Mayor Ed Lee made good on his threat yesterday, and officially vetoed the Bicycle Yield ordinance proposed last year by Supervisor John Avalos and approved by the Board of Supervisors. The ordinance sought to make ticketing cyclists who treat stop signs as yield signs the lowest traffic enforcement priority for the SFPD.
The ordinance, often referred to as the 'Idaho Stop Law,' was loudly supported by the cycling community, and was seen as a data-driven step toward Vision Zero — San Francisco's and multiple cities' goal of achieving zero traffic fatalities by 2024.
In a letter accompanying his veto, Mayor Lee wrote that he didn't want to "trade safety for convenience," a comment he also made when he originally threatened to veto the law should it arrive at his desk.
The SF Bicycle Coalition this morning sent out a statement regarding Lee's veto, and, as to be expected, was disappointed.
"Mayor Ed Lee's veto of SF's Bike Yield Law makes San Francisco the first U.S. city to take a major step away from its promise to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries," begins the statement. "The SFPD's Vision Zero promise included a data-driven initiative to 'Focus on the Five,' assuring the people of San Francisco that police would dedicate half of all traffic citations to the five violations that cause a majority of traffic deaths. Those five violations are when people driving: speed, fail to yield to people walking, run red lights, run stop signs and violate turn restrictions."
The statement goes on to read that "[over] a year later, the SFPD's leadership has yet to deliver on that promise. Instead, they are ordering officers to spend hundreds of hours cracking down on people biking cautiously and slowly through stop signs."
That last bit refers to the recent SFPD crackdown on popular cycling route the Wiggle — an enforcement decision which led to the much-photographed Wiggle "stop-in" protest wherein cyclists halted traffic by coming to full and complete stops at stop signs.
The SFBC is not the only one to scoff at the mayor's "convenience" line, with a widely circulated photo showing Lee blocking a crosswalk with his car in order to apparently purchase coffee.
Supervisors John Avalos, London Breed, David Campos, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Scott Wiener voted for the Bike Yield ordinance. Those six votes, however, are not enough to override the mayoral veto.