A Message from Ethan Boyes’ Family

Just over five months ago, on April 4, 2023, a tragedy shook the biking community in San Francisco: a driver heading northbound on Arguello in the Presidio veered across the southbound lane and into the opposite bike lane, hitting and killing Ethan Boyes. Ethan was a world-record-holding track racer, a beloved fixture of the biking community, and a son, brother, and friend.

Recently, the U.S. Park Police concluded their investigation of the crash and referred the case to federal prosecutors. As the investigation continues, we want to take a moment to center one of the voices closest to Ethan. His mother, Penny Boyes, has asked us to share this statement:

“Five months ago Ethan was taken from us, far too soon, because of decisions made by a stranger who chose to get into his car that April day and chose each of the actions that came after, until that inexplicable moment when he killed Ethan. We have spent these months grieving together as a family and as individuals, processing the void that Ethan used to fill for us. These months have also been filled with waiting—waiting to see what, if any consequences, there will be for the driver that took our son, brother, uncle and friend. We remain grateful for the thorough and thoughtful investigation undertaken by the U.S. Park Police and support the decision of the Park Police to refer the investigation to federal prosecutors. We trust that the criminal justice system will function as it is supposed to and hope that this next phase of the process will bring with it a serious conversation on the protection of cyclists from the actions of drivers and a true understanding that driving a car is a privilege that comes with the responsibility to drive cautiously and safely to avoid harming others.”

We continue to send strength and love to Ethan’s family and everyone who cared about him. As Ethan’s case enters its next phase, we echo his family’s request that we all reckon with the state of street safety and the responsibility of drivers to safely share the road. 

Ethan’s death highlights again what we already know: San Francisco streets are not safe enough for people biking and walking. City agencies must urgently do more to improve safety on our streets and create dedicated car-free infrastructure — Slow Streets, protected mobility lanes, and car-free streets.

While improving our streets is one way the City can make things safer for everyone, Ethan’s family rightly points out that it was ultimately one individual’s choices and actions that led to  Ethan’s death. The allegations that this person was intoxicated underline a truth that must be repeated: getting behind the wheel (or even the handlebars) of any vehicle while intoxicated in any way is completely unacceptable. We can all play a part in normalizing this clear line for ourselves and our friends, families, and communities.

In the coming weeks, the SF Bicycle Coalition will be sharing updates about safety changes in development along Arguello, both in the Presidio and between the Presidio and Golden Gate Park  — sign up here for all the latest updates.

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