San Francisco is supposed to be a bicycle-friendly city with its many bike lanes, pro-bicycling traffic signs and laws and not to mention its many bicycle commuters and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Cycling to work or just for errands is a great way to lower our carbon footprint while also getting great exercise.
Taxicabs are also an important part of San Francisco, however unfortunately this week reminds us that taxis are one of the City’s most unpredictable hazards, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.
Cyclists know to be on guard while riding among motor traffic. Bicycle riders should always practice defensive riding, even while in the designated bicycle lanes. Why? In one second a distracted automobile driver can cause devastating personal injuries. In the end, even if the bicyclist is not at fault, it’s obvious who is the most likely to be injured in a car vs. bicycle accident.
As a result, we riders spend much of our time trying to predict what the motorists are likely to do. In other words, bicycle riding in traffic is second by second strategizing. Every moment a cyclist is perceiving and clearing hazards knowing that motorists just don’t see us very well.
Taxicab drivers are not typical and predictable motorists. They often make erratic lane changes and their passengers are often swinging doors open into traffic right in front of bicycle riders. Taxi cab drivers are, however, supposed to be professional drivers, with a special license and supposedly special training. Why, I ask, do so many of them have such an aggressive and dangerous attitude toward everyone else on the road? It is unfortunate that I must report that for the second time this week, a taxicab hit a bicyclist. This time a bicyclist was severely injured as the cab driver ran a red light at an intersection in San Francisco’s Mission District.
As a San Francisco Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Attorney I have many cases against taxi drivers after bicycle collisions. In many cases there is more than one story stemming from an accident, making it difficult to tell definitively what happened. In the two cases this past week, it seems consistent that the taxicab driver violated traffic laws and hit the bicycle rider, the unfortunate victim.
I challenge recent studies that deem the cyclist is at fault in most auto accidents. I disagree with the many police reports that list the cyclist as the faulty party even though the cyclist has done nothing wrong.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss what to your options if you or someone you care about are injured in a bicycle accident.