“We expected to get the attention of the cyclists,” Captain John Sanford said at a public meeting last night, smiling according to the Examiner “I think we got the attention," he continued, drawing laughter.
Sanford, who took the top post at SFPD's Park Station at the end of March, promised in June "to step up traffic enforcement where bicycles are concerned." That statement with regard to ticketing cyclists who didn't stop at signs (or practiced an "Idaho Stop") was made to a small group at a public meeting. But cyclists are fiery advocates, and the comment ensured that last night's Park Station meeting was much better attended, with about a hundred cyclists there to confront Sanford. Presumably feeling the heat, Sanford assured the protestors that “It’s finished for now..." implying for the first time that the measure was only to last for two-days, perhaps in order to save face. "We can revisit it at any time, but we’re going to go back to trying to collaborate.”
Highly vocal bicycle groups such as the Bicycle Coalition and the Wigg Party spoke out against the new enforcement, with the latter group staging a "stop-in" protest at the end of last month wherein cyclists came to a halt at every sign, demonstrably halting traffic with them. A citizen petition against the crackdown garnered more than 16,000 signatures.
"I'm in an unmarked black police car, and they're just zipping past," Sanford said of bike riders in June. "Bicyclists are required to follow the rules of the road...There's a thing called a stop sign that bicycles are supposed to stop at." Now a bit ironically, Sanford added that "I am not too shy to say that it is a problem... tell your friends to slow, stop and obey."
The Chronicle notes that Park Station was acting in reaction to numerous complaints from all along the Wiggle, the section of road frequented by cyclists to avoid steep hills. Over the (suddenly attenuated) two-day enforcement period, officers cited 204 bicyclists, KTVU reports. “When we get complaints, and we did get many complaints, it is our job, our responsibility, to respond to the concerns of the community.” Sanford Said.