SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee followed through Tuesday on his pledge to veto an ordinance that would have allowed bicyclists to roll through stop signs when it was safe to do so.

The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor John Avalos in September, was approved by the Board of Supervisors 6-4 at last week’s meeting but failed to garner the eight votes it would need to override a veto.

Avalos argued the legislation would improve public safety by made making bicycle stop sign violations a low enforcement priority and directing police to focus on the most dangerous vehicle violations, including speeding.  Bicyclists practicing unsafe behaviors could still have been ticketed.

Police Chief Greg Suhr and Lee came out strongly against the bill, however, with Lee vowing to veto it just a week after it was introduced.

In a letter sent to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Lee said the bill “does not promote balanced public safety for all the diverse users of our streets, rather, it trades safety for convenience.”

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Wednesday said the veto violated a pledge made by Lee and other city officials in 2014 to work toward Vision Zero, a goal to reach zero traffic deaths in the city by 2024.

While police said they would focus on the top five most dangerous traffic violations, all of which involve vehicles, they continue to focus on ticketing bicyclists rolling safely through stop signs, the coalition said in a statement.

“Faced with this opportunity to hold the SFPD to their promises and move San Francisco towards Vision Zero, Mayor Lee dishonored the lives lost in San Francisco crashes, calling data-driven enforcement a mere ‘convenience,’” the coalition statement said.

Avalos is now hoping to develop and gather support for a smaller pilot program to test the rolling stop legislation, although it is unclear at this point what form that will take, according to legislative aide Jeremy Pollock.

 

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