SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The rules of the road could be changing in San Francisco as the Board of Supervisors voted early Tuesday evening to allow cyclists to make safe rolling stops at stop signs.
There are all kinds of bicyclists in San Francisco. Some, like Katrina Sostek, do everything they can to be safe.
Then there are others like the cyclist captured by KPIX cameras Tuesday. The bike rider blew through a red light near San Francisco City Hall with pedestrians in the crosswalk, offered up an obscene gesture, and then blew through another red light.
So who gets the ticket?
Sostek recently received a $200 ticket because she didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign, though even the officer wrote down she was going less than 5 miles an hour.
“Then I heard sirens from a cop car, so I pulled over,” remembered Sostek. “I slowed down. I looked both ways. There were no pedestrians. It was my turn and I went through slowly.”
Still, she broke the law. Bikes are required to stop at stop signs like cars. But now that could be changing.
“It’s just a matter of should we be spending resources on helping public safety, or should we be wasting them?” asked Chris Cassidy of SF Bicycle Coalition.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed an ordinance that police should give their lowest priority to ticketing bicyclist who safely go through stop signs slowly.
It became a hot issue in the city earlier this year after police gave bicyclists a rash of stop sign tickets.
“We think anyone who is biking dangerously should be ticketed for that behavior. But we also think SFPD should focus its precious traffic enforcement resources on the most dangerous traffic violations,” said Cassidy.
“I don’t think that’s good. They should follow all the signs like they’re supposed to,” said construction worker Larry Jensen.
Jensen walks and drives around the city and doesn’t think bikes should get special treatment.
Tom Gilberti, who rolls around the city in his wheelchair, said he tells bicyclists no matter the law, to be very very careful.
“A collision really hurts us. We are very vulnerable,” said Gilberti. “They can break their neck and wind up in a wheelchair. Just as easily tumbling over us. We’re all going to get hurt.”
The rolling stop law passed Tuesday, but the battle isn’t over.
While the next action on the law won’t happen for another month, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has promised to veto it. So far, the supervisors who support the law don’t have enough votes to overturn that veto.