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Friday, February 19, 2016

Great Success: Cyclists' Sensible Yet Illegal Behavior Rewarded (With Bike Lane)

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 11:10 AM

A winning scene. - CHRIS ROBERTS
  • Chris Roberts
  • A winning scene.
As anyone living west of Divisadero will tell you, navigating Page Street in the morning can be hairy. Traffic often backs up for blocks as you head down a long hill on the approach to Octavia Boulevard, where cars line up to take a right turn towards the US-101 onramp.

Bicycle riders adjust by passing the stopped cars on the left, but the street is narrow — so passing bikes, flying down the hill, often have to use the oncoming travel lane. That's a sensible move, as passing on the right would require navigating an even narrower passage between the cars caught in traffic and the parked cars, but that's a no-no, and has in the past earned cyclists tickets from SFPD standing sentinel at the bottom of the hill.

But no longer. The once-illegal behavior is now enshrined in law, thanks to a freshly-painted bike lane installed this week. Chalk — or paint — this one up to the cyclists.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Board of Supervisors Passes Bike Yield Law, But it Fails Anyway

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 10:56 AM

MARK NYE/FLICKR
  • Mark Nye/Flickr

Nothing on two wheels in San Francisco is fast enough to escape controversy.

Odd as it sounds, city government ended up divided on ideological grounds Tuesday over the question of whether or not bikes should have to heed stop signs.

Supervisor John Avalos’ bill granting cyclists leeway to ignore stop signs under some circumstances garnered just enough votes to pass but not yet enough to overcome a promised mayoral veto. In the midst of the debate, the 11 supervisors managed to field roughly 13 or 14 distinct arguments on the topic.

The proposal would allow cyclists to roll through stops, provided the cyclists are traveling less than 6 miles an hour, there are no pedestrians within 6 feet, and they at least slow down a bit. City Hall has taken to calling this an “Idaho Stop,” which is ironic given that the same maneuver in a car is known as a California Stop.

Surely it undermines the entire concept of a stop sign if not everybody has to stop, right?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Idaho Stop, Up for Vote Today, Still Two Supes Shy of Overriding Mayor's Promised Veto

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 at 12:57 PM

KATE MCCARTHY/FLICKR
  • Kate McCarthy/Flickr

The fate of two big issues will be decided at City Hall today: one is whether the city will fund construction of a new $380 million jail, while the other — arguably more consequential for the average San Franciscan — is whether rolling bike stops will be made legal.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Mayor Lee Will Use His Veto Power to Make Sure Bicyclists Stop at Stop Signs

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 9:36 AM

KATE MCCARTHY/FLICKR
  • Kate McCarthy/Flickr

Controversy over the “Idaho stop” law — which would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and ride through without coming to a complete halt — continues to fester.

As the Chronicle reports, Mayor Lee has vowed to veto any such law, saying, “I’m not willing to trade away safety for convenience, and any new law that reaches my desk has to enhance public safety, not create potential conflicts that can harm our residents.”

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

SF Cop Known For "Bike Crackdown" Rolls Through Stop Sign

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 12:26 PM


Much outrage of late has been aimed at San Francisco's darn scofflaw cyclists, as angry drivers and pedestrians call bicycle users who roll through stop signs without halting completely.

San Francisco police Capt. John Sanford, who oversees Park Station, even called for a "crackdown" on such bad bike behavior earlier this summer. 

In a twist, a video has surfaced that shows Sanford, who later called off the crackdown after community pressure, rolling through a stop sign. 

What cycles around, cycles around, it seems. 

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Mustachioed Critical Mass Cyclist Pleads Not Guilty to Zipcar Attack

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 1:30 PM

COURTESY SFPD
  • Courtesy SFPD
Ian Hespelt, the mustachioed cyclist who made headlines last month when he reportedly attacked a Zipcar with a U-lock during a Critical Mass ride, has pleaded not guilty, NBC reports.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

District Attorney Blasts Bicyclist who Attacked Zipcar During Critical Mass

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 10:04 AM

Ian Hespelt, Critical Masshole. - PHOTO VIA SFPD
  • Photo via SFPD
  • Ian Hespelt, Critical Masshole.
“Despicable behavior.” That’s how District Attorney George Gascón described the actions of Ian Hespelt, 39, the mustachioed bicyclist who earned his 15 minutes of infamy after video of him attacking a Zipcar surfaced on YouTube.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Video: Critical Mass Cyclists Lash Out at Motorist in the Marina

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 9:48 AM

COURTESY OF YOUTUBE
  • Courtesy of YouTube

Last Friday’s Critical Mass ride took a dark turn in the Marina.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SFPD Backs Off Bicyclist Crackdown

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 11:06 AM

CHRISTOPHER PORTER/FLICKR
  • Christopher Porter/Flickr
SFPD Park Station Capt. John Sanford is ending his controversial crackdown on minor traffic infractions by bicyclists, the San Francisco Examiner reports

Sanford's decision to start strictly enforcing laws requiring bicyclists to perform a full stop (feet on the ground) at stop signs netted 204 citations in the Park district over just two days in August, the majority of them to bicyclists. It also prompted condemnation from bicyclists and a gridlock-forming protest by bikers demonstrating what would happen to traffic if they actually followed the laws

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bicyclists Hope to Recapture the Magic of the Wiggle Stop In

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 3:36 PM

The first Wiggle "civil obedience" protest was a viral success - KEVIN MONTGOMERY
  • Kevin Montgomery
  • The first Wiggle "civil obedience" protest was a viral success

Like the Google bus blockaders before them, San Francisco bicyclists who carried out a successful, attention-grabbing protest a few weeks ago will attempt to recapture the magic with a repeat today. 

The cyclists are angry at an SFPD crackdown on rolling stops at stop signs and other minor infractions. On July 30, hundreds of bikers took to the Wiggle, where they rode single file, stopped at every stop sign, and crossed intersections one at a time. The act of civil obedience — dubbed a "stop in" — instantly created a traffic nightmare. 

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