August 24, 2013

Cop at a memorial for a dead cyclist "then told me explicitly that he 'would not leave until I ‘understood’ that ‘it was the bicyclist’s fault."

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said that SFPD Sgt. Richard Ernst made his "apparent disdain for 'you people,' bicyclists, disturbingly clear."
Shahum said that she tried to be diplomatic with Ernst and asked him to please move his patrol car out of the bike lane and into an available parking space that was right next to it, saying that it presented an unnecessary hazard to bicyclists riding past.
Diplomatically asking a cop to move his patrol car? Is that possible?
And apparently Ernst didn’t stop at denouncing [24-year-old Amelie Le Moullac] for causing her own death, in front of people who are still mourning that death. Shahum said Ernst also blamed the other two bicyclist deaths in SF this year on the cyclists, and on “you people” in the SFBC for not teaching cyclists how to avoid cars.

20 comments:

Sam L. said...

Everyone having a bad, bad day.

EDH said...

On a warm San Franciscan Night

Cops face, is filled, with hate
Heavens above
He's on a street, called "Love"
When will they ever learn?

Old cop, young cop
Feel all right
On a warm San Franciscan night

The children are cool
They don't raise fools
It's an American dream
Includes Indians too

30yearProf said...

Alienate the public. It's become Order #1 for most police departments.

Losing the backing of the middle class will be the biggest mistake the POLICE Establishment ever makes. When everyone hates them and no one trusts them, they will be unable to function except as another gang of thugs whose "colors" are NYPD blue.

Ambrose said...

The article seems to be exclusively based on Ms. Shahum's written complaint. No reporting involved.

The Godfather said...

It was a memorial and "informational" event. It seems that the bike people were exploiting the bicyclist's death to promote their own views of traffic safety. The cop decided to use the occasion to promote his views of traffic safety. That perspective makes the cop's presence and statements a little less offensive.

GrandpaMark said...

Cyclists in S.F are aggressive and intimidating. Running stop signs and creating havoc is the norm.

Once a month or so, they completely take over downtown, blocking traffic, kicking cars and causing old ladies to pee their pants because they cannot get home one time.

Any death is tragic but not automatically the car guys fault.

Biker convicted of running a sign and killing an elderly Chinese guy this year in S.F.

When I ride a bike, I assume everybody in a car is an idiot out to kill me.
Come to think of it, I feel the same way when I am driving.

Clyde said...

Maybe they do things differently in San Francisco, but here in the wilds of southwest Florida, I see bicyclists doing a lot of dumb things that could end up being fatal more frequently than they are. My pet peeve (since I drive to work at night) is bicyclists riding in the dark with no lights. Another thing is cyclists cutting back and forth from one side of the street to the other. If you're on a bike, you're a vehicle and you have to follow traffic laws.

While we're at it, for ALL vehicles, the left lane is for PASSING! Drive in the right lane, and only get in the left lane if you're getting ready to turn left or if you're passing. If you are toodling along in the left lane and people are passing you on the right, get the hell out of the left lane! You don't belong there!

One final observation: Traffic jams are like unplanned pregnancies: It only takes one dick.

Mike said...

I don't live in San Francisco -- I only work there. But I think it's fair to say that bicyclists in "The City" have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement that comes through loud and clear in this article.

Uncle Pavian said...

It's behavior like this that has caused law enforcement to trade their post 9/11 status as the heroes of Western Civilization for their new image as lawless thugs.
Can't imagine how they think this will make their jobs easier.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

Pig cops, running wild.

Paul said...

Here in Texas the car has the right of way UNLESS there is a specific zone for the bikes (or pedestrians) to move in.

Bikes also have to obey any and all traffic laws.

Yes a few are hurt and some killed each year but unless the car was doing something illegal, like speeding or drunk driving, they will not get any tickets.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Citing physics is not prejudice. A 3000-lb car does not behave the same way as a 30-lb bicycle, no matter how self-important you are.

She must really bitch about gravity.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The Godfather,

It seems that the bike people were exploiting the bicyclist's death to promote their own views of traffic safety. The cop decided to use the occasion to promote his views of traffic safety. That perspective makes the cop's presence and statements a little less offensive.

"[The cop's] views of traffic safety" apparently include his view that, as a cop, he has a perfect right to park in a bike lane, not in response to any emergency, but solely to teach a lesson to all those idiot bike people, by making them swerve around a vehicle that he might easily have parked a couple of yards away.

Sorry, but we are in obnoxious jackass territory here. And, yes, SF has waaaay more than its share of jackass cyclists.

R. Chatt said...

The article doesn't adequately express the police officer's deep concern for public safety and the angst he obviously feels when someone is killed or harmed on the street. In my town we have cyclists who routinely go through red lights, ride on sidewalks threatening pedestrians, and ride on heavily congested thoroughfares because they are entitled to do so. Occasionally some one gets killed on that four lane road because they don't have the common sense to appreciate that in the hustle of cars and trucks a bicyclist sneaking up from behind on the right might not be noticed.

poppa india said...

Now seems as good a time as any to pose my question to cyclists. I live in an outer suburb of Philadelphia, where many roads have a bike lane, demarcated by a white line between it and the car lane. Why do about half the cyclists insist on riding exactly on that line, putting themselves as close to the cars as possible instead of the 3 or 4 feet of pavement reserved for them? And does this occur in other parts of the country? Maybe it's not meant to, but it looks like an "in your face" gesture to car drivers.

Charles said...

Paul said: "Here in Texas the car has the right of way UNLESS there is a specific zone for the bikes (or pedestrians) to move in.

Bikes also have to obey any and all traffic laws."

He is wrong. A bicycle is a vehicle and has the right to be on the road. They can be in the right lane and if less than 14ft across can take the lane. Also now in Houston a auto must stay 3 feet from a bicycle when passing or driving. (Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway)

Yes bicycles have to obey traffic rules and are also protected by them cars do not automatically get right of way because they also have to obey traffic rules.

jaed said...

Why do about half the cyclists insist on riding exactly on that line, putting themselves as close to the cars as possible

Bike lanes usually have either a parking lane or the gutter on the other side.

If it's a parking lane, bikes riding too close to the parked cars are vulnerable to people opening the door without looking. A door opening suddenly in front of you can cause serious injury, so cyclists are very gun-shy about riding close to a line of parked cars at any speed at all.

And close to the edge of a paved road isn't a safe place to be either - accidentally brushing the sidewalk edge with a foot can dump you into the traffic lane, the boundary between the asphalt and the concrete gutter is rough enough that riding across it is something you really don't want to do, and the road surface is more sharply slanted near the edge (to encourage rain to run off instead of collecting as puddles).

Basically bike lanes aren't a good solution, and I speak as someone who lives in a city loaded with bike lanes. The rideable surface of a bike lane is just too narrow for safety. (I suspect designers are influenced by the footprint of the bike itself rather than bike + rider which is considerable wider - when designing for cars, you can just look at the vehicle footprint, but that's not true for bikes. Plus if you're retrofitting an existing road there just is not a good method that gives everyone enough room.)

Jane said...

I read the article, and it just wasn't clear to me exactly what was going on, where this took place, if the memorializing/instructing was happening in a way that was passive-aggressively disruptive, causing the cop to be passive-aggressively disruptive, or if the cop truly was a jerk.

I don't see much obnoxious cyclist behavior on the road, because there aren't many cyclists on the road in the 'burbs, but we do have shared-use bike paths where the cyclists travel far too fast -- we had a death recently for that reason. Basic, common-sense rule of the road: be prepared to stop! http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2013/08/janes-rules-of-road-for-bikers.html

DCS said...

I'm an avid cyclist. But I abhor the self-righteous, preachy attitudes exemplified by "Critical Mass" and similar movements. Seems to me the memorial in question was one of those. I've lost several close friends to auto vs bike collisons and although I have no idea where the legal fault lay, I think it's crazy to believe that we bikers don't need to exercise maximum caution in the streets. When I see bikers brazenly flaunt the law by running traffic lights, riding three abreast, I sadly shake my head.

Loren said...

Why do about half the cyclists insist on riding exactly on that line, putting themselves as close to the cars as possible instead of the 3 or 4 feet of pavement reserved for them? Because the further right on the road you ride, the more crap is on the road: broken glass, cans, car parts, rocks, sand and other detrius. Actual traffic tend to move that stuff to the sides, but if not driven on, it accumulates. The seam between the road and concrete gutter is often a gap that runs 1/2 to 1 inch wide. If your tire drops in that, you no longer can turn, and will crash. Driver's doors, and cars pulling out from parking spaces are also a danger to the far right.