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Another cyclist hit at Market + Octavia (SF)

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Another cyclist hit at Market + Octavia (SF)

Old 06-18-07, 10:51 PM
  #1  
tehdely
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Another cyclist hit at Market + Octavia (SF)

The intersection of Market + Octavia is a real nightmare with an interesting past. Originally, the Central Freeway passed over Market street at that spot and deposited cars a few blocks into town. The freeway was damaged in the 1989 earthquake, and then partially reconstructed a few blocks back. The partial reconstruction was then extended into a ramp which terminated in a street-level 'boulevard' at Market street. This boulevard (Octavia) extends into town a few blocks on the original freeway right-of-way. Though it's nice-looking and definitely an improvement cityscape-wise, it's been a major accident spot because it dumps freeway traffic right into the city, and drivers are always taking dangerous shortcuts around it. It's also one of the worst spots to get right-hooked. The right turn from Market street onto the freeway is illegal, but drivers do it all the time, and cyclists are always getting hit. Last night's incident was probably the 3rd right hook at that spot this year (that's been reported).

The story is better though, as it involves JAMitude to an incredible degree. The illegal right-turning driver was stopped by a witness and tried to drive away. They then struggled for control of the car, which overturned ON the witness. After more onlookers righted the car, he drove away! Incredible. However, the idiot was caught and is now facing felony charges.

The CBS5 news story on it is one of the better pieces of reporting I've seen about a bicycling accident. It explains exactly why people keep getting hit at the intersection. As you can see, the city (feebly) erected a few bollards to shelter the bike lane from the regular lane next to it, but they've all been bent by drivers in a hurry (I have seen cars, tires squealing, hit 3 of these bollards making a quick right turn). The city for a while had targeted enforcement going on at the intersection and was ticketing drivers who made the turn, but it doesn't make up for a bad design. What were they thinking?

In any case, it's not impossible to cycle safely at this intersection. I always merge into the right lane a block before Octavia. I've never gotten a honk for doing it, and I hope to see more cyclists taking care of their safety and TAKING THE LANE at this dangerous intersection. As long as drivers are physically able to make right turns here (and they will, as long as this remains a street-level intersection), cyclists riding in the bike lane will continue to be right-hooked. This is, plain and simple, an example of where the law runs head-on into practicality. It's illegal to make a right turn across a bike lane, but entirely too enticing for entirely too many drivers. The CBS5 reporter (I encourage you to watch the video) seems downright astonished at the idiocy of this arrangement. I'm not anti-bike lane but this is certainly fuel for critics and a good example of where segregating cyclists to the right of traffic doesn't work.

Last edited by tehdely; 06-18-07 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 06-18-07, 11:11 PM
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I'm sure Giorgos had a good reason for hit and run. At least he won't lose his license over this.

If the City really wanted to stop right turns at this intersection, they could replace those plastic bollards with concrete bollards. The kind they installed at Federal buildings following 9/11. That would do it.
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Old 06-18-07, 11:13 PM
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insane

I was following a car two days ago through this intersection, when he slammed on his brakes to make a last minute R turn across the bike lane, nearly taking out a cyclist. I wanted to honk and follow him and call the cops ... but then people in this city get shot for far less. Whoever designed this should be forced to stand at this intersection every day at rush hour for a year.
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Old 06-18-07, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
If the City really wanted to stop right turns at this intersection, they could replace those plastic bollards with concrete bollards. The kind they installed at Federal buildings following 9/11. That would do it.
That wouldn't fix a thing unless you were to extend the concrete far enough to block all southbound traffic. And that would defeat the whole purpose of the ramp, which is designed to carry traffic from Octavia Blvd. on the other side onto the freeway.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:21 PM
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Just take the lane there

The only way to safely navigate that intersection, is to move out of the bike lane a block before and ride in the lane, not to the right of cars. It is downhill at that point, so you keep up with motorists.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by scarry
The only way to safely navigate that intersection, is to move out of the bike lane a block before and ride in the lane, not to the right of cars. It is downhill at that point, so you keep up with motorists.
Tend to agree.

The news report mentioned a concrete "bulb out" to try to force the motorists... sounds like they should end the BL and force both motorists and cyclists to go around a bulb out... signage more than a block before should indicate "Lane Ends, Move Left" and "Cyclists may use Full Lane."
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Old 06-19-07, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
Tend to agree.

The news report mentioned a concrete "bulb out" to try to force the motorists... sounds like they should end the BL and force both motorists and cyclists to go around a bulb out... signage more than a block before should indicate "Lane Ends, Move Left" and "Cyclists may use Full Lane."
San Fransisco all ready has road markings called "Sharrows" meaning bikes and cars share a lane, and indicate to the cyclist to ride in the center of the lane. The concrete barrier would not solve the problem, because the driver could still cut around it and make the turn, unless you blocked off the whole ramp, but that would be dumb.
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Old 06-19-07, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tehdely
I'm not anti-bike lane but this is certainly fuel for critics and a good example of where segregating cyclists to the right of traffic doesn't work.
This just sounds like an extreme example in which traffic conditions make the problem that is present at all intersections where the bike lane stripe is painted up to the intersection (without a right only lane and a bl to the left of that) much more obvious.

But the problem is present at any intersection where the bike lane intended for through bike traiffc is striped to the right of a lane that allows right turning traffic, a situation which can be found at almost any intersection of any bike laned road (except for those with right only lanes where the bl goes to the left of it), including any midblock intersection with a driveway, alley or commercial entrance along a road with a bike lane.
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