PRESS RELEASE: SF Bicycle Coalition Calls for Urgent Action Following Fatality from Howard Collision

This morning at approximately 8:30 am, a woman riding a bicycle, an electric Ford GoBike, on Howard at 6th Street was hit and killed by a truck driver. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition mourns yet another life lost on our streets at a location where thousands of people bike daily.

This is the first bicycle fatality in 2019 and the latest in a series of tragic traffic collisions over the last couple of weeks. This crash at 6th and Howard was less than a hundred feet away from a protected bike lane that would have saved this woman’s life. Where infrastructure stops, people die.

Howard is a known high-injury corridor, the location of several delayed street safety projects, and one of San Francisco’s most traveled bicycle corridors in one of our city’s densest neighborhoods. The fatal collision occurred less than a block from the Gene Friend Recreation Center, the United Playaz Clubhouse and Bessie Carmichael Elementary School.

After years of support and member advocacy, the City installed a protected bike lane from 11th to 6th in December 2018, while a long-term streetscape project from 11th to 4th is due for approvals this year. However, these more robust improvements have been delayed and are not expected to be completed before 2023. Howard has claimed four lives over the past two years. Without change, more lives will be lost due to the City’s inaction.

Gaps in our bicycle network are a failure of the City to address the urgent safety needs that we know exist on our streets. Today, delays on Howard have cost us another life. To prevent further loss of life, the City needs to immediately act on the following safety treatments on Howard:

  1. Extend the existing protected bike lane to 5th Street, including a dedicated bicycle signal at 6th.
  2. Accelerate approvals of the Folsom and Howard Streetscape project to April.
  3. Replace all existing mixing zones on Howard from 6th to 11th with signal protected intersections.

Time and time again, we only bring about change in response to a fatality. This is not good enough, and we are working with Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Matt Haney and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to make short-term safety enhancements without delay along with proactive, transformative change citywide. Enough is enough.

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