San Francisco bicyclists can soon come to a roll through stop signs when appropriate, you know, just like they always have. The difference now, as KQED and Streetsblog report, is that the Board of Supervisors appears likely to pass an ordinance that would make strict enforcement of stop signs for cyclists the lowest priority for the San Francisco Police Department.
The Board won't be changing stop sign laws and how they pertain to cyclists, nor do the have the power to. Instead, this is just about enforcement. And the legislation, proposed by Supervisor John Avalos and cosponsored by colleagues Eric Mar and Jane Kim, has the support of at least 6 of our 11 Supervisors.
Naturally, cyclists must still “safely yield” to pedestrians and other traffic. But a ticketing "crackdown" on non-fully-stopping cyclists along the Wiggle led to a "Stop-In" protest and probably an ensuing headache. During the Stop-In, bikes along that thoroughfare came to a full stop to demonstrate potential traffic problems strict enforcement might cause.
“There are other places to put [SFPD's] resources that will have a much greater impact on protecting pedestrians,” said Avalos, emphasizing that cars who endanger pedestrians should demand the most attention from law enforcement. “It shouldn't be the police’s top priority to enforce the law for cyclists who actually yield to pedestrians but don’t come to a complete stop at intersections,”
But Supervisor Norman Yee reportedly voiced his dissent, saying “People who share the streets should follow our laws,” Yee said. “What I worry about is the safety of all people and that comes first before any one lobbyist group.”
Really, the ordinance is a fait accompli. Police quickly backed down following the protest and insisted their uptick in enforcement was just, like, a two-day thing or whatever. Avalos is nonetheless expected to introduce the legislation at today's Board meeting.