhile 2/3 of the drivers I encountered failed to use their turn signals, several did not completely stop, infractions the cop either ignored or failed to notice. Including the one tailing me, I saw at least 3 cop cars driving around the Wiggle this am, probably because it is warm out and there may be more cyclists on the streets.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

The terrorists hate us for our freedoms.

Posted by marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 5:13 pm

Is Greg Corrales still in charge of this outfit?

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:44 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

All pedestrians are terrorists!

Out of my way, terrorists, I'm coming through!

Posted by Marcos on May. 12, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

I live near Ed Lee in Glenn Park. I don't believe he rode his bike from GP to City Hall.
I believe he boarded the bike on Polk. It was all staged.

BTW, Ed does not take the BART to work as far as I know even though there is a BART station practically on his doorstep.

So this is all "do as we say, not as we do".

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 11:50 am

Ed Lee is all "Kind to cyclists" until he sic's the SFPD on them with a sting operation at The Wiggle.

Posted by marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

Ed Lee personally ordered the SFPD to pursue a sting operation at the Wiggle!

He did it while manically laughing, marveling at his treachery!

Posted by Marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 1:09 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

Not that simple.

Any Mayor of San Francisco would need a police escort to ride Bart to work every day. A drive is probably cheaper for the city. Plus he probably doesn't head to City Hall first thing every morning

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

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