CHP: “Riding a bike on the road is like riding a bike in a shooting range”

By Craig Davis
Founder
CyclistVideoEvidence.com

Imagine walking on a public sidewalk when a stranger runs up behind you yelling you don’t belong on the sidewalk, aims a gun at your head, fires, missing so narrowly you can almost feel the bullet’s wake ripping by your ear.  The stranger says they wanted to teach you a lesson: you don’t belong on the sidewalk.  Further imagine a store video camera recorded the incident and you reported it to the police, along with the video evidence.  You would rightly expect the person to be arrested and prosecuted for felony assault. Yet when cyclists in San Mateo County are assaulted by arguably more dangerous weapons, speeding multi thousand-pound metal vehicles, with drivers yelling bikes don’t belong on the road, recorded on video, coming within inches of killing the cyclists, so close they feel the vehicle’s wind wake, San Mateo County law enforcement has rejected all criminal near miss incident reports as if nothing happened.

This article explores traffic violence against cyclists and pedestrians and the anti-cyclist bias permeating the legal system that leads San Mateo County law enforcement to reject charging drivers for criminal violations.  Enforcing existing laws for cycling safety with the same seriousness as gun violence or domestic violence is the key to preventing cycling tragedies that devastate families and communities.  We explain the evolution of traffic violence and the visionary steps just taken by the UK to stop traffic violence.  These steps can lead to safe, shared streets by dramatically lowering vehicle congestion and increasing active transportation: walking and cycling.  We seek to request a San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury inquiry into San Mateo County law enforcement’s refusal to enforce existing laws for cycling safety and systemic anti-cyclist bias.  We recommend adoption of the Six Commitments for Cycling Safety to prevent traffic violence and create safe, shared streets.

Recurring tragedies and outrage

Groups of cyclists have been mowed down and in some cases killed by such intentional “lessons,” or unintentional reckless driving, including a Ford Super Duty pickup truck driven by a 16-year-old teenager “rolling coal,” or a group with one cyclist killed by a 66-year-old  driving a Ford Escape; or another group plowed over by a 35-year-old driving a Ford Super Duty F-150 pickup truck; or a 45-year-old high on nine times the amount of methamphetamine to cause impairment driving a 2019 Isuzu NPR HD box truck who killed five cyclists and injured four others, two seriously; or a 22-year-old driving a Dodge Ram truck that swerved into a group of four cyclists in a Marin hit-and-run.

Beloved former San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets Coach football coach Greg Knapp was run over and killed while riding in a San Ramon bike lane by a 22-year-old driving a Lexus RX330 SUV while reportedly texting.  The driver was not charged with anything.  He was not even given a traffic ticket.  Professional basketball player Shawn Bradley, the second overall pick out of BYU in the 1993 NBA draft is permanently paralyzed after being struck from behind, suffering a traumatic spinal cord injury.  Even the former Chief of the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division was seriously injured and almost killed by a 66-year-old distracted driver driving a Ford Escape.  She said she was adjusting her glasses as she entered the intersection where Chief Sanchez had the right of way.  He was the second person she hit in two months.

San Mateo County tragedies and rejected opportunities to change drivers’ behavior

Beloved San Mateo County cyclists have also been killed including Frank Masterson and Joy Covey.  Frank was a highly accomplished cyclist killed by a 65-year-old passing on a blind curve in a Toyota Prius. Joy, Amazon’s first chief financial officer, was named by Fortune magazine in 1999 as one of the 50 Most Powerful Business Women in America, selected by the World Economic Forum in 2000 as one of 100 "Global Leaders for Tomorrow," and served as the Natural Resources Defense Council’s treasurer when she was killed by a 22-year-old driving a white Mazda minivan.

According to this local article, San Mateo County District Attorney (SMCDA) Joe Cannon did not charge the delivery van driver with anything based on “a witness who describes the area as dappled with light and shadow at the time, a condition that the witness said makes seeing a bicyclist difficult” and “a witness who said that it appeared that Ms. Covey and the driver did not see each other.”  The article goes on to state “These findings would "prevent" a jury from finding negligence beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof in such a case, Mr. Cannon says.”

If the light at 1:03 pm on September 13, 2013 was so poor that the driver could not see Joy, and Joy could not see the driver, how could two random subjective passersby be treated as expert witnesses in determining what the driver and Joy saw?  Why not employ actual expert witnesses, under oath and cross-examined in front of a jury?

Almost exactly six years from the date Joy was killed a powerful yearlong investigation, documenting the carnage wrought by Amazon’s delivery network, resulted in a series of articles with the first published by Buzzfeed News, the second co-published by Pro Publica and The New York Times and the third by ProPublica. The investigative series documented how Amazon strategically designed their delivery network to maximize profits, hide any involvement by Amazon and eliminate all Amazon liability.

Then came the bombshell, hidden from the public for six years: The Fast Mile, co-published by Buzzfeed News and Pro Publica.  This article exposed that Joy Covey was killed by an unmarked Amazon delivery truck operated by Amazon subcontractor OnTrac.  Jeff Bezos spoke at Joy’s funeral, but we could not find any public mention that an Amazon delivery truck killed Joy until this article, six years later.  As Amazon’s first CFO, Joy was the key to Bezos getting funding from Wall Street when Amazon was losing money.  Joy led Amazon’s initial public offering.

The article documents that three months prior to Joy’s death the head of Amazon’s Transportation Group proposed driver safety measures that could help create a safe delivery network would cost an additional 4 cents per package.  The proposal was rejected.

Insurance companies paid $6.5 million but SMCDA Cannon refused to file any charges?

Insurance companies ultimately paid $6.5 million to settle the case filed by the guardian for Joy’s eight-year-old son, but no charges were filed by the SMCDA based on the subjective opinions of two random passersby?  Insurance companies notoriously fight to reject claims and pay the lowest settlements possible.  They must have determined there was overwhelming evidence the driver was at fault but the SMCDA concluded “These findings would "prevent" a jury from finding negligence beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof in such a case.”

The SMCDA’s office had the opportunity to hold this dangerous driver accountable for killing Joy but refused to file any charges because the speculation of two random non-expert passersby might not convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, even though the SMCDA told us that a very small percentage of cases ever go to jury trial?

The SMCDA’s office had the opportunity to send a clear message that they take cyclists’ lives seriously and possibly change the behavior of other highly stressed Amazon drivers who are pushed to their limits under the relentless microscope of Amazon’s employee surveillance.

Enforcing existing laws for criminal near misses prevents collisions and tragedies

For all the cyclists killed or seriously injured by vehicles, orders of magnitude more are endangered and threatened by criminal near miss incidents, within inches of serious injury or death, including drivers yelling cyclists don’t belong on San Mateo County roads.  One twitch, and the cyclists would be dead, like Frank and Joy.

To understand criminal near miss incidents, a vehicle travelling at fifty-five miles per hour, or twenty-seven yards per second, can traverse a football field in about 3 seconds.  Assault and reckless driving incidents by a vehicle moving at speed typically last less than a few seconds.  This short threat interval causes non-cyclists to minimize and dismiss the threat and the terror cyclists experience during criminal near miss incidents.

Inexpensive video cameras typically record between 24 and 60 frames per second, so they capture detailed images and objective evidence fast enough to deconstruct even a one-second assault.  These frames are the key to detailed criminal near miss incident analysis that allows everyone to objectively comprehend the threat level cyclists face, just like instant replay allows sports fans to objectively adjudicate split-second action in sports.

This is why CVE advocates cyclists ride with a camera, and provides a free Incident Management System where cyclists can track, analyze and map their incidents, as well as search for repeat offenders.

While a speeding vehicle is arguably more dangerous than a gun, we can prevent these tragedies by changing drivers’ behavior before collisions occur, but it requires law enforcement to enforce the laws for traffic violence as seriously as gun violence.  Drivers must be cited for criminal near miss violations: assault when they intentionally endanger cyclists or reckless driving when they willfully or wantonly endanger cyclists.

Yet every criminal near miss incident report CVE members submitted to SMC law enforcement over the last two years has been reflexively rejected, even with cyclists' video evidence of egregious assault and reckless driving. This includes the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and the San Bruno Police.

One of the incidents was a hit and run.  It occurred six months after Buzzfeed News and Pro Publica published their bombshell article, The Fast Mile.

Glenn Kirby was hit but SMCDA Cannon refused to file any charges?

On 6/23/20 Glenn Kirby and John Barclay were cycling in San Bruno on a section of Sneath Lane where the bike lane ended and transitioned into a right turn lane for the upcoming intersection of El Camino Real.  Glenn was in the front moving left into the through lane; John was riding behind.  A US Postal truck was in the next lane, parallel to Glenn, when a driver in a Dodge Dakota pickup truck, shown below, decided to force his way between Glenn and the US Postal truck.  He hammered his horn startling and intimidating Glenn just as his front bumper reached Glenn.  He hit Glenn in the shoulder with the passenger side mirror.  Glenn maintained his balance and they caught up with the driver who was recorded telling them bikes don’t belong on the same road as cars.  The driver intentionally denied Glenn his legal right of way.

The driver of the US Postal truck stopped to see if Glenn was ok and offered to be a witness.  He gave Glenn his name and phone number which Glenn passed onto the responding officer.

Threading the needle
Threading the needle 2

The responding San Bruno police officer told Glenn there was nothing under California law to cite the driver, even after the driver hit Glenn and was recorded admitting intent by saying bikes don’t belong on the same road as cars.  The Crime Report further documents the driver admitting he threaded the needle between Glenn and the US Postal truck as well as saying on bodycam, "cyclists have shit for brains."  The US Postal truck driver was never interviewed.  This was a case of denying the right of way, hit and run, assault and battery, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crime, among other violations.

The officer refused four times to send the incident to the SMCDA’s review for assault and reckless driving charges.  We had to demand the case be sent to the SMCDA.  The officer finally submitted the case to the SMCDA around 7/20/20 for Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon, “at the request of Kirby.”

After receiving no updates for months, Glenn contacted the SMCDA’s office on 12/16/20.  They transferred him to the SMCDA’s Victims Services Team where Paola Molina told Glenn nothing would be charged. On 1/14/21 Glenn called the SMCDA’s Victims Services Team and spoke to Nicole asking why the SMCDA rejected the case and why there was no explanation for the rejection?

On 1/28/21 Glenn received a call from SMCDA Joe Cannon who said, “upon further review we have decided to charge him with an infraction for a close pass.” Glenn asked why it wasn’t being charged as assault. SMCDA Cannon said he felt he couldn’t make the case for a felony or misdemeanor in a jury trial based on SBPD’s report. He said he was a cyclist himself and he understood Glenn’s anger and frustration, but he could move forward with a three-foot violation infraction after further review of the report.

This makes no sense on many levels.  First, Glenn was hit!  This was a case of denying the right of way, hit and run, assault and battery, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crime.  Second, law enforcement claims they cannot cite a driver for a three-foot violation because it’s an infraction and they say they have to personally witness all infractions.  They refer to this as having to “on view” every incident.  This is a canard because for decades law enforcement has used many forms of video evidence for incidents they do not personally witness.  Third, District Attorneys only handle criminal violations, misdemeanors and felonies: a three-foot violation is an infraction.

This was another opportunity for the SMCDA’s office and DA Cannon, a cyclist, to hold this dangerous driver accountable just like he could have held the driver that killed Joy accountable.  The SMCDA’s office had the opportunity to send a clear message that they take cyclists’ lives seriously and possibly change this driver’s behavior before he seriously injuries or kills cyclists that he incorrectly believes should not be on the same roads as cars.

CVE and our members have worked hard to understand why SMC law enforcement always rejects criminal near miss incident reports even when they include objective and irrefutable video evidence.  We have repeatedly met with law enforcement to discuss our members’ criminal near miss incidents during city and county Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meetings, town halls and City Council meetings.  CVE members have followed all the procedures and guidelines suggested by law enforcement and the San Mateo County District Attorney.  Even with all of this effort, SMC law enforcement never clearly explained why they reject egregious and life-threatening incident reports.

We have been told, off the record by senior members of San Mateo County law enforcement, that cyclists’ incident reports never make it to the SMCDA, and if they do, they get buried.  One of our members, Elaine Salinger, has said the way law enforcement refuses to enforce the laws for cyclists’ safety reminds her of when domestic violence cases were trivialized and dismissed out of hand.

This systemic anti-cyclist bias is so widespread that it has even been memorialized in academic research: If You Want to Get Away with Murder, Use Your Car.

Another rejected opportunity to change dangerous drivers' behavior and a brazen admission of systemic bias against cyclists

Even with SMC law enforcement reflexively rejecting all of our criminal near miss incident reports, CVE member Steve Lubin wanted to give the California Highway Patrol the benefit of the doubt.  He agreed to meet with Captain Jason Cavett, Commander of CHP’s Redwood City Station, to review video evidence from two of his San Gregorio criminal near miss incident reports.

They met on 12/15/21 in Commander Cavett’s office.  Commander Cavett had Steve’s unedited videos loaded on his computer.  The first incident occurred on 07/10/2021 around 10am.  They agreed the truck pulling the large cattle trailer that came within inches of Steve’s group of cyclists, shown below with incorrect date and time stamps, was travelling around 45 mph.  The driver executed this highly precise, dangerous, threatening and intimidating maneuver when he could have simply moved over to the empty adjacent lane.  The cyclists had to ride to the left of the white line because of dangerous cracks with grass growing through and the road slopes to the right.

Steve 1 w
Steve 2 w
Steve 3 w
Steve 4 w

Steve's second incident took place on 12/11/21. Below is a frame of the huge, raised, Ford Excursion, with gnarly metal cow smashing bars wrapped around the front of the vehicle.

Steve 5 w

In both cases Commander Cavett said there was nothing reckless, or an assault, even though both drivers executed these precision maneuvers in massive vehicles travelling around 50 mph when they could have simply moved over to the empty adjacent lane.  He said to charge a driver with reckless driving “he needed multiple violations, like egregious speeding and steering toward me.”  This is not stated anywhere in the Reckless Driving vehicle code section - 23103 - which states "A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.To the contrary, the official officer training manual: Learning Domain 28 - Traffic Enforcement states "The willful or wanton disregard for safety can be shown by a single act, but it is generally shown as a series of overt acts" - section 3 - page 44.  Clearly the drivers chose to execute this precision maneuver to threaten and intimidate the cyclists.

Commander Cavett said there was nothing under California law to charge the drivers.

Steve said someone driving a large truck, inches away from cyclists, around 50 mph, is equivalent to someone shooting a gun next to their heads.

Commander Cavett replied: if Steve wanted to use that analogy, then “riding a bike on the road is like riding a bike in a shooting range.”

Let that sink in.  CHP Redwood City Commander Cavett said the quiet part out loud, clearly implying it is cyclists' fault if they are stupid enough to risk their lives riding on San Mateo County roads.

Steve countered; roads are not shooting ranges.  They are shared public spaces that should be safe for all users and making sure cyclists are safe is CHP’s job.  Steve further said there are plenty of guns outside of shooting ranges, but if people discharge them in a threatening manner that is assault.

One twitch - by the cyclists or the drivers - and the cyclists would be dead, like Frank and Joy.

This was another opportunity for SMC law enforcement to hold these dangerous drivers accountable, just like SMCDA Cannon could have held the drivers that killed Joy and hit Glenn accountable.  CHP had the opportunity to send a clear message that they take cyclists’ lives seriously and possibly change these drivers’ behavior before they seriously injure or kill cyclists, that they probably believe should not be on the same roads as cars.

No charges were filed against either driver.

Systemic anti-cyclist bias has deep roots

This is not about Commander Cavett, individually or as the leader of CHP’s Redwood City Station.  He channeled law enforcement's systemic anti-cyclist bias.  We have heard this bias against cyclists repeated from the highest levels of law enforcement to desk officers throughout California law enforcement.  It's even reinforced in the official officer training manual: Learning Domain 28 - Traffic Enforcement, states all traffic collisions are unintentional, section 3 - page 48.  Based on this flawed interpretation of the law, drivers can never intentionally endanger cyclists so they can never be charged with assault or reckless driving.

The training manual also reinforces “the general rule that a misdemeanor violation must occur in the peace officer’s presence,” section 2 - page 3.  As stated earlier, this is a canard since law enforcement has used many sources of video evidence for infractions and misdemeanors they do not personally witness for decades.  In fact, in Glenn Kirby’s case, SMCDA Cannon said he could move forward with a three-foot violation infraction "after further review" of the report.  No officer personally witnessed the incident.  It was recorded on Glenn’s camera.

Systemic anti-cyclist bias also extends into the media.  Describing Joy’s tragedy, the first sentence from the local paper’s 9/25/13 article read “Joy Dianne Covey, a former CFO of Amazon and a Woodside resident, was killed Sept. 18 when the bicycle she was riding collided with a van.” This language makes it sound like Joy was at fault when the "white Mazda minivan traveling south turned left onto Elk Tree Road "directly in front of the bicycle," according to a CHP report."  The second local article was titled No charges against driver in accident that killed bicyclist Joy Covey.

Diagnosis and Recommendations

If drivers are not held accountable for criminal near miss violations, we will never prevent collisions by preemptively changing drivers’ behavior.  If law enforcement refuses to enforce existing laws, then law enforcement becomes complicit in giving dangerous drivers a license to endanger cyclists with impunity, fulfilling the adage: If You Want to Get Away with Murder, Use Your Car.

Britain’s Highway code, the U.K. road safety rules first published in 1931, has just been updated with a new hierarchy where motorists are officially put on notice:  “In any interaction between road users, those who can cause the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they pose to others.”  The hierarchy places the most vulnerable at the top, pedestrians and then cyclists, and the most responsible at the bottom, vehicles based on size and weight.  This is a strong model for the US to evaluate and consider.

In the meantime, we strongly recommend that all towns, cities and counties publicly support and implement CVE’s Six Commitments for Cycling Safety.

We intend this article to serve as the basis for a San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury inquiry into law enforcement’s refusal to enforce existing laws for cycling safety and systemic anti-cyclist bias.

There is a huge potential population of cyclists that will ride if they feel safe

At the beginning of the global pandemic, cyclists demonstrated the huge potential cycling population by flocking to roads that were closed to motor vehicles due to Covid 19.  The road closures made cyclists feel safe to ride on the roads.  So many new cyclists flocked to the roads that bike stores were overrun and ran out of bikes.  When potential cyclists feel safe, they will ride and the cycling population will dramatically increase.

It has been said that up to sixty percent of greenhouse gas emissions are from vehicles.  City, county and state climate change action plans seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the total vehicle miles traveled.  This requires people to shift from driving vehicles to riding bikes and walking.  That shift will only happen if cyclists feel confident to ride on safe, shared streets.

Publicly stating support for the Six Commitments for Cycling Safety provides the foundation for gathering the requisite data and creating transparent public reporting to fully understand and mitigate the risks cyclists face riding on their roads. Mitigation of these risks is the key to giving cyclists the confidence to ride on their roads.

It is important to note that while cities and counties across the country have adopted hundreds of pages of Complete Streets resolutions and Bike/Ped Master Plans stating safety as their top goal, many still lack detailed performance metrics documenting their effectiveness in enforcing laws for cycling safety. In addition to the Six Commitments for Cycling Safety, we also propose useful performance metrics that can help light the way toward truly safe, shared streets for all.

If you support our work to help create safe, shared streets, please share your thoughts and comments below.

43 Comments

  1. Rob Waring on February 12, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks for this important effort. No one should have risk their life walking or biking. It’s long overdue for policymakers and law enforcement to create a driving culture in which “those who can cause the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they pose to others.”

    Every time I start a ride thinking today may be the day I don’t feel as though my life is in danger, I end the ride knowing that it was. I’m so tired of hearing all the excuses for why our streets are so dangerous.

  2. Elaine Salinger on February 14, 2022 at 10:02 am

    Craig, this is a fantastic article! Thank you!! I am so tired of getting buzzed by passing cars. Every time I leave on a ride, I hope that I will make it back home. I keep cycling, but I would cycle a lot more if I felt safer. I stay off the winding roads with narrow shoulders as much as possible. And I know so many people who had a near miss or got hit and stopped cycling all together. And I know people who want to cycle but bought a car instead because of safety concerns. This is terrible and must change.

    The counties and cities have put a lot of time and money into creating active transportation plans, yet the major roadblock for implementing them are safety concerns. If average people are afraid to ride or walk, how can we meet our climate goals? Yes, we can promote public transit, but that last mile requires walking or cycling.

    I am on the SMC BPAC and try to advocate for protected bike lanes because this is the true answer to bike safety, but the reality is that cyclists must share the road with multi-ton machines driven by distracted and angry drivers. And CHP and Sheriff’s Deputies I have spoken with seem openly disinterested in cyclists and their safety. They will not enforce the 3 foot law. I feel very strongly that if they handed out 3 foot violation letters each time it was reported, a lot of these more aggressive actions would not happen. And when accidents do happen, they need to come down hard on the drivers, not dismiss them as “just an unfortunate accident.” (Please note: I think about 95% of drivers are respectful and aware. It is about 5% of drivers who are causing the problems.)

    Gas taxes pay for highways. Property and sales taxes pay for roads. Cyclists and pedestrians own these roads just as much as drivers.

  3. Lanier Benkard on February 14, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for writing this article Craig. It is unconscionable that San Mateo county Sheriffs and the CHP do not take road rage incidents seriously.

  4. Bruce Dughi on February 14, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    Fantastic article with so many examples on how law enforcement refuses to make cycling safer, thereby frightening existing cyclists and discouraging newbies. Getting thru to law enforcement has been so frustrating and infuriating. I wish there was a switch I could flick to get them to understand the dangers of cycling. How can we change driving behavior if they are allowed to endanger cyclists with impunity?

    One of the reasons America is so behind in reducing green house gases is because we are so behind on protecting alternatives to the car, such as cyclists and pedestrians. I love the UK’s hierarchy of responsibility based upon who does the most damage–so logical.

  5. EJ on February 14, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the information. I don’t know how many times vehicles have come within a foot of me while riding. To have no accountability for drivers is criminal and SMCS & CHP should be sued, in order for laws to be enacted to protect all citizens not matter what vehicle they choose.

  6. Steve Lubin on February 14, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you for making this huge effort to make clear how law enforcement systematically ignores reports of assaults on bicyclists by drivers. I hope this effort ends up convincing law enforcement that their cooperation is necessary to reduce the frequency of this dangerous behavior.

  7. Jon Spangler on February 14, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Craig –

    Thanks for this. I am a native of Redwood City and The antipathy (at best) shown by the SMC Sheriff towards cyclists and our rights is a long-term issue. When I was active in the Western Wheelers Bicycle Club (WWBC) during the 1980s-1990s, the harassment of cyclists by drivers and the county sheriff’s deputies was legion.

    I am certain that some of the WWBC ride leaders and members who witnessed this harassment or were ticketed at Jefferson and Cañada Road for not putting their feet down at the stop signs would be happy to testify about this.

    I will forward this to my personal friend, Attorney General Rob Bonta, as well. He is from bike-friendly Alameda, CA, and would not like what you have documented here.

    Jon Spangler, LCI 3175
    510-846-5356 /[email protected]

  8. John Koonz on February 14, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Yeah, I pretty much don’t ride anymore. I commuted to work by bike (or running) every day for 13 years. Some of that was on some very busy roads without bike facilities. I am an LCI and I know how to ride safely, but the key word there is ‘I’. So what if I’m really good at it? I have noticed a marked increase in viciousness on the road. The death toll of vulnerable road users in Austin Texas sets new records every year. The city does a few things here and there, but only where it doesn’t really disrupt our car driving overlords. Sometimes I joke that I now spend my cycling advocacy time by writing rude letters to Kim Jong-un in hopes he nukes us into the stone age so we can start our transportation system over from scratch.

  9. Andrew Hsu on February 14, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    Nice article Craig. The systematic bias against bicyclists (and pedestrians) along with the on-going normalization and even encouragement of distracted driving has made a simple, effective tool in the fight against global warming, obesity, and road traffic much more difficult to adopt for most people. We need to normalize walking and bicycling as legitimate uses of our roads and not just a recreational hobby for enthusiasts and kids. As most policymakers and planners are at best recreational bicyclists, I encourage everyone to replace single driver car trips less than 2 miles with a bike trip to truly understand the challenges of existing roads and infrastructure. Don’t feel safe doing so? Exactly.

    Additionally, we need cooperation from law enforcement to prioritize enforcing existing laws designed to protect against car violence. Within my lifetime, I’ve seen the cultural norm shift away from acceptance of criminal activities like date rape, drunken driving, and domestic violence. Now is the time to campaign to change public opinion to stop car violence against vulnerable users of the road.

  10. Mark Ward on February 14, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    Every cyclist will have stories like the ones described in this article. We get overtaken fast & close, and on blind bends on a regular basis. I’ve had cars pass me on blind turns only to meet a car coming the other way, causing the overtaking car to swerve in on me. I got overtaken by a massive truck on one of the narrow bridges on Niles Canyon Road with only inches between the truck and my left handlebar – with nowhere to go on the right due to the high kerb on the bridge. I’ve been intentionally run down from behind by a driver in the right turn lane on Caldecott Lane. I know this was intentional because she leaned on her horn for several seconds before striking me. My bike went under her car, I was thrown off to the right, luckily. A witness coming the other way saw the whole thing. The driver left the scene without stopping – but was stuck in traffic long enough for us to get her license plate and description. No charges were made, although her license was suspended due to her age, I believe (she was 84). But these are the only the tip of the iceberg: dangerous, careless and often intentional threatening maneuvers happen to me and my cyclist friends all the time.
    Thank you for raising attention to this important issue, and for being there for us to report issues.

  11. D. Lapin on February 14, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    A DA considering criminal charges – whether or not there is injury or death – must assembly a jury that will largely be composed of drivers. Those drivers’ sympathies tend to align with fellow drivers rather than with a cyclist, in fear that “but for the grace of God go I”. And a string of acquittals is unlikely to get the DA past the next election.

    I don’t think this issue can be resolved at the sheriff or DA level. Even the attorney. general is an elected officer, and he won’t remain in office long if he doesn’t represent the views of a majority of voters.

    The challenge is to educate the public about the problem, to the point where at least a plurality of voters is willing to act. A public campaign that yields results.

    • Craig Davis on February 14, 2022 at 6:03 pm

      Hi D. Lapin,

      That would be true if cases ever actually went to trial but according to the SMCDA an amazingly small percentage of cases, i.e. in the low single digits, ever go to trial. The vast majority are settled out of court. The SMCDA even states this on their website. This is another continually repeated canard that we have to call out for what it is and reject. Instead of everyone buying these canards, District Attorneys worth their incredible taxpayer funded salaries, should demonstrate respect for cyclists’ lives and make new case law providing cyclists with equal protection under the law.

      San Mateo County DA Stephen M Wagstaffe made almost $500,000 in salary and benefits in 2019. That kind of public investment should result in enough backbone to protect cyclists with actual law enforcement rather than worthless platitudes such as “saying” they take cycling safety seriously. DA Wagstaffe will never go wanting for a high paying job even if he charged and actually had to prosecute a driver for assault.

      Our Glendale precedent documents that drivers can be successfully charged for assault. The driver only received a $300 fine, 50 hours of community service and he even got his record expunged. But we expect it changed his dangerous behavior. It can be done if District Attorneys and law enforcement step up and enforce existing laws to prevent horrible tragedies.

  12. JPeterO on February 14, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    Yet another death this past week – Ellen Le, an experienced cyclist that was killed in a head on collision with an SUV on Mines Road in Santa Clara County. A tragic loss for our cycling community.

    https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/02/13/hundreds-ride-sunday-to-remember-south-bay-cyclist-ellen-le/

  13. Janet Lucido on February 15, 2022 at 9:38 am

    https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/local-news/friends-mourn-bicyclist-hit-and-killed-by-truck-near-fresnos-woodward-park/

    On January 12, 2022 Fresno lost a very dear friend, Mr. Paul Moore, to an unfortunate accident. The police report is not ready yet, but the consensus is he was riding his recumbent bicycle leaving Woodward Park on the northeast corner of the intersection. Paul was intending to travel west in the crosswalk on a green light. A driver driving a Ram 350 traveling west attempted to make a right turn, also on a green light, but never saw Paul and mowed him down.

    Paul was 61, a lifelong educator and had just retired last June. Just a small list of his accomplishments on the bicycle include the Climb to Kaiser and RAAM. He made his first cross-country trek across the US by bicycle when he was just 24.

    Fresno has had several meetings already about the safety of this and other intersections near this very popular park due to other fatal accidents. Unfortunately for Paul, too little and too late. However, bicycle and pedestrian safety is now at the forefront.

    RIP Paul. You will be missed.

  14. Tim Oey on February 15, 2022 at 11:27 am

    An alternative to relying on police or the DA in pursuing close call cases is to implement bicycle anti-harassment laws like Sunnyvale, Los Angeles, and others have done. Getting this done is possible at the city, county, and even state level. This works to prevent dangerous behavior to start with so deaths and injury are avoided.

    See Sunnyvale code at http://qcode.us/codes/sunnyvale/view.php?topic=10-10_56-10_56_320&frames=on

    Los Angeles code at https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/los_angeles/latest/lamc/0-0-0-284828

    Los Angeles article https://www.latimes.com/local/la-xpm-2011-jul-21-la-me-bicycle-law-20110721-story.html

    • Craig Davis on February 15, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Tim,

      I noticed the Los Angeles Times article you linked is from eleven years ago. Do you have statistics and analysis documenting the effectiveness of LA’s law?

      • Tim Oey on April 27, 2022 at 8:10 pm

        These ordinances are relatively new and not very well known so there is likely not enough data yet to say how effective they are.

        Here is a bit of analysis from a lawyer about the challenges of these laws:
        https://www.plaintiffmagazine.com/recent-issues/item/the-cyclist-anti-harassment-ordinance-2

        A major point this lawyer makes it that most bicyclists do not have or cannot afford video cameras which would make filing a claim much easier.

        • Craig Davis on April 28, 2022 at 10:36 am

          Hi Tim,

          The author, Josh Cohen, and I have collaborated in the past.

          His article is from 2014. It states: “While grounded in sound policy, its nature renders the Ordinance ineffective for those who need it the most, and those who could use it most effectively.”

          Acknowledging that this article was written eight years ago so it may not reflect Josh’s current thinking, we strongly disagree with his statement “But the criminal justice system is over-extended and cannot realistically be depended upon to seek redress for harassment of cyclists without physical injury.” People said the same thing regarding domestic violence before it was taken as seriously as gun violence. Traffic violence against cyclists needs to be taken as seriously as gun violence and domestic violence.

          The article was also written long before high quality, $25, 4K resolution, video cameras were readily available as they are today. He states “LA’s average 20,000 yearly hit-and-runs indicate that drivers who ram cyclists with their cars are unlikely to stop and provide their identities. And few injured cyclists are able to sit up and take pictures of the car that just hit them as it speeds away.”

          He importantly acknowledges attorneys are not interested in cases without compensation commensurate with their fees: “As go fees and costs, so goes the incentive for attorneys to take the case.”

          The first article you referenced was from 2011, and this one is from 2014, so these laws have been around long enough for longitudinal data and analysis documenting the effectiveness of these laws.

  15. Jacki Yahn on February 16, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    I really appreciate the article and comments. If kids and teens had to walk or cycle to school, driving etiquette would shift dramatically. Most parents don’t feel it is safe for their children to walk or ride to school, hence the added cars on the road and even more aggressive driving in our communities. Bike lanes are often used as ‘turning lanes’ which is absolutely nuts – I would love to see the fines for such inappropriate use to be commensurate with the damage they could cause. Cycling is good for our communities, our health and the health of the planet.

  16. Peter Grace on February 17, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you, Craig, for taking the time to pull this together. Until we get bias against cyclists and cyclist safety addressed, we are not going to get more people to use biking as a form of transport which must be one of the more straight forward changes in behaviour needed to address Climate Change. If the police do not support bicyclist safety, we are all stuck on the wrong side of the river. The police support is a key link in the bridge across to reducing our carbon footprint. The coming growth in electric bikes makes this support even more important and critical. Yes, I am considering getting a cargo bike for my trips to COSTCO instead of driving.

    I have been repeatedly harassed while biking and now ride with front and back cameras to capture these unsavory moments. Unfortunately, they can happen unexpectedly quickly although in this case, the harassment began 5 seconds before the VW passed us horn blaring. I surmise that we were not wanted on the road or were we the butt of an innocent bit of fun?
    https://youtu.be/ekEWHDuHt1U

    I like the comment “That surfer was eaten by a shark later that day”

    I have also been hit by a distracted driver moving into the bike lane in Sausalito. The driver had a bike rack on the back of their car.
    https://youtu.be/xcdnkljLb98

    another distracted driver on Haven Avenue and close to Marsh Road in San Mateo County:
    https://youtu.be/En7fzaRtzbQ

    I now ride with three flashing back lights and a flashing front light and still worry about getting home each night to have supper with my wife.

    The exisiting laws need to be enforced for our safety.

  17. Wasi on February 17, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you for this article.

    I have been the victim of angry motorists who have demanded I get off the road. I have escaped injury many a times when a driver has driven too close to me.

    With roads clogged up and traffic a problem, biking can help ease the congestion. One life lost by inaction is one too many but if not for the love of human lives, perhaps the authorities can take the dollar sum of the loss of productivity as an incentive to make changes.

  18. Pat Dunn on February 18, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for sharing the article. As with many who’ve commented on this article, I’ve been riding for decades. At this point, I don’t always tell my wife of the car issues I’ve encountered while riding so not to upset her. She insists I use mapping on my phone so she can “find me if I don’t come home.” I now have younger adult family members who ride and I am more concerned about their safety. I am lucky as I live on the mid-Peninsula and my general criteria for riding are quality roads with adequate shoulders, not a lot of traffic and beautiful scenery. I have no interest in commuting on city streets with a lot of traffic as that is a form of Russian roulette. The British Highway code and the placement of the greatest responsibility on those who can cause the greatest harm makes perfect sense.

    A couple of years ago, a few of us personally experienced an angry dangerous driver on Kings Mountain Road in Woodside and the law enforcement response was generally slow moving, dismissive and insufficient. One recommendation was to get law enforcement to actually ride the road with us. We even offered to temporarily procure e-bikes for them. Personal experience is much more impactful. I would somewhat politely challenge law enforcement officers and policy makers to get out on the road with us.

  19. Jim Burque on February 18, 2022 at 11:30 am

    I support a San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury inquiry into law enforcement’s refusal to enforce existing laws for cycling safety and systemic anti-cyclist bias. When the Three-Foot law was passed, the cycling community felt like we finally had the legal support needed to keep our roads safe for bicycling. If law enforcement is not willing to enforce the law, it only perpetuates dangerous conditions for bicyclists. It seems simple enough to write a ticket if evidence is provided of a vehicle violating the law, and it serves as an educational tool for drivers to be more aware when they are driving. As news reports of an increase in bad driving behavior during the past two years, now is the time to put focus on this issue and work towards a meaningful solution to increased bicycle safety.

  20. Sue Young on February 20, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for summarizing what has persisted in San Mateo County with respect to anti-cyclist bias.

    I was a regular bike commuter (3 days/wk) for almost 15 years and have been a recreational rider since 2005. I took steps to educate myself how to ride safely through road skills courses and riding with other people to learn more. All cyclists know what benefits come with bicycling (aerobic exercise, stress management, reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our happiness quotient). We can do our part as responsible citizens and bicyclist (and most of us drive). I would like to see the people paid to enforce them follow the law without biases to protect all of us. We all want the same thing, for everyone to be safe and laws enforced while we share the same road.

    Most drivers are courteous, safe and friendly. It’s the few drivers that lack in spacial awareness, outwardly aggressive or distracted that are the most dangerous to bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers.

    I’ve always believed that the perspective of bicyclists would change if EVERYONE taking a drivers license test were required to spend an equal number of hours walking and bicycling city streets with and without a bike lane and curvy country roads with and without a shoulder. I daresay infrastructure funds and perspective would shift quite rapidly.

  21. Andy Paul on February 20, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you for the article.

    I think we have all experienced times when drivers act aggressive or blow a stop sign. I have experienced both in the last month. The most egregious was while I was riding up Tunitas on the upper part when on a straight portion I heard a car behind me and I have radar on the bike so I moved as far to the right as I could then I heard a person continuously blasting their horn and sped by inches away from me. It was a white Tesla model S. I found out later that this same car did this to two women who were further back down the road and to a friend much further up the road. If anyone of us just happened to wobble a bit it might not just be another close call to mention but something much worse. I do wish there were reasonably inexpensive video cameras to put on the front and back of your bike to capture video evidence but based on this article, at least for now, it seems only someone dying or being severely injured generates much action by police, DAs, and politicians.

    Now it is not to say that bike riders adhere to every stop sign by coming to a full stop but you would be foolish to assume there is no traffic when you can’t see around a corner. You are on a 20-pound bike and what might be coming at you is a two-ton car. It would be great to get every police officer to try riding a few miles around San Mateo on a bike with clipless pedals.

    As far as infrastructure goes, the county, towns, and state need to continue to build more separation between bike riders and cars/trucks. Especially when planning new or renovating old roads. We definitely need a safe overpass between San Carlos and Redwood Shores so local bikers can get to the bay trail rather than attempting to cross over 101 at Holly St.

  22. Matt Turner on February 22, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    I wish I could say any of this was surprising. We have been slogging away at this for many years. Getting buy-in from law enforcement is a repeated struggle in every jurisdiction. We continue rolling the Sisyphean boulder up the hill only to see it crush more cyclists as it comes rolling back down. Time and again we are faced with a law enforcement culture that tacitly, and sometimes explicitly, blames cyclists for assault, injury, and death at the hands of drivers.

    The call for a grand jury investigation is the kind of effort that must be elevated. Change will only come when those in elected positions are embarrassed by the data. As the impacts of climate change continue to manifest themselves in increasingly visible ways we are hearing from our elected representatives about action that must be taken. One of the key things they are calling for is mode shift. Yet, these same folks seem to think that mode shift simply involves encouraging people to walk and pedal instead of drive. At the same time we have law enforcement telling us through word and deed that to do so is to recklessly endanger our own lives. Given the inadequacy of our infrastructure, and the driving public’s willful disregard, and even animosity, towards cyclists and pedestrian’s life and safety, one can find grains of logic in law enforcement’s stance. What one can’t find is justice.

    Drivers who assault, batter, and kill must be held accountable. We need prosecutors who value our lives and bodily integrity. Right now, we do not have an executive or judicial system that values cyclists and pedestrians the way they do drivers. This is obvious to those of us who’ve been victimized and sought justice. We must shine a bright light on this injustice so that those in elected positions will be be embarrassed not to address it.

  23. Robert Waring on February 23, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    A reason I rarely ride in San Mateo County on weekends or holidays is because in the absence of traffic enforcement, there so many drivers on the roads who do not drive safely. On President’s Day, a pack of three impatient drivers straddled the double yellow line next to cyclists and lingered in the left lane around two blind curves, endangering themselves, oncoming traffic and the cyclists. They forced a car off the road. This was exactly how the last cyclist fatality occurred on Kings Mountain Road — a driver in the left lane hit a descending cyclist head on. The town of Woodside responded by building a few bike turnouts, but drivers pay them no heed and cross the double yellow line with abandon, even while bikes are in the turnouts. They know they will almost never encounter law enforcement. And even if there is video evidence such as this, law enforcement will do nothing. The video starts near 680 Kings Mountain Road.
    https://youtu.be/mh_Oi_p6nZk

  24. Stephen Bingham on March 1, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    Excellent article Craig. Given CHP’s refusal to cite if they’re not present, perhaps legislation is needed to make it explicit in the CVC that near misses are reckless behavior and drivers must be cited based on video evidence.

  25. Alexander Yermolovich on March 2, 2022 at 7:15 am

    Yep, police is useless in enforcing rules against the drivers. At least the ones that deal with cyclists. In doing so enable violence against cyclists.

  26. Steve d'Alencon on March 2, 2022 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for your article and factual incident documentation, Craig. I cycle between 8K and 11K miles per year, predominantly on San Mateo County roads. I have been an unwilling participant in many incidents like the ones you document: recklessly unsafe, deliberate, high-speed, near miss passes, trucks rolling coal on me, verbal abuse from drivers for riding my bike on a public road, and being run off of the roadway by a distracted driver.

    The officers and SMCDA are public servant, paid by the taxpayers to enforce the laws of the land. There is well documented anti-cyclist bias that seems to pervade the system. It is apparent these public servants are not performing their sworn and ethical duty and they need to be removed from their positions, in my opinion.

    Drivers who violate the law by assaulting cyclists must be held accountable.

  27. Gene McKenna on March 2, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t feel safe cycling on the roads. too many incidents where cars hit people or close calls. I’ve seen many, and the county doesn’t prioritize bike lanes, biker safety or traffic enforcement. I primarily mountain bike now because at least the mountain is in my control. As I grow older I will want to return to the road. If we could make them safer through enforcement and infrastructure it would be great.

  28. Darrel Stickler on March 2, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    This is an excellent, well-documented report. Protecting cyclists from either deliberate action or sheer indifference should be a social mandate. I ride several times a week and conduct myself with care and courtesy, waving and thanking any driver that waits that extra moment for me to pass. Unfortunately, every week at least one driver passes closer than 3 ft or passes and moves over before clearing a buffer zone in front of me. I want to come home to my wife after EVERY ride.

    It is very common to see police stationed at stop signs to give nuisance tickets that have no impact on public safety. I make this assertion based on driving and riding through these intersections for decades, and never once experience an unsafe encounter that warrants intervention.

    I read about inner city kids exposed to gang violence, where many kids know people killed. The adverse impact on how these kids approach life must be significant. But out here in the ‘burbs, at least two people from my cycling club have been killed, and a wonderful young man that worked for me was also killed–and his girlfriend paralyzed–by a driver that didn’t see two cyclists in the middle of the afternoon on an open road. And of course I know about other cyclists killed on the peninsula by drivers. I was punched in the back by a passenger in a pickup truck on Skyline; I was forced off a sharp drop and I’m very thankful I managed to stay upright and not fall in front of following traffic. And getting my riding group shot by a paint gun from another passing pickup. (What is it with pickups???)

    I visited northern Scotland and borrowed a bicycle. The difference in how cyclists are treated by motorists was amazing. Every vehicle moved into the far lane, as if passing another car and not “just” a bicycle. I commented on this to my hosts who said that was how they were taught to drive. Wow.

    I have no patience for cyclists that blow through stop signs or red lights, but classifying all cyclists because of the actions of a few is bias, no different than talking about “them” because of how someone dresses, their religion, their politics, or the color of their skin.

    I welcome any effort to expose current weaknesses in our justice system that permit clear infractions to be dismissed as some kind of “boys will be boys” tussle. We can educate the public on the damage a car can do to a cyclist (or pedestrian). It should be accepted legal doctrine that driving a car near cyclists is an inherently dangerous action, and the driver is presumed at fault in any collision. Increased use of video in vehicles and by bicyclists should be expected and rules of evidence and guilt updated accordingly.

  29. Marco Costantino on March 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Great, and infuriating, article. Being a life-long San Mateo resident it pains me to know what little consideration is given to these types of near-death incidents.

    Fair to say any cyclist has experienced some sort of close call with a car. Thank you for being an advocate, Craig!

  30. Patrick Masterson on March 3, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for doing this, Craig! It would be nice to one day have laws that ensure punishments will fit these crimes. Vehicles are not toys and people should be required to be more careful and, importantly, laws should be enforced in a way that prevents unfortunate incidents like the ones you’ve used as examples from happening in the future. This is a great step.

  31. Thomas Greene on March 3, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you for documenting these issues; I have also experienced bias by local Bay Area municipal police who did not cite a motorist who ran a red light and hit me. It seems that San Mateo County law enforcement is neglecting its duty to ensure public safety even when provided video evidence, and I support opening a grand jury investigation into this issue.

  32. Chris Ketner on March 5, 2022 at 7:50 am

    I pay the same taxes, maybe even more than most motorists. I want my share of the roads.

  33. Glenn Kirby on March 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

    This is a well-considered perspective on an important issue. So much effort has been spent in recent years by so many agencies to encourage more people to ride bicycles. This is really a great time to be a bike rider. New and improved technologies are emerging, such as disk brakes, electronic shifting, carbon fiber components and frames, small, light-weight electronics for tracking our rides and video cameras to capture our days on the road. And, so much funding is now available for the design and construction of miles and miles of bike lanes. Clearly, more people would make the choice to leave the auto behind and take that bike ride for their short trips around town if only they felt safe doing so. I think if you ask transportation experts to list the main obstacles to decreasing vehicle miles traveled, near the top of the list would be the perception of whether it is safe to ride a bike along with vehicle traffic.

    From this article though, and from the work your organization has done, it is clear that the law is not on our side when there is a collision between a bicycle and a motor vehicle. Law enforcement needs to step up and enforce the laws already in place. And city, county and state policy makers need to strengthen laws protecting cyclists. All the money spent to implement the policies in the many Bicycle-Pedestrian, Complete Streets Plans and Climate Action Plans throughout California and elsewhere will not produce the desired result of getting people out of their cars unless they feel safe enough to choose to ride more and drive less.

    We cyclists applauded when the 3-foot passing law was passed in CA, but soon learned that in practice this law is not enforced. Even when there is video evidence law enforcement is reluctant to charge a driver. Even when there is extensive evidence that a driver was at fault, charges are not brought due to refusal by a DA. A big part of the problem, in my view, is that the CA Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Manual, the document most often cited by local law enforcement for guidance, actually equates Collisions and Accidents by definition. Clearly many of the criminal near misses discussed in this article, including mine, were not accidents, but were intentional and aggressive.

    I like the language you quoted as adopted by the British: “In any interaction between road users, those who can cause the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they pose to others”. This should be our hue and cry to policy makers as we continue to plead our case for the right to use our roadways safely on our bicycles.

  34. Tushar Chaubal on March 23, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Blown away by the article and appalled by the approach of agencies involved.

  35. Gallant Chen on March 23, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks Craig for this fantastic and in depth article. It is helpful to bring these issues to light and help more folks understand the issues. As a cyclist and father to three kids who ride bikes in the neighborhood and to school I can attest that there are often very close calls. My kids are often passed on blind corner roads while riding to school. As a result, I have them ride early to avoid the traffic and get to school safely. I hope this article helps encourage more action to help support safer roads for cyclists. If there is anything that you suggest we can do as citizens please let me know. Thanks!

  36. John Langbein on April 18, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Has anyone thought about reporting Commander Cavett’s comment to his bosses at CHP plus the local legislators?

    • Craig Davis on April 18, 2022 at 11:51 am

      Hi John,

      The thesis of the article is that systemic anti-cyclist bias has deep roots which is why I said “This is not about Commander Cavett, individually or as the leader of CHP’s Redwood City Station. He channeled law enforcement’s systemic anti-cyclist bias.” The article documents many other examples of anti-cyclist bias to argue that we will never have safe, shared streets until law enforcement, the legal system and government officials publicly state their commitment to The Six Commitments for Cycling Safety.

      We just published a companion article documenting The Roots of Systemic Anti-Cyclist Bias Reach Back 100 Years.

      We are working with San Mateo County Supervisor Pine and hope to make progress. Our best outcome would be to promote San Mateo County as having best practices for enforcing existing laws for cyclists’ safety. We have a long road to get there and need as many people to add their comments in support as you have.

  37. Eduardo Martins on May 4, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    Extremely well-written article that reflects what most, if not all, of us have experienced on the road. For example, the 3-foot law is neither respected by drivers nor enforced by the SMC sheriff and the CHP. I don’t know if it is just anti-cyclist bias or a combination of such bias with the unwillingness to fill up paperwork. When it comes to the DA, there are no excuses. Sad state of affairs

  38. Stacy Spink on May 12, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Motorist are a huge (and dangerous and destructive) super-majority, active transportation users are a small and vulnerable minority. Getting the majority to pass laws and then enforce those laws on themselves seems very unlikely, if not an impossibility. Laws are written and enforced by motorists and for the primary benefit of motorists. I see no viable solution to the scenarios above.

Leave a Comment





Imagine walking on a public sidewalk when a stranger runs up behind you yelling you don’t belong on the sidewalk, aims a gun at your head, fires, missing so narrowly you can almost feel the bullet’s wake ripping by your ear.  The stranger says they wanted to teach you a lesson: you don’t belong on the sidewalk.  Further imagine a store video camera recorded the incident and you reported it to the police, along with the video evidence.  You would rightly expect the person to be arrested and prosecuted for felony assault. Yet when cyclists in San Mateo County are assaulted by arguably more dangerous weapons, speeding multi thousand-pound metal vehicles, with drivers yelling bikes don’t belong on the road, recorded on video, coming within inches of killing the cyclists, so close they feel the vehicle’s wind wake, San Mateo County law enforcement has rejected all criminal near miss incident reports as if nothing happened.