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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rolling stops are a good thing - let your supervisor know!!

From SFGate,
Legislation that would make ticketing bicyclists who roll through stop signs the lowest priority for San Francisco police has inflamed controversy at City Hall. 
Mayor Ed Lee has pledged to veto any such legislation, a preemptive strike against an ordinance Supervisor John Avalos introduced at the Board of Supervisors last week. It would permit bicyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and ride through without stopping if they decide it is safe.
Below is why he's wrong to oppose it, and why you should write today to Supervisor Cohen (malia.cohen@sfgov.org) to ask her to join her fellow supervisors in supporting this sensible legislation. Without putting too fine a point on it, if someone says they don't support it, they don't know what it says and are purely going on their gut hatred of cyclists.

This law instructs police to deprioritize citing a cyclist who passes through an intersection where there is no one else with the right of way - no pedestrian, cyclist, or motor vehicle - if they slow down and continue through the intersection without coming to a full and complete stop. Heck, even Park District Captain Sanford makes rolling stops! 


That's it. It does nothing to "trade away safety for convenience," and in fact, will at the very least be safety neutral, and may in fact enhance safety by making everyone more aware of the laws surrounding bikes on the roads.

This cyclist would still get a ticket!!
Even if a cyclist does slow but not stop at a stop sign with no one else (but the cop) for miles around, a police officer is still 100% able to cite them, because that's the law. All this policy change does is say to police, "you know what, we think there are more important things than this to be spending your time citing people for. If you see this one little infraction happen, just let it slide."

Blow through a stop sign at 15mph with pedestrians in the crosswalk? You get a ticket.
Jump a red light to get ahead of traffic? You get a ticket.
Don't stop before making a right turn at a stop sign? Ticket.
Ride on the sidewalk? Ticket.
Stop, but don't wait your turn for those with the right of way to go? Tickety tick-tock ticket.

Police don't like it, not because it is going to be dangerous - hell, people do this now without injury all the time - but I suspect because it's legislators telling police how to do their job.

This policy change is way less impactful than what the Board of Supervisors did nine years ago when they voted to deprioritize pot-related offenses, so what's the problem here? This has broad support from progressives and moderates on the board, so what's stopping our supervisor and the mayor from supporting this?

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