At Safe Streets Rally, SFPD Blocks Bike Lane to Make Point of Victim-Blaming

Keep it klassy, Sgt. Ernst.

San Francisco Police Sergeant Richard Ernst apparently decided that the best way to make Folsom Street safer was to purposefully park his car in the bike lane this morning and force bicycle commuters into motor traffic.

Staff from the SF Bicycle Coalition were out at Folsom and Sixth Streets, handing out flyers calling for safety improvements on SoMa's freeway-like streets in the wake of the death of Amelie Le Moullac, who was run over at the intersection last week by a truck driver who appeared to have made an illegal right-turn across the bike lane on to Sixth.

When Ernst arrived on the scene, he didn't express sympathy for Le Moullac and other victims, or show support for safety improvements. Instead, he illegally parked his cruiser in the bike lane next to an empty parking space for up to 10 minutes, stating that he wanted to send a message to people on bicycles that the onus was on them to pass to the left of right-turning cars. He reportedly made no mention of widespread violations by drivers who turn across bike lanes instead of merging fully into them.

He said it was his "right" to be there.

According to SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum, Ernst blamed all three victims who were killed by truck drivers in SoMa and the Mission this year, and refused to leave until she "understood that it was the bicyclist's fault."

"This was shocking to hear, as I was told just a day ago by [SFPD Traffic] Commander [Mikail] Ali that the case was still under investigation and no cause had yet been determined," Shahum said in a written account of the incident. While Ernst's car was in the bike lane, "a steady stream of people biking on Folsom St. were blocked and forced to make sudden and sometimes-dangerous veers into the travel lane, which was busy with fast-moving car traffic during the peak of morning rush hour." [...]

"There was literally an open, available parking spot next to the bike lane, which he could have pulled into," added Shahum. "Sgt. Ernst again said he did not need to move his car. He said it was his 'right' to be there."

You can see San Francisco's Finest hard at work at 1:04 in this video.

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21 Responses:


  2. what a fucking pig - these people should not be in the force. clearly little man syndrome. ojfnas;kdfjnzldkjvfnzdv

  3. Bill says:

    You should really update your site. Reading this can lead to seizures. Green on black?

  4. John Adams says:

    Goddammit. I bike around assholes in the bike line all day and it's extremely dangerous.

  5. how do we find out what station he is with so we can properly complain?

  6. stevo-dude says:

    I agree with the cop's statement at 1:42 in the video.

  7. nooj says:

    I would have been a lot happier if he's sent the same message--bikes have full access to automotive lanes--to car drivers.

  8. sam says:

    Bikelanes that are just painted lines on a normal roadside are worse than useless. They create an expectation with drivers that cyclists have to stay in them. Often as not they mark the most dangerous path what with cabs pulling over, unsignaled turns, driveways, parking, and car doors. Just ride with traffic, and provide opportunities to pass as it is safe. A line on the side of the road with a bike logo is merely dangerous pretending.

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