The captain of the San Francisco Police Department's Park Station is planning a crackdown on bike riders who roll through stop signs on some of the city's most popular bike routes, saying "protection of life" is his top priority. But bike advocates say police should focus traffic enforcement on the greatest threat to lives: dangerous behavior by drivers.
The comments by Capt. John Sanford were made at a community meeting Tuesday night, according to Hoodline:
Traffic enforcement teams will consist of bicycle officers and marked police vehicles, said Sanford, who reported that district officers have given 38 traffic citations to cyclists between January and May. "I am not too shy to say that it is a problem," said Sanford, who encouraged attendees to spread the word that a crackdown is in the works. "Tell your friends to slow, stop and obey," he said.
SFPD spokesman Albie Esparza confirms the department is planning targeted enforcement against people who bike in the Park police district, which includes The Wiggle, Panhandle and Golden Gate Park.
In addition to drivers, "we do see a large number of pedestrians and bicyclists who are also committing violations, and we cannot simply turn a blind eye and just ignore that," Esparza says.
But bike advocates say SFPD should focus on the top five traffic violations by drivers that cause the most deaths and injuries on the streets. Police pledged to have those violations account for 50 percent of all citations, as part of the city's Vision Zero goal to end all traffic deaths by 2024.