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San Francisco cyclist kills pedestrian - takes to bike blog to discuss

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San Francisco cyclist kills pedestrian - takes to bike blog to discuss

Old 04-06-12, 03:44 PM
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lineinthewater
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San Francisco cyclist kills pedestrian - takes to bike blog to discuss

Kind of surprised no one posted this already:

"The story of a San Francisco cyclist who plowed into a pedestrian on March 29 and then apparently took to a bicycle blog forum to tell his side of the story is blowing up on the Web."

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/c...181534779.html
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Old 04-06-12, 04:14 PM
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The cyclist sounds irresponsible and foolish. Like many drivers and many pedestrians. It's a sad story, and I'm sad to read it.
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Old 04-06-12, 05:06 PM
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Now if only people would get this upset about the 5000+ pedestrians killed by cars each year.
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Old 04-06-12, 05:19 PM
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According to the cyclist, he entered the intersection while the light was yellow, which is legal and, if true, gave him the right to continue through the intersection. Unfortunately, while he was crossing the intersection the pedestrians received a walk signal and immediately entered the crosswalk, which left the cyclist no where to go. If the cyclist's account is accurate, then the fault lies with the pedestrian since once the cyclist legally entered the intersection he had the right-of-way. If the light had turned red prior to the cyclist crossing the limit line, then he's at fault.

Either way, pushing a stale green, especially when there are hordes of peds. preparing to cross, is bone-headed at best. I understand the desire to stay in that clear zone that occurs late in the signal cycle when the cars aren't stacked up on you, but it's still a stupidly dangerous idea.
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Old 04-06-12, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
According to the cyclist, he entered the intersection while the light was yellow, which is legal and, if true, gave him the right to continue through the intersection. Unfortunately, while he was crossing the intersection the pedestrians received a walk signal and immediately entered the crosswalk, which left the cyclist no where to go. If the cyclist's account is accurate, then the fault lies with the pedestrian since once the cyclist legally entered the intersection he had the right-of-way. If the light had turned red prior to the cyclist crossing the limit line, then he's at fault.

Either way, pushing a stale green, especially when there are hordes of peds. preparing to cross, is bone-headed at best. I understand the desire to stay in that clear zone that occurs late in the signal cycle when the cars aren't stacked up on you, but it's still a stupidly dangerous idea.
Some of the story doesn't really add up. If they were indeed travelling at 35mph at the time of the accident (as claimed in the yahoo article), they should have easily been clear of the intersection entirely before peds started crossing - unless people were already walking into the street before the light turned red. Either that or the light turned red before he entered the intersection. Or they were (and this seems most likely) moving well below 35mph when they got to the intersection.
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Old 04-06-12, 05:54 PM
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In Toronto I often encounter pedestrians that step into the street as soon as the (1)the light has turned yellow and (2)there are no more cars. They seem not to be as aware of bikes clearing the intersection. I've often been in the situation where it would have been unsafe for me to stop for the yellow, and in long intersections it can be a problem. On one hand, you want to keep your pace in order to clear the light before it goes red, but if someone decides to step out early you could cream them. If there are no cars behind me I usually keep up my speed, but move into the center/left of the lane so that I am not in a crash-trajectory with pedestrians stepping out into the intersection. If I anticipate that clearing the intersection will be very close and see pedestrians with headphones, texting on smartphones, etc. hugging the curb, I slow right down (ensuring I don't clear the light) and simply navigate around pedestrians at very low speed (I'll note that pedestrians rarely stop and wait for me to clear the intersection if I slow down).

The cyclist could be officially in the right, but his actions appear reckless to me. Not to mention he fled the scene.

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Old 04-06-12, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
Some of the story doesn't really add up. If they were indeed travelling at 35mph at the time of the accident (as claimed in the yahoo article), they should have easily been clear of the intersection entirely before peds started crossing - unless people were already walking into the street before the light turned red. Either that or the light turned red before he entered the intersection. Or they were (and this seems most likely) moving well below 35mph when they got to the intersection.
That's what I was thinking as well. Even if pedestrians jump the signal, an astute urban cyclist should have anticipated this and moderated his speed. My guess is that he was well aware of the light timing and was sprinting to make the light.

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Old 04-06-12, 09:30 PM
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Today while walking my dog, I timed the yellow-to-red of the traffic light the cyclist would have seen coming down the hill southbound on Castro at Market. It was four seconds. Then I time the delay between the red light to the cyclist and the pedestrian "walk" light in the crosswalk the pedestrians were in. That was also four seconds.

Bottom line is that eight seconds passed between the green-to-yellow traffic light for the cyclist and the "walk" light for the pedestrians in the crosswalk. At thirty-five mph, it would only have taken the cyclist two to three seconds to transit the intersection. According to the cyclist's post, "...almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions..."

Pedestrians at that intersection are typically very careful about waiting for the "walk" light, because it's so busy, especially around 8:00 in the morning.

My reluctant conclusion is that the cyclist blew a red light at rush hour and at an intersection flooded with pedestrians going to and from the Castro Muni underground station, but we'll have to wait for the investigation to be completed.
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Old 04-07-12, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
Today while walking my dog, I timed the yellow-to-red of the traffic light the cyclist would have seen coming down the hill southbound on Castro at Market. It was four seconds. Then I time the delay between the red light to the cyclist and the pedestrian "walk" light in the crosswalk the pedestrians were in. That was also four seconds.

Bottom line is that eight seconds passed between the green-to-yellow traffic light for the cyclist and the "walk" light for the pedestrians in the crosswalk. At thirty-five mph, it would only have taken the cyclist two to three seconds to transit the intersection. According to the cyclist's post, "...almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions..."

Pedestrians at that intersection are typically very careful about waiting for the "walk" light, because it's so busy, especially around 8:00 in the morning.

My reluctant conclusion is that the cyclist blew a red light at rush hour and at an intersection flooded with pedestrians going to and from the Castro Muni underground station, but we'll have to wait for the investigation to be completed.
Thanks for all the info.

I haven't looked at where this intersection is located, nor do I know how San Fran is equipped, but I would think there is a chance the whole incident was caught on traffic video.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:02 AM
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The 35mph- is this downhill?? Locals??
Pretty sure that even elite road cyclists can BARELY approach 35mph-and then just for seconds.
Normal fanatic rider on a road bike can barely hit 25-28mph
1)Downhill- most likely
2)Drafting
3)Full head down sprint mode fastest rider in San Francisco
4)35 MPH is BS- second most likely
Charlie
PS looked it up- 35 mph is roughly .65hp-it is what an elite time trial cyclist can hold for one hour-funny I thought that record-1 hour- was less than 35 miles??
In any case 35 mph is a full on head down sprint for a waaaay above average rider-crazy stuff in a busy city

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Old 04-07-12, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
The 35mph- is this downhill?? Locals??
Pretty sure that even elite road cyclists can BARELY approach 35mph-and then just for seconds.
Normal fanatic rider on a road bike can barely hit 25-28mph
1)Downhill- most likely
2)Drafting
3)Full head down sprint mode fastest rider in San Francisco
4)35 MPH is BS- second most likely
Charlie
PS looked it up- 35 mph is roughly .65hp-it is what an elite time trial cyclist can hold for one hour-funny I thought that record-1 hour- was less than 35 miles??
In any case 35 mph is a full on head down sprint for a waaaay above average rider-crazy stuff in a busy city
Charlie, it's downhill for two blocks without a stop sign or traffic light before reaching the Castro and Market intersection. 35mph on that stretch wouldn't be that difficult. Gravity is your friend going downhill.
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Old 04-07-12, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by lineinthewater View Post
Thanks for all the info.

I haven't looked at where this intersection is located, nor do I know how San Fran is equipped, but I would think there is a chance the whole incident was caught on traffic video.
The SFPD is looking at security camera footage from merchants near the intersection as part of the investigation.
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Old 04-07-12, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
The SFPD is looking at security camera footage from merchants near the intersection as part of the investigation.
The one thing that has me kind of scratching my head is if he ran the light so late, why a car didn't take him out as they jumped the light at the same time as the pedestrians. I guess I'm making assumptions about the layout of the intersection ... and maybe the vehicles actually saw him coming.
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Old 04-07-12, 09:19 AM
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Scooper
Thanks-Longish downhill huh-
35mph would be easy then.My MTB is very unhappy at those speeds-wobbles.
Surprised this guys front wheel was true enough to clear his brakes so he could sneak off
Love the way he said "apparently I hit someone" or something like that.
Yeah-like you wouldn't notice center punching some oldster at 35mph.
Charlie

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Old 04-07-12, 09:34 AM
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My respects to Mr. Hui and family.
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Old 04-07-12, 10:25 AM
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The one thing I've learned whether it's riding a bike or walking, is to always observe the approaching traffic when I'm crossing at a controlled intersection. If the cyclist's description of the incident is anywhere close, the light is set too quick. Locally, due to our high collision rate, most of the stop light intersections have a momentary all way red delay.
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Old 04-07-12, 10:56 AM
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This map of the intersection and photo I took this morning looking north on Castro from the south side of the intersection may help. Notice how far back from the intersection the Market St crosswalks are, and the cars have to stop behind the crosswalks.





P.S. I'll be 70 in June, so I guess I'm an oldster.
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Old 04-07-12, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
This map of the intersection and photo I took this morning looking north on Castro from the south side of the intersection may help. Notice how far back from the intersection the Market St crosswalks are, and the cars have to stop behind the crosswalks.

P.S. I'll be 70 in June, so I guess I'm an oldster.
Amazing details that you are providing.

And yes, it does start to explain why the cyclist didn't T-bone a (or was t-boned by) vehicle that was accelerating on the green.

It's hard to understand why the cyclist didn't swerve into the #1 lane in his direction to avoid pedestrians. Is someone saying the pedestrians had already covered both lanes? Or was there a car also running the light next to him that prevented a lane change/swerve? Something really doesn't add up, unless there was massive negligence (i.e. complete blindness). The pedestrians should have seen him coming a mile away (from that angle), and the cyclist should have seen the pedestrians coming off the crosswalk.
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Old 04-07-12, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by lineinthewater View Post


It's hard to understand why the cyclist didn't swerve into the #1 lane in his direction to avoid pedestrians. Is someone saying the pedestrians had already covered both lanes? Or was there a car also running the light next to him that prevented a lane change/swerve? Something really doesn't add up, unless there was massive negligence (i.e. complete blindness). The pedestrians should have seen him coming a mile away (from that angle), and the cyclist should have seen the pedestrians coming off the crosswalk.

My only guess is that the cyclist's brakes were not up to par to handle a 35 mph stop in time to avoid the peds, and that some peds can turn into real lemmings when the walk sign comes on.
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Old 04-07-12, 12:26 PM
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Here's another story about the accident. This one is from the Marin Independent Journal, and apparently the cyclist was returning from a pre-dawn group ride across the Golden Gate in the Marin County headlands.

http://www.marinij.com/sausalito/ci_...ce=most_viewed
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Old 04-07-12, 12:31 PM
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Castro Street- wasn't that street prominently mentioned in the book about the early days of the AIDS epidemic-Bath Houses spectacular #'s of anonymous partners-political considerations outweighing public health concerns-?? HIV killed 60%(or more) of that cohort.

Wow-hill like that-yeah 35 mph would be easy.I would have to drag the brakes on a hill like that.
35mph-roughly 50 fps- think we decided-somewhere on this forum-that good brakes/tires could do about .6G (20FPS/S DECELERATION)- but that is on level ground-that hill might be worth .2g or so.
Stupid and dangerous to let your speed get that high-and the crosswalk is still on a downhill-right!!

Scooter-yeah you are an oldster-I'm just 61.Great pictures-info- must have hobbled down to the intersection on your walker!
Charlie
PS Fair # of SUVs considering gas prices( $3.91 for Shell regular here-NOLA suburb-today).
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Old 04-07-12, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
My only guess is that the cyclist's brakes were not up to par to handle a 35 mph stop in time to avoid the peds
This, most cyclists I see bombing down hills at 30+mph seem woefully unprepared to make a panic stop. Once he committed to making the light there was realistically (probably) no chance he could stop at that cross-walk. Plus, when I'm going through intersections at speed I'm looking for cars and not people.
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Old 04-07-12, 01:02 PM
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Anyone else local notice they're trying to use this as a lightning rod to talk about how dangerous cyclists are in the bay area? My heart really goes out to the family of Mr. Hui. Oh and the fact this guy traveled that intersection twice a week, IMO I'm pretty sure he knew how the light works what the actual speed limit was and what the crosswalks get like in that intersection, and after reading his snippits I'm even more appalled.. to me it sounds like he had the choice between attempting to stop or "being entitled".. I really hope I'm misunderstanding but even in that last bit it sounds like he was still spinning when he aimed at the least populated part of the sidewalk as he put it...
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Old 04-07-12, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Stupid and dangerous to let your speed get that high-and the crosswalk is still on a downhill-right!!
Not exactly. The cyclist is on a road with steep downhill that goes level through the intersection and then steep downhill again after the intersection.

There is a reason that these roads have 25 mph speed limits (not that motorist pay any attention to the limit either).
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Old 04-07-12, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Castro Street- wasn't that street prominently mentioned in the book about the early days of the AIDS epidemic-Bath Houses spectacular #'s of anonymous partners-political considerations outweighing public health concerns-?? HIV killed 60%(or more) of that cohort.
Yes. Randy Shilts, author of And The Band Played On was a friend of mine, and was vilified for calling for the closure of gay bathhouses in San Francisco to slow the spread of AIDS. In the mid- to late-eighties I was attending two or three funerals a week.
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