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Third S.F. Cyclist Death Sparks Movement For Protected Bike Lane

The death of 24-year-old cyclist Amelie Le Moullac on August 14 marks the third this year by a truck, and the second by one turning right (known as a right hook) into the bike lane. Her death has set off a movement for safer streets in SoMa, S.F.

Streetsblog's Aaron Bialick has covered the many unfolding aspects of Le Moullac's death and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's subsequent work to ensure that these types of deadly truck/car vs. bicycle collisions don't reoccur, particularly in the fast-growing South of Market area (SoMa) district of San Francisco, the location of all three bicyclist deaths this year.

SFBC is asking San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to "commit to the redesign of Folsom Street" where Le Moullac had been riding that would include converting the existing bike lane into a protected bike lane.  As Bialick noted in a blog for SPUR in 2011, it is an example of an "outdated, 20th-century strategy of engineering downtown streets into multi-lane, one-way motorways."

Bialick and KRON’s Stanley Roberts observed that "few drivers seem to understand how to properly make a right-turn in a bike lane — they’re required to merge fully into it, like any other traffic lane, while yielding to people on bikes. Instead, many drivers turn across the bike lane, setting up bicycle riders for a “right hook” crash."

Right hooks were the causes of death for Le Moullac and Dylan Mitchell while they were biking this year. The third victim, Diana Sullivan, was reportedly run over while stopped at a red light at Third and King Streets. None of the truck drivers involved have been cited or charged.

This movement for greater bike safety in the South of Market Area (SOMA) region of San Francisco following the deaths of cyclists has been seen in other cities.  We noted attempts to safeguard cyclists from 'right hooks' in Seattle in 2008 and with the installation of 'bike boxes' in Portland in 2008.

September 6th update from SF Bicycle Coalition: "We are hearing commitment from the City that they will implement a pilot redesign of Folsom Street that includes separated bikeways!"

Full Story: At Safe Streets Rally, SFPD Blocks Bike Lane to Make Point of Victim-Blaming


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