Bicyclists Beware: Most Likely Places To Be Injured in San Francisco and Bay Area

-Posted On November 30, 2011 In Bicycle Accidents-

SF bicycle injuries.pngAll San Francisco bicycle enthusiasts know that, despite the positive aspects of cycling to work or around town, riding in city traffic can be dangerous. Unfortunately, motorists always create some danger for bicyclists, but this danger is even worse at some specific San Francisco intersections.

It is my job as a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Attorney to learn first hand just how dangerous these city streets actually can be for cyclists.

I am proud to live in a bicycle-friendly city such as San Francisco and always smile when I see specifically marked bicycle lanes and unique, descriptive signs at intersections which could be most confusing for bicycles and cars. The extra precautions put in by the city shows–as they gear towards helping guide motorists and bicyclists alike. However, there are still roadways needing improvement, as shown in the attached video demonstrating San Francisco’s most dangerous bicycle intersections.

My favorite is the well-known illegal right turn from northbound Market through the bike lane. These motorists are thinking mainly about getting onto the freeway ramp, while the cyclists are paying attention to their surroundings upon arriving at a busy intersection, motoring straight through as all signs advise. It appears to be one of the most frustrating and dangerous intersections for bicycles since the cyclists are so apt to be hit by the automobile driver. As shown in the video above, the driver is also confused, having just collided with a bicycle and wondering why that would happen. Yes, he learns, he made an illegal right turn.

The city has made some effort on this dangerous intersection by placing an island in between the car lane and bicycle lane so that it looks more obvious. Yet, to my demise, car and bicycle crashes are still occurring here at an unacceptable rate.

Statistically, it is estimated that more than 8,000 bikes can crowd into a few of San Francisco intersections in just one single day. Without a doubt, there are some intersections which may be fatal to bicyclists.

As a San Francisco Bicycle Lawyer, I learn about the San Francisco accident locations after a bicycle accident has occurred. Of course, I try to put the pieces together and rack my brain as to just what makes these intersections so dangerous for bikes. Moreover, if the dangerous intersection was a substantial factor in causing the bicycle accident, it is often my job to explore whether the City’s conduct was unreasonable.

I fully support The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s decisions, and am especially interested in the recent study on this problem. They are realizing that the city of San Francisco’s efforts are simply not enough, despite their attempts, since the fact still remains: bicyclists are still being injured, some fatally.

Five most likely places to get injured on a bicycle in San Francisco are:

  • Polk and Geary Streets
  • Market and Valencia Street
  • Market and 5th near Union Square
  • Masonic Avenue and Fell Street
  • Market Street and Octavia

Extending outside of San Francisco, these intersections top the list:

  • Telegraph Avenue and 42nd St. in Oakland
  • Mendocino and Pacific Avenue in Santa Rosa
  • Monument Boulevard and Detroit Avenue in Concorde
  • College Avenue and Russell Boulevard in Berkeley
  • Sir Francis Drake Blvd., and Baywood Canyon Road in Fairfax

Myself and The San Francisco Bike Coalition are really encouraging the city to focus on those troubled areas. It is clear that Market / Octavia is still an intersection where cyclists still really need to be careful.

A pro bicycle attorney, I do believe there is absolutely no excuse for bad driving when a motorist causes injury to a bicyclist. However, I do want to warn bicycle riders to take extra caution. Ride defensively, protect themselves from the drivers–who are bigger than them. Sadly, many city drivers are in too much of a hurry to obey the law, particularly in the intersections which have the worst histories for bicycle accidents and injuries.

I know that often times cyclists are the ones who are blamed at first in the police reports. However, more in depth analysis in these cases often demonstrates that the bicyclists have acted reasonably and that the drivers are at fault. My job is to make those who have acted negligently and thereby caused bicycle riders injuries fully accountable.

About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for San Francisco Bay Area bicyclists. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a San Francisco bicycle accident attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured cyclists throughout his legal career. Claude is also an avid cyclist himself and member of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and is a sponsor of Safe Routes to School.

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