Small Ford Focus XZW station wagon involved in this afternoon's crash. Photo: Jim Herd
Damage to vehicle suggests greater speed than usually scene for a left turn onto Masonic. Photo Jim Herd
Early this afternoon a driver struck a cyclist at the troubled Fell and Masonic intersection. Information about the collision and the extent of injuries to the cyclist is limited, but SFPD has told Streetsblog that the cyclist's injuries were not life-threatening and medics found him breathing and conscious. Jim Herd happened upon the scene at about 1 pm today and took photos that he published on his blog SFCitizen and sent to BIKE NOPA. The photos show the cyclist's Cannondale fixed-gear bike had snapped in two.
SFPD Park Station Captain Teresa Barrett makes it a practice to keep Panhandle neighbors up-to-date about traffic problems and injuries at the Fell and Masonic intersection, but she has been out of the office this week and will not return until Monday. As reported regularly here, Barrett has stepped-up enforcement of traffic problems at the intersection. Since the middle of February of this year, officers have issued more than 80 citations for traffic infractions at Fell and Masonic including illegal left turns from Fell to Masonic and illegal intrusions that threaten pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Before today's incident, the most recent case of a driver striking a bicyclist at Fell and Masonic occurred on February 13th. Injuries required the cyclist to seek medical care at a local hospital. At that time two independent witnesses stated that the cyclist was clearly using the crosswalk with the right-of-way during a green light period. However, the Park Station officer on the scene reported that the driver and passenger asserted they had the right of way for the turn, and no citation was issued by SFPD.
Today's injury accident occurred just one day after San Francisco bicyclists celebrated Bike to Work Day and especially the safer bicycling conditions on Market Street with the newly installed soft hit posts and green-painted bike lanes. FixMasonic, SFBC, and NOPNA have worked for years to increase the safety of the mixed-use Panhandle Park path and the crosswalk at Fell and Masonic. One of the achievements was the installation of a bike light to alert cyclists and motorists of the right-of-way period for bikers crossing Masonic. While the majority of motorists observe the signal lights, a high number continue to make illegal turns at the intersection and run red lights for the north-south traffic on Masonic.