SFPD: Bicyclist was a 48 year old male, riding between two buses in the same direction. pic.twitter.com/RqDptRbLBG— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) October 12, 2015
In what is becoming a tragic pattern, SFPD has once again blamed a cyclist for his own death. Simultaneously, the city has refused to release video that may shine light on the circumstances that resulted in the October 11th crash and death of 47-year-old Mark Heryer.
Police have determined that Heryer was riding westbound on Market Street when, allegedly attempting to pass a bus, he lost control of his bicycle after his wheel got caught in a Muni track. Heryer then is said to have fallen under the passing 38-Geary bus to the right. He died at the scene.
KQED News reports that police have now officially blamed Heryer for his own death, saying that vehicle code states he should have been riding in the bike lane. There's just one problem, as KQED News notes: That area of Market Street does not have bike lanes.
Video from the Muni bus that ran over Heryer does exist, but the city will not release it — even to a lawyer representing Heryer's family.
This is not the first time SFPD has hurried to blame a cyclist in their own death. The most notorious incident of which might be the case of 24-year-old Amelie Le Moullac, who was run over by a truck in SoMa in August of 2013. In that case, the driver was only found to be at fault for illegally driving into the bike lane after the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition canvassed the neighborhood and found footage of the incident — something SFPD had been unable or unwilling to do.
Heryer's friends and family told KQED News that he was an experienced cyclists, not one prone to take risks, and had been riding in the city for years.
“I don’t think he would have taken unnecessary risks because he was well aware of how inadequate the structure of the city’s streets are, in terms of taking care of the needs of bicyclists,” said Heryer's mother Brenda Kett.
San Francisco police were also quick to blame the victim in the case of 66-year-old Charles Vinson, a cyclist who died after being hit by a car at the intersection of 14th and Folsom Street. This despite eye-witness accounts that the driver had run a red light.
Heryer's family's lawyer, Anthony Label, spoke to KQED News about the importance of a proper police investigation when a cyclist is killed.
“If the Police Department is going to document and officially memorialize the cause of a cyclist’s death as being the fault of the cyclist for violating the law at a minimum they should get it right."
Previously: Raised Bike Lanes Arrive On Market Street