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.
[jump] That latter issue, the so-called “Idaho stop” whereby bicyclists can roll through stop signs without coming to a complete halt, has been the focus of intense, months-long controversy that’s seen an official SFPD crackdown, a traffic-jamming demonstration on the Wiggle, and vigorous social media kvetching.
Dramatis personae include Park Station Captain John Sanford, who spearheaded the crackdown; Supervisor John Avalos, who’s now proposing to make the Idaho stop legal; and Mayor Ed Lee, everybody's favorite arch-nemesis, who's threatened to veto the ordinance.
(Stanley Roberts has also had a bit role as the camera-wielding watchdog who thinks cyclists should play by the same rules as cars, and who got a $100,00 bounty on his head as a result.)
Support for and against Avalos’ ordinance is fierce. According to the Chronicle, police chief Greg Suhr tallied the number of collisions involving bicyclists during the first nine months of 2015 at 447, with bicyclists at fault 46 percent of the time.
“It is unacceptable to encourage someone to break a law that could result in injury or death because it is ‘inconvenient’ for the driver/bicyclist to come to a complete stop,” Suhr wrote.
Bicyclists counter that the data is incomplete since the circumstances of those collisions are unknown.
Per the Chronicle, six supervisors are in favor of the ordinance, including Avalos, Wiener, Breed, Campos, Mar, and Kim. Supervisors Cohen, Yee, and Tang oppose, while supervisors Farrell and Peskin are undecided. Farrell and Peskin would have to vote yay in order to override the mayor's veto.
Peskin, who officially joined the Board this month, expressed his bafflement about the whole issue to the Chronicle: “I’m focused on writing a resolution to extend rent control. That’s what I’m thinking about,” he said.