A list of people killed while riding a bicycle in San Francisco
This is an incomplete list. For additions, questions, or comments, please email me at patricktraughber at gmail dot com.
October 11, 2015. A 47-year-old man named Mark Heryer was killed after being struck by an SFMTA Muni bus on the 500 block of Market Street at 3:23pm. The man was riding the bicycle westbound on Market and according to SFPD “maneuvered out of the sharrow lane to ride between two buses, also moving westbound”. However, follow up SFPD reports presented to the Bicycle Advisory Committee on October 26th suggest Mr. Heryer had not, in fact, attempted to ride between two buses but instead was passing a Muni bus that was moving slowly in the rightmost travel lane. Mr. Heryer was found at fault in the incident despite a lack of evidence that he violated any laws.
The street on which the man was killed has “sharrows” but no protected bike lanes on that block. SFMTA did not suggest any improvements to Market Street following the incident.
June 5, 2015. A 23-year-old man named Donald Pinkerton-DeVito was killed in a collision with an SFPD cruiser near Sunnydale and Persia Avenues in McLaren Park around 9pm. The cause of the collision has not been released. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, nearby residents described seeing police frequently traveling fast through the area.
The street on which the collision occurred is in a park and did not have a protected bike lane nor bicycle sharrows painted on the street.
Source: SF Chronicle
March 2, 2015. A 66-year-old man named Charles Vinson was killed in a collision with a white Honda Civic at 14th and Folsom at approximately 12:30pm. According to the San Francisco Examiner, “Oakland resident Noe Orozco said he witnessed the vehicle blow through a red light and strike [Charles Vinson] as [he] waited for the light to turn green.” The driver of the Honda Civic was heading north on Folsom when the driver struck Charles.
It is not known whether the driver was found to be at fault or if any charges were filed.
The street on which Charles was killed does not have any protected bike lanes.
October 22, 2014. A man whose name and age was not released was killed after falling off his bicycle on Bryant Street approximately 335 feet east of Rincon at 12:28pm. The man was reportedly “going fast” and lost control of his bicycle. The man was found at fault for violating CVC Section 22350.
In the Fatal Traffic Collisions Report, there was no indication of whether any witnesses had seen the man fall. The report does not mention what role, if any, road conditions may have played in the crash.
The street on which the crash occurred does not have a bike lane. At the approximate location of the crash site, there is a large crack in the roadway.
Source: SFPD’s 2014 Fatal Traffic Collisions Report.
May 25, 2014. A 51-year-old man whose name was not released was killed after colliding with a driver of an SUV on Laguna just north of Broadway at 9:13pm. The person on a bicycle was heading northbound on Laguna and collided with the SUV, which was heading southbound. The driver of the SUV turned left into the driveway of an apartment complex in front of the man on the bicycle. The man on the bicycle then collided with the passenger side of the SUV. The man on the bicycle was found to be at fault because according to witnesses he ran the stop sign at Broadway and Laguna and was not able to stop in time before colliding with the SUV.
There is no bike lane on Broadway or Laguna where the collision occurred. The intersection features an obstructed line of sight from the north and southbound directions due to the steepness of the street.
March 19th, 2014. A 55-year-old man named Harold Swaggard was struck by a vehicle near Folsom and Erie Street around 11:30am. Harold died 5 days later on March 24th. The circumstances of the collision are unclear, but Mr. Swaggard was found to be at fault for his death.
The street on which Mr. Swaggard was killed did not have a bike lane.
Source: Heather Knight on Twitter
October 18th, 2013. A 78-year-old man was named Cheng Jin Lai was killed after being run over by a Muni bus in the intersection of 11th and Bryant at 8:40am. Cheng was riding his bicycle to a recycling center when a southbound 27-Bryant bus struck Cheng. The bus was not equipped with a wheel guard, which may have saved Cheng’s life.
The street on which Cheng was killed did not have a protected bike lane. He died within yards of a “Bike Lane Ends” sign.
August 14th, 2013. A 24-year-old woman named Amelie Le Moullac was killed after being run over by a truck whose driver was making a right turn onto 6th Street from Folsom at 7:07am. She was killed while riding in an unprotected bike lane.
Source: SF Chronicle
May 23rd, 2013. A 21-year-old man named Dylan Mitchell was killed after being run over by a Recology garbage truck. The driver was making a right turn onto South Van Ness from 16th Street at 6:45am and didn’t know he had struck Dylan until witnesses flagged him down a block away. Dylan was killed while riding on a road with bike sharrows but no protected bike lane.
Source: SF Chronicle
May 29th, 2012. A 22-year-old man named Robert Yegge was killed after being struck by a truck on Oak at Franklin at 2:30pm. Robert was making a left turn from Oak onto Franklin, and had a green light when the truck collided with him, which was making a right turn at a red light from the opposite direction. He spent several days in a coma before dying in the hospital. Robert was one class away from graduating with a degree in biochemistry from USF.
There are no bike lanes on Oak or Franklin where Robert was killed.
July 20th, 2011. A 25-year-old woman named Nancy Ho was killed after being struck by a Berkeley Farms delivery truck on Mission as she was turning left onto Fremont. She was riding on the street and there were no bike lanes.
October 7th, 2010. A 22-year-old man named Derek Allen was killed after being struck by a MUNI bus on 6th Avenue between Geary and Clement at 4:59pm. Based on witness descriptions and photographs of the accident, Derek was struck from behind by a MUNI bus heading the wrong direction on 6th Avenue. The bus was apparently attempting to pass another stalled MUNI bus when it struck Derek. An official version of the collision is not available because SFPD accident reports are not available to the public.
When Derek was struck and killed while riding his bicycle to pick up dim sum, there were no sharrows or bike lanes on 6th Avenue.
August 13th, 2010. A 22-year-old man named Nils Yannick Linke was killed after being struck from behind by a car on Masonic at Turk at 10:39pm. The driver of the car had just left Kokkari and was drunk. The driver’s girlfriend in the passenger seat saw Nils and screamed “Stop! Stop! Bike! Bike!” before they struck Nil’s from behind. The driver and his girlfriend stopped, moved Nils’ bike onto the sidewalk, and fled the scene, leaving Nils bleeding on the ground. The police found the couple later that night.
When Nils was killed he was riding on Masonic, which despite being a popular route for riding a bicycle, has no bike lanes.
May 21st, 2008. A 35-year-old man named Kirk Janes was killed after being struck by a pickup truck at 10:55am on Fulton at Steiner. Kirk was riding on a street with an unprotected bike lane.
Source: SF Chronicle
March 9th, 2008. A 27-year-old woman named Renata Gonzalez was struck by a truck on Market Street at Octavia. The driver initially fled the scene before turning himself in two hours later. The force of the collision broke 24 bones in Renata’s body, left her with permanent brain damage, and instantly killed her dog Ari, which she was carrying in her sweater. Renata’s brain injuries left her unable to speak and move on her own, and she required a ventilator to breathe. She died three years after the collision in her parent’s home.
Source: SF Examiner
January 12th, 2006. A 26-year-old woman named Sarah Tucker was killed after being struck by a minivan at 2am on Polk at Geary. The driver was speeding through a yellow light heading westbound on Geary. Witnesses told police that Tucker, as her friends called her, yelled “Hey!” at the driver just before he killed her. The driver immediately fled the scene and has never been caught.
Sarah was riding her bike on a street with no protected bike lanes when she was killed. Seven and a half years later, there are still no protected bike lanes on Polk or Geary.
Source: SF Chronicle
Additional facts and notes
In San Francisco, there are 1,088 miles of paved road. There are only 23 miles of Class I bike lanes and 60 miles of Class II bike lanes in San Francisco. And even that is generous; paved paths like the one circling the Golden Gate Park Polo Field are counted as Class I bike lanes.
As of this writing, I do not know of a single mile of bike lane on a San Francisco street (that isn’t in a park) that is protected from vehicles by a physical barrier (e.g., a curb, metal poles, metal rails, row of parked cars, or elevated bike path).
In 2011 alone, there were 630 non-fatal bicycle injury collisions and 4 fatal bicycle collisions in San Francisco.
The 2011 bicycle injury collision total of 630 was the highest in the past ten years. About a fifth of San Francisco’s injury collisions involve bicycles.
That is despite (and a likely reason for) only 3.5% of trips in San Francisco being made on a bicycle.
SFMTA dedicates just 0.46% of its capital budget to bicycling.
Because there are so few protected bike lanes in San Francisco, it is a common occurrence for vehicles—particularly trucks—to block bike lanes and force cyclists into vehicle traffic. For examples, see this Flickr set. For the Flickr group, see here.
Some will blame the San Franciscans riding their bicycles. Some will continue to blame the San Franciscans driving their cars and trucks. But the data suggest, given the overwhelming number of collisions between bicycles and vehicles, that this is fundamentally a problem of design. San Francisco’s streets, as they exist today, are still not adequately designed to ensure the safety of those who use them.
Fortunately, the solution is obvious, simple, and relatively inexpensive: build protected bike lanes on San Francisco’s streets.
If you’d like to do something about this, a good first step is to mention this to the folks that can solve the problem.
Mayor, Ed Lee: https://twitter.com/mayoredlee
Director of SFMTA, Ed Reiskin: https://twitter.com/EdReiskin
District 1 Supervisor, Eric Mar: https://twitter.com/ericmar415
District 2 Supervisor, Mark Farrell: https://twitter.com/MarkFarrellSF
District 3 Supervisor, David Chiu: https://twitter.com/DavidChiu
District 4 Supervisor, Katy Tang: https://twitter.com/SupervisorTang
District 5 Supervisor, London Breed: https://twitter.com/LondonBreed
District 6 Supervisor, Jane Kim: https://twitter.com/SupeJaneKim
District 7 Supervisor, Norman Yee: https://twitter.com/NormanYeeSF
District 8 Supervisor, Scott Wiener: https://twitter.com/Scott_Wiener
District 9 Supervisor, David Campos: https://twitter.com/DavidCamposSF
District 10 Supervisor, Malia Cohen: https://twitter.com/MaliaCohen
District 11 Supervisor, John Avalos:https://twitter.com/AvalosSF
District Attorney (and former Police Chief), George Gascon: https://twitter.com/GeorgeGascon
Below are more people who were killed while riding a bicycle in San Francisco but are not profiled above due to a lack of more information on the person and incident. If you know more about any of these cases, please email me at patricktraughber at gmail.
August 2001: “A female bicyclist was killed in San Francisco yesterday after being struck by a moving van, San Francisco police said. The unidentified cyclist was riding down South Van Ness near the intersection of 13th Street when she crossed into a lane dedicated for freeway traffic, said police Inspector Patrick Tobin.” The San Franciscan was later identified as Carmen Murillo. Source.
April 2001: “Police said the woman bicyclist was killed as she was weaving through heavy traffic near the corner of Oak and Franklin streets at 9:15 a.m. Her handlebar snagged a moving pickup, knocking her off of her bike into the path of a Sunset Scavenger Co. garbage truck.” The San Franciscan was lated identified as 24-year-old Michelle O’Connor. Source.
December 2001: “A bicyclist riding down a wet, busy street last night was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, becoming the third bicyclist killed in San Francisco this year.
The cyclist, a man in his mid-40s who has not yet been identified, suffered fatal head injuries after apparently being rear-ended by a gray Volvo station wagon as he was riding north on Junipero Serra Boulevard at around 10:30 p.m. in rainy weather.
The Volvo, which was traveling at about the 40 mph speed limit, sped off after the accident, witnesses told police.” Source.
November 17th, 2000: “A bicyclist killed by a tractor-trailer rig Friday night was identified yesterday as 30-year-old Christopher Robertson of San Francisco.
Robertson was crushed beneath the rig on Fourth Street as he rode among a group of 40 to 50 bicyclists returning from the funeral of a friend. He died at San Francisco General Hospital.
The truck driver, 42-year-old Rueben Espinoza of Newark, was initially held on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. But a spokesman for District Attorney Terence Hallinan said last night that charges had been dropped pending further investigation.
The accident occurred at 8:50 p.m. in the 1000 block of Fourth Street as Robertson and several other cyclists rode toward Mission Rock.” Source.
August 28th, 1997: “Casey Moe, 25, a popular messenger nicknamed “Area Code,” was riding east on Market Street at 8:15 a.m. yesterday when he attempted to cross the westbound lanes onto Sansome Street, according to police and witnesses.
San Francisco police Sergeant Mike Mahoney said the preliminary investigation indicates Moe either did not see the van or thought he could beat it across the roadway.
The van slammed into the bicyclist, and Moe “flew in the air about 15 to 20 feet,” Mahoney said. He landed head first on the curb with his head against a newsstand, according to witnesses, about 30 of whom rushed to the scene after the accident and began frantically calling for help.” Source.
August 1997: “The incident came three days after another bicyclist was killed downtown. Pauline Caluyawas riding on Market Street on Monday when she lost control of her bike on a ventilation grate and slid under a moving van. The truck rolled over Caluya, killing her.” Source. More here.
September 10th, 1996: “As friends mourned the traffic death of a San Francisco bicyclist they described as a “healer and Renaissance man,” city officials pondered ways to stem the carnage caused by motorists running red lights.
Gary Knight, 52, was killed Tuesday by truck driver Bruce King, who ran a red light at the intersection of Park Presidio Boulevard and Lake Street. Police said King was checking an address on his clipboard and failed to notice the changing light.” Source.
October 8th, 1996: “A bicyclist who was killed when she was accidentally run over by a semi truck near Civic Center has been identified as 31-year-old Tanya Sisak, a resident of San Francisco.
Police Inspector Mike Mahoney said Sisak and her boyfriend, Patrick Meyer, had stopped at a stoplight at Polk Street and Golden Gate Avenue at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.” Source.