San Francisco Vision Zero and Stop Sign Enforcement

As part of the city’s Vision Zero policy to reduce traffic fatalities, the San Francisco Police Department say they focus their enforcement on the five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking.

Bikes Must Cross

According to this policy, 50% of traffic citations should be written for the five most common violations — speeding, running red lights, running stop signs, violating pedestrians’ right-of-way in crosswalks, or failing to yield to pedestrians while turning — that cause pedestrian injuries.

In reality, only 24% of tickets are written against these top five traffic law violations.

In an apparent bid to boost the “Focus On the Five” numbers for his Park Station District, Captain John Sanford regularly orders enhanced enforcement against cyclists who run stop signs along popular routes for bike commuters. Sanford’s focused enforcement against cyclists (instead of the much greater danger posed by motor vehicle operators) is a large part of the reason an “Idaho Stop Policy” is again on the agenda for today’s SF Supervisor’s meeting.

This focus on pedestrian and bicycle behavior has been noted in other Vision Zero efforts. After the city of San Diego adopted a Vision Zero policy, jaywalking enforcement shot up dramatically in the Gaslamp District. New York City also targets cyclists and pedestrians in their Vision Zero enforcement efforts.

Jym Dyer recently posted his opinion on this subversion of Vision Zero to a discussion list. It’s posted below with his permission.

=v= Warning, Captain Sanford has resumed the Wiggle crackdown and confirmed as much to Joe Fitz at the Examiner.

The bike-as-yield proposal is being considered by the Board of Supervisors right now, so it’s hard for me to see this as anything but throwing a petty fit.

=v= Park Station’s lines were recently redrawn and no longer include the northern half of Waller, so Sanford’s jurisdiction is more likely to get Wigglers in the morning. Any ticketing blitz in other parts of the Wiggle would be in the jurisdiction of Northern Station, or possibly the work of the Traffic Detail (both headed by other Captains, of course). I’m thinking in particular of that other stupid sting on Page at Octavia.

=v= Let your Supervisor know how you think about this. Also, is it time for another Stop-In?

=v= And again, it’s very problematic that the SFPD has chosen to dilute its own Focus On The Five commitment by pretending that bicyclists and pedestrians are as dangerous as motorists. Motorists who fail to stop at a STOP sign are in the top five collision causes, and Captains are supposed to devote 50% of their traffic enforcement to the top 5. Sanford is padding his numbers by counting these stings.

=v= Also again, I call on our local Vision Zero advocates to condemn this practice. Vision Zero is supposed to be about data-driven enhancement, and Sanford’s actions are abusing that to the point of absurdity. Surely this merits at least one press release of disapproval, at the very least?

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