Car versus Bicycle versus Pedestrian
In San Francisco, a city with some truly reckless bicycle riders at work as messengers, there is a backlash. In the past, they have made life unbearable for pedestrians and cars. When they gather en mass, they bring traffic to a halt. Tempers flare and it becomes car verse bicycle. Bicycles and cars will always have problems using the same lane of a road. Even when there is designated bike lane, many choose to use the car lane, run stop signs and lights with impunity. Many act as if the law of the road does not apply to them. To be fair, American culture is at fault. When did I, as a kid, ever stop at a light or stop sign? Never. I truly thought those were for cars, not bikes.
On March 29, a 36 yr.old bicyclist was hauling ass down one of SF's hills, ran a red light and slammed into a 71 yr. old man killing him while he was in a crosswalk. The D.A. is charging him with manslaughter. This is odd because usually it would be a misdemeanor not a felony. The D.A. is setting an example to all bicyclists that such wanton disregard for traffic rules and laws will not be tolerated. It is about time! The person could be in prison for six years.
Bicycles and cars are frequently in mishaps with the car always winning. Sometimes, the rearview mirror knocks the bicyclist off balance leading them to crash and depending where it occurs, it can be catastrophic. In my area, a professor at SSU was riding to school and a this is what happened. The driver thought the professor was fine and continued on. But, the professor vanished into a deep ditch along the road and remains in a coma. The D.A. is now charging the driver with the same charge. Both men are 68 yrs.
Ridership is up 75% in SF and many are commuting into the city. There are over 25 miles of bike lanes now, yet drivers and bikes continue to clash. SF Police are now pursuing bicyclists which fail to obey traffic laws for cars. In 2011, there were 18 bike-pedestrian collisions, a few causing serious injuries for those in the crosswalk.
But, there is a mentality in many bicyclists that they have a right to zoom along paved walkways and hiking paths and expect pedestrians to get out of the way. Usually, there is little warning and it startles them. Or, many fail to give the warning, "on your right or left" so the pedestrians can move aside, otherwise, they actually may move into bicycle going 20 mph. Then the issue of dogs and bicycles. How many accidents occur when the dog lunges for the bike because there was no warning? The owner cannot pull back the leash. It happens frequently on paved paths and really ticks both parties off when the bicycle comes from behind.
Some bicyclists just think it their right, their road and are arrogant about it. This angers anyone in a car or walking\jogging. When "attitudes" are sparked by an event, this is when it gets really dangerous.