PRESS RELEASE: SF Bicycle Coalition Calls for Transparency from SFPUC

UPDATE (6/24/2024): The crash that resulted in the death of Steven Bassett has now been listed on the City’s “San Francisco 2024 Traffic Fatality Notification Table,” which acknowledges that Steve was doored by a city employee in an SFPUC pickup truck.

We were heartbroken to hear that the 70-year-old man who died on June 11 after injuries sustained on May 30 was Steven Bassett, a longtime member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and an avid cyclist. Our hearts are with his family and friends as they mourn. Any death of a person biking in San Francisco is unacceptable and preventable.

Steve was hospitalized with serious injuries after a crash on Fairfax Street at Newhall in the Bayview. We have independently confirmed that the crash happened when a city employee opened the door to a city vehicle in Steve’s path as he was traveling by bike. This is at odds with SFPUC’s statement to the media that Steve crashed into a parked vehicle, which obfuscates responsibility for the crash. 

We call on SFPUC to be open, transparent, and accountable with the incident report from that day, as the city is required to file reports for any incident involving a city vehicle. San Franciscans deserve to know the facts surrounding his tragic and preventable death when a city employee was involved. 

We know from painful experience that dooring is one of the biggest dangers to people biking on unprotected infrastructure. They’re also easily preventable for people driving cars. It is the responsibility of the person in the vehicle to check outside their door for any oncoming road users. We call on the city to require that all city employees who drive any kind of city vehicle be trained on safely navigating the streets with people who bike, including instituting the so-called “Dutch reach” as a practice. 

This fatal crash happened on a street with no safe infrastructure for people on bikes, and in a neighborhood with very few protected bike lanes – this is why we urgently need an interconnected network of car-free and people-prioritized mobility corridors that are safe and universally accessible, to make the entire city safe for people biking.

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