Hit by a car on Cesar Chavez

MM reader Missy writes in to tell about her harrowing experience this morning:

This morning I was riding down Chavez on my way to my house… minding
my own business… about to hit the bike lane near the on ramps when
all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye…. a red… thing….
coming *WHAM* car hits the entire left side of my bike throwing me
from it onto the pavement.  Driver stopped… even a witness stopped.
Everyone was very nice, and after much back and forth about putting me
in an ambulance I rode my jacked up bike back to my home.

Now, the reason I am writing to you is because I think that even
though Chavez is boarder line NOT the mission…. I believe we need to
bring awareness to how UNSAFE it is to bike there.


I definitely agree with her, having been hit before myself.  Luckily, change is underway!

In the meantime, I like to take the way more chill but way less convenient 26th Street as an alternative.

[Photo by darren_mirfield]

24 Responses to “Hit by a car on Cesar Chavez”

  1. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Aren’t bike lanes coming as part of the redesign?

  2. alan says:


    • Goire Goire says:

      Really? Judgmental much? Lets just say I hope nothing bad ever happens to you…(voodoo doll on my mind, calling it Alan)

      • basho says:

        I was going to say, “miss the (slightly irrelevant yet still amusing) 80s pop culture reference much?” but I’m trying to cut down on the snark.

        • Goire Goire says:

          Wasn’t missed…love the group. However, not really a joking/laughing matter. She’s just lucky that she wasn’t seriously hurt.

  3. ciao says:

    she doesn’t say, but i can only hope that she filed a police report and notified the driver’s insurance company.

  4. MrEricSir says:

    Someone should open a wine bar on Cesar Chavez.

  5. J says:

    Was she wearing a helmet? It amazes me how almost nobody out here wears one. Sometimes you have to shelve the too-cool-for-school thing.

    • Henri! says:

      Plenty of people do not wear their helmets commuting or riding about, but are using foot straps. Wonderful combination.

    • Ben says:

      Stop the press! There’s generally no harm in wearing a helmet, but they haven’t been shown to have a significant effect on head injury rates for collisions between cyclists and cars. They’re great for low speed non-vehicular crashes, and correspondingly they’re great for children, but there are very real limits as to what a piece of plastic lined with styrofoam will protect you from. If you’re really bored, there are tons of papers out there studying the efficacy of helmets in various types of collisions. This is just an abstract, but it’s a good place to start – http://www.vehicularcyclist.com/scuffham.html. If you really want to get into nerd territory, you can start looking at the types of head injuries that motorists typically receive in crashes. Turns out they see far more head impacts that are within the design range of cycling helmets, but obviously we don’t require them for drivers.

      Anyway, the reason I’m getting on a soapbox about this is because there’s this cultural perception that blame should be shifted to the victim if they weren’t wearing a helmet. Whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet or not, it doesn’t remove the driver’s responsibility to exercise caution when changing lanes, executing turns, and so on. Every story about a collision finds a way to weave it in, and if it isn’t mentioned, it’s the first thing people want to know about in the comments.

      • Ben says:

        One last point, and not necessarily one that’s germane to this particular collision: a lot of cyclists ride like irresponsible jackasses out here. I don’t know if it’s because they watched MASH SF or Macaframa or some other shit too many times, or if it’s just the general inefficiency of fixed-gear bikes at accelerating from low speeds (compared to shifting to an appropriate gear) that encourages people to ride like a jackass.

        Wearing a helmet in that case is a bit like wearing a bulletproof vest while walking through a minefield. Riding responsibly does much more to keep you safe than a helmet can.

        • J says:

          Be that as it may, you still have a better chance not having your head cracked open wearing a helmet than not. Why not wear one? What’s the harm? As ridiculous as it sounds it really seems like a juvenile coolness factor why alot of people don’t wear them here — boggles my mind.

          By the way, I’m definitely not laying blame on the cyclist, just curious about the helmet thing.

          • ciao says:

            why not wear one when you ride in a car? or just wear one all the time, you have a better chance of never getting your head cracked open.

          • Ben says:

            I’m sure that for most cyclists, the reason for not wearing a helmet is going to fall into one of two buckets – coolness, or convenience. The coolness part doesn’t require an explanation, I think. As for convenience, it can be a pain in the ass to keep up with a helmet if you’re going to be out and about for a while. It’s not a big deal if you’re commuting to/from work, or going over to a friend’s place where you can just toss the helmet somewhere and pick it up when you head back. In most other circumstances, your options are to leave it with your bike and hope it’s still there when you come back, or take it with you and put up with the awkward bulk.

            To be honest, it’s totally a convenience thing for me, and the only reason I know all this stuff is because I went to a tech school and used to ride bikes with a lot of physicists, and mechanical and material science engineers. I wear a helmet when I’m going on longer athletic rides, when I know that I’m going to be moving pretty fast and if I hit a pothole or something, it could definitely come in handy. I don’t have any illusions that it’s going to protect me if a car takes me out, though.

            To answer your question about what’s the harm, the most dangerous (and the most common) type of head injuries for cyclists are rotational injuries, which helmets can only make worse. The longer moment arm you attach to your head, the greater the torque applied when your head strikes the ground while rotating. Helmets are much better at protecting you from linear injury, but these aren’t as common nor as dangerous.

    • ciao says:

      i’m glad you took this opportunity to blame the victim. guilty conscience much?

  6. I totally agree that there should be more bike lanes. People often say bikers are so aggressive. But they have to be because car drivers have gotten so bad about paying attention to the road and the environment around them. I use to love to bike in this city, but rarely do any more because I am afraid of all the bad drivers that somehow maintain a driver licensee. Where supposed to be the biker friendly city, but they do little to encourage the public to ride bikes, walk or take public transportation instead of cars to get around.

  7. Jen says:

    Watched someone run a red light on CC at Harrison during rush hour on Wednesday. It was completely terrifying. I was stopped in the right lane, car in the center lane was stopped, and an SUV barreled through in the left lane without slowing at all. There were about 8 seconds left on the pedestrian signal. Dude absolutely could have killed someone – I don’t know if he just didn’t see the light or what the problem was, but there is no excuse.

    Sorry about your accident, Missy! Glad you’re not hurt worse. From experience (hit awhile back at Duboce/Valencia), even if it doesn’t hurt all that bad now, that’s the adrenaline talking. You’ll be hurting hard tomorrow morning. Lay in the park and rest.

  8. Julian says:

    I have to take Cesar Chavez on my bike every morning to go to work on 3rd st in the dogpatch/potrero neighborhood. Since I’m going to 3rd, there is no other option for me, since 26th ends at Rolph playground and then you have steep hills through the potrero projects. I have been riding CC for a couple of years and have seen some bike accidents, cars go pretty fast there and large trucks come within inches of you, then there are the ramps to the highways, so you have to very careful, and forget about riding at night. Some bike lane changes would be a welcomed relief.

  9. nativonot@this.com says:

    Sorry but there are a few streets in SF where bikes shouldn’t go – not for any reason other than safety. Fell and Oak, a few more and CC too I think.

    A month ago they painted lines on my street. The only problem is that the street isnt any wider than it was before. The driving lane is as big as the bike lane is as big as the parking lane. So SF made the street any safer for bikes? I dont think that will prove out. Im all for bikes and bike lanes, but I am more for some common sense of the best place to put them. Where is the damn bike lane on Dolores? Take 2 lane streets and give one to the bikes, I just dont care. But you cant make a car any narrower. Sf government is clueless. Excuse me while I walk into traffic because SF government allows cafes to take up 2/3 of the pedestrian right of way so they can collect more tax on the tables and chairs and planters.

  10. Coin Holder says:

    There are enough reasons to blame

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