Making Safety a Priority: Driver Sabrina Matlin

Meet Sabrina Matlin, a San Francisco native who drives and seeks to do so safely. Sabrina recently reached out to us to learn more about best practices for driving around the new biking infrastructure popping up across town. She wants to understand how traffic rules work in order to be a safer driver who respects people walking and biking.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: Why did you reach out to us in the first place?

Sabrina: I drive home from work and have to make a right hand turn from Howard onto Ninth and I always thought that I was to change lanes where the green paint “dashes.” Cars behind me were crossing into the lane way before the dashes and it was preventing me from getting into the lane. I needed to know the rules so I can follow them safely.

That’s why I reached out to the SF Bicycle Coalition. The last thing I want to do is physically hurt someone or worse. There are times when I want to get out of my car and direct traffic for an hour just to help people learn the rules. Or post a giant sign that explains it to them.


As a person who drives, what do you think about the new protected bike lanes around the city? Are there enough?

I am all for it. And no, I don’t think it is enough. I think the city needs an entire campaign for safe streets. They have announced Vision Zero, but they are doing very little to educate people who drive.

What changes would you like to see in SF to make you feel safe using our streets?

There should be police or MTA looking out for people biking and walking. It’s getting to a point where, in my opinion, the city should be more extreme, like eliminating all right turns on red. Drivers don’t even think that someone might be in the crosswalk; they’re only looking for cars.

How do you think the SF Bicycle Coalition’s work helps you be a better driver?

Bike to Work Day really reminds me how safety is important. We should be working together for safe streets and not fighting against each other. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is a great resource for information as it helps me understands the rules and how to look out for people on bikes.

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